Safety traveling around South America

El Duderino

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A friend and I are planning a 2 month trip around S. America starting in February. The rough itinerary is 2-3 weeks in Patagonia, then just head north until Colombia. Mostly by bus, but probably using a plane to get out of Patagonia. I'll just have a 60 litre backpack with me, including about $1500 worth of camera stuff.

How bad is theft traveling around these areas? I will be purchasing trip insurance, but if my bag gets stolen it will probably mean the end of the trip. I've been super careful in BsAs and in the 7 months I've lived here I've never been victim of a crime.

I know it's a pretty vague question, but I'm looking for feedback and advice based on personal experience.

Thanks! :cool:
 

elhombresinnombre

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For my first, big South American trip, I took an enormous backpack containing everything except a kitchen sink. In fact it may have contained a kitchen sink without my knowing because I'd never have found it amongst all the other stuff. For my most recent trip (overland from Ottawa to Buenos Aires with a hop, skip and a jump over Darién) I took everything I needed in a 20litre day sack - plus essentials and copies of essentials in false pockets and cut-outs in my shoes.

Cut the baggage down and then cut it down some more: take only absolute essentials and no things just because they might come in useful.

The point being that you can't avoid being separated from a big backpack but a small daysack need never leave your sight and you stand more chance of being permanently deprived of a bag that is beyond your control than of being mugged.

I'm a keen photographer too, though I think your kit is probably worth more than mine but if ones pictures aren't worth more to one than the camera, why take pictures? My attitude has been to consider the camera as a consumable and the pictures as valuables. To that end I use lots of low-capacity memory cards and keep changing them. If the camera gets stolen or I leave it behind in a cafe - doh! - I haven't lost a month's worth of precious work - just an hour or so which I might well be able to reshoot.

Travel light and be as super-careful as you have been in Bs As and you will probably be fine.
 

Lucas

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if you are La Duderina that's another story...
 
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