Say hola to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world while exploring the vibrant cultures south of the border! From Mexico to Argentina, there is a diverse array of destinations to explore. The biggest question I always get asked on this topic, however, is which are the safe Latin American destinations for families?
The truth is that every country in the western half of the globe has safe and not-so-safe spots. Before you choose a destination, it is essential to do your homework.
Did you know that many places in the US have a significantly higher crime rate than Mexico? That is one reason why it is crucial to not just assume everywhere in one region is safe while another is dangerous. Look before you leap– and definitely before you book those plane tickets!
That’s why we are looking at the best stress-free and safe Latin American destinations for families.
Safe Latin American Destinations for Nature Lovers: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos Islands is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. Just over 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this is a bucket-list destination for any nature lover. The pristine beauty and unique landscape make this a one of kind locale.
This magical group of 19 islands is home to giant tortoises, unique iguanas, playful penguins, and social sea lions. It is the perfect place for kids to learn about wildlife and their natural habitats. And you can start the process before you go with this cool NatGeo Kids guide!
Before you travel to The Galápagos Islands, you will fly into Ecuador. This is another interesting and safe Latin American destination so plan at least a few days to explore before you set off for the islands.
Tip- You will meet a lot of families on a gap year in The Galápagos Islands. Read up on this fascinating new trend before you.
For Beach Lovers and Adventurers: Costa Rica
Always in a list of the safest countries in Latin America, this place is a tropical postcard come to life. With unspoiled beaches and hiking paths winding through volcanoes and waterfalls, Costa Rica is a dream destination.
Explore the Manuel Antonio National Park. Go snorkeling off the untouched beaches of Manzanillo. Surf in Golfo Dulce. Get your caffeine fix at with the world-class beans from the Central valley coffee plantations. Trust me, you will never be bored in Costa Rica.
For History Lovers: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Mexico is a popular destination for families and it is easy to see why. There are more than a few reasons why it is our favorite vacation spot!
The Riviera Maya is the new hotspot in Latin America and Playa del Carmen is its crown jewel. Nestled on the shore of the Caribbean Sea, just an hour north of Cancún [Books], this place was made for families.
There are ample all-inclusive resorts in Playa del Carmen to choose from. They make travel simple and stress-free, especially if you are with young children.
But there’s way more to do in Playa del Carmen than just lounging around the pool! Explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum, climb Cobá, and see one of the wonders of the world at Chichén Itzá. For first-class diving conditions through beautiful reefs, take the ferry over to Cozumel.
Tip- Even in safe Latin American destinations, there is one thing to look out for: hurricanes! They are unlikely to disrupt your travel plans but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Yearly hurricane forecasts are generally announced around May of each year. There are also general trends you can look at for each region to get an idea of what to expect. If you do opt to book a trip during hurricane season (which is totally okay!), just be sure to have a travel insurance protection that covers changes in the rare event that you do need to reschedule.
For Adventurous Families: Machu Picchu, Peru
Whether you are a history buff or just love to hike beautiful destinations, Machu Picchu is a must-see. Built during the 15th century, these remains from the Inca civilization will teach an unforgettable history lesson.
Machu Picchu is great for families but will be too much for young kids. It’s not a quick car ride away! Since Machu Picchu has an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet and is surrounded by rough terrain, you will need to take your time traveling there.
You will start your epic adventure by flying into Cusco. From there, you’ll take a 3.5-hour train ride to Machu Picchu Pueblo (AKA Aguas Calientes). It is best to spend one night in town to get used to the altitude before having a long day out at Machu Picchu.
From Aguas Calientes, you have a couple of options. There is a bus trip that will take you to the site in about 30 minutes or you can set off on foot. The beautiful but tiring hike will take you around two hours.
Tip- The main thing to worry in these safe Latin American destinations for families is overcrowding! Places like Machu Picchu are ultra-popular so plan ahead. The site only allows 5,200 paying visitors to prevent overcrowding so get your ticket online before you go. If possible avoid Sundays because that’s the day locals are allowed in for free so it’s extra busy.
Check out our article on Best Kid-Friendly Destinations in South America.