Is it secure for a girl to journey alone in Central America? Absolutely. With the suitable analysis and preparation, virtually each vacation spot in the world could be traveled safely by girls on their very own.
Central America has a lot to supply — and it’s a lot safer than many individuals suppose.
The closest I’ve ever been to having an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey was after I went to Central America for a number of months. I had been struggling via one of many worst occasions in my life and what bought me via it was telling myself, “You’re going to survive, you’re going to get out, and then you’re going to spend the winter backpacking through Central America alone.”
I all the time thought I used to be extra of an Asia and Europe particular person, however Central America modified that. I beloved that music blasted out from each path. I beloved how straightforward it was to get to know locals, and the way heat and pleasant they had been. I swam in the turquoise Caribbean waters surrounding Caye Caulker and Little Corn Island. I hiked up a volcano in Nicaragua and slid all the way in which down it in an orange jumpsuit. I made so many extra mates than I dared to hope for.
Central America was nice for me as a solo traveler. I would like it to be nice for you, too.
Why Travel to Central America Solo?
Central America is a incredible vacation spot for various sorts of vacationers. But what makes it notably good for solo vacationers?
Central America has an incredible backpacker scene. If you wish to meet individuals whereas in your travels, you’ll meet SO many individuals in Central America. To this present day I’ve stored up friendships with individuals I met whereas watching the sundown on a dock in Ometepe, Nicaragua; whereas hanging out in the hostel pool in El Tunco, El Salvador; whereas crusing down the coast of Belize for 3 days; and whereas ingesting at a bar in San Pedro, Guatemala!
Central America is nice for being energetic and studying new expertise. If you’re trying to turn out to be an authorized scuba diver, Utila and Roatán in Honduras are residence to attractive coral reefs and wonderful diving colleges. If you’re trying to be taught to surf, the Pacific coast is filled with surf camps, particularly in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. If your tastes have a tendency extra towards dance, you possibly can take salsa classes in cities all around the area. And in the event you’re in trekking, Central America is full of volcanoes to climb, rainforests to discover, and tour corporations that may take you there.
Central America is good for studying Spanish. The finest strategy to be taught Spanish is thru immersion whereas dwelling with a household — and touring solo can relieve you of the temptation to talk English with a companion. Some of one of the best immersion applications are in Quetzaltenango (also referred to as Xela) in Guatemala. If that’s too intense, you possibly can take extra relaxed courses and keep at your personal lodging, too.
Central America has attractive souvenirs. You may deliver residence a suitcase filled with Mayan or Kuna textiles alone. If you’re in search of leather-based merchandise, jewellery, or paintings, Central America has a lot to supply.
Central America is affordable. Belize and Costa Rica are usually the costliest international locations whereas Guatemala and Nicaragua are usually the most affordable. As all the time, cities, seashores, islands, and tourism hotspots are usually far more costly than small cities and rural areas.
And in the event you’re flying from the US or Canada, it could be low cost to get there, too. Unlike a budget international locations of Southeast Asia, in the event you’re visiting from the United States, you may get a really low cost flight. Very typically the most affordable (although typically inconveniently timed) flights are on Spirit Airlines.
Central America is full of fixed delights. From the brightly painted hen buses to the pulsating salsa golf equipment, from the deliciousness of pupasas to the joys of sandboarding down a volcano, from the great thing about Mayan textiles to the shimmers of a glowing Belizean cave, Central America will delight you time and again.
Is Central America Good for First-Time Solo Female Travelers?
I consider one Central American nation is good for first-time solo feminine vacationers: Costa Rica. Costa Rica has essentially the most developed tourism scene of all of the Central American international locations. Costa Rica caters to first-time backpackers in addition to resort vacationers who simply wish to lie on the seashore. In Costa Rica yow will discover five-star motels and hostels, surf camps and eco-lodges. It has the whole lot and they’re very used to coping with beginner vacationers.
Belize is simple to navigate, has high-end resorts, and English is the language, so in some points it makes a simple alternative. However, the road harassment in Belize is incessant, notably on the islands. I wouldn’t ship a first-time solo feminine traveler there except she was already skilled in heading off avenue harassment (i.e. somebody who lives in a giant metropolis would do significantly better than somebody who has solely lived in small cities).
As for the opposite international locations of Central America, I don’t suppose they’re splendid for first-time solo feminine vacationers. I’d make an exception for somebody who speaks Spanish and already has intensive expertise touring in Latin America with different individuals.
If you wish to journey to Central America and also you’ve by no means traveled solo earlier than, I counsel you look into a bunch tour, anyplace you’d like, or a bunch retreat, fitness-oriented or not.
Group Tours in Central America
G Adventures, a tour firm I like to recommend, provides a number of excursions to Central America. Here are a couple of of their excursions:
- Costa Rica Adventure — 16 days throughout Costa Rica.
