Exploring Colombia Alone: Options for Solo Travellers

by | Jul 20, 2018

More and more people are travelling and taking holidays by themselves.

For some, travelling alone is a choice – a chance to test your character, experience something new and ‘find yourself’. You know who you are.

But for many other people, while travelling alone may NOT be your prefered option, it may feel like your only option (well, that or staying home). Friends are in relationships, or saving to buy a house, or maybe you just can’t line up vacation time together. Whatever the reason, as you leave your 20s it becomes increasingly more difficult to organise holidays with friends.

There are probably a few destinations that would make even the most adventurous traveller apprehensive about visiting alone and – although it saddens us – Colombia is normally on that list.

If you’re a solo traveller considering a trip to Colombia then let us firstly say, don’t be put off by the headlines. Yes, Colombia has a notorious past but with a bit of common sense and insider knowledge about staying safe in Colombia, it is definitely a safe place to travel to alone. Colombia is fast becoming a ‘must see’ place to visit, especially if you’re looking for immense amounts of natural beauty, adventure, enjoy a boogie and yearn for a trip away from the usual tourist spots.

But for the solo travellers among you that feel that a trip to Colombia is not something you would want to do alone, there are definitely other options. Yes, today we’re going to be talking about organised tours, what they offer; and highlight some of the many benefits while debunking some of the myths.

But firstly, let’s talk about Colombia.

Cartagena the perfect place to explore Colombia alone

Why You NEED to Go to Colombia!

As a tourist destination Colombia is an untapped resource. Its sheer size means that Colombia is made up of the major Andes mountain range, has both caribbean and pacific coast lines, and occupies some of the Amazon rainforest. It’s therefore a country brimming with diversity, stunning natural beauty and with plenty to be discovered. However, because of its long and well-documented civil war and notorious problems with drugs and crime, Colombia remains a less-trodden tourist destination.

In recent years things for Colombia have really began to change. The country has invested a lot into their tourist industry and infrastructure and Colombia has become ‘the place to be’ for those at the forefront of adventurous travel, particularly with digital nomads and backpackers. As more people discover the friendly nature of the locals, the Colombian’s love of Salsa, the flamboyant Latino culture and breathtaking scenery, it’s no wonder that Colombia is now becoming recognised as a ‘must visit’ and top holiday destination. And with so many local festivals and carnivals to rival even Brazil there are plenty of opportune times to visit Colombia throughout the year. Remember to check out our definitive guide to traveling through Colombia – which you can even download for free!

Having said all that Colombia can still be a tricky place for solo travellers to get around alone (especially if you don’t speak Spanish). But there are other (way round) options. See what we did there?

Go to Colombia now with our options for solo travellers when exploring Colombia alone

Tour Groups

A few years ago my Colombian wife Marcela and I established our travel tour company, Other Way Round. We started taking small groups of like-minded people around Colombia, in an intimate and non-touristy fashion, by getting them away from the main tourist spots for a more immersive and authentic experience of this amazing country.

We know that tour groups can often get a bad rap and come with strong connotations of being overly “touristy”. And, let’s be honest, in some cases that perception is fully justified.

But, we also believe that when done right, tour groups can offer an incredible experience, often WAY more authentic and immersive than you could ever plan alone (and we definitely believe we fall into that category)!

So here we’re highlighting the benefits of coming on group trips like ours.

One of our tour groups exploring Colombia
wandering the streets of zipaquira, cundinamarca, colombia

Benefits of Tour Groups

1. Visit Places Not Listed in Guidebooks

As locals we know Colombia (ok I’m Scottish but my wife and in-laws are Colombian so that counts me as an honourary local)! We therefore take people away from the mainstream tourist hotspots to show them a side to Colombia that wouldn’t be otherwise achieved if sticking to a guidebook or without similar insider knowledge to ours. When you travel with us you’re travelling with locals; with local know-how, local knowledge and people who speak the local lingo.
Taking you to the places in Colombia not listed in guidebooks

2. Safety in Numbers

If you don’t have the option of going to Colombia with friends or family, our tours are a great alternative. Whether you’re an inexperienced solo traveller or simply don’t want to travel solo then a group trip offers the security and safety of being with a group while simply enjoying the experience without any of the associated travel angst.

Small group travelling together with safety in numbers

3. Social

We love how social our groups are. We take great care in targeting our tours to bring together a similar mix of people who are likely to get along. Typically our travellers are:

  • In their 20s, 30s and 40s
  • 60% female / 40% male
  • Professionals
  • Up for an adventure
  • Looking for new and culturally rich experiences

Because our intimate groups are made up of like-minded people we find that our groups are sociable, have an absolute blast together and often remain lifelong friends.

Ultimately, if you want other people to share all your new experiences with, then tours are a great option. And we guarantee you’ll have more fun with us than alone!

Social Travel Groups

4. Authentic Experiences

If you’re looking for all night raves, wet t-shirt competitions and endless drinking games then this particular tour probably isn’t for you. While we do like to take advantage of Bogota’s exhilarating nightlife, get involved in some rum tasting in Cartagena, and have endless amounts of fun, our main aim is to share with you the REAL Colombia. You’ll be immersed in the true details of this magical country; from its traditional food and accommodations, to its friendly people and their local customs. That’s surely why you visit a new country, right?
Authentic Colombian Experiences

5. Convenience

If you’ve been working hard to save for a holiday then the last thing you need when you’re probably already too busy in your day-to-day life is trying to organise everything. It’s not just flights and accommodation you need to research but also how to get around, what to see, where to go, when to go, changing currency, and planning your days so that you can pack in as much as possible.

And after all that you probably just end up at the same generic places surrounded by all the other tourists (you did buy the same guidebook right)?

We’ll take all the hassle out of your trip by organising everything from your meals, accommodation, internal transport to your daily activities while giving you a unique insight into Colombia that most other tourists will likely never experience.

Travel convenience when travelling with Other Way Round
wandering the streets of zipaquira, cundinamarca, colombia

Wrapping It Up

If you’re absolutely desperate to venture off on your own then great! We definitely believe that solo travel is a life defining experience that everyone should try at some point. If this is you then check out our blog on staying safe when traveling alone in Colombia which features some great local advice.

But, if you want to visit Colombia and are keen to share the experience with other travellers,  you might find our tour groups a great option. Although our tours are organised around itineraries, there is nothing stopping you from going off on your own whenever you please. We allow for this by having free time to encourage people to explore further their own particular interests. But it’s always nice to come back to dinner buddies in the evening to share all your stories with.

Ultimately, if you only have a 1 week or 2 week window for your vacation then there are so many benefits of opting for an organised trip like ours. Not only is everything arranged for you (all you have to do is turn up), but you’ll get to really experience Colombia like a local and enjoy it with people who share a very similar travel philosophy to you.

Tours can also be a good option if you plan on spending a longer time in Colombia. We’ve had people on our tours that planned on spending several months in Colombia. They started off on one of our tours which helped them to get their bearings, become accustomed with the language and local etique and gain confidence in getting around by themselves.

So, if you’re faced with travelling solo and you’re thinking of heading to Colombia, go check out our tours!

Want to see an OWR trip in action? Then check out this blog from a recent trip: An Immersive 2 Weeks in Colombia with Other Way Round.