Bolivia as a Girl Alone

May 23, 2014 3 min read 0 Comments

Bolivia as a Girl Alone

Bolivia as a girl alone
The view from my hostel in La Paz.

What it’s Like to Travel Bolivia as a Girl Alone

Before Bolivia, I had mostly traveled in Western Europe, which is hugely different. Here’s what it was like traveling Bolivia as a girl alone.

When I began my long term travels, Bolivia was the first country on the list and I ended up spending almost a month there. I had wanted to go to Bolivia because it has amazing natural wonders and most of all, I could hike in the Andes.

You Aren’t Alone

First things first, you will meet other solo female travelers in Bolivia. I did my first morning. Unfortunately, she also told me stories of a cab driver not letting her out and insisting they go dancing together. That weirded me out right off the bat, however, I was very careful and didn’t experience anything like that.

Secondly, the cost of travel in Bolivia is also incredibly low.  That being said, Bolivia was the first developing country I had visited and it was a culture shock.  Prior to that trip, I had only been to Costa Rica and Western Europe.  Seeing how women were treated, the poverty and the harsh reality of life for some Bolivians taught me a lot about the world.

That being said, it’s not surprising that I didn’t particularly love Bolivia as a country, however, if I went back today, I think I’d have a totally different perspective having traveled more.  Bolivia is a cool place, just mentally prepare yourself for something very different if it’s your first developing country.

There is so much to see and do here and once you more accustomed to how life looks outside of the western world.  I have also learned that although the people of Bolivia seemed cold and somewhat closed to me then, I am now much better at connecting with people, and I think they may take a bit more work, but the effort is always worth while.

What to Keep in Mind While Traveling Bolivia as a Girl Alone

  1. You are going to a culture much different than the one you came from, be ready for something that is totally different.
  2. It’s best not to go out alone after dark. If you do, take a cab. I know lots of people will disagree and say they have done the same, and they’re fine, but I know men who have been drugged while out alone in Bolivia. You need to be careful.
  3. Beware of pickpockets. When you come from a country the is considered wealthy and go to a less wealthy country (this is true anywhere in the world) you need to be careful not be a target.
  4. Be careful about flirting. This is a macho culture, and also, tourist girls are sometimes seen as a target.
  5. Drug trade, especially cocaine is still prevalent in Bolivia. This is not the time to be naive and experimental.
  6. The tourist track is well-worn and there will be lots of others on the same road. It will be easy to make friends.
  7. Bolivians warm up considerably when they see you are trying to speak their language. Learn a little bit of Spanish before you leave. Speaking the language is part of the fun.

Bolivia is one of the most amazing countries on Earth. Traveling Bolivia a girl alone is a great experience!

You won’t regret going. Just be careful and be smart.

Cholitas in the market

Bolivian Highlights

Even if you are not into biking, biking down the Death Roadis a great introduction to Bolivia.  You start in the cold of the high altitude altiplano and descent into the jungle as the day goes on.

Honestly, it seems like Salar de Uyuni is one big photo opportunity.  All world travelers have one of these perspective shots.  It’s also one of the strangest landscapes I’ve ever seen, almost other-worldly.

The silver mines of Potosi were another cultural eye-opener.  These are shocking and part of me thinks it’s not really right that a place that is so unsafe is a tourist attraction.  However, this had a big impact on the group I went with and was very eye opening on working conditions in other countries.

On the border with Peru is Copacabana, a touristy town on the shore of Lake Titicaca.  Here I met both a former emerald smuggler and a llama hater.  From Copacabana you can take a boat to Isla de Sol and see ancient Inca ruins.

Do not miss the Pampas if you go to Bolivia.  This experience is one of my all time travel favorites.  I first went on the traditional Pampas tour and then went again. I will never forget the sounds of the jungle at night.

This shack on Isla del Sol sold candy bars, bottle water and cigarettes

 

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