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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Although not every Colombian is out to cheat you, knowing what to look out for will prevent you from getting caught up in common scams.
Colombia, the South American country with a frightening reputation for warring drug barons and kidnappings, is a hot new destination for travelers. Here's what you need to know.