Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

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flyingaway
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Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by flyingaway » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:07 pm

My wife and I are planning to do a Spring break in Guatemala and El Salvador next week. We plan to skip the capital cities in both countries. Fly into Guatemala City International Airport, and plan to spend 2 nights in Antigua, 2 nights in Lake Atilan, take a shuttle bus from Antigua in Guatemala to el Tunco in El Salvador, 1 night in el Tunco, 1 night in la Libertad, 1 night in Costa del Sol, and fly back from San Salvador International Airport. Since we have many places to go in a week, we will only have backpacks.

Questions: Any safety issues in travelling in the tourist areas in our plan? I am a little bit concerned about the shuttle from Antigua to el Tunco for potential robbery. Appreciate any first-hand and second-hand stories.

ThankYouJack
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by ThankYouJack » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:18 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:07 pm
My wife and I are planning to do a Spring break in Guatemala and El Salvador next week. We plan to skip the capital cities in both countries. Fly into Guatemala City International Airport, and plan to spend 2 nights in Antigua, 2 nights in Lake Atilan, take a shuttle bus from Antigua in Guatemala to el Tunco in El Salvador, 1 night in el Tunco, 1 night in la Libertad, 1 night in Costa del Sol, and fly back from San Salvador International Airport. Since we have many places to go in a week, we will only have backpacks.

Questions: Any safety issues in travelling in the tourist areas in our plan? I am a little bit concerned about the shuttle from Antigua to el Tunco for potential robbery. Appreciate any first-hand and second-hand stories.
I haven't been to those countries but went to Nicaragua not long ago. I felt safe for the most part, other than driving which felt 100x scary than driving in the Caribbean. My friend and I didn't wear any jewelry (including wedding band), didn't carry a lot of cash, drank some but didn't get drunk, kept valuables out of site, etc.

Sounds like an incredible trip, maybe post on Trip Advisor for more info? Have fun!

Jeff Albertson
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:33 pm

The State Dept. provides advice:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel ... isory.html
Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to crime.
Violent crime, such as sexual assault, carjacking, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics trafficking, is widespread, particularly in the border regions. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel ... isory.html
Reconsider travel to El Salvador due to crime.
Violent crime, such as murder, assault, rape, and armed robbery, is common. Gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics and arms trafficking, is widespread. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

TallBoy29er
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by TallBoy29er » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:47 pm

Heard good things about both. Friends just got back from a surf trip to El Salvador, and loved it. But, there are clearly places to avoid in both as well. I would do research.

That said, your schedule looks heavy on travel to me. My style would be closer to picking 1-2 places for the week, and get to know them a bit. 5 different destinations in 7 days sounds not fun. But, TETO

michaeljc70
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:55 pm

It was recently in the news that people here "temporarily" as refugees from El Salvador don't want to go back due to the crime. That should tell you something. Combine that with the state department warning and I would avoid it. San Salvador recently made the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world:
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-vio ... sidents-33

And I'll add that I don't scare easily....

coalcracker
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by coalcracker » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:57 pm

Second-hand story from a friend: went on a surf trip to El Salvador (not sure of exact location) with his wife and young child. Had a fantastic, uncrowded experience at the beach. However, on the last day of the trip in San Salvador, was having lunch and witnessed a gunfight with automatic weapons and a dead body lying in the street.

That said, this is just one anecdote and I would still consider going there myself. State department warnings are overly cautious, IMO. If I heeded those warnings, I might never leave the US! :beer

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MnyGrl
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by MnyGrl » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:01 pm


test123
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by test123 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:06 pm

My adult daughter and I did a similiar trip just about 1 year ago this week. I met her in GC, we spend 4 nites around Lake Atilan, took mini-bus to Antigua, took Mini-bus to El Tunco where we spent 4 nites and did a day trip to la liberatad. I flew out of San sal and she went on to work in rural el Salvatore. We also used back packs but stayed in hotels. We never had a whiff of danger, never a concern about safety in any of the cities or on the buses between cities. free to PM me if I can offer any advice. Have a blast. Jeff

Angst
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by Angst » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:23 pm

