loader
From One Woman to Another: What to Know About Solo Female Travel in Colombia

From One Woman to Another: What to Know About Solo Female Travel in Colombia

This guest post is written by Anneliese Delgado, who moved to Colombia in 2016 from the United States. To read more content from Anneliese, you may visit her blog "Abroad in Colombia!"

Solo female travel is becoming more common in Colombia and for good reason. As Colombia shakes its dark past and tourism becomes more popular, many more women are striking out on their own and exploring this spectacular country.

I’ve been living and traveling around Colombia for almost three years with no incidents and most of my trips around Colombia have been with me, myself and I. Since this country is so misunderstood, I want to clear a few things up about solo female travel in Colombia and offer some wisdom I’ve gained over the past few years.

Get Ready for the Questions

This is one of the most helpful travel tips I’ve picked up while globetrotting and it’s especially useful in Colombia. As a solo female traveler, I always want to blend in and the best way to do so is by watching what local women are doing. Am I walking along a dark street and don’t see any other women walking alone? It might not be a safe neighborhood. This advice can also be applied to cultural norms. You might realize a Colombian guy isn’t trying to be fresh if he kisses you on the cheek as a greeting because you’ve witnessed other Colombian men giving cheek kisses to local women.

Mimic Local Women

While more and more solo female travelers set their sights on Colombia, many Colombians still find it curious that a woman will travel alone in this country. This curiosity, while usually good natured, is shown by firing dozens of questions at the weary lady, who probably just wants to listen to music in peace during that taxi ride. “You came here alone? Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend? What does your family think of you traveling by yourself?” These are all the queries a solo female traveler should prepare herself to receive in Colombia. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, just lie. Tell the person you have someone waiting for you in the hotel or at a restaurant and you’ll suddenly become less interesting.

Don’t Expect Female-Only Dorms

There are a few fantastic hostels in Colombia, especially along the Caribbean coast, but don’t expect to be placed in a room with only women. If you are really adamant about not sleeping in a room with men, it’s best to call the hostel ahead of time to confirm they have separate rooms. On the subject of bathrooms, always carry toilet paper. Bathrooms in Colombia are notorious for not having it.

Let Locals Help You

Colombians are known for their warmth and hospitality. Even in the bustling streets of Bogota, people are willing to help you. Don’t think a person’s kindness is some kind of trap like I did when I first arrived with my invisible guard way up. If you are lost, need a restaurant recommendation or just want assurance you are headed in the right direction, don’t be afraid to reach out to locals. Even if they don’t speak English, they will most likely be happy to help.

From another woman, I am excited for you to experience all the breathtaking landscapes, delicious food, and kind people that you will meet staying in hostels in Colombia.

The Dreamer Hostel Palomino Garden

Many of the guests were young, but there were also couples of every age. The hostel caters to this mix by offering activities for all, while not forgetting about its core clientele of young travelers looking to socialize. For this group, The Dreamer offers billiard tables, large shaded booths for chatting and relaxing, as well as a large bar with ample seating. Activities include coffee sampling, exotic fruit tasting, salsa classes, movie nights, Happy Hour, board games and more. 

Guests have the option of booking private double rooms or mixed dorms. All rooms have an en-suite bathroom and have access to terraces that overlook the communal courtyard. The dorms have sturdy bunk beds while towels, linens and lockers are available for each guest. These amenities may seem common, but some hostels in Colombia fail to provide these staples. 

The hostel manager told me people who were guests at other hostels in Palomino come to The Dreamer for meals and it was no surprise why. The fish I ordered at the hostel restaurant was fresh and flavorful, as was the accompanying coconut rice and fried plantains – a typical dish in Colombia’s coastal region. There was also a large variety of juices made from exotic Colombian fruit on the menu. Outdoor and covered seating allowed guests to enjoy their meals no matter the weather. Considering the hostel’s all-you-can-eat breakfast option as well, the food alone is a good enough reason to book. 

IMG_1871.jpg

Another way The Dreamer Palomino sets itself apart is by facilitating tours, activities in Palomino and transfers. The hostel has their own transport van that rides between the locations in Palomino and Santa Marta (the closest city with an airport). This is perfect for people who don’t speak a lot of Spanish. Reception staff can also schedule day tours and multi-day tours to Parque Tayrona, Cabo de la Vela, Punta Gallinas (the most Northern point of South America), and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – one of the highest coastal mountain ranges in the world! Having knowledgeable, multi-lingual staff can make all the difference when it comes to learning more about a county or region. 

In sum, The Dreamer’s attention to detail, beach adjacent location, delicious food and friendly employees gave me a pleasant experience in a charming resort-hostel hybrid that is not only unique Palomino, but Colombia as a whole.