as a solo female traveller i'm keen to visit south/central america but have been warned lots about safety for same. i was pondering doing so via one of the i-to i projects as i realistically have 3 weeks (so will visit one country). would like to hook up with someone who has experienced this form of volunteering/travel.
also any tips on best countries to visit climate-wise in late oct/november would be a help in the decision making process!
Travelling to SA imho involves no real risk, as long as you take common precautions mentioned in any guidebook. Bad things happen everywhere, but don't let them stop you from exploring this amazing continent. Safety threats in Central America seem a bit more serious; ask dbloom, he's someone who seems to know about that.
Weatherwise, I'd recommend not going too far south; november can still be chilly in Patagonia and on Tierra del Fuego. I also once had sub-zero temperatures in Argentina's lake district in november. Can't help you with your question re volunteering, since I haven't done much of that.
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 27, 2006 7:08 AM by bentivogli ]
I'm a solo female traveller and half way through my 6 month tour of South America. So far i haven't experienced any problems what so ever (touch wood). I started with 2 months volunteering and learning Spanish in Quito, Ecuador, as way of settling into the travelling melarky. If you are really interested in doing volunteering i would highly reccommend not going with i-to-i. The best thing you can do is search on the internet for organisations and deal with them directly. Doing a project with i-to-i will cost you about 10 times as much as if you just find a project yourself. I understand the attraction of companies like i-to-i and that you may feel safer dealing with them but local charity organisations can offer you just as much support and advice on safety.
Hope that's of some help.
Just to agree with Meg - avoid I -to - I. I've seen lots of complaints about them on other sites. The company I usually book my S. american trips with in UK has recently took them out of their brochure
There are some free and grass-roots volunteer opportunities
in South / Central America listed here: www.volunteersouthamerica.net
with these programs you contact the volunteer org direct,
there are no US/UK middle-men.
If you are keen to work with animals, try www.intiwarayassi.org (Bolivia)