Colombia not too long ago grew to become certainly one of solely 4 countries on this planet to drop all Covid-19 associated entry necessities which has digital nomads and backpackers flooding again to Medellin. While the town of everlasting spring and reasonably priced residing is attracting many vacationers, new security considerations have emerged as tourism restarts. We not too long ago spent a month on the bottom in Medellin, Colombia to witness first hand the protection within the metropolis. Here is the whole lot vacationers have to learn about staying secure whereas visiting and the most recent trending crimes which might be focusing on vacationers.
While Medellin is usually secure for vacationers when it comes to violent crime, a latest string of armed robberies and petty crimes in opposition to vacationers are occurring as of late 2021.
Current Crime Wave That Is Targeted At Tourists
This isn’t to scare away vacationers however vacationers have to know that there’s at present a string of crime that’s straight affecting vacationers within the metropolis. The pandemic and strict lockdowns in Medellin hit the financial system so onerous that a lot of the as soon as center class is now again residing in poverty.
Due to the pandemic, Colombia now has the very best poverty charge in all of Latin American estimated at 45% by the World Bank. To put that in perspective, an estimated 18.9 to 23.9 million Colombians have been residing off lower than $91 (USD) monthly at the beginning of 2021.
The Venezuelan refugee disaster has additionally launched over 1.75 million Venezuelans into Colombia, a lot of whom many are unable to work legally and are additionally residing in excessive poverty.
The poverty is resulting in a excessive variety of armed robberies straight focused on the prosperous and touristic neighborhoods of Poblado and Laureles. These are the 2 commonest areas of Medellin that vacationers keep whereas visiting. While we have been within the metropolis for one month, we first hand knew of 5 armed robberies on vacationers together with 2 company that have been sitting on the patio of the hostel at which we have been staying.
According to Medellin Advisors, a mean of 6 folks in Laureles and 5 folks in El Poblado were robbed per day in 2019. This was earlier than the pandemic hit the financial system onerous and the variety of robberies are estimated to be a lot greater in vacationers areas as of October 2021.
Other Crimes Targeted At Tourists and Expats
Along with pickpocketing, there’s a much more sinister crime at present being focused at vacationers. The use of Scopolamine (satan’s breath) is a drug being utilized in drinks to closely sedate unsuspecting vacationers after which rob them whereas they’re unaware. This crime is normally focused at overseas males whereas they’re in bars or golf equipment however might even occur in a restaurant. Some perpetrators which have used scopolamine previously have unintentionally overdosed their sufferer leading to dying.
Scams, Stories And Beggars
Right now in Medellin’s busy vacationer areas, you may’t stroll greater than half a block with out being requested for cash or being approached for a dialog that may inevitably go away a vacationer with much less money of their pocket. The poverty has result in a excessive variety of road distributors, beggars, hustlers, homeless and pickpockets.
Medellin, Colombia just isn’t for first time vacationers and guests to the town ought to have a powerful understanding of what they should do to be able to keep secure whereas in Latin America.
While Medellin does have its justifiable share of petty crime and armed robberies, violent crimes in opposition to vacationers are uncommon.
Top 9 Tips To Help Keep Travelers Safe While Visiting Medellin
‘No Dar Papaya’ Which interprets to ‘don’t give papaya’ it primarily means to not make your self a goal for crime. Follow these 9 suggestions for staying secure in Medellin.
Leave Your Cell Phone In Your Pocket or Get a Second Phone
The commonest crime in opposition to vacationers in Medellin is mobile phone theft. Most of the time the theft will come at gunpoint. Do no take your cellphone out. Do not take a selfie. Do not use your cellphone for instructions and don’t go away your cellphone on the desk whereas eating on patios or in eating places. After a number of days you might even see others do it and get tempted, however that is the very definition of creating your self a goal.
Many expats and long run vacationers in Medellin have a second low-cost mobile phone for when they’re out and about within the metropolis. That manner if you’re robbed, it’s not such an enormous deal to only let it go.
Do Not Fight Back
If you’re robbed, don’t combat again. Do not give it a second thought and simply hand the whole lot over. Violence is most definitely to happen throughout a theft when the sufferer refuses to adjust to the robber. Another journey blogger Nomadic Matt was stabbed in Bogotá when he refused at hand over his mobile phone.
