Is Medellin, Colombia Dangerous? Or Safe?

Is Medellin, Colombia dangerous? Or is Medelin Safe?  That is the question I always receive from many people that realize I’ve decided to setup a home base here.

Those considering a visit to Medellin for business or pleasure for the first time still have that aging question in the back of their minds.

The truth is Medellin has begun its second golden age.

The first representing what could be considered a dark golden age where Pablo Escober took the reins of the city. He was so rich he offered to pay Colombia’s entire debt off to create his own country.

That was Medellin’s most dangerous moments in time when no one wanted to visit.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube

The Paisa people, those from Medellin and the state of Antioquia, have always had a deep pride and passion for what they do.  They have pride in their culture, pride in their city (which is the cleanest city in all of Latin America), pride in their work and the way they do business, and a pleasure and joy to their way of being that is unmatched anywhere in the world.

This is the main reason I’ve decided to call this (my first) home and setup a day trading center here.

It seems whatever Paisa’s put their mind to they always excel at. Now their focus is to create wealth for the people of the city and Colombia. Now their focus is to improve their quality of life. Colombia now has the fastest growing economy in Latin America and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Shake a stick at that.

If you Google “the most dangerous cities in the world” Medellin will most likely appear very high on those lists. I personally find that extremely misleading.


A Panoramic View of Medellin

From friends and colleagues I have spoken to there are cities in the United States that are more dangerous than Medellin.  There are ghettos and areas where one should not visit or even just pass through.  I would personally consider many cities in the Middle East and Africa much more dangerous than Medellin.

Detroit and Chicago are two of those cities that are plagued by violence in the United States. I would also consider those cities to be way more dangerous than Medellin, Colombia.

The truth is the dangers in Medellin are real.

I don’t want to mislead you and tell that everything is roses and sunshine. Colombia is the second largest exporter of flowers in the world and is also called the city of eternal spring. Pun intended.

There are dangerous parts of the city.

Make no mistake that you will clearly know where those areas are located and many locals will come to your assistance if anything does happen to you.

Do the drugs and violence still exist?

Many in favor of Medellin’s new found peace will tell you no. I will tell you yes.

Day Trading In Medellin

Our day traders that came to Medellin and spent the holidays with us (view from Copacabana, Colombia)

I don’t have much proof to back this up other than a recent feature by Vice News where they went to the heart of the Colombian drug economy.  They highlighted that the reason why there is peace is because drug lords understand that if there is peace there is more business and money for everyone. Drug lord’s aren’t as flashy as they used to be and everyone respects each other’s turf.  It’s a unique way to do business and it’s working.

Every year Medellin sinks lower and lower on the list of the “most violent cities in the world.”

This is the last picture that Paisas want me to paint for their city but facts are facts. I always try to be honest here on WanderingTrader as I have been traveling around the world.

While some things are controversial they do end up being true.

One funny story arose at a time when I was attending a New Year’s party in a small town north of Medellin called Copacabana. Not to be confused with the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. As we arrived in the center of town a man that was clearly inebriated walked in our direction.

Switzerland of Colombia Guatape

Guatape which I call the Switzerland of Colombia just 2-3 hours from Medellin

We were happily enjoying our fresh squeezed juice from the street vendor as this man approached. It was clear that he wasn’t just drunk but there was something else wrong with him. He tried to initiate a conversation with us that involved gibberish and we didn’t understand a word he was saying.

Just 15 feet from the police station, and by police station I mean we were standing right in front of it, he knelt on one knee.  With a glimmer of the sun and a smile on his face he retrieved the soft white powder from his pocket.

He enjoyed that more than Oprah enjoys cake (love you Oprah)!

He then stood, nose adorned in white powder, and proceeded to speak to us in gibberish. It’s a great story but not many Colombians would like it mentioned.

The truth is if you are coming to visit Medellin you will realize that it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Its resurgence has heralded international awards for infrastructure and innovation.

If you have been following our updates on the investing blog at The Day Trading Academy you will also note that Medellin is one of the best places to invest in the world right now.

