The U.S. State Department includes Ecuador on a short list of the safest countries in Latin America. The State Department issues safety ratings for all countries for the benefit of U.S. tourists.
Under a new safety rating system introduced this month, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Paraguay are rated in Category 1, countries posing the lowest risk to travelers.
Crime is the largest factor in determining safety risk, according to the State Department. Ecuador ranks second behind Chile for lowest murder rate in Latin America, and third behind Chile, Argentina for lower rate of violent crime.
No country in Latin America appears on the State Department’s Category 4, “Do not travel,” list, which includes Syria, North Korea and Somalia, but six are listed as Category 3, or “Reconsider travel plans.” Those are El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras and Venezuela.
Most Latin American countries are included in Category 2, in which the Department urges “Continuing vigilance” for travelers.
In a travel safety memo, the State Department noted that Ecuador and Paraguay have shown the most safety improvement among Latin American countries in recent years. The memo expressed “high concern” about the growing dangers in Colombia, citing the “rapidly expanding drug trade,” especially in the cities of Cali and Medellin.
In addition to crime, the State Department warns of political unrest that can turn violent in several countries, including Venezuela, Honduras, and Peru.