The Dangers For Westerners In South America | expatne.ws
26 June 2023
The Dangers For Westerners In South America
Traveling to South America as a Westerner has both its pros and cons. On the one hand, there are vibrant cities, breathtaking vistas, and delicious local cuisine to experience. On the other hand, South American countries present travelers with various potential dangers that need to be taken into consideration. By understanding the history and current situation of crime and safety in the region, Westerners can get the most out of their travels while minimizing potential risks.
Throughout much of South America’s history, crime rates have been significantly higher than those in North America and Europe. Economic disparities between different social classes, unchecked corruption in certain governments, and organized crime rings have all led to high levels of theft, robbery, kidnapping, assault, and other violent crimes in many countries. In 2020 alone, Brazil’s murder rates were among the highest in the world; Colombia was known for its illegal drug trade; and Venezuela has seen its homicide rate triple over the last decade as it grapples with a severe political crisis. While some countries such as Chile have seen significant progress in reducing their crime rates overall since the 2000s (especially violent crimes), this is not true everywhere throughout the region. Additionally, certain areas are more dangerous than others—nighttime visits to isolated neighborhoods should be avoided whenever possible.
Despite these concerns however, many places remain safe for travelers to visit if they exercise common sense precautions such as staying away from large crowds or particularly sketchy (but often incredibly tempting) activities such as drug use or purchase of counterfeit goods. Travelers should also be aware of local customs regarding dress—more conservative attire is usually expected—as well as laws about public alcohol consumption—which may be illegal and punishable by fines or even imprisonment depending on where you are traveling. Additionally, it is always important to purchase travel insurance before embarking on any trip abroad; this can provide necessary medical care if needed during a unanticipated emergency situation.