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Solo Travel Colombia: Is it Safe to Travel to Colombia Alone?

Is Colombia safe for solo female travelers? As a woman embarking on a Colombia solo travel experience, reassuring people about my safety was incredibly challenging. Many people have misconceptions about the country based on the media.

I want to share some things I learned during my solo travel Colombia trip. I also want to challenge potentially harmful preconceived ideas about Colombia and explain why I fell in love with this country.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Colombia ToursClick here to check out the top Colombia tours
Best Colombia Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Colombia
Best Colombia Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Colombia

Solo Travel Colombia Concerns

I have lost count of how often people expressed concerns for my safety in Colombia. Everyone asked me, “Is Colombia safe to travel alone?” Most of my family was genuinely concerned for my safety, and I don’t think my mum or dad slept soundly the whole time I was there.

Colombian Guides | The Complete Guide to The Lost City Trek

Is it Safe to Travel to Colombia Alone?

Before planning my Colombia solo travel experience, I decided to learn Spanish. The top choices were Guatemala or Colombia—I decided Colombia was too unsafe. Many consider Medellin the best place to learn Spanish, but it was once named the murder capital of the world. No way was I going there!

I began questioning my fears about Colombia solo travel only when I was talking to travelers in Guatemala. Without exception, every person I spoke to who traveled through South America said the same thing: Colombia is incredible. So, I began researching “Is Cartagena safe for solo female travelers?” and looking for facts about Colombia rather than drama on Netflix.

Need Transportation in Colombia?

I highly recommend booking Colombia transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and flights on their website—I love their customer service. I know them personally from my time living in Guatemala, and they genuinely care for their customers. If a delay occurs and you miss your bus, call them for help.

If you book through GottoGo, you will pay more than at the bus station, but it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Colombia.

Colombia is…

Close your eyes for a moment and think about Colombia.

What comes to mind?

Drugs, Pablo Escobar, murder, violence?

I felt the same before I experienced it for myself. But now?

Whenever I think of Colombia I can’t help but smile…

I think of sunshine, exotic fruits the smell of flowers mixed with coffee, salsa, and reggaeton…

Nights spent dancing with people I didn’t catch the name of in places I’ll probably never return to…

I think of color and culture.

I think of people who can can’t do enough to help you and curiously ask ‘what are you doing here?’

Because they genuinely want to know… ‘Why did you choose to visit Colombia?’

Solo Travel | What I Learned Traveling Solo in Colombia as a Woman

Why Colombia?

When you go through something traumatic, you have two choices: stay stuck in the past, living with anger and resentment, or move forward with gratitude.

Colombians choose to live in the now. They closed the door on the past, which gives the country an incredible energy that’s both electric and contagious. In a way, people are right—Colombia can feel dangerous but in a healthy way.

Like riding your bike too fast down a hill or standing a bit too close to the edge of a cliff.

When I’m in Colombia, I feel I’m living on the edge of that cliff. You never know what could happen.

The bus never quite stops—you have to jump on and off.

There are no crossings. You must step out and hope the cars slow down (which they always do).

In Colombia, taking the bus to work can feel like an adventure.


There is culture EVERYWHERE in Colombia. Where else can you go alone to dance the night away with total strangers and never get tired?

Solo Travel | What I Learned Traveling Solo in Colombia as a Woman

Back home in England, I would never go to a nightclub alone. I wouldn’t feel comfortable because I would spend the night sitting alone and drinking or fighting unwanted attention.

However, in Medellin, I happily took the bus alone at night to a salsa club, where I stayed until I couldn’t dance anymore. Medellin’s vibrant nightlife also makes it the best place to visit in Colombia for singles.


It is impossible to get bored in Colombia.

Need more heat? Go to the Caribbean Coast.

Want to get serious about salsa? Dance every night of the week in Cali.

If you need more culture, Bogota has it all.

Eager to sit and contemplate life while admiring the view from your mountain home? The coffee region is perfect!

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It has more exotic fruits than anywhere else I’ve been. Are you into flowers? Or coffee? Or chocolate? Colombia is known for producing and exporting all of these and more.

Solo Travel | What I Learned Traveling Solo in Colombia as a Woman


Did you know that Medellin won an award in 2012 for the world’s most innovative city? Medellin’s regeneration has been outstanding. Many big cities around the world could learn a thing or two from what Medellin has accomplished. Colombia is always at the forefront of innovation and is continuously making impressive strides!

Colombia Adventures | Should I take a tour of Comuna 13 in Medellín?

Is Colombia Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

I never left the house with much money or my laptop in Bogota. I almost had my bag stolen, and my phone was stolen. I lived there for two months and, unfortunately, was in a bad area. Note to self: always check the area before renting. I wrote a guide to help others avoid my mistakes and stay safe in Bogotá.

