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Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?

Wollongong...
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Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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My partner and I will be driving our van all the way down the US, through Mexico/Central America, and then (after shipping across the Canal) into South America for the next ~2 years. We are really hoping to do some longer treks and climbs that would take us away from the van for several nights, but are also very nervous about leaving our entire home/car/life unattended!

I've backpacked extensively through South America and feel very comfortable in Argentina, but this is admittedly new territory-- having a van changes EVERYTHING and we're growing concerned about potential theft at trailheads, either of the contents of our home (which are insured, but still) or just driving the entire van away (a bit harder to replace).

We've looked into anti-theft safety measures, but the real question is: does anyone have general advice on where to leave their van for a week while hiking? Safe to do so at the trailheads? Should we try to leave it at a hotel?

Thanks in advance!

-Brooke

7 replies to this topic
Buenos Aires...
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1. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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Brooke,

I have left my car one or two nights while going trekking and to mountain sheds.

But if you are going for a week I'd leave it inside a Private Garage/Parking with some sort of security, coudl be also a hotel parking lot or something of the sort (although nobody provides insurance for your stuff while your car being parked) But I would not leave my vehicle unattended for a week at a random location or even a public street.

At least in some points of Patagonia (Bariloche, San Martín de los Andes, El Bolsón) vehicles do get broken into, unfortunately.

Cheers!

Brussels, Belgium
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2. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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It depends where. In remote Patagonian areas, it is safe. Southern Patagonia is generally safe.

Wollongong...
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3. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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Thanks to you both for weighing in! Are there many private/paid parking areas near popular hikes in Patagonia?

Buenos Aires...
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4. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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Patagonia is huge and certainly it depends on location.

If you are close to touristy and larger towns with more infrastructure, for sure you will find some spots fiting the bill of a somehow private parking area.

Some Campings will offer a space for you to leave your van/camper (but you will have to pay something most likely)

London, United...
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for Salta, Bolivia
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5. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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I think you are right to be wary. Having a van does change everything. We have travelled extensively in New Zealand and Australia by campervan and we’re always wary of leaving our van and all our stuff at trailheads. Indeed at many, there were signs up warning of theft, not to leave anything of value in vans while hiking. I can imagine the likelihood of problems to be much higher in South America.

We travelled quite extensively in Argentina both by rental car and bus and were invariably warned by locals only to park overnight inside a locked compound. Fortunately for us most places we stayed had that facility. It may be worth researching accomdation/ campsites near where you expect to hike/ leave the van and ask in advance if they have safe parking facilities and what the fees are.

There is German guy, , screen name ReiseBeite who posts here regularly. has travelled all around Argentina by campervan. As he hasn’t responded it may be worth using the PM facility to send a message asking about his experiences.

The Netherlands
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6. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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ReiseBeate

Close, but possibly not close enough for a PM ;-) Solid advice though!

drftr

London, United...
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for Salta, Bolivia
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7. Re: Safe to leave van overnight while hiking?
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