Of course, the hardest part about planning solo travel is deciding exactly where to go. Whether you’re jetting off to just one city, or want to make the most of your getaway by country hopping, some parts of the world are better for traveling alone than others. From the world’s driest desert and the Costa Rican rainforest, to a Thai wildlife sanctuary and an emerald salt lake in the hidden corners of Bolivia, read below for the best places to travel solo.
Mystical Chile is a labyrinth of glaciers, moonscapes, lakes, mountains, volcanoes, beaches, islands, salt flats, deep, red-orange deserts and more. It’s a nature-lover’s playground. Here, you can wake up and climb snow-capped mountains in the morning, relax in hot springs in the afternoon, and spend your nights camping in lush jungles or on a barren desert. Start in Santiago, the bustling capital, and make your way north or south; both promise impossibly-gorgeous landscapes you won’t find anywhere else. The first will take you to the geysers and salt flats of San Pedro de Atacama, and if you choose to head south, you’ll find the protected Torres del Paine National Park, a haven for trekkers, wildlife and flower-clas valleys. Nearby, you can cruise through the fjords of Patagonia, where icy, dramatic landscapes will make you wonder if you’re in South America at all.
Thailand is called the “land of smiles,” and—with it’s happy people, tasty local food and fairytale landscapes—it’s easy to see why. Head towards the country’s northwesternmost edge and you’ll run right into its most remote town, Umphang: a good starting point for a trip to Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, you’ll find locals and travelers alike rafting through the crashing waters of the towering Thi Lor Su (Thailand’s largest waterfall), scaling caves and cliffs, and exploring sparkling jungles. If a night of solitude and reflection is your idea of solo travel, pitch a tent in Umphang. Aside from Mother Nature, there will be no one there to bother you.
Like so many places in South America, Costa Rica boasts a mix of relaxed beauty and rugged outdoor treks. The bonafide “capital of adventure,” this part of the world is a playground of rainforests, volcanoes, canopy zip lines, hot springs, beaches, kayaking, cloud forests, exotic creatures and so much more. For a solo trip packed with adventure, head to one of Costa Rica’s most remote areas: Golfo Dulce. Just 30 miles long and ten miles wide, this narrow gulf borders the Osa Peninsula to the west and the rocky Piedras Blancas National Park to the east. With a name that translates to “sweet gulf,” it is fed by four rivers, and is teeming with secluded beaches, one of the world’s longest left waves (perfect for surfing!), and rainforests filled with monkeys, macaws, toucans, sloths and other mysterious beasts. A true hidden gem, only about 2% of Costa Rica’s annual visitors find their way to Golfo Dulce; so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have this part of the world all to yourself.
Named for the furry marmots this idyllic alpine village calls home, Whistler is a top destination for some of the world’s best skiing, scenic hiking, biking, thrilling ATV excursions, snowshoeing, bobsledding, snowboarding, ice fishing and other outdoor adventures. A haven for nature lovers, Whistler sits right in the Coast Mountains, in British Columbia, just two hours north of Vancouver. Perfect for solo travelers, a trek to Whistler gives you the best of both worlds. As a popular travel destination, you’ll have plenty of friendly jetsetters to mingle and adventure with; but if you want to explore it on your own, you can hike Whistler’s hundreds of miles of trails, go horseback riding along mountain ridges, zipline across Fitzsimmons Valley, or hop on a helicopter and have lunch on—wait for it—a glacier.
Sitting in Ecuador’s Tungurahua province, “Baños” (as the locals call it), is a gateway to the nearby Amazon Basin. Home to the Mt. Tungurahua volcano—which travelers can hike through, despite it being active—steaming, mineral-rich hot springs, and the dramatic waterfalls of El Pailón del Diablo and Agoyán, this hidden Ecuadorian gem is as beautiful as it is adventurous. For a solo trip that gets your blood pumping, hike through lush forests or steep gorges, go rafting or boating, or make your way to Casa de Arbol, where you’ll find the “Swing at the End of the World.” Hidden deep in the Ecuadorian wilderness, this “treehouse,” which is actually a seismic monitoring station, was created to observe Mt. Tungurahua. Hanging off the edge, daring visitors will find an actual swing where they can sway in thin air and take in the view of the volcano on their own… with nothing but a cavernous canyon beneath them.
Sitting right on the Chilean border, on the southwestern part of Bolivia, Laguna Verde is one of South America’s most mesmerizing sites. With a name that translates to “Green Lake,” after the turquoise and emerald hues of its water, this mineral salt lake hovers 4,300 meters above sea level, at the foothills of the Licacahur volcano. Promising a relaxing day in paradise, when you go, prepare for all seasons! This lake area has a climate that’s as unique as the color that gives it its name. You can spend your days relaxing in its piping-hot thermal springs, but at night, bundle up—temperatures can go down to -4°F.
Ready to plan your solo travel adventure? Choose from our list of the best places to travel solo, and let Surtrek create a trip to the most remote corners of South America that you can enjoy all on your own. Operated by local travel experts, Surtrek is an all-in-one travel company that designs custom, once-in-a-lifetime journeys through South America like you won’t find anywhere else.