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Is Colombia Dangerous?

It depends on who you ask.

By sara burdickPublished 3 months ago 7 min read
Vélez, Colombia

Yesterday I arrived at my friend’s house in Medellin. I took the bus, got in a taxi, and the driver began talking to me. It started the usual: where are you from, how long have you been here, are you single?

My favorite place to practice my Spanish is in a cab, uber, or bus. Plus, Colombians are so kind; if they speak English, you will never know because, unlike some countries where you are not fluent, they switch to English.

They will not; they will let you figure it out and even help you. If you begin speaking in Spanish, they will keep talking to you that way, even if their English is perfect. I love it, and it helps my Spanish improve.

So, as I was speaking to my cab driver, we began talking about how expensive it has gotten here, and even in the pueblos, you can see how inflation has affected even the most remote places.

Yet that was not what the cab driver was most concerned about. When I began coming to Colombia in 2018, I was told to be safe and careful everywhere.

I do not get told this; does it mean it is safer?

Well, it has become more dangerous for a particular group. Except there is one difference now, and my cab driver confirmed it. I am a woman.

You might be thinking, well, that is not a good sign, except if you have been keeping up with what is happening in Colombia. Trust me, the Colombians have, especially in their city where the danger and inflation have increased.

First, I must add when I travel, I don’t look fancy; I dress down, and I would describe my look as ¨homeless sheek¨.

Yet why do I say it is because I am a woman?

A lot of men from first-world countries, specifically the US, are dying here in Colombia. It is making headlines all over, and it is sad.

Unfortunately, Colombia, specifically Medellin, has become known as the sex, drugs, and rock and roll capital of Latin America. Honestly, I made that up, but it is the place where a lot of men come to seek out hookers and blow.

Because prostitution is legal, and we all know about the drugs. I want to add, yes, I know they are here, and I have never seen one bag of coke in my life here.

I do not touch the stuff, so those I surround myself with are similar. Even my Colombian friends avoid it; it is reserved for tourists, which you will hear people talking about.

I want to add that if there is a market and people are seeking it, it will continue to be a problem. It is a dangerous game, though, so complex that if you come here looking for fast, easy sex and a quick high, you could end up in a ditch, dead, or scoped out of your mind.

When I first started coming in 2018, I would go out dancing without problems.

I was told to be careful and watch your drinks, but do people ever tell men this?

We, as women, are used to being hyper-vigilant of everyone, so I think it is part of why most of us stay safe. There is robbery here and there, but theft differs from death.

So what is the problem, and how can it be avoided?

Advice specifically to men.

Avoid dating apps such as Tinder; it is known to be the downfall of most men. They meet a girl and go out; most likely, she is a working girl.

I don’t always mean prostitute, but she could be working with her family and is attractive. She puts scopolamine in the man’s drink, goes back to his house, robs him of all his things, and usually does not know the dose not to kill someone so the man can end up dead.

Which is generally due to an overdose of scopolamine; usually, the end game is robbery, not death. Yet death is a side effect of an overdose of scopolamine.

We women have these things we can cover our drinks with at the bar; I recommend men buy these and never trust anyone. That is a rule of thumb, especially if you meet a girl on Tinder and think she’s too hot for you; she probably is. Most of them have boyfriends, and it’s all a setup for robbery.

The other way is that most men do not think about their appearance. Again, as women, we are constantly told how we look: you look too fancy, too dressed up, too dressed down, too friendly, too mean, I can go on and on; so many as women, we are already pretty prepared for most situations.

Also, please do not misinterpret me as being told these things are good, as most of it has a lot of psychological damage to most of us, and we question ourselves on a daily. Will someone tell me to ¨smile¨. Totally another topic, though.

So, can you meet women in Colombia who are not in the game of robbing foreigners? Yes, of course.

These are very isolated incidents. Many men have avoided being a target and are looking for love, not just fast, easy fun. It is an entirely different subject, and I have gone on many dates myself with no issues.

It is what your intentions are, and again, energy speaks volumes. I can see how you show up and act, and I am sure the locals can, too.

However, Medellin, Bogotá, and Cartagena all have areas of danger, if you notice a theme, hotspots, capital cities, and directly on the tourist trail. Yet Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago have areas of danger.

Stay safe:

  • Don’t be flashy; leave the fancy jewelry at home, including a watch if expensive.
  • Don’t flash your new iPhone around; we know you have more money than anyone else.
  • Dont tell girls where you live; I know you want to impress them, so don’t
  • Avoid Tinder
  • Never leave your drink unattended or accept it from someone you do not know, especially at a house party or bar.
  • If she is too hot for you, most likely she has a boyfriend and a lot of family waiting to meet you.
  • If you are looking for love, get out of Medellin, as there are so many amazing people in this country, but so many tourists have made Medellin the mecca of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Be aware, and stay safe.

Do I feel safe in Colombia?

Yes, 100%, especially in the small cities and pueblos; in Medellin, I watch my back, head on a swivel, 24/7. I only come here to see a friend and then leave.

Even though the city is beautiful, it can be dangerous. However, everywhere in the world can be dangerous, depending on how you approach a situation.

You are the foreigner, and knowing you are the ultimate target can help you avoid being the target.

But if you want to risk it all and do not take proper precautions, you can end up on the wrong side of the tracks. I prefer to stay safe, avoid clubs, and not go out at night, but I also like my boring life. The party scene is behind me.

Ultimately, the taxi driver agreed that foreign men should watch out more than foreign women, which has changed since my first visit here. Except I still remember I am a foreigner and always a target.

I say to many people that Colombia is safe but can also be dangerous. It is a double-edged sword, depending on you, your attitude, and the people you surround yourself with, just like anywhere in the world.

If you came here on vacation and felt safe, you probably did because they love tourists.

However, if you have spent significant time here, you begin to see what goes on behind the veil. You see a different side, especially when you speak to locals and have taken time to learn the culture, traditions, and way of living, which is essential if considering moving to a country.

Once the glitz has worn off, do you still like it? In my opinion, yes, I love this country, good, bad, and ugly. Yet, I am aware of the good, bad, and ugly.



travel advicetravel tipssouth americasolo travelfemale travelbudget travel

About the Creator

sara burdick

I quit the rat race after working as a nurse for 16 years. I now write online and live abroad, currently Nomading, as I search for my forever home. Personal Stories, Travel and History

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Comments (2)

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  • Test2 months ago

    such a wonderful story

  • Oneg In The Arctic3 months ago

    It's really interesting to read about how men are big targets there, I never thought about it like that. Insightful read

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