- Classic Belize and Tikal — 9 days in Belize and Guatemala.
- Backroads of Central America — 18 days in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica.
- Panama Experience — 14 days in Panama and Costa Rica.
- See all their Central America excursions right here.
Is Central America Good for Experienced Solo Female Travelers?
Absolutely! Central America is a incredible vacation spot for knowledgeable solo feminine vacationers. I used to be 30 years outdated and had traveled to 50+ international locations earlier than arriving in Central America and I discovered it superbly calibrated to my journey experience.
When you’re an skilled solo traveler, your senses are extra finely attuned to what’s happening round you. This is very useful in a area had been petty crime isn’t unusual. If you’re skilled, you’re (hopefully) not going to depart your passport underneath your pillow or stroll round a metropolis with a wide-open purse.
One factor I relished was that the backpacking scene was so completely different from Southeast Asia. People touring in Central America are usually older (late twenties and up), extra skilled, and North Americans are much more prevalent. For this purpose, I used to be grateful that I had spent my twenties backpacking Southeast Asia and Europe and had held off on Central America till I used to be in my thirties.
And in the event you’re sick of the backpacking path, you possibly can simply get off it. Some rising locations embrace the Rio Dulce area in Guatemala, the Miskito Keys in Nicaragua, and the Caribbean coast of Honduras.
Backpacking Southeast Asia vs. Central America
Is Central America Safe?
Central America doesn’t have one of the best repute when it involves crime. There is a few reality to this. There are components of Central America which can be rife with violence — however the expertise of a traveler could be very completely different from a neighborhood who grew up in an impoverished neighborhood underneath gang management.
Many individuals who journey to Central America are involved by gun violence, particularly in cities like San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and San Salvador, El Salvador. The identical reality holds anyplace in the world: most gun violence is gang-oriented and concentrated in areas the place no sane vacationer would ever go. Tourists should not the goal.
To be trustworthy, Central America’s main cities should not what make the area particular. Lots of vacationers dig the vibe of smaller, extra tourism-driven cities like Antigua, Guatemala, and León, Nicaragua, however most keep away from the main cities like Tegucigalpa, Belize City, and Managua. There is one exception: Panama City is main metropolis that’s secure, enjoyable, and has a gorgeous outdated city and plenty of points of interest for vacationers.
While gun violence is uncommon, a much more practical danger for vacationers in Central America is petty crime. Robbery is frequent, whether or not on the street or in your lodging, and try to be extra conscientious than you’ll be in your house nation.
To guard in opposition to petty crime, I like to recommend locking up your valuables in a transportable secure in your lodging, use a digital camera bag or day bag that locks, and maintain your valuables on you in transit. See the Travel and Safety Tips for extra particulars on find out how to keep secure.
The different main consideration for ladies touring in Central America is the prevalence of avenue harassment. See the Street Harassment part for extra data on find out how to take care of it.
Please maintain in thoughts that the overwhelming majority of vacationers to Central America journey safely and with out incident. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of Central Americans are heat, welcoming, and can bend over backwards that can assist you. But even so, I’ve identified very skilled vacationers who’ve been robbed in Central America. The most vital factor is to get journey insurance coverage (I exploit and suggest World Nomads for journeys to Central America), as they’ll assist you out in your time of want.
Street Harassment in Central America
Street harassment is a part of life. If you’re a lady, you understand that already. Street harassment occurs all around the world, however it’s notably prevalent and relentless in Latin America, the place machismo reigns.
In my travels all through Central America, I discovered avenue harassment to be commonest in cities. Personally, I discovered avenue harassment to be absolutely the worst in Nicaragua, particularly in the cities of Granada and León, and never fairly as unhealthy however nonetheless a significant annoyance in San Juan del Sur. It was additionally vital in Antigua, Guatemala, particularly at evening.
It’s so ingrained in the tradition. Here’s an instance: in Granada, a bunch of little boys round seven years outdated had been enjoying soccer and misplaced their ball. I grabbed the ball and gave it again to them. Immediately, the boys began chanting, “Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!” in English. That’s what they’ve discovered from watching males. If you see a lady, deal with her as a intercourse object first.
In Belize, notably on Caye Caulker, the road harassment was a bit completely different, however nonetheless incessant — the boys would typically begin a traditional dialog, then get into, “Have you ever been with a black man before?” and snort at nevertheless you reacted.
To keep away from the worst of the road harassment, I wouldn’t stroll alone at evening — ever — in cities like León, Granada, and Antigua. Many occasions in Granada I’d take a taxi on a four-block experience relatively than stroll residence alone. Does that appear excessively cautious? Yes. And I didn’t remorse it as soon as.
Dressing like a neighborhood lady made an enormous distinction. In Central America and far of Latin America, girls are likely to put on lengthy pants, even when it’s boiling sizzling outdoors, although they don’t cowl up as a lot on prime. Most casually dressed girls are likely to put on denims, a tank prime, and flip-flops. When I wore denims or a protracted costume, I wouldn’t get almost as a lot harassment as after I wore a knee-length costume.
