Chile: A Solo Traveler’s Paradise

Solo travel is as much about curiosity as it is about a specific destination, and Chile is one of the best locations in the world to embark on a solitary adventure. In fact, prestigious publications like Travel + Leisure have joined a growing chorus of publications singing the country’s praises.

Where should you go in Chile? Frommers recommends Valparaiso, while Matador suggests Santiago and, well, pretty much everyone gives an enthusiastic nod to visiting Patagonia. And that’s just the beginning: The truth is that Chile offers an array of exciting destinations to discover, as well as excellent infrastructure to support such journeys (including an impressive railway system). The country also consistently ranks among the safest destinations on the continent for travelers.

For those solo travelers out there who are considering a journey to Chile, we thought we’d provide some tips and potential destinations for your consideration. These should be helpful guides, but remember that there’s no substitute for thoroughly researching and planning on your own to ensure the best possible experience.

Quick-hit tips for a solo adventure in Chile

Consult your cell-phone carrier for international data options. Smartphones are invaluable when navigating new places. Be sure to check the options your carrier has for international destinations—for example, Verizon offers a data plan for international travel that costs just $10 a day.

Save important information offline. You can’t always count on cellular coverage or Wi-Fi, though, so be sure to save important information like hotel addresses, itineraries, tickets, and more just in case you can’t access them online.

If this is your first trip on your own, try some small adventures first. Solo travel can be transformative and exhilarating, but it may help to dip your toes in the proverbial water before jumping in. Consider embarking on mini-adventures alone can acclimate you to some of the feelings you’ll have when abroad. Maybe just a day out walking in a new neighborhood, or a night at a hotel in a nearby town you haven’t visited before.

App up. There are countless apps that can help when you’re abroad, including ones for translation, currency conversion, and more.

Study up on safety. As noted, Chile is a truly safe country to travel in, but it’s still important to remain prepared and alert. There are lots of places online to get tips on being safe, including keeping some emergency cash separate from your normal funds, making a copy of your passport photo page, getting travel insurance, and more.

Bring a book, bring photos, bring little gifts. Interacting with the locals is one of the true joys of traveling on your own, so create opportunities to make connections. The book you read at a cafe can be an invite to a conversation, and photos of your family and friends are great to show to friendly locals. Having tiny gifts on hand (even trinkets from your hometown) can be a great way to connect and feel good about it.

Enjoy interaction with locals, but trust your intuition. Again, common sense is key. The overwhelming majority of people you’ll meet are wonderful, but it’s important to trust your gut. There’s nothing wrong with ending an interaction and moving on with an “adios” and a smile.


Some great destinations to consider

Santiago: Chile’s capital is a cultural powerhouse, and a perfect place to begin your explorations of Chile. As Matador notes, “the city’s easy access to both mountains and beach make it a great starting off point, and those headed further north to the desert or further south to Patagonia, or to one of a couple of easily-accessed wine valleys.” And of course, there’s no better place to stay than The Singular Lastarria, which is regularly ranked among the very top hotels in the city.

Valparaiso: Once a waypoint for 19th-century ships sailing through the Strait of Magellan, this “Jewel of the Pacific” is one of Chile’s most charmingly eclectic locales. The city is justly known for vibrant street art, colorful houses, and the many funiculars that line the city’s iconic hills.

Atacama Desert: As one of the driest places in the world—some areas of this region have never received measurable rainfall—Atacama showcases an otherworldly landscape that is dramatically different from any other in South America. Solo travelers can experience the charms of San Pedro de Atacama and embark on exciting excursions in this distinctive desert expanse.

Patagonia: There is quite simply no place on Earth like it, and any trip to Chile should have this bucket-list beauty on the itinerary. The landscapes, the wildlife, the majestic beauty of this raw and resplendent region… it is all utterly breathtaking.

And don’t miss out on experiencing the region’s best (if we may humbly say so) hotel, The Singular Patagonia. One last tip: While you’re there, ask your bartender to make you our signature Grace Kelly cocktail, and ask about the history of some of the great solo explorers that once roamed this legendary land.