The Top Latin American Cities for Solo Travelers

Go solo © Rafa Alves/Flickr
Go solo © Rafa Alves/Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
27 July 2017

Traveling is a priceless experience. It is through your adventures and experiences abroad that you will have the opportunity to broaden your cultural horizons, expand your mind, unlock parts of your inner self, learn valuable life lessons, encounter inspiring people, stimulate all of your senses, and just feel blissed out. Traveling alone verses with another person or in a group is a whole different experience. There are a handful of cities in Central and South America that are particularly perfect for the solo traveler.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile was once more commonly considered as just the starting point for more popular destinations in Chile such as Patagonia by solo adventurers. However, many travelers are beginning to realize that Santiago is actually an incredible city to visit and spend some time. It is safe, clean, developed, and bursting with great cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, museums, parks, and other cultural landmarks. The city is relatively easy to navigate and public transportation is accessible. You can find everything from five-star luxury accommodations to friendly hostels. As a solo traveler, Bellavista is a great area to stay around. This bohemian neighborhood is where the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda lived and where you will find the best nightlife.

Lots to explore | © David Berkowitz/Flickr

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina is often referred to as the Paris of South America. This culturally fascinating city is full of life, energy, and wonderful experiences to be had. Getting around the city is easy with six subway lines, hundreds of inexpensive buses called collectivos, and plenty of taxis. There are over 3000 restaurants, an impressive theater and music scene, captivating art galleries, great shopping, and a very happening café scene. This is the type of place that you can just wander around all day and every day and not have the same day twice. Buenos Aires has a European vibe with an intoxicating Latin flare. Petty theft is unfortunately common in the city, so just make sure that you don’t wear flashy jewelry, don’t carry around valuables, and lock up your important belongings (passport, credit cards, jewelry, etc.) in your accommodation’s safe.

Colorful neighborhoods | © Celine/Flickr

Ambergis Caye, Belize

Belize is a rapidly up and coming travel destination and expat hotspot in Central America. Amergis Caye is the largest of more than 200 cayes in Belize. As a solo traveler, this is an amazing spot to visit. The tropical paradise is bursting with beautiful beaches, rainforests, an awe-inspiring and expansive barrier reef, fun bars, fabulous restaurants, and even Mayan ruins. Belize is also an English-speaking country, which makes it even more appealing for non-Spanish speaking travelers. The caye is only 40 kilometers/25 miles long and 7 kilometers/4.5 wide. The spectacular barrier reef is only a hundred yards off the coast. No long distance traveling once you are here!

Unreal water color | © The RealCloud 2013/Flickr

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur is a happening little beach town in the southern part of Nicaragua. It is a lively, walkable, friendly, safe, and inexpensive beachfront destination that is full of solo travelers, backpackers, surfers, and expats. There are cute boutique hotels and hostels all around town, plenty of dining options, and a really fun nightlife scene. San Juan del Sur is also close to a number of other great beaches and areas to explore. If you come here alone, it is likely that you will have a whole group of friends by the time the sun sets.

Not a bad place to be solo | © Inga/Flickr

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo is a popular beach mini city on the Pacific Northwest coast of Costa Rica. While Tamarindo (and Costa Rica in general) isn’t the cheapest option, this town is rich with personality, energy, nightlife, beauty, food, and an eclectic assortment of individuals. It is a perfect base for all the adventure tours that you could possibly want to undertake, there are multiple surf breaks within walking distance, plenty of shops and modern conveniences, and a great selection of accommodations that range from high end luxury to family vibe hostels.

One of those famous sunsets | © dog4aday/Flickr

Montezuma, Costa Rica

Montezuma is a bohemian beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula near Santa Teresa. This small and charming town offers solo travelers plenty of activities, such as yoga, surfing, hikes to waterfalls, sea kayaking, scuba diving, and a happening, but mellow vibe nightlife scene. Montezuma attracts a lot of solo travelers, adventurers, yogis, surfers, and people with a hippie heart and open mind. You can walk around the town with ease and Santa Teresa and Malpais are only a short drive away. There are several great yoga and wellness retreats and surf camps in this area too.

Walk to a waterfall | © Nigel Burgher/Flickr

Panama City, Panama

Panama City is arguably the best major city in Central America. While the rest of Panama is still developing, the capital city is pleasantly well developed and still growing and improving. Like most major cities, there are several different districts and areas that will suit different needs and preferences. As a solo traveler, staying in or near Casco Viejo is highly recommended. Casco Viejo is the old district of Panama City, but has become the new hip and trendy neighborhood. There are tons of boutique restaurants and hotels, cool bars, a beautiful walkway that connects back to the main part of the city, and a captivating contrast of dilapidated old buildings and tasteful renovation.

Quite an impressive city | © Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr

Bocas del Toro, Panama

The province of Bocas del Toro is made up of a mainland area and nine main islands. The Bocas del Toro archipelago is an incredible place to visit as a solo traveler. The main mode of transportation is bicycle or boat taxi. There are endless waterfront restaurants, bars, hostels, hotels, and plenty of gorgeous beaches to explore. It is relatively inexpensive, very friendly, safe, and energized with an easy-going Caribbean vibe. Bocas del Toro attracts a lot of backpackers, budget-conscious travelers, surfers, and free-spirited souls.

Take a Caribbean vacation | © MM/Flickr

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