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**Is it Safe to Travel to South America in 2020?**

South America is a continent of diverse cultures, landscapes, and adventures. However, concerns about safety often deter travelers from exploring this incredible region. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing political unrest, it’s essential to assess the safety situation in South America before planning a trip.

## COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted travel worldwide. As of August 2020, South America has experienced over 7 million confirmed cases and 200,000 deaths due to the virus.

* **Brazil:** The hardest-hit country in South America, with over 3 million cases and 100,000 deaths.
* **Peru:** The second-most affected country, with over 600,000 cases and 20,000 deaths.
* **Colombia:** Over 400,000 cases and 15,000 deaths reported.

**Travel Restrictions:** Many South American countries have implemented strict travel restrictions to contain the virus spread, including:

* **Quarantine:** Mandatory quarantine periods for international arrivals.
* **Border closures:** Some countries have closed their borders to non-essential travel.
* **Flight cancellations:** Airlines have significantly reduced flights to and within South America.

**Health and Safety Measures:** Countries in South America have taken various measures to ensure travelers’ health and safety, such as:

* **Mask mandates:** Mandatory mask-wearing in public places.
* **Social distancing:** Enforced social distancing guidelines in public spaces.
* **Sanitation measures:** Increased cleaning and disinfection of public areas.

## Political Unrest

Political unrest is another concern for travelers in South America. In recent years, several countries have experienced protests, strikes, and violence related to political and economic issues.

* **Bolivia:** Protests and political instability following the 2019 presidential election.
* **Chile:** Ongoing protests over social inequality and corruption.
* **Venezuela:** A humanitarian crisis, political turmoil, and ongoing power struggles.

**Safety Tips for Travelers:**

While South America can be a safe destination with proper planning and precautions, it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take the necessary measures to minimize them. Consider the following safety tips:

* **Research your destination:** Gather information about the safety situation in the countries you plan to visit.
* **Register with your embassy:** Notify your embassy or consulate of your travel plans for support in case of an emergency.
* **Stay informed:** Monitor local news and social media for updates on protests or unrest.
* **Avoid isolated areas:** Stick to well-populated streets and public places.
* **Be cautious of valuables:** Keep your passport, cash, and credit cards secure.
* **Respect local customs:** Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions to avoid misunderstandings.
* **Learn basic Spanish:** Basic Spanish knowledge can help you communicate with locals and navigate unfamiliar areas.

## Safety Considerations by Country

The safety situation varies from country to country in South America. Here’s a brief overview of some popular destinations:

* **Argentina:** Generally safe for travelers, with low levels of crime and political unrest.
* **Brazil:** Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo can be unsafe, especially in tourist areas. Be aware of pickpocketing and muggings.
* **Chile:** Relatively safe, but political protests can occur in major cities like Santiago.
* **Colombia:** Has experienced significant improvement in safety in recent years. However, crime rates in some areas remain high.
* **Peru:** Cusco and Machu Picchu are popular tourist destinations with low crime rates. However, be aware of petty theft and scams.

## Is it Safe to Travel to South America in 2020?

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to travel to South America in 2020 is a personal one. While there are risks to consider, South America offers unique and unforgettable experiences for travelers who are prepared and take necessary precautions. By researching your destination, following safety tips, and staying informed about the latest developments, you can minimize risks and maximize the enjoyment of your travels in South America.

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