Ask the Experts: Going solo in South America

It’s Friday! So you know what that means? It’s Ask the Experts time, woohoo! Haven’t swung by this way before? Come in, take a seat – you’re in for a treat, my friend.

Every week, a panel of our finest Travel Experts are right here to answer your burning travel questions. This week, Claire from our store down in Brighton and Amy from the Leeds Vicar Lane store who are here to field your questions and get you one step further to making your travel dreams come true.

Got a question for the Experts? Drop us an email, and the Experts will answer it right here on the blog.

This week’s question is from Helen up in Manchester – hi Helen! Let’s hear what she’s got to ask…

I have 3 weeks annual leave left and I want to head to Latin America in March time next year. I want to focus on one country – where do you recommend for a solo female traveller who likes an adventure? Helen in Manchester

We get loads of enquiries from solo travellers who are eager to hit the road and don’t want to hang around until their friends are ready to go with them. So what advice do Claire and Amy have to offer adventurous travellers like Helen? Let’s find out…

Claire Whittington from STA Travel in Brighton says…

The first time I went to Latin America was as a 20-something female with 3 and a half weeks off work so I know the decision on where to go is pretty difficult, especially since Latin America is such a big continent with a huge variety of places to choose from. In the end I choose to go on a couple of our adventure tours, Inca Empire and Bolivia Discovery, to make an epic 26-day overland adventure!

Explore beautiful Bolivia on an overland tour

It was such a brilliant way to meet other travellers my age and I loved having a local guide to point out all the best local foods to try but also the fact that I got loads of free time to do my own thing if I wanted. Like lots of people I was worried it might be a bit like a school trip with head counts and standing in pairs holding hands but I can promise you it won’t be anything like that.

Although most evenings we went out as a group and there was always a list of activities to choose from each day you didn’t have to do anything you don’t want to and quite a few evenings I’d head off with a few others from the trip to check out the local nightlife or spend the day wandering around/getting lost in the local town or village.

My personal highlight of my trip had to be the Salt Flats in Bolivia – a 3 day 4WD trip to see the multi-coloured lakes with the thousands of pink Flamingos and of course the pure white salt flats where you can take the silly photo’s since you have no perspective. I think I can honestly say taking those photo’s was the most fun I have had as an adult! You spend the night in a hotel completely made of salt and I guarantee you won’t be able to resist giving your table, chair or bed a quick lick!

Silly photos are mandatory at Bolivia's salt flats | Image by Ben Hendry

The trip also includes stops in the UNESCO World heritage site Potosi where you can visit a working mine and the gorgeous historical town of Sucre where you can spend your days wandering around the colonial building to sample some of the museums or head further out the town to see the dinosaur footprints!

Amy Pearson from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane says…

Latin America is fantastic, Helen! But if you’re concerned about safety, a really safe and easy way of getting around a country is by doing one of the adventure tours we have on offer – plus, they’re loads more fun than travelling solo. One of the trips I would really recommend is one that I did myself through Mexico called Mexico Grande. The trip starts in the amazing capital of Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the world.

Here, I had the opportunity to visit the late artist Frida Kahlo’s quirky blue house, and shop at all the bohemian markets that surround the area. I also tasted my first authentic Mexican faijitas and drank a beer in a real Mexican cantina. After a couple of days sightseeing, I headed down to Zihuatanejo on the coast for a bit of relaxation – barely any other travellers know about this idyllic fishing village, so you really get a taste of what it feels to live like a local.

Discover Mayan ruins in Mexico

After a beachy day, the tour takes you down to the party town of Acapulco and then the mountainous village of Taxco. This is where your spending money will go; they mine silver up there and you can get the most beautiful jewellery for a fraction of the UK price! A rollercoaster taxi ride is also a must as the streets are nearly vertical, and bumbling along them in a local taxi is one of the most terrifying and hilarious things I have ever done.

You finish the trip by taking a flight to the east coast and taking in more sun and partying at the mega resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen with a culture pitstop at the Iconic ruin Chichen Itza, which is worth a visit to this wonderful country in itself.

In the mood for a Latin American adventure? Check out our cheap flights and awesome range of adventure tours, including those that Claire and Amy suggested above. Have you been to Latin America as a solo traveller? Tell us all about it in the comments thread below!