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13 Safest Countries in Latin America: Data Ranked (Travel Guide) shares the best travel insights, facts, and photos. When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

When deciding which countries in Latin America to visit, safety ranking is an important factor. In this article, we’ll take a look at the safest countries in Latin America, where they’re ranked, and a little bit about what to do in each country.

The safest countries in Latin America are Costa Rica and Uruguay. This is according to the Global Peace Index. It compares three factors, which are explained in this post. Other safe countries include Chile, Argentina, and Panama.

safest countries in latin america

Latin America is the group of countries in North and South America where Romance languages (Latin-derived languages), are considered the main languages. The languages we’re talking about are Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

DISCLAIMER: The following information is not my personal opinion, nor are they from personal experience. This comes from the 2022 Global Peace Index Report from Vision of Humanity. (Download PDF report). Travel warnings and advisory levels (Levels 1 to 4) are from Travel warnings for crime and safety can also be found on

Ranking System for the Safest Latin American Countries

How are these countries ranked? The lower the number, the safer the country.

If you’re interested in how the safest Central American countries are scored, be sure to check out Section 6 in the Global Peace Index.

Here’s a quick breakdown. The Global Peace Index score is based on 23 different points, divided into 3 main factors:

  • Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict: Such things as the number and duration of conflicts, how many deaths, the intensity of the conflict, and how the country fares with its neighbors impact the score.
  • Societal Safety and Security: In this section, things like political instability, refugees, terrorism, violent crimes, murders, jailed populations, and internal security officers and police officers play a role in affecting the score.
  • Militarisation: Military expenses, armed services personnel, importing and exporting of conventional weapons, nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities, how much is contributed to UN peacekeeping missions, and how easily accessible small arms and light weapons are all points that impact the peace score.

You can check out this handy map to visualize this info.

The guide is part of an ongoing series covering the safest countries in the world. Learn more about the safest countries in Africa, South America, and Central America (including countries not on this list), and Asia.

13 Safest Countries in Latin America: The List

Here is the list of the safest countries in Latin America. This includes Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica beaches
  • Safety Score: 1.732
  • Worldwide Rank: 38
  • Population: 5.19 million (2022)
  • Capital City: San José
  • Tourists Per Year: 3.37 million (2019)
  • Location: Central America

Costa Rica is the safest country in Latin America, coming at number 38 worldwide. It’s known as a wonderful vacation spot, and my wife and I have visited there several times.

While in Costa Riva, you can enjoy such things as ziplining at the Monteverde Cloud Reserve, discovering interesting wildlife (my wife loves the sloths in particular), or relaxing on pristine beaches like Tamarindo or Jaco.

Costa Rica is on a Level 2 travel advisory, mainly due to crime.

Learn more: 79 Facts about Costa Rica.

2. Uruguay

uruguay safe latin american country
Casapueblo in Punta del Este Beach, Uruguay
  • Safety Score: 1.795
  • Worldwide Rank: 46
  • Population: 3.42 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Montevideo
  • Tourists Per Year: 3,000,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

Uruguay is the second country on this list and is the safest country in South America.

Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is considered one of the safest capital cities in Latin America. You can enjoy the nearly 14-mile (22.2 kilometers) promenade known as the Rambla of Montevideo.

You can also visit the Plaza Independencia, Salvo Palace, and Solis Theater in the city, just to name a few tourist spots to enjoy.

According to, Uruguay is at a level 2 advisory, or to exercise increased caution due to crime.

3. Chile

chile safe south american country
Valparaiso, Chile. Chile is a safe Latin American country
  • Safety Score: 1.84
  • Worldwide Rank: 55
  • Population: 19.45 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Santiago
  • Tourists Per Year: 5,000,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

Chile comes in as the third safest country in Latin America. One of the most popular tourist destinations here is the Torres Del Paine National Park where you can enjoy hiking or go horseback riding.

You can also go enjoy the Marble Caves or head to Cape Horn, the most southern point in South America.

Some caution is needed when traveling in Chile (Level 2 caution; because of civil unrest.