Guatemala and El Salvador in particular have their problems. The State Dept warnings are worth reading. Do not travel at night. Use reputable travel agencies. Don't be seen drinking a lot of alcohol. Don't go out alone at night. Depending on where you are, don't go out at night at all. It all depends on where you are though. If you're in a decent part of Xela/Quetzaltenango, e.g., probably not a big deal. Antigua, Lago Atitlan good too, overall. In other areas, look out. Always look out, really. Especially up north in Guatemala in the areas of the ruins and so forth. Everywhere in El Salvador, I suppose - I don't know it as well, but I have my impressions. All that being said, I'd love to be on my way to Guatemala for a week or two right now! Just read up first and be careful. My 2¢

nexesn
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by nexesn » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:30 pm

Twelve years ago, I took a leave of absence from my job and traveled extensively throughout Central America. Prior to leaving, the state department had warnings, and I heard first and second hand stories of people who had experienced incidents in various countries. I spent about 6 months in Guatemala (primarily in Xela) but was also in Antigua and Lago Atitlan. I wasn't in El Salvador as long aside I was in Guatemala, but I loved the whole experience.

Things have obviously changed a little, but I think the safety situation is about the same. For what it's worth, here are my suggestions:

- You're going to hear a lot of "Be Cautious" which you should be. But, you will also find most everyone in central America is really glad to have tourists, and the countries are setup to be really tourist friendly.

- If you haven't yet done so, pickup a Lonely Planet guide. It was tremendously useful! I would also go onto the Lonely Planets Thorn Tree Forum. Below is the link to Central America, but you can get more information by choosing the specific countries. This would be a great resource for getting on the ground info for what's currently going on.
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ ... al-america

- When traveling on buses, wear crappy cloths, you won't stand out as much.

- Antigua was a really interesting city. But, try not to walk around at night. Also, if you plan to take money out with an ATM card, I would try and do it inside a bank. When I was there, many banks had ATMs outside. I swiped my ATM card somewhere in Antigua from an outside ATM machine and my card ended up getting hacked. It was apparently a common ritual when I was there. Since that trip, what I have done is opened a bank account specifically for traveling. I leave small amounts of money in the account, and then just electronically transfer more money when needed.

-If you can, travel by bus during the day. I know it eats up time, but it's also safer. When I was there, we also paid extra for a nicer bus- which they sold as having a guard with a gun on board and would also check in with the police every 10 minutes.... not sure if they really did check in with the police that ofter (we were also going from Antigua to Tikal).

- And, most importantly, don't let being cautious ruin the fun or the adventure of the trip! You two I'm sure will have a blast. I really loved the experience and have fond memories and wonderful friends from my travels there.

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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by z3r0c00l » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:07 pm

El Salvador has, by a fair margin, the highest murder rate of any country in the world. You would have to go to Syria to find more murders per capita. My blunt and honest advice? Go to Costa Rica instead. Did you plan the trip without first googling the country or reading the wikipedia? There are articles about it called "rivers of blood." Trying to calculate how the murder rate there now compares to Miami in 1980, probably comparable. (When Miami ran out of morgue space and started to use refrigerated meat trucks.)

https://www.economist.com/news/americas ... vers-blood

jminv
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by jminv » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:10 am

Guatemala is lovely, particularly around Tikal. Still take precautions.

I would skip El Salvador and if you do go skip public transport as it’s often a target. I assume that you also already know it has one of the highest murder rates in the world. You’re backpacking but try to stay in nicer accommodations if you are still going to go. I’ve lived in worse places than this but took a lot of precautions, lived in a relatively secure area, and wasn’t a backpacker. It still felt risky on a day to day basis and over time had run ins that made me question my judgement. Odds are if it’s a short visit, you’ll be fine but the odds aren’t so awesome to begin with.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:08 am

This is a funny thread. Most replying here seem to think it is OK. Meanwhile there is another thread about the dangers in Mexico, Playa Del Carmen. There the consensus skews towards don't go. To me the difference is profound. Not of the consensus, but of the areas.
I assume you must have already been to most of the other Central American counties since you picked Gutaemala and El Salvador to go to this time. If so, then you must have experience in central American countries.
If not, why would you pick two of the more violent countries in that region for your first trip?

