The Essentials
June 28, 2019

By: SA Explorer

The many benefits of traveling solo with SA Expeditions

Secondary Categories: Machu Picchu, Galapagos Islands, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Patagonia, Peru, Uyuni

Some travelers assume that because we specialize in privately guided travel, we don’t cater to solo travelers. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Read on to uncover the many benefits of signing up for a solo trip with us.

When faced with the prospect of traveling alone, many people gravitate towards group tours as they guarantee both company and safety. But, as anyone who has spent two weeks on a bus will attest to, this approach can have serious limitations. Fortunately, there is another way which allows you to do exactly what you want, when you want. And it’s neither dangerous nor lonely…

The basics of traveling with SA Expeditions

At SA Expeditions we only cater to South American destinations and every single tour is curated just for you. What’s more, in each destination you visit you will be accompanied by an expert guide who is both local to the area and extremely well-versed in the area’s history, culture, politics, natural environment and so much more. This guarantees you consistency from a trusted advocate and a host in each region, not to mention the opportunity to interact with different guides at each location who are experts of that place. This all adds to a deeper, more immersive experience. For the full low-down check out this recent blog on The many benefits of traveling in private with SA Expeditions.

The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the largest salt pan on the planet. (Photo: Jeison Higuita)

What’s different about traveling solo with SA Expeditions?

On paper, absolutely nothing. Solo travelers get exactly the same benefits at SA Expeditions – and experience has shown us that they love it. While the logistics don’t change, the solo experience can end up being quite different. Here’s how…

The choice is yours

Traveling solo with us gives you the freedom to do things your way. No need to please anyone else – just wake up each morning and follow your heart.

  • Not a morning person? Simply schedule a later start.
  • Feel like sushi for breakfast? Just do it.
  • Obsessed with birds? Or archeology? Or church steeples? We’ll pair you with guides who share your interests and tailor the itinerary to suit your needs.

If you have niche interests, solo travel is definitely the way to go.

While many glaciers are receding, Perito Moreno in Argentina is actually growing. (Photo: Roi Dimor)

A local buddy in every city

All our travelers rave about our local expert guides, but solo travelers take this to the next level and often end up forging lasting friendships. That said, you’ll also have plenty of time to yourself. On long day trips you’ll often end up having lunch with the guide, but they won’t have breakfast or dinner with you unless specifically invited to do so.

Women love solo travel

Over the years we’ve helped all sorts of solo travelers uncover the wonders of South America – but we’ve noticed that women are particularly keen on the concept. (Interestingly, this recent industry survey backs this assertion up by revealing, among other things, that “average monthly search volume for the term ‘solo female travel’ grew by 52% between 2016 and 2017.”) Jeanie O’Halloran – who works with us as a Destination Expert and has traveled to 17 countries on her own – says that her biggest concerns with solo travel are safety (the main priority), and “ensuring [she] makes the best use of [her] time.”

Machu Picchu, crowning achievement of the Incas. (Photo: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos)

Traveling with SA Expeditions sidesteps these worries, says Jeanie. “Our trips are well planned to make sure clients’ time is not wasted.” While your safety is virtually guaranteed when you’re with your guide, Jeanie points out that “our guides and staff are always available to provide advice on safety and what to do in your free time.”

Best of both worlds

A lot of our solo guests incorporate some group activities into their itineraries. This could be as simple as taking a cooking class or attending a dance show to get the chance to share an afternoon with new friends. Or it could entail signing up for a multi-day group trek through the Andes or a cruise along the Amazon. Adventure activities such as kayaking or zip-lining are also a great way to meet people.

Find yourself

Stuck in a rut? Solo travel has the power to effect real and lasting personal change. Especially on a continent such as South America which is blessed with vast landscapes and ancient cultures that combine to foster a deeper understanding of self. All it takes is an open mind, a good book, and a decent pair of hiking boots.

Cultural exchange comes easier to the solo traveler. (Photo: Kevin Floerke)

Safety first

South America is a lot safer than most people think, and we go out of our way to keep all our guests out of harm’s way. That being said, solo travelers do make soft targets. The way our trips are set up greatly reduces the chance of anything going wrong. You’ll be met at airports, driven to hotels, and accompanied by a savvy local guide at all the crowded hotspots.

Cost concerns

There are no two ways about it: solo travel is more expensive than traveling in a couple. But this is also true of large group tours where single supplements apply. Either way, the benefits of being able to do exactly as you please far outweigh the costs.

From the horse’s mouth

We reached out to some of our past guests to find out more about their solo travel experience with SA Expeditions. Here’s what they had to say…

Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands off the Ecuadorean coast. (Photo: Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa)

“All of the guides were top notch and as kind as could be during the entire itinerary.  Being a solo traveler, I’m never quite sure how the day trips will go, as it’s just me and the guide without anyone else to act as a buffer or fill in the quiet lulls when all my questions have been answered.  But all the guides were great at keeping the conversation going and I had a marvelous time in each city/town/excursion.”

Susan L

“Everything was phenomenal , no glitch for the entire trip. All your personnel were first class and attentive from the moment I touched down in Lima until I left Cusco. The guide was excellent providing pertinent information on the sites, eager to answer any question, giving ample time for photos and pointing out the best photo spots. The drivers were excellent too, driving safely and minimizing the bumps on the road.”

Joseph C

Johan who did the Cusco city tour, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu tour was exceptional. I had some problems in Ollantaytambo coming down the uneven and larger steps, the next day he arrived with hiking sticks for me to use in Machu Picchu,  which were a great help.”

Beth H

Walking on the shores of Lake Titicaca on the Peru / Bolivia border. (Photo: Kevin Floerke)

Dying to get up close and personal with fifty species of hummingbirds? Desperate to uncover the secrets of the Incas? Or simply craving some much needed me time? We’d love to help you curate the solo South American odyssey of your dreams. Speak to a Destination Expert about making it happen or check out some sample itineraries here.

Credit to Raphael Nogueira for the title image depicting Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor.

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