21 Best Places For Solo Travel In South America

By Jessie Festa. This guide to South America solo travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Looking for the best places for solo travel in South America?

Then you’re in the right place!

As an avid solo traveler, I’m always researching interesting places to confidently travel on my own.

South America might have a reputation for not being safe for solo travelers; but, that is a blanket statement that doesn’t accurately reflect every place you could visit on the continent.

The reality is you can absolutely have a safe, fun, and memorable solo trip to South America. I’ve actually traveled solo in South America many times, and have thoroughly enjoyed each experience.

But, I’m only one person. To help create a more comprehensive guide, I reached out to some of my favorite travel bloggers to see where they think the best destinations for solo travel in South America are.

Our collective experiences are shared below!

Of course, this solo female travel guide is not exhaustive. There are many other amazing places to travel alone in South America; but, hopefully, this gives you a starting point for discovering some truly incredible solo travel destinations based on real travelers’ personal experiences.

Disclaimer: Please always check current travel advisories for a particular country before booking a trip.

🎉Quick tip: When traveling solo in South America, it’s smart to pack travel safety essentials. One top pick is the She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm, which is TSA-approved and can help scare away potential attackers. Other recommendations include Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Garments and Speakeasy Travel Supply Hidden Pocket Scarves.

🏥 Travel Insurance: SafetyWing offers straightforward and comprehensive plans to make sure you’re covered in an emergency.

📞 Staying Connected:Airalo eSIM is my go-to eSIM provider for staying connected abroad.

Confidently Travel Solo In South America [Free Course]

But first, before we get into our list of best solo travel destinations in South America, I invite you to grab a seat in my free Savvy Solo Traveler E-Course.

The 6-day course is designed to help you feel confident about booking your first solo trip and exploring the world alone.

Lessons include:

  • Common solo travel fears and how to overcome them
  • How to choose your perfect solo trip
  • How to tell loved ones you’re hitting the road solo
  • Mentally preparing for your solo journey without losing your mind
  • Essential steps for staying safe on a solo trip
  • How to take amazing solo selfies

Once you’ve grabbed your seat, read on for the in-depth solo travel South America guide.

Is South America Safe To Travel Alone?

Some South American countries are considered less safe than others; but, did you know that you can find some of the world’s safest countries in South America too?

According to World Population Review, Uruguay is among the top 25% of the world’s safest countries. Countries like Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile are also considered safe for solo travelers.

What about the rest? As it happens in the rest of the world, you can still explore South American countries safely by taking precautions, respecting the country’s culture, and taking local tours to learn about the destination and get local insights.

Best Places For Solo Travel In South America

So, where are these safe and memorable destinations for solo South America travel? The list below shares some top recommendations. It’s organized by country so you can easily find your perfect city or region!

Ecuador Solo Travel Destinations

1. The Galapagos Islands

solo female traveler in South America posing in front of turquoise waters in the Galapagos
Enjoying the beauty of the Galapagos Islands. Photo via Jessie Festa from Jessie on a Journey.

The Galapagos Islands in Eucador is one of my favorite places for traveling South America solo.

Along with being very safe, it’s one of the most unique destinations in the world thanks to its incredible biodiversity and the fact that many of the plants and animals here can’t be found anywhere else.

Some wildlife endemic to the Galapagos Islands include the Galapagos Giant Tortoises, Marine Iguanas, Galapagos Sea Lions, Flightless Cormorants, and Blue-footed Boobies, to name a few.

Additionally, the landscapes are breathtaking and diverse. During a solo trip to the Galapagos, you can snorkel with sea lions and sharks, hike across grassy plains and volcanic rock, see flamingos and bright red Sally Lightfoot Crabs from pristine beaches, and more.

The other great thing about the Galapagos is it has strict policies related to conservation and sustainable tourism, which helps to preserve the raw beauty of the place.

I’ve visited a few times and in a few different styles:

  • Once as a backpacker, basing myself on San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz Islands and exploring via day trips
  • Once on a luxury Galapagos cruise, which was more expensive but allowed me to visit the harder-to-reach places of the archipelago

While backpacking solo in the Galapagos was the cheaper option, I’d highly recommend a cruise if you can swing it, as you’ll see and experience so much more.

💡Pro tip for Galapagos solo travel: If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can save money by booking last minute in the weeks and months leading up to a ship’s departure. Or, you can get really crazy deals by visiting local travel agencies on Santa Cruz and trying to get on a last-minute boat that same week.

-Jessie from Jessie on a Journey

Galapagos Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Galapagos tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Galapagos hotels & vacation packages

2. Cuenca, Ecuador

exterior view of La Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Cuenca
La Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Cuenca. Photo via Jessie Festa from Jessie on a Journey.

I spent over three months solo backpacking in South America, and one of my favorite stops was Cuenca, Ecuador.

Known as being one of Ecuador’s safest cities—and also listed as the safest city in South America, according to Numbeo—you can feel confident exploring the city streets.

This is a good thing because Cuenca’s streets are gorgeous. The walkable city is known for its beautiful churches, cobbled streets, charming plazas, and well-preserved colonial architecture. In fact, the latter has earned Cuenca a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation!

