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Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

Toronto, Canada
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217 posts
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Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help


I'd like to get away but having a hard time deciding where to go. I think it's because I'm going solo and I was hoping to go with someone but that doesn't seem to be working out. I was planning on going with a friend and her friend but wasn't comfortable with the idea of sharing a bedroom with two women for a week. There were also some other issues such as my friend and her friend wanting to meet with a travel agent before the three of us even sat down together to talk about it. I felt a little uncomfortable and upset by this that I then decided to go solo. However, I'm having a hard time feeling excited about going on my own. I had a weak moment today (after hearing how wonderful my sister's trip was with her husband and their friends in DR), I called my friend and told her that I was reconsidering and would like to join her and her friend (in their 50's; I'm in my 30's) but she didn't seem anxious to have me join them. She reminded me of why I didn't want to go with them instead of being more encouraging and supportive. I was secretly hoping that she would say something to make me feel better, tell me that we would have a good time and that it was great that I changed my mind but it wasn't like that at all. I don't mind traveling on my own, (I have done it before) but it would have been nice to have that companionship and feel excited about going with someone. However, I don't want to dwell on it and let it bring me down anymore. I want to make the most of my singlehood and look at the positives of my situation.

So, I'm trying to figure out what type of vacation would be good for me so that I'm not feeling lonely when I'm away. I travelled to solo to Europe for 3 months, and to Red Mountain Spa in Utah a few years ago. I travelled mostly around Italy & France visiting friends/family and then off on my own, which I enjoyed. I found it easy and enjoyable meeting new people, and walking the streets day/evening, or take public transit. I felt safe. When I was at Red Mountain Spa, I did kayaking, mountain climbing, hiking, yoga, and biking through the mountains. I also had a few spa treatments but for the most part, I went to Red Mountain b/c of the activities, and healthy meals. I also found it easy to meet/mingle with new people.

These are the places that I considered:

1. Mexico - Playa del Carmen, Cabo, Riviera Maya. I am still learning about Mexico and the different locations that are safe and not so safe. I read the safest are: Tlaxcala, Yucatán, and Baja California Sur. I don't know much about these areas but did read a few details about them on-line.

I found this link for safe places to travel to in Mexico. What do you think:


I found this place in Mexico, which sounds lovely and quaint: Hotel Petit Lafitte in Playa del Carmen. This is another place that I was looking at: Casa Caribe Bed and Breakfast in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

2. Costa Rica - I read mixed reviews about CR. It seems that some people travelling solo felt safe and comfortable being in CR whereas others swore they would never return b/c they felt unsafe, were robbed or assaulted.

These destinations were also suggested to me and deemed to be safe for solo female travellers: Aruba (minus what happened several years ago with the American high school student), Turks & Caicos, Bermuda, Hawaii, and Cayman Islands.

I have also thought about California for another spa resort destination but would like for there to be some type of activities such as kayaking, yoga, mountain climbing, etc. Or if there is another spa/resort destination that someone can suggest?

I also was looking at The Body Holiday, and The Landings in St. Lucia but they seem $$$$. Ideally, I don't want to go over $1000 and would like if breakfast and dinner were included. I'm a single income earner so I don't have a lot of money to play around with.

I am looking for some R&R, but I also like to walk around the town, meeting/talking to new people, some activities/entertainment - I'm not looking to go clubbing or drinking. Just something light - even in the lounge or dinner area - some music and people hanging out or being able to go for a walk in the evenings instead of staying in my room watching TV, even though I probably won't mind.

I'm in my 30's and not looking for gourmet meals but delicious/good food. I'm vegetarian but eat fish. I don't want fast food/junk food. I want something more on the healthier side. I would like a nice beach and don't want to be around a lot of kids. I work with them Mon-Fri so I want a break from them. Unfortunately, I was looking to go away during March Break (b/c I don't want to lose days/pay from work) but I would be willing to go mid-late March Break and miss a few days at the end of the break.

Thanks for your input.

Edited: 12 February 2012, 23:35
Chicago, IL
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1. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

I'm a solo traveler also in my 30's and I LOVED Costa Rica. In fact, CR has a special place in my heart that nowhere else can match. When I went to visit I stayed inland and spent a few days in Monteverde (and the neighboring town of Santa Elena) and a few days in Arenal. I felt 100% safe and all of the hotels, activities and transportation companies have the tourist thing down to a science. I didn't rent a car and never needed one because it was so easy to get back and forth. While in Monteverde I went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, went zip lining at Selvatura Park, went horseback riding, and on a night tour to see nocturnal animals. I wanted to do the coffee plantation tour but was the only person interested. In Arenal I went rappelling in the morning and whitewater rafting in the afternoon. The next day I went on an ATV tour that took me between the Arenal River and to the lookout point for Fortuna Waterfall. I still got in spa treatments and loved soaking my body in Tabacon's hot springs.

