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Travelling in South America by myself

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Travelling in South America by myself

1. Posted by sabound (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Hi. I'll be travelling by myself in Ecuador/Peru/Chile/Bolivia/Argentina and wanted to here from people who have traveled in those countries by themselves. All the travel books I've read warn of really bad thefts/kidnapping/murder and wanted to hear from people who had some success or not traveling alone. Another major concern is sickness and being sick on my own. I am wondering if anyone has gone through this.


2. Posted by jonniej (Budding Member 12 posts) 6y

Hey, I´ve been in Ecuador for two years and it´s easy to meet people who are going your way once your here.. Hostels like the Secret Garden and Casa Bambu are set up so it´s that kind of scene. When are you coming? The dangerous stuff is a bit over rated but you do have to be alert when it comes to bus travel and walking around at night.

Send me a message and let me know what your plans are. I ca n keep an eye out for others that are doing what you are.. An example is I met a few people who were buying a bus to drive around SA and are looking for passengers!


[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

3. Posted by RebeccaMon (Budding Member 13 posts) 6y

Hi... I am travelling on my own, im currently in Rio de Janeiro, sick.. so i have good experience with what youre wondering about...
Dont be so scared of what you are reading about kidnappings etc etc... because its usually not that bad, i find rio de janeiro as a really safe place...and you just have to be carefull.... dont walk along the beach at night, and show of your valuables.... Ive been in Argentina where i felt so safe.. but theres alot of people being mugged there, but nothing more than that.... and probably they havent been that carefull.....
It is so easy to travel alone, to meet people that you can probably travel on further with, but you have to stay in hostels for this...

As i said im sick in rio... i broke my leg here, but now its not broken.. but anyway, i got some help from the hostel i were staying in the 1st week, and that was really great.... but its also a bit lonely, because then u start missing youre family and friends... someone that actually cares..... but i mean, thats an experience you just have to go through... and its not lasting forever...

I was really worried before my travel, but its not really that scary!!!! so look forward to it!! !:))))

4. Posted by PaulineR (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y

I only can talk about Peru and Bolivia.
Be really careful in La Paz. I got robbed there and I felt really unsave there.
Even if you are travelling alone you will meet sooo many people!!! So you are never alone.
If you can speak a little spanish people always appreciate that and love to hear you speak there language.
In Peru I never had a bad experience travelling by myself. People always helped me and were really kind!!!
Have fun in SA

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

its a great place to have your holidays... but certainly not for the single lady traveler... some of the lady traveler have complaints for their tourism in the south America... like for the family and friends its good place to have a great holiday.. if you are planning to travel south America you gonna definitely need a travel guide.

6. Posted by TylerJames (Respected Member 333 posts) 6y

I can say after travelling extensivily throughout south america by myself that is a unique rewarding experience that has made me into the person i am today. Having said that it does depend on what type of personality you have. Its not hard to find people to travel with and at times its realitivily easy, but there will be times when you are alone and maybe would like someone to go out with or talk to, and you only have only yourself to fall back on. Its at these times when you build your charecter and become a better person. I had no trouble with anyplace i travelled through, from colombia, bolivia or anyother"dangerous countries" have some common sense and you'll be fine. Hang out in the hostel bar or talk with your roomates you'll find, and prob already know, for the most part people are genuine and friendly.

Good luck

7. Posted by sabound (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Thanks for the message, Tyler. How long did you travel for? Did you take time off of a job or quit?

8. Posted by Normz (Budding Member 2 posts) 5y

Hello I have met a few people who have traveled all through south america and they all say that it's safe, and like some others say just be careful and have common sense. Don't show everyone if you have some expensive equipment, carry it close. If you take buses, carry your backpack with you in the bus. One trick for pickpockets, if you ever come along one, carry a fake wallet in your pocket and hide your good one elsewhere. I've heard that Ecuador might be a little more unsafe for robbers. But be careful and all will go well.

How long are you thinking of traveling? I'm planning a trip around south america myself. Leaving for two years in July 2012. That will be my greatest adventure in live and I can't wait. I'm inviting you to go see my blog. Don't have that much in it yet, but it will grow.


Have fun and enjoy every moment of your trip. If you plan on leaving around the same time I'll be happy to travel for a while with you.

Have a great day


[ Edit: Sorry, no personal details please. ]

9. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 5y

I have lived and traveled in Latin America for 24 years, a basic knowledge of Spanish is necessary to communicate (or Portuguese for Brazil) so if planning on spending at least 3 months minimum traveling, take some Spanish or Portuguese lessons NOW online from native speakers, you trade tutorials in English or your native language, Google up Live Mocha dot com, as well find a fluent or native speaking tutor f2f at home, practice with him or her, plus get a good phrase book and dictionary, Mr. Google can also give you list of Spanish Schools with homestay, pay by the week, in the countries you are traveling too. Watch your health, don't get exhausted going to 'see' one place and another non stop, rest after long bus trips, a stressed traveler is a vulnerable traveler. I f you are a woman traveling alone NEVER get so intoxicated in a bar that you become vulnerable and accept drinks and 'rides to your lodging place' from strangers.
Be aware, never paranoid, especially in bus terminals, the areas around bus terminals and large crowded outdoor markets (pickpockets, bag and pack snatchers, scam artists)
Upon arrival to any destination after dark, try and have the address of a hostal or hotel in Spanish and take only authorized taxi, the more Spanish/Portuguese you speak the cheaper things get, always bargain prices with taxi drivers before getting into cab, and if taken to an expensive hotel, demand to be taken to a budget hotel, often drivers get commissions from upscale hotels and pretend to have misunderstood you.
Join the Hospex sites, non profit, again ask Mr. Google, thousands of South American members, active regional and country groups, advice from locals and travelers. Members will meet up with you or possibly host you in their homes a night or two enroute.
If you b ecome lost in a large city or get on the wrong bus and wind up in a marginal area, find a store or supermarket and ask directions inside from the manager or employees, when traveling about locally you do not need your backpack, city buses and metro trains are often very crowded, always carry a local newspaper, dress down and never carry excess cash nor your passport, just a copy. in large cities war long pants and no fanny pack around your waist, Latin Americans are more formal and family oriented than Americans and Europeans, most young people live at home with parents and other relatives, more informal attire is the norm at beaches ands resort towns.

10. Posted by spenscott (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

That's some good advice I haven't heard, normally I wouldn't have gone out of my way to buy a paper unless I was absolutely out of reading material.
I never had any bad experiences during my year in Ecuador, I found some amazing people there and that country alone could fill a lifetime's worth of adventuring. Admittedly, that's the only country I've visited, so I have nothing to compare to yet.
Climbing Mount Chimborazo is a highlight, and not incredibly demanding. It's the highest point from the center of the Earth, or "The Closest Point To Heaven." I can recommend a guide or two if you'd like.
The beaches of Montañita became my favorite, you have to go through Guayaquil to get there. Some people warned me not to spend too much time in Guayaquil if it can be avoided, and I did hear a couple stories, but I never had any problems, just use common sense and intuition.
I didn't see much of the jungle parts, but I like how you can go from coast to mountains to jungle within such a short time span. The buses there are roughly $1.25 an hour, and are awesome for getting around.

If you'd like to hear some more specifics about what's fun to do there, feel free to message me, I'm most familiar with the city of Rio Bamba and the area around there.