Is Colombia safe for solo travel? Yes, but with precautions.
If you’re looking to explore all that this underrated country has to offer, doing it on your own schedule and at your own pace is a great option. However, you might be wondering, about safety in Bogota and whether or not Colombia is safe for solo travel. What about female solo travellers?
I asked Giorgy from G-Extreme Travel to weigh in on this one since she lived in Colombia. She has also travelled around Colombia solo for years. She wrote our post about the safest places for solo travel and she’s back to share all the best tips with you so you can have an amazing, smooth and safe Colombia solo trip.
Safety in Botota and other areas of Colombia. Is Colombia Safe For Solo Travel?
We will discuss each area of Colombia separately, but let’s start with the general question, is Colombia safe for solo travel? If you are planning a solo trip to Colombia, you might be pleased to know that it is generally safe for solo travel. Based on my personal experience, Colombia is also safe for female travellers.
However, it is still crucial to prioritize your safety. You should adhere to the standard travel safety measures that you would use when travelling anywhere in the world. Solo travel trips require a little more effort and planning.
For instance, avoid walking alone late at night, be vigilant of your surroundings, protect your valuables, and moderate your alcohol intake. These extra precautions are equally essential in Colombia!
Strap yourself in and let’s dive deeper into this guide on Colombia-specific tips for solo travellers and additional safety tips for solo female travellers.
Safety Tips for Solo Travellers in Colombia, South America
#1. Your Intuition is NEVER Wrong
Colombia is known for its friendly locals who might invite you to their party after a brief conversation. While some travellers may enjoy this, others may find it overwhelming. Safety in Bogota and the rest of Colombia should still be a priority for you.
As a solo traveller, it is important to trust your intuition. This is especially true if it’s your first time travelling alone in Colombia. That little voice inside your head is your intuition! It’s also referred to as your inner voice, higher self, conscience, or similar terms. Its main purpose is to keep you safe.
If you get a good feeling about someone who just invited you to their cousin’s birthday party, trust your intuition. On the other hand, if they give off creepy vibes, decline the invitation.
The same rule applies to places you visit. If you don’t feel comfortable somewhere, it’s best to leave immediately. Additionally, if you feel something strange or unpleasant about someone you’re spending time with, leave! Don’t hesitate to leave without worrying about being polite. Your safety is more important!
Remember that the Colombian people are really friendly. Well, when travelling solo in Colombia, it’s important to remember there’s a limit to how much information you should share with strangers. If someone asks a question that makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to answer it.
Although most people are genuinely interested in making conversation, it’s better to be cautious. Do not reveal too much personal information. To avoid potential issues, refrain from sharing intricate details about your life.
Don’t share travel plans with casual acquaintances like bar buddies or cafe neighbours. If you’re uncomfortable with telling lies, it’s acceptable to provide general answers. In the end, they wouldn’t see you again anyways.
Instead of disclosing your exact lodging location, simply mention that you’re staying downtown. In response to questions about your plans, you can say that you’re meeting a friend without elaborating further.
#3. Speak with Locals
I mean, who knows better than a local in their own country… right? You are going to get valuable travel tips on the city you’re visiting, including the best places to eat street food and also which streets to avoid at night (or any other dangerous places), and which places are not safe for women.
If you’re visiting Colombia for the first time, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with a friendly stranger. Chat with them and ask for their recommendations.
Especially as a woman, it’s always best to seek advice from local women (instead of Colombian men). They know the small town well and can offer safety tips.
#4. Improve your Spanish Language Skills Before Visiting
One of the best pieces of advice for travelling solo to Colombia is to improve your Spanish beforehand. Even having a basic understanding of the language can make a big difference, and so people won’t mess with you.
You can download the free Duolingo app and practice for just 15 minutes a day for two weeks to gain enough Spanish to comfortably navigate your trip. It’ll be well worth the effort!
#5. Look Like a Local
As much as the barrier language would help you to blend in Colombia, it’s important to know how the locals dress. The purpose is to assist you in appearing like a local, rather than a tourist who is unaware of their surroundings.
By dressing appropriately, you demonstrate your understanding of the cultural norms and convey a greater sense of competency. It is completely fine to wear whatever you want, but if you want to blend in with the locals and not draw attention to yourself, it’s best to stick to more conservative clothing.
If you need help packing for your safe trip to Colombia, this packing list may be useful.
#6. Book Early Morning Flights to Colombia
We recommend that you make your flight as comfortable as possible, especially when travelling alone. Try to select a morning flight. Keep in mind that delays can occur, causing you to arrive after dark, even if your scheduled arrival time is during daylight hours.
