I am a female who has traveled alone for many years (over a decade). Some of my favorite “safe” places are:
-Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Varied international residents, nightlife, activities, yoga, beaches and no car needed to get around. I’ve also heard good things about Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta.
-Costa Rica: CR has gotten more dangerous for everyone (not just women) in recent years. But the country is still quite a gem. My favorite places are Mal Pais/Santa Teresa for a younger, hip, international crown. For nature and solitude, the Osa Peninsula and surrounding area: Puerto Jimenez, Mata Palo area and Pavones (there is a cool place called the Yoga Farm there).
-Puerto Rico: The west and nw coast of the island is very popular with expats; it’s a tight knit, diverse crew that grows every year. Surfers, celebs and health/wellness types are all attracted to PR. It’s also a good jumping off point for visiting places in the Caribbean.
-Bocas del Toro, Panama: Fun, beautiful, laid back place, especially good option if internet isn’t a priority. Pretty safe and striking distance from Panama City if you need a dose of culture and city life.
-Note on Medellín: This is an okay destination for a short term visit, but for a Western woman, there are better places to stay long term.
Places to probably avoid:
- Honduras: Unsafe
- El Sal: Unsafe
- Guatemala: Mixed; beautiful place but better to travel with at least 1 other person
- Nicaragua: Mixed opinion - Overall Nica is pretty safe but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a great place that stands out necessarily for a Western woman to meet other artists and expats. However, San Juan del Sur is a bit of an anomaly with a diverse population and many tourists, expats and backpackers. That would be one possibility, then pop over to Ometepe and the Corn Islands for something different. If internet isn’t a big issue then that makes it more appealing because it is very affordable. I would recommend checking it out if you spend time in Costa Rica.