Don’t miss seeing the La Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Cuenca, an enormous 19th-century cathedral featuring numerous beautiful blue cupolas and equally stunning interiors.

Along with architectural beauty, another reason to love Cuenca is its artisan culture. It’s the birthplace of the traditional Ecuadorian Panama hat, and you can even book a city tour that includes a Panama Hat Factory visit.

Other experiences for solo travelers include walking the scenic paths next to Rio Tomebamba and seeing Inca ruins, visiting the Museum and Ancestral Park of Pumapungo to learn about Ecuador’s cultural and natural history, taking in an aerial view of the city from Mirador de Turi, and taking an adventurous day trip to El Cajas National Park to hike and enjoy the outdoors.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Cuenca: While you shouldn’t drink the tap water in most Ecuadorian cities, the tap water in Cuenca is safe to drink!

-Jessie from Jessie on a Journey

Cuenca Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Cuenca tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Cuenca hotels

3. Quito, Ecuador

solo female traveler on a swing with a view over Quito, Ecuador
Solo female traveler enjoying the beauty of Quito. Photo via Isabella from Boundless Roads.

A great destination for solo female travel in South America is Quito. After traveling solo around Ecuador for three months, I fell in love with Quito and spent an entire month there!

The beautiful historic center is worth exploring for its colonial buildings and rich history, the many museums, and majestic churches; but, it requires a little extra attention to stay safe from pickpocketers, and it is not recommended to wander around at night. 

Areas such as La Floresta and La Mariscal have a more modern feel and are safer to walk around at night as locals and tourists gather in restaurants, pubs, and on the streets. 

Overall I felt very comfortable while traveling in Quito. Plus, this city is a great base for enjoying nearby hikes as well as destinations like the Mindo Cloud Forest and the colorful Otavalo Market.

It is also full of its own local attractions worth exploring as a solo traveler.

Among all the amazing things to do in Quito, make sure you hop on the TelefériQo Cable Car, which offers spectacular views above the city.

Additionally, take a free walking tour of the historical center and other neighborhoods, and visit Capilla del Hombre, the former house of the prolific Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamín which has been turned into a beautiful museum showcasing his timeless work.

To get around Quito you can choose between Uber and taxis or public transportation; however, you should know that although I found Uber much safer and cheaper than taxis, it’s still not legal in Ecuador.

Don’t be surprised if Uber drivers ask you to sit in front and pre-pay by card or get in and out of the car away from the sights of other taxis, to avoid disputes. 

It may sound dodgy, but calling a cab through any taxi app is always much safer than hailing a random taxi, as you can have your friends and family track your ride.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Quito: A good option to enjoy Quito is to join organized tours led by local guides. These experiences allow you to learn more about the city from a local while also mingling with other travelers.

-By Isabella from Boundless Roads

Quito Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Quito tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Quito hotels

Argentina Solo Travel Destinations

4. El Bolsón, Argentina

solo female traveler in South America posing for a photo on a suspension bridge at Cajon del Azul near El Bolson, Argentina
El Bolsón is a great destination for solo female travelers. Photo via Audrey from Che Argentina Travel.

One of the best places to solo travel in South America is El Bolsón, Argentina.

This small mountain town in northern Patagonia is set in a valley between two mountain ranges, offering a pristine setting that showcases hiking trails, swimming holes, and hidden waterfalls waiting to be explored. 

What makes this a great South American solo travel destination is its size. Because this is a smaller town, it’s very walkable and feels super safe. Plus it has that laid-back feel that makes it easy to chat with locals.

Solo travelers will find many hostels and guesthouses to choose from, which means plenty of opportunities to meet people to tackle the hiking trails or visit the craft breweries with. 

Some of the best things to do in El Bolsón include visiting Bosque Tallado, a burnt forest where the trees have been turned into sculptures.

You can shop at Feria Artesanal, a hippie fair in Plaza Pagano where you can buy souvenirs or enjoy the food trucks.

Then, there’s Cerro Piltriquitrón, the town’s most iconic mountain. Meaning “hanging from the clouds,” the trail leads up to a refugio where you can spend the night or at the very least enjoy a meal. 

💡Pro tip for solo travel in El Bolsón: If you’re visiting during the summer months, don’t miss out on a day trip to Cajón del Azul—which you can reach on a hiking or horse trekking tour. This is a forested canyon with natural turquoise swimming pools perfect for cooling down on a hot summer’s day! 

-By Audrey from Che Argentina Travel

El Bolsón Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated El Bolsón tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated El Bolsón hotels

5. Iguazu Falls, Argentina

roaring waterfalls of Iguazu Falls in Argentina
Impressive waterfalls at Iguazu National Park. Photo via Jenny from Tales From The Lens.

Located between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the world and a must-visit for those who solo travel to South America.

With approximately 275 individual waterfalls spread over nearly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles), the sheer magnitude and beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site are unmatched in South America.

The top things to see on the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls include the Devil’s Throat and the extensive series of walkways that take you to the heart, above, and below the waterfalls.

