In the third part of the series, in this blog Solo Female Travel Colombia Insights and Tips, five women discuss their experience with solo travel, whether they were afraid to come to Colombia alone and offer their advice for travelling solo. If you have not yet met these women in the first blog, please see Solo Female Travel Colombia: Meet The Women.
Solo Female Travel Colombia: Insights and Tips
Was it your first time travelling solo and were you afraid?
Leonie: It was indeed my first time travelling alone, but not the first time I was away from home alone. When I was 16 I went to Canada for a 6 month’s school exchange. After finishing school I went to China for 4 months as an au pair. But still I didn’t feel too comfortable going all by myself mostly because everyone in Germany tells you how horribly dangerous South America is (without ever having been there of course). So I went to a German website which roughly translates to “looking for travelling mate” and met a girl there with whom I spent the first few weeks travelling. I didn’t know her before and we just met at the airport so it wasn’t much different from meeting someone in a hostel and travelling with them but it made me feel a little better to start with. And even when you do theoretically travel alone you rarely really are. In the 6 months I travelled, I spent only 2 weeks alone and that was on purpose because I needed time for myself…
So travelling alone doesn’t mean you will be alone. You just won’t be with people you knew beforehand.
Ivana: It wasn’t my first time travelling alone and I wasn’t afraid to do it. I was told that Colombia is dangerous and when I landed, even Colombians were telling me the same, but stubborn as I am, I had to go to see for myself. I live in Ireland and I find its capital to be not the safest place with its drug and homelessness problem.
Anita: No, it was not the first time travelling alone but it was the longest period of time for me being six months. Therefore, I didn’t have fears about travelling alone. It was more some scepticism whether six months would be too long.
Jenny: No. I travelled throughout Asia on my own for close to a year, six months prior. I was afraid of the violence and theft that happens in South America so I took a few tours to get the hang of it at first. I realised I could travel easily on my own, and lost the fear.
Amal: Yes, it was my first time travelling alone. I am the type of person who was afraid of travelling even with my girlfriends because I was imagining all the worst scenarios possible. Travelling by myself was indeed something I was very afraid of.
Would you suggest Colombia as a good travel destination for solo travelling women and why?
Leonie: I would indeed say that Colombia is a country where women can travel by themselves. It is not more or less dangerous than any other South American country but people are generally nicer and more helpful. Also the transportation system is quite good and flights are very cheap so solo long distance and overnight trips can be avoided.
Ivana: I definitely would but not for non-experienced solo travelling women. They might find Colombia to be difficult with its “macho” culture.
Knowledge of Spanish language helps as well. Otherwise it can get very frustrating, as Colombians don’t speak English (in general).
Anita: Yes! People are super helpful and if one applies common sense then there is no need to be afraid at all!
Jenny: Yes – but you need money to offset any possible danger and be very conscious of who you trust (both travellers and locals, and police).
Amal: Yes. It is difficult to take the decision and at first when you get there. Stay at a hostel, meet plenty of solo travellers and explore your own strength !!
Do you have any other insights and tips for Solo Female Travel Colombia?
Leonie: I wouldn’t recommend anyone – women or men – to go to the West coast by themselves or in general but apart from that – go to Colombia for at least 6 but better 8-10 weeks. If you don’t want to be by yourself, talk to people in hostels and just join other travellers. If guys hit on you and it annoys you, tell them you are married (maybe bring a cheap ring to prove it). They might not really care about the being married part and want to be your boyfriend for the day/week/etc. but they are just talking and usually won’t do anything else if you don’t offend them by turning them down too rudely because they are quite proud.
Ivana: Be brave! Don’t be scared but don’t be naive either! If that lovely man tells you to hide your camera, then it’s a good thing to listen to him. Other than that, spread your wings and fly in this beautiful country where there are not so many tourists yet. Drink coffee and try lulada (juice made of tropical fruit Lulo)!
Always (and not only in Colombia) trust your instincts. Be open to strangers but be cautious, apply common sense.
Jenny: Follow your nose, do what you like, and make lots of love.
Amal: Read about the places where you go and observe how locals are. Try to imitate the way they dress and act. Always smile !!