a real look into:

The Safety Of Expats Relocating To Latin America

Unfortunately, Latin America has a reputation for being a dangerous place to live due to high rates of crime and violence. However, this reputation is not entirely deserved. While it’s true that some parts of Latin America are less safe than others, there are also many areas that are perfectly safe for expats to live and work.

In truth, the United States is not immune to safety issues either. When compared to Latin America, the US can be just as dangerous in some areas and just as safe in others. In fact, many people from the United States who live in Latin America will tell you that they feel safer than they did in their home country.

In terms of overall crime rates, the United States and Latin America are not all that different. According to the World Population Review in 2023, the US has a crime rate of 47.7 per 1000 people, while Latin America has an average crime rate of 34.8 per 1000 people. This means that while some parts of Latin America have higher crime rates than the US, others have lower crime rates, and the region as a whole is not more dangerous than the US.

Additionally, the United States has its fair share of issues with violence and crime. Mass shootings, gun violence, and police brutality are all major problems that the country has been grappling with for years.

Furthermore, the US has a large and diverse population, which means that different areas of the country can vary greatly in terms of safety. Some cities, such as New York and Chicago, have higher crime rates than others, while some rural areas may have virtually no crime at all. The same is true for Latin America, where some cities and regions are considered to be very safe, while others are known for high levels of crime and violence.

The key is to understand the real safety issues and avoid areas that are considered unsafe by locals within each region. With some research, preparation, and common sense, you can have a very safe and enjoyable experience as an expat living and traveling in Latin America.

Here’s what you can do to make an informed decision about the safety of your travel and move.

Research, research, research

The first step in ensuring your safety is to research your chosen destination thoroughly. Look up crime rates, political stability, ongoing conflicts, and any other potential risks. Talk to expats who already live there to get their perspectives and personal experiences on safety.

Next, learn about the local crime trends and the types of crimes that are most common in the area. This information can help you decide if the safety concerns are anything to be seriously worried about.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Latin America is a vast and diverse region, consisting of 33 countries, each with its own unique culture, language, and history. While some countries in Latin America do have higher crime rates than others, this is by no means a universal truth. For example, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Chile are all considered to be relatively safe countries, with low crime rates and stable political climates.

On the other hand, countries like Honduras and Venezuela do have high crime rates and political instability. However, even in these countries, there are safe areas and neighborhoods where you can live and work without fear. Yes, there are expats living and working in these countries in 2023!

In your research don’t take travel alerts and the media too seriously. In some cases, travel alerts may be issued to discourage travelers from visiting a particular country for political or economic reasons, and may not reflect the real risks involved. Similarly, the media may exaggerate the dangers of a destination to attract viewers and readers. As a result, travelers who rely solely on these sources in their research may miss out on some of the most incredible experiences Latin America has to offer.

And keep in mind most crimes towards expats in the safer regions of Latin America are non-violent and opportunistic, such as pickpocketing or theft which you can completely avoid by having common sense and learning how to be street smart.

Talk to other expats and nomads

One of the best ways to get a sense of safety for expats living in Latin America is to talk to others who’ve already made the move. Join expat and nomad groups on social media, or the online platforms Expat and InterNations, to ask advice from those who’ve relocated to where you’re considering going.

Be open and honest about your concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask for specific advice or recommendations. Most expat groups are full of people happy to give support and advice, and they’ll be able to give you a realistic perspective on safety concerns in your chosen destination.

Just remember, everyone’s experience is different and their answers will vary greatly from the perspective of age, gender, and family and marital status, so while it’s important to hear from real life experiences, take any advice with a grain of salt.

Start learning the language & culture

One of the most exciting aspects of moving to Latin America is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new language and culture. However, language barriers and cultural differences can also impact your safety as an expat.

If you don’t speak the local language, it can be challenging to navigate your new environment and communicate with others. It’s recommended to learn some basic phrases and take language classes before you move. Learning about the local customs and cultural norms can also help you to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

If your chosen destination has a very different culture from your home country, and you’re not fluent in the language, check to see if there is an expat community. Expat communities are always a great resource for helping with questions about cultural etiquette, and emergency help in English if needed.

Final thoughts

Moving to Latin America can provide you with a high quality of life and personal and financial freedom, along with being an incredibly safe experience. Do your research, choose the right destination, learn the language and culture, and follow basic safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience as an expat in Latin America.

Get expert help with your decision. Schedule a consultation call to find out which LATAM countries work best for you.

Remember, safety is not guaranteed anywhere in the world, but with a little research and common sense, you can have a wonderful life as an expat living in Latin America.

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