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Is Central America Safe to Visit? 15+ Ways to Stay Safe! (Updated 2019)

The small and colorful buildings of Central America
Posted: 7/6/2019 | July 6th, 2019

Central America is one in every of my favorite regions for backpacking. While it may be challenging to get round, it additionally gives unimaginable magnificence, ample nature, picturesque beaches, and reasonably priced costs.

Political upheaval and civil unrest stored vacationers at bay for a very long time, nevertheless. But lately the world has developed into one thing of a hotspot for vacationers, surfers, and retirees.

Why?

As a result of Central America has one thing for everybody!

However is it protected?

Sure — but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to take precautions.

In this publish, I’ll go over the whole lot you need to know to stay protected and have a tremendous trip in this extremely numerous region!

What Nations are in Central America?

There are seven nations in Central America:

Click on on the map for country guides:

Central America Placeholder
Central America

8 Essential Safety Ideas for Central America

While Central America is considered usually protected for traveling and backpacking, there’s no denying that some precautions must be taken.

  • Concentrate on your surroundings – It may be straightforward to stop paying consideration and let your guard down. However that’s when catastrophe strikes. All the time concentrate on your environment.
  • Avoid isolated areas – Should you’re somewhere isolated, you’ll be at a higher danger for getting robbed, particularly at night time and in massive cities. Attempt to stay where the crowds are. That’s one of the simplest ways to keep away from being singled out by potential muggers.
  • Don’t wear flashy gadgets – Petty theft is the most typical menace here, so remove any jewellery or watches, and don’t wave your telephone round. Do your greatest to mix in, so you don’t turn out to be a target for pickpockets.
  • Separate your money – Hold solely the cash that you simply need for the day on you. Hold the remaining locked away safely at your lodging.
  • Take taxis at night time – When you need to get someplace at night time, take a taxi. Will probably be safer than any public transportation. Have your lodging call the taxi for you, so that you could be positive you’re getting a good driver.
  • Watch out on public transit – When you have to take public transit, maintain your valuables on you and hold them properly secured, especially on hen buses (colorful, modified, and adorned buses that transport items and other people). Petty theft is widespread on night time buses, so keep away from them when you can.
  • Don’t do medicine – The cartels right here have actually made life troublesome for the local inhabitants. Don’t help them by buying their products. Drug penalties are additionally harsh within the area, and you don’t need to find yourself in jail here!
  • Buy travel insurance coverage – Journey insurance coverage will hold you protected when you get injured or ailing, are a sufferer of theft, or have to cope with delayed or canceled flights. It’s a worthwhile funding and may prevent hundreds of dollars. Don’t danger touring with out it!

On the finish of the day, you’ll just need to all the time trust your intestine intuition. If a taxi driver seems shady, cease the cab and get out. If your lodge is seedier than you thought and appears unsafe, get out of there and discover a new place to stay. You’ve gotten every right to remove yourself from such situations, so do what you want to do to really feel protected.

What is the Northern Triangle? Is it Safe?

The Northern Triangle includes Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It’s the area of Central America that traditionally (and at present) has probably the most crime and violence. This is often concentrated within the bigger cities, and notably in particular neighborhoods. When you’re going to be in the capital cities of any of those three nations, you’ll want to speak to your hostel or lodge employees for probably the most up-to-date security advice.

That being stated, in case you’re visiting vacationer areas or happening nature excursions, you then gained’t have any issues here so long as you comply with the security advice above.

What’s the Most secure Nation in Central America?

Costa Rica, which supplies safety and stability alongside unimaginable natural beauty. In fact, costs are also much larger and mirror the country’s status as “the Switzerland of Central America.”

For those who’re new to backpacking and need to start off someplace that gives a superb mixture of adventure and security, go for Costa Rica. It was the first country I ever backpacked in, and I completely liked it!

When it comes to security, the subsequent greatest place is Panama. It’s residence to a growing group of expats and retirees, which is giving the country an economic increase and making it a bit more gringo pleasant. Meaning you’ll give you the option to get a lot of nice ideas and options (together with particular, native security ideas) from the expat group whereas still having your self an adventure.

Coming in robust behind Panama is Belize. It does an incredible job of balancing security with plenty of issues to see and do!

Is Central America Safe for Solo Travelers?

Central America is sort of protected for solo vacationers. So long as you keep away from remoted areas and don’t journey alone at night time, you’ll find a way to avoid the most typical issues tourists face, akin to petty crime.

When you’re nervous that you simply gained’t really feel protected, attempt to be a part of a gaggle of different travelers or invite individuals from your hostel to be a part of you if you exit. That method, you’ll give you the chance to really feel protected while also getting to connect with other individuals.

