The Question of Travel and Safety in Colombia

Colombia's security situation has been international news for quite some time. The country has suffered a coincidence of trends which taken separately might have been manageable, but since they have occurred jointly have been synergistic and more serious. These trends include the continuing presence of a Cold War-era Leftist insurgency, a rigid social and political power structure, and the rise of the worldwide drug trade. The net effect of this conjunction produces the effect that all of you are familiar with: the only news you hear about Colombia involves either violence or drugs.

It would be irresponsible to ignore the reality of significant security problems in Colombia, particularly on the rural roads. At the same time it is grossly unfair that a resort city like Cartagena, with its benign record with regards to security matters, should suffer the near-total ostracism to which it is currently subjected as a result of Colombia travel warnings, in particular that of the United States. There is one bright side to this. If you come for a visit before everyone figures it out, you will not have to fight your way through hoards of foreign visitors to enjoy the plazas, the historical sights, and the Caribbean atmosphere and music of this memorable city.

The Country Advice for Colombia of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (CFO) of Great Britain, states: "Despite the internal security situation, business and tourist visits to major cities in Colombia can be accomplished with relative ease and minimal risk, subject to sensible precautions. In addition to Bogota, important business centres include Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Bucuramanga and Cartagena. Cartagena is a popular tourist destination and venue for major conferences."