Every big city comes with safety concerns and Bogotá is no exception. But don’t worry, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, just follow the tips in this article and you will have a safe and fun trip.
Maybe you’ve heard that Colombia is not a safe place, but do not believe everything you hear. In Bogota, as in any capital, you have to know how and where to move, with caution, and always alert; but it’s nothing you would not do in other cities around the world. Here are some tips about safety in Bogotá that will help you enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Pickpockets in crowded transportation systems are probably one of the few things all capitals of the world have in common, and in Bogotá, you also have to be careful with this. When you are on a bus or Transmilenio (Bogotá: Basic for transportation), always look out for your things, try to use closed bags that are not easy to open without you noticing and do not carry your cell phone and/or wallet in pockets where they are visible.
This is also important when you are in other crowded places, like when you go out to a party, and believe me, you will want to party in Bogotá more than once, so keep your belongings safe and you will be able to party whenever you want. If you are looking for options for these party nights, you should check out Best Places to Party in Bogotá.
Also, when you are out late, it is better if you take a taxi or an uber (How Uber Works in Bogotá How Taxis Works in Bogotá); you will get home faster and, because we do not know what state you will be in after all the aguardiente you will have (just kidding, or maybe not?), it will always be safer. You can start to get excited by taking a look at the article The Best Drinks You Must Try in Bogotá.
Be aware of the area you are in
In any city, there are areas that are safer than others, the same goes for Bogotá. The touristic areas are usually safe, but especially in the center of the city, you should be a little more careful with your belongings.
In general, the north and east of the city are pretty much okay, while the more south you go, the riskier it becomes. Zona Rosa, Zona G, Parque de la 93, Usaquén, la Candelaria and Chapinero are relatively safe areas that, taking normal precautions, you can wander around without problems. Other interesting neighborhoods are Santa Barbara and Cedritos ( Best Neighborhoods in Bogotá: Santa Barbara Best neighborhoods in Bogotá: Cedritos)
There are some areas that sometimes are better to avoid, like Ciudad Bolívar, Carrera 10 and Calle 6, Avenida 14 with Calle 13, among others. These are areas that can be a bit dangerous especially at night, but they are also neighborhoods where many Bogotanos live and where most social and volunteer projects are developed. Every bit of this city has its own history and charm, you just have to know the places and how to behave wherever you go.
In case of an emergency
In the event that you have an emergency, you can call emergency numbers for free from landlines and cell phones (How to get a SIM card in Bogota). The emergency number is 123, which is pretty easy to remember right?
Other important numbers are Police 122, firefighters 119, Red Cross 132.
Also, throughout the city, you can find small police centers called “CAI” (Comandos de Acción Inmediata). It is a police unit with a smaller jurisdiction, strategically located, allowing specific surveillance of the assigned sectors with an adequate response capacity. The ease of access and proximity to the community are the essential conditions of this service. If you have a problem and you have a CAI nearby you can go there and they will help you.
No dar papaya”
In Colombia there is a colloquial expression about safety in Bogotá that sums up this article: “No dar papaya”, which means don’t give the opportunity of something happening unnecessarily by exposing oneself, taking risks, putting oneself in danger, being careless or being reckless. This is all you need to know, as long as you “no des papaya” your trip will be perfect. So just always be alert, be aware of your personal belongings, do not attract too much attention, be discreet with the clothes you wear so you do not shout “I am a tourist” (to do that you should read our article about what clothes to pack when coming) and you will be safe.
Now, the only thing you need to really worry about is what you are going to do when you get to this incredible city. You´ll need to make the most out of your time in Bogotá because, believe me, Bogotá always leaves you wanting a little bit more.
Do you have other info about safety in Bogotá? Share them with us! And Visit our homepage to find out all the wonders in this capital and all the information you`ll need for your stay, like where to stay, food to try and places to visit, let us help you to start planning your incredible trip!