Is it safe to travel in South America? Tips and recommendations for your trip

seguridad en america latina

This post is also available in: Español

Scalpel. Hammer. Saw. No way! You are not operating a knee, you are going to Latin America! We know that your family screamed and shouted when they heard about your trip to South America because they might have heard that it’s not safe to travel at all. We will try to help you to calm them down. You can also stop the self-defense classes because you will not need them, at least in your trip!

Travel assurance

The main thing to do is to hire a travel insurance and especially in front of the Coronavirus situation that can cancel your trip. Cross your fingers, touch wood, avoid black cats and do not break mirrors so this does not happen. You may also need medical assistance during your time there and if you don’t have insurance, you could be scared by the number of zeros you may have to pay!

Recommendations for a safe trip in Latin America

Once you have hired your travel assurance, among all the tips for travelling around Southamerica we can give you, we advice you to gather information about the region you are interested in visiting and make sure that there is no conflict that could alter your plans. Keep in mind that not the whole country will be affected, don’t back out!

Asking to the staff in the accommodation can be very helpful to know which areas are less safe, not the most dangerous, to avoid them. Moreover, there are some applications for traveling to South America that could make it easier, blessed technology!

App to travel

Two more things: don’t drink tap water! There are countries where the water is not even drinkable, in others it is, but your body is not used to it can react to the difference. Also take into consideration that there are areas in South America at high altitudes and you can experience the altitude sickness. Nothing will happen to you and it is as simple as drinking a lot of water (bottled) and resting or going down from wherever you are.

Security in Chile

Chile is considered one of the safest countries in Latin America. If you are planning to go to the big cities like Santiago, Valparaiso or Concepción, be careful with the pickpockets who take advantage of the situation to empty tourists pockets and fill theirs. You don’t have to be afraid, just be prudent.

Chile is much more than its three biggest cities, in fact the most touristic places like San Pedro de Atacama, Patagonia, Torres del Paine o Easter Island are the safest. They are usually good options for, besides discovering spectacular landscapes, forgetting about the crowds and moving away from the more urban spaces. ¡It would be really curious if someone climb upon Torres del Paine to take a few Chilean pesos from you!

Torres del Paine

Beyond the fact that you may be the victim of a small theft, it is important to consider more common dangers that are not usually taken into account. The weather in Chile is very variable, Have you ever thought about the rain or the cold?

Security in Cuba

Cuba is another country considered to be less risky. The crime rate is very low and spontaneous theft is what could worry you the most, but it’s no big deal. The Cuban government knows that tourism is the main source of income for the country so being a tourist in Cuba is synonymous of being super valuable. They do not miss any any security detail and criminal action is highly punished. Havana is waiting for you!

Red car in Havana

Security in Argentina

Argentina is a fairly Europeanized country, but there are certain areas that can be kind of dangerous and is better to avoid. Walking the tourist areas does not entail any risk, beyond the typical little robberies we have already talked about, so do not be afraid; it is unnecessary. It is important to avoid the villas that are slums and are located in big cities like Bariloche or Salta.

Bariloche views

Security in Perú

Again it is in the big cities like Cuzco, Lima, Arequipa or Puno where you have to be more careful. It is not a secret we are revealing to you, it is as simple as thinking the more people, the more criminals. Simple maths. Anyway this happens in the center of the city, there are many options away from the crowd. Don’t think that someone will go hiking in the Colca Canyon to steal your snack or emerge from the surface of Lake Titicaca to take your nice sweatshirt.

¿Did you know that the Peruvian Amazon Forest represents more than 70% of the Peruvian territory? Incredible, so to avoid being the main dish for mosquitoes during your passage to Machu Picchu it is important to have at your disposal repellent. Consider to wear long sleeves and long pants the less skin is visible, the better!

Machu Picchu

Security in México

Surely you have heard of organized crime and we will not deny it, it exists. That is the reason why it is important to plan your trip to have a safe experience. Don’t be afraid because if Mexico is the country in Latin America that receives more tourism must be for a good reason. The most touristic cities like Riviera Maya or Yucatán have a plus of security.

Mexico rests on five different tectonic plates which causes seismic activity. It is not something that happens on a regularly and not all movements are serious, in fact most of them are not even appreciated. Unlike earthquakes, which cannot be predicted, hurricanes are concentrated in the months of August and October. If you travel during these dates, do not hesitate to check the weather in Mexico.

caribbean pink beach

Security in Ecuador

If you travel to Ecuador you must know that there is danger, we will not deceive you. The possibility of being robbed exists and the risk of assault is medium. The aggressions are not common, what the assailants look for is money or objects of value, but of course you scar the shit out of yourself.

You may come across unlicensed cabs so you should always look for the official orange badge andkeep an eye on your belongings on public transport. Don’t panic! Ecuador is a fantastic destination and you have many kilometers of jungle to run through, just kidding. Your trip will be as safe as you want it to be. If from Howlanders we recommend it must be for good, don’t you think?

Security in Colombia

Colombia is a wonderful country that deserves a visit. As in the rest of South America, it is in the big cities that you have to be most careful, although the most touristic areas are the safest. In Colombia, as in the rest of the countries on the list, it is advisable not to visit remote and outlying areas.

colombian houses

Among its cities we recommend Santa Marta and Cartagena de Indias. Lost City is a fantastic destination and there will be no danger there because it is lost and we are the only ones that have the map, that’s how privileged we are.

Security in Bolivia

In Bolivia, as in life in general, it is important not to trust strangers (does the phrase ring a bell?). The most common scam is that someone dressed as an agent asks you for your passport, a copy will be enough for a real officer. In order to avoid that it is in a cab where you get the surprise, make sure that it is official.

Avoid the suburbs of La Paz and the city of El Alto. Like in any trip, risks exist, so it is important to remain alert. If you have hired a package or activity you can relax because everything will be prepared to make the experience unforgettable (in a positive way, of course).

Yes, it is safe to travel in South America

In general terms, you have to use common sense, that is, if you can avoid walking through lonely areas in the middle of the night, go into clubs that don’t make you feel comfortable and show off the super camera you bought on Black Friday and the latest generation cell phone you won in an Instagram draw, then mo problem.

In Latin America the political and economic situation often generates revolts and situations. That’s why it’s important, beyond the dangers we have told you about, to be informed about the current situation in your destination country to make sure that everything is okay. Anyway, if we see that the situation is somehow complicated, the activities on the Howlanders website will no longer be available.

Prepare everything, plan and inform yourself about the selected country. It is also important to reassure the people around you, to convince them that it is safe to travel in South America and to dispel the myth that it is a dangerous place. Let’s see if we can get them to scream and shout, but of envy!


Journalist, nomad and adventurer. Paula would never say no to a camping trip and is an expert in setting up a tent in less than 10 seconds.

Besides that, she loves to dance and maybe that's why she loves Latin America so much. One of her best trips was to Argentina, but she has many more destinations behind her, which she talks about in this blog.

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