From the Brazilian side, you will get panoramic views that are equally stunning and have the opportunity to join boat tours to get close to the thundering falls, or even go on kayaking, hiking, or birdwatching tours.

Solo travel to Iguazu Falls is particularly appealing thanks to the friendly and welcoming nature of both Argentine and Brazilian cultures.

The area is well-touristed, meaning solo travelers can feel safe while exploring the site on their own or easily join guided tours.

The infrastructure around Iguazu Falls is geared towards accommodating all visitors. For instance, there are plenty of hostels in Puerto Iguazu, and the area is easily accessible by bus or by air.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Iguazu Falls: You can visit both sides of the falls within a couple of days; however, the Argentine side, being quite large, allows you to spend more time without breaking the bank. Just make sure to get your ticket stamped as you leave the site on day one. You will get the next day for 50% off the price.

-By Jenny from Tales From The Lens

Iguazu Falls Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Iguazu Falls tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated hotels in Puerto Iguazu (near Iguazu Falls)

6. Mendoza, Argentina

endless vineyards in Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina
Endless wine grapes near Mendoza. Photo via Jessie Festa from Jessie on a Journey.

Mendoza is one of the best places for solo travel in South America for many reasons.

First of all, it’s a safe city. According to Travel Safe-Abroad, your risk of being the victim of a violent crime is low, though you should stay aware of pickpockets and keep general travel safety tips in mind.

Additionally, Mendoza offers the perfect mix of urban exploration and adventures in nature.

While in the city, you can visit attractions like the Museo Fundacional to learn about local history and Espacio Contemporáneo de Arte to admire contemporary art before dining at a local parilla to try Argentina’s famous asado (steak).

With a location in the heart of Argentina’s wine country where Malbec reigns supreme, it can be fun to rent a bike and cycle to the many local wineries.

There are a few wine regions near Mendoza, though the one I explored and loved was Maipú. It’s only about 25 minutes from the city and you can visit top-rated bodegas like Casa El Enemigo, Bodega Santa Julia, and Bodegas Lopez.

Mendoza also has a vibrant CouchSurfing community, which made it very easy for me to meet both locals and other travelers on my solo trip. I even got invited to a local game night where the group shared maté (a caffeinated herbal drink) and travel stories.

This made my solo trip extremely memorable. I highly recommend making this a stop on your solo trip through South America!

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Mendoza: Mendoza is the perfect base for some amazing day trips. Along with the wineries, don’t miss hiking in the Andes Mountains, seeing the highest mountain in the Americas at Parque Provincial Aconcagua, and kayaking the Potrerillos Reservoir.

Mendoza Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Mendoza tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated hotels in Mendoza

Bolivia Solo Travel Destinations

7. La Paz, Bolivia

Sun setting over La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz at sunset. Photo via Catherine from Day Trip Nomad.

In my opinion, La Paz is one of the best places to travel solo in South America.

Located high in the Andes and unofficially holding the title of the world’s highest capital city, it’s a city that might just redefine your idea of adventure.

This Bolivian city is a mix of traditional and modern life. Solo travelers have a chance to learn the sacred traditions of the Andean people, adventure to exciting heights, and party it up in some of the most welcoming hostels on the continent. 

La Paz will likely be your first stop in the country. In the city, find medicinal herbs, dried llama fetuses, and other items in the famous Witches’ Market—believed to treat ailments or ward off evil spirits.

Eat popcorn as you stare in amazement and horror at a Cholita Wrestling match, Bolivia’s version of WWE with a cultural twist.

Using La Paz as a base, have a heart-pounding adventure biking Death Road, ice-climbing a glacier on the 16,000-foot Huayna Potosi Mountain, or abseiling off the side of a skyscraper at Urban Rush.

Chiller day trips include riding the cable car to El Alto or taking a trip to the Valley of the Moon, which resembles a lunar landscape. Get lost in the narrow maze-like streets of the San Pedro Prison Market, once the world’s most notorious prison. 

Although the culture is more reserved, you will always find friendly locals wanting to strike up a conversation. Learning a few phrases of Spanish goes a long way; but with the incredible backpacker scene here, any random interaction on a bus or in a cafe can lead to a lifelong friendship. 

While La Paz is relatively safe for tourists, precautions should be taken more seriously here. Follow basic safeguards like only walking around well-lit areas at night and using reputable transportation options. 

💡Pro tip for solo travel in La Paz: Around the bus station and the higher elevation neighborhoods are places to be more aware of your surroundings.

-By Catherine from Day Trip Nomad

La Paz Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated La Paz tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated La Paz hotels

8. Sucre, Bolivia

historic white building in Sucre, Bolivia
One reason to love Sucre is the architecture! Photo via Anna from Big World Short Stories.

Sucre, the capital of Bolivia, stands out as one of the most beautiful colonial cities in South America. Known as “The White City” due to its impressive white-washed buildings, it’s a true hidden gem.

It is often touted as the safest city in Bolivia and one of the safest cities on the continent, making it a must-visit destination for solo travelers in South America.

The lower altitude of Sucre, compared to La Paz, also makes it a great place to relax and enjoy the night air.

