The arrest of an Australian woman in Colombia on drug charges has focused attention on the dangers of travelling in the South American country, raising the question - why would you go there?
Cassandra Sainsbury, from Adelaide, is facing the possibility of 25 years in prison after 5.8kg of cocaine was found in her luggage minutes before she was due to fly out of Colombia.
The 22-year-old claims the drugs, worth almost $2 million in Australia, were disguised in boxes of headphones and she was an unsuspecting mule for Colombian drug cartels.
Well before Ms Sainsbury's arrest, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
carried numerous warnings about travel to the region - it's a place to steer well clear of, according to the Australian government.
It's a place where something as simple as flagging a taxi could see you kidnapped and robbed.
Colombia still has one of the highest rates of kidnappings in the world, and foreigners are often targeted and held for random by local guerilla groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN).
Australians have been advised to "exercise a high degree of caution" in the country, with travellers told to avoid areas close to the border with Venezuela and Ecuador in particular.
In New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also issued various warnings about travelling to the South American country on its Safe Travel website.
Hikers, including on trails in and around the capital Bogota, have been robbed at gunpoint.
But those who have lived in Colombia tell a different story.
Australian travel writer Sarah Duncan lived in Bogota in 2012 and 2013 after falling in love with the books of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
While many tourists see Bogota as just a place to pass through on their way to other cities, Ms Duncan decided to make it her home.
She said she had never experienced anything that would be classed as dangerous or scary.
"But, in saying that, I was always very careful about things like walking around by myself at night and sticking to areas that I was familiar with," she told news.com.au.
The Brisbane resident said she lived in Bogota alone and felt very safe.
"Of course there are elements of danger in the city, like there are in any big city around the world, but I wouldn't let that stop me from living there again or recommending the country to others.
"To be honest, I couldn't recommend the country highly enough. The people are so inviting, so hospitable and so eager to rid the country of the stereotypes that they'll really go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your stay."
Rusty Young, who lived in Colombia for eight years and is about to release a book Colombiano about the country's child soldiers, was also enthusiastic about the place.
"These days it's very safe. I love it, it's fantastic," he told news.com.au.
"It's an incredible city, very vibrant and a culturally fascinating city," he said.
Colombia's second largest city, Medellin, even made it on to the
"Many of the once legendary slums have been transformed through some astonishing architectural gems, like the Biblioteca Espana, a hyper-modern public library and community space," the article said.
Ms Duncan said one of the most appealing aspects of travelling in Colombia was its history.
"Living in Bogota I was lucky enough to visit some really beautiful sites including the Gold Museum (the largest of its kind in South America), Guatavita Lake (where the famous El Dorado legend originates) and to eat my weight in local dishes," she said.
"Not everyone is a fan of Colombian food, but I love local favourites like arepas, endless soups and hot chocolate served with cheese. It sounds a bit strange but it's a must-try.
"Beyond the food, there are incredible beaches (on both the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans), the ancient ruins of the Lost City, coffee farms, and the country is the second-most biodiverse country in the world, so you're likely to see some incredible fauna and fauna while you're here.
"Did I mention the country has been named the happiest place on earth multiple times? Definitely worth the visit."
While Colombia is often associated with the illegal drug trade, Ms Duncan said she had not seen evidence of this during her stay in Colombia.
"I've seen people drink and party a lot but I've never seen anything being sold on the streets or ever got caught up in anything like that," she said.
"Living in trendy areas around Bogota, it's not something I came in contact with."