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South America - travel on my own or with a travel agency?

Woman on her own is South America - yes or no?
8 years ago, April 2nd 2013 No: 1 Msg: #168377  
N Posts: 5
Hi, I'm a 29 years old female and am planning to travel to South America on my own for 6 monts in November 2013. Is it safe for a woman to travel on her own? I want to go to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. I've come across an agency called Tucan Travel. Has anyone ever travelled with them? I'm a bit afraid of travelling on my own for safety reasons, plus I like a good company, but I don't want to feel rushed or tied up by an agency. Thanks for your help. Reply to this

8 years ago, April 2nd 2013 No: 2 Msg: #168387  
Hello Meri, and welcome to TravelBlog. This is a great place to find out information and to ask questions.

I can't speak to the safety of a woman traveling alone, but I would like to say that you are doing the right thing in researching this. As for the travel agency, I have not heard of Tucan Travel. Personally I would feel a bit trapped if I were on an agency's schedule the whole time. Would you feel comfortable traveling alone, but having select tours arranged in advance for places that you are more leery of? It might be a good mix of freedom and security. This is just a thought and I'm sure you will have some other bloggers adding to this thread that will have other ideas and suggestions.

I will follow this thread and am always available if you have any questions. And again, welcome to TravelBlog! Reply to this

8 years ago, April 2nd 2013 No: 3 Msg: #168391  
B Posts: 222
Hi Meri,

I've been traveling alone in Latin America since I was 25, and there are lots of us single women traveling down here. I'll admit that you do get lots of attention. Two keys to being safe are a confident attitude and trusting your intuition.

You don't want to be so afraid that you close yourself off to wonderful opportunities to meet South Americans, but you need to know that you can say NO and mean it, and listen to your intuition to know when to be open and when to walk away.

To save money and have more freedom than a tour would allow, I'd recommend staying in hostels where it's really easy to meet other travelers for fun and often for onward travel. You can find these hostels in Lonely Planet's books and online at Hostelbookers and hostelworld. I don't tend to book ahead of time, but you could do this, so you'd always know where you'll be staying when you arrive in a new city.

I've never had any problems on overnight buses, but to feel safer, you could either take day buses which allow you to see the countryside or else find a new friend from a hostel to sit with on an overnight bus.

Cities in South America seems no more dangerous than those in the US. The tour might be easier, but I think you'll have more fun and gain confidence and inner strength if you travel alone and meet new friends along the way. Good luck!

Reply to this

8 years ago, April 3rd 2013 No: 4 Msg: #168423  
N Posts: 5
Hi Tara,
Thank you ever so much for your reply, much appreciated. What do you think of "budding up" with people on websites like this one? Reply to this

8 years ago, April 3rd 2013 No: 5 Msg: #168424  
N Posts: 5
Hi Brendan,
Thanks very much for your warm welcome and all your help with gathering information here. Reply to this

8 years ago, April 4th 2013 No: 6 Msg: #168542  
B Posts: 222

In response to: Msg #168423
Finding a traveling friend here and on traveling sites is a great idea! While it could be tricky finding a partner for six months, you may find different people for different parts of your journey. Remember though that once in a hostel, you could very well find someone traveling to your next place, where you'll then meet someone else for the following place, etc. And there's nothing like traveling alone a bit to give you confidence in yourself. Happy travels!
Reply to this

8 years ago, April 11th 2013 No: 7 Msg: #168996  
Meri, it's a good idea to find a trusted partner rather than traveling with any agency. I think it will also reduce your cost.

[Edited: 2013 Apr 12 03:22 - Roosta:95057 - No commercial links in the forums please. See TOS]
Reply to this

8 years ago, April 11th 2013 No: 8 Msg: #168999  
N Posts: 5

Hi Evie, can you please recommend good websites for budding up? Many thanks!
In response to: Msg #168996 Reply to this

8 years ago, April 11th 2013 No: 9 Msg: #169011  
B Posts: 222

In response to: Msg #168377
Hello again Meri,

In my dorm room, there's a 20-year old woman traveling for the first time alone. She took a 3-week tour of Peru and now has 5 weeks on her own. She's going to do the same with Ecuador and is very happy with her decision to first tour, then return to the places she liked as well as new ones. It's not my way, but it's another possibility. Good luck finding your way. Reply to this

8 years ago, April 14th 2013 No: 10 Msg: #169171  
Another option you may wish to consider is the overland tours. See the blogs starting with http://www.travelblog.org/Central-America-Caribbean/Nicaragua/blog-692062.html written by a single woman who chose this option.

