Colombia has fabulous rain forests, mountain trekking, and Inca ruins, but is one of the most treacherous travel destinations for women. Sadly, Colombia ranks #9 on the 2016 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, Columbia has the worst homicide rate in South America, and is worse than other continents as well. Even women rights defenders have been targeted and raped. Law enforcement is not helpful in prosecuting attackers. 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. (Source, Human Rights Watch 2014 report.) Colombia is so clueless on issues facing women that one mayor hired male strippers to celebrate International Women’s Day. Local women and children were not amused.
A US travel advisory warns of narcotrafficking and crime (primarily, kidnappings). The Canadians suggest using a high degree of caution in Colombia and completely avoiding rural parts due to illegal armed groups and an ‘evolving security situation’. The Kiwis agree and are also concerned about violent crime, kidnapping and terrorism. The Aussies have done a security review of Colombia and lowered their warning down a notch to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ due to improvements in security, but are still concerned about terrorism and criminal activity. There are still a large number of areas that have the higher level of warning: ‘reconsider your need to travel’ due to higher levels of terrorist activities and crime.
The bus system, the main public transportation, is dangerous due to attacks and accidents. Also, the buses are 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 there, 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 tourists.
Cover Photo: Photograph: Jose Huesca/EPA via L’Luor Magazine
Description: 1,000 women of Medellin, Colombia protested against a wave of gender based violence