As a solo traveler, ensure to scan your passport and other necessary documents and e-mail them to yourself in case you do occur to run into hassle.

Additionally, be certain to download offline maps and offline language apps so you’ll be able to lookup directions should you get lost or communicate with the locals in an emergency. In case you can, attempt to study some Spanish before you go too. Even a number of key phrases can go a great distance!

Is Central America Safe for Solo Feminine Vacationers in Specific?

Solo female travelers will need to be more on guard throughout their time in Central America. Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize are the safest nations in the region. For those who’re new solo female travel, stick to these nations.

Outdoors of those three nations, I’d recommend new solo female travelers stick to group travel or tours, just to be protected. Nevertheless, experienced solo feminine vacationers should give you the chance to navigate the region without an excessive amount of further concern.

Ladies must be additional cautious in giant cities, although, especially at night time. Past that, as long as you comply with the standard precautions, you’ll find a way to have a tremendous time!

Are Taxis Safe in Central America?

The taxis in Central America are protected and dependable, although you’ll all the time want to be sure to’re getting in marked taxi. By no means get in an unmarked automotive.

Through the day, you’ll be able to hail a taxi from the road safely, however you’ll need to concentrate on the local customized, as some nations’ taxis use meters and others require you to negotiate a worth prematurely.

If taking a taxi at night time, have your lodging name it for you. Never hail a random taxi at night time.

Can You Eat the Road Meals in Central America?

You guess you possibly can! You’ll discover all types of wonderful road meals stands and native restaurants in Central America, and also you’d be lacking out in case you didn’t attempt them! Just be certain that to stick to locations where there are a variety of locals gathered. That’s how you already know the meals shouldn’t be solely protected however delicious too!

For probably the most half, you’ll encounter places that promote numerous sorts of hen. As long as it is absolutely cooked (not pink on the inside) and hasn’t been in the sun all day, dive in and provides it a attempt! A number of meals here may even be deep-fried, which can virtually all the time be protected (just not wholesome).

Don’t hesitate to ask your lodge or hostel employees for road meals or restaurant options. They’ll little question have some delicious — and completely protected — ones for you.

Can You Drink the Water in Central America?

As a basic dominated you’ll want to avoid the tap water in Central America, although it’s probably positive in Costa Rica and Panama.

The easiest way to be sure that your consuming water is protected is to deliver a Steripen or Lifestraw on your reusable water bottle. This manner you’ll give you the chance to purify the tap water so you don’t get sick — and avoiding single-use plastic bottles within the process.

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With so many reasonably priced lodging and transportation options, beautiful landscapes, plentiful outside adventures, and delightful beaches, it ought to come as no shock that Central America is among the most backpacked regions of the world.

Positive, it’d get a nasty rap due to its violent historical past and financial struggles, however that doesn’t mean it’s categorically unsafe. By following the information above, you’ll give you the option to keep protected and wholesome throughout your subsequent go to!

P.S. – Did you know I wrote a brand new e-book? It’s referred to as “Ten Years a Nomad” and it’s all concerning the lessons I’ve discovered from a lifetime of travel. It features tons of tales and misadventures I’ve by no means informed on this blog as nicely! It comes out July 16th! Click right here to study more and seize your copy at present! (I’ll be happening a ebook tour too!)

E-book Your Trip to Central America: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite serps as a result of they search websites and airways around the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Ebook Your Accommodation
To seek out the most effective finances accommodation, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective rates for guesthouses and low cost lodges. You possibly can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have probably the most complete inventory. Some of my favourite places to stay in Costa Rica:

  • Dirty McNasty (Caye Caulker, Belize) – This is likely one of the largest hostels in the nation and a hub for party-goers. In the event you’re wanting to let unfastened, this is the hostel for you!
  • Rocking J’s (Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica) – This an establishment in Central America. The hostel has been there for ages and there’s a gorgeous white sand seashore in front of it. They have nightly BBQs.
  • The Naken Tiger (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua) – Situated in San Juan del Sur, the Naked Tiger is an unimaginable property nestled a bit far out of town but on prime of a hill with a ravishing view of the whole area.

Don’t Overlook Travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will shield you towards illness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes flawed. I never go on a visit without it as I’ve had to use it many occasions prior to now. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that provide the most effective service and value are:

In search of the perfect corporations to get monetary savings with?
Take a look at my resource page for one of the best corporations to use whenever you travel! I listing all those I exploit to get monetary savings once I travel – and I feel will allow you to too!

Want Extra Info on Central America?
Make sure to visit our strong vacation spot information on Central America for even more planning ideas!