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tour vs. travelling solo

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean tour vs. travelling solo

1. Posted by mellyos (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

Hi All

I am a 30 year old girl, who is travelling solo in South America. I have approx 5 months. I am starting in Ecudor and finishing in Rio around Carnival time. I am really excited about going yet extremely nervous about going on my own.

I have booked myself on an overland tour that is quite long, but yet to pay. I am really having last minute thoughts about commiting to a tour but concerned about being on my own for extended period of times as well as safety - I do prefer travelling independently but have always had friends with me.

Would love to hear from other girls who are / have travelled solo in S. America

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for your hlep

2. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5336 posts) 6y

Hi Mellyos,

It's hard to say what's going to be the better option for everyone, but my advice would be skip the tour group and go on your own steam. It's not as difficult as you might think and you will have an amazing time. I travelled solo for 7 months in South America and, apart from the occasional minor mishap, it was totally doable.

You will meet so many other solo backpackers and at least you can set your own pace and not be rushed from place to place by a tour group. Those tours are, in my opinion, way overpriced. you can organise all this stuff by yourself, and you'll never be short of people to hang out or travel with, believe me. :)

Good luck with your decision. ;)

3. Posted by mandylou4u (Budding Member 73 posts) 6y

Hi Mellyos,

I am 22 and doing Argentina on my own in Nov and also had your concerns but.....I have decided to do it solo! When you leaving!? I'm pleased to know there are more of us out there!!! Just try and research as much as you can and try and blag the rest, after all, nothing is the same when you are actually living it. Good luck and maybe see you there!

Manda

4. Posted by Deboraaah (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

I have been going through the same dilemma, i will be travelling solo to South America for 14 weeks and intially looked at booking a tour, i thought it would be hassle free and less worry as i want to see as much as possible in a short time, but i realised that made negatives, on a tour you seem to spend a lot of time on the bus travelling and i think flying between places could save me time, i also think on a tour you will be spending all you time with the same people and it may be hard to meet other people. So i have decided to go solo, i can do what i want at my own pace, it will take more organisation and research but im sure its well worth it!
I will be in Rio for the carnival, id love to meet up with fellow travellers x

5. Posted by kael (Budding Member 15 posts) 6y

Hi Mellyos...I've never travelled in South America but have travelled all around Central America and Cuba alone and would highly recommend it. I am also female (was 29 when I did my biggest solo trip around Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama for 4 months.) I'm 31 now and hoping to go on lots more adventures. The part I loved the most about being alone was having the freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted. I also found that I met more people alone than I had any other time I'd travelled with a boyfriend or friends. I went to a Spanish school for a month at the start of my trip and that definitely helped for the rest of it and made it much easier when travelling on buses and booking accomodation etc. I'd highly recommend that for giving you more confidence if you don't already speak Spanish. Also you may meet some people at the school.
The only parts I have found slightly frustrating being a woman alone are: it's very restrictive for going out at night so you miss out on a lot of the nightlife, unless you find someone to go out with. This may not be a problem for you depending on the type of person you are. The way I dealt with this problem was by packing in so much during the day that I felt too tired to do too much at night anyway! Also I found that it could be restrictive going on hikes of any length etc as this isn't safe alone. I always managed to find a guide or a group of people to do this with though, but did feel like I would have done more if I'd been with someone who liked that stuff too.
I found travelling alone in Latin America to be a wonderful, strengthening and positive experience. I can't give any advice on tours as I've never done one as they have always felt too restrictive to me. Good luck and enjoy whatever you choose.

6. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 880 posts) 6y

I also support the SOLO side of things...but you do not have to be exclusive this way...You can travel solo and see what you want to see....But maybe take a short tour to see the stuff that you may have missed or may not have known about.

d

7. Posted by viviurugua (Budding Member 14 posts) 6y

ar, I live in Uruguay, South America, I do not know if my country is in your route?

Uruguay is a very safe country.

But I believe we Loa in all countries must take care not to carry a lot of money, jewelry, gold, silver and latest generation of mobile phone.

If you arrive by Uruguay, I can recommend places very beautiful ...

8. Posted by RachC (Budding Member 6 posts) 6y

I am a 30 year old girl (woman?! Pah!) currently travelling solo round S America for 5 months and was really scared about it but now i am here in Buenos Aires, meeting other solo travellers everyday, it´s definitely not as scary in reality as it seems before you set off. In fact, as a solo traveller, particularly a girl, you won´t be solo for long - there are a lot of us out there looking for like-minded travellers to climb macchu picchu or visit Iguazu falls with.
The beauty of travelling alone is also the freedom to move on as and when you like. If you don´t like your hostel or need a change of scenery you can go wherever and whenever you like.
As for booking tours, i was also considering booking myself onto long tours through bolivia and peru before i came out here, as it seemed less scary and more secure but i am glad i didn´t as i don´t have any time constraints - if i like a place i can stay there as long as i like or equally move on if i don´t like it. Also you can always book yourself onto tours when you are here and have a clearer idea of what´s what.
Just always have a book with you for those alone moments and be kind to yourself - you don´t have to put your self in inneccesary danger - just follow your instincts as if something or someone seems dodgy, they probably are. Common sense is the most valuable thing you can bring with you!
It´s not as scary as you think out here!
Rach x

9. Posted by UltimatStu (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

Great Information Everyone - I've decided to embark on a Latin America adventure very last minute, like 3 weeks before my due take-off date... no doubt some of you are in the middle of your solo voyages right now, and living the traveling dream.

After this forum, I'm definitely primed for SOLO ALL the way! So feel the energy of individual enlightenment all those in my wake...

30 year old guy from Oz, living stereotypically in London (just to add to the demographic profiling)