How much of Colombia is it possible to backpack around? One website mentions a tonne of "no-go" zones.
Visiting Colombia in February 2012. Starting in Barranquilla for Carnival and from there, who knows. Possibly onto Venezuela or Ecuador. My only concern is, is it actually possible to go overland throughout Colombia. One website I was looking at listed 50 no-go zones.
Amanda, sadly there are very many places in Colombia where it is not always safe to travel. Travelling overland to Venezuela is particularly dangerous, and many governments recommend not going within 80kms of the border.
While much of the north and west of Colombia is a backpacking "hotspot" and is gaining ground as a destination, the south and the interior are still very much subject to the rule of drug gangs and criminals. Kidnapping is pretty common and it DOES happen to tourists.
As a matter of fact Australia's DFAT advises against ALL travel to a stack of places in Colombia, have a look at the advice here:
You might think it's a bit over the top but there's at least one serious consequence - if you go to those regions against this advice its very unlikely you'll be covered by your travel insurance, so if you get sick or injured, or are assaulted by kidnappers, you'll have to organise and pay for your own evacuation and/or treatment.
It's not that they don't want to help, but they've decided it's too dangerous to send their own teams into the area to be subject to the same risks! Medical teams who do the evacuation jobs will simply say "no thanks", so the insurers cant get anyone to help you, so they exclude the area from coverage. Plus, they figure if you decide to take the risk, you'll have to wear the consequences.
Really sad and disappointing I know, but have a big think about this trip and if i were you, I'd err on the side of caution.
Phil almost 6 years ago
How hilarious all these kidnapping stories! Fortunately a true colombian like me says: Colombia is the best destination for any kind of trip, and the people, the kindest in the world, is completely able to make your trip the best ever.
Our national security is stronger than ever, but a recommend you to visit cities like Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Medellin, Cali and Bogota, which are the most interesting ones and are certanely the most beautiful of the country.
If you still decide to travel to Colombia, I wish you good luck, and welcome to the carnival country!!!!! almost 6 years ago
Amanda, I'm a UK citizen and have been living in Colombia for a long time now. The truth, I think, falls somewhere in between those that will tell you Colombia is completely safe and those that tell you to avoid it. If you visit the tourist zones getting kidnapped is almost unheard of, and if you're careful (as you should be in any foreign country) you should be absolutely fine.
There ARE places you shouldn't go, but your question doesn't suggest to me that you're planning on going to any of these places. Going over land to Venezuala or Ecuador are well-worn routes, just book with a reliable company that comes recommended. No-one can guarantee your safety, but I think you're unlikely to encounter any problems greater than petty theft, but if you're sensible, avoiding that isn't so hard either.
www.seecolombia.travel/blog almost 6 years ago
I spent one month in March and it was one of the highlights of my travels.
There is so much to see in Colombia that you will probably only have time for the tourist destinations. Traveling overland in Colombia is safe. It is common for police to stop the buses to do drug searches. I crossed into Colombia from Ecuador and the route to Popayan should only be done during the day. After dark it is known that the buses stopped by bandits. You can make it in one day if you leave very early from Popayan to Otavalo, Ecuador. I didn't go to Venezuela because it was too dangerous to do the overland border crossing. almost 6 years agoAnswered by Sharon via WorldNomads.com
amanda, you mention not travelling into venezula because it was too dangerous. where would you have been travelling from? i am hoping to travel from caracus to venezuela. do you know if this might be a problem? over 5 years agoAnswered by debbie via Travellr.com