In some cities, I selected guesthouses that had a restaurant so I’d not need to exit at evening. This was particularly useful in León as a result of actually the second I stepped outdoors my guesthouse at evening, males on the road could be yelling at me. (This didn’t occur in the course of the day.) This was on a comparatively touristy avenue residence to a number of guesthouses and hostels. Having a restaurant on-site gave me the choice of avoiding that harassment.
However, there’s one place in Central America the place avenue harassment is nearly nonexistent: Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. This is as a result of Lake Atitlán is dominated by Mayans. It’s forbidden for Mayans to have relationships with non-Mayans, and so they take this very critically, so that you don’t see any form of sexual harassment on the streets.
Beyond that, I discovered that there was considerably much less avenue harassment in smaller, extra rural locations. (“Significantly less” doesn’t imply “nonexistent” — avenue harassment can occur anyplace.) I skilled no avenue harassment on the agricultural island of Ometepe, Nicaragua, or in the small city of Monteverde, Costa Rica, and even in the seashore group of El Tunco, El Salvador.
Travel and Safety Tips for Central America
Most of staying secure in Central America comes all the way down to utilizing frequent sense. Don’t get blackout drunk, keep watch over your belongings, watch out who you belief.
Double-check your passport stamps if you enter the nation, particularly in the event you’ve been in Central America for awhile. Sometimes immigration offers you fewer days in the nation than you might be allotted. This occurred to me in Guatemala: I used to be allotted 13 days relatively than the usual 90 and I didn’t understand till I used to be on my means out. They had written a “13” on the stamp; I nonetheless don’t know why this occurred. I needed to pay a high quality of about $1.30 per day, which wasn’t extreme, however it was a problem to take care of.
Get a day bag that locks. Before I went to Central America, this was my greatest precedence as I used to be involved about petty crime. I ended up shopping for a Pacsafe bag and a few padlocks; Pacsafe makes a superb collection of baggage that lock.
Be ready for transportation scams. Once my mates and I booked a direct shuttle from San Pedro to Lanquín in Guatemala and the motive force insisted on stopping in Antigua, which might add hours to an already lengthy journey. The driver refused to go direct except we paid him extra, so we coughed up the money.
Dress just like the native girls — and for every kind of climate. Latin American girls are likely to cowl their legs however be extra liberal on prime; I discovered that denims and a tank prime was a typical uniform for native girls. If you costume this fashion, you may be harassed much less. If you’re in a resort city filled with vacationers, you may get away with extra skimpy dressing.
Be certain to pack some heat clothes, too! I all the time bundle up earlier than taking public transportation in Central America as a result of buses LOVE to jack up the AC. Additionally, Central America is heat year-round, however there are some cooler areas. At 5,000 toes (1,500 meters), Lake Atitlán in Guatemala is at a excessive altitude, and it can get fairly chilly, particularly at evening. You’ll spot vacationers clad in colourful Mayan hoodies, pants, and hats as a result of they didn’t suppose to deliver something heat.
Don’t flash your valuables or put on costly jewellery. If you’re out taking images with an expensive-looking digital camera, be additional cautious. Only take out your digital camera and cellphone if you want them — don’t stroll round absentmindedly with them in your hand.
Pickpocketing occurs in Central American locations, particularly on public transportation. Keep an eye fixed in your belongings always.
If you carry a handbag, maintain it near you. I suggest a crossbody purse, made out of a tricky materials like leather-based or faux leather-based, that zips shut. I like to recommend many purses in this publish. Never let it hold behind you — all the time maintain it in a spot the place you possibly can see it, and maintain your hand on it in the event you’re in a crowd.
If you carry a pockets with out a purse, don’t maintain it in your again pocket. This is clear to thieves and they’re going to seize it and run.
If you employ a small backpack, lock it. I exploit a Pacsafe backpack the place you possibly can lock the compartments shut.
Keep your valuables locked up in your lodging and solely take with you what you want that day. I do that with my Pacsafe Travelsafe and I think about it crucial factor I pack. Keep an additional debit card and no less than $100 hidden in obscure components of your baggage.
Never depart your baggage anyplace unattended. Even in the event you’re used to asking somebody to observe your issues when you use the lavatory in a coffeeshop at residence, don’t do this in Central America. Take your belongings with you. If you’re maintaining your bag underneath the desk or in any other case out of sight, maintain it between your toes or hook the strap round one of many chair legs.
Don’t carry tons of money round with you. You can use bank cards in cities in Central America, and carrying lots of money leaves you susceptible to theft. Don’t be the traveler who loses her pockets and the $500 in it.
