5 min read

Cali Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Cali, Colombia in 2024?

Planning a trip to Colombia, safety is crucial. Cali's reputation may raise concerns, especially for first-timers or those new to the area.

Tobi Miles
March 31, 2024
Cali Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Cali, Colombia in 2024?

Cali, known as the salsa capital of the world, is a vibrant city brimming with culture, music, and dance. But like any major urban center, it has its share of safety concerns. Understanding these concerns and knowing how to navigate them can make all the difference in your experience. Let's dive into what you need to know to enjoy Cali without unnecessary worries.

Key Takeaways

  • Crime rates in Cali show that theft and assault are common, indicating the importance of being vigilant and adopting safe travel habits, such as not walking alone at night and keeping valuables hidden.
  • Selecting well-reviewed accommodations in safer neighborhoods like Granada and San Antonio can significantly enhance your security and overall experience in Cali.
  • Blending in with the locals by dressing modestly, learning some Spanish phrases, and using trusted transportation methods like registered taxis or verified ride-sharing apps can reduce risks.
  • Some neighborhoods, specifically Aguablanca, Siloé, and Terrón Colorado, are advised to be avoided due to higher crime rates, focusing your visit on safer and more tourist-friendly areas.
  • Having emergency contacts, including the National Police (123), Tourist Police ((2) 889-7935), Medical Emergencies (132), and Fire Department (119), stored on your phone or as a handy note ensures preparedness for any unforeseen situations.
  • Preparation, informed decision-making, and adopting practical safety measures are key to enjoying a safe and memorable visit to Cali.

Crime Rate in Cali

Understanding the crime rate in Cali is crucial for anyone planning a visit. The city has seen various levels of crime rates over the years, making it essential to look at the current statistics to get a real sense of safety.

Cali's crime rates, according to the most recent data, demonstrate fluctuations in both violent and petty crimes. Here's a breakdown:

Crime Type

Incidents per 100,000 Inhabitants







These numbers highlight significant concerns around safety, with theft and assault being the most common incidents reported by tourists and locals alike. While the homicide rate may seem alarming, it's important to understand that these are often isolated to specific neighborhoods, which you can easily avoid with proper planning.

To navigate Cali safely, you'll need to adopt smart travel habits. This includes staying in well-reviewed accommodation areas, avoiding walking alone at night, especially in less populous or poorly lit areas, and keeping valuables out of sight. Utilizing local advice on the current state of different neighborhoods can also steer you clear of potentially unsafe areas.

Public perception might paint a daunting picture, but remember, thousands of tourists enjoy Cali every year without encountering serious issues. By staying informed and cautious, you can significantly mitigate risks. Armed with current data and sensible precautions, experiencing Cali's rich culture, vibrant nightlife, and legendary salsa scene is entirely possible without compromising on safety.

Safety Tips for Travelers

When planning your trip to Cali, implementing practical safety measures can significantly reduce risks and enhance your overall experience. Your safety is paramount, and with these tips, you’ll navigate the city more confidently.

Be Selective About Your Accommodations: Always opt for well-reviewed and reputable places to stay. The neighborhood you choose can greatly impact your safety. Areas like Granada and San Antonio are popular among tourists for their safety and vibrant atmosphere. Researching your accommodation’s location can help avoid unwanted situations.

Blend in with the Locals: Standing out as a tourist can make you a target. Dress modestly, avoid flashy jewelry, and try to adopt some local customs to blend in. Learning a few phrases in Spanish not only enriches your travel experience but also makes you less conspicuous.

Use Trusted Transportation: Public transport in Cali can be unpredictable. For safer alternatives, use officially registered taxis or verified ride-sharing apps. These services provide an added layer of security by tracking your ride, ensuring you reach your destination safely.

Safety Tip



Choose well-reviewed, reputable places in safe areas

Dress and Act Like a Local

Avoid flashy jewelry, learn local customs


Use registered taxis or verified ride-sharing apps

Stay Vigilant at Night: While Cali’s nightlife is enticing, it's essential to stay cautious after dark. Avoid walking alone, especially in less populated areas. If you're out late, travel in groups and stay in well-lit, populated areas.

Guard Your Valuables: Petty theft is the most common crime facing tourists. Carrying expensive electronics openly or flaunting wealth can attract unwanted attention. Use anti-theft bags, keep valuables concealed, and always be aware of your surroundings.

