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There's a popular saying here: "no dar papaya". It literally means, “don't give papaya”. Figuratively, don’t expose yourself to potential danger. Here are eight tips to help you stay safe in Colombia.
Don’t draw attention to yourself; never wave around flashy cameras, cell phones, and wallets full of cash and bank cards. Leave valuables locked up at the hotel and only take with you enough money for the day/night.
Always pay close attention to your belongings and never let your guard down, as this is when opportunists swoop in. Hold onto your bag when walking on the street; preferably crossed over your chest, not loosely on your shoulder.
Withdraw money in a shopping mall or a busy place with security guards, especially if you need to take out a large amount. Never withdraw money at night or in lonely areas as this places you at risk of being robbed.
Ask at your hotel what the safest walking routes are and which ones to avoid. Try to always walk with confidence and purpose, even if you are completely lost.
If you're apprehended, don't resist and hand over everything you have. By cooperating, things will not turn violent.
If you're in a crowded area and realize that you’ve been robbed, just shout ladron! (thief); the public and the police will swiftly come to your rescue.
If yo're in a restaurant, bar, or nightclub, never leave valuables on tables, backs of chairs, or dance with an open bag. If you're planning on drinking, just bring money.
If you find yourself drunk, in a seedy area, partaking in illegal activities (drugs or prostitution), or are simply distracted, you become susceptible to crime. Don't put yourself in unnessary risk.
Make a few photocopies of your passport. Carry the copy with you, perhaps laminated to keep it intact. This way, you won’t risk losing it and if you need to show identification, you’ll be prepared.
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i just returned from cartagena. i was on one of the first spirit flights after re-opening. september 23. i have been to cartagena several times before, and also bogota. i was apprehended and robbed by what appeared to be a legit tour company to playa blanca (baru). in the other times i have been to cartagena i have never felt un-safe. things are much different there this time. i dont know if covid has just made everyone desperate (most of the economy is tourism and they havent had it in a long time) or what...but its a different vibe than it has been in the past. very scary. and we were stopped twice on taxi rides by the police looking for bribes..had to pay 150k each time. my advice...re-consider travel there until things calm down. i am not a first time traveler to colombia, and have been to 5 continents...i have never felt as un-safe in my travels as i was last week in cartagena.