Only use ATMs at banks in the course of the day, indoors. Don’t use standalone ATMs in comfort shops. Not solely do they depart you prone to theft, in case your card will get eaten, it’s loads simpler to retrieve it from an actual financial institution’s ATM. If you possibly can’t discover a financial institution, use an ATM in a shopping center.
If somebody robs you, GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. Nothing is price your life.
Haggling is the way in which to buy at markets. Never settle for the primary value — persons are anticipating you to lowball them. Have enjoyable with it, however don’t get so caught up in it that you simply’re arguing for 5 minutes over the worth of 25 cents.
Protect your self from the solar. Being in the solar a lot leaves you susceptible to pores and skin harm. Be certain to cowl up and use sunscreen as typically as attainable. If you’re snorkeling, chances are you’ll wish to put on a rash guard or shirt to maintain your again from burning.
Use reef-safe sunscreen when snorkeling, diving, or swimming close to coral reefs. In truth, there’s no purpose to not use reef-safe sunscreen in all places.
Hydrate — however be cautious in regards to the water. The water shouldn’t be secure to drink in most locations in Central America. While most vacationers depend on bottled water, it creates a significant waste problem. For this purpose, I like to recommend you deliver a reusable bottle and make investments in a SteriPen water air purifier (significantly better and sooner than tablets). Alternatively, you possibly can deliver a LifeStraw, a bottle that purifies water as you drink it via its straw.
See a journey physician beforehand and be ready on what to do in the event you get sick. On the Central America excursions that I led in 2015, I used to be shocked that roughly half of my attendees bought sick. Your physician might advise you to take antibiotics which can be simply accessible at pharmacies all through Central America. That’s a dialog that you simply and your physician ought to have.
Malaria is current in components of Central America. This is the Costa Rica malaria map from the Center for Disease Control in the US. Some vacationers select to take malaria capsules and a few select to not. I’m not going to let you know what to do as a result of that’s a dialog you and a medical skilled ought to have. I like to recommend seeing a journey physician.
The zika virus can be current in Central America. Here is a map. Zika must be a priority of pregnant girls, companions of pregnant girls, and ladies who intend to turn out to be pregnant quickly, however in the event you’re none of these issues, you don’t want to fret. Again, this can be a dialog to have along with your physician.
Bring movement illness remedy. You will in all probability be driving via some mountainous areas. I like to recommend meclizine (the generic model of non-drowsy Dramamine).
Be cautious about your ingesting. Drink lower than you ordinarily would at residence — two drinks is an effective restrict. Only take drinks from bartenders, by no means take a drink from a stranger, and all the time maintain it with you and keep watch over it. Be particularly cautious in locations like El Tunco the place women mainly drink without cost in the course of the week.
Spend more money on staying secure. If it prices you cash to take a taxi relatively than stroll, or to remain in a guesthouse in a nicer neighborhood, do it. It’s definitely worth the peace of thoughts. Don’t pinch pennies in your security.
Don’t flush your rest room paper. The plumbing in Central America can’t deal with it. There is a wastebasket subsequent to the bathroom for this function. And completely DO NOT flush tampons or sanitary merchandise!! (You must be utilizing a reusable DivaCup or menstrual cup anyway.)
Get a digital guidebook and maintain it in your cellphone. Even right now, I all the time maintain a guidebook PDF on my cellphone — it’s nice for calculating approximate time of journeys, realizing what days locations are closed, and it lists medical facilities you need to go to in case of emergency. I’m a giant fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks — get the digital model of Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring. You should buy particular person nation chapters in the event you’d like, or you should purchase entire guidebooks for Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Panama.
Most importantly, you don’t have any obligation to be good to anybody. Women typically really feel the have to be good and please individuals in any respect prices. You don’t need to anyplace — particularly so in Central America. If anybody is making you are feeling uncomfortable, simply depart. Trust me — you received’t be the rudest particular person they meet that day. And so what in the event you had been? You’re by no means going to see them once more.
Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Women
How to Get Around Central America
Central America is simple to journey in some methods and more durable in others. Here are the highest methods to journey:
Flying internationally inside Central America tends to be very costly, particularly contemplating the brief distances. If you’re trying to hop from Panama to Honduras to Belize shortly, it will value you much more than it would to go from Germany to Spain to Italy.
Some home flight routes, nevertheless, are logical and decently priced — like from Managua to Big Corn Island in Nicaragua, or from Guatemala City to Flores.
If you’re trying to journey in the most affordable means attainable, take the bus. “Chicken buses” are standard all through the area — they’re named as a result of these buses might be transporting something from sacks of grain to cages full of dwell chickens. People are squished into any area attainable. While it’s the most affordable possibility and a hell of an expertise, it could be uncomfortable on lengthy journeys.
Tourist shuttles are a pricier, extra snug possibility than the bus. You purchase these tickets from journey companies in city; they’ll overtly promote them. These shuttles, typically minivans, offer you far extra space than the hen buses and normally have air con. An added bonus is that they take you direct from vacationer spot to vacationer spot.
