Share on:

Is Medellin Safe?

At Medellin.co we’re a group of expats and locals that currently live in Medellin, one of the most common question we get from our readers is “Is Medellin safe?” It’s an understandable concern, as Medellin had a notorious reputation for violence and crime during the era of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel in the 1980s and early 90s. However, the city has made tremendous strides in recent years to improve security and reduce crime rates.

Laying out the Facts

Let’s start with some objective data points that can help paint a picture of how much safer Medellin has become:

  • Medellin does not even rank in the top 50 most dangerous cities in Latin America anymore.
  • The homicide rate in Medellin is 50% lower than major cities like Mexico City, Dominican Republic, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
  • Within Colombia, residents feel safer in Medellin compared to other large cities like Cali and Bogota.
  • In 2023, Medellin achieved its lowest homicide rate in decades at just 13.9 per 100,000 residents, a new historic low.
While no major city is completely free of crime, these statistics show Medellin has become significantly more secure in recent history. The 1980s narco-terror days are long gone.

Safest Neighborhoods for Tourists

As a tourist, you’ll likely spend most of your time in the upscale neighborhoods like El Poblado and Envigado neighborhoods, which we consider beginner areas. These areas are considered the safest due to: 

  • Abundant tourism, restaurants, and commerce creating heavy foot traffic.
  • Middle/upper-middle class residential areas with more policing and private security.
  • Easy walking to restaurants and malls. 
You can feel relatively at ease walking around these neighborhoods during the day while exercising basic precautions. At night, it’s advisable to take taxis/Ubers for transportation.

City of Medellin, with the partnership of US Embassy now has a 911 number you can call English speaking help. Just released in Feb 2024

Safety Tips for Visiting Medellin or Any Large City

No place is immune to crime, so here are some common-sense tips for a safe trip:
  • Don’t venture into sketchier neighborhoods without a local guide or someone you trust.
  • Be more cautious at night – take taxis/Ubers instead of walking.
  • Avoid hailing taxis off the street at night.
  • Keep valuables secure and out of sight, especially in crowded areas.
  • Don’t accept help from strangers at ATMs.
  • Use ATM Machines in Public place like the Mall or Stores. Don’t use them in the street.
  • Avoid getting drunk/impaired which makes you an easier target.
  • Meet people you don’t know well in public places first, like Starbucks.
  • Don’t invite strangers to your hotel, apartment or place of living.
By being aware of your surroundings and taking reasonable precautions, you will be able to enjoy what Medellin has to offer. Millions visit Medellin without any problems, just don’t make yourself an easy target like any big city. With some basic street smarts, your trip will be safe and memorable for all the right reasons