When traveling the world, some countries are safer than others. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling that tells you to stay in your hotel or explore every little corner of your destination. This may be especially true for countries in Latin America because the news coverage may not make you feel 100% comfortable. To give you some insight, here are 7 of the safest places to visit in Latin America!
By the way: All the countries and regions are safer than the U.S. according to the Global Peace Index 2022.
If you are going to one of these places in Latin America or anywhere else, always use your common sense. Be conscious about your surroundings and check your belongings. Nobody can be sure to find his backpack again, after leaving it unattended.
Peru 🇵🇪 – Picture-perfect & Peaceful
Peru is truly a sight to behold: the mysterious Machu Picchu, colorful cultural treasures in the Sacred Valley, awe-inspiring Amazon rainforest, and much, much more. No wonder adventure seekers claim Peru to be one of the best destinations in South America. And there is much to explore: Treat yourself to the best Peruvian cuisine, wander the historic streets of Cusco, or go beach hopping along Peru’s coast.
Traveling to Peru is relatively safe, ranking 7th in the safest places in South America. But beware of petty crime in this country. However, you can be assured that violent crime is no greater than in many other big cities in the world. Just use your street smarts and you’ll be fine.
Bolivia 🇧🇴 – Beautiful & Boisterous
According to the Global Peace Index, Bolivia scored 6th place on the list of safest places to visit in South America. Filled with stunning landscapes, its colorful history, and amazing trekking trails, it’s no wonder Bolivia attracts many tourists every year! Did you know that pink dolphins exist? They do! The Amazon pink river dolphins are native to Bolivia and are declared a Nature Heritage of the country. Bolivia is full of surprises that you should not miss out!
Like any popular travel destination, pick pocking and theft is common in big cities and/or at crowded tourist attractions. If you exercise common sense, you will have a trouble-free time in beautiful Bolivia!
Ecuador 🇪🇨 – Full of Colors
Full of natural gems, Ecuador is a great and safe choice when visiting South America. With an estimated population of just 16.5m, Ecuador overall ranks 5th, but especially the Galapagos Islands archipelago, which is about 620 miles (or 1000 kilometers) off the coast in the Pacific Ocean, has nearly zero crime.
Therefore, these islands are kids- and family-friendly spots, bursting with unique flora and fauna. And who doesn’t want to see one of the Giant Galapagos Tortoises in real life?
Despite the northern border region with Colombia, you are pretty much free to roam the country and discover this megadiverse country. That’s not only a cool attribute but also an official name for 17 countries worldwide, boosting the world’s biodiversity. With the Amazon rainforest (more on this later), the beautiful coastal regions, the Galapagos Islands and the Andes, it truly is a unique place!
In 2008, Ecuador declared that nature has constitutional rights, making it the first to do so. This means that they do not treat it as property but recognize its “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.” By doing so, not only humans, but nature is safe and protected in Ecuador.
Paraguay 🇵🇾 – the Heart of South America
Often overshadowed by its neighbors, Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is one of the least visited countries in South America. Wrongly so! Home to majestic waterfalls, fabulous festivals, and indigenous tribes, Paraguay will leave you in awe.
No matter if you want to visit gorgeous nature reserves, experience the infamous motorsports event Trans-Chaco Rally, or drink tereré with locals, this country is one of those places that has something for everyone!
Regarding the country’s safety, you might be wondering if it’s safe to travel to Paraguay where its tourism is less established. According to the Global Peace Index, it is! Remember, there is always a little risk when traveling alone anywhere. Just be aware of your surroundings and avoid any sketchy areas and you’ll be able to enjoy the heart of South America to the fullest.
Argentina 🇦🇷 – Nature’s variety
Untouched nature in the Patagonian South, incredible waterfalls on the Brazilian border and a feeling of Italy in the middle – Argentina – Truly a place that has it all.
Well, maybe it’s because roughly 37% of the population is of Italian descent. That’s the first thing you notice in Buenos Aires. Cafés in big, crowded plazas, European architecture, and temperatures that are not too hot for a walk through the city. Though the nights can get quite “hot”.
Not only that, but Argentina is relatively safe, especially compared to its largest neighbor Brazil. The U.S. Department of State has no travel warnings for Argentina, and if anything happens in or around Buenos Aires, they even have a tourist police station in place.
If you want to dance, Argentina is the birthplace of the famous Tango. Move your hips to the beats! What are you waiting for?
Chile 🇨🇱 – Explore the longest country
In regards to safety, Chile is number two. There were only 4 intentional homicides per 100,000 people in recent years, while the latest data on the whole Latin American region counts 22 homicides.
If that isn’t enough for you, just look at all the amazing things to do in Chile! Wandering through Patagonia in the South, looking over more than 500 active volcanoes or driving through the driest place on earth: The Atacama Desert. If reading all this this makes you thirsty already, Chile is also famous for its wine!
In case you ever get in trouble, as in most Latin American countries, a bit of Spanish will be a big help. However, Chilean Spanish is a little different and you may need to get used to at it first. Locals always appreciate it when travelers and foreigners try to learn a few words. In the end, don’t underestimate the power of some well-rehearsed phrases.
Uruguay 🇺🇾 – the Little-known Gem
If you are looking for the safest places to visit in Latin America, as far as statistics go, Uruguay is number one. Uruguay is a small and often underrated country, laying on the Atlantic side just between Argentina and Brazil. Relaxing on the fabulous beaches watching the sunset or visiting picturesque old cities, there are opportunities for everyone. If that’s not enough for you, you could even hop over to Buenos Aires in just about 4 hours by ferry.
With regards to safety, Uruguay is the unbeaten number one! Since being runner-up of South American countries on the Global Peace Index in 2019, it is classified as the safest for the last 3 years straight! Yet, there might be petty theft and other crimes, mainly in poorer areas, but you can explore the country without any issues. This comes at a cost – Uruguay may be the most expensive country in South America.
While going to the coast, watching whales, or wandering through Colonia del Sacramento is common, this is also your chance to explore the hills around Minas.
You see, traveling in Latin America doesn’t have to be dangerous. Numerous destinations are as lovely as it can get plus you don’t want to miss out on everything they have to offer. Even in places not listed here, like Nicaragua or Colombia, your travel can be safe. It all just depends on where you go and how you present yourself.
Have you been to one of these countries? What are your experiences and have you ever felt unsafe? Tell us below! Or share this post with friends and family to show them that you are traveling to a pretty safe place!
Chile is a beautiful country. I plan to go there in the future.