There are so many things to do in Sucre, and thanks to its charm and vibrant atmosphere, you can easily spend a week there without getting bored.

In Sucre, solo travelers can try delicious local chocolate from small stores across the city, visit Parque Cretácico to see real dinosaur footprints on a big wall, explore Bolivian gemstones at Museo del Tesoro, and take a walk in the historic Cemeterio General (cemetery) to see the beautiful mausoleums and chapels and visit notable figures at their final resting place.

These activities are perfect for solo travelers, allowing them to enjoy Sucre’s offerings at their own pace.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Sucre: Don’t miss out on visiting the roof of the San Felipe de Neri Convent for great city views and the beautiful sunsets at La Recoleta.

-By Anna from Big World Short Stories

Sucre Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Sucre tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Sucre hotels

Brazil Solo Travel Destinations

9. Paraty

solo traveler walking along a river lined with boats and palm trees in Paraty, Brazil
Walking along the water in Paraty, Brazil. Photo via Jessie Festa from Jessie on a Journey.

Colonial architecture, excellent diving, beach access, and vibrant nightlife are just a few of the many reasons solo travelers should visit Paraty.

Located on Brazil’s Costa Verde (Green Coast), this town is beautiful, walkable, safe, and full of things to do.

Paraty, along with Ilha Grande—which is another one of the best places to travel solo in South America—is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Listed under the name “Paraty and Ilha Grande – Culture and Biodiversity“, the two destinations are celebrated for their unique blend of well-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture and rich biodiversity, including Atlantic forests and marine ecosystems.

Take a walking tour of the historic center to learn more about the rich history of Paraty—which was established by the Portuguese in the mid-17th century and became a pivotal port during the Brazilian Gold Rush of the 18th century.

If you enjoy aquatic adventures, Paraty offers the chance to dive at top spots like Ilha dos Meros, go white water rafting on the Mambucaba River, and kayak through local mangroves.

At night, it’s easy to walk to local restaurants, bars, and clubs.

While I don’t recommend getting drunk while traveling solo, if you enjoy an alcoholic beverage make sure to try Brazil’s national drink, the caipirinha. It’s made with lime, sugar, and cachaça and you can often add other fruits. Personally, I like mine with passionfruit.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Paraty: While in Paraty, also make sure to visit the nearby Trindade, a lovely fishing village featuring pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and turquoise waters.

Paraty Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Paraty tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Paraty hotels

10. Florianópolis, Brazil

golden sand beach with waves lapping up onto the shore in Florianopolis, Brazil.
Florianópolis is a stunning destination for solo travelers in South America. Photo via Laura from Laura the Explorer.

Located just off the coast of mainland Brazil, Florianópolis—or Floripa as the locals call it—is an island paradise famous for its surf beaches, tropical jungle hikes, and fresh local seafood.

Floripa is the ideal location for those traveling solo in Brazil thanks to its thriving backpacker and remote worker scene, particularly around the hub of Lagoa.

After unplugging from one of the co-working cafes or hostels, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this beach destination.

Take surfing lessons or show your skills at Praia da Barra, discover waterfalls around Lagoa da Conceiçãowander through colonial architecture towns like Ribeirão da Ilha, and hike through the lush tropical rainforest on the Lagoinha do Leste trail.

With its popularity as a beach destination for local holiday-makers and its high quality of life for residents, the island is regarded as one of the safest destinations in Brazil.

While you should always keep an eye on your belongings while visiting the beach alone, harassment is uncommon and solo women should generally feel safe traveling alone in Floripa.

Basically, if you’re looking to solo travel in South America as a female, Floripa is a great option!

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Florianópolis: While most people generally refer to the entire island as Florianópolis (or Floripa), it’s technically the name of the main city on the island. The island is actually called Santa Catarina Island, so take care when booking transport or accommodation, as you could end up somewhere unexpected!

-By Laura from Laura the Explorer

Florianopolis Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Florianópolis tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Florianópolis hotels

11. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro cityscape with Sugarloaf Mountain in the background
The beautiful Rio de Janeiro cityscape. Photo via Kamila from Expat in Canada.

Rio de Janeiro is a great place for those looking to travel alone in South America thanks to its fantastic mix of natural beauty, captivating culture, and adventure.

It has no shortage of fun activities, from the exhilarating hang gliding off Pedra Bonita to colorful Escadaria Selarón and the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue that watches over Rio. 

If hang gliding feels like too much of a thrill, the Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car ride is the next best thing for panoramic views of the city. 

One place you shouldn’t miss is Plage Cafe which sits right below the mountain with the Christ statue. The cafe has a swimming pool and a breathtaking historical architecture.

I recommend reserving a table upfront. If you can’t get one, the cafe is surrounded by a nice park where you can walk around and snap some photos regardless.

Rio is also famous for its iconic beaches, like Copacabana and Ipanema. The best part is you can sunbathe while enjoying local specialties—a refreshing açaí bowl or a savory pastel (a deep-friend street snack with different filling options like minced beef or heart of palm).

Rio de Janeiro is a popular tourist hotspot, so locals are used to and often friendly to tourists. As a solo female traveler, you’ll likely meet some interesting folks.

