Monthly Archives: July 2016

NO MORE UPDATES- Go to Ecuador not Colombia

Hello, after a long journey of trying to help others come to Colombia, the time has come to CLOSE THIS WEB SITE.

My goal was never about making money from this site OR any of the dozen or more books I now give for FREE, all for information only, not to make money, never was about money.

Books are still available on these links:

Colombia Expat Guide 

Colombia Food Guide & Five Days Trips out of Medellin 

Here it is in black n white:   I have never sold Real Estate or Rented apartments for anyone coming to Colombia, I have MADE ZERO $$ no money ever off any person coming to Colombia, I do not give tours nor do I receive any referral fee from anyone. I do have a few people whom I pass along your request to, but these services are not by me or any company I own.  Too much of many of the reader of this site say otherwise, my personal friends here in Colombia whom know me, know this statement is true.

I decided to close any future referrals to anyone for anyone, your coming here, good luck your on your own.

TRY GOING TO ECUADOR !!   Much better cities, cheaper, way too many expats all ready there to share your stories with, better and easier methods of getting low cost health care too.  If your reading this do some research on Ecuador, you may find this a country better than Colombia.

If you still decide upon Colombia, I am easy to find, glad to share a cup of coffee share world travel stories and photography & video tips.

My best to all  Rusty

Tourist robbed and shot on Poblado Ave at MacDonald’s

Editors note:  This is on the main road in front of MacDonald’s which is next to Olivera Mall and across the street from Santa Fe Mall.  This is a “safe as it get’s” area.  The news below was translated from the local newspaper today.  This happen in daylight hours 5:30pm.  The update from the local police is gangs now are getting more bolder.  Someone saw his “expensive watch” phoned the two on motorcycle to rob him in the process of this robbery he was shot in the leg.  I personally am in this McCafe one to two times a week, this hits home to me, way too close !!  Medellin is not safe. 

news paper translated below into English.

Colonel Carlos Alberto Wilches, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police confirmed Saturday that the US citizen injured last Friday at 5:30 pm by two men on Avenida El Poblado with South 6th Street, it was for stealing a watch high end.
“We know that the tourist came out of a mall, [Olivera Mall] which was making a purchase own family activities together. Unfortunately it is approached by two men on a motorcycle coming to steel his watch.

Abroad in this case it seeks to prevent theft be and is what causes the offenders violate their integrity. He is taken to a hospital and there is stable, in good condition. The National Police are currently investigating the perpetrators of this fact, “Wilches said.
As indicated by the authorities, the US was an engineer and had arrived a week ago to Medellin to business issues and now is recovering from a shot in one leg at a clinic in this sector.
“Faced with the modality of the freight costs, we have shown that these bands are attached to the criminal gangs engaged in theft, extortion and micro-trafficking,” he added Wilches on freighters bands that transgress in El Poblado.

Killing of three foreigners the past two weeks

The killing of three foreigners the past two weeks in Medellín is causing alarm in Colombia’s second-largest city as it struggles to leave behind its reputation as the one-time murder capital of the world.

Danish tourist Tomás Willemoes was shot and killed last week at close range by an unknown assailant in a popular plaza [Park LLeras] in the city’s most upscale neighborhood Poblado.  His murder came just days after an Israeli and Mexican, both of whom apparently were living in Medellín, were also killed.

Authorities are at a loss to explain the three killings, which came as the city was showcasing security gains to hundreds of business executives attending the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Latin America. But at least one victim, the Israeli, appears to have been connected to a criminal ring that promoted sex tourism with prostitutes, prompting an energetic defense from the city’s new mayor.

update:  They were into underage girls advertising sex tours of Medellin, reason for killings as reported in local newspaper. 

“Any homicide is regretful, regardless of the reasons,” Mayor Federico Gutiérrez told journalists on Monday. “But it’s very important to say that Medellín can’t be a place for sex or drug tourism.”

Medellín’s murder rate has fallen sharply since the 1980s, when the city was under siege by Pablo Escobar’s army of killers. But it’s ticking up again this year and authorities worry that it could spoil a nascent tourism boom.

So far this year there have been more than 225 murders, an increase of around 10 percent from 2015, according to Security Secretary Gustavo Villegas. In May alone homicides spiked 80 percent.

