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  1. #1
    LitePacking
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    Safety in South America

    Just wondering if i could bother somebody to range or put name on whats the most safest lands in South America to tour in?, i prefer the coast line.


    Safe for me is when:

    -roads are cycling friendly
    -small amounts of bandits and crimes is replaced by friendly people
    -small amount of poisonous bugs and snakes

    Nice if we could eliminate this topics:
    Yes i know that no place is safe..
    Yes i know it depends on me..
    Yes i know we all have a different view on what safe is..
    Yes i know you probably is safer in South America than USA according to "some" people..

  2. #2
    LitePacking
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    Is there anybody out there?
    Last edited by LitePacking; 06-08-08 at 06:15 AM. Reason: Was drunk

  3. #3
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    As you can see very little traffic in this forum, and mostly in Spanish.

    I am in Argentina, and I would say cycling here is quite safe. However coastline routes have very long stretches between towns, all flat, lots of desert in Patagonia, and no view of the ocean from the roads, I'd pick mountain routes in Argentina. Good and safe coastline routes can be found in Uruguay. Chile is also very safe and has a lot of coast. Carretera Austral in the South of Chile is a GREAT ride, but very rough unpaved road. For real beach roads go to Brasil. Brasil is not as safe as Argentina/Uruguay/Chile, but outside of the larger cities it is safe enough I think, safer in the south I suspect. Central America and Mexico are in general less safe. Colombia and Venezuela are safer than public opinion might suspect outside of specific regions. Peru and Ecuador are quite safe, but Ecuador has very little coast, Peru's coast is a desert. Safe coastal routes in Latin America? I'd say Chile, Uruguay or Brasil. Avoid the stretch of Brasil between Porto Alegre and the Uruguay border, very boring, road goes west of a murky fresh water lagoon. To see South American beach culture at its best, start in Montevideo and go North East, in January-February, but it is a short ride 400 km perhaps to the Brasil border, you could do a round trip out of Montevideo, or do a loop, Uruguay is a very curious country.
    Last edited by Xanti Andia; 06-12-08 at 10:22 AM.
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  4. #4
    LitePacking
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    Thanks

    This was great help i think. Just the tings i needed to know to short out stuff in early stages.
    If you could help me with a couple of questions based on Chile and Uruguay i be very thankful.

    Where do they understand English best in those 2 countries?
    What country is the cheapest to live in?
    Witch of those to countries is most friendly to foreigners?


    Best
    John

  5. #5
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    I'd say you don't have a significant diference between Chile and Uruguay in that respect. Neither country has a lot of English speakers, but you will get by, and you will find some people that are fluent, very variable, neither country has a particular gripe on foreigners, Uruguay might be a little cheaper than Chile. These factors should not be your key to the decission, I think more route, terrain, length of trip and season should be your considerations. Another issue is fellow travelers, you might run into some cycle tourers in Chile, much less likely Uruguay.

    Choose Uruguay for social curiosity and uniqueness, choose Chile for great scenery if you choose your route properly. The Puerto Montt area of Chile is great, and you can go over to Argentina / Bariloche area without a lot of climbing. December-March.

    Here is a good map of the area:
    http://www.turistel.cl/secciones/map...ros/chiloe.htm.

    Here is a touring site in Chile http://www.ciclonautas.cl/ , in Spanish, but you might want to post in the forum in English and see what response you get. This would be the right section:
    http://www.ciclonautas.cl/foros/principal.htm
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  6. #6
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    I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil and have been to Uruguay in three different occasions. My opinion is that Uruguay is 10x safer than Brazil. I know Sao Paulo is one of the biggest cities in the world and that should not effect may view of the whole country, but I have been to a lot of places in Brasil especially the south such as santa catarina, paraná, and porto alegre. Uruguay is still safer. There is much less crime, the roads are better paved, etc. In Uruguay I went to many places, but mainly Punta del Este and Montevideo. Both are very lovely and beautiful. I never biked there, but the general atmosphere was great and remember the roads were very well paved. Unfortunately I always felt like Brazil was a lawless country you could get anything through bribes and they were was no respect in the road.

