Is Medellin Safe To Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Is Medellin Safe To Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Medellin has significantly improved safety in the last decades and is now an increasingly popular choice for global digital nomads.

There are still some unsafe places in the city, particularly at night. In 2023, more than 1.4 million people visited the city, which is well-known for its pleasant climate and friendly people.

In any case, if you stick to tourist areas, you will find one of the safest destinations in Colombia for both solo and group travelers.


February 21 – Medellín authorities plan to convene with embassies and dating app representatives following the deaths of five foreigners

Criminal gangs are increasingly using Tinder as an instrument to target tourists. Via mobile dating apps, local gangs hire young, beautiful women to entice foreigners on dates before drugging and robbing them.

As the number of fatalities linked to online dating increased last month to five, US and UK embassies sent out warnings to their citizens.

For his part, Medellín’s mayor, Federico Gutiérrez, told reporters that “…we see tourists going on dating apps getting tricked – and then ending up being robbed and murdered. This issue is very delicate, and I have already spoken to the US ambassador.”

Tinder alerted users about this issue by saying, “Please remember to vet your matches, meet in public places, and share plans with people you trust. If something feels off, you can end the date.”

This week, the government will be speaking to dating app representatives about how visitors can be more secure when dating online.

Official Travel Advisories

U.S. Travel Advisory – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The U.S. State Department advises Americans to reassess their travel plans to Colombia due to civil unrest and kidnapping concerns.

The U.S. Embassy is currently cautioning visitors about the use of dating apps in Colombia, citing potential links to tourist deaths.

According to the U.S. government, eight American citizens died under suspicious circumstances in Medellin between November 1 and December 31, with some cases involving allegations of drugging, robbery, and overdose. Dating apps were reportedly involved in several incidents.

Instances of forced robberies and drug-related thefts have also risen, with perpetrators allegedly using dating apps to lure victims—often foreigners—under the guise of offering sexual entertainment.

Canada Travel Advisory

Given the ongoing high rates of crime and the possibility of local minors being sexually exploited in Medellin, the Canadian government urged its citizens to exercise “a high degree of caution.”

Additionally, because of the high risk of violence and kidnapping, Canadians are “strongly advised” to avoid traveling to any border areas. Including:

In Antioquia (the part of Colombia where Medellin is located): visit the north of the city of Buriticá, west of highways 62 and 60 along borders with Chocó, Risaralda, and Caldas, with exceptions for the towns of Jardín, Andes, and Hispania.

Municipal authorities have implemented a restriction on the movement of children under the age of 18 from 7 pm to 5 am, unless accompanied by their parents or legal guardians and possessing valid identification.

Areas affected by these mobility limitations include “El Poblado and Parque Lleras, segments of the Corredor vial de la 33, La Candelaria (Plaza de Botero and Parroquia de la Veracruz), and sections of Corredor de la 70.” 

When traveling with minors in Medellin, ensure they have appropriate identification and a photocopy of their passport.

Areas to Avoid In Medellin

Parque San Antonio

Regretfully, pick-pocketing and armed robberies are common in the park, especially at night when fewer people are present. It’s especially not advised to stroll the park by yourself.

Prado Centro, La Candelaria and El Centro (downtown)

These neighborhoods are known for drug trafficking and child prostitution, boasting the highest homicide rates in Medellin.

Once night falls, Prado Centro transforms into one of the most deserted districts in the city.

Barrio Trinidad also named Barrio Antioquia

Anyone in Medellin who wants to buy drugs goes to Barrio Trinidad. Simply put, police officers will be standing by to take you into custody.

San Javier, Belen and Robledo

There has been crime in the western regions of the San Javier, Belen, and Robledo districts, for many years.

This does not imply, however, that one should avoid these districts. In Comuna 13, the city built tourist outdoor escalators, and this area has been safe for a long time. Guided tours are recommended.

Parque Lleras

Located in the affluent Poblado district, this park used to be the main draw for international tourists. Nowadays, this is an expensive, ostentatious, full of prostitution and decidedly non-Colombian place. There have been multiple reports of police officers extorting visitors here.

Visit Rio Sur, La Strada, San Fernando Plaza, La 33, and Parque del Poblado as an alternative. 

Parque de las Luces

Even though the plaza is now a public area for city events and markets and is close to Medellin’s administrative center, crime is still a problem there.

The plaza is a haven for homeless people and, drug addicts. Since knife attacks are frequent, it is advised not to visit the plaza after dark.

Common Scams in Medellin 

Scammers exploit lack of awareness, so it’s crucial to stay informed. Here are some tips to protect yourself:

Street Theft: Be vigilant in crowded areas, especially during street performances, as pickpockets may take advantage of distracted individuals.

Real Estate Scams: Exercise caution when dealing with property owners claiming to be overseas and requesting payments for keys. Ensure all negotiations involve a certified real estate agent.

Extortion: Beware of scammers who gather personal information to pressure you into financial demands, a tactic increasingly common from Colombian prisons. Be mindful of what you share online to avoid becoming a target.

Taxi Scams: While rare, some drivers may take longer routes to increase fares. Stick to local taxi apps or use Uber for safer transportation.

The “Fake” Girlfriend/Wife: Avoid financial entanglements with locals you meet without even visiting the country, as some may exploit relationships for monetary gain.

The Scopolamine Sting (The Devil’s Breath): Protect yourself from potential drugging by never leaving drinks unattended and being cautious of overly friendly locals, especially on dating apps where criminal activity may lurk.

Gringo Pricing: Negotiate prices upfront to avoid being overcharged due to perceived wealth based on language or nationality. Always clarify costs before making any payments.

Safety Tips for Medellin

It’s crucial to recognize the city’s notable advancements in safety over recent years. However, follow these guidelines to steer clear of potential trouble:

  • Stay vigilant of motorcyclists, as many thefts and muggings are perpetrated by robbers on such vehicles.
  • Avoid resisting if confronted by robbers, as they may resort to violence.
  • Do not be alarmed by the presence of soldiers in the streets; while they may appear stern, they are generally approachable.
  • Exercise caution when venturing into unfamiliar or “dodgy” neighborhoods without a local companion.
  • Refrain from displaying expensive gadgets like phones or iPods in crowded public areas, especially at night.
  • Decline offers of assistance while using ATMs, as they may be attempts to rob you.
  • Be mindful that intoxication or drug use increase your susceptibility to crime.
  • Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself, such as speaking loudly in English, wearing flashy attire, or openly displaying tourist-like behavior.
  • Minimize reliance on smartphone navigation apps like Google Maps in public spaces; instead, endeavor to memorize your route in advance.