Andres Munera, an independent travel guide in Medellín, shares the mayor’s outrage and says he’s had to turn away foreign customers who came to the city looking for drugs and prostitution. He says the demand for such activities is strong and undercuts the efforts of residents who’ve worked hard to clean up their city’s image as a haven for criminality. Rare among many travel guides in Medellín, his company, Land Venture Travel, doesn’t offer tours of the haunts made famous by Escobar’s Medellín cartel before the fugitive capo’s death at the hands of the police in 1993.

More than 210,000 foreigners visited Medellín last year, a 34 percent jump over 2014, according to the city’s tourism board. Key attractions include the giant bronze statues by famous son Fernando Botero, nearby farms and a thriving cultural scene. The area where Willemoes was shot last Thursday night, Parque Lleras, is home to the city’s fanciest restaurants and bars.

“I’m sure this will have an impact,” said Munera, referring to the murders. “The multiplier effect of bad press is always much higher than someone who tells their friends ‘ah, what a great time I had in Medellín.'”

courtesy of Fox News

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/06/22/killing-3-foreigners-past-2-weeks-causing-alarm-in-colombia-medellin/

 

Video: ‘Dutch drug tourist’ escapes kidnappers in Bogota

A chilling video has emerged of an alleged Dutch tourist escaping his alleged kidnappers along the rooftops of Bogota’s most infamous drug area, the Bronx.

Authorities told weekly Semana that the Dutchman had come to Colombia for drugs tourism purposes and visited the Bronx, until last week the capital’s most infamous drug dealing area.

The video was sent to the website just days after authorities raided the area and evicted everyone present.

The foreigner had allegedly spent days taking drugs in the area and was held hostage by the “sayayines,” the gang running the drugs in the center of Bogota, after he was unable to pay for the drugs he had consumed, said Semana.

The tourist reportedly managed to escape his captors and get onto the roof of the house, where he hid precariously on a ledge on the crumbling corner of the building while two masked men lurked just meters away, waiting for their opportunity.

The man’s shouts for help alerted the police who came to investigate and the masked men dared not approach.

A tense stand-off ensued and the whole episode went on for an hour until a firetruck with an extendable ladder was found that could bring the man down while avoiding his alleged captors.

The recent police raids in the Bronx came up with evidence for many more cases of this sort of kidnapping, as well as for drug-trafficking, arms dealing, child prostitution and even the dismemberment of bodies of homicide victims.

This Dutchman escaped with his life. Many others possibly did not.

VIDEO LINK HERE 

http://colombiareports.com/video-dutch-man-kidnapped-bogota-escapes-along-rooftops/

US Embassy Bogota: DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson Killed in Colombia

editor note: these are the taxi drivers involved in the DEA agent murder, were sent to USA for prosecution ! 

On June 21, DEA announced the death of Special Agent James “Terry” Watson, who was murdered in “what appears to have been a robbery attempt” Thursday night in Bogota, Colombia. At the time of his death, Special Agent Watson was assigned to the DEA Cartagena, Colombia office and was on temporary duty in Bogota.

“We are all saddened by this devastating loss of a member of the DEA family,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Terry was a brave and talented DEA Special Agent who served our agency for 13 years. These are the worst days for anyone in law enforcement and we grieve Terry’s loss.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Terry’s wife and family, and we will forever carry his memory in our hearts.”

According to the DEA, Special Agent Watson had served in Honolulu, Hawaii and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prior to his assignment in Bogota, he also served on three deployments to Afghanistan conducting dangerous counter-narcotics missions as a member of DEA’s FAST program.  Special Agent Watson previously worked for the U.S. Marshals Service and served in the United States Army.

NBC News reports that the U.S Ambassador to Colombia Peter Michael McKinley told Caracol Radio that this appeared to be a run-of-the-mill robbery gone wrong and it did not appear that the agent was targeted.  Special Agent Watson reportedly had been watching the NBA finals with friends in the city’s fashionable Parque de la 93 district and had jumped into a taxi after the game.

Local media described this incident as a “paseo millonario,” a term for an express kidnapping. Although the OSAC Crime and Security report did not use this term, it details this crime as follows:

A common trend in cases of taxi-related crime is when the victim has been riding alone and has hailed a taxi on the street. Usually, the taxi driver will stop abruptly to allow a counterpart to enter the vehicle. The two individuals will then rob the passenger and in some cases bring the passenger to as many ATMs as possible.

