Safety in Medellin

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One thing that still comes up with my friends and family is the safety in Medellin and Colombia.  Honestly, I couldn’t comment on anything other than the city and suburbs of Medellin.  I’ve been here  for almost eight months, and I haven’t really traveled.

I can say with 100% certainty that Medellin is a safe city.  I am from a small town in Idaho, and I feel safe here in Medellin.  So, I’m not even comparing it to other big cities.

Here are some of the most insightful or common questions I have gotten since I’ve been here.

Can I walk the streets at night? Absolutely!  As long as someone in your group knows where you’re going.

Alone? Only if you know the neighborhood and are comfortable there.

Are the buses safe? Yes.  You will run into people playing music, selling things, or just begging.  None of them care if you give them money or not.

Is the metro safe? Absolutely!  If there’s any sort of problem there are guards at every station and they respond very quickly to the alarms.

Are the taxis safe? Yes.  I’ve even gotten into the habit of hailing them off the street most of the time.  They all use meters, and the drivers are really fun to talk to.

Will I get robbed? It’s definitely possible.  It’s never happened to me.

Will I get hurt/assaulted/ect.? Again, possible, but only if someone is drunk or high, and you pissed them off.

Will I get kidnapped? No.  Not in the city.

Will I be a target if I’m wearing nice clothes or business attire? If you are in the main parts of the city, no way.  The majority of the people here care about their looks and nice clothing and business attire are extremely normal if not expected.  In the smaller neighborhoods you may stand out.  In fact, in the main parts of the city dressing in shorts and a t shirt may make you more of a target.

Will people try to rip me off because I’m a gringo? Maybe.  I don’t think it’s ever happened to me.  Most things have prices clearly marked, but haggling is common here.

Are drugs (especially cocaine) easy to find? No, it’s not just out on the street, but if you’re really looking for it you can find it.  Just remember, there are new drug laws, and you can no longer posses  any street drugs in any amount…none!

If you have any more questions, please ask!  If I know, I will be happy to answer it!

Post by Holly. Currently living in Medellin, Holly is getting to know the Colombian culture through music, language, and base jumping!

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I love relaxing and enjoying the view of life. Whether the view is from the top of a BASE object, or from my balcony in Envigado, Colombia. I love life when it's up, and I'm trying harder to love life when it's down as well. My biggest loves in life are (in order!) Family, BASE, Music, Boys that play music, and Alcohol. I get along with everyone that doesn't take me too seriously, and with people that are ok with the fact that you should disregard almost anything I say when I'm drunk!

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Having lived in Medellín for three years until last summer, I can say that not many Colombians would agree that Medellín is a safe city, certainly not my Paisa wife nor any of her extended family.

    Colombians rip each other off mercilessly. They will certainly try to nail any non-Colombian.

    Hailing taxis on the street especially when you are alone, is not a good idea. Later at night, my wife would never hail a cab on the street.

    You can exist in Medellín without problems if you are careful, if you are nearly broke, and if you have no dependents. I found this out the hard way after I married.

    I moved about an hour outside of Medellín for the safety of my family.

    • I plan on visiting Medellin next year as I will be able to do so and can not wait to meet the people and see what the nightlife has to offer. Can u give some advise on where I should stay while there and who knows, if I like it as much as u do, I may move there… Thanks. Bill.

  2. I am currently trying out Medellin to see how it fits me. I spent my first two weeks here in September of 2009. I then returned for two weeks in December 2009. And now I have been back since the beginning of March 2010. This time around, I only plan to stay through mid May, due to summer commitments back in the United States. In all honesty, I have to say that in my opinion, Medellin is a very wonderful city. While it is not completely safe where I feel I can freely hail cabs or walk alone in every part of the city, I also don’t think it is an unsafe place that people should fear. In reality, I think Medellin is a great place, but you just have to be practical minded about things. Watch your back. Be aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of your possessions. Try not to stand out. And above all else, show respect and humility to the citizens of Medellin, and things will go very well for you. I am still investigating the idea of returning to Medellin for an extended period of time. Of course, Bogota is also a candidate city for me. Oh, that won’t make the paisas happy. 🙂

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