Additionally, the city has an infectious energy, with its lively party scene and the spontaneous samba dancing in the streets. There is nothing stopping you from joining in and dancing with locals!

However, you should navigate the city with caution. While Rio is a very welcoming place, it has neighborhoods that are best avoided. 

Keep an eye on your belongings and don’t wear flashy jewelry to reduce the risk of pickpocketing. As a general rule, don’t go out alone at night. 

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Rio de Janeiro: For added safety, take advantage of the female-only subway cars during rush hour.

-By Kamila from Expat in Canada

Rio de Janeiro Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Rio de Janeiro tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Rio de Janeiro hotels

Chile Solo Travel Destinations

12. Torres del Paine, Chile

solo traveler in South America reaching the the towering spires Torres del Paine in Patagonia while hiking the W Trek
The stunning Torres del Paine. Photo via Lydia from Lost with Lydia.

Located in the Patagonia region of Chile, Torres Del Paine National Park is a bucket list destination for those who loves the outdoors and a top solo travel destination in South America.

The park is known for its jagged mountain peaks, turquoise alpine lakes, and jaw-dropping glaciers. 

If you’re into hiking, it’s worth hiking the W Trek, which is typically done over five days. Along the way, there are several mountain hostels that you can stay at.

As a solo traveler, it’s easy to meet like-minded adventurers at the inns. Connections can be made over group dinners, drinks at the bar, or out on the trails. Hiking the W Trek can be a very social experience if you want it to be! 

In addition to hiking in Torres Del Paine, the nearby town of Puerto Natales has several great restaurants, bars, and hostels that make it easy to meet fellow travelers. 

The Patagonia region is very safe for solo travelers. There is very little theft or crime, and the locals are very kind and welcoming.

The biggest danger would be getting lost while traveling solo through remote areas (if you’re driving yourself); however, you can easily avoid this by using public buses or making sure you’re prepared with a map. 

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Torres del Paine: Be prepared for any type of weather when you visit Patagonia! The wind can be especially intense, so a high-quality windproof jacket is a must.

-By Lydia from Lost with Lydia

Torres del Paine Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Torres del Paine tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Torres del Paine hotels

Colombia Solo Travel Destinations

13. Cartagena, Colombia

multi-colored building facades covered in dangling plants along a street in Cartagena in Colombia
Colorful facades in Cartagena. Photo via Julien from Cultures Traveled.

If you plan to solo travel in South America, Cartagena is one of the best places to start your journey!

The city itself radiates an energy as bright as its colorful buildings. The vibrant atmosphere infuses into the incredible street art and late-night dance culture of Cartagena.

One of the most popular things to do is to board a boat to visit the beautiful beaches of the Rosario Islands. Whether you decide to stay overnight or take a day trip, you’ll likely meet other solo travelers along the way.

During the day, make a trip to visit the Bazurto Market, explore the San Felipe de Barajas Fort, and wander through the neighborhood of Getsemani.

A visit to the Museo del Oro Zenu (gold museum) and doing a chocolate workshop or a Rum & Chocolate Tasting offer a glimpse into Colombia’s rich history.

In the evening, watch the sunset from the Old City Walls surrounding the city that historically helped defend it from pirates. Or take in spectacular views of the city from the water on a sunset cruise.

As an established destination, Cartagena is generally a safe place to visit for solo travelers; however, as with anywhere you travel alone, stay aware of your surroundings and be careful about going out alone at night, especially when venturing outside the city center.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Cartagena: For your first visit, book a stay in the historic center of Cartagena where you’ll be charmed by the picturesque streets of the walled city.

-By Julien from Cultures Traveled

Cartagena Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Cartagena tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Cartagena hotels

14. Medellín, Colombia

a cobblestone street lined with colorful houses in Guatape, Medellin, Colombia.
The colorful facades of Guatapé. Photo via Kristin from Scotland Less Explored.

Medellín was once best known for its drug and cartel violence; but, the city has undergone a remarkable transformation.

Today it is one of the most interesting cities for solo travel, not only in Colombia but in South America generally. It has a fascinating history, vibrant communities, lots of modern art, and colorful villages that can be visited nearby.

One must-visit spot is Comuna 13, a neighborhood that used to be one of the most violent in Medellín. Today it is a lively community with colorful street art, cafes, and bars. If you’d like to explore with a local, book a Comuna 13 Graffiti & Street Food Tour.

Join a guided tour to learn about the history and to ensure you remain in the safer areas. Then take a ride on the Medellín Metrocable over the neighborhood of Santo Domingo.

In central Medellín, it is safe to walk around during the day and to use the city’s efficient public transportation network.

Two of the most interesting places to visit in the center are the impressive Palace of Culture Rafael Uribe Uribe and Plaza Botero, which has many sculptures by the artist of the same name.

On the outskirts of the city is Museo El Castillo, a castle-like mansion with a large garden. It provides a glimpse into Colombia’s colonial past.

