“I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone,” writes the English novelist Daphne du Maurier. Such a quote often resonates with explorers, particularly those who ventured by themselves across our planet in search of novel places and profound reflection.
Time and time again, solo travel stands out as one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences you can have. It is a unique activity in the sense that it allows you to go at your own pace, experience new cultures at your leisure, and even meet new people if you wish. If you find yourself with a deep-seated yearning to seize such moments, then much of the world is your oyster. The best part? Nowadays, you can easily and safely travel just about anywhere on your own.
However, given the size of our planet, finding the best places for a solo trip can be overwhelming. Should a solo traveler such as yourself be looking for solo trip ideas—or an answer to the question “Where should I travel alone?”—then you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog, we’ll help you unravel the secrets of South America specifically and the destinations throughout the continent that make it a perfect choice as a fantastic solo trip destination. With plenty to offer solo travelers—from wholesome cultures to breathtaking landscapes and spellbinding wildlife—it often feels like South America truly has it all. As a result, we’ve conveniently rounded up the seven best solo travel destinations on the continent for explorers such as yourself to check out and all the reasons why!
1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
With unparalleled opportunities to witness extraordinary wildlife and otherworldly natural landscapes, the Galapagos Islands are a haven of astounding experiences for solo travelers. Given its wholly exotic, “off-the-beaten-path” nature and remarkably safe environment and towns, it’s no surprise the Galapagos Islands are our contender for one of the best solo travel destinations around.
This isolated cluster of volcanic islands offers an unforgettable encounter with nature in its most pristine and untouched form. The archipelago is famous for its role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and presenting a living museum of fearless, completely docile wildlife—some of which can’t be found anywhere else on the planet!
As a solo traveler here, you can immerse yourself in activities like guided excursions through the National Park, snorkeling with sea lions and penguins, hiking across desolate, volcanic landscapes, and observing the famous giant tortoises lumbering around their natural habitat, to name a few! In sum, the remote Galapagos Islands offer the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself and untouched nature.
Should you opt to check out the Galapagos National Park, keep in mind that tours are group-based, which will make it easy to join other travelers. There is a well-established tourist infrastructure, with regular boat service between islands and Expedition Vessels making frequent departures to the National Park (if you’re hoping to check out the more remote islands and exotic wildlife). If you’re looking for a stay that’s extra special, then the beachfront Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel offers a wide assortment of highly customizable stays and Day Tours.
The experience in the Galapagos extends beyond wildlife encounters. For solo travelers, it’s a profound journey of discovery and self-reflection. The sheer isolation and raw beauty of the islands foster a deep sense of connection with the natural world. Given all this, it is no surprise the Galapagos are continuously hailed as one of the best solo travel destinations in the world!
2. Cuzco, Peru
Steeped in rich history and vibrant culture, Cuzco stands out as an enthralling destination for solo travelers seeking a spellbinding journey through ancient history and wholesome cultures. Regarded as the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco is more than just a gateway to the famous Machu Picchu—it’s a treasure trove of ancient wonders. The unique blend of Inca and Spanish colonial architecture makes it another contender for one of the best solo travel destinations in South America.
As a solo traveler in Cuzco, you’ll have the chance to delve deep into the heart of Andean culture and history. You can wander through the cobblestone streets of the old town, visit the majestic Sacsayhuaman fortress with its awe-inspiring stonework, or explore the Sacred Valley with its picturesque landscapes and intriguing archaeological sites. There’s also the opportunity to mingle with the locals at vibrant markets like San Pedro, where you can sample traditional Peruvian cuisine and buy artisanal crafts.
Cuzco is not only a feast for the eyes but also for the spirit. It’s a place where solo travelers can embark on a journey of self-discovery, learning about ancient civilizations and the enduring strength of Andean traditions. Whether you end up joining a group tour to nearby attractions, participating in a traditional weaving workshop, or simply soaking in the panoramic views from Cristo Blanco, Cuzco offers a solo travel experience that is both culturally enriching and deeply personal.
3. Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, with its vibrant colors, rich history, and Caribbean charm, is a paradise for solo travelers seeking a blend of cultural exploration and seaside relaxation. Known for its well-preserved colonial architecture within the walled Old City (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Cartagena captivates with its cobbled streets, lively and eclectic plazas, and the warm, tropical breeze that sweeps across the Caribbean Sea.
Solo adventurers in Cartagena can immerse themselves in the city’s enchanting history by exploring landmarks such as the iconic Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a testament to Spanish colonial military engineering, or by simply meandering through the historic district, taking in the beautifully preserved colonial buildings painted in bright, inviting colors. Each corner of the Old City offers a new discovery, from quaint cafes and local boutiques to street vendors selling traditional Colombian crafts and snacks.
Making Cartagena one of the best trips to take alone is the fact that the city’s cultural tapestry also extends to its vibrant arts scene. Solo travelers can enjoy impromptu street performances, visit art galleries showcasing local talent, or experience the rhythms of Colombian music at lively salsa clubs. The Getsemani neighborhood, known for its street art and youthful energy, is a perfect spot for solo visitors to mingle with locals and fellow travelers.
