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How Foreign Residents End Up Dead in Colombia

How Foreign Residents End Up Dead in Colombia

Lifestyle, Expat Consulting


The most delicate subject matter I have ever approached is about how Gringos End up Dead in Colombia. No sunshine, arepas and jeep willys here. This is dead serious.

How To Avoid Winding Up Dead in Colombia

dead in colombia
A quiet graveyard in Quinchia, Colombia

Dark though this idea may be, we recently heard about a foreign resident who may have been shot down for not paying bribe money. It came to us from one of our followers via a news flash in Cartago, Valle del Cauca.

In our opinion based on a tiny investigation by a friend of ours, he went to the wrong place and went the legal route without fixing his “cola de paja,” or a straw tail – something which can be set on fire easily. 

We lost sleep trying to think of a way to help prevent this situation from happening again.

Choosing a Pueblo Because It Looks Good

Unfortunately, there are places here which lend themselves to a bit more violence than the usual. The first time I heard a shooting it felt almost surreal. I seriously though it was a car backfiring. Actually it was 5 shots to the body of a man who apparently needed killing. 

There are many beautiful pueblos, or small towns, with dark pasts and a complicated present. Unfortunately places like Cartago, Valle and Chinchina, Caldas are still a bit out of control and dealing with deep issues. These are only two places, but there are many more. We don’t want to risk falling into hot water by throwing out too many place names. 

This is why you need to find someone who is familiar with the area and spend time talking to them before you decide to go there. Find a family member, local tourism authority, or expat consultant who does more than sit inside an office. Not all pueblos are created equal. 

dead in colombia
Masonic cemetery (Cementerio Libre) in Circasia, Quindio.

Getting Involved With Too Many People

Being popular is easy in this country, especially if you have a little bit more money than the average. In the pueblos especially, where the average daily wage is only about $10 USD per day, money is not as easy to get as you might think.

There is a phrase: Tan metida. It means “so involved.” And after coming from a social desert like the US or Canada, it is easy to hang out with everyone all the time. This can come with consequences. Too many people start to know your business. Maybe you tell too much to the wrong person. 

Be nice to everyone but selective with how much time you spend with them. If you hit it off with a good family, stay close to them and allow them to guide you a bit, especially if you are in a pueblo. Not having this type of support group can make it hard to distinguish friend from foe. 

Tierra Caliente – Hot Earth

This has a double meaning, the weather and the security situation. 84.5% of narco-traffickers agree that a hotter climate is always a bit more desirable than the chilly high altitude climates. Which means you need to wear a good sunhat and pay close attention to local culture. 

Ok, we don’t ACTUALLY have a real percentage – that was made up. The point is, hot climates attract “hot” people. Choose the place which has great security and less mafia. 

Know What To Look For

How can you even know if you just rolled up into a place teeming with mafia or cartel people?

If you see a lot of people with the “pinta,” or look, you might not want to live there. This is especially common in the pueblos where the weather is hotter and certain types of people feel that getting robbed is a non-issue.

The pinta is essentially men with gold chains, lots of gold rings, and a button up shirt slightly unbuttoned – not quite to the bottom of the sternum. Women are usually the biggest indicators of a “made man” being very bodacious in the chest and butt while still having a very small sculpted waist. Watch for big botox lips, sexy clothing, fake eyelashes and really long nails. 

Failure to Pay La Vacuna Can Make you Dead in Colombia

La Vacuna, or the protection money is part of many lives in Colombia. If you choose not to pay, or go the legal route you had better ensure that you are paying a professional body guard. Failure to protect yourself adequately, or to comply is a life or death situation. 

This isn’t a place to come and act like some kind of hero. Here, heroes are being shot down every day – and not in a fair fight or attack. Like we stated earlier, unless you are prepared and have the budget to hire security, your best bet in this situation is to pick up and leave, or pay up. 

dead in colombia
The elegant beauty of the Salamina, Caldas cemetery is hard to resist

Dead Men Tell No Tales

There is an old pirate saying “dead men tell no tales.” It has not gone out of style, especially in a country that has tons of problems like this one. Especially if you find yourself a witness, then it’s a good time to take a vacation or rethink your destination. 

For this reason there is a saying in Colombia: “Ver, oir y callar,” or to see, hear and shut up. Unless you are prepared and budgeted to pay a personal bodyguard until things settle, then you might consider keeping your info to yourself. 

Obviously, we are not here to interfere with any investigation or restrain a witness from helping to solve a crime. Only to teach you to think about what you say and to whom. It might be best to be very discreet about your topics of conversation if you have inadvertently witnessed something crazy. 

Dead men tell no tales, even the foreign ones who end up dead in Colombia. 


Are these the ramblings of an adventurer or the sage advice of someone who knows? Well, at the time this is being written our top journalist has been here for 9 going on 10 years. So many places, and experiences – let’s just say we have learned a thing or two even at the cost of danger and mayhem. 

This is how gringos end up dead in Colombia – and it is a trend which seems to be on the upswing. In our investigations it is always someone violating one of the pieces of advice we just listed previously. 

The white elephant in this room is the obvious reason of drugs and cheap sex. Don’t you think it is obvious by now the danger from that situation? Instead, we chose to talk about everything else. 

We love Colombia, her people and the biodiversity which makes all our pictures so special. But we are also seeing people arriving and going to places without help.

If you want to work with us, we offer consulting where we can help to keep you out of trouble and help you find good situations. Maybe you already know someone who you feel you can trust, please pay close attention to what they are saying and take care of yourself. 

For the purpose of hire, contact Erin at for more information about how you can find a safe and happy lifestyle in the RIGHT place.

If you are in a bad situation and you need private security, let us know – we have both lawyer and bodyguard contacts which we can recommend to keep you from finding yourself dead in Colombia.

There is a really nice farm, in a safe area which we have explored and studied a bit. It is near to el Centro in Manizales, and has great public transport passing near the entrance. There are two natural springs with water which has been tested and certified as potable and could hold potential for a bottled water business. Learn more by reading about what we feel has great investment potential. Read More Here>>>

And Here…on another website!

Investment Real Estate Manizales

About the author

Coffee Axis Adventures and Expat Lifestyles meet Wit and Wordpress! I have been writing my whole life in one form or another, and blogging since 2012. My career as a professional writer began in 2013 and this is what I have been doing ever since! My personal mission: Create love and appreciation for local brands, products and entrepreneurial projects of value and quality. Do my part to participate in and help create, a strong local economy that supports local people and their families!


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