There are mixed opinions on whether you should go on a Pablo Escobar tour; however, if you’re like me, you might see this kind of tour as a way of learning about a part of the city’s history. It is fascinating to learn how the city has changed from one of the most dangerous places in the world to the place of today.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Medellín: Do a day trip or stay overnight in Guatapé, which is about 2 hours by bus from Medellín. In Guatape you can climb a large rock called El Peñón de Guatapé for amazing views out over the huge reservoir and explore the village where houses are decorated with brightly colored murals.

-By Kristin from Scotland Less Explored

Medellin Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Medellín tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Medellín hotels

15. Salento, Colombia

rolling green hills of the Cocora Valley in Salento, Colombia.
The rolling green hills of the Cocora Valley in Salento. Photo via Zoe from Zoe Goes Places.

Salento in Colombia is one of the best places in South America for solo travelers. This small town has a lot going on and you certainly won’t get bored.

Colombia isn’t a country known for its safety record; but, Salento is one of the safest places in the country. It’s a world away from the big cities and you really get that small-town feeling. 

There are also plenty of hostels for you to meet other travelers. And there’s no shortage of them either as this is a town that’s fully established on Colombia’s backpacker trail. 

Above all, Salento is home to some wonderful, do-not-miss activities—like walking through the Cocora Valley surrounded by the world’s tallest palm trees, tasting Colombian coffee on the very farms that grow it, and exploring the colorful streets of the town. 

Or get away from the weekend crowds by taking a trip to Santa Rita Waterfall, grabbing a ride out to La Carbonara for more scenic walks and palm trees, or going paragliding from Buenavista.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Salento: Salento is perfect for new or seasoned solo travelers. And if you’re looking for a place to bond with your new friends or make more, head to Los Amigos to play Colombia’s most explosive game, tejo. As a team, you throw stones at envelopes of gunpowder and try to cause a (small) explosion and score points for being near the center of the board!

-By Zoe from Zoe Goes Places

Salento Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Salento tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Salento hotels

Paraguay Solo Travel Destinations

16. Asunción, Paraguay

solo traveler in South America posing in front of the Palacio de los Lopez in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Welcome to Asunción! Photo via Alex from Adventure to Every Country.

Asunción is one of the best places in South America to get off the beaten path.

As with most South American countries, Spanish is the native language. You may also encounter speakers of the indigenous language, Guarani.

English isn’t widely spoken, but locals are very welcoming and will try their best to help you; however, learning a little Spanish will go a long way here. You don’t need to be fluent, but you do need to be able to navigate and order at a restaurant.

One of the best things to do is a free walking tour. The Asuncion Historic Center Free Walking Tour on Guruwalk with Victor is what I did, which enabled me to see the highlights of Asunción and learn a lot about the city.

One of the top sights during the tour was the National Pantheon of Heroes, a mausoleum home to some of Paraguay’s most influential figures. Even if the history doesn’t interest you, it’s a pretty impressive spot to take pictures.

Another highlight was Palacio de los López, where the president works. If you’re lucky, as we were, you may even see the president coming to work in a motorcade surrounded by armed guards.

After the tour, stop for dinner in the old town. Then head to Negroni Downtown Skybar in the evening, where you can enjoy a couple of beers and a nice ambiance with gorgeous views of the city from above.

Along with these interesting sites and experiences, Asunción is great for solo travelers for several reasons.

It’s cheap, with dorm beds starting from around $10 and dinner setting you back around $5-10 per day.

It’s also very safe as long as you stay away from certain high-crime areas like Chacarita. Luckily, locals nearby will warn you if you get too close to it.

On top of this, Asunción has very friendly locals who are easy to get along with if you know a little Spanish.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Asunción: Lower your expectations. Paraguay is a place to visit for the people rather than the sightseeing. If you’re expecting another Medellín or Buenos Aires, then you’ll be disappointed; however, if you’re more into soaking up the local culture, then Paraguay may quickly become one of your favorite spots for solo travel in South America.

-By Alex from Adventure to Every Country

Asunción Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Asunción tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Asunción hotels

Peru Solo Travel Destinations

17. Lima, Peru

gardens and public art along the Malecon de Miraflores in Lima, Peru
Malecón de Miraflores. Photo via Gladis from Happiness on the Way.

Often considered merely a gateway to Machu Picchu or Rainbow Mountain, Lima is a great destination in itself.

The city is full of life, culture, and delicious food. It’s also very accessible and affordable for solo travelers in South America.

Walking along the Malecón de Miraflores is one of the best things to do in Lima. It offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and an eclectic mix of modernity and tradition that defines the city.

Another must-visit spot is the Plaza de Armas, where you can feel the history of Lima all around you. This is where you can find the most exquisite Moorish-style balconies in the city.

Lima is also known for its amazing paragliding along the Costa Verde. This gives you a unique perspective of the city as it meets the Pacific Ocean. From above, you can observe the beaches, busy areas, and Lima’s towering cliffs and buildings.

It is generally safe for solo travelers; however, like in any big city, petty theft is common. Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re traveling in less touristy neighborhoods, avoid carrying your phone in front of you as a digital map.

For short trips around the city, consider walking or taking the bus to avoid being overcharged by taxi drivers. If you take a taxi, try to negotiate a fair price beforehand.