4. Quito, Ecuador
Nestled high in the Andean foothills, Quito presents a mesmerizing blend of historic grandeur and contemporary culture, making it an ideal destination for solo travelers seeking a unique and enriching experience. As the world’s second-highest capital city and the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quito is a mesmerizing mix of historic colonial charm and vibrant Andean life, offering a rich tapestry of experiences for those travelers on the hunt for the best solo travel destination.
What makes Quito one of the best trips to take alone is the fact that solo travelers can embark on a journey through time in the city’s well-preserved and remarkably safe historic center, where centuries-old churches and monasteries, such as the impressive San Francisco Church and the gold-gilded La Compania de Jesus, stand testament to the city’s colonial past. Wandering through the narrow, cobbled streets, you’ll encounter bustling plazas, colorful markets like the Mercado Central, and quaint cafes perfect for people-watching and sipping on Ecuadorian coffee.
Quito’s appeal extends beyond its historical core. The city is a gateway to breathtaking natural wonders. A short trip can take you to the verdant Andean landscapes, the mind-bending equatorial line at Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World), or the cloud forests of Mindo and Mashpi, where birdwatching and nature hikes await. For those seeking adventure, the surrounding volcanoes, including the majestic Cotopaxi, offer unforgettable hiking experiences.
For solo travelers looking to connect with locals and fellow adventurers, Quito’s vibrant cultural scene is a plus. You can partake in language exchange evenings, join guided tours to hidden gems, or indulge in the thriving culinary scene that encompasses everything from traditional Ecuadorian fare to international cuisine.
5. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, the mystical Inca citadel perched high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, presents a once-in-a-lifetime experience for solo travelers seeking adventure, history, and a deep connection with ancient cultures. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas,” is not just a destination but a journey into the heart of Incan civilization, complete with awe-inspiring vistas and a profound sense of wonder.
For the solo adventurer, the journey to Machu Picchu is as captivating as the destination itself. Many opt for the iconic Inca Trail, a multi-day trek that winds through the Andean landscape, passing other Incan ruins and stunning natural scenery along the way. This trek is an opportunity to disconnect from the modern world and reflect in the midst of breathtaking surroundings.
Upon reaching Machu Picchu, solo travelers find themselves in an enigmatic world of ancient stone structures, terraced hillsides, and panoramic views that stretch across the Andean peaks. Exploring the citadel in the quiet early morning or late afternoon allows for a more solitary experience, where one can contemplate the mysteries of this archaeological wonder, from the famous Intihuatana stone to the Temple of the Sun.
6. Patagonia, Argentina
Patagonia, straddling Argentina and Chile, is a paradise for solo travelers who yearn for wild and isolated landscapes, adventure, and a sublime sense of freedom. In the southern stretches of South America, this rugged and sparsely populated region offers an unparalleled experience with its dramatic mountain peaks, expansive ice fields, and pristine wilderness. The Argentinian Patagonia, in particular, is a mosaic of breathtaking landscapes, from the iconic jagged spires of Fitz Roy to the expansive Perito Moreno Glacier.
For the solo adventurer, Patagonia is a playground of outdoor activities. Trekking is a highlight, with trails in places like El Chalten offering routes for all levels, leading through scenery so stunning it feels surreal. The Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, provides an extraordinary experience, whether you’re viewing it from a platform or strapping on crampons for a guided ice trek across its icy surface.
For solo travelers, Patagonia offers more than just a journey through nature; it’s an opportunity for introspection and personal growth. The vastness and serenity of the landscapes encourage a deep connection with nature and a sense of solitude that is both humbling and cathartic.
7. Easter Island, Chile
Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui, is a dream destination for solo travelers seeking a blend of enigmatic history, unique cultural experiences, and breathtaking natural beauty. Famous for its mysterious moai statues, this remote volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean offers a profound sense of isolation and wonder, making it a perfect solo trip destination for those looking to explore one of the world’s most intriguing and off-the-beaten-path archaeological sites.
For the solo adventurer, Easter Island is a place of discovery and introspection. The island’s most iconic attractions are the moai—enormous stone figures carved by the Rapa Nui people—which can be explored independently or with guided tours. These tours provide valuable insights into the history and theories surrounding the creation and significance of the moai, enhancing the experience with local knowledge and stories.
For those seeking solitude, Easter Island’s remote location and tranquil environment offer a perfect opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and connect with nature and history. Whether watching the sunset behind the moai at Ahu Tahai, stargazing under the clear night skies, or simply enjoying the serenity of the island’s beaches, solo travelers will find a peaceful and rejuvenating experience through this solo trip idea.
Experience a new adventure at your own pace
Solo travel is a unique and rewarding way to explore our planet, allowing you to immerse yourself in new cultures, meet new people, and create unforgettable memories. And when it comes to solo travel, South America is by far one of the best trips to take alone.
We hope our shortlist of the seven best solo travel destinations in South America has provided you with ample solo trip ideas! From the isolated wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands to the historic capital of the Inca Empire in Cuzco, these destinations are sure to make your solo trip unforgettable. Start planning your journey today and embrace the excitement of solo travel!