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Top 5 Safe Countries to Visit in South America

Traveling as a tourist wouldn’t be a pleasant experience if you don’t prioritize one of the safe countries to visit in South America.

As much as the thrill of a great travel experience is in the activities, reliving those experiences by sharing tales of your adventure is equally as exciting. 

But nothing ruins a good travel story more than the statement, “I was robbed.” Or worse, being unable to tell the story because you did not make it back.  

And so, while South America is a wonderful continent to explore, from Argentina’s big, bustling cities to the Galápagos Islands, researching the safest countries to visit in South America is as important as anything else. 

South America, like any continent, is filled with various diverse countries. Anything from stunning beaches to beautiful cities to towering mountains and even quaint towns can be found in this lovely tourist hotspot. 

To save you from worrying about the nitty-gritty of it all, this article lists the safest countries to visit in South America. 

The Appeal of Safe Travel in South America

When discussing South America, you often hear questions like “What is the safest country to visit in South America?”

Other than the fact that travelers have to pay attention to their safety wherever they go, visitors to South America are often worried about stories of violent crime rates elevated across the continent. 

People also tend to look for cheap and safe places to travel in South America because of travel budget needs and public perception of the continent as a whole. 

But despite all that, South America offers a blend of unique cultural experiences, natural beauty, and historical sites that make it exceptional. 

From the vibrant rhythms of Brazil’s samba to the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru and the colonial charm of Cartagena in Colombia, South America is a tapestry of unforgettable moments waiting to be woven. 

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Exploring the lush Amazon rainforest will leave you amazed by the breathtaking landscapes of Patagonia and the indigenous traditions that have shaped this remarkable continent! 

Why Are These Countries Safe To Visit In South America?

1. Low Crime Rates. 

As mentioned earlier, one of the major fears that lead tourists to search for safe countries to visit in South America is the presence of violent crimes in some areas. 

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In this list, we considered the countries with the lowest crime rates as a marker for how safe it is.  

2. Stable Political Climate. 

When considering the safe countries to visit in South America, it’s not enough to consider just the crime rates but also the political climates. Countries with tense political climates are prone to more violent tendencies like insurgencies and wars, which bode badly for tourists. 

3. Tourist-Friendly Environment. 

When ranking cheap and safe places to travel in South America,  the presence of well-developed tourist infrastructure plays a big role in determining both how cheap and safe the country is. 

Places with ease of transportation and accommodation are generally safer and, in turn (due to the tourism attraction) cheaper for each tourist. 

Top Safest Countries to Visit in South America

1. Uruguay

Top Safe Countries to Visit in South America
Tall buildings with bright yellow lights with tall trees with string lights wrapped around them, all under the evening blue sky.
Palacio Salvo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Source: expedia.com

When looking for safe countries to visit in South America, Uruguay stands out on top. It is considered to be one of the safest countries in South America, ranking as part of the top 50 safe countries in the world. 

Safety Highlights: One major reason for Uruguay’s ranking so high is its low crime rate, which has steadily declined in recent years.

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It is one of the most developed countries in South America, with a high standard of living and a low level of corruption, which inadvertently causes a drop in the crime rate. 

Key Attractions: One of the most common things to do in Uruguay is to explore Montevideo, its capital city with highlights like the Tango Museum of Montevideo or the Citadel Gate, attracting tourists yearly. 

You can also visit the Punta del Este, the most famous beach in Uruguay, or explore the Colonia del Sacramento. 

2. Chile

A few very tall buildings with many tall buildings with shiny lights and big mountains in the background slightly covered in snow.
Vitrina Centro, Santiago, Chile
Source: Chile Travel

The Republic of Chile, known for its narrow topography and agriculture-based economy one of the best cheap and safe places to travel in South America. 

Safety Highlights: Chile stands out as one of the safest countries in South America, offering travelers peace of mind while exploring its vast landscapes. 

The country has a stable political environment and a low crime rate, ensuring visitors can immerse themselves in its culture and natural beauty without undue concerns.

Must-See Places: Begin your Chilean adventure in the vibrant capital of Santiago, where modern skyscrapers blend with historic neighborhoods. 

You should also make time to visit the Atacama Desert, known for its stunning salt flats, geysers, and stargazing opportunities. 

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For more, check out our article on female travel in Chile

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3. Argentina

Waterfalls from mountains covered with greens and surrounded by small plants and trees and flowing water under a clear blue sky with rainbows
Iguazu Falls, Iguazu National Park
Source: thetimes.co.uk

What is the safest country to visit in South America? Welcome to Argentina, the second largest country in South America, where tango and soccer tango with your senses!

Safety Features: The country’s diverse landscapes can be enjoyed with peace of mind due to its relatively low crime rate and well-developed tourist infrastructure.

