Venezuela

Venezuela’s violent crime, political instability due to armed insurgent groups and Zika virus places the country into the Dishonorable Mentions category for the 2016 List of Worst Countries for Women Travelers. This country was #10 on the Worst Countries list in 2015, and fell to the Dishonorable Mentions category only because a few other countries became more violent.

Rating: Dangerous and Obnoxious

The UNODC ranks it as the worst in South America for homicides.  OSAC issues a critical crime level due to an underpaid, understaffed and often corrupt police force attempting to deal with a high level of highly violent crime made worse by millions of illegal weapons (roughly one gun for every two people).   Violent crime is worst in Caracas, where tourists and residents regularly deal with high profile violent crimes like murder, robbery and kidnapping that occurs at all hours of the day and night.  Human trafficking is significant and an issue for tourists and local women. Harassment and rape are a serious problem, made worse by the fact that although most of us know to avoid strange men on dark streets, but it’s particularly difficult when the perpetrators are hotel workers, taxi drivers and men posing as police officers.  Political instability is due to the FARC and ELN militants, particularly along the shared border with Colombia.

The Aussies advise not to travel near the border of Columbia and to exercise a high degree of caution elsewhere due to violent crime and the Zika virus.  New Zealand advises to use extreme caution near the border of Columbia and some caution elsewhere due to violent crime. Canada advises to exercise high caution and avoid the Columbian border as well as beware of the Zika virus. The US State Department has a travel warning based on a 2015 OSAC report that Venezuela has the second highest rate of homicides in the world and that the Venezuelan’s government statistics showing a decline is unreliable, other violent crime, and the Zika virus.

If you want to or must go:  Margarita Island is repeatedly listed as a safe destination by a variety of sources but you still need to be careful at night, particularly on the beach.

Conclusion:  Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 safest countries for women tourists.

Cover Photo: Associated Press/Ariana Cubillos via Latin Correspondent 

Description: A Venezuelan National Guard soldier stands guard on a street near a checkpoint in Petare, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Caracas

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