As for me, I will likely choose a tour group for Peru and Bolivia since I don't speak Spanish...and seeing things is very efficient. Reply to this

8 years ago, April 14th 2013 No: 11 Msg: #169174  
we did a trip solo - from rio to mexico overland - I think you have more flexibility without an agency - can pick up all the best bits from fellow travellers who you meet in hostels - and more often than not will kjoin up with various companions during your trip. Reply to this

8 years ago, April 24th 2013 No: 12 Msg: #169719  
I have traveled extensivly in Central and South America on my own. Mostly you just need common sense, and you are often not alone with all the other travelers you meet along the way. My next solo trip is planned for this summer to Colombia, Ecuador and Venezula. I have a question for others out there.... I only have 1 month to 1 1/2 months. Is this enough time to visit all 3 places or should I cut it down? Any suggested routes or iteneraries?Thanks! Reply to this

8 years ago, May 6th 2013 No: 13 Msg: #170238  
Hello Meri and welcome to travel blog.

I think this question can best be answered by you. It will depend on your comfort level being alone, entertaining yourself, and traveling alone.

If you have not done much foreign travel you may want to go with a group the first trip to gauge your comfort level. Since you have voiced some concerns you may need to think this one over. Always trust your gut. You are the only one who knows what is right for you. Whatever kind of trip you plan you want to feel more excitement than anxiety.

Everyone has their own way of traveling and that is ok.

If you decided to travel independently you may want to find a guide in a city for your first couple of days. That will give you a buffer to get used to the new environment and culture.

Happy travels and let us know what you decide.

Reply to this

8 years ago, May 9th 2013 No: 14 Msg: #170396  
N Posts: 5
Thank you very much for your advice & kind words 😊 I shall keep you updated! Reply to this

8 years ago, June 15th 2013 No: 15 Msg: #171805  
Hi Meri,

My name is Claudia, I'm from Romania, I'm 23 years old and I'm planning to do the same trip like you on the same period.
Like you, I'm travelling by my self, I couldn't find anybody to come with me. On the beginning of July I will come in US.
If you are intrested to travel together, to talk about this please let me know, I would be glade to change some opinions ..maybe you find your partner 😊
Please let me in a private message you e-mail adress to keep in touch 😊 Reply to this

8 years ago, June 18th 2013 No: 16 Msg: #171906  

In response to: Msg #169719

Kari, I think you should choose 1-2 countries max to be able to really experience them rather than rush all the time. We spent 32 days in beautiful Colombia and we both thought it was not enough. So much to see and do.

Would start from the north - Cartagena for instance and move south to the border with Ecuador. Please check all the border safety info as this route is famous for accidents. You can also do the Amazon trip - fly from Bogota to Leticia, do the tour and take a boat/barca to Iquitos in Peru (3 days) where you can switch for a barca to Ecuador. It would be long but such a rewarding journey:-)

We have not been to Ecuador but people say you can do it in 1 week. I really doubt that unless you want to just spend 1 day in each of the interesting for you places.

Beata Reply to this

8 years ago, June 26th 2013 No: 17 Msg: #172245  

In response to: Msg #169719

Hi Kari,
I think 1 month or even 1,5 is not enough to see all 3 places. I am in Colombia now and regret that I only stay for one month. Same comments I hear from travellers coming from Venezuela. Huge country!! Ecudaor you probably could do within 2 or 2,5 weeks, also depends if you would like to see the Galapagos Islands which will take 5 days or longer.
I would suggest you to pick just 2 places, Colombia and Ecuador would work out very well I would say. I took buses from Ecuador to Colombia and had no problems at the borders at all. Locals travelling on the same bus were really helpful and I did not feel unsafe at any time. I will take the bus to Caracas on Friday (from Colombia, Santa Marta) and heard some bad and also neutral stories, if you like I can give you a feedback on that border crossing in a few days...

Anna Reply to this

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