Rarely has there been such a diverse region as the Americas, from the highrises of New York City to the unbroken rainforests of central Panama. That diversity stretches to history, which ranges from the slave plantations of the Caribbean to the indigenous massacres of Argentina to the brutal colonialism of America’s lost empires.
Not just history, but food, culture, language, landscape, absolutely everything is richness multiplied in this part of the world.
In this section, you’ll find plenty of stories on solo travel in the Americas, so enjoy!
Solo travel in South America
South America is vibrant, loud, and culturally exciting. It is known for its warm and welcoming people, incredible dance scene, and very laid-back way of life. It would take years to really explore the whole of South America, even though it is made up of only 12 countries – but these are mostly huge, and incredibly diverse. South America is not a place you can generalize.
Safety is often a question women pose when considering solo travel to the Americas. Frankly, in most places, you’ll be as safe here as pretty much anywhere. Yes, there are concerns, but these mostly concern petty crime, like robberies. I did say in most places, because there are certain no-go zones in some countries, where certain regions of a country may be no-go zones, and – like everywhere else – certain city neighbourhoods are best avoided.
Plenty of women travel South America as solo travelers, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be one of them.
South America has an astonishing array of landscapes, from snow-capped volcanoes like Cotopaxi in Ecuador, to Wonders of the World like Machu Picchu in Peru, to iconic lakes like Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The list of places worth visiting is endless. Did I mention the Amazon rainforest?
Cuisine is also varied, but less so than the landscape. Some dishes will be relatively common throughout the continent, or at least in certain parts of it, like ceviche prepared in the more northern countries; raw fish may not be your thing but it is truly delicious when it’s done the South American way!
Another example are arepas, popular across Colombia and Venezuela (they are originally from Venezuela and there is a bit of a debate between the two countries as to who has the best), and the famous Argentinian empanadas.
You can get cheap and delicious street food everywhere in South America, and a typical almuerzo (lunch) will consist of rice, fried beans, beef, fried plantain, and a side of salad – all for around $2.
South America is also the home of salsa, tango, and samba and many other dances. Dance and music are a big part of culture here and it’s easy to understand why South America has the world’s best festivals and carnivals.
Here are a few stories that will put you into the South American mood!
- Solo Female Travel to Argentina: Does It Really Take Two to Tango?
- Is Rio Safe? More Than You Think
- The Independent Woman’s Guide to Brazil Travel
- A Delectable Visit to the Colombia Coffee Region
- Beautiful Offbeat Places in Colombia, Ideal for Solo Women Travelers
Solo Travel in Central America
There are seven different countries in Central America, each with its own unique culture, heritage, and must-see places. I’ve included Mexico in this list although technically it does belong to North America – but culturally it does not.
Much like South America, there are a few places you should avoid going but in general Central America is safe and has decent infrastructure. Also like South America, the situation varies within countries. For example, Panama is broadly safe for solo female travel but certain cities are not. Make sure you do your research!
Among the highlights of Central America are the hidden Mayan ruins in the rainforest and the incredible wildlife in this part of the world. If you’re feeling active this is a world-class destination for diving and spectacular coral reefs, or if you’d rather, simply enjoy a peaceful afternoon on a gorgeous white sand beach instead.
Active volcanoes, coffee plantations, gorgeous street food… that’s what to expect when you visit Central America.
Solo Travel in the Caribbean
The islands of the Caribbean are diverse and delightful. The Caribbean Sea has more than 7,000 islands, with some of the most popular or largest – Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, and the Dominican Republic – standing out as top travel destinations.
The Caribbean receives plenty of tourists and is set up for tourism, considered quite safe apart from the usual pickpockets or dodgy neighbourhoods.
What makes these islands so special? The breathtaking beaches, of course, but also the stunning colonial architecture, fantastic weather, and flavour-filled meals (like freshly caught fish). They are also the home of lively music genres and dances like calypso!
Affordable, stunning, and full of life. It’s no wonder people from across the world come to explore these unique islands, soak up the sun, and get to know the vibrant way of life of the people who call the Caribbean home.
- A Cuba Guide for Independent Women
- How to Visit the Cayman Islands on a Backpacker’s Budget
- Jamaica Facts for Solo Women Travelers
Solo Travel in North America – USA and Canada
The USA and Canada have great infrastructure and are easy (and very safe) places to travel. Not to mention that most people speak English.
If I had to choose just three reasons they’re worth a visit I’d point to their incredible wildlife, history, and National Parks. They have it all – moose, bears, whales, mountain lions, eagles, manatees, and more. There are spectacular National Parks up and down both countries, like Yellowstone National Park in the USA or Banff National Park in Canada.
Discover their rich indigenous culture that is still alive today, and can also be explored through the historic relics and landmarks, like Effigies. Remember, the USA and Canada are huge, so pick a small region to explore and don’t expect to see everything in a month.
This region is my last frontier when it comes to solo travel in the Americas, the one I still need to explore more and write about. Meantime, here’s…