Cartagena Colombia safety was a bit of a concern as I was telling people of my trip to Colombia. After visiting Cartagena, it was much different than expected, in a great way. Cartagena had some of the friendliest locals I’ve ever met. Since it has become a very touristy destination the locals more focused on trying to sell you things rather than steal your things.
I would highly recommend taking a trip to Cartagena, and after staying here for 5 days I wish I had the chance to visit more of Colombia. It is such a beautiful country with lots to see and do. Check out some of my favourite things to see and do in Cartagena here!
You can walk around with your phone or camera out without having to worry about anyone trying to steal it. I walked around like the worst kind of tourist with a GoPro and my smartphone and never had any issues. Same thing as other travellers we met.
If you are a guy visiting Cartagena I would limit the amount of cash you have on you. Often the police officers will stop you on the street and search you for anything they can find to ‘incriminate you’, you just have to pay them off and they will leave you alone.
This happened to a few guys that I met on my 5-day trip here, and never to any girls. If you are a couple, I would say you are more safe than either a single or multiple guys.
My friend and I both brought along waterproof cases for our phones so that we could take our passports, phones, and money into the beach water with us just to be on the safe side. However, after visiting 3 different beaches and leaving our stuff alone multiple times, we never had any issues with locals stealing anything.
As I mentioned before the locals are more concerned with trying to sell you things than taking your belongings. Be aware though that since this is a very tourist centric city, the locals are VERY pushy when trying to sell you things. Many women come up and ask you for massages, and lots of men trying to sell you hats, sunglasses, food, beers, etc. It can get quite overwhelming.
I can’t speak for other hostels, but I would highly recommend Hostel Mamallena if you are backpacking. They have big storage lockers for your important items, air-conditioned rooms, and lots of friendly staff. The bartender at our Hostel, Hector, was truly great, tell him Kira sent you if you go!
Of course, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Just lock up your passport in a safe at your hostel and don’t flaunt $1000’s of COP around and you will be just fine!
Have any safety tips or concerns to add? Scroll down and comment them below!
Like what you read? Read more about South America here.