Dear Girls on Travel,
I often get asked if it is not dangerous to go as a solo woman to South American countries. As I travelled through a few of them I wanted to share my experience with you.
At the time I was in my early twenties and decided to go to central and South America. I remember the furious reaction of my father and different reactions of my friends, which basically meant: are you crazy?! I do not believe crazy is one of my character traits and this travel was deeply researched as well. There is not one day I regret going there and I am dreaming of going back.
South America has some poor countries, and like all poor countries there are some rules that need to be followed, and this whether you are a solo traveller, a family or a group. Avoid in general heavy and shiny jewellery and keep your outfit and luggage basic. This will avoid you get the wrong kind of attention. Also follow your instinct, if you feel you could be in a dangerous place, change location or join some other people. Locals will usually also be really helpful.
However, this said, in some of those countries (e.g. Guatemala) I was being more cautious than others, even if I never felt threatened. I was making sure I had cash or my credit cards in different places (hidden belt, socks, backpack, luggage) and I was also more aware of my surroundings. I feel as a general rule that capitals in those countries can feel more dangerous than other places and I usually avoid staying too long. Taxis can also be tricky so always make sure your hotel is calling one, especially if you are alone.
Being a woman though will get you more attention, and I think I have never been more complimented than in some South American countries, but just politely ignore the comments and continue your journey, they will leave you alone.
I guess what I am trying to say is that risk can happen anywhere, whether you are in London or in Colombia. Just keep this in mind, be wary but also not paranoid and I can assure you will have some amazing time.