The Decoy Wallet
Get an inexpensive decoy pockets and put a small amount of cash in it. Then utilizing a hidden RFID wallet, maintain your bank card and major money secure. When you’re robbed, your pockets and your cellphone would be the major targets of the thief who will wish to be out of there quick. Be prepared at hand over your decoy pockets and low-cost mobile phone. Leave the whole lot else of worth at your lodge within the secure together with secondary bank cards, banks playing cards and your major mobile phone. It’s a greater concept to hold a small amount of cash in and a mobile phone then nothing in any respect. A robber could grow to be annoyed and impatient with a vacationer who says they don’t have anything on them.
Never Leave Your Drink Alone
Make certain you by no means go away your drink alone and even out of your sight for a second. There are numerous tales of foreigners being drugged by ladies in Medellin and waking up with completely nothing left. Many of those crimes go unreported because of embarrassment of the vacationer. The goal of this crime is normally males. If a lady walks as much as you in a bar and thinks your the very best factor since sliced bread, it’s not as a result of you’re a horny gringo. You are a goal.
Don’t Look Like A Gringo
For guys which might be over 6 toes with blonde hair and blue eyes, this may increasingly show somewhat tough. This doesn’t imply it is best to add flip flops, shorts and a tank prime into the combination. There is nothing that fairly says ‘I’m a vacationer’ like flip flops. The extra you may mix in, the higher off you’re. The commonest outfit for Colombian males is a pair of denims, a t-shirt and sneakers. This isn’t saying you may’t put on what you need however the extra you mix in and the much less your are observed, the higher off you’ll be.
Don’t Go Alone At Night
This one particularly applies to the women and as soon as once more the commonest crime can be theft. Many solo female travel blogs state Medellin is secure for solo feminine backpackers. While which may be true through the day, I didn’t spot one feminine strolling alone at evening. Walking round by your self after darkish is making your self a goal for petty crime. A feminine strolling alone is more likely to be robbed than one with a bunch of individuals. For the lads as effectively, you’ll be a lot safer in a bunch then by your self.
Getting wasted in your first few nights in Medellin is a really dangerous concept. Unless you’re staying at your personal hostel or going out on an organized pub crawl just like the one run by Los Patios Hostel, your possibilities of one thing dangerous occurring are excessive. Guys most frequently fall prey in golf equipment after a number of too many drinks. Clubs are full of native ladies that know the way straightforward it’s to prey on drunk foreigners that aren’t used to the eye. These ladies could also be prostitutes and even worse, are on the brink of drug and rob you. Walking alone at evening whereas intoxicated is simply one other option to make your self a simple goal.
Being The Tough Guy
Lets simply say the bogans that one sees in Bali gained’t final 5 minutes in Medellin. Tattoo’s, muscle groups and tank tops don’t intimidate the criminals, gangs or guys with weapons. Show respect for the Colombian tradition, traditions and don’t even take into consideration being the powerful man on the bar. Colombian women and men have grown up understanding find out how to survive in powerful situations. Gringos in a Colombian jail or coping with Colombian gangs don’t stand an opportunity.
Leave Your Gold Rings and Lacoste Sneakers At Home
While dressing good is a part of the Colombian tradition, dressing wealthy just isn’t. Nothing says rob me like your Lacoste sneakers, gold jewellery and Rolex. Seriously go away the bling at house.
While the Medellin expat community groups could also be somewhat cranky on Facebook, they have an inclination to supply some good insights into what’s going on within the metropolis when it comes to crime and scams. Make certain to regulate them earlier than arriving to remain updated on present happenings within the metropolis.
Is Medellin Worth The Risk?
Absolutely! While petty crime and robberies do happen, this rising metropolis has made enormous strides in changing into safer over the past decade. If you utilize your head and ‘don’t give papaya‘ your more likely to have the time of your life. From the very reasonably priced price of residing, lovely climate and superb infrastructure for a classy nomad life, Medellin is a metropolis with the potential to grow to be the following massive factor in tourism.
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