The continent of Latin America is home to some of the most stunning beaches, volcanoes, and landscapes in the world. But when it comes to traveling there, many people are concerned about safety. It's true that the region has had a reputation for being dangerous, but this is an unfair generalization that doesn't reflect the realities of life and travel in the 13 countries of South America. Uruguay is a great example of a safe and peaceful destination.
Pickpocketing, robberies, and car thefts are common in large cities, so it's best to avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry. Montevideo is one of the best places to visit in South America, and Colonia del Sacramento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the best wineries and vineyards in the country. Punta del Este is an exclusive beach resort with an impressive coastline, while José Ignacio is a quieter alternative for those looking for a relaxing getaway. Salto is Uruguay's second largest city and has lush walks, picturesque squares, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Chile is another great destination for travelers looking for adventure. Torres del Paine National Park has incredible hikes and stunning views of Patagonia's wildest landscapes. The Chepu Valley in Chiloé is a birdwatcher's paradise, while Pucón has incredible hiking trails and volcano ascents. The Atacama Desert is an otherworldly experience with huge volcanoes, salt lakes full of flamingos, and geothermal springs.
Easter Island (or Rapa Nui) is also unique with its stone statues known as moai scattered around the island. When visiting Argentina, be aware of distraction theft. If someone approaches you on the street and something doesn't seem right, refuse to participate and leave. Iguazu Falls are the largest waterfalls on the planet and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Córdoba has 16th-century architecture and a large student population for those looking for nightlife and culture. In Paraguay, make sure your mobile phones and money are out of sight as assaults and street crime can occur if valuables are displayed. It's best to avoid walking alone at night in Asunción or Ciudad del Este, and take taxis for convenience and safety rather than other forms of public transportation. Asunción is the capital with 17th-century architecture, epic art galleries, and fantastic restaurants.
The Holy Trinity of Paraná tells an important story about Paraguayan history with its ancient ruins from the colonial era. Peru has some incredible adventures to experience as well. Machu Picchu is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, while Iquitos is a gateway to the Amazon jungle. Arequipa is known as the White City with its impressive architecture, while Huaraz has snow-capped mountains and turquoise waters for hikers and climbers.
Gocta and Yumbilla Falls are two of the highest waterfalls in the world located in Northern Peru. Finally, Ecuador has some safety precautions to keep in mind such as pickpocketing and assaults being common. The Galapagos Islands are unlike any other place on Earth due to its endemic wildlife, while Quito and Cuenca are perfect city trips with well-preserved historic architecture and plenty of places to sample delicious Ecuadorian food.