Having spent the best part of the last fifteen years, living and running trips and expeditions in Latin America, here’s what I know to be true…
Solo female travellers, Latin America promises to set your soul on fire! Epic landscapes will unleash your inner wild, non-stop adventures will empower you at every turn, and the chance to meet like-minded individuals means you’ll develop connections that last a lifetime.
In 2015, I started what would be a 7-year journey to ride my motorbike from the very tip of Argentina to New York City in America – I was rescued from the jungle by kind locals in Brazil and Guatemala, invited into local people’s houses across the continent, escorted by the police in Mexico, made to feel like a celebrity in Costa Rica and met people on that trip that would become lifelong friends.
If you’ve got your sights set on Latin America, check out our travel safety tips for women below, ladies, let’s explore with confidence!
Photo: This ancient Kawasaki KLR 650 took me through Honduras, Nicaragua & Guatemala
Top Travel Safety Tips For Women In Latin America
There’s a lot of misinformation (and, let’s be honest, scaremongering) when it comes to solo female travel in Latin America – but this gorgeous part of the world isn’t one to daydream about! It’s one to explore, make memories in, and fall in love with.
At Vegan Adventure Holidays, I’m here to help you do so safely.
1: Get To Know The Cultural Norms
Knowledge is power when it comes to solo female travel in Latin America. It pays to understand the cultural norms of your destination of choice, and not to assume that they’re the same as those of your home country.
What’s deemed acceptable for women to say, do, and wear varies from destination to destination – whether it’s Guatemala, Belize or Mexico. Researching the cultural norms of your chosen country – and adapting your behaviour to align with them can go a long way in helping you explore, hassle-free.
2: Protect Number one (you!)
Travelling solo can be incredibly empowering, invigorating, and everything in between – but don’t forget to consider the more practical elements of exploring Latin America.
Staying safe on the go might look something like this:
- Staying in central hotels or female-only hostel dorms
- Pre-booking transport, including a taxi or uber to and from the airport
- Buying a mobile SIM card in each country you visit to stay connected
- Not walking alone at night, particularly in secluded areas
- Keeping a list of helpful local phone numbers, including emergency services
When it comes to solo female travel in Latin America and beyond, covering your back is all part of doing it safely.
3: Get New & Old Friends Involved
Even when you’re travelling solo, remember there’s safety in numbers – and connection! Travel is all about meeting incredible people from across the world, so why not make this part of your safety plan? To get the best from every moment in Latin America, consider:
- Letting your family and friends know your travel itinerary
- Telling your hotel receptionist when you’ll be returning
- Sharing taxis and train cabins with other women
- Connecting with other female travellers via social media groups
- Joining an expedition group
- Buddying up for nighttime activities or those in secluded areas, such as sunrise hikes.
Remember – involving others in your safety doesn’t detract from the awesomeness of your solo travel achievements!
4: Pay For Your Safety
You can’t put a price on your safety, so I recommend using registered taxis when getting around at night (or in any situation where you don’t feel safe to walk).
You’ll be able to use apps like Uber in some parts of Latin America, but in others, you may need to rely on local apps or taxi ranks. It’s best to research these before you arrive, but it’s also worth asking your accommodation for their taxi company of choice.
5: Cover Up
Covering up can help you avoid street harassment in Latin America, so bear this in mind while packing your suitcase. You’ll want to follow the lead of local women in the country you’re visiting, so do your research beforehand or seek advice from your fellow female travellers (e.g. by posting in Facebook groups).
6: Get Planning & Preparing
Spontaneity can take your Latin American adventure to the next level, but you can be wild, free and responsible. Wherever you go, think about how you’ll stay safe.
For instance, if you’re planning to soak up the local nightlife, do you know how you’ll get back to your accommodation? If you’re going on a hike, have you got the appropriate kit, enough water, and the phone number of the local emergency services? If you’ve booked an overnight train, have you found one that doesn’t include long layovers in potentially quiet, unguarded stations?
As you become a more confident solo traveller, having an action plan for every scenario will become second nature. Promise!
7: Use The Power Of No
As women, many of us are brought up to be polite and as a consequence, naive to the nagging feeling that someone is crossing the line with us. At best, this is frustrating. At worst, this can be dangerous. Please remember that you don’t have an obligation to spend time or make conversation with anyone – and you don’t need to justify it, either. “No” is a complete sentence.
8: This & That
If you find yourself feeling nervous or apprehensive about solo travel, carve out some time to do the ‘this & that’ exercise, here’s how it works:
- If (this) happens, I’ll do (that) – for example, if I lose my passport while travelling, I’ll have my paper and digital copy to hand and contact my embassy for advice immediately
Doing this exercise can help you walk through scenarios that might be making you feel nervous and help you with your pre-trip preparation. In the above example, it’s clear that making sure you have a paper and digital copy of your passport and embassy information to hand in is something to organize before you leave home
9: Learn Some Basic Spanish
If you’re starting from square one, you might like to get going with a language app like duo-lingo, it definitely pays to have a basic grasp of the language prior to arrival so that you can communicate effectively and have a better understanding of what’s going on around you.
10: Travel With A Group
Yes, you can still be a solo female traveller within a group! Small groups trips give you the advantage of having some vegan travel buddies to connect up with, an added layer of protection on the safety side of things but you still get to be as independent as you want – it’s a win-win situation.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀.
Looking For More Resources On Latin America? Check Out This Popular Post From The Blog:
Here at Vegan Adventure Holidays, I’m here to help you travel in Central America and beyond fearlessly and with a fire in your belly! Check out the small group trips and expeditions I run to find the right adventure for you.
Bring a little extra zest to your year with a might-just-change-your-life trip to Guatemala, Mexico or Belize where incredible history and culture meet epic landscapes and only the most flavoursome vegan food!
Check Out Small Group Trips For Vegan Travellers In Central America Here:
- NEW! Quetzal: A One Month Work & Travel Program In Guatemala | Coming soon, check the website soon for updates
- 7-Day Multi Activity Holiday in Mexico
- 7-Day Multi Activity Holiday in Guatemala
- 7-Day Multi Activity Holiday in Belize
I hope this article was inspiring, let me know in the comments your top travel safety tips for solo female travellers and I’ll see you again soon!
Emma – Vegan Adventure Holidays