Lima is an ideal destination for solo travelers seeking adventure and relaxation while fully experiencing a rich culture.

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Lima: Do you want to dive into Peruvian culture? Join a walking tour of the city or a Peruvian cooking class. These activities provide an opportunity to connect with locals, learn more about Lima’s traditions, and taste some of the best food in the world.

-By Gladis from Happiness on the Way

Lima Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Lima tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Lima hotels

18. Cusco, Peru

Aerial view over Cusco, Peru
Aerial view over Cusco. Photo via Tori from Tori Pines Travels.

Cusco, Peru is one of the best places in South America for solo travel for many reasons.

First, its location near interesting and important destinations like Machu Picchu (where you can also hike the Inca Trail), the Ollantaytambo Ruins, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Rainbow Mountain makes it an ideal stop for someone traveling solo.

The city of Cusco itself also has much to offer—like delicious Peruvian cuisine, loads of history, and a fun nightlife scene.

Plus there are always other solo travelers visiting this city, and many people to meet during your adventures. With over 75 hostels and many more budget hotels, there’s no limit to where you can stay.

The city is very safe, but as with anywhere else, try to be with other travelers at night for added security.

While you’re in town, be sure to explore Cusco’s Historic Center and take a walking tour to learn all about the city.

You can also go shopping for clothing made from alpaca wool, which is incredibly soft and will keep you warm at night up in the mountains.

Speaking of being high up, you can head up Pukamoqo Hill to visit the Cristo Blanco (“White Christ”) statue and get epic views over Cusco.

Hungry? Make sure to eat some delicious Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado (beef stir fry with French fries), causa (layered potato casserole), and aji de gallina (Peruvian chicken stew).

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Cusco: Make sure to prepare for the high altitude and changing weather.

Cusco sits over 11,000 feet (3,353 meters) above sea level, so give yourself a few days to adjust to the high altitude. Stay hydrated, rest upon arrival, and consider consuming coca tea, which is a traditional remedy for altitude sickness.

Additionally, realize the weather can change quickly, so dress in layers.

-By Tori from Tori Pines Travels

Cusco Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Cusco tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Cusco hotels

19. Tambopata National Reserve, Amazon, Peru

lush green island surrounded by the Tambopata River in the Amazon Jungle
The Tambopata River in the Amazon Jungle. Photo via Melanie from The World Travel Girl.

Tucked away in the southeastern part of Peru, Tambopata National Reserve is a gem within the Amazon rainforest. This incredible place beckons solo travelers with its unique biodiversity, active adventures, and raw natural beauty.

Renowned for its conservation efforts, this region offers a glimpse into the heart of the Amazon—making it a must-visit for solo travelers seeking solitude and a connection with nature.

Your journey into the reserve—which is home to over 600 bird species, 100 species of mammals, and 1,400 plant species—provides ample opportunities for things to see and do.

Most of the lodges offer guided tours, canoe trips, visits to macaw clay licks (where macaws gather to eat clay), and even night walks through the jungle. 

The best way to access this area is via a small-group tour, which makes it easy to meet fellow travelers.

This part of the Amazon is well regarded for its safety, with local guides and lodges ensuring the well-being of visitors at all times. Solo travelers can immerse themselves fully in the experience, knowing that their safety is a priority in this remote paradise.

Visiting Tambopata National Reserve as a solo traveler is an enriching experience that offers both adventure and the chance to connect with nature. As you prepare for this journey, remember to pack eco-friendly products and a high-quality camera to capture all the moments you’ll encounter in this heavenly place!

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Tambopata National Reserve: Book a guided tour for the length of your visit. This provides the added security of having the same guide for your trip and you will get to meet great people to spend your time with while visiting the Amazon.

-By Melanie from The World Travel Girl

Amazon Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Tambopata National Reserve tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Tambopata National Reserve hotels

20. The Uros Islands, Peru

solo female traveler posing for a photo with the locals of the Uros Islands while sitting on totora reeds and handmade blankets
Meeting the locals of the Uros Islands. Photo via Trisha from Peru Insider.

Looking for an unforgettable South America solo female travel experience? The Uros Islands are a group of more than 40 floating islands made of totora reeds, located on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.

These islands are situated near Puno, in the Peruvian part of the lake. They are inhabited by the Uros people, who are an indigenous group of Peru and Bolivia.

To get to the islands, you have to sign up for an organized tour. During the tour, you can learn about the Uros culture where the Uros people explain how they build and maintain their floating islands, their history, and their way of life.

You can also watch demonstrations of traditional weaving and learn about the significance of different patterns and colors used in their textiles.

Other things to do include taking a traditional reed boat ride (known as “balsas”) around the islands. It’s a peaceful way to see the islands from the water and learn how these boats are constructed and used.

The Uros people are known for their handicrafts, which include textiles and carvings made from reeds. Buying handicrafts directly from the artisans supports the local economy and gives you a unique souvenir.

The islands and the surrounding landscape of Lake Titicaca offer stunning photographic opportunities, especially at sunrise and sunset. You can also capture the vibrant life and culture of the Uros people on camera, including their colorful attire and traditional boats. 

