Travelers planning their next trip abroad should reconsider visiting Colombia and Jamaica. This is what the U.S. Department of State concluded, as those two very popular destinations have just been reclassified to Level 3 in terms of violence.
The State Department is continuously vigilant of the security situations in every country and adjusts the classification on a scale of one (normal precautions) to four (best not to go). According to the Department, both the Caribbean and the South American countries have suffered a recent increase in crime.
In Colombia, the State Department advises that travelers should avoid this destination “due to crime and terrorism.” Visitors should also “exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping.” The department also warned travelers that terrorist organizations may carry out attacks on transportation hubs, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, airports, or other public areas.
In Jamaica, the department mentioned instances of “violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common” and warned that “sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.” Additionally, the department noticed that “local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”
Special attention is paid to areas of the country including the Arauca, Cauca (excluding Popayán), and Norte de Santander departments. The Colombia-Venezuela border region is off limits “due to crime, kidnapping, and risk of detention when crossing into Venezuela from Colombia.”
“Violent crime, such as homicide, assault, and armed robbery, is widespread,” the State Department wrote in its updated advisory. “Organized criminal activities, such as extortion, robbery, and kidnapping, are common in some areas.”
In the case that travelers do opt for Colombia as their next touristic destination, the department warns that they should stay away from protests and large crowds and try to keep a low profile.
Travelers looking to visit either Jamaica or Colombia in the near future should make sure to review the advisories before they book their trip. The State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is also available for travelers who visit these countries so that they can receive alerts and have an easier way to relocate in case of an emergency.