Getting mugged in Taganga, Colombia

Well friends, here’s post I never wanted to write. Last night, against my better judgement, I decided to walk home alone from a bar back to our hostel in the small seaside town of Taganga, Colombia. Andrew hadn’t been feeling well and had gone to bed early and other friends had been at a different party.

During the walk, a man ran up behind me and attempted to grab my bag. I was so surprised I initially thought it must have been a joke. But quickly I realised that thing that never happens to you was happening to me. I was being mugged.

Despite knowing the best response is to surrender your bag instead of fighting, instinct kicked in. So I clamped down on my bag while he pulled strongly on the strap and I just screamed “No, no, no, no, no” over and over. I don’t really remember it clearly but I ended up on the ground, being dragged along while he kicked at me trying to get me to let go. We must have fought for quite some distance, judging from where I found my shoes.

Eventually he won the handbag tug of war and ran off, scaling a wall and disappearing. I jumped up and chased him, almost managing to grab his ankle (what a stupid thing to do!) before he disappeared.

Shoeless, dress torn and completely covered in scratches, cuts and grazes I stood there dazed for a second and then a bartender I know happened to walk past. When she saw me she became hysterical and took me to another hostel, demanding to know why I was out alone and maniacally dousing my cuts in alcohol. After a while a security guard walked me home. I woke up Andrew and called my parents.

This morning I was woken by a friendly stranger, a guy called Lex who looked like an extra from a 50 Cent video, who decided to take me down to the police station to see what could be done. I have no idea why Lex decided to get involved or how he even heard what happened but he didn’t want money. He just kept saying that it was bad for the town and he was really mad at what had happened. Frankly, I was amazed that anyone cared or was surprised at what had happened. I guess my banged up arms and legs won me some sympathy.

Many trips to the police station, including a government office in a neighbouring city have yielded nothing. They did make me look at a bunch of very amateur mug shots to try to identify the mugger, which felt strange. But at least I have a police report to lodge my insurance claim.

I know I shouldn’t have been alone. I know I shouldn’t have walked home. What really frustrates me is that when we arrived in this town a week ago I immediately felt unsafe and my guard was 100 per cent up. But then nothing bad happened and I got complacent.

I lost my iPhone, my beloved GoPro camera and a tiny bit of cash. Thankfully I didn’t have any bank cards or my passport on me. Thank goodness for cloud technology, I am able to access all my iPhone photos through iCloud and only lost a few GoPro photos.

I’m very grateful that despite fighting like a complete fool, I wasn’t badly hurt. I can replace my phone and GoPro, but not myself. I do have one very swollen and purple finger though and my skin is going to look a bit rough for a while, luckily I didn’t get cuts on my face.


You should see my legs

I wish I could fast forward a few days until I feel better, emotionally and physically. I’m trying to tell myself that these things happen all the time, that’s why insurance exists. I accept that what happened is mostly because of my own damn foolishness, so I’ve learnt a big lesson.

I still don’t believe that Colombia or anywhere in South America is inherently dangerous (bar Venezuela and guerilla territory). You just have to be careful and not take stupid risks. Like I did.

Stay safe xx

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35 Responses to Getting mugged in Taganga, Colombia

  1. Tracy H says:

    Glad you’re OK Bec. Scary stuff.

  2. Tessa Speller says:

    To my darling daughter Rebecca, I am so proud of you for writing this blog and admitting that what happened was silly, stupid etc etc. I am so grateful you are OK bar some nasty cuts and bruises and not to under estimate the sadness and regret that this ever happened. As you said yourself these things DO happen but they are never nice when they do.
    From your Mother I would like to thank all of your beautiful friends on Facebook that have sent you encouraging messages, thank you to Lex for helping you today and most importantly thank you Andrew for looking after this wild girl as well as you have so far on this trip.
    I hope the rest of your adventures go well, please stay well and look after one another with the love and kindness you obliviously have for one another.
    All my love

  3. Jess Carey says:

    OMG Bec…. I’m so glad to hear you’re ok and it didn’t escalate into anything worse, and that there were people around who cared enough to help you out… and I guess now you know your instinct is for fight rather than flight! I hope you recover (physically and emotionally) soon xoxo

  4. Callie says:

    Woah that’s insane! I’m glad to hear that you’re okay, though! Stay safe out there.

