Nomad Lifestyle Blog:

‘Drugged, Robbed, Killed’: A Cautionary Tale for Americans Visiting Medellin

Weronika Popiolek
Weronika Popiolek

Marketing & PR Coordinator

Weronika Popiolek

Weronika Popiolek

Marketing & PR Coordinator

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Medellin, Colombia, has become a popular tourist destination, attracting millions every year. However, recent statistics released by the tourism observatory have reported a sharp increase in violent killings of foreigners in the city.

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BogotaCNN — Criminals are targeting victims on dating apps, luring them to meet in public places like hotels and restaurants, only to assault and rob them later. Even tourists like Carlos, an American expat in Colombia, fell into this trap when he finally met the attractive woman he had been chatting with on a dating app.

“When we first met, I had a sort of doubt, but then we somehow decided to go to my apartment to finish watching a football game”

They had a glass of wine and a conversation at his home in Bogota; their chemistry in person seemingly every bit as special as it had been online.

“Then the game ended… and we had a second glass of wine and I remember I felt weird, like heavier in my head. And that’s the last thing I remember.”

Carlos is not the only one. While romantic violence, largely targeting women, is not new in Colombia, a recent series of violent incidents in which people looking for love were allegedly assaulted, robbed and in some cases even killed has caught the attention of the US State Department.

“In the first 10 months of 2023, Medellin’s tourism observatory had already recorded 32 violent killings of foreigners in the city – including at least 12 Americans and three from the United Kingdom – a 40% increase from the previous year” (BBC NEWS). Such alarming news serves as a reminder that we all have a social responsibility, and we must be vigilant when travelling. This news should serve as an eye-opener for tourists planning to visit Medellin but also other destinations. It’s so important to be careful and take precautions while exploring the city.

This doesn’t just happen in Colombia, it happens everywhere, and we have to be aware of that and take extra care especially when traveling.

“I often travel solo, and spend most of my time in Mexico City, one of the busiest cities in the world. It’s super important to take care, order the correct taxi, and make a note of the registration number, watch your drinks at the bar.”

– Weronika Popiolek

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Our social responsibility should be intrinsic to our travel plans, and as a socially-conscious travel insurance company, we believe it’s essential to highlight drugging and robbing issues in Colombia. Therefore, we encourage our customers to travel responsibly and support social impact initiatives to combat this issue. Insured Nomads encourages travelers to give back to the communities they visit, pay attention to their surroundings, and report any suspicious behavior to the local authorities. Click on insurednomads.com/social-impact to learn more.

While it’s essential to remain alert and aware, it’s also crucial to be prepared with a backup plan. Every travel plan should include travel insurance, especially when visiting destinations with a higher crime rate or unexpected emergencies. At Insured Nomads, our travel insurance plan includes a native app for Apple and Android users that provides an emergency response team with your location data, including a panic button to contact help if you’re in danger. We also offer a toll-free hotline that travelers can call 24/7 to get immediate assistance.

Medellin’s popularity has risen significantly in the past few years, including remote workers who choose to work and live in Medellin. Unfortunately, dating apps like Tinder have also become popular as a way to attract innocent tourists. A growing number of US citizens were lured to bars, hotels, and restaurants through these apps, only to be drugged and robbed. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary risks, particularly by meeting strangers on these apps and engaging in questionable behaviors, especially if they don’t seem to align with local norms.

We all have a social responsibility to remain vigilant, responsible, and educated while travelling. While Medellin may be a popular destination, there are clear risks that travelers should be aware of, particularly when it comes to dating apps and being alert to questionable behavior. At Insured Nomads, we are committed to traveler safety and believe that taking precautions, educating oneself on local customs and laws, and being prepared with a safety plan is key to enjoying a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Insured Nomads donates to Not For Sale to support regions of the world that are vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking. Through impact sourcing, we help communities to thrive and prevent their vulnerability to trafficking in the first place. Human trafficking is the fastest growing illegal industry in the world.