The latest Crime and Security report says that Bogotá is rated “High” for terrorism, residential crime, non-residential crime, and political violence.  Post is rated 20% for cost of living, 5% for hardship and 15% for danger.

According to the embassy’s security office, the most prevalent threat to Americans on a daily basis is street crime. The most common types of crime include, but are not limited to, muggings, assaults, general thefts, credit card fraud, and burglaries. Criminals are quick to resort to physical assault and commonly use knives and firearms in the commission of crimes.

2 foreigners arrested underage sex crimes

editor note: If your a PEDOPHILE stay home do not come to Colombia you will be arrested too !!  photo credit is medellinsex.com, not us, copy from AP wire story. 

Years after becoming a popular destination for sex tourism, Colombia’s second largest city Medellin began cracking down on the phenomenon and arrested a foreign sex tourism provider.

According to local newspaper Vivir en Poblado, sex tourism provider Jay Harry Drivas, a.k.a. “Colombia Jake” and an alleged client were arrested Thursday last week while in the presence of a 13-year-old girl.

The girl was surrendered to child welfare authorities.

The arrest took place only a few blocks from Parque Lleras in one of the apartments rented by the sex tourism provider.

The arrest of Colombia Jake is only the first arrest of a foreigner on sexual exploitation charges and was reportedly coordinated with the US embassy.

While prostitution is legal in Colombia, pimping is not. Colombia Jake for years advertised women on the internet without any action from the authorities.

But following the recent assassination of two foreigners, one of whom an alleged pimp, Mayor Federico Gutierrez vowed to take action.

“Medellin can’t be a place for sex or drug tourism,” he told The Associated Press.

National media had already begun criticizing Medellin for its lax attitude towards its “toxic tourism” as the city increasingly turned into a popular destination for foreigners seeking sex, drugs or both.

Especially the area around Parque Lleras, the city’s most popular tourism hotspot, over the years became a meeting point for sex tourists, pimps and prostitutes.

The situation got so out of hand that a Colombian crime analysis organization dubbed the square one of the city’s primary drug dealing spots. [Park Lleras in Poblado]

Authorities intervened in June, trying to remove drug dealers and prostitutes from the square.

However, according to locals this only displaced the phenomenon to the Provenza neighborhood two blocks from Parque Lleras.

With the arrest of the foreign sex tourism provider, Medellin’s authorities opened a new chapter in combating the exploitation of local women and girls.

JAKE WAS IN COSTA RICA TOO, here is the news from Costa Rica

The arrest of Colombia Jake is only the first arrest of a foreigner on sexual exploitation charges and was reportedlycoordinated with the Embassy of the United States.

VivirEnPoblado.com says authorities  believed a serious connection to organized criminal organizations engaged in the sexual exploitation of minors, and  preliminary information indicates a link to the murder of an Israeli citizen a couple of weeks in Medellin, with alleged links to a network dedicated to sexual and drug trafficking attending to the demand of visitors who came to the city in search of sex and drugs.

$49 Suite only you, and I offer Suites and Girlfriend Experience Evening Dates as a courtesy $75, or Suite and Happy Massage Girl During the Day and Girlfriend Experience Evening Date for $99…” reads the promo.

Authorities are also considering asset forfeiture of the rented apartment.

While prostitution is legal in Colombia, pimping is not.

Colombia Jake for years advertised women on the internet without any action from the Medellin authorities, recently criticized by the national media for its lax as the city increasingly turned into a popular destination for foreigners seeking sex, drugs or both. Especially the area around Parque Lleras, a hotspot for tourism, becoming a meeting point for sex tourists, pimps and prostitutes.

A police action in June, in attempt to remove drug dealers and prostitutes from the area around the park, only led to the activity moving over to the Provenza neighbourhood, only two blocks from Parque Lleras.

But following the recent assassination of two foreigners, one of whom an alleged pimp, Mayor Federico Gutierrez, authorities vowed to take action.

With the arrest of the American as provider of sex tourism, Medellin’s authorities entered a new chapter in combating the sexual exploitation of local women and girls.

No-go areas in Medellin Tourist not Welcome

Medellin has made massive progress in both public safety and tourism over the past decades. However, as the city slowly becomes a recognizable tourist destination, there are plenty of places a traveler should not wander either for his own safety or to avoid wasting his time.

