10 Years of Blog Archive

Friday, August 11, 2017

Top Ten Safest Latin American Countries for Travelers- UPDATE 2017

Note: This article was first published on March 12, 2016. We like to keep our popular articles updated and this one has been updated August 2017. All new updates will be in red text.  

Latin America refers to territories in the Americas where the Spanish or Portuguese languages prevail: Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Latin America is, therefore, defined as all those parts of the Americas that were once part of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires.   Source: Wiki Latin America

 If we were to go by this definition then both Spain and Portugal would be considered Latin America, however, since they are in the European nation we decided to keep them out of the list. Had we put them in the list, it would have pushed Ecuador out of the top ten, from number 8 to number 11. Below the video is the article with more details.

 Safest Latin American Countries

FYI: Of the 162 countries worldwide, no Latin American country made the top ten list of most peaceful, nor did a Latin American country come in the top 20, however Chile did make it on the list at 29 out of 162 as the most peaceful/safest Latin American country. Does it surprise anyone that Chile is the safest country in Latin America?

The index gauges ‘global peace’ using three broad themes: 1) the level of safety and security in society, (including crime rates), 2) the extent of domestic and international conflict and 3) the degree of militarization.

So how does the rest of Latin America measure up on the world Global Peace Index?   Let’s take a look. Btw, to see the entire list from safest to least safe, according to the Institute for Economics and Global Peace, click the source link below.

Source: Institute for Economics and Global Peace

1. Chile ranks - 29 out of 162
2. Costa Rica – ranks 34 out of 162 (The US State Travel Website Statistics says Costa Rica has more (reported) homicides against US Citizens than Ecuador. Costa Rica does have a much larger US Citizen population which accounts for the higher rates of crime. Costa Rica does not have a military.)
3. Uruguay – ranks 44 out of 162
4. Argentina – ranks 60 out of 162
5. Panama – ranks 64 out of 162 Panama does not have a military.)
6. Nicaragua – ranks 74 out of 162
7. Cuba – ranks 82 out of 162
8. Ecuador – ranks 84 out of 162
9. Paraguay – ranks 89 out of 162
10. Bolivia – ranks 90 out of 162

       Best Latin American Country to Live?

It looks like from the statistics above Costa Rica and Panama come out on top for the safest Central American countries but are they the best Latin American Country? Now that's a matter of personal opinion, don't you think?

There you have it folks, the top Latin American countries with the best scores for safest place to live in Latin America.  As you can see, many are barely above half way point out of all the countries listed.   Here’s the rest of Latin America, well below the half way point.

~The Rest~
Safest Countries in South America
and Central America and Caribbean Nations

11. Peru – ranks 92 out of 162 (The source below says that Peru has less homicides (per 100,000 people) than Ecuador)
12. Trinidad and Tobago – ranks 97 out of 162
13. Haiti – ranks 98 out of 162
14. Dominican Republic - ranks 100 out of 162
15. Brazil – ranks 103 out of 162
16.  Jamaica – ranks 109 out of 162
17. Honduras – ranks 116 out of 162
18. Guatemala – ranks 118 out of 162
19. El Salvador – ranks 123 out of 162
20. Philippines – ranks 141 out of 162 (Philippines is considered a Latin America/Asian Country)
21. Venezuela – ranks 142 out of 162
22. Mexico – ranks 142 out of 162
23. Colombia – ranks 146 out of 162

                   Moving to Ecuador?

Many folks are moving and traveling to Latin American countries right now and a popular destination is Ecuador. If you are moving to Ecuador to live in Ecuador permanently, you might want to know that with a large expat community comes more petty theft. Ecuador does not have a lot of violent crimes against foreigners but if you want to keep you valuables safe, stay on the lookout and have fun in Ecuador! 

 Safest Latin American Cities!

More than likely the safest cities in Latin America are going to have the smallest populations and for expat safety the smallest amount of expats. Petty crime rises where many expats live, which is what's happening in both Panama and Ecuador. So if you want to move to a safe Latin American city your best bet is to choose one that is not that large in population but still has amenities and services but that has a smaller expat population. 

Loja, Ambato and Riobamba all fit that bill pretty well. But remember, living out in the country without any neighbors close by can be even more dangerous for foreigners, so you'll want to live inside or very close to a town or city.

Safety Is Up To You! 

A lot of North Americans move to a Latin American country and don't realize they have to behave differently about crime and their personal safety than they did back home. Everyone has their own opinions on safest and best Latin American countries to live but quite honestly, even in the safest Latin country of Chile you have to watch yourself and behave certain ways so as not to become a target. 

The cliche is old but gringos are "regarded as rich" and even if you are rich, why flaunt the fact. Be a good steward for yourself and for others around you. The worse thing that has ever happened to these undeveloped areas is foreigners moving in and changing the culture of how things are done and then that changes the whole darn landscape.

We just don't think it matters where you live in Latin America petty crime prevails and is some bigger cities so does violent crime. Don't become a victim by not becoming a target. We talk about how to not become a target of crime in any Latin American country here.

And now to give our readers something more to think about we share with you what the US State Travel website says about crime rates of US Citizens living in Latin American countries.  

Click here to see REPORTED deaths in last 6 years of U.S Citizens living in different parts of Latin America dated from January 2010 to January 2015 

Source: US State Travel

Murder Facts in Latin America and the Caribbean

Source – The Guardian International
  • The safest country in Latin America and the Caribbean measured is Chile, with just 2.74 murders per 100,000 people in 2013. 
  • Only 10 countries in the region have homicide rates below 10 per 100,000 people. These include Chile, Cuba, Argentina, Suriname, Peru, Barbados, Uruguay, Dominica, Costa Rica and Paraguay.  
  • When measured by homicide rate, 14 of the 20 most dangerous countries in the world are located in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The most dangerous cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are located in Honduras, Mexico, Belize, Brazil and Colombia.
Until next time, we leave you with a couple of related articles about crime and safety in Latin America. 
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!  Visit our exclusive videos!

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