Central/South America Solo...

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Central/South America Solo...

1. Posted by larsen611 (Budding Member 18 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Well I am planning a one year, possibly longer, trip to central and south america. I am a female, and will be 19 when i go in november. I plan to learn fluent spanish before i go, just to be on the safer side. I have been looking up information on the canadian government websites, and there are travel warnings out on Colombia Chile Ecuador Panama Peru and Venezuela, saying that All travel is advised agianst. I dont want to miss out on these places. Also i have been hearing of foriegners going missing and murdered, and i was wondering if you knew of any specific places i should avoid, and or be extremely cautious in. This is my second backpacking trip, first was asia, and i am doing this one solo again. Any tips, advise, or recomendations? i would really be greatfull. Also, How much money would you advise i take with me if i plan on staying a year, with out work, staying at hostels some places, but mostly renting? thank you for your time.

2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

1. Don't bother too much about governmental advice on safety. Negative advice for Ecuador, Chile and Peru doesn't seem to make sense; I really wouldn't know what that is for, even though I'm quite well informed about the situation in those countries. There are known regions in the Peruvian jungle and northern Ecuador that are not too safe, but every up-to-date guidebook will mention where not to go. For Venezuela, you should ask others, as I've never been there. In Bolivia, the situation has been slightly volatile for several years now, but violence generally isn't tourist-oriented.

The general rule, whenever travelling anywhere, would be to check the local government's tourist advice, since that is just far more reliable. The respective departments of Foreign Affairs will mention serious safety threats on their websites. ALWAYS observe those.

Beside that, there's the usual precautions of never getting yourself into demonstrations and marches, never going anywhere alone, ESPECIALLY at night, notifying local tourist information if you are going out into nature and when you plan to be back, notifying people at home where you're going next, not accepting services and trips offered on the streets but only deal with 'official' tour guides / transport agencies etc.

2. Re spanish. Forget about learning to speak it fluently before you go, unless you are very gifted, and your teachers very good. It is very advisable, however, to take some courses, since knowledge of spanish is something varying from a great advantage to an absolute requirement, depending where you are.

Niels (Amsterdam)

3. Posted by vortex (First Time Poster 1 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

hi there!
even though you must be awake when visiting southamerica, i think peru is very safe and friendly with tourists. i just recommend you to take after your stuff in stations and public places.

let me know if i could be of further assistance.
sergio (peruvian of course!)

4. Posted by dbloom (Respected Member 586 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Surf the web on each country you wish to visit...Wikipedia is a very good source to start...buy at least 2 up to date guidebooks such as Footprint and Lonely Planet...buy maps as well if possible..when you arrive in a major destination look for a travelling companion..preferably one or two who speak some Spanish for a short or long hop. And DO take precautions especially in bus stops and crowded areas of cities, as well remote areas if hiking alone.

5. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Hi Larsen,

I{ve been travelling alone in South America since January. I would highly recommend it, as long as you are super vigilant about the company you keep and where you go at certain times.

Few people get through South America without any hitches, but as long as you are prepared for certain things going wrong, you will be fine! :)

I had zero Spanish when I landed in Lima, and I got by, so I{m sure if you have taken some classes before you get here, it will help you a lot and give you confidence in getting around.

If you want to chat or have any questions, send me a PM - I{d be glad to help. ;)

6. Posted by edgarklng (Inactive 3 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

hi there!
As I am also in the midst of planning my trip up to SA, I feel the same about the stories you hear. But I am always one that believes in being cautious but not overly paranoid. Life is about taking risk and exploring.
I must say that this site has really given me more confidence and helpfull tips for my trip in Sept. Anyway, keep in touch and let me know how you are doing over there and maybe we might even catch up in Mexico.

take care.


7. Posted by larsen611 (Budding Member 18 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

hey thanks for the help, i will keep you posted when i head down there and hopefully meet up with some of you....

im a member of WAYN so i shall be posting my journey there aswell.
take care and chat with yah later.

8. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Hi there!

As for Venezuela, I would say that the country in general is fairly safe (safer than Ecuador, Peru etc.) whereas Caracas is pretty dangerous. Try and just get out of the capital and you should be fine! If you take a cab from the airport, make sure it is licenced.
Venezuela is a wonderful country and should not be missed.


9. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Although you've no doubt seen Holly's thread on violent tourist muggings in the Peruvian-Bolivian border area, it shouldn't be left without mention here. It is difficult to determine how safe the area is at present, since different sources give different information; nevertheless, it should also be mentioned that exercising the standard precautions (which many people unfortunately do not do) in general should be sufficient to prevent you from the real shit happening to you. Dave's advice re bus terminals also makes good sense, since much of the petty crime is committed there.

have fun,
Niels (Amsterdam)

10. Posted by lazyguy (Budding Member 4 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Venezuela is a fantastic country. Caracas is dangerous in places and expensive, but really good if you stay in a good area like Altamira. From my experience avoid Isla Margarita if you plan top do beaches, Chorini on the mainland is a better bet or many places on the coast. But there are beautiful areas on the island if you avoid the tourist areas on the east. Which you should do. Go to Merida also, friendly and safe.