Countries to avoid in Latin America

Countries to avoid in Latin America
Countries to avoid in Latin America: Colombia is on this list. The northern Caribbean coast of Colombia has some of the most beautiful private beaches in the world. But you better don’t go there. Photo by Laura Grier.

Countries to avoid in Latin America | With terrorism spreading across Europe, continued unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa, travelers start to check out Latin America as an alternative likely safer destination. According to the IATA (International Air Transit Association), Latin American carriers experienced an almost 10% increase in traffic in 2016 and 2017. We agree in parts. Chile and Costa Rica back this peaceful image for sure. But the rest of region the subcontinent is not as peaceful as one might think. Three Latin American countries in particular stand out to be very unsafe for international tourists:

Countries to avoid in Latin America: Venezuela

Countries avoid Latin America Venezuela
Avoid Venezuela.

Countries to avoid: Venezuela | Rich in oil and gas, but heavily violent and dangerous. Venezuela finds itself at number 164 out of 178 in the Corruption Perceptions Index. It ranks dead last at 99 out of 99 in the Rule of Law Index. Venezuela is among the most violent places on earth. A person gets murdered every 21 minutes. Violent crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer publishes crime data. The homicide rate was 80 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 = the world’s highest. It quadrupled in the past 15 years with over 200,000 people murdered. Venezuela is especially dangerous towards foreign travelers and investors. In 1989, 29 kidnappings had been counted. In 2011 it was 1150. This does not even include so-called “express kidnappings”.

This you miss: Angel Falls -> the highest uninterrupted waterfalls in the world (978 meters) and Los Llanos -> the last stronghold for the Orinoco Crocodile, home to anacondas, capybaras, jaguars and caimans. Also worth mentioning: Los Roques Archipelago NP -> largest marine park in the Caribbean Sea with plenty of almost untouched coral reefs.

Countries to Avoid: Colombia

Countries to avoid in Latin America Colombia
Colombia, still one of the countries to avoid in Latin America.

Countries to avoid: Colombia | Drugs, cartels, violence, murders, gangs, kidnappings – it still is a long walk for Colombia down from the top spot in the list of the World’s most dangerous countries. Because of Pablo Escobar. He left very dark marks in the country’s recent history. Although Colombia is more peaceful now, outdated rumors have not yet been cleared up in tourist seeding countries. International travelers still seem convinced: if you go to Colombia you may not return. Violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect rural and urban Colombia. Lately it is getting a bit better. The first backpackers already arrived. We still recommend: don’t go there. For those of you not listening, there is an interesting article about Cartagena at

This you miss: Cartagena – old colonial town. Rosario Islands – with water so bright and clear, you will not believe your eyes. The Rock of Guatape and El Peñol – with the best views in entire Colombia.

Countries to Avoid: Mexico

Countries to avoid in Latin America Mexico
Avoid Mexico.

Countries to avoid: Mexico | Make no mistake. Mexico is a dangerous country. But it’s also a hot vacation destination for US tourists. For the most part, drug-related violence and crime is limited to drug cartel areas and drug trafficking routes. The level of crime in resorts and tourist cities isn’t nearly as high. But that doesn’t mean tourists are safe. In 2014, 100 US citizens were murdered in Mexico. 130 were kidnapped. Besides that, carjackings and robberies by organized criminal groups take place every minute. Take a look at Acapulco.

This you miss: Chichen Itza – the largest of the Maya cities in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations. Metropolis of Teotihuacán – its huge Pyramid of the Sun was built around 100 AD and is the largest pyramid in Mexico.

Read more about countries to avoid in Asia | in Africa

Countries to avoid in Latin America. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here | Header image from – Cartagena, Colombia: What it’s really like to go inside the Walled city | More about tourist destinations in South America here -> Latin America.