Tourist shuttles are particularly useful when going to extra random spots that aren’t transportation hubs. When I traveled from Lanquín to Flores in Guatemala, it was a direct eight-hour experience in a contemporary, air-conditioned minivan. I met some Swedes touring on a funds who took 4 completely different cramped hen buses for a similar journey.
Taxis are a very good possibility for each brief and lengthy distances. Sometimes it’s a brief distance inside a metropolis; typically you possibly can rent a taxi driver to take you on lengthy distance rides for a set payment (I did this from Managua Airport to León). Before getting in a long-distance taxi, I like to recommend faking a name to a buddy the place you clearly learn out the license plate quantity, letting the motive force see you.
Traveling by boat is an possibility. The high quality of boats varies enormously — you might be taking glossy passenger boats from Belize City to Caye Caulker, or a rickety wood boat throughout Lake Nicaragua, or a easy “lancha” between the cities on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. There’s additionally a well-known crusing journey from Panama to Cartagena, Colombia, by way of the San Blas Islands. I personally loved the hell out of a catamaran crusing journey in Belize.
But Central America is the creating world, and I urge you to take additional precautions when touring by boat. First off, be taught to swim. Yes, it is perhaps awkward to take classes as an grownup, however it may save your life. Second, if the selection is between a bigger ferry and a smaller boat, select the bigger ferry (this was a very good choice when crossing from Rivas to Ometepe in Nicaragua). Third, seize a life jacket and maintain onto it or sit on it, even in the event you don’t want it. Finally, don’t journey by boat at evening, ever. You’re most secure if you journey by day.
The overwhelming majority of boat journeys in Central America are secure, however sometimes there shall be an accident that makes worldwide headlines. You must be ready.
Adventurous Kate Gets Shipwrecked in Indonesia
Renting a automobile is an possibility. Depending on the place you wish to go, it may make extra sense so that you can lease a automobile — like visiting the villages of the Ruta de las Flores in El Salvador, or seashore hopping in Costa Rica along with your surfboard in tow.
Trains barely exist in Central America. There is a passenger practice line from Panama City to Colón, and that’s it. Other trains exist just for cargo, not passengers.
How did I journey? I did a bit little bit of the whole lot. For longer distances, I largely did vacationer shuttles, together with some very lengthy distances like from León, Nicaragua, to El Tunco, El Salvador. I took native buses and hen buses typically, like in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I took some boats, like from Belize City to Caye Caulker and from Rivas to Ometepe in Nicaragua. I flew from Managua to Big Corn Island and again. I took taxis in cities at evening and as soon as from Managua Airport to León.
Kate’s Picks: 10 Things You MUST Do in Central America
Go out dancing with locals. One of one of the best issues about Latin America is that it’s straightforward to get to know locals. Head out to a membership, benefit from the music, and shortly everybody shall be asking you to bounce! If you actually wish to up your recreation, you possibly can take some salsa courses when you’re at it.
Go crusing on the limitless blue sea. Whether you select a day journey or multi-day journey, a journey alongside the Pacific Ocean or Caribbean Sea, there’s no feeling like being out on the ocean. I beloved crusing Belize for 3 days; one other epic journey takes you from Panama via the San Blas Islands all the way in which to Colombia.
Do Central American actions you possibly can’t discover anyplace else in the world. Two main ones stand out: volcano boarding, the place you slide down a volcano outdoors León, Nicaragua; and the ATM caves outdoors San Ignacio, Belize, that are full of the stays of human sacrifices and the whole lot has calcified into sparkles.
Learn Spanish. You can survive in Central America with little or no Spanish — it’s far simpler than, say, Colombia — however studying Spanish will add a deeper richness to your journey. Spanish colleges are in all places (besides English-speaking Belize), however many individuals select Guatemala for reasonable immersion applications.
Hike a volcano…or simply benefit from the view. Central America is roofed with volcanoes, and a few of them are inside brief distances of cities. Masaya is a brief drive from Granada; Pacaya is a stone’s throw from Antigua; the 2 volcanoes of Ometepe shaped the entire island! You can do a day trek, in a single day trek, or simply drive up and have a look.
Have an epic social gathering evening out. The greatest backpacker social gathering in Central America is Sunday Funday, a pool social gathering crawl in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. You’ll see Sunday Funday shirts on backpackers all through Central America. If not there, two different social gathering locations are San Pedro on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala and Bocas del Toro in Panama.
How to Travel Solo to a Party Destination
Learn to surf. If you’ve by no means surfed earlier than, Central America is a superb place to be taught. Most of the good surf locations are dotted alongside the west coast — Santa Catalina in Panama, Tamarindo and Jaco in Costa Rica, Las Peñitas and the seashores surrounding San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, El Tunco in El Salvador.
