Is Colombia safe?
Yep. We probably know how you feel. You're probably one of many people who think first about kidnappings and drug cartels when they come to Colombia. So did many of us international volunteers. Most of us also had friends and parents scared to death about us before we left home.
All of us were pleasantly surprised.
Don't get us wrong. The safety situation is still complicated, but it has improved rapidly in the recent years. However, the world still lives in the stereotype. In our opinion Colombia is at the moment one of the safest South American countries for tourists. Like in many third world places, there is a certain level of petty crime and you should avoid walking around with obvious valuables - just like in other South American countries.
There is still an armed conflict here, but the problems are very local. Most of the country, especially the area around Santa Marta, is relatively safe for travellers. When travelling around the remoter regions of Colombia, you should always investigate the safety situation for the region where you're heading for - for example ask locals.
Unless you go to very remote jungle areas where coca is produced, go off the beaten track or attempt to buy illegal drugs, you are very unlikely to face any problems.
Read more in this article about South American kidnapping statistics.
The article reflects our personal opinions and experience.