Safety in Medellin – The 10 ultimate tips to enjoy your stay

Man stealing the wallet of a tourist from the back pocket of his trousers without the victim noticing. Warning - thieves and pickpocket in the night city.
Everything you need to know to stay safe in Medellin
  • Medellín is a city that has had many changes during its history, including concerning the security. Indeed, it went from being one of the most dangerous cities in the world to the most innovative.
  • There are malicious people everywhere and Medellín is no the exception. These tips will help you to stay safe.
  • If you fail with the first commandment that is” Do not give papaya”, you will probably expose yourself and you will surely have not so pleasant experiences. Keep that in mind.

Once again, welcome to the city of eternal spring! A wonderful place, with a lot of history and many adventures to offer, a city that will surely make you feel at home. As you well know, Medellín was not always this extraordinary place that you arrived in or you are about to visit. And of course, as nothing is perfect, it has its flaws. However, the city is an example of innovation and improvement in every way since its transformation, especially with the security. It was a radical change and even today we are still working to make this city a real “little silver cup”.

Read more about Medellín’s urban transformation on

As citizens and lovers of our city, VICO wants to share with you some security tips that will undoubtedly save you a lot of headaches and make your stay in Medellín the best time of your life.


Golden rule: “Do not give papaya”

The rule that will serve you in Medellín and anywhere in Colombia: “do not give papaya”. From the lady who sells coffee to the policeman closest to you, everyone will tell you this because it is a golden rule where you go. Giving papaya refers to not exposing yourself and not calling peoples’ attention, because that can have consequences not so pleasant for you.

Definition “dar papaya” Source: UPSOCL

Here are our tips for not giving papaya:

Tip 1 – At night, try to go in group

The night keeps many mysteries around the world, so it is advisable to have a helping hand friend. Indeed, not being alone makes everything much more bearable. Also, this way, you avoid exposing yourself as an easy target since there are people who take advantage of others at any moment. Go out with friends, have fun and stay together.

La 33. Source: El Colombiano

Tip 2 – Tell someone where you are or where you are going

A recommendation especially to the newcomers. It is a completely unknown city and if you are going to know it by yourself, it is best to let someone know where you are in case you get lost and should go out to meet you.

Source: Huffington Post

Tip 3 – When taking a taxi send someone the license plate

It is always better to prevent than to regret. If you take a taxi, send to someone you know the license plate of the car in which you move, and notify them when you arrive at your destination. It is always worthwhile.


Tip 4 – Take taxis in visible and inhabited places

Try to take taxis in places where people are constantly passing by and also, they must be well lit if it is at night. It is much better if you ask for it through one of the applications that we recommend in this article. You become an easy target by being alone in the shadows.

Publicity Find Your VICO in Medellin

Tip 5 – Take your personal items always in sight

Do not carry your wallet in the back pocket of your pants or leave belongings in your backpack if it is easy to open it. It is a very populated city and there are always thieves who take advantage of the tumults (especially in public transport and rush hour) to dispose you of your things.


Tip 6 – Keep valuables items safe

Do not expose your cell phone or camera in crowded places like downtown or in a party area. You can calmly take your photographs, record video and put them back under your supervision, but do not keep it out. Thieves know how to observe very well and they are also very fast and you definitely want to keep your memories safe.


Tip 7 – Save your money, ID and cards in several places

Your wallet is not a safe place because it is the main target of any thief. Divide your money in different places and keep your cards and ID in a different place from your wallet.


Tip 8 – Windows closed when you are stationary 

If you are in a taxi, Uber, bus or any car, try to keep the windows closed if you are not moving. Many people take advantage of traffic jams to “check” people in cars that are not moving. Do not make it easy. You should definitely keep security in mind when you are in a car.


Tip 9 – Leave reserve money at home

Do not carry all your money with you. That is likely to result in losing everything either by thieves or even by own carelessness. Sometimes, it’s not even easy to determine when you lost it. So make sure it does not happen to you!


Tip 10 – !Enjoy, but be attentive!

As we said at the beginning, Medellín is not a perfect city but you will have an unforgettable time in it. Enjoy, visit and be amazed, but always keep in mind these safety recommendations. Security is the most important thing during a stay.


“Attentive everybody, safe everyone”


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