Safety and Precautions

Despite the city's reputation, most crimes against tourists are of the purse-snatching and pickpocketing variety, which can be avoided with a little common sense. Avoid displays of wealth, such as expensive jewelry or watches. Never accept any food or cigarettes from a stranger, and be wary of any unknown person approaching you on the street, especially if they are well dressed and overly friendly. Don't be duped by people claiming to be plainclothes police officers who demand to "register" your money or take you "around the corner" to the office—they are almost certainly thieves who often have a second accomplice playing the willing citizen hoping to encourage you to do the same. These scams are particularly common in the main tourist centers and around shopping malls. It's important to note that in Colombia all police officers have to wear a uniform. If you are confronted, play along, but move immediately into a crowded area, refuse to go anywhere else, and alert a uniformed officer. Generally, these are nonviolent, opportunistic criminals that won't hang around if you make a fuss. If you do encounter a situation when you are isolated or at night, hand over what you need to.

The main nightlife centers of Usaquen, Chapinero and Chicó–-notably La Zona G, La Zona Rosa, and the area around Parque la 93–-are great to stroll around at night and are perfectly safe. There are some great dining and nightlife options in the central La Candelaria and La Macarena neighborhoods, so if you head there be sure to take a taxi.

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