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Published: July 18th 2017
South America in general - and especially Uruguay and Chile - is considered one of the safest places on the planet to travel. According to the Global Peace Index for 2017
, South America has made huge progress, and terrorism is virtually unknown.
South America is becoming more and more popular, and countries like Peru are highlights on every traveler's bucket list. People from around the world visit South America
every year to enjoy its diverse culture, history and landscapes. When talking about the safest places to visit in South America, you can not just focus on the country, one must look at the destinations. Generally-speaking, larger cities are less safe, as there are more opportunities for petty crime; however, major cities can be safe too. The key to safe travel is simple: use common sense and stay in neighborhoods that have been recommended by travel consultants and local guides.
SouthAmerica.travel CEO Juergen Keller says, “When talking about crime, looking at the statistics alone does not give you a complete sense of the city. Statistics look at the city as a whole, including the slums and the favelas, but generally speaking, travelers avoid those areas and find larger cities safe.” #1. The Amazon
While the Amazon is not a country, its territorial boundaries spread across multiple countries in South America, including Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Concerning crime, the Amazon region is amongst one of the safest areas in South America for travelers. To arrive at an Amazon lodge, visitors must travel long distances by boat or even by plan. An Amazon river cruise
is even safer because these cruise ships venture deep into the Amazon. For those that are concerned about mosquitos in the Amazon, there are areas such as the Rio Negro in Brazil where there are fewer mosquitos. #2. Patagonia, Argentina & Chile
Patagonia is a region in Argentina and Chile, famous for its glaciers, landscapes and mountain peaks beckoning outdoor enthusiasts. Overall, Argentina and Chile are listed as some of the safest countries in South America, and crime is no concern for travelers in Patagonia due to its remoteness. Torres del Paine National Park, Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate and El Chalten and Ushuaia are amongst the more popular regions in Patagonia. The only real danger in Patagonia is the sudden change in weather. SouthAmerica.travel CEO Juergen Keller says, “planning in advance can alleviate any weather-related dangers in Patagonia”. #3 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are remote and generally unpopulated. Located 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, this diverse archipelago in the Pacific Ocean attracts wildlife and nature enthusiasts. The Galapagos Islands sit in the Pacific Ocean, and the waters are known for being calm and flat. Overall, the Islands have remained untouched by crime as it requires a flight from the mainland to arrive at the islands, and the population on the islands is a small 25,000. According to the Global Peace Index
, Ecuador as a whole ranks as the fourth safest country in South America. #4 Santiago, Chile
Santiago, the capital of Chile, has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America with a booming tech industry. The political climate is stable and there is no threat of terrorism or economic unrest. Of course, use caution in larger cities such as Santiago and avoid slums outside of the city. However, generally speaking, Santiago is considered one of the safest places
and cleanest cities in South America, making it the perfect starting point for Americans, Europeans, Australians and South Africans. #5 Curitiba, Brazil
Curitiba is the safest city in Brazil. This beautiful city has the lowest rate of economic inequality which is a result of the European influence and the European emphasis on education. If you are looking for an introduction to Brazil, Curitiba is a great starting point. #6 Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, São João del Rei, and all smaller colonial towns in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais
Colonial cities of the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, such as Ouro Preto, Tiradentes and São João del Rei are your safer options in Brazil. These are much smaller cities and walking along the streets one can feel the strong sense of community. These calmer cities attract tourists for their historical significance and former ties with Portugal royalty, not those looking to “party”. #7 Cartagena, Colombia
Colombia as a whole is an up and coming popular country, and in recent years, Colombia has undergone significant growth and changes, making the country much safer. The fear of Colombia that were established in the 1980s and early 1990s have been put to rest. In fact, just this year the Colombian government struck a peace agreement
with the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) to end the 50-year conflict. With that in mind, the beautiful colonial city of Cartagena has been a safe city for years. Cartagena sees tens of thousands of US travelers each year, and the tourism industry is booming. With that said, use caution and be alert in cities like Cartagena. You are more likely to see petty crime where tourists congregate, but nothing significant. #8 Uruguay
Uruguay has long been considered one of the safest countries to visit in South America. Nicknamed the “Switzerland of the South”, Uruguay currently ranks as the second safest country to visit in South America, according to the Global Peace Index for 2017. It also continues to stand as one of the happiest countries in the world
. They have a stable government, strong economy and educated middle class. Overall, Uruguay boasts comfortable living standards, stability and safety. Overall,
When it comes to travel, use common sense. Simply avoiding the more dangerous regions goes a long way. SouthAmerica.travel helped me plan a unique trip to Colombia, Brazil and Peru. They answered all my questions and concerns when it came to safety. All travel arrangements and itinerary details worked like clockwork, thanks to the SouthAmerica.travel team.
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