If you’re visiting Colombia or a foreign country for the first time, it’s best to arrive during daylight hours for safety reasons. Although flights during non-peak hours might be cheaper, it’s better to avoid them if possible.
If you can’t, consider spending a little extra on a private airport transfer service that can pick you up and take you to your destination. It is fairly common for illegal taxis to prey on tourists and you don’t want to take that risk.
#7. Choose a Safe Neighborhood
Most major cities in Colombia, especially the ones popular among travellers, have a downtown area called El Centro. It is a part of the Centro Historico or the Historic Downtown. El Centro is the most vibrant part of these cities and it offers various accommodation options.
Indeed, in Cartagena, both El Centro and Getsemani are considered safe neighbourhoods. And El Poblado in a safe spot in Medellin.
When visiting a new town or city, consider searching for accommodation in the area known as Centro Historico. This will ensure that you are surrounded by other travellers. It’s also important to read reviews of the accommodations before booking.
#8. Share your Live Location with your Beloved Ones
Safety in Bogota and other Colombian cities is greatly increased when you share your location with loved ones. Being able to share your live locations can give you a sense of security, knowing that someone somewhere knows where you are at all times. This is especially important when travelling alone or in an unfamiliar country.
As a traveller, it’s critical that you have a reliable means of communication. The best way to do that is with a foreign SIM card. By purchasing a local SIM card, you can make sure that your phone will work in your destination country.
Sharing your live location with your family can also help you stay on track while travelling. If you ever get lost or need directions, you can easily send a pin to someone back home for assistance. This way, if there is an emergency situation, they will know how to reach you quickly and efficiently!
#9. Join Colombia Group Tours
Joining a Colombia group tour is an excellent way for solo travellers to explore the country safely and confidently. Group tours provide tourists with access to knowledgeable local guides who can provide insight into the culture and history of the area, as well as safety advice and tips on how to stay safe while travelling alone in Colombia.
Additionally, by joining a group tour, you can connect with like-minded travellers and benefit from the safety-in-numbers effect. Group tours also provide a great way to meet new people, make a couple of friends, and share travel personal experiences.
Overall, joining a Colombia group tour is an ideal solution for solo travellers who are looking for an enjoyable and safe way to explore this beautiful country. There is safety in numbers so joining a group tour in Bogota, Cartagena or Medellin is a great idea.
#10. Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun when travelling solo in Colombia. Safety is a priority in Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, but don’t let it become the focus of your trip.
Enjoy the freedom and independence that come with travelling alone. Explore beautiful beaches, meet interesting people, sample local cuisine, and make some amazing memories along the way.
Above all else, remember to be vigilant and take all necessary extra precautions for your safety. Colombia is a safe and welcoming destination for solo travellers – just make sure you stay aware and stay safe!
So with that in mind, enjoy your trip to Colombia! Have fun, be adventurous, and explore all the incredible best things this country has to offer. Safe travels!
Popular Destinations for Solo Travellers in Colombia
The beautiful country of Colombia is an increasingly popular destination for solo travellers, especially female solo travellers. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture and friendly locals, it’s easy to see why more and more women are choosing to embark on a Colombian adventure.
From the colonial charm of Cartagena to the Caribbean beaches of Santa Marta, here are some of the top destinations for solo travellers in Colombia.
Safety in Bogotá
Is Bogota safe for tourists? Yes! Colombia’s capital city is another excellent option for solo travellers. From exploring the historic centre of La Candelaria to taking in the stunning views from Monserrate, Bogotá is full of culture and history.
Safety in Bogota may have prevented you from thinking you could visit, but you can! This safe city also has a vibrant nightlife scene and plenty of eateries offering delicious local cuisine.
Located on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena is one of the most popular tourist areas destinations in Colombia. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of stunning colonial-era architecture.
With its stunning colonial architecture and welcoming atmosphere, Cartagena is an ideal destination for solo travellers, both male and female.
Santa Marta is the oldest city in Colombia and is located on the Caribbean coast. It’s home to some of the most stunning beaches in Colombia, such as Tayrona National Park. Here, you can explore white sand beaches, lush jungles and crystal clear waters.
It’s a great destination for solo travellers who want to relax, lose themselves in nature or just enjoy the amazing sunsets.
Safety in Salento, Colombia
Located in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region, Salento is a quaint colonial town that’s ideal for solo female travellers who want to experience Colombian culture.
The city is home to some of the most beautiful churches in Colombia, stunning colonial architecture and the famous Wax Palm trees. Salento is also a great base for exploring other towns in the area, such as Filandia or Cocorales.
