On 20 December 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá issued a Security Alert regarding holiday season precautions, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Caribbean Coast, Colombia
“Event: The U.S. Embassy in Bogota advises U.S. citizens to take extra precautions during the holiday season while traveling along the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, including in and around Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta.
“When visiting the areas in or around Cartagena, Barranquilla, or Santa Marta, you should remain in areas frequented by tourists or locations with a police presence. If you are planning a trip to Barú (a beach area 45 minutes south of Cartagena), the U.S. Embassy recommends you hire a boat, tourist bus, or tourist taxi to provide transport instead of driving yourself. Groups of individuals regularly block the main road to Barú and demand payment for passage. Boats are unaffected, and tourist buses and taxis are accustomed to these blockages and may navigate them without incident.
“Be aware that the use of scopolamine to incapacitate and rob victims has also occurred with frequency throughout Colombia.”