4. Panama

panama safe country central america
Tourists walking in Panama City, Panama – one of the safest countries in Latin America
  • Safety Score: 1.876
  • Worldwide Rank: 61
  • Population: 4.46 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Panama City
  • Tourists Per Year: 2.49 million (2019)
  • Location: Central America

Panama comes in at number 4 for the safest countries in Latin America, and another country I’ve been to personally (though very briefly). This Central American country borders South America and is famous for the Panama Canal.

You can also visit such destinations as Monkey Island or walk the Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador).

Panama is currently under a Level 2 advisory. There are some warnings due to crime, with the Mosquito Gulf and the Darién Region under a “Do not travel to” advisory.

5. Argentina

Wine bodega in Mendoza Argentina
Wine bodega in Mendoza Argentina
  • Safety Score: 1.911
  • Worldwide Rank: 69
  • Population: 47.43 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Buenos Aires
  • Tourists Per Year: 7,400,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

Argentina comes in at number 5 of safest countries and has the biggest population on the list. This South American city boasts a variety of tourist activities.

You can visit the highest mountain in South America, Aconcagua; the largest waterfall system in the world, Iguazú Falls; and even take a cruise to Antarctica from Ushuaia. currently has Argentina at Level 1 advisory, or to exercise normal precautions when traveling there.

6. Paraguay

paraguay safe latin american country
Asuncion sign in front of the Presential Palace, Paraguay
  • Safety Score: 1.976
  • Worldwide Rank: 77
  • Population: 7.31 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Asunción
  • Tourists Per Year: 4,370,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

Number 6 on the list of safest countries in Latin America is Paraguay. You can enjoy the sights of Manzana de la Rivera and Plaza Uruguaya in the capital city of Asunción; visit Encarnación, sometimes known as “The Pearl of the South”; or relax in the popular vacation spot of San Bernardino.

Like Argentina, has Paraguay at a Level 1 travel advisory, meaning you should exercise normal precautions.

7. Ecuador

living in cuenca ecuador
River in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Safety Score: 1.988
  • Worldwide Rank: 79
  • Population: 18.12 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Quito
  • Tourists Per Year: 2,000,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

Coming in at nubmer 7 is Ecuador. Enjoy such attractions as the Middle of the World City, the Amazon Rainforest to the east, and the Andes.

You can also check out the best things to do in Ecuador for a more comprehensive look at what to do. And you might also want to visit some of Ecuador’s famous landmarks, national parks, or volcanoes.

Due to civil unrest and crime, Ecuador is at a Level 2 advisory.

8. Bolivia

bolivia safe south america
Market in El Alto District of La Paz, Bolivia
  • Safety Score: 1.989
  • Worldwide Rank: 80
  • Population: 12.22 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Sucre (official, judicial capital); La Paz (de facto, administrative capital)
  • Tourists Per Year: 1,240,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

Bolivia is the 8th safest country in Latin America. Full of great nature tourism, you can visit the Valley of the Moon in La Paz, visit the Laguna Colorada, or head over to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca.

Bolivia is at a Level 2 advisory due to civil unrest, so keep an eye out for demonstrations, strikes, and roadblocks.

Check out these 25 tasty Bolivian foods.

9. Dominican Republic

dominican republic safe country caribbean
Beach in La Romana, Dominican Republic – one of the safest countries in the Caribbean
  • Safety Score: 1.99
  • Worldwide Rank: 81
  • Population: 11.08 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Santo Domingo
  • Tourists Per Year: 7.55 million (2019)
  • Location: Central America

The Dominican Republic is number 9 of safest Latin American countries. Very popular for travelers looking to get away from winter, especially those looking for a resort vacation.

You can also visit such areas as 3 Eyes National Park, go swimming at Soana Island, or check out Lago Enriquillo.

The Dominican Republic is under a Level 2 advisory due to crime. Resort areas tend to be better policed than other regions.

