My experience traveling alone as a woman in South America

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My experience traveling alone as a woman in South America

I was in Colombia, traveling on my own, when I heard about the two Argentinian girls murdered in Montañita, Ecuador. I felt as though it could have been me, since I  had been backpacking for the last 2 months around Mexico and Colombia. Countries which are, in theory, more dangerous than Ecuador. It broke my heart to hear what had happened to them, but it also pissed me off to read how people were blaming them for traveling alone “viajaban solas“. Other people were taking it for granted that they had been drunk or had been with the wrong people.

graffiti feminicidio

Graffiti in Cali, Colombia

First of all, they weren’t traveling alone. They were two adults traveling together. Second, so what if they had been traveling alone? I am traveling alone. In what kind of world is it ok that a girl who is traveling alone is murdered? Shouldn’t we live in a world where when a human being is killed nobody blames its on their gender?

There are more women killed every day because of domestic violence than because they travel alone. So many people asks me, aren’t you scared about traveling alone? I’m not scared of that, because I think bad things can happen to you anywhere in the world. Even if you are the most prudent person, you can be in the wrong place in the wrong time. Unfortunately if a men is murdered nobody blames the person for being drunk or wearing shorts. Luckily, thanks to the stupid reaction of some blaming the victims, many have raised their voices with the hashtag #viajosola (travel alone) to show how we are many women traveling alone and we are not afraid. 


I remember when I crossed the border from Colombia to Ecuador, and from Ecuador to Colombia. Both times I was in a bus an hour away from the border. There was a police control point and, a policeman was checking  passports. Both of them asked if I was traveling alone. I wasn’t. I was with two guys. But he didn’t ask them if they were traveling alone. I didn’t want to start an argument with  the policeman, but I couldn’t help thinking about the two Argentinian girls. Two backpackers like me, in a foreign country making their dreams come true.

Of course, when I travel on my own I’m very cautious. I met a guy recently who told me about his great experience hitchhiking in South America. That’s something I would never do. As a woman, it’s hitchhiking is taking a big risk. I have to be careful with the way I dress.  I avoid certain areas of towns, especially  at  night.  I pretend not to hear  certain comments from random men on the street. I try  not to take taxis alone. Instead I try to share taxis with other travelers, which recently,  allowed me to meet some awesome people (like my German travel buddies).

Traveling alone is an experience that I recommend to every single person. It will force you to leave your comfort zone. It will be a challenge sometimes. But I promise you, when you travel alone you will meet the most different and incredible people. You are only alone if you really want to be. Since I started my trip, 3 months ago, I haven’t being alone for more than one day. It’s an experience that makes you feel free and empowered.

So please, don’t be scared of traveling alone. Don’t let this awful crime destroy your passion for traveling. Men or women reading this: travel alone, be careful and enjoy all this wonderful planet has to offer. Be safe!

Soon we will publish an article with some tips for traveling safe! Keep posted!

Thanks to Elizabeth Edmonson for the proofreading!