  5. Sorry to hear of your experience. I can only think of every experience as a learning experience.

  6. OMG! I am so sorry to hear this, but am so glad nothing worse happened! Stay safe out there!

  7. Laura Domenica says:

    Bec, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, things can be replaced, but you can’t. You’re irreplaceable!

    Thank God you are safe and that you have good friends and Andrew to support you through no doubt, is a awful time.

  8. Jane Brewin says:

    Much ❤ I send! May you recover quickly! xo

  9. Kristie Joy says:

    You poor thing Bec, I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying that must have been.. Take care of yourself and it just goes to show…. always trust your instincts! x

  10. Eric Kentor says:

    So, so, so so, sorry for you, but glad you’re ok… To Andrew: You are not allowed to feel sick anymore; you’ve exhausted your 1 sick day allotment for your travels. Lots of love and good thoughts from North America, and your California fan club. Eric, Adrienne, Nikki & Corinne

  11. danniijane says:

    How awful! As much as you know you shouldn’t fight back, I’d be reluctant to let them take my bag too. Glad you’re not too badly hurt. Dannii x

  12. munichfoodie says:

    Glad to hear you are ok. I feel sorry for you, but luckily nothing worse happend.

  13. SassyKabassy says:

    I feel so sorry for you, glad you are ok. Just remember it could’ve been worse.

  14. Thank you for writing this post. It is important that you share this experience. It is easy to become complacent anywhere and that can allow criminals the opportunity to do what was done to you.
    It it cheers you up, I was told I would have everything stolen in Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia last year, but when I got back I had a similar experience to you in Copenhagen. Again, I let my guard down.
    I will still go to Colombia, but the lesson for us all is to always be in company at night or to be on guard at all times.

  15. mickey2travel says:

    I’m glad you’re safe!

  16. Mel Langley says:

    Wow Bec, what a terribly scary experience…I am actually welling up reading about it. So glad you are ok! Take care and enjoy the rest of your adevnture. Mel xx

  17. Elise says:

    Yuck. I am so very sorry this happened.

    While we’ve never met, and I’ve never commented before, I stumbled across your blog some time ago while you were a commenter on the MamaMia website. Your writing, your photographs and your zest for life, has kept me reading. Please know there are many of us, even randoms like me, cheering you, Andrew and your adventures quietly on from the sidelines.

    Take time to look after yourself, don’t be too hard on yourself and keep going. xoxo Elise

  18. KT Marie says:

    So sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience, and I know this goes against the grain and your own stance that you were in the wrong, but I think the fact that you stood your ground was extremely brave, and although it probably isn’t the right thing to do I would like to think that I’d do the same. I hope that you’re on the mend and I hope this doesn’t have any lasting effect on your adventurous nature. Fingers crossed you’ll be fully financially compensated too! Glad you’re able to tell the tale.

  19. Laura says:

    Oh my gosh! So sorry to hear this happened to you. It’s always unsettling to have your sense of security shaken and I can’t imagine how scary that must have been! So good to hear you’re physically okay, if a little banged up, and the things that were stolen can be replaced. Stay safe on the rest of your adventures!

  20. Pingback: Colombia catch up: Taganga, Minca & Palomino | My Bloggable Day

  21. Glad you are ok. I think this is a good reminder for all of us, whether we are traveling or in our home cities.

    • Bec says:

      So true. This stuff happens everywhere! I’ve heard so many stories since sharing mine and you really can’t avoid certain countries because of the chance of something bad happening.

  22. jaynezak says:

    I grew up in NY. From the time I was little, my mother always told me, if someone grabs your purse, give it to them . Your life is worth more. One day when she was in her eighties a man ran down the subway stairs and grabbed her purse. She grabbed it back and hit him. She said all the advice I gave my kids went out the window. It was mine and he was taking it and that was not ok. i think your reflexes kick in. it is never a good idea as a woman to walk alone at night in a foreign country – even when it feels safe. Im glad you a re ok and that
    l you wrote about it. It is a good reminder for us.

    • Bec says:

      Wow your mum sounds like a champion! I wish I had been as successful as she was. But her advice is the best, even if it’s hard to follow in the heat of the moment. Thanks for reading.

  23. Pingback: 10 things I’ve learnt since quitting my job to travel one year ago | My Bloggable Day

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  25. Great to read this. Got mugged a little while ago myself and really know what you mean by your reaction to it. Really good summation at the end as well that places aren’t inherently dangerous.

  26. Pingback: The top 5 worst moments from our trip | My Bloggable Day

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