South America
South America Destination Guide

Travel Warnings


Street crime in the larger cities, especially greater Buenos Aires, is a serious problem for residents and visitors alike. Visitors to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be alert to muggers, pickpockets, and purse-snatchers on the street and at bus and train stations. Criminals usually work in groups, are usually armed, and employ a variety of ruses to victimize the unsuspecting visitor. A common scam is to spray mustard or a similar substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, rob the victim. Another common scam is for victims to be approached by someone with a map asking for directions, while another accomplice robs the victim.

Bolivia : Thefts of bags, wallets and backpacks are a problem throughout Bolivia, but especially in the tourist areas of downtown La Paz and the Altiplano. Most thefts involve two or three people who spot a likely victim and wait until the bag or backpack is placed on the ground, often at a restaurant, bus terminal, Internet café, etc.Visitors should avoid being alone on the streets, especially at night and in isolated areas.

Brazil : The incidence of crime against tourists is greater in areas surrounding beaches, hotels, discotheques, bars, nightclubs, and other similar establishments that cater to visitors and is especially prevalent during Carnaval (Brazilian Mardi Gras). Occasionally, crime against tourists has been violent and has led to some deaths. While the risk is greater at dusk and during the evening hours, street crime can occur during both the day and night, and safer areas of the city are not immune. Incidents of theft on city buses are frequent, and such transportation should be avoided. Several Brazilian cities have established specialized tourist police units to patrol areas frequented by tourists.

Chile : Crime rates are relatively low. Most crimes against foreigners involve pick pocketing or theft from purses, backpacks, or rental cars.

Columbia : The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Colombia. Violence by narcoterrorist groups and other criminal elements continues to affect all parts of the country, urban and rural, and border areas. Citizens of the United States and other countries continue to be the victims of threats, kidnappings, and other violence.

Violence has decreased markedly in most urban centers, including Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, and Cartagena.Much of rural Colombia also remains extremely dangerous due to the presence of narcoterrorists and Colombian government operations against them.

Ecuador : Travelers to Ecuador’s beach areas should be aware that strong, currents, undertow and underwater hazards may exist. While some beaches have lifeguard stations, they are usually unmanned.

Venezuela : Cross-border violence, kidnapping, smuggling and drug trafficking occur frequently in areas along the 1,000-mile border between Venezuela and Colombia.

Falkland Islands
French Guiana (Fr.)
Trinidad and Tobago
Amazon Rainforest
Amazon River
Angel Falls
Easter Island
Nazca Lines
Lake Titicaca
Iguazu Falls
Machu Picchu
Petrohue Falls
South America History
Inca Civilization
Travel Warnings
Travel Tips