Some of these places are the stomping grounds of prostitutes and drug addicts; others are where pickpockets and thieves congregate, or the places embroiled in gang-related violence. There are also places that are blatant tourist traps simply not worth the bother.

This arbitrary list should not be interpreted as a travel warning, but say awake if your venture into these barrios & parks.

Photo below is the MetroCable system, this will take you to the barrio of Santo Domingo, is safe during the day time:  NIGHT TIME TOURIST NOT WELCOME IN THIS BARRIO

Santo Domingo. Most tourists will want to ride straight on through to Santo Domingo, enjoying the stunning, usually sunny, panoramas of Medellin on offer from the cable-cars. The fact that this is a public transport route makes the ride an interesting mixture of people, and takes you directly over some of the poorest and previously most dangerous, neighborhoods in Medellin. When you arrive at the end of Line K in Santo Domingo it’s well-worth exiting the system to wander around the bustling barrio and walk around towards the towering Espana Library Park (a hallmark of Medellin’s social urbanism policy). From the edge of the park is a wonderful viewpoint offering remarkable, expansive views over the city, with the cable-car gondolas swinging by in front of you. It’s a stark reminder of how this was a no-go zone just a decade ago.

Comuna 13

The 13th District, locally known as the Comuna 13, is known to be one of Medellin’s most troubled and dangerous districts, and is continually suffering from gang warfare and violence.

In 2011, the city installed outside escalators onto the mountainside. The six sections of escalators give residents of Comuna 13 free access to 1,260 feet of movable stairs – the equivalent of about a 28-story building – and make the journey up and down the mountain both quicker and safer for locals.


How art helps Medellin’s embattled Comuna 13 define itself

However, the escalators are not to be thought of as a tourist destination. The area around them is frequently disputed by gang members who are often responsible for murders, and it is highly unsafe to wander around the upper regions of Comuna 13 – particularly alone and as a foreigner.

That’s not to say that the neighborhood is entirely off limits, as the 13 the district has a fascinating culture and sparkling nightlife of its own. Particularly the area close to the metro station is worth a visit if you want to see what the real Medellin is like. Just be aware that the higher up the mountain you go, the more danger you will potentially face.

Alternative

  • Comuna 13 (the lower part of the district)

Parque Lleras

Parque Lleras, in the upscale Poblado neighborhood, is filled to the brim with restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs. Almost without exception, these places are expensive, pretentious, and utterly non-Colombian.

The park is widely promoted as the place to go when visiting Medellin for the first time which consequently made it the preferred area of most travelers visiting Medellin when it comes to nights out. Hostels seem to consistently recommend Lleras and Poblado to their guests as the best area for nightlife, meaning that the park and its surrounding streets are populated by wandering backpackers, often tailed by eager cocaine dealers looking for an easy sell.

You’re more likely to bump into a foreigner than a local when spending time in Parque Lleras, unless you’ve attracted the attention of female “gringo hunters” who also spend their time here.

Lleras has created an impression of being the “upper class” area of the city, but there are much more authentic experiences in this vein to be had in other parts of the city.

Alternatives

  • Parque Poblado
  • Rio Sur
  • La Strada
  • San Fernando Plaza
  • Las Palmas
  • La 33

Parque de las Luces

Tourists would never have dared venture to the modern-day Parque de las Luces when Pablo Escobar was still alive. A building on the plaza, then called Plaza Cisneros and located across the street from the city hall, used to house the drug kingpin’s cartel headquarters.

That same building is now the Ministry for Education, and the newly renovated plaza contains dozens of huge white vertical poles fitted with lamps that are lit up at night – a controversial project called “Medellin is light” from architect Juan Manuel Pelaez.


Medellin’s Parque de las Luces

The plaza is now used as a public space for markets and city events and borders Medellin’s administrative center, but problems still persist.

The plaza is a magnet for drunks, drug addicts and the homeless, and the level of street crime here is rife. Knife attacks are not uncommon, and it is recommended to never visit the plaza after dark.

Alternative

  • Anywhere else

Parque San Antonio

In 1995, a guerrilla planted a bomb at the base of a bird sculpture in Parque San Antonio – one of many larger-than-life sculptures from artist Fernando Botero that are scattered throughout Medellin.

The resulting explosion killed 23 people and injured a hundred others, but Botero refused to have the ruins of his sculpture removed. Instead, he sculpted a second bird, taller than the first, and placed this ‘Bird of Peace’ sculpture beside the original, damaged piece.


