Am Burned Out, Will Travel
August 26, 2022 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I have 3ish weeks (~September 5 - September 24), a flexible budget (but hoping to stay around the $5-6k mark) and a valid passport. Where should I go?

I can leave from Los Angeles as early as 9/5 and would like to be in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area around 9/24 to see family before I go spend an already planned week in Cartagena, Colombia. I've traveled around Colombia quite a bit and I'm not entirely opposed to axing the family visit to Florida and just extending that trip, but I'm curious to see what else is out there.

I like trips where I can stay put and relax and that have minimal flight connections from LA. The last great trip I took was a week in Dominical, Costa Rica with friends. Direct flight to/from LA, we rented a house and a car and alternated bopping around the local area and hanging out at the house. It was awesome. This time I'll be traveling alone and would prefer to avoid driving if possible. I don't need to stay in one place for 3 weeks, but I also don't need to be on the move every 2-3 days.

I speak Spanish well, I am confident on public transportation and overall am a pretty experienced traveler, I'm just extremely burned out right now and completely overwhelmed by the planning aspects of this. I like beaches, hiking, cycling, cities, interesting food and drinks. I'm really happy to sit on a beach and read all day. Cold weather is a deterrent for me but not a deal breaker. I am a woman and I'm not white. Oh and vaccinated/happy to submit to any covid testing requirements.

So where would you go given these parameters?
posted by justjess to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
A common option would bike up the coast from L.A. to San Francisco. That's plenty of time for most people, and it's part of the most popular bike route in the USA. Travelers sometimes buy a bike at one end and then sell it at the other.

But since you said you want to sit by the beach and read, you can also stay longer at the various beach hike & bike camp sites along the way. So in that case, stay at the campgrounds between L.A. and where the road heads inland toward Lompoc. I can think of at least 5 campgrounds in that area where you can meander along at a leisurely pace and then camp 2 nights each without reservations if you biked in.
posted by aniola at 11:57 AM on August 26, 2022

Mexico City if you haven’t been. I felt safe as a solo woman (though not POC), and you could do 3 weeks there for far less than 6k.
posted by greta simone at 11:58 AM on August 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

OOO or bus out to Potrero in eastern San Diego county and camp there for a couple weeks. There's a library and a general store right there, and Tecate in Baja is just 7 miles away. You can catch the bus to the border, and then once you cross you're right in downtown. Move to Tecate when you've had your fill of camping and nature. The Pacific Crest Trail is right there in that area, too.
posted by aniola at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2022

Seconding Mexico City. It looks like you could also fly direct to Oaxaca city from LAX, which is more chill than Mexico City. Very walkable, smaller scale, tons of great food and amazing art, historical sites you can get to pretty easily by bus. Easy to move on to the beach in Puerto Escondido (easy flight from either Mex City or possible Oaxaca city, though I took the cheap bus) and to smaller beach towns on the Pacific coast if you want.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:11 PM on August 26, 2022 [6 favorites]

If you scrapped the Florida trip, you could go to Chile. Land in Santiago, stay a week in Valparaiso or Viña del Mar maybe, then up to La Serena or similar. We spent some days long ago in Bahia Inglesa, which is accessible to San Pedro de Atacama. They have fiestas patrias around that time (Sept 18th). You could get back to Santiago or might be able to fly from a city in the north.
posted by vunder at 12:15 PM on August 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oaxaca is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and dense as poundcake with amazing things to see and hear and eat and be amazed at. Monte Alban, Mitla, carpets in Teotihuacan del Valle, mole, the markets and artisans, the street life and plazas and cafes - the Museo Rufino Tamayo ! My heart is literally beating faster for remembering. Many, many + for Oaxaca.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 12:57 PM on August 26, 2022 [7 favorites]

Another vote for Oaxaca. I feel it is a much more relaxing place to be than Mexico City, the food is amazing, people are very friendly and there are great places to stay.
I mean, there are thousands of other great destinations in Latin America, no doubt, but Oaxaca is easy to reach, easy to use as a base for trips as stated above and has a lovely culture.
posted by mumimor at 1:14 PM on August 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

I love Vanuatu and encourage anyone who can to go. No direct flight from LA, though. You transfer in Fiji. English will suit you fine there.
posted by dobbs at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you liked Costa Rica, you could return but go to the Caribbean side, which experiences it's dry season in September. It's still generally the "low" season though, and less tourists go to the Caribbean side, so it's likely not too late to find accommodations.

I recently returned from a trip there, and my flight went through Ft. Lauderdale on both ends of the trip, so it seems like a common route, should that be relevant.
posted by coffeecat at 3:46 PM on August 26, 2022

Ecuador -- flights LAX - UIO - MIA should be $600 - $800 for your days. Spend few days in Quito, Cotopaxi and then go the Galapagos Islands (UIO - GPS - UIO at ~$270). Negotiate hard for a last minute 4 or 5 night cruise around the Galapagos (<>
[I went to Ecuador earlier this summer with my family and we managed to get cruise price down by waiting until last minute and there was 5 of us. As a solo traveller with flexibility you can drive a really good bargain.]
posted by zeikka at 6:29 PM on August 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

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