Is Colombia Safe? : What Happened

I haven’t written in a bit because I haven’t been sure how to word what I wanted to say. I was in Colombia for two weeks, and I wanted to write a bit about how it was there. I decided not to take my camera out and about in Colombia most of the time, due to the amount of muggings that happened to my friends and people I met there. I wanted to do a post of all of the beautiful art in Colombia, but I don’t have many pictures. What I DO have, though, is a lot of crazy stories about what happened in Colombia. A lot of people have asked me what it was like there, tourist-wise and safety-wise, so I’m going to give you the full rundown.



I would first like to say that although it felt really dangerous in Cali (it is the most dangerous city in Colombia, which is one of the most dangerous cities in South America), I did have a lot of fun there. The hostel that I stayed at was great (check out El Viajero if you go to Cali), I met a lot of really awesome people, and I really enjoyed being there. I did get a bit stressed out hearing about what was happening to other people, so I didn’t go out any more than I needed to. I basically just went out to get food and groceries, plus one day I walked to the park (which was about three blocks away…).



These are the craziest things that happened in Colombia.

  1. the day I arrived, I made some friends. They told me that they were out the night before, and right outside the hostel, a large man came up to them. The man put a knife to the girls stomach and tried to rob them. The guy and the girl ran to the hostel and kept all the money they had just gotten out of the ATM, successfully getting away from the mugger.
  2. people were snorting cocaine in my dorm room. That moment is when I made the decision to live in luxury in a private room.
  3. I met an Australian girl at the hostel. She arrived the day after me. A few days into her stay, she went to a futbol game. It ended late at night, and she had to wander the streets to look for a taxi. She was with one guy. While they were walking and looking for a taxi, someone came up and started beating up the guy she was with. The attacker was trying to rob them. Someone else came from out of nowhere and peeled this attacker off of the guy she was with. They ran away and were able to get a taxi back to the hostel.
  4. I got really extreme food poisoning and was sick for two days. This prevented me from going to Ecuador when I had planned to leave, which prevented me from being in the middle of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Had I left when I was supposed to, I would have been on the coast of Ecuador when the earthquake hit. I never thought I would be grateful to have gotten sick.
  5. Almost every time I walked around (it didn’t matter if I was alone or with someone), almost every single guy I walked past would make disgusting kissing noises. Some of them were nicer than others, some just said “hola mi hermosa,” but some of them got pretty vulgar. It wasn’t the most enjoyable thing, but it happens at home also.

All of these stories together sound really bad. But I did go out dancing one night (I didn’t bring anything with me of course), and aside from getting a lot of offers to buy drugs, nothing major happened to me. I didn’t get mugged, I didn’t get assaulted, nothing happened. I actually danced with a local older gentleman who attempted to teach me some salsa and even sent a beer over to me after he saw how miserable I am at dancing. I accidentally ended up in a gay bar. It was a fun time, even though I’m a grandma and wanted to go home at midnight.

All in all, I really liked Colombia, and I met a lot of people who had been there for months and had no incidents. It really comes down to being smart, not wandering the streets at night, don’t carry valuables on you, and pay attention to your surroundings. I would love to go back to Colombia and see the northern part, which I missed on this trip. Colombia is beautiful, and can easily be done in a safe way. Santa Rosa de Cabal (where we did the coffee tour) is a really safe and cute town. Bogota was very cute and artsy. I would still recommend Colombia to anyone traveling in South America.


Chasing Waterfalls in Santa Rosa, Colombia

I woke up this morning at 7:40 am to get ready to hike to the waterfall. At 9am, after I showered, sipped coffee, and demolished some oatmeal, our guide met us at our hostel to pick us up. We hopped in the back of the jeep and headed to the mountains.


We walked down the super steep hills until we got to this really sketchy looking bridge.


It was a little difficult, but we made it across, and hiked on. We had to stop every so often to hug a tree. You know… priorities.


After about an hour hiking, we made it to the waterfall.



It was beautiful. And difficult to get to. We had to take our shoes off and climb through the river to get the the falls.



We found a little spring where I filled up my water bottle. We climbed over rocks. Barefoot. It was very wet. The falls were spraying water all over us. I was soaked without even going in the water. We turned around and went back a ways, and ate some corn cakes.

Colombia is big on corn cakes. It’s just ground corn, flour, and sugar, smashed into a thick pancake shape and then fried. After our corn cakes, I found a butterfly. I started taking pictures of it (I’m working on macro photography). And then…. it let me pick it up.


What! I never thought this day would come. The butterfly kept flying away and coming back. It landed on my arm, my hand, even on top of my camera. The little guy and I became friends.


What a beauty, eh?!

Eventually I had to let the butterfly go, and we headed back to the jeep. After crossing the terrifying bridge again, we stumbled upon black beauty.


I pet her, hugged her, and we moved on. Up the extremely steep hill we went. I thought I was going to die a few times, but I made it. It probably would have been easier had I known what was waiting for me at the top.


My god! I told the cooks at the restaurant that I don’t eat meat or cheese or dairy or eggs (they asked me a few times, because they thought it was so weird), and they made me this amazing plate! That little yellow baby is a fried plantain. It tastes like a sweet banana, fried. It’s incredible. I almost jumped up and down when I saw this.

We had a great day at the waterfall, followed by a topless jeep ride home. We stood up in the jeep and let the wind fly through our hair (well, I did). It was a perfect ending to the trip.


This trip cost $70.000 pesos for both my brother and I (total). That evens out to about $22 TOTAL- food, transportation, and our own personal tour guide included. That is so crazy to me. $11 each for a half day of hiking, lunch, snacks, a personal photographer, and an unforgettable experience. If you are looking to travel on a budget, I would definitely recommend Colombia. It’s beautiful, there is so much to do, and it’s almost impossible to spend a ton of money. Now have I convinced you to go to Colombia?

Spanish words learned today: mariposa (butterfly), finca (farm), and caminar (to walk).

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below if you would ever go to Colombia 🙂