    I drove from Punta del Este to Montevideo than to a small city I can't remember the name and took a ferry to Buenos Aires. I think this type of ride would be awesome on a bike. I wish one day I can go back to visit and do such a ride. I agree with the previous poster that biking north between Montevideo to Brazil would be very boring.

    Daniel

  7. #7
    weirdo
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    Very interesting thread- I`m glad I read it. I doubt I`ll ever end up riding in S.A., probably never even go there, but it has always interrested me and I enjoy reading about it and looking at pictures- especially the Andes and the Altoplano. Xanti Andia, if you`re still watching this thread, I`m curious about something you said. Have you traveled in Mexico? Its that I always imagined S.A. to be a bit dangerous, especially Brasil, Columbia and Venezuela. This is my perception and I do not have any real reason to think that- I`m not trying to claim it`s true. I`ve travelled extensively throughout Mexico and feel unsafe only in the captial. Since I haven`t ever talked to anybody who knows both Mexico and a large part of South America, I was wondering whether you are relating your experience or speculating the same as I am. Please don`t think I`m trying to argue- I really am curious about why you think of Mexico as being more dangerous than S.A. And thank you for the info that you already posted. Like I said, even though I will probably never ride outside of N.A., I really love reading about the rest of the world. It keeps alive the dream that ONE DAY, MAYBE...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Have you traveled in Mexico? Its that I always imagined S.A. to be a bit dangerous, especially Brasil, Columbia and Venezuela. This is my perception and I do not have any real reason to think that- I`m not trying to claim it`s true. I`ve travelled extensively throughout Mexico and feel unsafe only in the captial. Since I haven`t ever talked to anybody who knows both Mexico and a large part of South America, I was wondering whether you are relating your experience or speculating the same as I am. ...
    My direct experience in Mexico is only Mexico City, otherwise I only know what I have read. I suspect Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and possibly Caracas to be the most dangerous spots in Latin America. I expect that much of Mexico outside of DF is quite safe, less safe in border areas, both north and south. I was overly generalizing in my statement, but I have read several travel reports of problems in Central America (particularly Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala), and suspect they have problems that do not end in their borders. I have traveled through much of South America, except for Venezuela, my only direct experience with crime has been being held up once in Buenos Aires.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]www.tangotandem.org

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Thank you. Yeah, my only direct experience with violent crime happened where I consider to be a safe area too. That probably says something about our impressions and expectations.

  10. #10
    Fuggeddaboutit
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    In Sao Paulo, I was mugged once in a beach called Guaruja and they stole my sneakers and watch and I learned my lesson. Never wear new sneakers or watch. They also broke into my house and stole my fax machine and computer. I also never had a new car there.

    Basically you are never safe anywhere you go. You have to learn the environment you are in and act accordingly. Don't have your wife walk around with a big diamond ring in Rio. Dress and act low key. With a little homework you can be safe anywhere you go.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcuper1 View Post
    I drove from Punta del Este to Montevideo than to a small city I can't remember the name and took a ferry to Buenos Aires. I think this type of ride would be awesome on a bike. I wish one day I can go back to visit and do such a ride. I agree with the previous poster that biking north between Montevideo to Brazil would be very boring.
    Daniel
    Good comments Daniel. The small city where you took the ferry boat to Buenos Aires was Colonia del Sacramento. I have traveled by land (mostly bus) through most countries of central + south america, and lived in Chile for several years also. Uruguay is a good place for cycling, although I generally avoided the main roads and kept to the rural backroads. Lots of small towns scattered around, making it easy to find a place to eat and a place to stay while pedaling around.

  12. #12
    Biking to the Pits IntoThickAir's Avatar
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    danger is about statistics; and a note on Puerto Montt

    Dear Zephyr,

    Your recommendation of sticking to back roads reminds me that the greatest threat to the safety of a touring cyclist is not bandits or snakes, but vehicles. (assuming you stay away from wars). The easiest way to not be hurt or killed is to stay off busy roads as much as possible. Luckily, a bicycle is portable enough to hitchike with, so if you feel threatened, just stop and catch a ride. (or catch a bus or train).


