From the Canadian Government’s Travel Advice website

There has been a significant increase in violent crime in Santa Marta since the beginning of 2018, including purse snatching and armed robbery. If you are threatened by criminals, stay calm and do not resist. Avoid walking alone in areas that are isolated or less busy and remain vigilant at all times.

Although there have been significant improvements to Colombia’s security situation, crime remains a problem throughout the country. Street crime, including pickpocketing, bag-snatching, assault and robbery, is common, particularly in larger cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Santa Marta. Muggings and assaults occur even in safer parts of Colombia’s cities, and can be accompanied by violence. Firearms are prevalent in Colombia, and armed robberies may take place on streets, in buses and in taxis.

Remain vigilant, be aware of your surroundings at all times and avoid travelling alone after dark. Dress down, avoid wearing jewellery or watches and keep cell phones, cameras and other electronic equipment out of sight. Do not carry large amounts of cash and refrain from using your cell phone on the street. Use automated banking machines (ABMs) inside banks, shopping malls and other public locations during business hours only.

Whenever possible, leave your passport and other travel documents locked in your hotel safe, but always have a photocopy on you, as local authorities often conduct identity verifications. If taking an overnight bus, keep your belongings close to you, not on the floor (or in upper compartment), as they could be taken away while you sleep. Stay in reputable accommodations with good security.

When travelling by car, place all belongings under your seat and keep your doors locked and windows closed at all times. Carry a cellular telephone and park your car in a guarded parking lot when in the city.

Thieves posing as police officers have approached foreigners to verify their documents or foreign currency. If approached, do not hand over money or documents unless you feel threatened—in which case you should not resist—and then request to do so at your hotel or other public place to maximize your safety.

In Bogotá, numerous thefts occur in the following areas: the neighbourhoods of Ciudad Bolivar, El Codito (between calles (streets) 174 and 182 from Carrera 7 to Carrera 1 and in the northeastern hills from calle 182 to 200), Kennedy and Soacha; Monserrate and its surroundings; and the downtown area of Candelaria and surrounding neighbourhoods. These areas should be avoided after dark, unless you are accompanied by a guide or a private driver.

In Medellín, thefts occur frequently in the city centre and areas not covered by the metro system. Avoid the Metrocable. Try to arrive at Medellín’s José María Córdova International Airport during the day to avoid the road from the airport to the city after dark. In Cali, remain in the hotel zone and the south of the city. Violent crimes have recently occurred, even in wealthier neighbourhoods and shopping malls.

Violence directed at tourists is much lower in resort areas such as San Andrés Island, Providencia Island, Cartagena, the Rosario Islands, Baru Island, the Amazon resorts near Leticia and the coffee-growing area called Eje Cafetero (Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda). Assaults against tourists have occurred on Taganga’s beaches near Santa Marta. Note that these are all located in departments where we advise you to exercise a high degree of caution.

Business travellers and Canadian companies establishing operations in Colombia should take enhanced security measures to protect both personnel and company assets. Choose living accommodations that have significant security measures in place and modern office facilities. Consult the Trade section of the Embassy of Canada to Colombia in Bogotá for more information and advice.

from Country Advice and Advisories updated in the last 24 hours, which can be found at: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/colombia

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