By incorporating these safety tips into your travel plan, you can navigate Cali with confidence. Remember, preparation and vigilance are key to a safe and enjoyable visit.

Neighborhoods to Avoid

While Cali boasts many vibrant neighborhoods that are welcoming to tourists, there are certain areas where caution is necessary. Understanding which neighborhoods to steer clear of can significantly enhance your safety during your visit.

Aguablanca, Siloé, and Terrón Colorado are neighborhoods with higher crime rates as compared to the rest of the city. These zones often see a higher incidence of violent crimes and petty theft. It's crucial to prioritize your safety by avoiding these areas, especially after dark.


Crime Type Noted


Violent and Petty Crimes


Petty Theft

Terrón Colorado

Violent Crimes

It's worth mentioning that while these neighborhoods present higher risks, it doesn't mean that experiences there are universally negative. Many residents live their daily lives without incident. However, as a visitor, it's beneficial to err on the side of caution and concentrate your visit in safer, more tourist-friendly areas.

Granada and San Antonio are excellent examples of neighborhoods where visitors can enjoy Cali's rich culture and nightlife with considerably reduced risks. These areas are not only known for their safety but also for their vibrant atmosphere and range of accommodations catering to international visitors.

Remember, Cali's overall security situation can fluctuate, and it's wise to check the latest travel advisories before your trip. Staying informed about the areas you plan to visit, choosing your accommodations wisely, and adopting street smarts can go a long way in ensuring a memorable and safe experience in Cali.

Emergency Contacts in Cali

In the event you find yourself in an emergency while exploring Cali, it's crucial to have the right contacts at your fingertips. Immediate access to emergency services can significantly influence the outcome of any unexpected situation. Here's a list of essential contacts that you should always have on hand:

  • National Police: For any type of criminal activity or if you feel your safety is compromised, dial 123. This is a nationwide number, ensuring you get the help you need promptly.
  • Tourist Police: Specifically trained to assist tourists, they can be reached at (2) 889-7935. They offer support in English and Spanish, aiding in situations ranging from crime reports to general safety advice.
  • Medical Emergencies: For ambulance services, dial 132. This number connects you to the health emergency services across Cali and ensures quick medical response.
  • Fire Department: In case of fire, dial 119. The fire department in Cali is well-equipped to handle various emergencies, not limited to fires alone.

Having these numbers saved on your phone or kept in a handy note can help you navigate through emergencies with more confidence and control. Additionally, it's wise to have the address and contact number of your country’s embassy or consulate. They can provide assistance in serious situations like loss of passport or legal issues.


Contact Number

National Police


Tourist Police

(2) 889-7935

Medical Emergencies


Fire Department


Lastly, many hotels and accommodations in Cali offer direct assistance with contacting emergency services. Don't hesitate to ask the reception or guest services for help if you're unsure about what to do. They're often well-prepared to support their guests in such scenarios. Remember, being informed and prepared can dramatically alter your ability to respond to emergencies effectively.


Arming yourself with essential emergency contacts before venturing into Cali is not just a precaution—it's a necessity. Whether it's for dealing with criminal activities, requiring tourist-specific assistance, needing medical services, or addressing fire-related emergencies, knowing who to call can make all the difference. Remember, your hotel can be a valuable resource in connecting you with these services, ensuring your adventure in Cali is not only memorable but also safe. So, stay informed, be prepared, and you'll navigate Cali with confidence and peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential emergency contacts to have while exploring Cali?

The essential emergency contacts include the National Police (123) for criminal activities, the Tourist Police ((2) 889-7935) for tourist-specific assistance, Medical Emergency services (132) for ambulance services, and the Fire Department (119) for fire-related emergencies.

Should I also have the contact information of my country's embassy or consulate?

Yes, it's advisable to keep the contact information of your country's embassy or consulate handy for serious situations while exploring Cali.

Can hotels in Cali assist in contacting emergency services?

Yes, hotels in Cali can assist their guests in contacting emergency services if needed.

Why is it important to have these emergency contacts while in Cali?

Having these emergency contacts is crucial to effectively handle unexpected situations and ensure your safety while exploring Cali.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 31, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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