Visiting the Uros Islands offers a unique opportunity to learn about the traditional lifestyle of the Uros people, their history, and their customs. You can see first-hand how the islands are constructed and maintained, as well as how the Uros people live, fish, and navigate the lake.

The Uros Islands have become a popular tourist destination, which means they can get crowded, and some experiences might feel commercialized. It’s important to set your expectations accordingly.

Traveling to the Uros Islands alone is generally safe. The local communities are accustomed to tourists and rely on tourism as a significant part of their economy; however, as with any travel destination, it’s important to take standard safety precautions, especially when traveling solo. 

Only book tours to the Uros Islands through reputable agencies. For health precautions, prepare for the high altitude of Lake Titicaca—which is over 3,800 meters or 12,500 feet—by acclimatizing gradually if coming from sea level. 

Additionally, always show respect for the local people and their customs. Ask for permission before taking photos of individuals or entering homes. 

💡Pro tip for solo travel in the Uros Islands: A visit to the Uros Islands is usually designed as a day trip; however, some families on the islands welcome visitors into their homes, providing a closer look at their daily lives and customs.

If you are interested, you can stay the night on the island and spend time with the Uro people! You just have to arrange this locally in Puno or even decide when you are already on the island. They are very welcoming.

If you plan to do this, note that the primary language spoken by the Uros people is Aymara, although many inhabitants who interact with tourists also speak Spanish. English is less commonly spoken, so knowing basic Spanish phrases can be very helpful for communication.

-By Trisha from Peru Insider

The Uros Islands Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Uros Islands tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Uros Islands hotels

Uruguay Solo Travel Destinations

21. Montevideo, Uruguay

golden sand beach with Montevideo cityscape in the background
Make sure to visit the beach while traveling solo in Montevideo. Photo via Martha from May Cause Wanderlust.

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, one of the smaller, unassuming countries in South America. It’s an easy trip from Buenos Aires by ferry, making it a tempting add-on to a solo trip in Argentina.

It’s good for solo travelers in South America because it’s pretty safe and easy to get around. It’s a medium-sized capital city, with a population of 1.3 million. And, best of all, it’s a beach town.

That laid-back, beachy vibe can be evident throughout Montevideo, especially in summer when you’ll see lots of casual beachwear and alternative types hanging out along the seafront and at the beaches.

There’s also an Art Deco thread through the architecture, albeit a bit shabby in places.

The water’s not crystal clear here, as Montevideo’s beaches are just around the corner from the Rio del Plata estuary. There’s a popular beach resort further along the coast at Punta del Este, but the city beaches of Montevideo are still popular in summer for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing.

In fact, the city might feel rather quiet on sunny weekends, as people head to the shore.

Beyond the beach, other things to do in Montevideo include exploring its Ciudad Vieja (“Old City”), including the historic Port Market, where you can eat excellent steak from a traditional asado grill.

There are a couple of museums that will fill you in on key moments in Uruguay’s history, including Museo de la Memoria, about the fascist regime of the last century, and Museo Andes 1972, about the miraculous survival (aided by cannibalism) of a plane crash in the Andes.

There’s also an imposing contemporary art gallery called Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo in what was once a prison. 

💡Pro tip for solo travel in Montevideo: If you go to the beach as a solo traveler, consider a waterproof phone case that can hang around your neck.

You can slip a few things in behind the phone, such as cash and a room key. This way, you can go in the water without worrying about leaving your belongings on the beach.

-By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

Montevideo Travel Resources:
🎉 Click here for a list of top-rated Montevideo tours
🏨 Click here for a list of top-rated Montevideo hotels

Recommended Solo Travel Tours In South America

Looking to explore with a group? Some top-rated South America tours for solo travelers include:

Getting Insurance To Travel South America Solo

Before traveling alone in South America, it’s wise to get travel insurance.

One of the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage—including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country.

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

➡ Click here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

solo female traveler sipping a frozen cocktail on the water in South America
Enjoying a drink in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling Solo In South America

Now that we’ve gone over some of the best places for female solo travel in South America, let’s answer some frequently asked questions:

Q) Which country is best to visit solo in South America?

The best country to travel alone in South America will depend on your personal preferences and what you’re looking to get out of your trip. That being said, some popular options include Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

Q) Can you travel solo in South America?

Yes, you can travel South America alone—and many people do each year without incident.

Q) Is traveling South America as a solo female safe?

Yes, many women travel solo in South America without an issue. Just make sure to do your research and choose your destinations wisely.

Q) What are the safest South American countries for solo female travel?

According to Numbeo, some of the safest places for solo female travelers in South America include Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile.

Q) Is backpacking South America alone common?

Yes, backpacking South America solo is popular and, as long as you stay on the common backpack route, you’ll likely meet others and make many friends along the way.

Q) Is backpacking through South America alone safe?

Yes, South America is a popular continent for backpacking, including for solo female travelers. Just do your research before planning your route to make sure you choose safe places as well as destinations that will provide you with the type of experience you’re looking for.

What best places for solo travel in South America would you add to this list?