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Is Peru safe to travel alone?

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Published: 31-05-2023

Peru is a fantastic destination famed for the mystical Inca city of Machu Picchu, built deep in the mountains. This South American country is renowned for its Michelin-star restaurants, traditional living cultures, impressive archaeological sites, and rich history, drawing in five million tourists annually. However, you may be wondering is Peru safe to travel alone? Read on for more information about why Peru is the ideal destination for your next vacation and if  Peru is safe to travel alone.

 

Solo Travel Sacred Valley


Crime in Peru

While crime is a concern for many travelers, total crime rates in Peru are officially 73 times lower than those in the United States, for example. Your major concern while traveling in Peru should be petty theft. Like in any developing country, robbers look for opportunities to steal, so avoid attracting the attention of pickpockets and keep any valuables in your hotel safe, stashing bags by your feet when inside of taxis, and hiding your phone when it’s not in use. 

 

Police in Lima

 

Stay Away from bad neighborhoods

It’s hard to know where not to go when visiting new places, but the majority of hotels in Peru are in safe areas. Outside of Lima, most hotels are located within walking distance of the main plaza or Plaza de Armas. Usually, the closer a hotel is to the main plaza, the safer the area is. In Lima, the most touristic areas are also the safest areas. Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro are the three best places to stay and have a high presence of tourist police monitoring the streets to ensure safety for all. Avoid staying in hotels in neighborhoods like La Victoria, Callao, and the Downtown Historical Center. These areas have higher populations, leading to higher crime rates, and are less safe to walk around in at night. Keep in mind that the Jorge Chávez International Airport is located in Callao and most international flights get in after midnight, your taxi to your hotel in Miraflores or Barranco will drive through some neighborhoods that look a little dodgy at first, especially at night. Be aware that most international flights arrive around midnight, and your taxi to your hotel in Miraflores or Barranco will drive through some neighborhoods that look a little dodgy at first, especially at night. 

 

Downtown Lima

 

Protests in Peru

Per has recently come under scrutiny in the worldwide press and political issues are an unpredictable factor in any vacation. In Peru, when unions or groups strike, they target the railroads and train to Machu Picchu by blocking the route or heading to the airport, where they will gain the attention of the country´s press. Since tourism is a major industry in Peru, blocking the tracks is a way of getting the government to listen promptly. This means that some trips to Machu Picchu must be rescheduled without notice. Strikes usually only last a few days, but they can literally de-rail your schedule. However please bear in mind that protests in Peru are never directed at tourists themselves and you will be left in peace as long as you respect roadblocks and protests.

 

Protests


Extreme Weather Conditions

 
Peru has many different weather patterns throughout its many regions, but the main ones to keep in mind are the strong sun and the heavy rains. High altitude and Lima summers bring on a high UV index that can cause sunburns if you forget to reapply for protection regularly throughout the day. During the rainy season in The Andes, certain activities may be unsafe for visitors because of the weather. With excess rains, the rapids gain speed, so white water rafting is more dangerous in the rainy season than at other times of the year. Certain hiking trails are also closed during the rainy season. For example, the Inca Trail is closed for all of February, the heart of the rainy season, for safety and maintenance. The rainy season can flood riverbanks, causing damage to nearby towns and delays to travel land-based travel routes. To avoid weather-related safety issues, plan your trip during the dry or shoulder seasons. 

 

Trekking Peru

 

Can I travel to Peru alone?

The short answer is yes, you can travel to Peru alone as a solo male or female traveler. Forethought is the best way to keep solo travelers safe, so plan transfers and hotels in advance so that you don’t arrive at a destination without any surprises. Bear in mind that some services require a minimum amount of passengers to depart. For example, if you’re hiking the Inca Trail, you should opt for a group hike rather than in private to keep costs affordable. Like its other Latin American neighbors, Peruvian culture is friendly and warm. This makes life for a solo traveler exceptionally easy. Add in the abundance of hostels and well-trodden ‘gringo’ trail and you’ll find it impossible to not make friends while traveling in Peru. With an excellent tourist infrastructure in place, hopping from city to city is an easy task. Unless of course, you want to visit some of the more rural areas in Peru. This could add some painful 12+ hour bus rides across the vast country. But if you’re seeking serene mountain villages you won’t be disappointed. Day-to-day you’ll find yourself exploring high-altitude cities, immersing yourself in the ancient Inca culture, and learning about the rich indigenous histories of the region. Throw in a trip to the Amazon and some trekking through the dramatic landscapes of the Sacred Valley and Peru will undoubtedly be a trip to remember.

 

Paron Lagoon

 

Solo Female Travelers

Like solo travel in any part of the world, solo female travelers need to be extra vigilant. Peru is one of the safest destinations to travel for female travelers, however, this shouldn't mean that you let your guard down. It is always important to pack your common sense and trip savvy wherever you travel in the world. Here are some tips:

Don’t lose sight of your valuables. Keep them locked in your hotel and walk around with a copy of your passport, a card, and some money for the day.

Don’t flash jewelry and expensive items

Avoid pickpocketing by holding on to your backpack and by never storing a cell phone or important item in the back pocket of your trousers

Withdraw money from secure banks and keep your eyes wide open when leaving the bank

Dress down. It’s sad that we still have to say this, but unfortunately, women still have to be mindful of how they dress. Peru is moderately a conservative country so it’s better to not wear too revealing clothes

Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night, especially in deserted areas.

Don’t lose sight of your drinks if you go partying and of course, don’t accept drinks from strangers if you don’t see how they have been made

If you feel you’re being followed, enter a store, restaurant, or other facility and wait until you know you’re safe

Give your itinerary to someone back at home, the name and contact number of the hotel you’re staying at, and the tour company you are traveling with

Handle ‘admirers’ in the streets by not giving them a second of your time. Ignore men's catcalls and avoid eye contact

Have emergency numbers saved on your phone as well as the Embassy of your country.

 

Female Traveler in Machu Picchu


The Lowdown

In general, Peru is safe to travel alone, but like all South American countries, it has some crime, undesirable neighborhoods, opportunities for illness, and political instability that can affect travel plans. But don’t let this put you off! If safety is a concern, choose a travel agency like Valencia Travel that includes services like transfers, hotels, and guided tours in advance. This way you will not wander mistakenly in the wrong neighborhood. Organized tours also ensure that you have someone at the end of a call in case of an emergency and get from A to B effortlessly with a savvy guide for most parts of your trip. Pack some medication from home and always be aware of your surroundings when exploring the nightlife scene. With a few common-sense precautions, your trip should go without a hitch. With these safety tips and local advice, your Peru trip will be one you remember for all the right reasons. Now that you’ve learned about safety in Peru, all you need to do is book your trip and pack your bags. 

 

Amazon Boat Ride

 

Happy travels! 

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