Let’s delve into the safest countries in South America based on data provided by the 2022 Global Peace Index.
This index measures over 20 indicators, including perceived crime, police presence, murder and robbery rates, and terrorist activities. Its goal is to rate nations according to how secure they feel their citizens are. Scores were assigned to each of the 163 nations included in the research based on these and other factors. If a nation has a lower score, it means it is safer than the rest.
Countries in South America vary greatly in terms of personal safety and security. Crime and safety are issues in certain nations, especially in economically and socially disadvantaged cities. Despite that, many popular tourist locations in the continent are very safe.
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What are the safest countries in South America?
South America has enormous geographic variety, including immense jungles, gorgeous mountains, breathtaking coasts, and expansive grasslands. It has ancient ruins, jungle safaris, beaches, gourmet cuisine, and the world’s largest carnival. Millions of visitors visit Peru’s Machu Picchu and Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer.
While South American nations like Colombia and Venezuela are among the world’s most dangerous, the country of Uruguay is among the safest.
With a Global Peace Index (GPI) of 1.795, Uruguay has gained recognition as the most peaceful nation in the region. Both visitors and residents can relish a pleasant climate, affordable healthcare, and the warm hospitality of the locals. The country offers a range of attractions, from the soothing natural hot springs in Salto to the breathtaking beaches of the resort town of Paloma.
Additionally, the city of Rivera provides a bustling shopping experience, while the region of Lavalleja offers picturesque mountains, lakes, and waterfalls to explore.
Globally, Uruguay secured the 46th position among 163 countries in terms of safety. Although historically less well-known as a tourist destination compared to other South American countries, Uruguay’s charm and appeal are gradually gaining recognition and popularity.
Travelers are beginning to discover the allure of Uruguay, drawn by its tranquil atmosphere, natural beauty, and the growing realization of the country’s hidden treasures. As more people become acquainted with Uruguay’s unique offerings, it is emerging as a destination worth exploring and experiencing firsthand.
Is Uruguay politically stable?
Uruguay’s political stability backs its position as one of South America’s safest nations. The country has a history of peaceful changes of power and a strong democratic heritage.
The country’s democratic system is long-standing and much admired. It has multi-party elections on a regular basis, guaranteeing political variety and representation. Moreover, Uruguay’s rule of law is robust, and its judicial system is efficient. Transparency is high, corruption is minimal, and human rights are strictly upheld in this nation. Most people have faith in and respect the government’s institutions.
Also, political and social consensus have always existed in Uruguay. Periods of stability and economic prosperity have contributed to a growing feeling of national unity and political stability in the country.
It’s worth noting that while Uruguay’s government is more stable than in some of its neighbors, no political system is completely impervious to challenges or changes.
Pick-pocketing, muggings, and automobile break-ins are all real concerns, particularly in Uruguay’s larger cities. Smaller towns and tourist destinations need the same degree of prudence. Avoid bringing large sums of money or expensive jewelry with you. Avoid nighttime walks alone.
Chile is home to the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park, the mysterious Easter Island, and the beautiful Lake District. Hiking, skiing, and touring national parks are popular in the country.
Chilean culture is shaped by indigenous, Spanish colonial, and European immigration traditions. The nation boasts a robust music and dance culture, with exciting forms like the cueca dance, and a thriving arts community.
Chile also produces world-class wines, especially in the Central Valley. Due to its extensive coastline, the country’s cuisine offers several seafood dishes.
The country has a GPI of 1.840 that puts it among the safest South American countries.
How is Chilean politics?
Chile has a stable political system. Public aspirations for equality and social justice have led to major social and political developments in the country. In 2019, protests focused on economic inequality, education, healthcare, and pension changes. In 2020, a nationwide referendum decided to design a new constitution after these demonstrations.
Despite these problems and disputes, Chile’s political stability endures. The nation boasts a solid democratic system, frequent elections, and peaceful power changes. Steady institutions and democratic values keep its political atmosphere sustained.
Do note that like every nation, political dynamics may change any time.
Even though Chile is one of South America’s safest countries, you should remain cautious, particularly in cities like Santiago.
Unofficial taxis may operate illegally and target tourists for theft. Use pre-booked official taxis, especially at Santiago’s airport, to reduce this danger. Verify your reservation with cabs.
Large cities have also seen carjackings at traffic signals. Just make sure to lock automobile doors all the time.
Beware of pickpockets on Santiago’s Metro as well. Don’t flash cash or jewels. You should also keep your passport in a hotel safe or a hidden pocket in your luggage.
Argentina’s ardent love of tango, a sensuous dance and music form, is unique. Tango is part of Argentine culture and may be seen at dance halls, street performances, and festivals.
The country’s beef-loving cuisine is also famous. Asado, the Argentine barbeque, is a popular dish. Argentina’s other cultural symbol is mate, a herbal drink.