    As for personal recommendations, I once rode from Puerto Montt, Chile, to Peninsula Valdes, Argentina, via Bariloche, Esquel, Paso del Sapo, and Trelew. Bandit-free. No snakes, although I did see a fine specimen of tarantula crossing the road. Best of all, there's a stretch of road in the Andes that lies between two lakes that are crossed only by ferries that don't carry cars. Besides the shuttle that takes passengers from one lake to the next twice a day, there is absolutely no traffic on the road, which takes you over the crest of the Andes. It's a gravel road, and the weather's lousy (usually raining), but it's dramatic - and safe.

    In Argentina, the coastal road was ridiculously windy. In fact, so was most of the Argentine desert of Patagonia. I don't recommend it for a cycle tourist, unless you thrill to dust devils.

    Yours,
    Jim

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    Basically i like travel to several places ...! but Im working in Software field so i cant travel to anywhere. when i read this all thread i decided to enjoy with travel.

  14. #14
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    Wow, Peru was quickly looked over for having a "desert" coastline, which is largely untrue. If you were keen to travel there, and stick to the coast, then you'll want to stick to the Northwest section and down as far as Lima. People are friendly as, easy to get around, and no bugs/snakes, unless you accidentally headed east to the jungle, but you'd have to cross over the Andes first, so you'd know you were going in the wrong direction eh
    Chile has got to be a must as well. Travelling along the coastline there with views of the dramatic Andes is an awe-inspiring experience! I like Jim's note above about touring from Puerto Montt, Chile, to Peninsula Valdes, Argentina. The main thing I'd like to add is that you choose wisely the time of year to do it. The further south you go the more you'll want to plan being there for the southern summer (ie Northern Hemisphere winter). In fact, if your plans to cycle in South America are dictated by a particular time of year that you can get off work, then that in many ways will dictate where you will want to be cycling!

    Cheers,
    Steve


    Steve Wilson
    www.aspiringadventures.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    A second recommendation for Uruguay. My (ex-)wife is Uruguayan and as such, I've made several trips there. It is high on my list of places to retire when I do so in about another 5-6 years. I've wandered about on my own and never felt in danger. That might be due to my size, (6'3" and 205 lbs. (190.6 cm and 93 kg.)), and not acting like a stupid American tourist. Embrace the culture, leave your's at home. Most of the roads are good for cycling, (otherwise it wouldn't be on my short list of retirement places). My high school Spanish was plenty enough to get by. Buenos Aires is pretty nice also, but a bit of a madhouse compared to Uruguay. Very European with a Latino twist.
    Deut 6:5

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    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanti Andia View Post
    As you can see very little traffic in this forum, and mostly in Spanish.

    I am in Argentina, and I would say cycling here is quite safe. However coastline routes have very long stretches between towns, all flat, lots of desert in Patagonia, and no view of the ocean from the roads, I'd pick mountain routes in Argentina. Good and safe coastline routes can be found in Uruguay. Chile is also very safe and has a lot of coast. Carretera Austral in the South of Chile is a GREAT ride, but very rough unpaved road. For real beach roads go to Brasil. Brasil is not as safe as Argentina/Uruguay/Chile, but outside of the larger cities it is safe enough I think, safer in the south I suspect. Central America and Mexico are in general less safe. Colombia and Venezuela are safer than public opinion might suspect outside of specific regions. Peru and Ecuador are quite safe, but Ecuador has very little coast, Peru's coast is a desert. Safe coastal routes in Latin America? I'd say Chile, Uruguay or Brasil. Avoid the stretch of Brasil between Porto Alegre and the Uruguay border, very boring, road goes west of a murky fresh water lagoon. To see South American beach culture at its best, start in Montevideo and go North East, in January-February, but it is a short ride 400 km perhaps to the Brasil border, you could do a round trip out of Montevideo, or do a loop, Uruguay is a very curious country.
    what are your statements, in order to say that Mexico is less safe than South America, As far as I know (been in Mexico for many years, but also traveling to Latin America)México is as safe as the rest of Latin America.

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    Umm...
    ....speaking of "many years", did you happen to look at the date for that post that you just quoted?

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