Security in Colombia
This may very well be your biggest concern, and for a reason: the reputation of Colombia in this regard is rather bad. If Colombia is mentioned in the international news, the subject is almost always the conflict between the government and the guerrilla or other armed groups, drugs or poverty in the country. Indeed, Colombia for decades has suffered a conflict whose root cause lies largely in the enormous social disparities. The guerrilla used this fact as a justification for its existence, and in return, rich landowners and other parts of the upper classes built up their own private armies to protect their properties. These private armed groups evolved into a united movement known today as paramilitaries. While the beginning of the conflict was dominated by the opposing political ideologies of the left and right, today this aspect has become almost meaningless. Instead, the country is left with a common war about power, influence and money that the government and its security forces are also involved in. This history of violence is still a burden on the country and everyday life and is the reason for Colombia’s bad reputation abroad. The drugs trade, violence and kidnappings are used by the various illegal armed groups to finance their expenditures for the war. In addition, notorious personalities like Pablo Escobar and his Medellín cartel contributed further to equating Colombia with drugs and violence.
It is a sad history, but it still doesn’t mean that Colombia is too dangerous for tourists. The situation has improved markedly during the past few years. Of course there are still areas that are best avoided because of the conflict. If you refrain from traveling to these regions, however, Colombia is as safe for travelers as any other country in Latin America. In fact, to us, Colombia often appears safer for tourists than other countries. This may sound strange, but the biggest risks tourists face are usually pickpockets or robberies. In this regard Colombia is indeed safer than neighboring countries, since crime specifically directed at tourists is much less common here than in other Latin American countries. Generally, Colombians are surprised and happy that a foreigner is interested in getting to know their country; the country that has such a bad reputation abroad. It is therefore more likely that you will only meet open and happy people here instead of falling victim to criminals. The friendliness of the people and their common respect will also give you a sense of security. Still, you should not forget that you are traveling in a less developed country that has many problems and poverty. In the eyes of many you are a tourist with lots of money, so you should always be vigilant.
Travelers that come to Colombia for the first time are usually very surprised that everyday life here generally proceeds in a completely normal fashion. The bad reputation and the clichés about the country leave a skewed image, so that it almost appears strange to many tourists that the people here also live normally, cry, love, etc. Once you are traveling in this country you will forget your prejudices about Colombia practically overnight. After your return home, you will have completely different things to tell about Colombia. You can then report about the beautiful sides of this country, about its people, its wonderful landscapes, etc. We often notice that those who have never been to Colombia are the ones that have the worst things to say about this country and advice strongly against traveling here. If people don’t have any first-hand experience in Colombia, they can only get their knowledge from the news and the clichés about the country. If you are considering a trip to Colombia, you should therefore be sure to ask those people for their experience that actually know Colombia and have traveled in this unique and wonderful country.
Naturally, the security of travelers during their stay in Colombia is of utmost concern to DE UNA. This is no different for a tour operator in Colombia than a travel agency in any other country. We therefore don’t need to specifically mention that we of course only visit safe places and regions. DE UNA and our tour guides know Colombia very well from first-hand experience, and we are always up to date with the latest news. It can therefore happen that we change the itinerary of a tour even on short notice. If you have further questions about security in Colombia or are interested in information about the security situation in a specific region, please send us an email with your question. Please also visit our page with testimonials, where you will be able to read many first-hand reports of our customers.
More information what others say about the safety: 3 Misconceptions About Colombia (And Why You Should Go)