I would stay away from anyone in El Salvador who is covered in tattoos. That is gangs. That is MS13 type stuff. People who have no regard for human life, themselves included.
Back in the 80s I drove down that way and passed through Guatemala including driving up through the Peten. Not so much internet then. Maybe was better because of it.
I have traveled in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama as a backpacker without incident. I would go again. But, I have no desire to go to El Salvador at all. The big tourist draw there is one beach area which I am sure is quasi protected and not representative of the rest of the country. Since there are fantastic beaches all over Central America, to go there would be, why?

I carry a tactical pen when traveling and it might be prudent to add a Fast Strike weapon too. Both available on Amazon. I would if I were going to those two countries.

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William4u
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by William4u » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:05 pm

The safest countries in Central America are
1. Nicaragua
2. Costa Rica

The most dangerous countries in Central America are
1. Honduras
2. El Salvador

Guatemala can be very dangerous too, especially outside of Xela and Antigua in areas where there are a lot of tourists.

I would not visit El Salvador. I would visit Nicaragua instead. A hidden gem.

texasdiver
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by texasdiver » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:24 pm

I was a Peace Corps volunter for 2.5 years in Guatemala a couple decades ago but have been back half a dozen times over the years and have traveled over most every corner of the country by motorcycle and mountain bike.

My perception is that the crime has gotten worse over the years but that there is still plenty of tourism. If this is your first experience with rural Latin America and you don't have fluent Spanish then I'd stick with tour operators and use tour shuttle buses between your destinations. There are a bunch of them.

I would also skip El Salvador completely. There is much more to see in Guatemala than El Salvador. You could spend a month in Guatemala and not see it all. If you want another destination in Guatemala I'd suggest flying up to Tikal for an overnight trip. And then if you want to add a second country, hop over and see Belize rather than El Salvador.

GmanJeff
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by GmanJeff » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:58 am

If you're going to those destinations because they are cheap, you are placing a higher value on your wallet than on your personal safety. From my perspective that is a potentially fatally misplaced prioritization. Some will argue that some dangerous places exist everywhere, but overall levels of crime and corruption and corresponding levels of risk do objectively vary country by country and it may be foolish to pick destinations which are relatively unsafe in general compared to readily available alternatives.

Gretchen
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by Gretchen » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:35 am

DH and I went to El Salvador as volunteer election observers a few years ago, working through a well-respected El Salvadoran-US organization, Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (CIS). We had a basic hotel with an armed guard outside the front door. We had a group bus under CIS sponsorship for all local transportation. We saw two dead bodies in the course of nine days -- one an apparent traffic accident, the other possibly an assassination.

But on the bright side, we arrived in San Salvador a few days ahead of the group to acclimate and do a little sightseeing. We took taxis to the Art Museum and Anthropology Museum, ate in local restaurants, and walked around our neighborhood in daylight. The Art Museum was staggering! In this little tiny country, the artistic talent that turned the agony of the war years into art told a story that words cannot match.

I'm told El Salvador is much more dangerous for the locals than for tourists, who are prized for the income we bring. Our trip was fascinating, and I'm glad we went. YMMV.

caseynshan
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by caseynshan » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:33 pm

- I consider traveling in places like this to be a Social Good.. Probably on par with taking a 'service trip'. Unless you spend a ton on flights, and stay in US Hotels etc.. a thriving tourist economy can have multiple order positive effects.

- Yes it is dangerous the moment you get in a car or van... just like in the US.. statistically that is by far the most dangerous part of any travel whether in US or Central America...

- I've spent time in Guatemala but not El Salvador. Yes it is dangerous. https://newrepublic.com/article/113293/ ... gerous-job
Easy ways to make it less dangerous:
don't travel at night, Be a tourist (as opposed to local), don't flash wealth like iphones, don't travel alone, speak spanish, avoid the worst areas, use guides
Antigua during the day is very safe, easy to get a feel for the place.. (although even there on the short little hike on the paved path to over look the city, I was frightened by people hidden in the trees... then I realized they were police.. probably made me more nervous, as I realized they were probably there for a reason)

Avoid Guatemala City/San Salvador, especially 'red' zones (where MS13 and Barrio 18 have not settled who own's the zona.... Ie. Zona 3 GC)

Look at this map, if there are large number of kids fleeing the area, relative to the pouplation= dangerous area. (ie. San Pedro Sula)
https://www.vox.com/2014/7/1/5861908/ch ... rth-in-two

I found this book mesmerizing about Guatemala, (my wife did not) https://www.amazon.com/Homies-Hermanos- ... 0199753903

caseynshan
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by caseynshan » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:55 pm

also, please do a write up when you get back and post (or PM me.)

especially if you are surfing El Salvador.

