LOS ANGELES - U.S. detectives say a young Canadian woman disappeared during a visit to Los Angeles and has been missing for about a week.

LAPD Officer Bruce Borihanh says Elisa Lam, 21, travelled to California alone from Vancouver on Jan. 27 and was last seen by workers at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 31.

Her reason for going to California is unclear, but authorities say Lam intended to travel to Santa Cruz as her final destination, which is about 563 kilometres north of Los Angeles.

Police say Lam tends to use public transportation, such as Amtrak and buses. Detectives hope the public can supply leads to Lam's whereabouts.

Detectives are concerned her disappearance may be the result of foul play. Lam had been in touch with her family daily until she disappeared.

Lam is of Chinese descent, and speaks fluent English and Cantonese. She is 5-foot-4 and weighs about 115 pounds.