Medellín is Colombia’s second-largest city and known as “the city of eternal spring” due to its mild temperatures and tropical surroundings.
It’s a great destination for solo travellers who want to explore the vibrant culture, eat delicious cuisine, visit world-class museums or just take in the stunning views of the surrounding Aburrá Valley.
Public Transportation Options for Solo Travellers in Colombia
Travelling alone can be a bit daunting at times. But solo travellers in Colombia don’t need to worry about getting around. Colombia is safe for solo travellers to take public transportation.
From taxis to buses and even planes, there are plenty of transportation options available that will help you explore the country safely and comfortably.
Safety in Bogota and other cities in Colombia shouldn’t be an issue when taking public transportation. Just be sure to guard your bags at all times. Never leave your things unattended, especially on public transit.
If you are concerned about safety in Bogota, or whether Colombia is safe for solo travel, take a taxi. Taxis are one of the most popular and convenient transport options in Colombia, especially for solo travellers, both male and female.
They are also one of the safest forms of transportation, as there is no chance of being robbed or harassed.
Buses are an economical long way to travel around Colombia and they can be found in most towns and major cities. However, it’s important to note that bus stations can be crowded and intimidating for solo travellers, so it’s best to travel during the daytime (avoid night buses) or book a private shuttle service.
Rental Cars in Colombia
If you don’t feel comfortable taking public transit when travelling solo, rent a car instead. This way you can travel in your own vehicle while exploring the whole of Colombia.
If safety in Bogota, and the rest of Colombia, concerns you when it comes to taking public transit, simply rent a car. Take charge of your own travels.
For those looking to explore more of Colombia and are maybe short on time, air travel is an easy way to get around.
There are many domestic airports across the country and flights are generally affordable. Just be sure to pack light if you plan to fly within Colombia so you aren’t charged hefty baggage fees.
Accommodation Options for Solo Travellers in Colombia
If you’re a solo traveller looking for safe and comfortable accommodation options in Colombia, there are plenty of great options available. From private rooms to hostels, hotels, and even Couchsurfing, there’s something for everyone.
Hotels and Private Rooms
For those who value privacy and want an experience similar to staying at a hotel, private rooms are a great option. They come with all the amenities you would expect from a hotel, such as a private bathroom and kitchen, making it easy to feel at home while travelling solo in Colombia.
It is important to note that staying at a hotel has a major drawback in that there are minimal opportunities to meet new people. For solo female travellers, it may be more beneficial to select a private room in a hostel instead.
On the other hand, hotels provide a more luxurious experience for solo female travellers in Colombia. They offer more privacy than hostels but still have some common areas such as a restaurant or bar where you can meet other travellers.
Hostels are an economical way to travel in Colombia and also provide a great opportunity to socialize with other travellers.
Most hostels have common areas, like living rooms and kitchens, where you can mingle with other travellers. Hostels in Colombia are safe for those on solo travel adventures.
Couchsurfing is a great option for solo travellers who want to have a local experience while travelling in Colombia.
Through Couchsurfing, you can find locals who are willing to offer up their homes or even just show you around town. It’s an excellent way to learn more about the culture and make a couple of friends along the way.
Be sure to go through the official website and not accept couchsurfing offers from strangers on social media, dating sites, Craigslist or any other platform that isn’t monitored.
Cultural Experiences for Solo Travellers in Colombia
There are plenty of cultural experiences to enjoy while travelling solo in Colombia. From taking in the vibrant street art of Medellín and exploring historic colonial towns such as Cartagena, to enjoying the live music and dancing of traditional Colombian folkloric groups and trying your hand at cooking some delicious local cuisine.
A great way to experience local culture is by joining a guided tour or taking a cooking class. These can be great fun and provide an insight into the local way of life.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous, there are plenty of activities to choose from, such as hiking in the stunning Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range, white water rafting in Palomino or even exploring some ancient ruins like San Agustín.
No matter what your interests are, travelling solo in Colombia is a great way to experience the country’s unique culture and meet new people along the way.
Conclusion: Safety in Botoga and the Rest of Colombia
As a female solo traveller, I had an amazing time travelling in Colombia. Some may say that I have been fortunate, but I believe that I was well-prepared, vigilant of my surroundings, and cautious in my actions.
All my memories of Colombia are incredible because I prioritized my safety above all else.
When travelling solo in Colombia as a woman, I took steps to reduce risk, such as avoiding walking alone at night and trusting my inner gut. Despite initial nerves, following these tips led to a positive solo travel experience in Colombia. And, hey, remember to purchase travel insurance that covers Colombia!