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Old 09-06-2012, 08:28 PM
 
Location: San Diego
774 posts, read 1,274,798 times
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I'm thinking about taking a 3-6 mo extended vacation in Latin America. Are there any cheap and fun places to visit there that are safe for a gringo? Or is safety proportional to how wealthy, and therefore expensive, a place is?

Last edited by max.b; 09-06-2012 at 09:04 PM.. Reason: I'm a moron
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:39 PM
 
Location: classified
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As someone who has travelled to five different countries in Latin America so far (including Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras) I must say that realistically speaking most places in Latin America are as safe as the US regarding personal safety, the most crime you have to watch out for in Latin America are crimes of opportunity such as pickpocketing, theft, etc. Generally speaking as long as you have a basic level of street smarts, you should not have a problem in virtually any city in Latin America.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:39 PM
 
Location: San Diego
774 posts, read 1,274,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diablo234 View Post
As someone who has travelled to five different countries in Latin America so far (including Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras) I must say that realistically speaking most places in Latin America are as safe as the US regarding personal safety, the most crime you have to watch out for in Latin America are crimes of opportunity such as pickpocketing, theft, etc. Generally speaking as long as you have a basic level of street smarts, you should not have a problem in virtually any city in Latin America.
How do you evaluate a country's murder rate while you are there? I'm still alive, therefore, murders are nothing to worry about?

According to Wikipedia, Honduras has a 40x higher murder rate than San Diego (where I live). However, what I really want to know is whether I should be worried about being targeted because I'm not Hispanic, and being tortured for my ATM PIN number or whatnot.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:56 PM
 
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The not PC answer, from what many have told me, is that there is one sunny Latin American destination with great beaches, cute resorts, friendly people and very low street crime that's also cheap...Cuba.

I'm bracing myself for a slew of curses, but it's true. Just go to Jamaica and get a connector flight to Cuba and ask the guy at Cuban customs not to stamp your passport. Cubans want Americans there. As for the politics, yes, Castro is a prick, but he is a BUNNY RABBIT compared to those bastards in China or Saudi Arabia, and no one would flip out about someone visiting China.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:02 PM
 
Location: classified
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max.b View Post
How do you evaluate a country's murder rate while you are there? I'm still alive, therefore, murders are nothing to worry about?

According to Wikipedia, Honduras has a 40x higher murder rate than San Diego (where I live). However, what I really want to know is whether I should be worried about being targeted because I'm not Hispanic, and being tortured for my ATM PIN number or whatnot.
While the murder rate might seem high from a distance, if you look closer you will notice that in nearly all cases the victim knew the perpetrator, just like in the US. Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have had huge problems with gang activity such as 18th Street and MS-13, however the gangs mostly just kill each other so the average tourist does not really have anything to worry about unless they were themselves involved in illegal activities (besides most gang activity takes place in areas where the average tourist has no real business being in anyways, no different then say East Los Angeles or Compton).

There are literally thousands of American, Canadian, Austrailian, European, and Israeli tourists/expats who visit not to mention live in places like Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras, and for nearly all of those visitors/expats most have had a positive experience overall. Anyways my main point is that you should not just write off entire countries just because you determine it to be unsafe, instead focus on what you are interested in visiting (ie colonial cities, beaches, mayan ruins, etc) in the first place and take it from there.

Last edited by diablo234; 09-06-2012 at 11:14 PM..
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:07 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
271 posts, read 460,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victorianpunk View Post
The not PC answer, from what many have told me, is that there is one sunny Latin American destination with great beaches, cute resorts, friendly people and very low street crime that's also cheap...Cuba.

I'm bracing myself for a slew of curses, but it's true. Just go to Jamaica and get a connector flight to Cuba and ask the guy at Cuban customs not to stamp your passport. Cubans want Americans there. As for the politics, yes, Castro is a prick, but he is a BUNNY RABBIT compared to those bastards in China or Saudi Arabia, and no one would flip out about someone visiting China.


Just a correction, Cuban officials won't stamp passports unless asked (typically as a memento) nor do they have the equipment to scan them. They give you a tourist visa that you have to return when you leave. They're curious about Americans there (Cuba has no restrictions on Americans entering... all restrictions are on the US side) and cheap flights are also available from major Canadian and Mexican cities. Extremely safe tourist destination with crimes against tourists carrying heavy penalties. There are scammers and touts, but if you're frightened (you probably won't be), just scream for the cops and those bothering you will take off like they saw a ghost.

Last edited by illcosby; 09-07-2012 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:50 PM
 
Location: San Diego
774 posts, read 1,274,798 times
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I found an earlier thread on this subject: Latin America's safest large cities

The consensus seems to be that virtually all of Latin America is unsafe for tourists, except perhaps Cuba. I won't go to Cuba though, but thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:13 PM
 
Location: classified
1,680 posts, read 3,186,566 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max.b View Post
I found an earlier thread on this subject: Latin America's safest large cities

The consensus seems to be that virtually all of Latin America is unsafe for tourists, except perhaps Cuba. I won't go to Cuba though, but thanks for the suggestion.
Most of those people probably have not even been outside the US let alone Latin America.

If you want a more honest opinion from people who have actually travelled to the region I would recomend these websites.

Americas - South America - Lonely Planet travel forum

Americas - Central America - Lonely Planet travel forum

Frommers.com Forums
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:13 AM
 
2,426 posts, read 3,623,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max.b View Post
I found an earlier thread on this subject: Latin America's safest large cities

The consensus seems to be that virtually all of Latin America is unsafe for tourists, except perhaps Cuba. I won't go to Cuba though, but thanks for the suggestion.
I have been to about 5 different Latin American countries and they all felt safe. As safe as I felt here in the U.S. just like in the U.S, as long as you stay away from the bad parts, you will be totally fine.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Why is everyone so transfixed with fear? Every city and resort in Latin America has dangerous districts, just like in the USA. It's easy to figure out where they are, especially if you are sober. Just avoid them, and don't drink with strangers.

It's Cheap everywhere, and I doubt if you and I would put Fun within the same parameters.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-09-2012 at 09:00 AM..
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