More people are not waiting for others to travel with them and choosing to travel alone. The number of solo female travelers are increasing every year. I have done a lot, well most of my travels are done alone. There are many countries I am planning to visit, but it takes time to get to all of them. I asked some other travel writers where they thought the best place to travel alone to was or where their first solo destination was. Below are their experiences in the west (North America and South America). Additionally, you can read about central countries here (Europe and the UK) and you can read about Eastern Countries here (Australia and Asia). Be sure to come back and read them all. So, in no specific order, here are the recommendations and experiences for solo travel in the west.
Solo Travel in Canada
Written by Ayngelina Brogan from Bacon is Magic. Follow her on Facebook.
My first solo trip was to a country that spoke the same language that I did. It made things so much easier because I wasn’t overwhelmed with traveling alone and not understanding the language. For this reason, I think Canada is a great country. Not only because everything is in English, but also because the country is so diverse.
You likely won’t be able to see it all in one trip but from East to West you’ll have a great experience. Prince Edward Island restaurants offer fresh seafood dishes overlooking incredible red sand beaches. There’s lots of English spoken in the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, which will remind you of a European getaway. Toronto is a truly multicultural city as 50% of the population wasn’t born in Canada.
In Western Canada, the Calgary Stampede is known as the greatest outdoor show on earth. It is a rodeo experience like no other. The Rocky Mountains offer amazing skiing and snowboarding in Banff National Park and Lake Louise during the winter. They are also incredible to visit in the summer with countless hiking trails including the famous Johnston Canyon.
And on the west coast, everyone raves about the beauty of Vancouver, but I think it’s also worthwhile to head over to Victoria, which is the cycling capital of Canada. The population is so dedicated to a healthy, outdoor lifestyle and there are lots of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the city along with craft breweries and cider when you want to unwind.
But no matter where you choose to go in Canada one thing is consistent. Canadians are incredibly friendly and generous with their time. If you need help, they are always willing to give advice or recommendations. Canadians are avid travelers and know how difficult it can be when traveling solo. Many travelers have stories of needing directions somewhere and instead of pointing where to go, someone walked them there.
Go Travel To Costa Rica
Written by Sally Pederson. Follow me on Instagram.
Costa Rica is an excellent place for solo travelers with countless activities and tours available. I have to say that I did live here, so I wasn’t always traveling solo, but it is a great destination for solo female travelers. The weather is amazing, even in the rainy season. It is always hot, and the lightning storms are incredible to watch. The wettest month of the year is October, so if you want to enjoy hot, dry days to should go between December and August. There are many things to in Costa Rica, so depending on the area your visiting you can choose a lot.
In Guanacaste and the northwest side of the country is the popular tourist town of Tamarindo. Here you can go to several beaches, learn to surf, enjoy many restaurants, and relax on several catamaran cruises. If you want to get pampered, then you don’t want to miss the LADE Spa. Rated the top spa in Costa Rica.
Throughout the country, you will discover several volcanoes and national parks. If you love waterfalls, then you will want to go to Llanos de Cortes and the stunning Rio Celeste. Numerous national parks have hiking trails with countless opportunities to see wildlife. One of my favorites is Manuel Antonio National Park. Zip-lines, repelling down waterfalls, rafting, and horseback riding have been some of my favorite activities to do in Costa Rica.
Like many places in the world, crime happens and Costa Rica is not immune to it. It is very important not to bring valuables with you. Leave them in your home country. Don’t bring anything valuable with you to the beach, chances are if they are left unattended even for just a few minutes, they will be gone when you get back. With some common sense, you will have a fantastic trip to Costa Rica.
Traveling Alone in Havana, Cuba
Written by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World. Follow her on Instagram.
Havana is a fantastic destination for first-time solo female travelers. Despite being a capital and quite a large city, it is safe and there hardly are any violence issues. You don’t really need to use any more precautions than you’d use at home: avoid flashy jewelry, don’t leave your belongings unattended, and the like.
Basis Spanish skills will get you a long way, but even if you hardly know the language you’ll get by. Just beware of tourist scams, as they are quite common in Cuba. In general, don’t trust locals who appear to be overly friendly and insist on keeping you company – that should set you on your feet!
The city is incredibly pleasant to visit: there are many things to do in Havana. Make sure you visit Havana Vieja, as that’s where you’ll get the prettiest sights: the Cathedral, the narrow cobbled alleys with the beautiful flower gardens, the museums, and the historical bars such as the Bodeguita del Medio.
If you feel like learning a bit more about the history of Cuba, go to the Museo de la Revolucion. There’s quite a bit of reading to do, but it’s interesting. Plaza de la Revolucion is hardly pretty, but so iconic that you shouldn’t miss it.
A walk on the Malecon (Havana’s waterfront) is a great way to breathe in the marine breeze – it’s especially recommended at sunset. You can even opt for a tour on one of the vintage cars: it’s touristy, but a lot of fun.
