Is it Safe to Visit?

Danny offers his thoughts on a question he’s received since his teenage years

I’m Colombian, so let’s get to the point. I have been asked for the longest time whether or not visiting Colombia is safe. They heard from the news that the drug cartels are doing things, that people are being kidnapped, that you can get robbed, that you can get killed, that you can get set up with a suitcase full of drugs. This was back in the 2000s, when yes, Colombia was trying to end its half-century civil war. Since then, Colombia has made massive strides to demobilize the narco-terrorist groups, improve the internal integration of the country, and uplift thousands of Colombians from poverty. Our men’s and women’s national soccer teams have been amazing ambassadors of our people abroad, bringing our love and joy of the sport to the world. Encanto was the first movie EVER that didn’t associate Colombia with cocaine.

And yet, I’m still asked whether Colombia is safe.

For you, it might be an “innocent” question, but the problem with such question is that invokes all the negatives the media has created about Colombia. But let me throw his question back to you – why are you asking this question about my cultural country? Although the meme below references Mexico, it easily applies to Colombia:

The point I am making is this: unless you are looking to conduct illegal activities in Colombia, or in Mexico, or in any other country, you are going to be safe.

Before I continue, there is one blind spot that I do have regarding this question – I’m a man. Solo and group female travelers have a fundamentally different travel experience than I ever have and ever will. I understand when and why they would ask this question, as violence against women is (unfortunately) too common around the world. My frustration with asking the “is it safe” question is not geared towards this demographic for this reason.

But for everyone else, I ask you to take a moment to think about why you are asking this question. Are you looking for trouble? Are you going to be flashing your jewelry while touring? Are you going to act like an unhinged tourist?

Or are you looking to transplant your space onto another country so that you can claim you went to Colombia but you stayed at your resort the entire time? What makes you assume that your country, your community is safer than Colombia? Hell, have you ever wondered if I feel safe in America? Or if the one place where I almost got pickpocketed was in Florence?

I’m just asking. But I’m sure you are feeling super uncomfortable right now. And that’s exactly my point.


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