10. Cuba

arroz con pollo cuban dish
  • Safety Score: 2.083
  • Worldwide Rank: 98
  • Population: 11.31 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Havana
  • Tourists Per Year: 4.28 million (2019)
  • Location: Central America

Cuba is the 10th safest Latin American country. This Caribbean country has many things to offer tourists.

You can visit such areas as the archipelago known as the Jardines de la Reina, the UNESCO Heritage Site the Valle de Viñales, or the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park.

Cuba is under a Level 2 travel warning to Exercise Increased Caution.

11. Peru

peru safety
Condor watching in Colca Canyon, near Arequipa Peru
  • Safety Score: 2.091
  • Worldwide Rank: 101
  • Population: 33.70 million (2022)
  • Capital City: Lima
  • Tourists Per Year: 5,280,000 (2019)
  • Location: South America

The 11th safest country in Latin America is Peru and the third country on this list I’ve visited personally.

hiking Huayna Picchu peru
The author hiking Huayna Picchu, Peru

Besides the famous and popular Machu Picchu, you can also visit another set of ruins of a walled settlement called Kuélap, or go hiking on the Salkantay Trek or the Colca Canyon.

Due to increased crime in certain areas, Peru is currently at a Level 3 advisory (reconsider travel). There are warnings to avoid traveling to certain areas altogether.

12. Guatemala

guatemala facts
  • Safety Score: 2.139
  • Worldwide Rank: 106
  • Population: 18.61 million
  • Capital City: Guatemala City
  • Tourists Per Year: 2.56 million (2019)
  • Location: Central America

Number 12 of the safest Latin American countries is Guatemala. Travelers can visit different sites such as the former capital Antigua, a UNESCO Heritage site; check out the Chichicastenango Market or other Mayan markets; or head over to Rio Dulce if sailing is your thing.

Guatemala is under a Level 3 advisory, Reconsider Travel, because of crime. Several areas are under a “Do not travel to” warning.

Learn more with these 24 Facts about Guatemala.

13. El Salvador

san salvador el salvador market
Busy market in San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Safety Score: 2.231
  • Worldwide Rank: 114
  • Population: 6.56 million
  • Capital City: San Salvador
  • Tourists Per Year: 2.64 million (2019)
  • Location: Central America

Rounding out our list of safest Latin American countries is El Salvador. Known as the Land of Volcanoes, there are many volcanoes that you can explore. But you can also enjoy other activities like surfing at El Tunco, taking a Seven Waterfalls Tour, or checking out the capital of San Salvador.

El Salvador is under a Level 3 travel advisory due to crime.

Here are some of the best Salvadoran foods to try on your visit.

safest country in latin america
Costa Rica is currently ranked as the safest country in Latin America

FAQ About Safety in Latin America

What is the safest country in Latin America?

The safest country in Latin America is Costa Rica. It’s among the safest countries in the world at number 38. Other safe countries in the region are Uruguay, Chile, and Panama.

What is the most stable country in Latin America?

The most stable countries in Latin America are Costa Rica and Uruguay. Both have had consistent scores over the last several GPI reports, scoring consistently at the top or close to the top of their respective regions (Central and South America)

What are the most dangerous countries in Latin America?

The most dangerous country in Latin America for 2022 is Venezuela (South America). Due to crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping (among other things), it’s at a Level 4 travel advisory, which is “Do Not Travel”. In fact, at number 148 in the GPI, Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world at the moment.

most dangerous country in latin america venezuela
Beach on Margarita Island, Venezuela. Venezuela is ranked as the most dangerous country in Latin America.

For Central America, Mexico is the most dangerous country, coming in at 137th in the world. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s more that certain regions of the country should be avoided, while other areas are quite popular with travelers.

What country in Latin America gets the most tourists?

Mexico has the most tourists in Latin America, with 97.41 million tourists in pre-pandemic numbers.

As mentioned above, despite its GPI score, there are many regions and spots that people can still visit in relative safety, like Merida, Puerto Vallarta, and Riviera Maya.

Your Turn!

What Latin American country have you visited? Where would you like to go? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!

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