Solo female travel in South America has been on the rise in recent years, as more and more women are choosing to explore the region on their own. Whether it's for a sense of adventure, personal growth, or simply a desire to see the world, solo female travel in South America can be a truly enriching experience.
There's something truly liberating about solo female travel in South America. The colorful cultures, awe-inspiring landscapes, and warm people make it an unforgettable experience. But, as with any adventure, it's essential to be prepared and know what to expect.
In this guide, we'll share everything you need to know about traveling as a solo woman in South America, using Flavia's incredible journey as a reference.
Why Solo Female Travel in South America is So Rewarding
Flavia, a Peruvian American travel blogger and founder of "Latina Traveler," knows firsthand the benefits of solo traveling in South America. After embarking on her journey, she discovered the freedom of making her own decisions, meeting locals and fellow travelers, and immersing herself in the rich cultures across the continent.
The personal growth Flavia experienced while solo traveling is just one reason why so many women are drawn to South America. This diverse region offers opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and connection—making it an ideal destination for solo female travelers.
Safety First: Tips for Solo Female Travelers in South America
While South America is generally safe for solo female travelers, it's crucial to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Flavia recommends the following tips:
- Research your destinations: Before arriving, research the safety of the areas you plan to visit, and familiarize yourself with local customs and dress codes.
- Choose your accommodation wisely: Opt for reputable accommodations, preferably with 24-hour reception, and read reviews from other solo female travelers.
- Stay connected: Ensure you have a working phone with a local SIM card and share your itinerary with friends or family.
- Be cautious with new acquaintances: While meeting new people is part of the experience, be careful about sharing too much personal information or accepting invitations from strangers.
- Blend in: Dress modestly and avoid displaying valuables, such as expensive jewelry or cameras, which could attract unwanted attention.
- Trust your instincts: If something feels off, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation.
Exploring the Best of South America: Top Destinations for Solo Female Travelers
South America has countless destinations to offer, but these are some of the must-visit spots for solo female travelers:
Buenos Aires, Argentina 🇦🇷
The vibrant capital of Argentina is known for its European-style architecture, tango dancing, and delicious cuisine. Solo travelers can explore the colorful neighborhoods, visit art galleries and museums, or take tango lessons in this cosmopolitan city.
Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru 🇵🇪
Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, is a city rich in history and culture. From here, solo female travelers can embark on the once-in-a-lifetime journey to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
Cartagena, Colombia 🇨🇴
This UNESCO World Heritage city is a must-visit destination, with its colonial architecture, vibrant street life, and stunning Caribbean coastline. Solo travelers can wander through the walled city or take a day trip to the nearby Rosario Islands.
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia 🇧🇴
The Uyuni Salt Flats, or Salar de Uyuni, are a breathtaking natural wonder. Solo female travelers can join a guided tour to explore the seemingly endless expanse of salt and take unforgettable photos.
Navigating Language Barriers and Cultural Differences
While Spanish is the primary language in most South American countries, don't worry if you're not fluent. Many people speak English, and a little effort goes a long way. Flavia suggests learning basic phrases in Spanish, such as greetings and common questions, which can help you interact with locals and navigate unfamiliar situations.
Cultural differences can also present challenges, but they're an integral part of the solo female travel experience. Be open-minded, respectful, and curious. Research local customs and etiquette before arriving, and don't hesitate to ask questions if you're unsure about something.
Building a Support Network on the Road
One of the best parts of solo female travel in South America is the opportunity to make connections with locals and fellow travelers. Flavia recommends the following tips to help build a support network while on the road:
- Stay in social accommodations: Choose hostels or guesthouses with communal areas where you can meet like-minded travelers.
- Participate in group activities: Join walking tours, cooking classes, or language exchanges to meet new people and share experiences.
- Leverage social media: Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Meetup to connect with local communities and other solo female travelers.
- Be open and approachable: Smile, make eye contact, and be open to conversations with new people.
Traveling on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips for Solo Female Travelers in South America
South America can be an affordable destination for solo female travelers if you're mindful of your spending. Here are some money-saving tips:
- Choose budget accommodations: Opt for hostels, guesthouses, or even homestays to save on lodging expenses.
- Eat like a local: Visit local markets and street food vendors for delicious, budget-friendly meals.
- Use public transportation: Buses and trains are often a more affordable option than taxis or private cars.
- Travel during the off-season: Visiting during the low season can result in lower prices and fewer crowds.
- Negotiate prices: In many South American countries, haggling is expected at markets and souvenir shops. Don't be afraid to negotiate for a better deal.
Embracing the Solo Female Travel Experience
Solo female travel in South America can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's essential to approach it with the right mindset. Embrace the challenges and uncertainties, and view them as opportunities for growth and self-discovery.
Remember Flavia's story: her solo journey across South America not only allowed her to explore breathtaking destinations but also taught her valuable life lessons and led her to create the successful travel blog, "Latina Traveler"
So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. South America awaits!
The entire Interview of Flavia Cornejo, the Inspiring Solo Female Traveler
To wrap up our article, we had the opportunity to interview Flavia Cornejo herself. Read on to learn more about her experiences and insights as a solo female traveler.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into solo traveling as a woman?
Flavia: "I never thought I would be a solo traveler, and it happened unexpectedly. At 15, many Latinas celebrate their Quinceañeras, but my parents let me choose between a party or a 3-week trip throughout Europe. I chose the trip and boarded a flight to Switzerland not knowing any of the people I would be doing the group trip with. That showed me I was capable of anything because if, at 15, I was willing to do it, I'd only be capable of more as I got older."
Q: What inspired you to start a podcast about solo traveling for women?
Flavia: "I want my experiences and advice to reach as many people as possible. Since everyone consumes content differently and some people are too busy to sit down to watch a YouTube video or read a blog post, listening to podcasts is for the busy bees who want the travel inspiration but may be lacking some time. The Latina Traveler Podcast also covers personal finance and mental health in addition to travel because these three topics are connected, and it's hard to thrive in all when lacking in one."
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a solo female traveler, and how have you overcome them?
Flavia: "The first biggest challenge was having my extended family and friends think I was crazy for wanting to travel on my own. The advice I would always get was to wait for someone to come with me, but I didn't want to wait. People around me didn't have the same passion for travel as I did, and I had no expectations of people changing their minds."
Q: What advice do you have for women who are considering solo traveling for the first time?
Flavia: "There's this misconception that to travel solo, one needs to go completely out of their comfort zone and be halfway across the world to 'do it right.' I advise my clients to start small either by taking themselves out for something they wouldn't usually do on their own or go to a city/state nearby or a country that speaks the same language. I don't want other women to be scared or frightened after their first experience. I want them to feel empowered and intrigued to want to do it again."
Q: How do you choose your destinations for solo travel, and what factors do you consider?
Flavia: "Many of my solo travel destinations have been either out of convenience (they were closeish by) or I found a cheap flight to it. My trip to Ireland is a perfect example of this. I wanted to go on a trip, so I started searching flights and found a 16 euro roundtrip from Barcelona to Dublin, so I bought it. I've always wanted to go to Ireland and knew I would eventually, but had it not been for that flight, I probably wouldn't have gone during that time."
Q: Can you share a memorable experience you've had while solo traveling that has stayed with you?
Flavia: "My most memorable experiences I've had while solo traveling always have to do with the kindness of strangers. I'll be honest in saying I'm a skeptic, and I tend to expect the worst from people based on everything we see on the news and social media. So every time a complete stranger who doesn't know me or is expected to do anything nice for me does, it revives the thought that there are good people in the world, and it makes me want to keep going. I want to find more of these nice people, and I will never forget them."