The capital city of Columbia, Bogota is known for its history, art, and culture. More than 8 million people reside in this beautiful city along the Andes Mountain Range. La Candelaria is considered the historical center of the city, with world-class museums, government palaces, narrow streets, and old colonial buildings. Other sites famous among tourists are La Catedral, Plaza de Bolivar, Palacio de Nariño, and Iglesia del Carmen.
There have been some concerns regarding safety in Bogota. People experienced numerous cases of violent crimes in the city, but all that was in the past. While some crimes exist, Bogota is safe for tourists as long as they take some precautions. Let us be your travel safety guide; once you have read this blog post, you will feel up-to-date on the safety conditions in Bogota and will be able to enjoy a safe and fun family or solo trip to Bogota, Columbia.
Is Bogota Safe for Visiting?
Columbia overall had a bad reputation when it comes to safety concerns. During the 1990s, all the cities of Columbia were famous for having high crime rates. Violence, homicides, drug use, kidnappings, etc., all were common. However, things have changed now the capital city of Bogota is no longer considered a dangerous city for tourists. Some common street crimes such as mugging, pickpocketing, and robberies are still there, but you can have a safe visit if you exercise some caution. Millions of tourists from different countries come to visit this beautiful city, and hardly anyone has experienced any safety issues. Avoid going to the dangerous parts of the city and you are good to go. The south side of Bogota is considered more dangerous than the north.
To make your trip safe, we have a list of some of the safest places in Bogota. You can choose anyone to stay with as these places hardly have any record of crime in the past years.
If you want to have a safe and fun time in Bogota, then Zona Rosa is an ideal spot for you. It offers so much to the visitors. There are many shopping places and nightclubs that you can visit. The area is guarded by police, so you are completely safe in this neighborhood.
Chapinero, one of the biggest neighborhoods in Bogota is located just adjacent to Usaquen. This neighborhood is so big that each sub-areas has its safety level. The east side of Carrera 7 is considered the safest. Chapinero is quite popular among youngsters and expats. You will find plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs here.
This is more of a residential area of the city. It is one of the safest and most central neighborhoods of Bogota. Most of the government buildings, embassies, and foreign residences are present here. This place is safe at night as well. You can walk around at night safely. However, there are not many fun activities to do around here.
Usaquen is considered to be an elite neighborhood in the city. It is the safest and wealthiest area in Bogota. This place is usually safe at night as well. It is highly guarded by the police. Most of the wealthy families of Bogota have their luxury estates here at Usaquen.
Some areas of Bogota are more dangerous than others. It is important to know about these areas so you can avoid them completely while visiting.
High crime rates make San Cristóbal a dangerous place to visit. Even if you plan to visit, make sure to go with a local guide so you do not get lost.
This is a residential neighborhood located on the south side of the city. There are high crime rates here. During the rainy season, flooding also occurs in this part of the city. Avoid visiting this area to save yourself from these troubles.
Although this place has historical importance, it is one of the most dangerous places in Bogota. Violent crimes and pickpocketing are common here. These crimes are prevalent during the night. Tourists love to visit this place because of its history, but unfortunately, it is unsafe.
Last but not least, Calle 9 is the street known for muggings. Do not go exploring this street even by mistake, especially when you are alone.
Crimes in Bogota
The safety conditions of Bogota have improved, but crime still prevails in the city. Some of the common crimes in Bogota are explained here:
Different protests happening in the city can become a danger to visitors. These protests happen over different issues, such as tax hikes, healthcare reform, and corruption. Civil unrest can cause clashes between the demonstrators and the police. These demonstrations and protests often become violent, and visitors can get caught up. Make sure to check the local news before going out. Avoid passing through the areas where these protests are going on.
Theft is the most common type of crime in Bogota. Thieves can distract you and steal your cash and other belongings. To avoid this, never leave your money or luggage unattended. Keep your valuable items in a safe place, do not carry them around. Also, try to carry less cash, and leave some back at the hotel so if you get robbed, there is still some cash left for you back at the hotel.
Pickpocketing is common in Bogota, especially in crowded places. Most tourist places are busy and crowded. Pickpockets can easily target tourists in these areas. Stay alert while walking in such areas and avoid taking valuable items with you. Do not carry too much cash, and avoid keeping the cash in the pockets that are easily accessible. Do not draw attention to yourself, walk like you know where you are headed.
Other crimes include:
- Armed robbery
- Home invasions
- Cab scams
- Gang and guerilla movements
- Political violence
How Safe is Bogota at Night?
Nighttime is a bit unsafe compared to the daytime in Bogota. The streets become desolate, and it is dangerous to walk around alone at night. Most of the crimes occur at night. Robbers take everything from you at gunpoint or knife point. Dangerous or bad neighborhoods are to be avoided strictly at night. Although the nightlife of Bogota is great, you need to exercise extra caution while partying. Drink spiking is very common here. People distract you and can put a drug in your drink. Be extra vigilant whenever you go out in crowded areas or at clubs. Don’t consume too much alcohol that you lose your senses. Call an Uber when you leave instead of walking.