Medellin’s Parque San Antonio

Sadly, the park is known for pickpocketing and the theft of phones, wallets and loose change, particularly when there are less people around or when it gets dark. It’s particularly not recommended to walk through the park alone.

Alternative

  • Anywhere else

Parque Periodista

This bohemian central square is a prime student hangout and often features a hefty amount of marijuana smoking, which police seem to turn a blind eye to. There are often drug deals taking place in the square and occasional shootouts when those deals go awry, or when competition between local dealers gets too fraught – particularly at night.


Medellin’s Parque Periodista

Parque Periodista has a variety of rock and alternative bars surrounding it, which are usually pretty empty during the week but spring to life from Thursday to Saturday, when the atmosphere is a great taster of the underground scene in Medellin. The vast majority of people sit outside in the park on weekend nights, drinking beers and smoking marijuana, in amongst spontaneous freestyle performances from guitarists, rappers, and anyone else who fancies taking a turn in the spotlight.

A visit to Parque Periodista is guaranteed to be an insight into Medellin’s more alternative side, but it’s worth being aware that the area is well known for breakouts of danger.

Alternatives


Pueblito Paisa

Atop a hill in the center of Medellin sits Pueblito Paisa, a reproduction of a small Antioquian village typical to the region.

If you don’t have any chances to journey outside of the immediate city during your time in Colombia, then you might gain some enjoyment from a visit to the fake “village” – otherwise, don’t bother. There’s something rather sad about a fake village filled with vendors desperately trying to flog their wares to tired tourists.

Truth be told, the site does offer a spectacular view over the city.

Alternatives

  • Mirador de Las Palmas (for the amazing view)
  • A real village (for the authenticity)

Prado

Prado, located downtown on the northern side of 10th district, is the old residential neighborhood for the city’s wealthy. The neighborhood has been deemed cultural heritage because of its spectacular architecture.

However, the neighborhood is also a hotspot for crack cocaine dealings and child prostitution. The area around it, known as La Candelaria or El Centro, has the highest homicide rate in Medellin.

During the day, El Centro is also filled with bankers and business people hard at work in office buildings, but between 6PM and 8PM all commuters and cops go home and the downtown area becomes one of the most desolate districts of the city. Prado even more so.


Welcome to my neighborhood, downtown Medellin, a.k.a. ‘El Centro’

While Prado makes for a good walk, this is only recommendable when in a group.

Alternatives

  • Bombona (which also has some pretty cool architecture)
  • Bogota (Colombia’s capital city)

Barrio Trinidad, a.k.a. ‘Barrio Antioquia

When anyone in Medellin is looking to buy drugs, Barrio Trinidad is where they go.

If you live in the city and know how things work, then you’ll probably be fine — but if not, it’s a minefield of unsavory experiences.

Quite apart from the possibility of a drug deal going wrong and putting you in danger, there’s also the prospect of policemen waiting to arrest you.

Alternative

  • House of Memory (a museum dedicated to victims of Colombia’s drug-fueled armed conflict)

La Sierra

The 8th is a district full of cluttered houses on the slopes of Medellin’s eastern hills. The “La Sierra” neighborhood sits between Medellin and northeastern Antioquia’s coca and marijuana fields, making Comuna 8 a crucial element for whoever wants control of the city’s underworld.

Two powerful crime networks, the Caribbean-based Urabeños and Medellin’s own Oficina de Envigado crime syndicate, have vied for control of the neighborhood for years, causing repeated territorial wars in the streets of Comuna 8.

The neighborhood received some international fame after a 2005 documentary about the neighborhood aptly called “La Sierra.”

Alternatives

  • Buenos Aires (a nearby neighborhood with an amazing nightlife)
  • Stay home and watch the documentary

Museum of Antioquia

The Antioquia Museum is counted as one of Medellin’s main attractions, but the vast majority of works inside the museum are the hundreds of pieces Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero donated to the city. It’s much more interesting to happen upon his statues that are dotted around outside, in the city’s parks and plazas, instead of actively wandering through rooms of his work that fill the entire third floor.


Medellin’s Museum of Antioquia

The museum also features collections of Colombia’s religious artifacts and paintings of Colombian independence heroes, plus a modern art exhibition. None are very impressive.

Alternative

  • Medellin’s modern art museum MAMM
  • Botero Museum in Bogota