Solo Holidays in Chile
Written by Alya Akhmetgareeva of Stingy Nomads. Follow her on Instagram.
Out of all South American countries I’ve been to Chile felt the safest to travel as a solo female. Being one of the richest and developed countries in the region, Chile has all the infrastructure to make traveling across the country easy and without hassle. It has a good bus system that connects cities and towns. Additionally, it has many accommodation options from backpacker’s hostels to luxurious hotels in all the touristy locations. Several tour agencies offer tours to the most remote corners of the country making it easy to get anywhere even if you’re an inexperienced traveler. Police in Chile, unlike many other Latin American countries, are not corrupt and are always ready to help a traveler; if anything happens it’s the place to go. People in Chile are very friendly and hospitable if they see you need any help, they’re very likely to offer you their assistance.
Chile is an amazing place to travel if you cross the country from north to south you will be able to see pretty much everything on the way; from the driest place in the world, the Atacama Desert, to the magnificent glaciers of Patagonia. A couple of places not to miss in Chile are:
- Atacama Desert – the driest place on Earth,
- Valparaiso – a colorful artistic city,
- Santiago de Chile – the capital city,
- Puerto Varas – the capital of the Lake region,
- Chiloe Island – a big island with unique flora and fauna,
- Easter Island – an island with mysterious moai rock sculptures,
- The Carretera Austral – a southern road through Chilean Patagonia with incredible scenery,
- Torres del Paine National park with several one-day and multi-day hiking routes.
As for activities, Chile is a real paradise for nature and outdoor activities lovers; hiking, rock climbing, sandboarding, surfing, cycling, and more. Chile is a great place for a first-time solo female traveler. It is safe, beautiful, and easy to travel with many activities to do and things to see.
Find everything to do in Chile with our complete listing of Chile Tours, Tickets, Activities & Things To Do
Singles Holidays in Brazil
Written by Wendy Werneth from The Nomadic Vegan. Follow her on Instagram.
Brazil is a strikingly underrated destination. This is great news for you because it means that the country is not yet suffering from the over-tourism that plagues so many European destinations. While Western Europe is often chosen by first-time solo travelers, there are many reasons to consider Brazil for your first trip abroad on your own.
The biggest reason is that making friends is incredibly easy in Brazil is because Brazilians are some of the friendliest and most easy-going people in the world. You don’t need to worry about being lonely; all you have to do is smile at a local, and they’ll be happy to strike up a conversation.
The one hindrance to meeting locals is the language barrier, so it’s a good idea to learn a bit of Portuguese before you go. This shouldn’t feel like a chore, though, because Brazilian Portuguese is a beautiful, melodic language and is so much fun to speak! If you already know some Spanish, you’re ahead of the game, as most Brazilians understand Spanish pretty well.
Brazil is massive, and if you want to see the whole country, you’ll need at least two to three months. The good news is, Brazil has some of the most comfortable buses in the world, so all those overnight bus trips won’t leave you feeling shattered the next day.
If you have less than two months, choose a region of the country rather than trying to cover everything. Highlights include the most spectacular waterfalls in the world at Iguazu Falls, the African-influenced music, dance, religions, and culture of Salvador, Bahia, and the breathtaking urban beaches and rainforest hikes in Rio de Janeiro.
Time your trip to coincide with Carnaval if you want the full-blown Brazilian party experience. But if you can’t make those exact dates, don’t worry. Samba schools and other musical groups hold public rehearsals for several weeks in the leadup to Carnaval. Even at other times of the year, the infectious rhythms of Brazilian music and dance are never far away.
Solo Holidays in Tulum, Mexico
Written by Claire Sturzaker from This Travel Lover. Follow her on Facebook.
I loved Tulum. Although Mexico, unfortunately, seems to get a lot of bad press, I loved my time traveling solo in Mexico. One of my favorite trips in Mexico was my solo trip to Tulum on the Riviera Maya. Not as hectic or ‘in-your-face’ as nearby Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Tulum still manages to retain its relaxed hippy vibes while offering everything you need to have a wonderful experience. Tulum is one of the safest places in Mexico and is perfect for a solo trip.
Getting to Tulum is easy, either by a high-quality ADO bus from Cancun or by transfer. The beaches in Tulum are stunning, with white sand and gorgeous turquoise waters. Most people come to Tulum to see the archaeological site which perches on the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. The site is interesting to visit, and you can take a bathing suit and swim on the beach just below the ruins. Day trips to nearby Coba and Chichen Itza are also easy to arrange as well. Cenotes are another unique experience for the region, and these natural sinkholes and pools are great for swimming, snorkeling, and diving – and are a great way to cool off on a hot day!
