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Hi Juan Carlos

I was wondering if you could help a little.
Im a 32 year old female going travelling soon in Colombia. I have the option of extending my ticket to also visit Ecuador but have been reading some things that are making me question if this is a good idea. I saw on the Embassy website that the road between Cali - and the border is volatile and there seem to also be several active volcanoes in places on the way. Is it worth the risk? I am an experienced traveller but Im travelling on my own and often get approached by men when I travel and just a bit concerned about the possibility of any kind of road blocks, kidknapping etc. Im a filmmaker and will be carrying film equipment but will not have it on show.

Also went Im travelling, I will need to go to the following places.. Cali, Bogota (I will probably fly into and out of Bogota if I dont go to Ecuador), Baranquilla, Cartagena and Medillin..

Thank you in advance for any help..

Answer
Hey Natasha,

I got curious about your film work. Can you tell more about it?

Your plan looks alright. Just last month a good friend, an aussie woman about your age visited us and we travelled around with her to most of the places that you mention. She went on her own to Cartagena and had a great time.

Two different families of friends have just travelled by land from Bogota all the way to Ecuador without any issues and also had a good time.

I would suggest that you make the journey in day time and check the news to make sure that everything is fine. Kidnappings are at an all time low: the leftist guerillas have promised not to do it anymore, there´s a truce between them and the government and there are ongoing peace negotiations (In Cuba and Norway).

I would be more concerned about common crime. Theft is a problem in big cities and in intercity buses. Crime rates have been going down around the country but they are still high in cities like Cali and Medellin, mostly due to small drug cartel vendettas. I would suggest that choose to stay in upper-scale areas in those cities and that you are extra-careful with your equipment.

Cartagena, Barranquilla and Bogota tend to be safer but again, be careful with pickpockets and just use taxis called by phone, do not hail them in the street, some can be unsafe.

The active volcanoes are very few and largely far from the main roads. They are closely monitored by the goverment and there are warning systems in place.

Ecuador is a lot safer than Colombia and very beautiful as well.

I do not know what kind of video production you plan but the southwest of Colombia is very beautiful. I would make the road trip myself if I were you. Just be very careful.

Do you speak a little Spanish? That would make things easier. I could also put you in contact with people (academics and video producers) in Cali, Medellin, Cartagena, Bogota and Quito.

I hope that this helps.

Regards,

JC  

Colombia

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Juan Carlos Valencia

Expertise

First of all: I do NOT answer questions about Passports, Legal issues, Government procedures nor person searches. I know very little about these topics. Please don't insist ! I'm a middle-age Colombian with a thirst for travel. I've managed to travel through good portions of this complex but fascinating country and could provide advice on destinations, special care, hazards, prices and highlights. I've also traveled throughout a part of Central and South America, Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, so I think I could provide some balanced advice, avoiding nationalistic hype but also pointing out some particular, unique charms of this unusual land.

Experience

Constant traveler, scuba-diver, Media Communication academic, amateur photographer.

Education/Credentials
PhD in Media Communication. I speak Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and a bit of German.

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