A question that we get asked from time to time at Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders is: Is solo female travel in Ecuador safe?
The answer to this question is yes. Ecuador is perfectly safe for traveling as a solo female traveler. There are some tips that it is helpful to be aware of, and here we will cover them. We will hopefully put your mind at ease that Ecuador is a wonderful place to visit for anyone, male or female, solo or in a group alike.
In many cases you are likely to get attention, either because you look different to other people or simply because you are a female. You should know that you will get cat called when you’re out and about, day or night. While this may not feel nice, it is meant as a sign of appreciation. In any event, it is best not to respond to this, and then the comments or honking are likely to stop.
Another key piece of advice that you’ll probably find people giving you from day one is that you shouldn’t walk around on your own after dark. This goes for walking along empty beaches at night as much as it does walking a block or two in one of the large towns or cities.
Not specific to female travelers, but worth a mention is that it is best not to take much in the way of valuables out and about with you, either during the day or in the evening. Keep excessive cash, jewelry and other expensive items locked up in the hotel safe, and only take out with you what you need at that time. Do not flash your belongings around. Theft does happen, but in this way, you can avoid being an obvious target of it.
If you’re not sure what to do in a particular situation, just ask the locals. They live there and they know best.
A fun part of traveling in a new country is experiencing public transport, yet some women traveling alone may feel uncomfortable with this. Public transport is perfectly safe for solo female travelers, and you should not have concerns about taking a bus. If in doubt, make common sense choices such as choosing to sit next to another solo woman on a bus rather than a man. Or not sitting at the back of a quiet bus on your own. Another sensible decision is not arriving on a bus at a destination late at night without onward arrangements made.
Generally speaking, on buses, to protect yourself from theft, it is best to keep your bag on your lap, and to hold onto it. If you’re standing up on a crowded bus, you should make sure you are holding your bag in front of you where you can see it to avoid pickpocket temptation.
With taxis, especially at night time it is best not to take taxis directly on the street. Instead, you can ask the place you are at – hotel or restaurant – to call you one. Alternatively, you can use apps such as Uber.
Accommodation staff and restaurateurs are very used to female travelers journeying alone. You shouldn’t experience any issues in these types of tourist-related businesses.
In bars, as a solo female traveler you are likely to get some attention, particularly if you are not local or local-looking. As with many other places in the world, it is best to take precautions to keep yourself safe. For example, do not leave your drink unattended, and do not let anyone purchase you a drink. Clearly you can choose to wear what you want but being somewhat more conservative may help you steer away from unwanted attention.
Female travelers can hike alone if they are confident to do so. However, the weather is very variable in Ecuador’s mountain regions and routes are not necessarily well marked. Unless you are a very confident navigator, with good up-to-date maps and the right gear for a range of scenarios, you may be better off either going in a group, or going with a professional guide.
While traveling around Ecuador solo as a female traveler is perfectly safe, some women will still prefer that extra level of comfort and security of taking a tour. Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders offers some fabulous tours of different durations and for a wide variety of different interests. We can also customize a tour for you, to meet your specific requirements. Our guides are highly professional, carefully vetted and very respectful of female travelers, so you can feel safe in the knowledge of this if you book through us.
Why not get in touch today to find out how we can help you with your travels in Ecuador?