Is Latin America a safe place to take a vacation for foreigners? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that there are places that can be dangerous and situations that you should avoid when visiting. Belize is considered one of the safest places in Latin America to vacation or even to live contrary to recent news reports. One such report was about the stabbing death of Lynn Nichiporowich of Vancouver, Canada who was planning on living in Belize with her common law American husband.
She was living in a popular retirement community where she was found stabbed in what the authorities considered to be a home invasion. According to online comments connected to this report, incidents like this one are rare in Belize and while petty crime and the occasional bad luck do occur in Latin America, they also happen in just about any country in the world.
When it comes to vacationing in Belize, a lot of travelers visit because of the availability of inexpensive Belize vacation packages and the fact that the beaches there and accommodations are beautiful. Belize has been referred to as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret” and draws retiree’s from all over the world that move there to enjoy the affordable retirement communities and a wealth of outdoor activities; hiking and trekking around the country are very common (make sure to take the right equipment, however!)
That being said most people who vacation or live in Belize use common sense; good examples would be to avoid getting drunk and wandering around town alone, keep your doors locked, etc., the same considerations you would use in any third world country.
For those who prefer Mexico, the cheap beach vacations in Cancun Mexico resorts are incredible and in most cases safe. Millions of Americans travel to Mexico every year and never experience a problem. In 2012, almost 6 million U.S. citizens visited Mexico according to statistics provided by Mexico’s tourism ministry, and in the first quarter of 2013 there as an increase of 5.9%.
Travel experts and analysts acknowledge that security in Mexico fluctuates, at times dramatically from city to city, depending on the destination visited, the actions of the traveler and good old common sense.
The majority of the millions of U.S. citizens who visit Mexico head to resort cities along the coasts including taking cheap beach vacations in Cancun Mexico resorts. The Belize vacation packages including beach front resorts have a lot in common with Mexico’s resorts in that none are typically subject of travel advisories.
The best thing to do is use common sense as you travel Latin America including doing the following.
1. Avoid the big cities as often as possible
2. Don’t party out of control.
3. Take well known transportation and taxi’s after nightfall.
4. Always know where you are and where you’re going.
5. Don’t wear jewelry and avoid flashing your cash around.
6. Keep cash and important documents hidden in your clothes unless you need them for transportation or shopping.
7. Ask your travel agent or a trusted local about the safest place to visit, party, etc.
8. Travel light so you don’t have to deal with handling your bags and safely getting them on and off transportation.
9. Learn some Spanish – this will not only improve the Latin American experience but help you communicate regarding directions, money interactions, etc.
Bottom line, you can be hurt anywhere, but the risks vary from a business trip to the capital, to seeking out the sun, beautiful beaches and resorts in Cancun or Belize, or visiting family members across the border. If you’re staying in popular tourist areas and travel sensibly you more than likely won’t have a problem. Let’s face it, bad things happen to good people everywhere, not just in Latin America.
Reference: Mexico safety