Cocaine In Colombia

The Cocaine In Colombia he was getting that good stuff.

Many of the dangers in Medellin that arise for tourists are their own fault. Getting beyond intoxicated late at night on weekends where they can’t even use their cell phones properly.

There have been instances where things have happened but only petty theft. Many things that could easily occur in many places around the world.

There weren’t any situation that would stop me from telling you that Medellin isn’t safe.

So the question is… Is Medellin Safe?

Is Medellin Dangerous?

I would say no it’s not. As with any other big city keep an eye on your surroundings, don’t flash hundreds of dollars around, and watch your drinks when you go out.

Standard tourist safety stuff.

If you are in Medellin don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find me on twitter: @wanderingtradr


  1. Great article. Would love to visit Medellin sometime. It sounds like as long as you follow basic precautions then you’ll be fine as a tourist visiting Medellin.

  2. Many of my friends who work online have been traveling down to Columbia to work. They all have had great experiences. I am hoping to visit Columbia after I finish SE Asia. The timezone difference in Columbia is much smaller than Asia, so it makes the prospect of setting up a “home base” there very attractive.

    1. Please do not say “COLUMBIA” …. is “COLOMBIA”… if you come here saying that… that will be very offensive.

        1. But they aren’t the same and an internet search will not lead you to the country misspelled. You are great, for one, because you are diplomatic.

  3. I read somewhere that Oliver Stone would be shooting Escobar in Medellin for a good quarter of the length. Can’t wait for the movie, now 🙂

    Kudos for the post, though!


  4. Inspiring article.

    I’m amazed by the rise of Medellin’s popularity, I kept asking questions all the time “why Medellin”, “how come?”, “what is really going on int there?”…

    It’s great to find out about from an insider! Thanks for the inspiration and the details 🙂

    One day I’ll get there…

    I hope it’s rather a matter of “when” than “if”…

  5. I lived in Medellin for 6 months and I love it and want to return. However my family looks at the stats (the homocides and kidnappings) and does not want me to return. They realize I am an adult but they dont want to have to fly down there and help me if I am in the hospital for a period of time from being mugged, or have to negotiate with kidnappers on my behalf. I agree with your views of the city. However these are just objective opinions and do not constitute as facts like the crime statistics do. Is there a way to see stats that break down the crime by barrio? Thanks.

  6. Ugh! You make me miss Colombia so much! I have the battle of wanting to travel other places, but wanting to spend more time there as well. Drink a negro club colombia for me please 😉

  7. Over the past 7 years I have visited Colombia several times making it an annual tradition to visit Medellin for at least one week a year (haven’t held true to this unfortunately for the last year but got married to a Honduran woman here in the states and plan to visit as soon as we get her residency).

    I have also visited several other LATAM countries but never have lived in any of the cities I have visited. What I can say is, Medellin is safe, that is, it is much safer in most parts of the normal (Strata 3 and above) parts of the city than the normal parts of my own city, St. Louis MO. Prior to meeting my wife, I was contemplating the move to Medellin for the great weather, simple life and great food.

    Again, it would be silly to suggest there are no dangers in Medellin, and I think Marcello has done his due diligence here in explaining where the problems of Medellin lie.

  8. Medellin is FUCKING DANGEROUS … I LIVE HERE AND I EVEN GO TO CALI COLOMBIA TOO to see my family there all parts of Colombia are still very very very dangerous , If you aren’t a familiar face here do NOT walk around with even your cell phone out in public. Please becareful I would say Colombia is not a place to vacation in.

  9. While it’s true that Medellin’s booming skyline is quite impressive, it’s residents are drowning in a sea of automobile exhaust. Furthermore, it’s much safer to cross the street in New York City.

  10. What about the laws there? That picture of the guy (openly?) tooting his coke was an unexpected surprise to me. Is it legal there and what about other drugs like pot? Seems to me if it is, it makes for a nice party destination, the environment, the food, hopefully the women! (smile)

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