hello guys. i'm a 22 year old girl from denmark and finally, i'm doing it. i'm going travelling. solo!!! i've bought my ticket. flying into mexico city september 16th, 2009 and i'm really nervous. excited, thrilled, adventurous, but also really nervous! from mexico, my plan is to travel southwards. visit guatemala, honduras, nicaragua, costa rica and finally panama, from where i will fly into venezuela to visit a friend. i have no time limit. i want to spend around 4-5-6 months in central america. i want to volunteer in guatemala, take spanish classes, i want to scuba dive in honduras, explore nicaraguan and costa rican culture and nature. ohh, i cannot wait. however, as mentioned earlier, my nervousness is killing me. will i meet other travellers on my trip? will it be easy? will i do fine? will guatemala, honduras, nicaragua, costa rica and panama let me in without any return ticket (i have a return ticket to mexico only) or proof of onward travel? will i have fun? ohh! so many questions and so few days to leave! any kind of advice, recommendations? comments? stories? (not scary ones, please ) dos? don'ts? must dos? definitely don't dos? any fellowtravellers in central america from september and onwards? anybody who knows hostel catedral in mexico city? or the la tortuga feliz project in costa rica? i'm thinking about doing it? anyways, thanks a lot for reading this post! oh, by the way, i know very basic spanish, BUT very interested in learning + i'm veeery outgoing and quite brave! to be honest, it's mostly people's reactions to me travelling solo freaking me out. "alone, what? - are you insane, girl?"... and i'm not, really..ehm, not that i know of... see you out there!
Many women have travelled alone through CA with no trouble. I love it there, and you'll meet lots of solo female travellers. In fact, it has been my experience that women are far more proactive and adventurous than men on this kind of trip....
....That said, I ask you to please be careful in Mexico City. Some places are great....Some are rough.
You are supposed to have a return ticket in all those countries...but they never ask. They use this as a way of turning back seedball undesireables. Just don't be a seedball undesirable. I've crossed every country's border in CA half a dozen times and they have NEVER EVER asked me for an onward ticket.
In Mexico, keep every bit of paper they give you at Immigration or someone will try to put la mordida "the bite" on you.
Good Luck Out There. (GLOT)
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Aug-2009, at 18:18 by Piecar ]
Good luck. I reside in Central America, so sent a lengthy private message.
I was just in Belize and Guatemala a few months ago, and had a great time (and Costa Rica last year). But as a young female travelling by yourself, be extremely careful (without being completely paranoid!). And since you're outgoing I'm sure you'll meet plenty of other people on the way. Sounds like a great trip!
Ha en god rejse och med venlig hilsen fra Hawaii!
Probably none of this will effect you but some dangers: Mexico, even Mexico City has had a fair number of kidnappings recently. Stay in the Pink zone as much as possible. There are tours from there.
Honduras was bad at one time but has mostly settled down now. Stay in groups.
Venezuela. I was warned about armed holdups when I was there a few years back and spent a nervous week there but had no trouble.
The big problem with Central and South America is petty theft. Pickpockets, theft from your luggage, hotel rooms, etc. Be careful of crowds and public transport.
Any problems try: "My husband will be back in a minute......"
After arrival and clearing customs at Mexico City Airport, change small amount of money Euros to Pesos at Casa de Cambio, then proceed to "Taxis Autorizados" booth, you purchase a ticket, which you give to the driver, fares are by zone, taxi is often shared, you are not required to either pay the driver more money nor tip if do not wish to, have teh adress of hostel in hand, once you get online contact some of the Mexico City "CS" members for a meet up, all are locals, many multi lingual, many have vehicles so you can avoid walking around and taking taxis, and often they invite you to their casa to meet family, friends and a home cooked meal, beats "hosteling" 1000%. (1AM weekends) when the Metro shuts down, don't carry backpacks, valuables, wallets nor excess cash in pockets nor fanny packs on the Metro, always crowded, some of the most expert pickpockets in the world ride the Metro trains, which go everywhere in Mexico City, I once had my address book stolen on Metro, a pickpocket must have thought it was a billfold! Don't miss at night Plaza Garibaldi, the Mariachis, sorry, avoid the huge outdoor market of Tepito, lot of crime.
During the day till after 10PM on major routes, like La reforma, Insurgentes, the "combi vans" run up and down every couple minutes apart and there are clean running city buses as well. Avoid all public transport hora pico (rush hours)
Go to Coyoacan on the weekend, best and safest part of Mexico City, a bohemian style suburb, lots of bars and cafes, students, artists, locals, a few travelers, friendly atmosphere, beats the overly commercial Zona Rosa, visit Trotsky Musuem and Freida Kahlo House during the day.
I was once a Mexico City ex pat, un "chilango" My Aunt from Montréal lived there 40+ years with her husband, a manager of a Canadian Co.
There are now approx. 25,000,000 people in Valley of Mexico, be careful crossing major streets, I saw several "hit and runs" of pedestrians my first few months there.
The Pink zone is fine, if you like bars, discos, cafes, go with a friend or "CS" member at night. Be wary of overly friendly bi lingual guys in bars who offer you drinks and rides. Again use your own judgement. Don't ever tell strangers where you are lodging.
The bus station to start your journey in Southern Mexico is "TAPO", all buses require advance reservation, try to go with a "CS" member or friend who speaks Spanish, or you can take Metro if just making reservations, hide your cash/credit card on your body.
Mexico City has 200,000 VW Bug taxis, only option after Midnight, however best with a companion who speaks Spanish, some sites say you should avoid hailing cabs in street, use your own judgement late nights if you have not a ride. I will message you the site urls now.