They have radio taxis with clearly visible logos on the car doors to help to keep transportation safer. Their well-trained Policía Federal Argentina, coupled with their fast emergency services, also contribute to a safer experience for tourists. 

Cultural Gems: Buenos Aires is a gem of a city you cannot miss when exploring Argentina. It is a city where  European architecture mingles with Latin American charm. 

Whether you are immersing yourself in the local culture by attending a tango show or savoring a juicy Argentine steak, you’re bound to enjoy your time in the city. 

Another gem you can’t miss is the Iguazu Falls, a natural wonder shared with Brazil, where you can marvel at the awe-inspiring waterfalls and lush rainforest.

4. Paraguay 

old ruin buildings surrounded by grass under the cloudy blue sky
Jesuit Mission of the Holy Trinity (Misión Jesuítica de la Santísima Trinidad)
Source: bradtguides.com

Paraguay is like a hidden treasure waiting to dazzle you. From the charming colonial streets of Asunción to the breathtaking landscapes of the Chaco, Paraguay invites you to explore some of the most beautiful, cheap, and safe places to travel in South America. 

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Safety Advantages: Paraguay has a much lower crime rate than some of its South American counterparts. In recent years, there have been vast improvements to the transportation system and the roads in Paraguay, and it has contributed to providing a welcoming atmosphere for tourists to explore its hidden gems and cultural treasures.

Natural Wonders: Head on to the Chaco region, where you can discover the Gran Chaco Reserve, a vast and diverse ecosystem that’s home to a wide array of wildlife. 

And as beautiful as that is, the enchanting glow of the Moon Valley, a natural marvel that gets its name from its lunar-like appearance, is even more beautiful. 

There are other places to explore the natural wonders of Paraguay, from the Ñacunday National Park to the Ybycuí National Park, to experience the unique tradition of the Guarani people, the indigenous inhabitants of Paraguay. 

5. Ecuador

An Island surrounded by blue waters with tall mountains and hills in the backgrounds under white clouds and blue skies
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Source: Travel and Leisure

Ecuador is a canvas of astonishing diversity, where adventure meets awe, and every corner holds a new story waiting to be discovered. It is one of the most adventure-filled, safe countries to travel in South America. 

Safety Characteristics: Ecuador, nestled between Colombia and Peru, offers a blend of safety and diverse experiences for travelers. Its strong commitment to security measures and increasing tourism infrastructure makes it an attractive destination. 

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Ecuador’s warm hospitality and the warmth of its people add to the sense of safety.

Local Delights: For local delights, your best bet is to start in Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also one of the most popular, cheapest, and safest places to travel in South America. 

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You can explore the Otavalo Market, one of the largest indigenous markets in South America, where vibrant textiles and crafts reflect the rich culture of the region. (Check out 10 things to do in Otavalo.) 

And for your food pleasures, indulge in the gastronomic scene of Cuenca, known for its delicious local cuisine.

You should also explore the stunning Galápagos Islands, traverse the Avenue of the Volcanoes, and visit the Mindo Cloud Forest, an oasis of biodiversity where you can immerse yourself in nature.

Tips for Safe Travel in South America:

While traveling in South America, here are a few tips you should keep in mind to make the most of your trip. As much as these are all safe countries to visit in South America, you can make your trip even safer by doing these. 

1. Research Local Laws 

Before starting your journey, it is important to take the time to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations of any of these countries you are visiting. 

Different countries may have specific rules, and you don’t want to be in a dicey situation because you unintentionally violated a law. 

Knowing the do’s and don’ts will help you navigate your way smoothly and ensure a safe and respectful trip.

2. Stay Informed.

What might be a cheap and safe place to travel in South America today may not be the same next year. 

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While exploring, stay informed about the current events and any potential changes in the political or social landscape of the region. 

Make sure you’re keeping up with local news and developments so you can adapt your travel plans if necessary. 

3. Cultural Sensitivity

Whenever you travel to a place with a different culture, you have to be sensitive not to disrespect the locals unintentionally.

 South America is rich in diverse cultures, languages, and traditions, and you must be careful not to disrespect them. 

You can take it a step further by trying to learn basic phrases in the local language to establish positive interactions with the locals. 

By showing cultural sensitivity, you not only enhance your travel experience but also contribute to cross-cultural understanding.

Conclusion 

In a continent as diverse and enchanting as South America, safety and adventure go hand in hand. 

From the vibrant streets of Chile to the breathtaking landscapes of Argentina and the hidden treasures of Paraguay, South America offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be explored.

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So, whether you’re drawn to the allure of Chile’s landscapes, the tango rhythms of Argentina, or the hidden gems of Paraguay, take the leap and embark on a South American adventure that promises both security and lasting memories. Your journey awaits.

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