CMD1
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by CMD1 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:02 pm

William4u wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:05 pm
The safest countries in Central America are
1. Nicaragua
2. Costa Rica

The most dangerous countries in Central America are
1. Honduras
2. El Salvador

Guatemala can be very dangerous too, especially outside of Xela and Antigua in areas where there are a lot of tourists.

I would not visit El Salvador. I would visit Nicaragua instead. A hidden gem.
I would say Costa Rica and Panama are the safest, and certainly the wealthiest. But Guetamala is wonderful. Comes down to your comfort level. I've seen people afraid to get off the cruise boat in Roatan Honduras, for them I would say they should avoid these places but if your experienced and like adventure then go and just use common sense.

flyingaway
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:49 pm

Thanks for all the comments. We have cancelled the trip and will go to Macon, GA, to see the cherry blossom instead. My wife was already hesitating to go there before my post, and one comment states that El Salvador is dangerous second only to Syria, which really got me to think twice.
I have been in Mexico several times, in Panama and Costa Rica each for one week, and in Belize and Honduras off the cruise ships (even rented a car to drive on the Roatan Island). My plan is to visit all (possible) countries in the world, which certainly includes Guatemala and El Salvador. But I do not want my wife to go with me to these less safe countries.

Green Street
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by Green Street » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:44 pm

A bit biased since my family is from Guatemala, but it’s a beautiful country. Yes it does have it’s crime, but backpacking through it is amazing. You can go through the city but you just have to be careful. Definitely stop in Antigua, definitely a must experience. If you can, stop in Livingston. Lots of music, culture and food!
Searching Through The FiRE

Shallowpockets
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:14 am

Wow. Quite a change from El Salvador to the cherry blossom festival.
You say you have been to Costa Rica for one week. You could have gone back easily to a new area. I have been to C.R. six times for more than one week each time and still have areas I have not been to. Also, to visit any country per cruise ship is not really visiting that country, so the countries you list in that aspect you could have easily gone to.
I liked your adventurous spirit for your prior plan, even though I thought it was sketchy.
Have fun in Georgia. You will not need and defensive weapons, tactics, or manuevers.

mrgeeze
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by mrgeeze » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:07 pm

William4u wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:05 pm
The safest countries in Central America are
1. Nicaragua
2. Costa Rica

The most dangerous countries in Central America are
1. Honduras
2. El Salvador

Guatemala can be very dangerous too, especially outside of Xela and Antigua in areas where there are a lot of tourists.

I would not visit El Salvador. I would visit Nicaragua instead. A hidden gem.

I guess I arrived late to this party



+1

I've spent the last 10-12 winters fishing in guatemala.
Pacific Side. Not a lot of tourism.
Lots of Time in Antigua,Panajachel,Guate City, Flores, etc
Its relatively safe if you keep a low profile.
Spanish helps a lot.
Don't stay out late. Don't get drunk in big bars in big towns.
No jewels, earings, no rings (even the wedding ring)No watches.
Look like poor gringos.
Some suggest have a spare wallet with a few bucks to surrender if robbed.
this has worked for me.
Never NEVER resist.
If no spare wallet, remove anything of sentimental value from wallets and purses.
Leave it at home. No hesitation during a robbery. Surrender your stuff.

I would skip El Salvador.
The number of El Salvadorenos trying to get out is a pretty good indicator of a place not to go.
I do think State Dept. overblows but Salvador and Honduras are tough places.

If you want more to do in Guate check out Tikal and the Peten. Lago Isabel, Atlantic coast.

Nicaragua would be my choice as an alternative.
Honestly I'd bag Guate also and just spend your whole vacation in Nica.
Its a very peaceful country with a good vibe for tourism.
You're only going for a week. Plenty to see in one country.
Seems like you're trying to do too much.
Slow down, smell the jacaranda.

That's just me.

mptfan
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by mptfan » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:06 pm

William4u wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:05 pm
The safest countries in Central America are
1. Nicaragua
2. Costa Rica
...
I would not visit El Salvador. I would visit Nicaragua instead. A hidden gem.
Nicaragua is going through a lot of political unrest right now, some describe it as on the brink of calamity...

