Colombia have a bad reputation regarding safety. Many travellers are asking: Is it dangerous? Will I get kidnapped? Some, even take Colombia off their must-see countries list due to these concerns. However, is the risk that big?
I have to admit that I was sceptical myself before travelling to Colombia. I had heard many rumors that did not work in the favor of the country. However, during the years that followed, I learned that almost none of the people who had warned me against traveling to Colombia had ever been there themselves. On the other hand, almost everyone I met who have travelled to Colombia told quite a different story.
I can understand well that people of a certain generation remembers the news headlines generated about the country years ago. Furthermore, often those headlines of great violence from this country’s past history are the only things that people from the west have ever really heard about Colombia. Clearly, the country does have a past full of instances of civil war and unrest. However, I do not see that as enough reason to stay away. This because, the security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years. This including tourist destinations such as Bogota and Cartagena.
First arriving to Bogota, I felt safe from the very first minute I steped out of the airport. The police were very visible everywhere. The roads were well developed. And people were extremely helpful and kind, however in an honest way. The same I felt in Cartagena. Colombia is for sure the country in South America that I have visited, that I felt to be the safest.
Though there are still official warnings about kidnappings in Colombia. That being said, the danger is placed in the southern and western rainforest jungles. I have a friend that worked in these areas, and also here the chances of being kidnapped today is minimal. The cities, however, are safe as any other world city, after my opinion.
Furthermore, if you worry about kidnappings, and want for this reason to take off Colombia on your list. You better take off India, Mexico and Malaysia as well. According to the official statistics of Ministry of Defense of Colombia, the amount of annual kidnappings has dropped from 2882 in 2002 to 282 in 2010. Whereas, there were last year 1583 kidnapping cases reported in Mexico.
Skipping Colombia because of these barriers means that you are missing out on a beautiful country full of delightful people. It is therefore time to leave your prejudices about Colombia. As they say: The only risk is wanting to stay! And yes it is, I confirm that.
Have you ever visited Colombia? What is your opinion about the safety in the country?