Is Medellin Safe: A Male Perspective (Plus Pro Tips!)

TLDR? Medellin is safe as long as you use your street smarts!

Medellin, Colombia, is a city that offers idyllic weather, a rich culture, and friendly people. However, the question many travelers ask is if Medellin is safe?

Due to its dark past, Medellin has been stigmatized as a dangerous place. However, Medellin has undergone a complete transformation in recent years. Now, it is one of the safest and most welcoming destinations in South America.

Don’t believe me? Continue reading and find out for yourself why Medellin is now one of the best places to travel to in South America!

Is it Safe to Travel to Medellin?

Is it Safe to Travel to Medellin?

Medellin, Colombia, was once known as the most dangerous city in the world. That was until a transformation began in the late 1990s. In just a few years, Medellin went from being one of the most dangerous cities to one of the safest and most innovative.

One thing people forget is that every city has crime. The key is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions.

Just like any other city, there are areas of Medellin that are safer than others. For example, in Billings, Montana, with a population of a little over 100,000 people, there are parts of the city that are best to be avoided.

But does that make Billings, Montana, as a whole, a dangerous place to visit? Of course not! The same goes for Medellin.

Personally, I have received nothing but warmth and hospitality from the people of Medellin. Plus, Medellin has a lot to offer, such as the city’s world-class nightlife, city tours, delicious food, and beautiful scenery.

If you want to get more technical, here are a couple of safety statistics about the city to be aware of:

  • Medellin has an overall safety rating of 65
  • Violent crime is down to just 11.5%, having dropped more than 30% in the past decade
  • Medellin is considered much safer than several major US cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago

However, there are some precautions you should take when traveling to Medellin. Let’s take a look at them now.

9 Safety Tips for Traveling to Medellin

Parque Botero

Like your hometown, Medellin is a city with honest people trying to take care of their families. In the last year, I’ve traveled to some of the biggest cities in Latin America. Despite what you may read online, I found there are more good people than bad.

That being said, I still stick to safe practices when traveling to any city, whether it’s Medellin or Manhattan. Here are some safety tips to follow when you’re visiting Medellin:

1. Use Common Sense

It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to Medellin, Mexico City, or New Orleans. When you are in a new place, it is always best to use common sense.

Some general safety tips include:

  • Don’t flash large amounts of cash or jewelry in public.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Trust your gut instinct.
  • Don’t accept rides from strangers.
  • Keep your belongings close to you.
  • Don’t walk around alone at night.

Simple common-sense measures like these will reduce your risk of becoming a victim of crime.

2. Keep Your Belongings Close to You

Keep Your Belongings Close to You

There are professionals in the crime business everywhere in the world, including Medellin. They’re skilled at stealing valuables from unsuspecting tourists.

The best way to protect your belongings is to keep them close to you. For example, don’t leave your purse or backpack unzipped and unattended on a park bench.

It’s also a good idea to buy backpack locks and use them to secure your belongings when you’re out and about.

In addition, keep copies of your passport and other important documents in a separate location from the originals. That way, if your wallet is stolen, you won’t be left stranded without any form of identification.

Lastly, watch out for distraction schemes. For example, one person may ask you for directions while another person pickpockets you. Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of anyone who seems to be acting suspiciously.

3. Don’t Be Flashy

This correlates with common sense, but it’s easy to forget when you are on vacation. Wearing your jewelry or using your Macbook Pro at a cafe may be normal in your home country, but that’s because you know the area and the people.

When traveling to a new city in a different country, leaving your valuables at home is best. However, don’t flaunt them in public if you must bring them with you.

Be cautious when using ATMs as well; only use them during the daytime in busy areas. If you’re carrying a lot of cash, it is best to break it up into smaller chunks and store it in different pockets.

4. Use Registered Taxis or Rideshare Apps

Use Registered Taxis or Rideshare Apps

It is always best to use a registered taxi service when traveling to a new city. In Medellin, there are taxis that can be hailed on the street and there are also registered taxi services that you can call.

When possible, it is best to use the latter. In addition, there are rideshare apps you can use in Medellin, such as Didi and inDriver. The nice thing about using these apps is that the drivers have reviews, so you can see if others have had a good experience with them.

Also, using these reduces the risk of getting ripped off by a taxi driver.

5. Stay in Safe Neighborhoods

This may seem obvious, but it is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about your personal safety when touring a new city.

If you rent an apartment during your stay, make sure it is in a safe neighborhood. For example, El Poblado, Laureles, and Envigado are all considered safe neighborhoods.

Others are safe as well, but these are some of the most popular ones. If you are staying in a hotel, ask the staff for recommendations on which neighborhoods to avoid.

No matter what neighborhood or barrio you are in, stick to public areas, especially at night. Avoid isolated areas, and don’t walk around alone after dark.

6. Avoid Over Partying

As much as the next person, I love a cold cerveza, but it’s important to know your limits when traveling to a new city.

Medellin has many bars and clubs, but it’s best not to overdo it, especially if you are by yourself. It’s always best to travel in groups, especially at night.

In addition, it’s best to politely refuse a drink or drugs from strangers. You never know what they could be laced with, and you don’t want to put yourself in a compromising or dangerous situation.

Be vigilant when out at night, and always keep track of your drinks. It’s also a good idea to have a designated driver or take a taxi home after a night of drinking.

7. Listen to Your Gut

This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

There have been many times when my gut has told me to avoid a certain person or place, and I always listen to it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you are ever in a situation where you don’t feel safe in Medellin, trust your instincts and get out of there as soon as possible.

8. Stay in Public Places

Stay in Public Places

It is best to stay in public places in Medellin, especially at night, whenever possible. This includes restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and even parks.

If you walk down the wrong street, walk with confidence and purpose. Being noticeably lost makes you an easy target for criminals as a tourist.

If you are traveling alone, you can share your location with a friend or family member using a GPS tracking app.

9. Don’t Give Out Your Address

It can be easy to get into deep a conversation with someone while on vacation and reveal more personal information than you should.

You don’t want to give your address, especially if you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb in Medellin. If someone asks what hotel or apartment building you are staying in, it is best to say you are staying in a different area.

The same goes for your phone number. But, again, there is no need to give this information to someone you just met.

If you exchange numbers, make sure it is through a secure messaging app such as WhatsApp so your number cannot be traced.

Emergency Numbers to Note in Medellin

Although you’re not likely to get into any trouble in Medellin, it’s still good to be prepared. In those situations, you can call one of the following numbers in a pinch:

  • National Emergency Number: 123
  • Tourist Police: +57 (1) 337 4413
  • Information: 113
  • U.S. Embassy in Colombia: +57 (1) 275 2000

Additionally, you can also ring up local police departments in Laureles, Manila, Envigado, and Poblado. You can find all those local numbers in this police directory here.

Is Medellin Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Medellin is a beautiful city with so much to offer. The weather is great, the food is delicious, and the people are friendly.

There are plenty of things to do in Medellin, such as exploring the city, hiking in the nearby mountains, or visiting one of the many museums or parks.

Regardless of your interests, you will find something to do in Medellin. Just be sure to follow the safety tips above to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

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