As a mass of unarmed protesters filed past Dennis Martínez Stadium in Managua, Nicaragua, on May 30, snipers inside the stadium began firing at them. That day’s casualties joined a list of about 100 dead and 1,000 wounded and missing in the last two months.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/201 ... story.html

Nearly seven weeks after a violent crackdown on student protesters ignited a movement to oust the president of Nicaragua, daily life has become difficult and dangerous for a population increasingly in open rebellion against the government.

At least 113 people have been killed, more than 1,000 injured and hundreds arrested since the political uprising began in mid-April, according to human rights groups. Dozens of others have disappeared.

In what was until recently one of the safest countries in Latin America, families are now afraid to leave their homes after dark. Barricades set up by protesters block highways, public transportation is scarce and business in some parts of the country has ground to a halt.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation- ... 67909.html
Last edited by mptfan on Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:40 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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William4u
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by William4u » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:33 pm

mptfan wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:06 pm
William4u wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:05 pm
The safest countries in Central America are
1. Nicaragua
2. Costa Rica
...
I would not visit El Salvador. I would visit Nicaragua instead. A hidden gem.
Nicaragua is going through a lot of political unrest right now, some describe it as on the brink of calamity.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/201 ... story.html
Wow. When I wrote my post in March, Nicaragua had been one of the most safe, stable countries in Central America for decades. Boy have things changed since mid-April. Much of Central America is going though some violent times (the exceptions being Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize).

I'd skip Nicaragua for sure until things are calm again (and who knows if that will happen anytime soon).

texasdiver
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by texasdiver » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:40 pm

And Guatemala is in the midst of a major eruption of Mt Fuego that is next to Antigua and spewing ash everywhere. The airport is closed and no end is in sight. Apparently over 100 have been killed so far due to pyroclastic flows.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... g-ash-dead

TravelGeek
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:10 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:55 pm
San Salvador recently made the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world:
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-vio ... sidents-33
So did a number of US cities, but as “locals” we may feel more comfortable visiting New Orleans than one of many Brazilian cities on the list.

Thanks for sharing.

michaeljc70
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:30 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:10 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:55 pm
San Salvador recently made the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world:
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-vio ... sidents-33
So did a number of US cities, but as “locals” we may feel more comfortable visiting New Orleans than one of many Brazilian cities on the list.

Thanks for sharing.
True, but I speak the language, know the culture and am better able to navigate the risks in the US. I'd definitely consider it outside the US if I was able to do enough due diligence and be comfortable with the level of risk.

FireProof
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by FireProof » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:45 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:30 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:10 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:55 pm
San Salvador recently made the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world:
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-vio ... sidents-33
So did a number of US cities, but as “locals” we may feel more comfortable visiting New Orleans than one of many Brazilian cities on the list.

Thanks for sharing.
True, but I speak the language, know the culture and am better able to navigate the risks in the US. I'd definitely consider it outside the US if I was able to do enough due diligence and be comfortable with the level of risk.
That's certainly true, and you'll stand out more in a foreign country, which may make you a target. But I think the juxtaposition with US cities is valuable for realizing that even in cities with high crimes rates, the vast number of homicides takes place in a few neighborhoods or even blocks, and the vast majority of victims are young, male gang members.

michaeljc70
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:47 am

FireProof wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:45 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:30 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:10 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:55 pm
San Salvador recently made the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world:
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-vio ... sidents-33
So did a number of US cities, but as “locals” we may feel more comfortable visiting New Orleans than one of many Brazilian cities on the list.

Thanks for sharing.
True, but I speak the language, know the culture and am better able to navigate the risks in the US. I'd definitely consider it outside the US if I was able to do enough due diligence and be comfortable with the level of risk.
That's certainly true, and you'll stand out more in a foreign country, which may make you a target. But I think the juxtaposition with US cities is valuable for realizing that even in cities with high crimes rates, the vast number of homicides takes place in a few neighborhoods or even blocks, and the vast majority of victims are young, male gang members.
Believe, me I know. I live in Chicago.

wmackey
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Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

Post by wmackey » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:38 am

Spent a few days in Honduras last month, mostly in El Paraiso and surrounding area. Had a great time and never felt unsafe. That said, we were in a group and had several locals with us at all time,

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