The Safest Countries in South America
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The Safest Countries in South America

6 min read

Oct 12, 2020


By Sean McBride

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Last updated on March 18th, 2021 at 09:57 am

The Safest Countries in South America

In short, the safest countries in South America tend to be found in the south of the continent. With the exception of Ecuador and to a lesser degree Peru, countries in the south have a larger middle class, with less wealth disparity and historically lower crime rates.

Ranked in accordance with the Global Peace Index  South America’s safest countries are Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina, and Peru.

There are many wonderful reasons to visit South America but as with many destinations safety is a concern for a lot of travelers. Here we will explore which are the safest countries in South America. We will also provide first-hand information on how to plan an ideal holiday that will include destinations that will leave you feeling captivated as well as secure.

What are the Safest Countries in South America?

1. Chile

Santiago cite center with Andes mountains at sunset - Safest Countries in South America

Chile is a very safe country. It has a stable economy, a growing middle class, and a welcoming attitude towards visitors. The country ranks well not only in South America but globally in terms of safety.

Chile is an excellent country to explore. On a Santiago city tour, experience great food and drink and some fabulous markets, while Valparaiso only 2-hours away,  oozes old-world maritime charm mixed with artsy bohemian cool.

In the north, you will find the Martian landscapes of Atacama Desert while in the south you can visit the majestic Torres del Paine National Park with its glaciers, mountains, and austral forests. Why not fly to Easter Island and visit the famous Moai in one of the most secluded places on earth. Many highlights are in rural areas with low population density and geared towards tourism. Crime is practically a non-factor so why not plan a trip to Chile today.

2. Uruguay

Waterfront hotel and gallery Punta del Este - Safest Countries in South America

If Argentina were the United States then Uruguay would be Canada although on a much smaller scale. This tranquil, progressive country of roughly 3-million inhabitants ranks well on many crime indices and is often sought out as a summer refuge for upper-class Argentines as its peaceful beaches offer an escape to the hustle and bustle of big city life in Buenos Aires.

Montevideo has a distinctly European vibe with many cafes, restaurants, and some great architecture. While outside of the city you can spend idyllic summer days luxuriating in an estancia or head out east and take a dip in one of the many beach destinations. There are also vineyards and Uruguayan wineries in the west of the country. Consider a trip to Uruguay for a safe place to escape from the rat race for a couple of weeks.

3. Ecuador

sail boat on blue waters of the Galapagos

Not only is Ecuador safe, but one of the great advantages of visiting Ecuador is that they use the US dollar as their currency. This will give comfort to visitors as they will deal with a currency that they understand. Home to an ever-growing ex-pat community in tranquil, safe cities like Cuenca, Ecuador ranks well due to the monetary stability offered by the US dollar.

Visitors to this small country will be surprised by the diversity of its destinations. The Amazon Rainforest, The Avenue of the Volcanos, the cloud forests of Mindo, and the mythical Galapagos Islands means that visitors will be spoilt for choice. If you are looking for a lot of things to do in Ecuador in a short space of time I highly recommend taking a tour of Ecuador!

4. Argentina

historic building in Buenos Aires Argentina

Historically one of South America’s wealthiest and safest nations. Visitors to Buenos Aires can see many beautiful historic buildings, elaborate park spaces, and ornate monuments scattered throughout the city. While the country is not as prosperous as it once was the country still ranks reasonably well in crime indices and many of its best destinations such as Patagonia are in rural areas where tourism is the primary source of income and crime rates are very low.

For visitors Argentina a vast and diverse country awaits exploration. Fine dining and tango in Buenos Aires, Mendoza offers year-round sunshine and endless vineyards, go whale watching in Puerto Madryn or stand in awe before the Iguazu Falls. These are just some of the many wonderful possible adventures in this austral eden.  Why not contact one of the travel consultants and ask about a tour of Argentina today?

5. Peru

Machu Picchu on clear day - Safest Countries in South America

Peru is one of the most visited countries in South America and relies heavily on tourism. Global landmarks like Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca attract large visitor numbers and as a result, Peru safety has improved greatly in recent years.

Vigilance is advised as are sensible practices such as not taking out too much money or flashing expensive jewelry. Petty crime is an outside possibility with violent crime being low especially in tourism hotspots.

Peru has so much to offer and is well worth a visit. Lima city tours are great for culinary, Machu Picchu and Cuzco are a must for history buffs. A cruise around Lake Titicaca will show an amazing culture, and animal lovers can stay in an Amazon Jungle lodge. And this is just scratching the surface! Any tour of Peru is guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime.

General Tips for staying safe:

Whether visiting one of the countries mentioned on this list or any other country in South America taking precautions is always advised. Here’s how to stay safe in South America.

  • Take time to familiarize yourself with the currency of the country you are visiting.
  • Avoid carrying lots of cash and flashing expensive jewelry.
  • Check with your travel consultant about whether you will need immunization to visit your destination.
  • Guides are advisable. A local English speaking tour guide will be able to navigate you safely. They will be to help with changing money, ordering food, and ensuring your safety throughout the day.
  • Ask your guides about places to eat or visit in the evening after your tours they will be able to tell you where are safe places to visit.

Planning your trip with

If you are particularly concerned about safety our travel consultants will be able to tailor your itinerary in a manner in which you can visit only the safest places in South America. Tours to Patagonia or the Atacama Desert are practically crime-free offering travelers safety and security in some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

We can arrange your hotels, tours, and transfers in a logistically cohesive package that can include lots of South American destinations. Our local guides will be on hand to show you around and you will also have the benefit of having a 24/7 emergency number to call should any issues arise. All of our consultants either live in or have spent time traveling through South America. You will be able to benefit from first-hand knowledge when planning your ideal South America vacation.

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Last updated on March 18th, 2021 at 09:57 am

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