Is Peru Safe For Solo Female Travellers?

Is Peru Safe For Solo Female Travellers??”: this question always arises when considering a solo trip to Peru as a female. Peru stands out as a destination rich in cultural diversity and historical significance. Adventurers from all over the world are drawn to the region by its archaeological treasures and the remains of the old Inca empire. Peru offers a unique experience that draws tourists, from the stupendous Machu Picchu to the charming floating islands of Lake Titicaca.

Is Peru Safe For Solo Female Travellers?
Is Peru Safe For Solo Female Travellers? | Photo by Eneida Nieves

Yet, amidst the allure, concerns about safety loom. Reports of tourists falling victim to theft and muggings circulate, casting a shadow of doubt on the safety of visiting Peru by solo female travellers. So, let’s delve into the intricacies and nuances of solo female travel in this captivating country.

Peru is known for its remarkable diversity and it ranks as the third-largest in South America attracting over four million tourists each year. However, it’s imperative to go into your voyage with caution. We rate Peru with 3 out of 5 stars for solo female travel, highlighting the need for vigilance and awareness.

Peru
Peru

While it’s crucial not to be consumed by fear, petty crime remains a prevalent issue, especially for those who are careless with their belongings. There are few issues of which one should always be careful while in Peru. 

10 Issues in Peru

  • Pickpocketing, credit card fraud, and instances of sexual harassment unfortunately occur, although the chances of encountering such incidents as a tourist are relatively slim.
  • One may attract unwanted attention, a solo female traveler often in the form of catcalling. 
  • It’s worth noting that local women in Peru rarely venture out to bars unaccompanied by men. If you find yourself in a women-only group in a bar, expect some additional attention. 
  • When venturing off the beaten path, be aware that not all indigenous villages in Peru welcome visitors. 
  • Some remote Andean villages prefer to maintain their isolation, so it’s advisable to stick to the tourist routes if traveling alone or hire a guide fluent in Quechua for more remote areas. 
  • Moreover, if you find yourself in higher altitudes such as Cusco, indulge in coca tea or chew coca leaves to alleviate altitude sickness.
  • Scams are another hazard to be wary of in Peru. Beware of individuals lurking around ATMs and remain cautious if someone attempts to distract you. Taxi drivers may try to deceive you into paying more or provide misleading information about fares, so exercise caution.
  • Transportation is generally safe and reliable, but exercise caution when using public transport and buses to avoid becoming a victim of theft.  
  • Pickpockets pose a significant concern, so keep your money and valuables securely hidden, distributing them in different pockets. 
  • Additionally, there have been instances of violent crime, including “express kidnappings” and “struggle muggings.” To stay safe, avoid poorly lit and deserted areas, and maintain vigilance throughout your journey.

To mitigate risks, avoid being alone, especially after dark when petty thieves perceive you as an easy target. Making the decision to travel solo is a personal one that has benefits and drawbacks. While it’s natural for your family to worry, it often proves to be the best decision for personal growth and exploration. 

Peru Mountain
Pic Courtesy: Trace Hudson

It’s important to address the potential risks and dangers in Peru. Overall, Peru presents a relatively low risk for women traveling solo as many have embarked on solo journeys and had fulfilling experiences and thus answers to the question Is Peru Safe For Solo Female Travellers?. It is of utmost importance to exercise caution and maintain awareness of your surroundings, particularly during nighttime. Your travel experience will be significantly safer and more enjoyable if you adopt preventive measures such as avoiding dimly lit and desolate paths and areas.

When on a trip to Peru, it is essential to acquaint yourself with the customs and protocols specific to the country. Similar to any other travel destination, Peru also has its own set of guidelines and cultural norms that it is prudent to comprehend. From matters of safety to etiquette, having a grasp of the do’s and don’ts will facilitate your seamless navigation throughout the country. Presented below are some significant considerations regarding the “do’s and don’ts in Peru” that you should bear in mind during your visit.

DO’s

  • Learn a few words, phrases, and expressions in Spanish to enhance your communication skills.
  • Engage in discussions about popular topics such as football, Peruvian cuisine, and Peru’s natural landscapes to foster meaningful conversations.
  • Make an attempt to socialise with the populace and become familiar with the culture..
  • Show a genuine interest in Peruvian cuisine as it holds great significance and a source of pride for many Peruvians and a way to bond with locals.
  • Embrace invitations to participate in social activities like soccer games to interact with others and build stronger relationships.
  • Even if your Spanish proficiency is limited, making sincere attempts to speak the language in social settings will be appreciated.
  • Demonstrate respect for elders by offering your seat on public transport, as deferring to the elderly is highly valued in Peru.
  • Exchange your currency at the airport to save 5-15% on transaction fees.
  • Ensure you have your travel documents with you, either in physical or digital form, and store the original documents safely in your hotel to prevent loss or theft.
Solo Traveller

Photo by Keenan Constance

DONTs

  • Avoid broaching Peru’s political issues unless you’ve established rapport. Discussions on ideologies and political events can be sensitive and polarising.
  • Refrain from making jokes about illicit drugs or drug consumption. Peruvians don’t view this topic lightheartedly, and such remarks may come across as offensive.
  • Steer clear of using the term “cholo” when referring to indigenous or mestizo Peruvians. While it may have positive connotations in some instances, it is often seen as derogatory and can deeply offend.


Tips on how to be safe in Peru

Moving on to practical advice

  • Familiarize yourself with the transportation system in Peru. Research and plan your routes to ensure safe and hassle-free travel.
  • Keep a close eye on your valuables. Lock important documents and cash in your hotel, carrying only necessary items when exploring. Divide your money into different places to mitigate risks.
  • Avoid walking alone at night or in isolated areas to prioritize your safety.
  • Respect local norms by refraining from going shirtless in public spaces.

To foster cultural understanding

  • Avoid generalizing contemporary Peruvian culture solely based on ancient Inca culture. Peruvian culture is diverse and has evolved throughout history.
  • Recognize the distinctions among Hispanic and Latin American peoples. Each country and culture in Central and South America has its own unique characteristics.
  • It is advisable not to take offense if you are referred to as a “gringo.” In many cases, this term is used as a means of identifying foreigners rather than as an insult.
  • Show respect by refraining from insulting or making jests about the mothers of Peruvians, as they hold a profound reverence for their mothers and grandmothers
  • Specify “United States” instead of using the term “America” when referring to the United States. This acknowledges the broader concept of “America” encompassing all of South America.
  • Avoid bragging about Chile in conversations with Peruvians. Due to historical rivalry, particularly regarding the origin of “pisco,” Chile is seen as a rival neighbouring country.
Peruvian culture

Photo by Saraí Carrasco

Culture of Peru
Culture of Peru | Photo by Saraí Carrasco

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