2017 Colombia

Despite a landmark peace deal with FARC, Colombia ranks #9 on the 2017 List of 10 Most Dangerous Countries for Women Travelers due to an unholy combination of homicide, femicide, rape, and sexual assaults.

Rating: Dangerous and Obnoxious

According to the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), Columbia has the worst homicide rate in South America, and is worse than countries in other continents as well. Violence against women is endemic. Even women rights defenders have been targeted and raped.  Law enforcement is not helpful in prosecuting attackers.  According to a Human Rights Watch report, women who are sexually attacked have difficulty getting adequate medical treatment due to lack of medical facilities and interest in appropriate care after such an attack. Because protesters are demanding justice for violence against women and girls, some progress is being made.

A US travel warning notes the peace deal but warns that travelers should still watch out for crime and terrorist activity. Other countries published similar travel warnings and advisories. For example, the Kiwis say it is high risk to travel to Colombia due to illegal armed groups, drug-related criminal activity, and kidnapping risk.  Our own research indicates an increase in terrorism.  For example, in January, 2017 a soldier was shot dead and two more were wounded in an ambush by the National Liberation Army in Cucuta,  February, 2017, there were two different attacks by the National Liberation Army, one in Bogota with a fatality just as an animal rights march was about to start and another in Pailitas with two police officers killed.

Please note that the bus system, the main public transportation, is dangerous due to attacks and accidents and that the busses are often filthy.

Because Colombia’s law enforcement is not helpful, contact your country’s embassy in the event you are attacked or encounter trouble.

If you want to go to Colombia or must go:  Due to its lovely colonial architecture, festivals and nice beaches like Boca Grande, Cartagena is rich in history and the most visited city.  Stay where the tourist attractions are and don’t take the carriage rides because the horses are malnourished, very badly treated, and often collapse.  Zona Cafetera is a good destination, particularly Salento, which is a pretty town surrounded by mountains and in the heart of coffee country. If you are in country, be sure to tour the Valley de Cocora.

Conclusion:  Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 Safest Countries for Women Travelers, Best Countries in Africa, Best Places in Oceania, and Best Countries in South America.

Cover Photo: INSIDE EDITION via AOL News

Description: 7-year-old indigenous Colombian girl abducted, raped, and killed Dec. 4, 2016

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