Is South America Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Traveling through South America can have varying levels of safety, largely dependent on the specific countries and locations you visit. Urban areas and popular tourist destinations are generally well-policed and safe, though it is still wise to exercise caution, particularly at night. Petty crime and pickpocketing can be common in crowded spaces. In more rural or remote regions, safety conditions can be less predictable and may require extra vigilance. As always, reaching out to local tourist information, staying in touch with your country’s embassy or consulate, and exercising general safety precautions all contribute to maintaining your wellbeing while traveling.

Safety rating

4 /5

Based on 7 experiences

3.5 /5

Based on research and crime data

Safety overview

Safety at night:Unsafe

South Americalike many destinations, varies greatly in safety from area to area. Urban locations and tourist hotspots are generally safer due to increased policing and surveillance, but remote regions can have less security. Nighttime can heighten safety risks, especially when walking alone, due to limited visibility and fewer people around. It is advisable to stay in well-populated, public areas, avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods at night, and always use reputable transportation services instead of walking.

Public transportation: Moderate

Public transportation in South America varies greatly by country and even by city. In well-populated regions, it's generally fairly safe, with metro systems and bus services frequently used by locals and tourists alike. However, theft can occur, especially in crowded conditions where pickpocketing is a hazard. Night bus travel could potentially be riskier due to potential robberies. Always maintain vigilance and keep a close eye on your belongings.

Street harassment: High

While experiences may vary, street harassment can occasionally be an issue for solo female travelers in South America. It is usually manifested in the form of cat-calling or persistent attention. This doesn’t mean it's a dangerous place to travel, and many women have fantastic times in this vibrant continent. However, it's always important to stay aware of your surroundings and trust your gut instincts.

Petty crimes:High

Petty crimes such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and opportunistic theft, especially in major urban areas and places frequented by tourists, are prevalent in parts of South America. Additionally, scams, taxi fraud, and credit card cloning are not uncommon. It's always important to stay aware of your belongings, not to display luxury items, and avoid unnecessary attention. However, experiences may be different in each country and even each city or region in South America.

Tap water:Unsafe

Tap water safety can vary widely in South America. Although in some areas like Chile and Uruguay, it is generally safe, in other places like Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador you should avoid drinking tap water due to risk of contaminants and waterborne diseases. Bottled water is a much safer choice throughout the region.

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Travel experiences

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 7 experiences

Rating summary

Things to do

4.6/5

Safety

4/5

Food

4.6/5

Budget-friendly

4/5

Solo travel experience

I went solo to Colombia (Bogota, Medellin), Ecuador (Quito, Banos, Cuenca), Peru (Trujillo, Lima, Cusco, Puno, Arequipa), Chile (Iquique, Santiago, Punto Arenas) and Argentina (Ushuaia, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza). I took a couple of flights but mostly got from place to place by bus. South American long-distance buses are in general very affordable and surprisingly really comfortable. Safety-wise, not only did I not ever have a frightening experience at all, but also several incredible experiences of just total strangers with whom I barely shared any language being incredibly kind.

Posted: June 19, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 5/5
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Meet locals in South America

Layla

Layla

Speaking

About Me

23yo, cabin crew in Brazil. Loves to read and travel, but I’m not a huge fan of traveling alone so I’m trying to change that

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇪 Belgium, 🇧🇷 Brazil, 🇨🇴 Colombia, 🇭🇷 Croatia, 🇫🇷 France, 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇬🇷 Greece, 🇮🇹 Italy, 🇺🇸 United States, 🇹🇷 Turkey, 🇳🇱 Netherlands, 🇵🇹 Portugal, 🇦🇷 Argentina, 🇻🇦 Vatican City

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Maricí

Maricí

Speaking

About Me

I'm a girl that loves traveling, learning and sharing cultures.

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇷 Brazil, 🇫🇷 France, 🇹🇷 Turkey, 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇮🇪 Ireland, 🇨🇭 Switzerland

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Julia

Julia

Speaking

About Me

I'm a 22 years old brazilian who wants to meet new people, show around my city and let you know how is the real and tradicional Rio de Janeiro beside the turistic points! our culture, food, what we like to do and also, practice my english. I think it would be a good way to make memories, of course. As a good brazilian, I LOVE talking and have fun!! If you interested or need some help with anything, just text me. Thank you💖

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇷 Brazil, 🇵🇹 Portugal

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Stay with locals in South America

Alejandra

Alejandra

Speaking

You can stay for:

3 days

About me

Hello! I’m Alejandra Abella. I love theater and music. Currently, I am learning programming. I love animals, I have 5 animals at home. My favorite food is sushi. I love talking with a lot of people. I practice swimming. I work as a ICT teacher. Usually I’m really full with all activities. I love with my parents and brother. I would be pleasure to be in touch with you.

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇷 Brazil, 🇦🇷 Argentina, 🇺🇾 Uruguay, 🇺🇸 United States, 🇫🇷 France, 🇮🇹 Italy, 🇪🇸 Spain

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Agus

Agus

Speaking

You can stay for:

3 days

About me

I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina I love travel, music, beach, sea, nature, summer, bike

Countries I’ve Visited

🇧🇷 Brazil, 🇦🇷 Argentina

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Nãna

Nãna

Speaking

You can stay for:

7 days

About me

I'm an artsy introvert who loves live music, nice views, and a good cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Countries I’ve Visited

🇦🇷 Argentina, 🇧🇷 Brazil

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Upcoming visitors to South America

Fenia

Fenia

About Me

Hi! I am Fenia, I am Greek and I love traveling, many times solo! I spend days and days planning a trip and I know it can get difficult sometimes. If I could help and get helped in that it would be lovely!

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Fenia

Fenia

About Me

Hi! I am Fenia, I am Greek and I love traveling, many times solo! I spend days and days planning a trip and I know it can get difficult sometimes. If I could help and get helped in that it would be lovely!

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Fenia

Fenia

About Me

Hi! I am Fenia, I am Greek and I love traveling, many times solo! I spend days and days planning a trip and I know it can get difficult sometimes. If I could help and get helped in that it would be lovely!

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Safety in South America