Find a relaxed place and chill all day lengthy with no agenda. Drink if you would like — or don’t. Make new mates — or keep solo. Some of my favourite spots for chilling out? The Split in Caye Caulker, Belize; Laguna de Apoyo close to Granada in Nicaragua; and the pool at Club Ven Aca in Jaibalito, Guatemala.
Zip-line via the cover. If you’ve ever dreamed of flying via the bushes like a chicken — or possibly a monkey — Central America is the place to do it! Every nation has no less than one zip line, and in Costa Rica, there are a number of dozen if not lots of.
Eat pupusas. These Salvadoran stuffed tortillas are maybe my favourite meals I’ve found on my travels. They are in all places in El Salvador and price about $1 every — I like them with cheese, beans, and pork. If you’re not going to El Salvador, you might be able to discover them in Guatemala.
Solo Female Travel in Belize
Belize was by no means a spot I had dreamed of visiting, however it ended up being one of many highlights of Central America for me. Belize is so completely different from the remainder of the area — English is the first language, it’s far more developed, it has a ton of high-end resorts, and it’s far dearer than you’d count on a Central American nation to be.
It’s the value issue that retains many funds vacationers away from Belize — however that’s a disgrace. Belize has a lot to supply.
Most vacationers to Belize come for the seashores and islands. Caye Caulker is the small, calm, backpacker-oriented island, whereas Ambergris Caye is extra upmarket and caters to a extra luxurious clientele. Other seashore cities like Hopkins and Placencia fall someplace in the center.
One of one of the best issues I’ve finished in my travels was the crusing journey from Caye Caulker to Placencia. That three-day journey on a catamaran was a complete blast from begin to end, and I’ve despatched greater than 20 readers on that journey.
Another standard city is San Ignacio, which supplies you quick access to Mayan ruins, jungle trekking, and one of the vital spellbinding sights in Central America: the ATM caves, full of human skeletons, all lined with sparkles. It’s a spot not like anyplace else in the world. You also can day journey to Tikal and Flores in Guatemala from San Ignacio.
READ MORE ABOUT BELIZE:
Caye Caulker: A Good Place to Go Slow
Sailing Down the Coast of Belize
Snorkeling with Sharks in Belize
Solo Female Travel in Guatemala
I like Guatemala — it packs a lot magnificence and variety into a comparatively small nation. Guatemala might not all the time be in the information for optimistic causes (violence and volcano eruptions are likely to take priority), however the actual nation is so completely different from what you see in headlines.
In phrases of ease of journey, Guatemala is a little bit of a mixture — there’s a well-established vacationer path all through the nation that goes from Antigua to Lake Atitlán and Quetzaltenango (Xela) in one path and Semuc Champey, Flores, and Tikal in the opposite. If you might be touring this route, you’ll have a simple time getting from place to put, particularly in the event you depend on vacationer shuttles relatively than public transportation.
Step off that vacationer path, although, and also you’ll discover Guatemala tougher. A bonus: Guatemala is without doubt one of the least expensive international locations to journey. You can spend twice as lengthy right here as you might in Belize or Costa Rica, which is why many vacationers take a Spanish immersion course right here earlier than touring elsewhere.
Most vacationers skip Guatemala City and head straight to Antigua, full of colonial structure and terrific eating places. In my opinion, Guatemala’s biggest gem is Lake Atitlán, which is full of so many attention-grabbing Mayan cities that you simply’re finest off spending a number of days on the lake and exploring as a lot of it as you possibly can. Semuc Champey is full of shiny inexperienced waterfalls, rivers, and caves, whereas Flores is a lakeside city and gateway to Tikal, maybe one of the best ruins in all of Central America.
Some different rising locations in Guatemala are the Rio Dulce area, residence to stunning nature and waterfalls, and Monterrico, a Pacific coast seashore the place you possibly can see sea turtles hatch.
One main tip for solo girls vacationers — I discovered Antigua to be beautiful in the course of the day however horrific at evening as a result of the road harassment was so vile. Even the guesthouse safety wouldn’t let me stroll outdoors, saying it was poquito peligroso. I urge you to not stroll alone at evening, and even stroll with a bunch of girls. Take a taxi as a substitute.
READ MORE ABOUT GUATEMALA:
The Towns of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
I Still Don’t Know How I Feel About Antigua
Semuc Champey: My Favorite Day in Central America
Visiting Tikal at Sunset
Solo Female Travel in El Salvador
El Salvador conjures up pictures of struggle and poverty — however there’s a lot extra to this nation than that. Look past that and also you’ll discover a nation full of heat, shade, and killer volcanoes.
El Salvador can be residence to maybe my favourite meals I’ve ever found on my travels: pupasas. They’re tortillas full of cheese, beans, pork, greens, or any mixture thereof — and they’re so scrumptious. Best of all, they value about $1 every.