Is Bogota Safe Enough to Travel Alone?
Bogota is safe to travel alone. There are some risks in the city, but people live here so why can’t you visit it. With some basic precautions, you can be completely safe in Bogota. Make sure to do your proper research before traveling to have a safe experience. Learn about the hotels with a good reputation. Make some friends on your trip and also keep your family updated about yourself. If you are visiting the city alone, then avoid walking around in dangerous neighborhoods. You must know the emergency numbers during your stay in Bogota. The emergency number of Columbia is 123. Plan your routes, act confident while going out, and you will be safe in Bogota.
Is Bogota Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Bogota is safe for solo female travelers, but they must exercise extra precautions while visiting the city. The culture of catcalling and harassing women is common in Bogota. Women should avoid walking around alone at night as they can become an easy target at night. If someone does try to talk to you or harass you by calling you, ignore them and walk away from them. Instead of walking to the hotels, women should call an Uber. Solo female travelers can also connect with other female travelers to have a more fun and safe experience.
How Safe is Bogota for Families?
You will be more than welcome in Bogota if you come to visit with your family. This city gives special treatment to people with kids. You might be entertained first when standing in long queues. There are so many options to move around the city. In addition to prams and pushchairs, you can get a sling to go around with your kids. The high altitude of the city might cause shortness of breath and nausea among children, but people still visit here after considering the altitude issue.
Are Taxis Safe Here?
Taxis are not considered safe as there have been many cases in the past where taxi drivers scam their customers. They rob the tourists and take all their valuable items. Something called “million-dollar rides” was quite famous a few years back. Taxi drivers take the tourists to the ATM and take all their cash while keeping a knife on them. Reliable taxi services such as Uber are a good option for tourists. They are safer and more reliable. You can call an Uber at any time from anywhere.
What is the Ideal Time to Visit Bogota?
You can travel to Bogota all year round, but if you want to have the best experience, then consider visiting Bogota during December, January, February, and March. These months are the driest in Bogota, but there is no guarantee of weather in this city. April, May, June, and July are comparatively wet in Bogota. It becomes difficult to enjoy outdoor activities during this time of the year. It is better to check the news and keep yourself up to date about the weather conditions before visiting Bogota.
How to be Safe in Bogota?
Follow these simple safety tips to stay safe in Bogota:
- Stay vigilant about your surroundings
- Avoid walking around at night
- Use Uber, especially at night
- Avoid getting attention
- Avoid taking out your phone on the street
- Use ATMs in malls or at other indoor places
- Plan your route before heading out
- Avoid talking to strangers as they can be scammers
- Do not carry a lot of cash in your wallet
- Keep a copy of your passport with you
- Do your research, and find the safest places to stay
- Avoid the consumption of drugs and alcohol
- Avoid using public transport, especially at night
- Do not wear flashy things
- Walk like you know where you are going. Act confident!
- Do not eat or drink anything offered by a stranger
- Get travel insurance before visiting Bogota
- Get a local sim card
- Learn basic Spanish language
- Do not leave your edible items unattended
- Do not fight back if you get robbed
Overall, Columbia has a bad reputation when we talk about safety. However, Bogota, the capital city of Columbia, located 2640 meters above sea level is safe to visit as long as you practice some extra precautions. The safety conditions in Bogota have improved, but some minor crimes still exist here in some areas. To have a safe trip, make sure to avoid visiting dangerous places in the city, including La Candelaria which is known for being the historical center of the city. Stick to the safer parts, such as Teusaquillo and Zona Rosa. Bogota is safe to visit for solo travelers, solo female travelers, and families. By following the general safety rules as we have mentioned as well in this article, you are all set to visit this beautiful city of Columbia.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions about safety in Bogota:
Is Medellin safer than Bogota?
Yes, Medellin is quite safer than Bogota as Medellin is a smaller city compared to Bogota. There is usually more civil unrest in Bogota than in Medellin. Both cities are generally safe for tourists with some precautions.
Can you drink tap water in Bogota?
This might come as a surprise to you, but yes, you can drink tap water in Bogota. The water quality in Bogota is quite high. There have been no health issues after drinking tap water in this city.
Is it possible to get altitude sickness in Bogota?
Bogota is situated 2640 meters above sea level along the Andes Mountain Range. At such a height, it is possible to get altitude sickness, but this level of elevation will not cause any serious complications. You might get out of breath a little quicker than usual.
Is it safe to walk around in Bogota?
It is not safe to walk around Bogota at night. However, you can walk around during the day. At night, the streets of the city become desolate. Be vigilant while walking around, and avoid walking alone at night.
Diana was an active fitness model in the past. She has had numerous shoots done at different locations and found out that her true interest was in exploring the world! Later on, this passion motivated her to write multiple tarvel blogs about whatever place she visited and discovered, and here it is! Enjoy reading a variety of blogs by Diana to get a lively experience of several places.