5 best destinations for solo female travelers
Of travel exploration and discovery, the revered Swiss adventurer Ella Maillart once stated, ‘I did not want to be depressed by the gap existing between my weakness and my ambition’. Malliart was accepting of the fact the route to her dreams would be seasoned with arduous challenges, and though such challenges may alter the journey, they would not prohibit it. Travelling is a risk worth taking. It’s an inspiring ethos to live by. Malliart herself travelled the orient regions of USSR, across China and Central Asia during its Soviet occupation in the 1900s, much of which was completed solo. Travelling alone as a female though daunting, can present a plethora of opportunities to meet interesting characters, undergo refreshing experiences and most of all, understand your true capability. Too often daily routine numbs the mind. Excitement is what keeps us alive. Here is our top selection of the best places for lone female travelers.
Iceland with its rich blue lagoon and bewitching northern lights is the stuff that dreams are made of. Marvel at the Gullfoss Waterfall as its powerful waters crash below. Or step into the icy enclave of Langjokull glacier and be exported back to the Ice Age. Iceland’s attraction to the solo female however goes far beyond its natural beauties. Safety reigns supreme in Iceland, as it boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Alongside this, the island has only 300,000 inhabitants, 80% of which live in its capital Reykjavik meaning that you are granted the freedom to become lost in your own adventure. You could say Iceland has been tailored to the female traveler in her quest for meditation and self-reflection. 5-13 hour road trips taken at your own pace, will present the opportunity to gaze at the countries magical landscapes. It will clear the most troubled mind, helping you to rediscover an appreciation for life and discover the limits of your own independence. Any English speaking female can travel Icelandic lands with ease. Virtually all Icelanders speak impeccable English with English menus and signs everywhere you may go and fantastic travel infrastructure.
2. Bali, Indonesia
The spiritual calm which enshrouds the rice paddies, beaches and volcanic mountains of the Indonesian Island of Bali, is precisely what earnt its place in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray Love. Even for the most unspiritual of females it cannot be denied the very air of Bali is pregnant with prayer. Visit its ancient water temples and feast on their holy water springs intent on purifying the spirit. Heal your heartbreak or just detoxify your mind at the many Traditional Healers dotted across the island. They use Sacred Balinese Scriptures, meditation, rituals, healing oils and herbal medicine to rejuvenate a tired soul. Cook and learn with the kind hearted locals. Balinese cuisine is a rich and diverse reflection of its people whom are made up of over 300 ethnic groups. Consequently the food on your plate will be a kaleidoscope of colors, aromas, intense flavors and spices native to the island and its islanders. If wellbeing is Bali’s first priority, then adventure is a close second. Paraglide, white water raft by night, sea walk, horse ride or just explore on foot this tropical paradise that makes the perfect escape for the valiant lady.
3. Hong Kong, China
Women, brace yourself and dive into the brightly lit skyline of Hong Kong. Safety can be found amidst its high rise buildings and picturesque parks this Asian city like Iceland, has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, despite having the population of New York City and multiculturalism of London. The city is an interesting blend of opposites. East versus West; Marks and Spencer stores are shouldered by traditional Chinese medicine shops. Fast paced expat life versus blissful relaxation. Towering business blocks surround beautifully manicured parks nicknamed ‘zen gardens’, complete with water features and sculpted plants. Hong Kong is similarly renowned for its various markets loaded with an assortment of goods. From the Bowring Street Area & Market home to various clothing, shoes, vegetables and fruit that make up Hong Kongenese miscellaneous to the striking flowers that burst out of the heart of the old Hong Kong’s Flower Market. To the affectionately named Ladies Market, one of the city’s most popular shopping spots hosting clothing, watches, jewelry, toys, trinkets and alluring if not dubious luxury goods. Hong Kong will treat its solo female adventurers with a rewarding experience.
4. Costa Rica
A biodiversity haven, this Central American country may be small but it is mighty. It has a long history of democracy, has disbanded its army, and shifted its focus on responsible sustainability, conservation and the welfare of its citizens. Therefore the Happy Planet Index in September 2016 reported Costa Rica to house the happiest people on the planet. It is one of the safest countries in Latin America to travel and hosts some of the best wildlife on the planet. Now how could you possibly turn down a visit to these tropical plains? Scale the conical shaped Volcán Arenal and then from its impressive heights, gaze down at the waterfalls of La Fortuna and rooftops of El Castillo, as these towns stretch before you. Visit Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, taking a leisurely hike up through mountains and along white sanded beaches as impish monkeys swing through forest canopies. Or even swing through forest canopies yourself and take a trip into the rainforest. Step into the trees of Braulio Carillo and prepared to be enveloped into another world, over 500 species of bird and 150 species of mammal live in this infamous Latin American rainforest. Enter its depths a curious traveller and re-emerge a female Attenborough. When all has been seen and the sun sets, immerse yourself in the reggae and spicy jerk chicken of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca where Afro-Caribbean culture thrives.
An amalgamation of luminous 1950s Chevy’s, crumbling colonial architecture, cigars, salsa and smiles, this unique Caribbean island had to make the cut. Sipping on rum and drenched in pastoral colors, Cuba’s capital Havana dances to a sensual Afro-Latin beat of her own kind, just get ready to become addicted to it. Whether you are wandering through the Old Havana (the Spanish colonial town) or the modern Fabrica de Arte Cubano with its contemporary art and music, it soon becomes clear the old and the new lie side by side in this city. Walk to the shores of Havana to marvel at the Morro Castle a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay. If you are able to, tear yourself momentarily from the walls of Havana to pay your respects to the countries patron at the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara.