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First time - Solo trip - South America

2 posts
First time - Solo trip - South America

Hi

I am a 26-year old woman who plans to travel 3 weeks in South America in November. I hesitate between Colombia and Brazil. I don't speak Spanish or Portuguese. It would be my first big solo travel. Any recommandations?

Thanks!

9 replies to this topic
Zagreb, Croatia
Level Contributor
505 posts
255 reviews
1. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

I don't know all details about the safety. I did my solo travel in Brasil Sao Paolo - Paraty - Rio - Fos do Iguasu, by bus and walking alone through the cities and it was OK...

I can recommend you town Fos do Iguasu: cheap flights from Rio, very pleasant and safe town and great base for Iguasu Falls National Park (brasilian and argentinian side each day), ITAIPU power (great experience) and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay - all by comfortable public transport and great budget hostels. It was the best part of my month long tour in South America.

I also heard the visit to Pantanal (wildlife) is easy to organise: take flight to one of two airports, https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29428… , find good budget accomodation on booking.com or hostelworld.com and take the tour from there.

At those two places you will definitely avoid eventual problems of single traveling female in Sout America and see great places!

Edited: 21 October 2018, 20:37
Seattle
Level Contributor
51,622 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

Have you considered Argentina? I would be more comfortable myself, if going solo, going there. I'd love to see Buenos Aires.

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,456 posts
1 review
3. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

welcome,

for what its worth im an older solo male traveler.

i returned from 3 trips to S.america this late Sept. In mid march i will be going back for a short tirp.

" I am a 26-year old woman who plans to travel 3 weeks in South America in November. I hesitate between Colombia and Brazil. I don't speak Spanish or Portuguese. It would be my first big solo travel. Any recommandations?"

i havent been to Colombia, yet. Brazil i have 3 times, but those visits have been to cityes so far. The Amazon is for late next year.

If you havent been to S.America or outside of the USA you will be in for an eye opener.

I would get some travel books on both and readup on where you are wanting to go. If you havent done any reserach on those places, you should. By doing research you may find that one place will call to you more than the other or if you are unlucky each will be the same. If you dont care, then flip a coin or use any of other methods to make a decision. For me, its not IF i will go, but WHEN i will go.

I find that when im excited about something or some place i put more work into reserach and not rely on chance or other peoples opinion to make a decision. I find that everyone has an opinion and sometimes those opinions dont blend with mine.

You may find that you will like SOLO travel and you may also find that my NOT like solo travel. The only way to know is to do a trip. But the good thing is that you wont be forced to do either way forever, it will only be 3 weeks. Then theres the fact that there is no 1 way to travel. If you want, you can join a tour. You can do this for anyplace you find yourself in, if they are available.

with regards to language, you will probably have SOME issues with this. Ive noticed this with S.america. Europe not an issue in most places. Its not like you cant get by either. If you are patient and the other party is too, you will be able to communicate somehow and someway. Dont forget about using google translate. If you dont know how to use it, i would learn now at home where time isnt critical and there is no rush. You can do voice, text and picture translation and i would learn how to do all 3.

Then i would learn some basic words that you will use alot of down there. Good day/morning, good afternoon, good evening, hello, good bye, thank you, youre welcome. Then some numbers if you want and some food things, like chicken, fish, beef, pork.. Some places may not like Spanish spoken if they speak Portuguese. You need to remember that like the Civil War in the USA, some other countries did not play well togeather and some bad feelings/blood may still be around. Im not saying this is the case where you are going, but its something to be aware of in your travels. People may not say its so, but i have observed it in Europe.

Water, and Gas or no gas. Its big down there. So chances are you will be asked this.

there are other things too, but if/when you go , you will learn alot. its why i travel along with other things too.

good luck

Edited: 22 October 2018, 00:55
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
1,629 posts
111 reviews
4. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

The world is a different place for a solo male traveler and a solo female traveler. The world is a VERY different place for a solo, young female traveler and a solo middle-aged male traveler. I've traveled to both Colombia and Brazil solo, on multiple occasions, but I'm male.

Right now, I would recommend Colombia over Brazil. Both are fantastic travel destinations, with more than three weeks worth of things to do and see. But the present state of affairs in the two countries leads me to recommend Colombia over Brazil.

I'm clueless as to where you would be traveling from, but for U.S. citizens, there is no visa or admission fee for Colombia. There is for Brazil. Prices are generally much lower in Colombia, as Brazil, despite its many tourism virtues, is not an inexpensive destination, whether we're talking airfare, accommodations, or in-country travel costs. Colombia is more manageable in size. Brazil is huge. Your lack of speaking the respective local languages will be a problem in both. Rio and Iguacu are the only tourist destinations in Brazil where lack of Portuguese will not be a major problem (but even in Rio it will be a problem). Cartagena is the only stop in Colombia where lack of Spanish will be no problem (although Bogota shouldn't be too much of a problem).

Right now, this is a fantastic time to go to Colombia. It is only now being discovered by the international tourist hordes, as its reputation for violence and lack of safety scared off most tourists. The problem is relatively under control in most of the country (although stay out of the jungle interior or the Venezuelan border areas) and reputation is slowly catching up with reality. For example, in the last 12 months, I've seen a huge increase in the number of postings on the Colombia board here on Trip Advisor, a sure thing of a significant uptick in interest.

On the other hand, Brazil seems to be going through a difficult period right now. Crime and violence are scary-high throughout the country. A lot of people on these messageboards downplay the personal safety issue because not every tourist is a crime victim. But if you're torn between two places, one of which has a more significant safety issue, I'd say that's major points for the alternative destination. Things will get better in Brazil. The crime and safety and violence problems ebb and flow. Things will be quiet for a few years, then, suddenly, everything goes to [Hades]. Right now, in the cities up and down the coast, and in the interior, it's gone to [Hades]. Wait a few years for Brazil, for things to calm down.

On the other hand, the safety issue in Colombia is the best it's been in decades. The people are warm, welcoming and very friendly. Go.

2 posts
5. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

Thanks all! yes I guess my whole point was in terms of safety: as I will be alone and it will be my first time, I wanted to know which one would be the safest

Thanks!

Seattle
Level Contributor
51,622 posts
22 reviews
6. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

Honestly I wouldn't consider either of those countries for a newbie and 1st time solo female. Are you sure you might not like something a bit easier?

Edited: 23 October 2018, 23:31
r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,456 posts
1 review
7. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

welcome back,

" Thanks all! yes I guess my whole point was in terms of safety: as I will be alone and it will be my first time, I wanted to know which one would be the safest

Thanks!"

as per my post,...

- im an older solo male traveler.

So i see things through my eyes but im observant when and where i go.

Where have been to in S.America and the parts in Europe, i didnt see any issues.

You will get attention as a female since its how i see things. Its human nature. If you dress provocatively (not saying you do or may think so) you may get more attention. But i have not see any groping -overtly. Maybe in a crowded subway car? Have not see any rapes, or attempted rapes. Seen some PDAs everywhere i have been to.

I would use what common sense you have and any street smarts. Im assuming you made it this far using what you have?

maybe some other single females will chime in now that you clarified what you really want to ask.

good luck

Seattle
Level Contributor
51,622 posts
22 reviews
8. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

<<You will get attention as a female since its how i see things. Its human nature.>>

<<maybe some other single females will chime in now>>

That is not my experience as a female solo traveler.

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,456 posts
1 review
9. Re: First time - Solo trip - South America

im back.

i think that the "unwatned attention" was not the best choice of words.

l will say that you will get some people looking at you.

good luck

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