Colombia vs. Peru vs. Ecuador - Female Solo Traveler
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Jun 2, 2012 11:39 AM Last Post By: arome19
May 3, 2012 4:52 AM
I'm a 30 year old woman, planning to visit South America (for the first time) for 5 weeks starting in July.
I have been going back and forth for weeks now on where to go, regarding weather, safety and malaria, as well.
Although my heart is begging for Colombia, my brain is telling me Peru is the way to go.
Although I have read probably hundreds of personal testimonies that Colombia is no more dangerous than any other S. American country, the reports on/warnings about BACRIM, kidnapping and armed assaults and robberies in both cities and especially rural areas make me nervous. (Should they?) And especially, being a woman traveling alone for the first time in S. America with limited Spanish is making me more nervous. (Should I be?)
Finally, the highly possible upcoming eruption of Nevado del Ruiz puts a damper on my hopes to spend time in the coffee plantation region near Salento.
And, how about the rains?
So, fellow Colombians or people traveling or residing there now... thoughts???
The alternative to Colombia would be Peru, which seems to be safer, right? (Or am i misinformed?) Or, how does Ecuador compare in regards to safety?
Any advice is highly appreciated!
May 3, 2012 10:19 AM
May 3, 2012 11:24 AM
2This is all great advice! Thank you! My strength and will for Colombia is slowly building up again.
However ... what about the current FLOODING and approaching eruption of the VOLCANO Nevado del Ruiz ??
These seem like pretty big issues to me. Can anyone speak on that or send me links with good info? Any Colombian sites which could keep me up-to-date on natural disasters?
May 3, 2012 12:13 PM
3If you want to go to Colombia...go there.Simple.
Take the normal precautions you would in any unfamiliar place.
Colombia is no more dangerous than the other 2 countries.
As for natural disasters like volcanoes...that can happen anywhere (typhoon/hurricane/earthquake/flood etc.)
Deal with it when (if) it happens.......
May 3, 2012 1:42 PM
4I basically agree with you. Just, the floods appear extremely severe. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/colombia/7945433/Dramatic-rescue-during-flash-floods-in-Colombia.html
And the volcano could erupt any minute now. Or, 2 months from now when I'm already there, sipping my Cerveza cluelessly just around the corner from it. I know it's great to simply let loose and not worry about things. But I do want to be reasonable, to a certain extent.
May 3, 2012 2:31 PM
5Maybe it would help if you find a map of previous eruptions of the volcano, and understand that Colombia is a HUGE country and the distances involved.
It is like asking whether New York city was unsafe because of the Mount St Helens eruption.
Otherwise, I would say that as a single, inexperienced female, in all 3 countries, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, you have similar chances of getting yourself into trouble, so the "safety" worry would not be the overriding factor in my decision. If anything, the average person in Colombia will be more helpful towards you because they have seen fewer tourists and there are less touts, scammers etc. preying on you.
It really is more a question of finding out the main highlights of each country and choosing which ones appeal to you most.
May 3, 2012 3:49 PM
May 3, 2012 3:57 PM
May 4, 2012 4:47 PM
8Ecuador is probably the least safe out of the three. When we got to the hostel in Quito, pretty much half of the people there had something stolen either from a bus or in the street.
Colombia is fine - the buses are as safe as anything in Argentina/Chile etc. You check your bags in the bit underneath, and don't get them back until you can produce a baggage claim slip.
The only thing that's not recommended is doing the Popayan-Ipiales-Tulcan bus route at night (i.e the bit close to the Ecuador border)
May 4, 2012 5:11 PM
9You will have far more chance of getting into petty theft trouble in Ecuador, Peru, then Colombia in that order. If your heart is set on Colombia go there. If on the coast ie Cartagena you will need to be a bit more careful than say in Medellin and Bogota (except Candalaria) - however nothing to specifcally get yourself concerned over.
May 7, 2012 5:48 AM
10I travelled through Colombia for 5 weeks in Dec/Jan. I'm a solo female also. I found Colombia to be safe and easy to travel. I loved it so much I'm going back later this year. This time I'm also going to Ecuador, I can't wait! You'll love Colombia. My advise is to at least have some sort Spanish, even if its very basic its better than nothing..and enjoy!
May 7, 2012 3:11 PM
Jun 2, 2012 11:39 AM
12I'll go straight to the point since there are already a lot of helpful replies on how safe Colombia is as long as you are smart on what you do and where you go.
Flooded areas will definitely be out of the way of where you will probably go and if at all the country has been able to work around them. Worst case scenario you will have to detour somewhere because a road has been closed for a few days but April and mAy is rainy season so July will be fine. As for the Nevado del Ruiz, it has been active for many years and although at some points they raise the risk level, you will be informed by authorities if it's not recommended to go right before you plan to head there. I went on a mountain bike trip all the way up to the volcano a few years ago and it was one of the most wonderful experiences as the ecosystem changes 3 to 4 times in less than 50 miles.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$289.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$271.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$269.00 per night