The Argentine economy is broad, comprising agriculture, industry, and services. Soybeans, maize, and beef are among the country’s leading agricultural products. With its natural beauty, dynamic towns, and cultural offers, Argentina’s tourism business is vital too.
However, Argentina has seen times of economic turbulence and inflation. In recent years, Argentina has been working towards economic reforms and diversification.
Does Argentina have a stable government?
Over the years, Argentina’s political scene has changed. Political stability has been debated in the democratic nation.
Political instability and stability have alternated in Argentina. Political climates have frequently been affected by economic challenges like inflation and debt crises. Argentina’s political environment has also been shaped by political division and competing ideologies.
While political stability is a worry, Argentina has a robust democratic framework and a history of peaceful power changes.
The country’s GPI stood at 1.911.
The biggest concern in Argentina is theft. If contacted on the street and you suspect anything odd, go away. A close accomplice may grab your purse or bag if you’re distracted.
Avoid pickpockets and don’t fight back if you’re mugged. Hand up your goods and money and report the event to the police. As certain communities may demand extra vigilance, official travel cautions are usually recommended. Many come and go to Argentina without trouble.
Paraguay is a little-known country between Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. The nation is home to several stunning geological formations that are sure to attract visitors. Paraguay’s colonial heritage is shown by its many historic Jesuit buildings, many of which have been meticulously conserved.
Recent years have seen remarkable economic progress and stability in Paraguay. There is a balance between agricultural output, industrial output, and service exports in the country’s economy. Soybeans, corn, wheat, and cotton exports drive Paraguay’s economy.
The country has earned a GPI of 1.976.
Is there political stability in Paraguay?
Paraguay has witnessed improvement in its democratic institutions, and the country’s political climate has become more stable. Despite this, the government continues to work to solve concerns like as inequality, corruption, and other social woes.
Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your belongings while in Paraguay. One of these safeguards is hiding valuables like mobile phones and cash. In places like Asuncion and Ciudad del Este, which are close to the Brazilian border, displaying costly objects might draw unwelcome attention and raise the danger of muggings and street violence.
It’s also wise to stay off the streets late at night in these urban areas. Safer travel is possible when people stick together or choose well-lit, busy locations.
Many individuals choose cabs over other types of public transit because they are more convenient and safer. Taxis provide a safer alternative to using public transportation for the first time since they are more regulated and consistent.
Ecuador, with a GPI of 1.988, also ranked among the safest countries in South America. The Galapagos islands, Amazon rainforest, Andes Mountains, and Pacific shoreline are among its many scenery.
Ecuador is culturally diverse, having indigenous, mestizo, and Afro-Ecuadorians. There has been an impressive level of cultural continuity among the country’s indigenous groups.
In terms of economy, Ecuador relies on various sectors such as oil, agriculture (including bananas, flowers, and seafood), and tourism.
Is Ecuador’s government secure?
A variety of political groups and ideas have historically coexisted in Ecuador’s political scene. The government and policies of the nation have been significantly influenced by political movements and coalitions. In a dynamic political atmosphere, alliances alter and political arguments determine policy.
Although Ecuador has had moments of social and political instability, the nation has traditionally seen peaceful changes of power. Its structure for government is based on democratic institutions and procedures.
You should use normal care while traveling in Ecuador. Be wary of pickpockets and muggings, as with the preceding country warnings.
Female tourists, in particular, should take additional precautions by only staying at hotels that have received overwhelmingly excellent ratings online. Date rape drug usage should also be avoided at all costs because of the risk of severe sexual assault. To avoid being drugged in preparation for robbery, never take cigarettes, perfume samples, food, or beverages from strangers.
Bolivia has several natural treasures, from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon jungle. Natural wonders abound in this nation. Its immense biodiversity is preserved in several national parks and reserves.
The cultural diversity of Bolivia is reflected in its rich historical traditions. Traditional celebrations, colorful traditional garb, and beautiful indigenous artwork all reflect the blending of indigenous, colonial, and mestizo cultures. Tourists may experience the rich indigenous cultures that pervade the nation while visiting ancient sites like Tiwanaku and perusing the crowded marketplaces.
Bolivia attracts tourists with its natural and cultural attractions. Treks over the breathtaking Andes Mountains and the unusual vistas of the Uyuni Salt Flats are two of the most popular tourist activities in Bolivia.
Bolivia’s economy is diverse, with important roles played by mining, natural gas production, agriculture, and industry. The country’s rich tin, silver, and lithium deposits help fuel its thriving mining industry. The economy benefits from natural gas exports as well. Domestic and international commerce depend on agricultural items like soybeans and quinoa.
Bolivia’s GPI stood at 1.989, so it ranked among the safest countries in South America.
How steady is Bolivia’s government?
The government of Bolivia is a multi-party democratic republic. The President serves as both the nation’s head of government and state. Bolivia’s recent political and social revolution includes Evo Morales’ election as its first indigenous president. But after almost 14 years in office, Morales stepped down in the face of demonstrations and suspicions of electoral fraud.
