Solo Female traveling in Ecuador by Ecuatraveling

Solo Female traveling in Ecuador

Written by Ecuatraveling
Date:

Female travelers frequently inquire "Is travel to Ecuador safe" due to the growing trend of solo female travel. Since I arrived in Ecuador 3 months ago I can say with full confidence that Ecuador is a safe country to visit. It's more than just safe, in fact. It's thrilling, lovely, affordable, and enjoyable. You can navigate this multicultural country with just a basic understanding of Spanish, and I promise you'll meet some people you like along the way.

 

Despite the fact that it is safe for solo female travelers I have some tips for you that will keep you safe while visiting Ecuador. That I have found useful during my time here in Ecuador.

  • Listen to the locals! It's critical to know what the locals think about safety when you're unfamiliar with a location. When arriving to for example Quito, or to any new town/ city on your trip through Ecuador, your best resource can be your hostel’s staff, especially if they are women from the area. They can inform you about safety concerns because they've probably lived in the area for quite some time. They can tell you:
    - How to move around the region safely
    - What to do if you feel that your safety is in danger, such as how to handle male harassment
    - What neighborhoods or area to avoid

 

There are some tips that apply almost everywhere you travel:

  • Plan ahead, of course it is always fun the spontaneity and flexibility of a solo trip, but it’s wise to plan some accommodations in advance for example your first and last few stays. Research Ecuador as a destination find out more about the country and its culture. What is different than your home culture? (Maybe the way people communicate?)
  • Don’t show off your money, in a crow you already stand out as a tourist because of your appearance. Therefore important to keep your money safe somewhere hidden. My advice is to only carry around the necessary amount of money and leave the rest of your money in hotel/hostel. In Ecuador, cash is still used a lot so my recommendation is to take out a big sum of money and when you go out just take a small part for the day.
  • Dress appropriately, since you are often already standing out as a tourist it is advised to dress respectfully. In my opinion, if you wear a short dress or jeans don’t be surprised if a lot of men will whistle or catcall at you. Unfortunately, they have different standards here than in other parts of the world where this would harassment.
  • Try to travel with other people. You might meet people in hostels or on the way. Traveling with other people is not only fun but also smart. When you for example hike the Rucu Pichincha in Quito or go try out the nightlife in Quito. When traveling in a small group you are less of a target to an ill-willed individual. But you also don’t have a high chance of getting lost while doing long hikes.
  • Avoid walking around at night even though your restaurant might be very close to your accommodation. Especially when you are alone, grab a taxi or Uber. On the coast, where it is a lot warmer than inland, people tend to stay outside till later in the evenings. However, if you are on the beach stay near the street lights and close to activity and try to avoid a little stroll on the beach since it will be dark on the oceanside.

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Some extra tips I think are good to know when traveling as a solo female traveler, especially in Ecuador:

  • Guys will continuously whistle or catcall at you. It will anger you at times, but simply keep moving, ignore them entirely, and when you feel frightened, go somewhere where there are more people—for instance, into a store.
  • When making use of public buses always keep your values on your lap. Not on the floor, when you fall asleep or not paying attention people will try to steal your valuables out of your luggage. It is fun and a really cheap way to get around in Ecuador but just use your common sense while on public transportation. I recommend wearing a jacket with zipped pockets so you can keep some cash or valuables close to you.
  • Learn some basic Spanish. Knowing some basic Spanish will help you communicate with locals and make it easier to get around, especially in rural areas. Most people in Ecuador do not speak or understand English.
  • When making use of transportation I recommend making use of Uber or Cabify. Unfortunately, sometimes the ‘normal’ taxis in Ecuador will try to rip you off and ask a lot more money. Uber and Cabify is a lot safer since the price is already arranged and you can even share your journey with friends or family while on the road.
  • And lastly, one other recommendation is to always buy/ get your own drink. If someone offers to get a drink for you, just say you will get your own.

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Conclusion
Traveling alone as a woman makes you experience a lot of independence and freedom while abroad. It’s not always easy but you will grow from all the experiences you have had while traveling. In my opinion, every woman should have traveled solo once in their lifetime.

Planning ahead, paying attention to local advice, and traveling in groups (when planning certain activities) will make Ecuador as safe a vacation as any. Be cautious while traveling and keep in mind that there are more nice people than bad. Enjoy the beauty Ecuador has to offer!

Written by: Iléne van Workum

 

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