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Safety Warning?

Detroit, Michigan
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140 posts
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Safety Warning?

I will be in Cartagena and Santa Marta for a day in 10 days. I have read on here these are pretty safe areas in Colombia and just use common sense and caution. But I just found this:

…state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_941.html

Is this directed more towards different regions then? Should I be worried.

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Cartagena
Cartagena
Cartagena District, Colombia
Santa Marta
Santa Marta
Santa Marta District, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Calgary, Canada
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19,710 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: Safety Warning?

Ignore the dire babbling of the US State Department. They're only worried about putting the worst spin possible on everything so their collective butts are covered, especially in litigation crazy America.

Cartagina is the #1 tourist destination in the entire country. The Old City is easily the safest urban centre for its size in Colombia, if not all of Central/South America. Santa Marta is fine too. Both cites are firmly on the Gringo Trail and are nowhere near any of the political unrest.

That said, Colombia is a developing country suffering MASSIVE inequities between the rich and poor, so of course you have to keep your wits about you. Use the same common sense and street smarts you would in any Central/South American city and you'll be fine.

Do a little research here:

www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa…

Have fun.

Cheers,

Terry

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Colombia
Colombia
South America
Santa Marta
Santa Marta
Santa Marta District, Colombia
Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Safety Warning?

Sorry, to answer the rest of your question, any area on the Gringo trail in Colombia is perfectly safe from the political unrest the State Department refers to.

Where are you going besides Cartagena and Santa Marta?

Cheers,

Terry

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Colombia
Colombia
South America
Cartagena
Cartagena
Cartagena District, Colombia
Santa Marta
Santa Marta
Santa Marta District, Colombia
London, Canada
Destination Expert
for Cartagena
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139 reviews
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3. Re: Safety Warning?

If you check the warning again, you'll see that it refers to the danger in rural or inter-city areas and discourages travel between urban centres by road at night. The warning on the Canadian site speaks specifically to Cartagena and indicates that it is a safe city.

Just use your common sense - I'm sure you will probably feel safer there than in a lot of parts of Detroit. Go and enjoy!

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Cartagena
Cartagena
Cartagena District, Colombia
Detroit, Michigan
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140 posts
11 reviews
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4. Re: Safety Warning?

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao- So I'm not worried about safety too much in those places. But thank you for your information, it was a big relief as I'm a worry-wort.

As far as money in Colombia, what is the best way for us to pay for things while there? I heard cash or credit cards. And NOT to use ATMS as its a high risk for robberies. Do we have to exchange US dollars? Sorry for the question attack. You just seem so knowledgeable :)

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Aruba
Aruba
Caribbean
Bonaire
Bonaire
Caribbean
Curacao
Curacao
Caribbean
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Safety Warning?

Cash is the worst thing you can bring because the exchange rate is horrible. Colombia is awash in drug money so they're trying to get rid of their USDs and EURs, not buy more. In fact, if you time it right you can sometimes buy USDs or EURs at such a discount in Colombia that when you bring them home you can make an instant 10% - 20%.

Travelers Cheques are difficult to cash and get hit with a big commission.

ATMs are by far the best way for a foreigner to get money in Colombia.

Cheers,

Terry

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Colombia
Colombia
South America
London, Canada
Destination Expert
for Cartagena
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4,359 posts
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6. Re: Safety Warning?

I agree. When I go, I take a minimum amount of US dollars and go to the ATM. Never have a problem. Don't take traveller's cheques; the stores won't take them and it's a EXTREMELY slow experience to get them cashed at banks.

7. Re: Safety Warning?

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Detroit, Michigan
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140 posts
11 reviews
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8. Re: Safety Warning?

Ok wow- Wasn't expecting THAT lol.

So ATMs dispense money in thier currency then? So how much should I get out if we plan on 2 Colombian stops? I just heard it was so unsafe to use them. Guess I will go that way then though. Thanks for the tips.

Calgary, Canada
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19,710 posts
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9. Re: Safety Warning?

Yes, of course the ATMs dispense cash in their own currency; you're in Colombia so you pay for everything in Colombian Pesos.

How much to get out? Depends what you're doing...

Cheers,

Terry

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Colombia
Colombia
South America
nola
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30 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Safety Warning?

There are ATMs inside the airport that are very secure. If you're still concerned, have someone you trust stand behind you facing outward while you are getting your money.