My second favorite destination was Belize. Belize is a BEAUTIFUL country and I felt safe there but you definitely need to keep your wits about you. I spent the first few days of my trip in San Ignacio, which is inland and close to Guatemala. I went spelunking in ATM cave, which is more than 1,000 years old and has Mayan remains including pottery and bones/skulls that have been calcified into the floor. The next day I did a day trip to Guatemala for a visit to Tikal, a previous civilization of Mayan pyramids that are quite old. I also did cave tubing at Jaguar Paw where I sat in an inner tube and followed the river into one of the many caves there. Once I left the cave it was considered "river tubing." I did horseback riding the next morning before transferring to Ambergris Caye. While in San Pedro (the main town on Ambergris Caye) I tried snorkeling. San Pedro reminds me of the Caribbean (where I was born and raised) and it has a very laid-back atmosphere, very different than what you'll find inland.

I'm obviously VERY excited about my past trips and I would do them all again in a heartbeat. Please feel free to send me a direct message should you have any questions or even want to see some pictures. I would be MORE than happy to pass along some trip planning ideas. Best of luck!

Planning my first solo trip was a little scary but I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world. I know exactly what you mean when you say it would be nice to travel with someone else because that's how I feel. Unfortunately I either meet someone who would love to travel but doesn't have the money or someone who has the money but doesn't have the time. If I waited to travel with someone else I would have missed out on three destinations. As a result, I have an even stronger desire to travel and see the world. I'm starting to plan my annual vacation and am waffling between Europe and South America. Any recommendations????

Castle Rock...
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2. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

It sounds like a blessing the older ladies turned you down. It's no fun to be on vacation with someone who's not a real friend. If you're going to travel solo, I think one of your primary considerations should be perosnal security. The last time you were overseas (several years ago) the economic climate was quite different than it is now. I suggest you thoroughly research the locations you're considering, and pay close attention to current information on crime rates and unemployment. I think Costa Rica would make a good choice.

Have a great trip!


Cape Cod, MA
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3. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

I also think Costa Rica would be great for you. I went down there by myself just for a month. Enjoyed it so much I planned to stay a year, but could only do 6 months. Always felt safe in whatever part of the country I was in. Doing that gave me the confidence to go to South America on my own. I'm in same boat as you trying to go somewhere in mid March as a solo traveler. Good luck to you.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

I'm in my 30s and lived in the Cayman Islands for 5 years. It's very safe for solo women and a great place to visit for relaxing. Everything is very centrally located so you don't need to worry too much about transportation and the beach is great for snorkeling and diving. If you need any tips about the islands, let me know and I'll gladly give you some ideas.

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5. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

Just did 3 weeks backpacking in costa rica , and I loved it , I went to the carribean coast which was amazing , less touristy than the pacific , Rastas are super cool with great music , I'm a female and was alone and never felt threatened , met done cool locals in tortuguero then headed down to puerto vierjo for five nights , I think this was a great place , shuttles were awesome to get to different places , good tours and weather , not sure what your budget is but I mixed it with hotels and hostels and ate well , food is a bit expensive. Any questions let me know

Las Vegas, Nevada
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6. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

The best reason to travel solo is that you get to plan the trip you want to take. You go where you want to go, when you want to go. You stay where you want to stay and eat where you want to eat. All at the budget you want to set.

Two comments:

(1) I know nothing about traveling in Costa Rica. I've never been there. But I know lots of people who've gone and everyone loves the place. I've never heard anyone make complaints about personal safety problems there.

(2) About Mexico. You sound interested in learning more about Mexico. Please be warned that there's nothing "Mexico" about Baja California Sur in general and the Cabo area in particular. It's a generic tourist resort. The people who love it love it precisely because it's not very Mexican. And that, to me, defeats the whole purpose of traveling to Mexico. The Yucatan is great, but keep in mind that March is the height of spring break time, so the resort towns (Cancun, Cozumel) that one might use as a base to explore the hinterlands of the Yucatan will be packed with drunken college students. Another place in Mexico to look into: San Miguel de Allende.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your replys. I appreciate it. I am taking your comments into consideration, and sent out some PM asking further questions on the places that you recommended.

retrofuturist - Thanks for the tip on Mexico. I definitely don't want to be spending time with drunken students and everyone else on their break. I will look into San Miguel de Allende. I thought of Mexico b/c I like that artistic, historic look/feel - kind of like Europe. I also thought of Havana, Cuba but maybe I will save this for another time.

There seems to be a lot of picks for Costa Rica. I did have an interest in going here but never thought about it for this trip b/c I thought that I was looking for something different. However, after reading a lot of other TA reviews about CR, I'm starting to lean towards this destination although the Cayman Islands also sounds nice! There are too many places and I'm feeling overwhelmed. Also, I'm trying to plan this for March Break (around this time) so I'm in a bit of a panic but I'm sure everything will work out. I have planned last minute destinations before (when I was in Italy) but I was already there so this is different since I don't even know where I'm going yet! lol. I will figure it out. Hopefully soon.

Thanks everyone.

8. Re: Winter Break Solo Trip - Need Help

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