Solo Travel

Solo Travel guide to Colombia and Ecuador

Colombia and it’s neighbor Ecuador have both had a bit if a bad rap over the years. Of course it’s the former that’s had all the attention seeking headlines and was for many years a no-go destination due to the war on the drug cartels and the FARC.

Things have moved on and Colombia has made massive strides towards being a safe country to visit and is now considered as reliable as it’s neighbors. That’s not to say that if you do travel to either of these countries on your own you should be on your guard. This is not Southeast Asia here. Latin America on the whole still has many issues but the situation is improving.

Of course you should always seek the advice of your government…here are the links:

US Travel Advisory

UK Travel Advisory

While you should be aware of potential threats, remember that these advisories tend to lean towards the extra safe. It’s up to you to interpret what they say.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance too!

So now we have the issue of safety out of the way, here are the guides…

Budget Travel Guide to Colombia

Despite it’s not wholly unjustified reputation for guerrilla warfare and drug trafficking, if it’s adventure on a budget you seek, you’ve come to the right neck of the woods. Climbing, trekking, diving, ancient colonial cities, a history steeped in slavery and occupation, ancient civilisation, coffee, not to mention the shores of the Caribbean. Pack your shorts, keep a close eye on your luggage and enjoy..

Budget Accommodation in Colombia

Camping is possible but not really advisable for safety issues. There are designated camp sites, details of which you can get fromthe tourist information offices, otherwise always ask permission before camping on somebody’s land and try to choose guarded land where possible for your own safety.

Hotels are priced according to quality, in the cheapest ones you can expect a shared cold water shower but for only a little more you can have a bit of privacy. Hot water is only generally available in the more expensive hotels. Always try to negotiate the price, particularly in the low season. Hotels will generally try to charge 20 – 30 % more in the tourist season.

A Traveler’s Budget for Colombia

Getting around the country is usually done by various forms of bus, ranging from local bus, (cramped, uncomfortable but worth the experience) to more plush coaches which usually have air conditioning, to minibuses which are the fastest and most hair raising way to go. The routes are generally picturesque so it’s worth going by day, keep an eye on your luggage at all times, drug trafficking is rife in Colombia. Otherwise cycle touring is quite feasible if you’ve the energy.

To eat cheaply choose the dish of the day in restaurants, the diet varies considerably per region so it’s a bit of a pot luck, or stick to simple restaurants which are often cheaper. A la carte menus are usually good value. Either way you’re only looking at around UD$2 for a meal.

Activities for the Budget Traveller

Trekking in the Sierra Nevada

Visit the cathedral inside a salt mine!

Whitewater Rafting in San Gill and Villeta

Mountain Biking, anywhere and everywhere, check for safety before you go though.

Rock climbing in the National Parks of Los Nevados

See the sights in Bogota.

Ecuador Budget Guide

Apart from the Galapagos Islands which must be the major pull to Ecuador, unless you’re doing a world tour based on Sash song titles, there are volcanoes jutting out across the land, snow capped peaks and wildlife galore. The capital is bursting with internationals here to learn the language and with the resultant nightlife.

Budget Accommodation in Ecuador

Most of the hotels are cheap so you won’t have to look too hard, especially outside the capital. You can camp absolutely anywhere, there are no campsites as such, but it’s best to ask the landowner and then camp within sight of their house for safety. It’s not generally safe to camp at random in places close to towns, you might be safer in the wilderness.

A Traveller’s Budget for Ecuador

The food is cheap regardless, if you’re on an especially tight budget get the set meals in restaurants which shouldn’t set you back more than about US$3. If you can supplement this with some of the beautiful fruit on offer you’ll be doing great.

Travel is by abundant bus services covering the country, As per usual the cost goes up proportionally to the level of comfort. Hitching is possible but usually unnecessary as there are so many buses.

Activities for the Budget Traveller

Mountaineering – some of the best peaksare volcanoes, check they’re not about to kick off.

Diving off the stunning Galapagos Islands

The same off the Isla de la Plata if the Galapagos are too pricey for you

Rafting or Kayaking through the Rainforest

Mountainbiking in the Sierra

Horseriding, there’s a strong tradition of riding and it’s a great way to see the countryside.

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