Is Colombia Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
If Colombia once had an unsavoury reputation, today it is a solo traveller’s dream, a haven amongst digital nomads. You will be in your element exploring the unparalleled food scene and the raw beauty of its great outdoors.
Colombia is one of the most vibrant and exciting countries in South America. There is astonishing street art, fascinating museums, beautiful architecture, wonderful landscapes, sensational culture and epic nightlife. However, unfortunately, Colombia also has a reputation for being dangerous. So, if you are planning a visit, especially as a solo female traveller, you would be right to be concerned about personal security.
The safety of a destination can be subjective and depends on a variety of factors. While Colombia has made significant progress in improving safety in recent years, there are still areas where safety can be a concern, particularly in remote and rural areas. A good idea is to travel with a reputable tour operator.
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If you are thinking of visiting Colombia, do so with the luxury of a BnbColombia.com-arranged excursion to some absolutely amazing places. Either as part of a small group of other adventurous travellers or solo on one of our specially created Colombian Tours for solo female travellers.
So, is Colombia really safe for solo female travellers? The short answer is yes, provided you use common sense and stay away from known risky areas. Gone are the days of Pablo Escobar, who terrorized Colombia with armed shootings and gang violence. Despite what you may read or see, Colombia now is a relaxed place waiting to be explored. There is a saying here no dar papaya, which literally means Do not give papaya. In other words, do not have something sweet on display – a phone, computer, watch, etc. that would make you a target. In reality, this is true for anywhere in the world.
Your personal safety begins before you leave your home.
One of the biggest mistakes travellers make is not doing their homework, particularly on areas to avoid, cultural sensitivities and health concerns. Nowadays there is a wealth of information available online, so take advantage and learn as much as possible. Besides planning all the places you are going to see, research the current political climate and local laws and customs.
Also, look into visa and vaccination requirements, current travel warnings and alerts, health precautions and risky areas for tourists. Guidebooks, travel blogs, forums, and online resources such as Facebook Expat Groups, are great places to start.
Once in Colombia, enjoy yourself, but do also take heed.
To stay safe, be aware of your surroundings and always know your limits
- Never accept drinks from a stranger, particularly in a bar and especially if you are meeting someone through a Dating App. Do not drink to excess so as to go past your capability of making responsible decisions.
- Women may find unwarranted attention from Colombian men, which most of the time is merely harmless. Nevertheless, be on alert if approached by a stranger, especially in bars and nightclubs.
- Learn some basic Spanish phrases to reject any unwanted advances as it can enable you to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
- Solo women can be an easy target for street assaults, not just in Colombia. Walking around cities and towns during the day is generally safe, with the normal precautions apply.
However, ascertain the safest walking routes and always take a taxi over walking late at night. In most Colombian cities, but not in the smaller pueblos (towns), hail riding services are commonly used. Be aware though that you might have to pay cash rather than have the fare charged to your card. The usual security benefits of using an App. apply. The most popular ones are Uber, Cabify, InDriver and Didi. Not all these are necessarily available in every city.
Walk with confidence and purpose and never carry too many valuables with you. No dar papaya.
Caño Cristales has become a popular destination for solo female travelers, and with our 3-5 day shared or private tours Caño Cristales, you too can experience the natural wonders of the “River of Five Colors”
Ask the locals
Nobody knows a place better than the people who live there. The locals are so invaluable for female solo travelers in Colombia, perhaps more so than many other places. Colombians are very affable and mostly want to help tourists. There are endless friendly faces willing to give the straight-up advice you want to hear!
One of the best ways to stay safe in any country is to try to look like you belong there. It is impossible not to look like a tourist when you are a tourist, but you can at least try to look like a savvy tourist, so the prowling lions move on to easier prey. While you might not pass as a Colombian, especially if you have limited Spanish, you can at least aim for Expat.
Colombia has many Expats, so try to imitate what they wear and how they behave as much as possible.
Be careful in crowded areas
Thieves will often distract you while accomplices help themselves to your hard-earned cash. When drawing funds from a bank machine only use one in a secure area and never in the street.
Know the local emergency telephone numbers:
National Emergency number: 123
Tourist Police: (1) 337 4413
US Embassy Bogotá: +57 1 275 2000
British Embassy Bogotá: +57 (1) 601 326 8300
French Embassy Bogotá: +57 (1) 638 1400
Solo female travel in Colombia can be fulfilling for any woman seeking adventure. Traveling Colombia alone as a woman is rewarding, exciting, and a unique experience. For women who are ready for a challenge, Colombia is for you.
Still, have questions about visiting Colombia?
Ask someone who lives there. Talk with a BnbColombia.com Destination Expert by making an appointment here. They can answer any questions you may have and design a fantastic Colombian Tour just for you.