Bolivian society remained deeply divided and polarized along political lines. Significant social and economic changes were implemented under Morales’ administration, but he also received criticism for problems like democratic government and respect for institutions.
Expats in Bolivia should be aware that they are a potential target for opportunistic robbers.
Use only licensed cabs, and keep valuables near by carrying them on your front in a cross-body bag rather than a backpack. It’s a good idea to learn some simple words in Spanish, and it’s smart to have offline maps and routes saved in applications like Google Maps in case you lose service while you’re out and about.
Currently, there is civil unrest in certain areas of the country so it’s under “increased caution” warning from the US state department.
Peru has a remarkable millennia-long history. The Inca civilization flourished there, and its legacy may be seen in the incredible architecture of Machu Picchu, Cusco, and the Nazca Lines. Festivals, music, and food from all around Peru, such as ceviche and lomo saltado, are held to honor the country’s rich history and traditions.
Mineral extraction, crop production, industrial activity, and tourist spending are all vital to the Peruvian economy. Peru produces copper, gold, silver, coffee, chocolate, and quinoa. The Amazon rainforest and other natural attractions like the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca, as well as the historical sites, are major draws for tourists.
There are many outdoor and adventurous activities available in Peru. Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is on the lists of many would-be tourists. Hiking, climbing, surfing, and animal viewing can all be done in this nation because to its varied landscape.
After months of protests that left Machu Picchu closed and large swaths of the country inaccessible in 2022, Peru fell from fifth safest country in South America to seventh, and from 86th globally to 101. The country’s GPI stood at 2.091.
Is Peru’s government stable?
2023 has been defined by a great deal of political turmoil and anxiety over how Peru’s harsh political situation will be handled. After President Pedro Castillo was deposed in December 2022 for allegedly seeking to create a one-man dictatorship, protests broke out throughout the country. The demonstrations and barricades in the poor regions of southern Peru have hardened.
Basic foods including rice, cooking oil, wheat, veggies, cooking gas, and petrol have seen price increases due to the roadblocks, according to news reports. As supplies decrease, the demonstrations might fade down.
According to Forbes, Transparency International rates Peru as slightly less corrupt than Turkey and Sierra Leone but worse compared to Brazil or Colombia.
Passport theft and large city muggings are safety concerns.
Outside upscale hotels and lodges, there were incidents of being robbed at gunpoint. Watch out for fake cabs and hire only legitimate ones. Never leave beverages alone and stay away from unlicensed tour agencies in Arequipa, where a few incidences of sexual assault against solo female visitors have been recorded.
Remember that the aforementioned devastating occurrences are rare, but that being prepared for them is essential. Also, it’s best to stay away from protest areas, like Cusco.
Natural beauty, an abundance of animals, and a distinct fusion of Caribbean and South American cultures make up Guyana. Being a former British colony, English has been declared the official language.
The country’s geography is defined by its dense tropical rainforest, expansive savannahs, and the great Essequibo River. Its mining, logging, and farming industries provide Guyana a substantial economic advantage. It has abundant supplies of gold, bauxite, diamonds, and wood. Rice, sugar, and tropical fruits are also traded internationally by the nation.
Holidays and rituals from many ethnicities are celebrated throughout the country at various times during the year.
Many ecotourists and explorers visit Guyana because of its stunning landscape. Jaguars, gigantic river otters, and numerous kinds of birds are just a few of the animals that call the country’s beautiful jungles home. When in Guyana, you just must see Kaieteur Falls, one of the tallest single-drop waterfalls in the world.
Is Guyana politically stable?
After an election crisis that lasted almost two years, the nation changed governments peacefully in 2020.
In recent years, Guyana also experienced a significant political development with the discovery of substantial offshore oil reserves. The country has been working to manage the potential economic and political implications of this newfound resource wealth. Efforts have been made to establish strong governance frameworks and transparency measures to ensure the responsible and equitable utilization of oil revenues.
The major target of criminal activity in Guyana are rich-looking visitors. Don’t flaunt your wealth by wearing costly jewelry or clothing, carrying more cash than you need, or venturing into locations where the authorities advise against it.
Safest Countries in South America: Final Thoughts
Determining what constitutes a “safe country” is a very nuanced and contextual exercise. When the safety and security of its citizens and tourists are top priorities, we say that nation is safe. Low crime rates, political stability, respect for human rights, great healthcare and education, as well as strong infrastructure contribute to safety.
In addition to providing a safe haven for its citizens, a prosperous nation also fosters social harmony, values variety, and safeguards its economic prospects. It’s also worth noting that various parts of the same nation might have vastly varying security standards. Personal experiences, cultural background, and needs determine each person’s safety perception.
Some would say that certain nations on our list are rather dangerous. Let’s just say they would be if we compare them to countries like Iceland and New Zealand. Europe has remained the safest region per the GPI, after all.
Just remember that there is no guarantee that ranking will coincide with other real-time indicators, like drastic changes in the political and social environment.
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