How to move around Bogotá


Counting four months since I first arrived and having had repetitive safety training advice that’s so constantly reeled that it’s become part of my subconscious, I have by now gathered enough intelligence to be able to take on the streets with confidence! So I thought I should at least make some contribution to the world and give you some advice on how to move around safely in Bogotá, in case any of you ever plan to come to the city!

Don’t wear your watch, if you plan to walk around. Or if you have to, cover it with a long-sleeve top..

Walk quickly, do not loiter.

Don’t walk on the edge of the street to avoid motor-cyclists.

Do not answer your mobile phone on the streets or on public transport (especially if it’s not just a phone but one that has a big touch screen with all the ultra-tech features).

Do not take your camera out for photos unless you have someone around you who can ‘protect’ you, in case someone ever comes over to grab your camera. If it’s really an unmissable picture, hold your camera tight, close to your body.

When you drive, do not put your bags or any shopping bags prominently on the seat of your car. Otherwise when you stop at the traffic lights, in certain neighbourhood, gangsters may pop by, break your window and take your belongings.

Try not to leave your car window open if you are going to be stopped by traffic lights.

Get the exact change or coins out of your wallet before boarding the buseta or Transmilenio – never take your wallet out on the streets, never put all your cash in one place.

And last but not least, take taxis in a safe way!

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2 comments

  1. Carlos Ossa · · Reply

    Hi, i understand you might look the things different because you’re a foreigner, or at least you just look like one because of your chinese origins and is evident as a mountain that foreigners are seeked more than “stereotypical” colombians by the delinquents. Although that, i think Bogota is far safer that the city you whereby you make the rules. I know the’re zones of the city that have security problems, serius ones, but that’s not the way in all of the city. Real statistiques show, for example, that Bogota is not only safer than 10 years ago but that’s one of the capitals cities in all América where is safer to be and live. Besides, if you let this “psychological fear” controle all your actions, you may loss a lot of your experience in Bogota and in Colombia.
    I wish you have good times in my city, and by the way, i respect and support what you do for our city, our country and our customs.
    Carlos Andrés Ossa

  2. […] come by. And of course, at the same time, you’re scanning around to check that you’re safe from any peering eyes while awkwardly taking a peek into your bag for the taxi on the phone […]

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