The food in Tulum is also incredible, from cheap street food and tacos to high-class restaurants and beachfront eateries, and if you like to go out for the evening there are plenty of bars to keep you busy too. To get around town you can easily hire a bike, walk or take a collectivo (mini-bus) to nearby destinations like Playa del Carmen and Akumal.
Singles Vacation in Utila, Honduras
When I was 18 years old, I took my first solo-female trip to Utila, Honduras intent on obtaining my SCUBA certification. Being from land-locked Kansas, pretty much everyone thought I was crazy to travel to a foreign country on a whim. When I landed at the Roatan airport I found the pilot who was supposed to fly me to Utila on his private prop plane. He asked me for my passport and my luggage so that he could load up the plane and clear me with immigration. Since it was my first time traveling alone, I didn’t think anything about this… until an hour went by and the only personal possession, I had was my phone. I was starting to panic and wonder how I was going to tell my parents I had stranded myself in Honduras when the pilot came back over, handed me my passport, and apologized for the wait due to having the plane inspected.
With that disaster avoided, we flew to Utila and landed in a little parking lot-sized “airport”. I immediately began my diving lessons only to realize that I was terrified to do my mask skills. Something about being 20 feet underwater, and not being able to see freaked me out, and that is when I had my first ever panic attack. Alone. In a foreign country. After that, I decided to take a day off from diving and explore some tidal pools around the island. I walked around all day contemplating why I even decided to do this in the first place. I’d spent most of my money paying for an experience that I was too terrified to enjoy. At the end of the day, I decided to push through. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and prove to everyone else that this whole trip wasn’t a terrible idea. Honduras is a beautiful country with several tours and activities throughout the country.
This leads me to the best lesson I learned from solo female travel. You will undoubtedly face challenges. You will be pushed harder than you ever have in your life, but this will only make you stronger. I left Honduras not only with my SCUBA certification, but I pushed even further and received my ADVANCED license. Even more importantly I returned home more resilient, independent, and adventurous. I made new friends from all over the world, swam with a pod of dolphins, and I even held a sloth! Since then, I’ve been on over 50 dives on three different continents. So, what is the best thing to do in Utila? Something you’ve never done before.
Single Travel in Guatemala
Written by Megan Johnson from Red Around The World. Follow her on Instagram.
Guatemala is a great destination for a first-time solo trip for a few reasons. There is a well worn ‘gringo trail’ that is easy to follow, but easy to get off of at the same time. Spanish is an easy language to learn and pick up on if you don’t already know any, making communication a little bit easier. It’s super easy to meet people thanks to the backpacker trail. There are hostels for every type of traveler so you can find people to explore with. It’s extremely budget-friendly and an extremely pretty area.
I spent almost a month in Guatemala on my first solo trip and could have easily stayed a lot longer. Some of the highlights are:
- Flores and the Tikal ruins in the north, not far from Belize,
- Semuc Champey the emerald river paradise,
- Antigua the charming colonial town,
- Volcan Pacaya where you can roast marshmallows,
- Volcan Acetenango an overnight camping excursion on top of a volcano,
- Lake Atitlan a volcanic lake with a town for everybody.
Monterrico and Rio Dulce are two other awesome places to visit that are still on the backpacker trail, but a lot less visited than the others.
Guatemala is a great place for budget travelers that love the outdoors. Even if you’re more of a city person, there are enough cute little towns to keep you busy. There are various tours and activities throughout Guatemala. Visit markets, see coffee plantations, make chocolate, and check out Mayan ruins all over the country. It’s one of the places I most look forward to visiting again.
Solo Female Travel In The United States Southwest
Written by Niki Gordon of Chasing Departures. Follow her on Instagram.
Hands down, I think the best place for your first time as a solo female traveler is the American southwest.
If you are really looking to be on your own, completely solo, the best way to do it is a road trip where you hit Zion, Page, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon. There are also various routes you can piece together depending on how much time you have. Fly into Las Vegas, rent a car, and drive. Flights, car rentals, and hotels in and near Vegas are incredibly budget-friendly. Perfect for the solo female traveler without a lot of cash to spend.
If you don’t want to spend your evenings away from Las Vegas many of the popular national and state parks, like the Valley of Fire, and recreation areas are within an easy day’s drive. Depending on where you go, you won’t truly ever be solo. The last time I did the trip solo I met so many wonderful people from all walks of life at the various stopping points for photo opportunities.
If you choose to stick closer to the city and only do day trips venturing out, Vegas comes alive at night and there is plenty within the city during the day a solo female traveler can enjoy too. You could try your hand at gambling, but make sure you know when to walk away so you don’t lose all your money. If you are lucky, remember to quit while you’re ahead. Take your winnings and do something you’ll never forget. There are also plenty of museums and you must experience Fremont Street. There is so much to marvel at, you’ll have stories to tell forever.
I hope these recommendations for the best places to travel alone help you decide on a destination. Come back next week to read about wonderful solo travel destinations in the central countries including Europe and the United Kingdom.