The Safest Spots to Visit in Colombia

Exploring the cobblestone plaza of Villa de Leyva is a pleasant and safe experience
Exploring the cobblestone plaza of Villa de Leyva is a pleasant and safe experience | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Chris Bell
13 September 2021
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Colombia is a far safer country to visit than it was a decade ago. Big cities, such as Bogota and Medellín, still have their share of crime, and in some places it would be wise to stay alert. However, there are parts of Colombia where you face very little risk of anything bad happening. We’ve collected the safest spots to explore.

Salento

Salento, in the Colombian coffee region, is a popular tourist destination | © Jonny James / Unsplash.com

This lovely little town in the coffee region is perhaps the most popular destination in the Colombian Andes, and there are now hundreds of hotels, hostels, restaurants and bars here. With the influx of tourism has come improved safety; feel free to wander the streets with nothing to worry about. You can visit with Culture Trip in the company of a local insider as part of our specially curated eight-day Colombian Andes adventure.

Guatape

In Guatape, everything from the buildings to the steps are painted in vibrant colors | © Media Drum World / Alamy Stock Photo

A small lakeside town in Antioquia, where everyone seems to know each other, Guatape is a delightful place to visit on any trip to Colombia, and an added bonus is that it’s also very safe. There’s a real communal atmosphere here; its popularity among tourists is partly down to this sense of safety. It’s also one of the nicest little towns in the Colombian Andes.

Palomino

You can wander the sands at Palomino without worrying about your safety | © Watchtheworld / Alamy Stock Photo

This little Caribbean beachside community has evolved into a tourism destination, and there are now scores of hotels and hostels along the beachfront. There is very little in Palomino these days that isn’t connected to tourism, and the areas down by the beach are very safe. You can wander the sands in Palomino at dusk and dawn without fear.

Tayrona National Park

Though safe, watch out for falling coconuts in Tayrona National Park | © Robert Harding / Alamy Stock Photo

A well-guarded national park, Tayrona might just be the safest place on the entire Colombian Caribbean coast – the very real danger of falling coconuts aside. You have to give your ID and pay an entrance fee. And once you’re inside, the only thing to worry about is whether to go for a swim in the gorgeous Caribbean waters or to hike through the jungle in search of toucans and monkeys. With Culture Trip, you can enjoy a guided trek through the Tayrona National Park on our epic eight-day Colombian Caribbean tour, led by our local insider.

Minca

Downtown Minca is so small, you’ll end up getting to know the local people after just a few days | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

Minca is a lovely village in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada; many visit for a few days and end up staying for weeks. It’s also extremely secure, and the downtown area is so small you will become familiar with many local faces after just a few days. You can hike the jungles through the day without having to worry about safety; returning to your hostel at night isn’t an issue either.

Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva has beautifully preserved architecture and a range of boutique hotels | © Inga / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most renowned Heritage Towns in Colombia, Villa de Leyva has gained prominence thanks to its perfectly preserved architecture and excellent range of boutique hotels and restaurants. It also has a wonderful cafe culture, and it’s common to find tables and chairs spilling out into the streets from restaurants surrounding the main plaza. Wandering the lovely cobblestone alleyways, by day or night, is a safe and satisfying experience.

Jardín

Jardín is an easy-going coffee-growers community with a friendly atmosphere | © Gabbro / Alamy Stock Photo

Jardín is another small town (are you noticing a theme by now?) in the Antioquia Department, around four hours south of Medellín. It’s an easy-going coffee-growers community with a friendly and welcoming vibe. The main square, where tables and chairs are laid out for people to drink coffee by day and beer by night, is one of the nicest in Colombia, and the town itself is very safe.

Barichara

Barichara is among the prettiest towns in Colombia | © Bianca Bauza / Alamy Stock Photo

Barichara, one of the prettiest towns in Colombia, is also one of the most peaceful, particularly by night. Touristy by day (most visitors only opt for day trips), the town is delightfully peaceful and quiet by night. It’s also extremely safe, as so few people live here, and the chances of anyone committing a potentially high-profile crime are slim. As with every spot on this list, it’s important to exercise caution, but in Barichara the only real danger is that you’ll fall in love with the town and never leave.

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