During recent years, the interest of foreigners in visiting or living in Medellín has increased; some seek to learn more about urban culture, thanks to artists such as Karol G, JBalvin, or Maluma, who have managed to position the name of the city in the world. Other foreigners arrive to visit tourist attractions such as Guatapé or La Comuna 13. But others fall in love with the beauty of Colombian women and turn to dating applications.

Foreigners who visited Medellin during 2023

The growing interest of tourists has managed to position Medellín as one of the favorites for digital nomads, pensioners, and those looking to invest and settle in this city due to its quality of life, climate, and low prices compared to countries like the United States or the United Kingdom. However, as the number of people in the city begins to increase, crimes such as robbery or homicides are also growing. Below are the death statistics of foreigners in Medellín in recent years.

Deaths of foreigners in Medellín
Deaths of foreigners in Medellín
Deaths of foreigners in Medellín

The official figures were reported by the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público), and according to the data obtained, the causes of these deaths have been homicides, deaths from drug overdoses, scopolamine, suicides, and accidental deaths.

“The number of deaths, like other crimes against foreigners, have been increasing as more people from other latitudes come to the city wanting to come to the city for various reasons,”

Remember that we think about your safety at Medellin Guru, so we made a guide to emergency numbers, which you can call in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, and Barranquilla; you will find hospital and police lines in each neighborhood. Download it for free below.

The Dating Apps

With the rise of social networks and digitality, it is common for interpersonal relationships to migrate to a virtual context. This has changed how people relate to and look for a partner.

Applications like Bumble or Tinder are some of the most downloaded by those who want to meet others when traveling in other countries or cities. In fact, since the pandemic, the download of these applications has been increasing.

Colombia is the fourth country in Latin America with the most users on this type of platform.

Colombians who use dating apps

US Citizens and Dating Apps

Last week, the news of an alert issued by the United States Embassy went viral, in which it warned its compatriots about the use of dating applications in Colombia, especially in Medellín, Cartagena, and Bogotá. This is due to the increase in the number of deaths of US citizens in the country.

In this statement, the embassy makes it clear that the method by which they are robbing and murdering American citizens is using recognized dating applications, in which the victim and the criminal agree to have a meeting in public places such as hotels, restaurants, and pubs. Afterward, they agree to have a more intimate encounter in another place, where they are generally drugged with scopolamine, and finally, they are robbed, and in other cases, they are killed.

Restaurants are a good option to meet people you don_t know
Restaurants are a good option to meet people you don´t know.

This information is related to the latest figures delivered in 2023 on the deaths of foreigners in the country, in which it was evident that US citizens are more murdered than other nationalities.

American citizens

12 People.

UK citizens

3 People.

Argentine Citizens

2 People.

Other nationalities

13 People.

An alert that draws attention not only to US citizens but also to foreigners who are in the country.

However, the Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez, spoke out on the matter and assured that he wants to return security to the city for its inhabitants and foreigners.

“We want more and more foreigners to come, with US citizenship, Europeans, Asians, those who want to come to Medellín, but we want them to come in your tourism that adds value. We don't want those tourists who come to exploit our children and adolescents sexually, they are screwed here,”

Currently, Medellín is also having a big problem with the issue of prostitution in tourist places such as Parque Lleras or Provenza.

Considering that American citizens are currently one of the most vulnerable populations in Medellín, we created an emergency guide they can resort to in the event of a robbery, attempted scam, or any help they require. You can then download it for free.

Medellin Guru Guides

Download Safety Guide for US Citizens in Colombia we have created with helpful information about Medellín and Colombia.

Scopolamine May Be Present on Dating Apps

Scopolamine, also known as “devil’s breath,” burundanga, and hyoscine, is a chemical substance that is made from the Scopolia plant. This plant is most commonly found near Bogotá and also in the departments of Atlántico and Magdalena in Colombia.

Scopolamine (Hyoscine) was first written about in 1881 and started to be used for anesthesia around 1900. Hyoscine is produced from plants of the nightshade family.  The name “scopolamine” is derived from one type of nightshade known as Scopolia, while the name “hyoscine” is derived from another type known as Hyoscyamus niger.

Hyoscine has several legitimate medical uses and some side effects.

  • Postoperative nausea and vomiting.

  • Motion sickness.

  • Gastrointestinal spasms

  • Renal or biliary spasms

  • Eye inflammation

Scopolamine is known to produce a loss of memory and hallucinations following exposure to larger doses, which is similar to the effect of benzodiazepines or alcohol poisoning, which can affect the ability to resist criminal aggression. If you want to know more about scopolamine, some side effects, places in Medellín where it is most common, and statistics, we have a complete blog, which you can read.

Safety Tips for your Dates

Although the statement from the United States Embassy warns against using dating applications in Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena, we know that digitality is an important part of human relationships. Therefore, we will give you some tips so that you can meet people on these applications safely, tips that the United States Embassy also gave.

Person sharing their location
Person sharing their location

Dating Tips: 1.Meeting your dates

When you meet someone online, you must have been talking to that person for some time. You follow them on social networks and check that they have added family and friends to their contacts.

Once you meet them, do it in public places such as shopping centers, restaurants, bars, and spaces with many people. This way, it will be less likely that something will happen to you.

Also, send your location to friends and family so they know what you are doing.

Person showing his ID
Person showing his ID

Dating Tips: 2.Be careful in your encounters

If, after meeting in a public place, you decide that it is a good idea to go to your house or hotel room, talk to the doormen or security officers and establish a protocol with them in which your guest will have to show their identification to enter and leave your house. Also, agreeing that this person cannot leave your home with objects such as cellphones or computers will be a good idea.

People on social networks meeting others
People on social networks meeting others

Dating Tips: 3.Listen to your intuition

If perhaps, before, during, or after your meeting, you feel that there is something strange or you do not feel comfortable, listen to yourself and do not put your personal belongings or even your life at risk in these situations.

Be careful with the people you meet online
Be careful with the people you meet online

Dating Tips: 4.Don't resist theft

According to the United States Embassy in Colombia, it is most advisable that you do not basically resist the robbery because it will be more likely that they will murder you to steal your belongings. 

Remember that in case of emergency, you can go to the different police stations and hospitals that are in your city. You can find more details in our guide below.

Medellin Guru's Safety and Security Series

Bottom Line: Medellin dating tips: Advice for foreign men

During recent years, Medellín has been the favorite destination for foreigners looking to invest, retire, or stay to live in the city. However, with the massive arrival of people to the city, crime also increases.

The issue of digitality and meeting people through social networks is another tool that facilitates crimes against foreigners in the city, and the United States Embassy has already sent an alert about it. Although, there are some safety tips you can practice if you want to meet people online.

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Editor’s notes: The article was updated on January 16, 2024, with figures on foreigners in Medellín, new photographs, and security tips.

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