Colombia is renowned for its violent history. Today things seem to have calmed down quite a bit, but the country’s crime stats show that Bogota can be dangerous still. However, this shouldn’t stop you from exploring this beautiful city. According to Lonely Planet, Bogota can be safe if you take a few simple precautions. Plan your trip wisely and you’ll be able to enjoy it and avoid any nasty experiences.
How to Stay Safe During a Solo Trip to Bogota: Top 5 Tips for a Female Traveler
Live up north
The further north you get in Bogota, the better and safer the neighborhood. Accommodation there is more expensive, so plan your trip budget carefully. You can stay in hostels as they are more budget-friendly. However, be aware that back in 2011 there were several hostel robberies in a popular neighborhood La Candelaria. Those are rare today, but be sure to choose the place with the best security just in case.
You can also stay in Airbnb, which should be safer. Choose only trusted renters and check reviews from other people who stayed in the accommodation.
Explore the city with a group
Being on a solo trip to Bogota doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. In fact, it’s a great chance to meet some new people. Joining other tourists at group events and excursions gives you this chance. For example, you can strike an acquaintance with your fellow travelers when taking free walking tours in Bogota. This will also give you an opportunity to explore the city streets in safety and avoid the risk of getting lost. Afterward, you can make plans to visit various attractions or share a meal with your new acquaintances.
You can also consider taking day trip tours offered by tourist agencies. This way you will be surrounded by people and provided with secure transport when traveling to Colombia’s many interesting sites.
However, be sure to deal only with reputed and licensed tourist agencies that have good reputation. Always look up their reviews online to make sure the company can be trusted.
Don’t go out after dark
The best way to avoid crime is to stay safely indoors when the threat level rises. For a solo female traveler in Bogota this means staying indoors after dark. The closer it gets to the evening, the riskier it is to be out. Therefore, you should avoid dark places by default.
If you want to go out and enjoy some of the city’s fascinating nightlife, you should take a licensed taxi. Call for a taxi through an app or have the hotel/hostel receptionist call a car for you. Do the same when going back to your accommodation. Don’t try to haul a car out in the street and make sure that the vehicle is waiting right before the entrance to your hotel/house/club.
Be aware of and protected against pickpockets
Bogota isn’t any different from other big cities and popular tourist destinations in that pickpockets are a common issue. The best protection from them is staying vigilant. Wear theft-proof bags and keep your valuables secured on your person.
Note that smartphones are particularly tempting for local petty criminals. Be sure to keep yours inside a secure bag or leave it at home. Buy a cheap disposable phone to use during your solo trip to Bogota.
Don’t dress to impress
Wear practical, comfortable, modest clothing while in Bogota. This will help you handle the heat and humidity as well as reduce the level of not-so-welcome attention coming your way.
Abstain from wearing flashy and/or expensive jewelry. Overall, try to look like a local as tourists make prime targets because they stand out too much.