Petty crime is common in all big cities worldwide, so you must be careful. I generally felt safe keeping my laptop in my bag during my solo travel Colombia experience. I also worked at many Medellin coffee shops on my Mac Air and had no issues.

In Medellin and Santa Marta, I took the bus at night, went to clubs alone, and had no problems. Yes, I was always careful. As a solo traveler, I never drink too much, so I can stay alert and trust my gut. I don’t walk around unsafe areas and always tell someone where I go. Be sensible about your safety in every country you visit.

Is Colombia Safe to Travel Alone? Common Myths

Solo Travel | What I Learned Traveling Solo in Colombia as a Woman


Most of the kidnapping groups in Colombia have been disbanded. Even before that, most of the targeted Colombians were members of high-profile families. Most foreigner kidnappings in Colombia in recent years have been journalists working in isolated, rural areas. Unless you plan to put yourself at risk by journeying to unsafe locations, you should be okay with visiting Colombia’s tourist destinations.


Colombia does have a higher-than-average homicide rate. However, if you look into those statistics, it’s primarily gang-related. Stay out of “no-go” areas in the south and near the Venezuelan border, and you will be fine.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 


While cocaine production does occur in Colombia, I didn’t witness any. Unfortunately, drugs are common throughout many global cities.

Most of Colombia’s drug production is isolated in the southern and Amazonas areas. You will find very few tourists there. However, the Colombian government has invested substantial money to support farmers who want to stop growing illegal crops.

I have written extensively about this in my posts on The Lost City, my visit to a Cacao Farm, and my Coffee Farm tour. If you travel to the Caribbean, you will probably meet farmers and travel to areas like Minca, which were once cartel/paramilitary/guerrilla strongholds. Thankfully, they are all perfectly safe to visit now.

Solo Travel | What I Learned Traveling Solo in Colombia as a Woman

Quick Tip: View my full Colombia packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Colombia Essentials shopping list here.

Traveling Around Colombia

Ten years ago, you would not have been able to travel around Colombia without some level of danger. Some areas of the country were completely closed off. Most people wouldn’t travel between cities as it was unsafe.

As a result, Colombia’s infrastructure is still in development. Now that the roads are safe, the government is investing money. They will continue to improve drastically in the next 5-10 years.

Colombia Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Colombia?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Colombia which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Colombia on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Colombia?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Colombia?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Solo Travel Colombia: Is it Safe to Travel to Colombia Alone?

Colombia exemplifies defiance, resilience, and how a country and its people can recover from decades of messy civil war. Why did I fall in love with Colombia? Simple: the people. For me, Colombians prove dreams can become reality and that even on the darkest days, there is hope for a better tomorrow. Colombia has inspired me to dream bigger—the country will do the same for you. You’ll never forget your Colombia solo travel experience.

Solo Travel Colombia | What I Learned Traveling Solo in Colombia

This post was proofread by Grammarly.


Saturday 21st of August 2021

I adore Colombia! And indeed, this place is alive!! Just like you said. Great article. I hope everyone who isn't sure if they can travel safely around the country will read it and then come! I had the best 3 months travelling solo in Colombia. Greetings x

Darlene Hildebrandt

Monday 30th of March 2020

And that's where we met, in Medellin at the Spanish school, for which I'm very grateful. Remember intercambio with us trying to come up with an English word for a slutty dressed kinda trashy girl and we came up with "trailer trash" and "skank"?! I'll never forget that and those kinds of experiences are things I treasure.

I too got the same "are you sure it's safe, are you sure that's a good idea?!" questions when I said I was going there by myself. Again, everything you said is true and I too LOVE the Colombian people. When I broke my ankle in Medellin 3 years ago (January 2017) people I didn't even know went out of my way to help me. Friends of friends, their cousins, and even a doctor I hired for a house call brought me soup when I couldn't get the online ordering system to work (it didn't like my Canadian credit card or my phone number) and couldn't get out of my 3rd floor apartment.

I can't wait to go back once the world goes back to normal. I'll meet you there!


Saturday 11th of March 2023

@Darlene Hildebrandt, hi which school did you learn spanish. I plan to go for 7 weeks from November to medellín


Monday 22nd of July 2019

Dear Claire, I am preparing for a travel to Colombia and the more I read on your website, the more excited I am about this adventure. Thank you so much for sharing your personal perspective.

Siobhan Mckenna

Friday 16th of November 2018

Love this. I’m just planning my trip in Jan and am so excited. I’ll be doing a lot on my own too so it’s great to read that you felt safe. It drives me mad when everyone asks that too : )


Thursday 10th of May 2018

Touching ? I am Colombian and it makes me so happy to read this kind of memories of people loving my country. Bienvenida siempre ?

Claire Summers

Thursday 10th of May 2018

Ah! ¡Muchas gracias! Me encanta Colombia y sobre todo la gente. Abrazos!