Discover 8 Most Dangerous Countries in South America

South America, with its stunning landscapes, vibrant cultures, and delectable cuisines, is a dream destination for many travelers. However, amidst the allure, it’s crucial to be aware of safety considerations, as some countries pose higher risks due to crime rates, political instability, and potential terrorism. This guide aims to shed light on the most dangerous countries in South America and provide essential tips to ensure a secure and enjoyable visit.

The Most Dangerous Countries in South America:

  1. Venezuela: The Epitome of Danger

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 4 – “Do not travel.”
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 148 out of 163.
    • Major Concerns: High crime rates, terrorism, civil unrest, and shortages of essentials.
    • Risky Areas: Land borders with Colombia and Brazil, intercity travel, and routes to the airport.
    • Safety Tips: Avoid unregulated taxis, especially from the airport, and refrain from using ATMs in certain areas.
  2. Colombia: A Cautionary Tale

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 3 – “Reconsider travel.”
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 144 out of 163.
    • Main Risks: Violent crime, terrorism, and organized criminal activity.
    • Risky Regions: Arauca, Cauca, Norte de Santander, and the Colombia-Venezuela border.
    • Cautionary Note: Popayán in the Cauca region is the only area not under a level 4 advisory.
  3. Guyana: Emerging Concerns

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 3.
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 107 out of 163.
    • Growing Issues: Massive increases in violent crime, particularly in Georgetown.
    • Vulnerable Areas: Tiger Bay, Albouystown, Buxton, Agricola, and Sophia in Georgetown.
    • Data Concerns: Underreported crime levels, making the overall risk potentially higher.
  4. Brazil: Varied Risks Across Regions

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 2 – “Exercise increased caution.”
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 130 out of 163.
    • Widespread Dangers: Carjacking, armed robbery, gang activity, and organized crime.
    • High-Risk Areas: Borders with various countries, favelas, and specific satellite cities.
    • Note: Foz do Iguaçu National Park and Pantanal National Park are exceptions.
  5. Peru: Civil Unrest and Crime

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 2.
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 101 out of 163.
    • Pervasive Risks: Civil unrest, crime, and active terrorist groups in specific areas.
    • Level 4 Advisory Zones: Areas outside Lima, Colombia-Peru border, VRAEM, and certain departments.
    • Unique Risk: Caution against participating in Ayahuasca ceremonies and retreats.
  6. Bolivia: Civil Unrest and Crime

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 2.
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 80 out of 163.
    • Noteworthy Risks: Civil unrest, violent crime in Chapare and increasing crime in Yungas.
    • Advised Avoidance: Chapare and Yungas regions due to high crime levels.
  7. Ecuador: Balancing Beauty and Risk

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 2.
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 79 out of 163.
    • Main Concerns: Crime and civil unrest, leading to level 3 and 4 advisories in specific regions.
    • Risky Areas: Guayaquil, northern Esmeraldas provinces, and certain areas in Guayaquil.
  8. Paraguay: Increasing Crime, Exercise Caution

    • Current Travel Advisory: Level 1 (overall), Level 2 in specific areas.
    • Global Peace Index Ranking: 77 out of 163.
    • Rising Crime: Increasing nonviolent crime, with specific areas flagged for heightened caution.
    • Advised Caution: Northeastern border with Brazil and specific departments.

Safety Tips and Considerations:

  1. Stay Informed with Travel Advisories:

    • Regularly check travel advisories issued by authorities.
    • Pay attention to regional advisories within a country.
  2. Be Mindful of Valuables:

    • Avoid displaying expensive items that attract attention.
    • Secure passports and documents in hotel safes.
  3. Exercise Caution Everywhere:

    • Even in safer countries, stay alert and take precautions.
    • Don’t assume safety solely based on a country’s overall rating.
  4. Have a Contingency Plan:

    • Be prepared with a backup plan in case of emergencies.
    • Consider hiring local security services if needed.
  5. Avoid Protests and Demonstrations:

    • Steer clear of public demonstrations, as they can escalate into violence.
    • Roadblocks and travel restrictions may occur during protests.


South America’s diverse beauty beckons, but informed travel choices are paramount. While some countries pose higher risks, judicious planning and adherence to safety guidelines can enable a memorable and secure journey. With careful consideration and a vigilant mindset, travelers can experience the wonders of South America while minimizing potential dangers.