Some vacationers select to take a look at the capital of San Salvador, however most give it a cross and head all the way down to the seashore. La Libertad is the principle seashore city alongside the coast, however backpackers largely congregate in Playa El Tunco and the calmer, sleepier Playa El Cuco. A preferred street journey is the Ruta de las Flores, taking in a number of colourful small cities with blooming flowers. Suchitoto is one other standard metropolis. And in the event you love surroundings, take a look at El Salvador’s volcanoes and turquoise lakes at Cerro Verde National Park.
El Salvador is without doubt one of the lesser developed international locations in Central America, which makes it harder to journey. Unless you’re popping into El Tunco and leaving, you’ll need to navigate public transportation and cities that don’t cater to vacationers instantly. If you’re up for an journey, it’s an incredible possibility. Be ready to consistently e mail your dad and mom that you simply’re secure.
READ MORE ABOUT EL SALVADOR:
A Perfect Day in Playa El Tunco, El Salvador
Solo Female Travel in Honduras
Most solo feminine vacationers who journey to Honduras have one factor in thoughts: diving. The islands of Roatán and Utila are residence to attractive coral reefs together with dozens of fantastic dive colleges. Roatán is bigger, extra upscale, has higher seashores, and hosts cruise ships, whereas Utila is a smaller, sleepier, cheaper island excellent for divers and backpackers.
Other spots to go to in Honduras embrace Copán Ruinas, one of the best archaeological website in the nation; Lake Yojoa, a volcanic lake residence to numerous adventurous actions; and the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, residence to some to one of the best wildlife in the nation. Most vacationers skip the 2 main cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
Outside the 2 primary islands, Honduras isn’t almost as developed. That mentioned, there are backpacker routes, an growing variety of attention-grabbing locations to remain, and plenty of new spots that shall be “discovered” by the plenty. If Nicaragua is being heralded as the following Costa Rica, Honduras is the following Nicaragua. I absolutely anticipate that Honduras shall be upping its ecotourism recreation, particularly on the mainland, in the following decade or so.
Solo Female Travel in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is my favourite nation in Central America. I spent a full month of the nation and explored a wide range of locations, from cities to islands to small cities.
Nicaragua is colourful and welcoming however tough across the edges, making it extra of a problem to journey than Costa Rica, Panama, or Belize. An added bonus is that Nicaragua is without doubt one of the least expensive international locations in Central America, particularly in the agricultural areas.
Most vacationers begin in the colonial city of Granada, near Managua then proceed to both the island of Ometepe or the youthful, rebellious metropolis of León (and volcano boarding close by). If you’re coming from Costa Rica, your first cease will probably be San Juan del Sur or one of many surrounding surf cities. There are numerous different browsing seashores alongside the Pacific coast. But my favourite spot of all is Little Corn Island, situated far off the mainland in the Caribbean Sea. This island is attractive, magical, and completely low-key.
My solely drawback with Nicaragua is that the road harassment is so incessant, particularly in Granada, León, and San Juan del Sur. Even so, Nicaragua continues to be on the prime of my checklist, which tells you the way nice it is.
However — and this can be a BIG nevertheless — Nicaragua has been going through civil unrest since April 2018. I’ve not traveled to Nicaragua for the reason that unrest erupted. Many tour corporations, together with G Adventures and Intrepid Travel, have suspended journeys to Nicaragua right now.
Since the battle started, six mates of mine have chosen to journey to Nicaragua. Their experiences had been combined. Two who traveled in the course of the earlier days of the battle didn’t really feel secure, had been the one vacationers in León, had been trapped by roadblocks, and selected to depart the nation early. More just lately, one other traveler went to a surf lodge and was the one visitor, however felt secure the entire time. Also just lately, one other traveler visited much-quieter-than-usual Little Corn Island and loved it.
The option to journey to Nicaragua is yours — I can’t make it for you. The scenario can change immediately, so I urge you to consistently verify the present scenario. If you select to journey to Nicaragua, double-check that your journey insurance coverage will cowl you.
READ MORE ABOUT NICARAGUA:
Escaping to Laguna de Apoyo
Ometepe, Nicaragua’s Volcanic Island
The Colorful City of San Juan del Sur
The Best Things to Do in San Juan Del Sur
Rocking Out on Little Corn Island
León, Nicaragua, the City of Revolution
Solo Female Travel in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the perfect alternative for first-timers in Central America, together with first-time solo feminine vacationers. Costa Rica is the simplest touchdown pad. You’ll discover lodging at each tier right here, from backpacker hostels to five-star resorts, and also you’ll discover an unimaginable number of issues to do.
Many vacationers select to give attention to the Arenal-Monteverde-Manuel Antonio route. Arenal is nice for Lake Fortuna, a volcano, sizzling springs resorts, and jungle; Monteverde is nice for exploring the cloud forest, ziplining, and trekking; and Manual Antonio has attractive seashores pushed up in opposition to the jungle. This volcano/cloud forest/seashore mixture packs loads in!
