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Is Columbia Safe?

(18 Posts)
littleleftie Mon 04-Jan-16 21:30:00

Got the chance of working in Columbia for a week or two this year (Lecturer.)

I am not sure where I get my ideas from, but it's in my head that Columbia isn't terribly safe? I am well travelled, and have spent time in Kenya on my own with work, as well as Russia.

Has anyone been to Columbia and can you advise? It would be in Bogota as far as I can make out at this stage. I don't want to show too much interest and ask too many questions in case I decide I don't want to go!!!


Lweji Mon 04-Jan-16 21:34:28

You mean Colombia?
For a week or two you'll probably be most of the time with people from the Uni that invited you.
I'm sure you'll be fine.

Lweji Mon 04-Jan-16 21:35:27

Just pointing out that I haven't been to Colombia but have friends from there.

Bubble2bubble Mon 04-Jan-16 21:36:27

I have a friend who lives in Bogota, married to a Colombian. When UK family visit they are not allowed to leave the house alone and are generally fairly limited in what they can do. From what they say, yes, fairly dangerous I'm afraid and especially as an outsider.

littleleftie Mon 04-Jan-16 21:36:44

Sorry [blush[ yes, Colombia. I am sure people there will be far nicer if I can spell their country correctly!!!!

I might look into it more and give it a go - you only live once eh? I spent 16 years working in a call centre and never dreamt I would have opportunities like this so it's silly to let fear hold me back!


Lweji Mon 04-Jan-16 21:39:11

How's your Spanish? smile

Get them to take you places. Locals are often happy to take visitors out with them and show them around safely.

Bubble2bubble Mon 04-Jan-16 21:40:01

Also Bogota is at very high altitude which can be problematic for some people.

llhj Mon 04-Jan-16 21:42:14

It's very dangerous if you are not taking extreme care, be careful especially re kidnapping. The embassy are not as helpful as they could be.

Bubble2bubble Mon 04-Jan-16 21:44:08

Was just about to add the threat of kidnapping is very real, especially for someone noticeably European looking. Locals carrying guns in the street and wealthy people travelling with bodyguards is normal.

littleleftie Mon 04-Jan-16 21:45:44

Lweji I speak very limited Spanish - enough to get me by in Spanish tourist resorts but that's about it. I like the idea of getting the locals to show me around. That worked really well in Kenya.

Bubble the altitude should be fine for me. I have been to San Jose, Costa Rica and was OK there, so fingers crossed.

llhj Oh dear!! Did you have a bad experience? I definitely Do NOT want to be kidnapped.

ABetaDad1 Mon 04-Jan-16 21:50:33

You will not be able to leave the safety of where you are working and living.

Kidnap is an extremely high risk. Wealthy people there have body guards and microchip themselves and their children so if they get taken they can be tracked and found.

I was invited there some decades go to present at a conference.

I didn't go. Too dangerous. It hasn't improved a lot.

Lweji Mon 04-Jan-16 21:55:48

Wealthy people are obvious targets.
Quite frankly, for two weeks and with the help of locals, I'd definitely go.
Just don't show how rich you are. wink

littleleftie Mon 04-Jan-16 21:59:03

lweji that really isn't going to be a problem. I will leave my enormous diamond collection at home grinand hope they aren't too impressed with my supermarket clothes.

OccamsLadyshaveToo Mon 04-Jan-16 22:09:09

Wow these responses are totally at odds with my experience.

I spent two days in Bogota last summer, on the way back from a trip to Peru / Ecuador. It was just me and DD (then 12). I'm not some crazy adventurer, although reading the responses above maybe I am braver than I thought!

I was quite nervous about it beforehand, but we had a really lovely time and didn't feel at all nervous.

The first day we did a food tour with a guide which was fantastic and took us to a few different areas mostly downtown and in the business district. We stayed in the studenty area, and on the second day just went for a wander and went up the cable car and visited some of the main squares etc.

Language wise I have some very limited holiday Spanish. Everyone in the hostel spoke perfect English. I had no problems, the same as the rest of South America.

Usual travel tips apply. I was particularly neurotic about anything getting put in our bags as we left, so I emptied the whole thing, checked every pocket, shoe etc and then taped it up.

Taxis were very good and well regulated. All the ones we got had female drivers. Make sure you check out the graffiti. It's all regulated and people have to apply with plans! It's a fascinating city.

I've also been to Kenya and felt I stood out far more there.

JustPretending Mon 04-Jan-16 22:11:01

I think some of these reactions are maybe a little extreme. Be cautious as you would in any major city about taking public transport especially at night (they have Uber) / wandering into areas you don't know / flaunting your valuables particularly smart phones which are very expensive there. But Colombia & Bogotá see lots of tourists these days & it's on the backpacker circuit of South America. Bogotá is cosmopolitan, with excellent museums & restaurants. Ask your hosts / hotel staff for advice & enjoy.

littleleftie Tue 05-Jan-16 17:21:23

Thanks so much everyone - it transpires a colleague who speaks fluent Spanish has been chosen in my place shock angry How Could They???

I will pass on your advice to her though - she is lovely and I am sure she will have a great time.

Lweji Tue 05-Jan-16 17:32:13

So sorry.
Maybe another time. smile

MrsCaecilius Tue 12-Jan-16 13:13:56

Sorry you won't get the chance. I also agree that some of these responses are over the top. I worked in Colombia (Bogota and rural Antioquia) for several months in 2013 and love it.

Yes, there is a crime problem, but if you use come common sense or are a seasoned travelled you should be fine. Stay in a decent area, be careful after dark, don;t use unlicensed taxis, don't even THINK about doing drugs, don't walk around flaunting your wealth (massive watch and camera) and you will love it.

Colombia is opening up to tourists massively at the moment and many more pass through. It is a stunning country - from Caribbean islands and history (Cartagena), to snow capped peaks, open sierras, crashing Pacific and Amazon rain forest.

If you get the chance to go - grab it!!

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