The Nicoya peninsula is residence to tons of seashore cities, lots of them prime browsing locations. Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean facet is a significant backpacker social gathering city; Tamarindo on the Pacific coast is a way more developed touristy city. Corcovado National Park is residence to a number of the finest wildlife in the nation. And whereas the capital San Jose isn’t typically on Costa Rica itineraries, it has some good museums.
Fun truth — I advised Costa Rica to my finest buddy and her husband for his or her honeymoon since they wished a soothing trip however didn’t wish to be out in the solar all day, on daily basis. They went and beloved it!
READ MORE ABOUT COSTA RICA:
The Perfect Beach Town of Sámara, Costa Rica
Into the Cloud Forest of Monteverde
Solo Female Travel in Panama
Like Costa Rica, Panama is one other simpler alternative for Central America. While not fairly as developed and tourism-driven as neighboring Costa Rica, Panama is pretty straightforward to navigate and has lodging at a wide range of value factors.
Panama City is the one main metropolis in Central America that comes extremely beneficial for vacationers. The San Blas islands are price visiting for his or her magnificence and experiencing indigenous Kuna tradition. The archipelago of Bocas del Toro, simply over the border from Costa Rica, is without doubt one of the greatest backpacker social gathering cities in Central America. The colonial city of Boquete is a gorgeous launching pad for trekking and having fun with the mountains.
Panama’s Pacific coast is filled with prime browsing locations, like Santa Catalina. And Coiba Island off the Pacific coast is residence to a number of the finest diving and underwater life in Central America. And in the event you’re very adventurous — and have a trusted information — you possibly can enterprise a bit into the Darién Gap, although please return earlier than you arrive in Colombia.
What about Mexico?
I didn’t embrace Mexico in this information as a result of it’s technically not a part of Central America and I already wrote an in depth information to solo feminine journey in Mexico. However, numerous vacationers to Central America embrace Mexico in a part of their plans, as it’s typically simpler or cheaper to fly to Mexican hubs and journey overland to Central America from there.
One standard route is to fly into Cancún and discover the Yucatán area earlier than heading south to Belize and touring onward to the islands or San Ignacio. (If you propose on visiting this a part of Mexico, I occur to like the island of Holbox.) I took the boat from Caye Caulker to Belize City, then the bus to the border at Chetumal and one other bus onward to Tulum in Mexico.
Another standard route is to journey between Guatemala and San Cristóbal de las Casas in the Chiapas area of Mexico. There are numerous vacationer shuttles that join San Cristóbal to Guatemalan locations like Quetzaltenango (Xela) and the cities of Lake Atitlán.
Culturally, Mexico is similar to Central America, and it has huge selection. Some locations are extremely straightforward for beginner vacationers and first-time solo feminine vacationers, and different locations are higher for extra expert solo feminine vacationers. Some locations are extremely low cost and others are fairly costly. You’ve bought cities and seashores, jungles and ruins. The meals scene is without doubt one of the finest on the planet. Simply put, Mexico rocks.
Solo Female Travel in Mexico: Is it Safe?
Travel Insurance for Central America
One final word — it’s completely very important to have journey insurance coverage earlier than touring to Central America. If you get sick or injured in your journey, in the event you get robbed, or even when it’s a must to be flown residence, journey insurance coverage will defend you from monetary wreck. I exploit and suggest World Nomads for journeys to Central America.
I had one occasion the place I virtually had to make use of my journey insurance coverage in Central America — my flight to Costa Rica was scheduled on a day when a significant snowstorm was about to hit New York City. JetBlue supplied me the prospect to maneuver my flight a day early earlier than the storm hit, however most airways received’t do this. If I hadn’t, I’d have been caught paying for a brand new, dearer flight booked on the final minute — and journey insurance coverage would have lined the distinction.
Note: Nicaragua is at present experiencing civil unrest and a few journey insurance coverage insurance policies is not going to cowl you in international locations with civil unrest. If you propose to go to Nicaragua, I like to recommend calling your potential journey insurance coverage coverage and see if they’re at present overlaying Nicaragua. This can change on a dime so I like to recommend calling earlier than you guide and earlier than your journey begins.
Central America is ready for you!
When I look again at my happiest moments of journey, so lots of them occurred after I was touring solo in Central America. It was a visit that I dreamed about in my darkest hours, and maybe that’s why my long-term Central America journey grew to become the most effective journeys of my life.
I would like the identical for you. Start planning your journey to Central America. Hell, begin planning your first two journeys to Central America! Then come again and inform me all about it.
Solo Female Travel in Mexico: Is it Safe?
Have you been to Central America? What recommendation would you give to solo feminine vacationers?
The publish Solo Female Travel in Central America — Is it Safe? appeared first on Adventurous Kate.