Peru

Pachamama – deep spiritual connection with mother earth, amazing mountains, animals and people.

Peru

Spectacular landscape and experiences everywhere you go.

Where I’ve Been

Peru Placeholder
Peru

Currency = Peruvian Sol.

Find Yourself Rating

Excellent. Peru is deeply spiritual and you will feel and see this everywhere you go. If you venture to Cusco or the Amazon you’re likely to encounter Shaman who are very interesting – do your research because some are better than others. Some of the places you will go and monuments you will see, in my experience, are likely to cause you to deeply self reflect.

Female Solo Travel Ranking

Very Good. As long as you stay alert, and, in cities, be cautious about going out alone at night, and what areas you go to, especially in Lima, you should be ok. In Arequipa, I ended up at dinner later than expected and the restaurant staff walked me to my hotel.  Check out my Female Solo Travel tips page for ideas to stay safe.

Touristy vs Authentic

Depends. There are a lot of trinkets to buy and lots of people set up with llamas you have to pay to get a photo with, so they definitely corner the tourist market. Also, prepare to be taken advantage of if you want to buy an alpaca anything. If you buy anyplace outside of an authentic merchant where they give you a certificate and you pay more, you’re probably getting fake alpaca. But, those cute jumpers cost about $10 and are soft enough that if you don’t care about the real thing, you will just love your sweater anyway! Otherwise, Peru has amazing mountains, architecture, and Inca buildings that are amazing to see. The cuisine is amazing and while it does cater to tourists, you can also still feel that you are seeing real Peru outside of the main cities. Coca leaves are a huge part of the culture as well.

Getting Around / Transportation

Planes and buses. Peru has airports and buses that make travel very easy. Do consider that Peru also has regular earthquakes and some of the roads are not great. Traveling with a company like Peru Hop gets you paired with a company that does bus travel there all the time and drives well. Otherwise, consider flying.

Negotiating

Depends. It’s a strange experience. They don’t really like to negotiate and if you try, even for a few soles, they will raise there voice in a bit of a whine and say that their asking price, or a little more than you want to pay is a good price. They may insist they cannot come down to your price, but if you walk away, or insist that your price is all the money you have on you, they will accept your offer. I was advised that somewhere around 5 – 10 soles is the way to bargain.

How to Save Money

Affordable. You have to make some choices. Hostels are very, very affordable, especially outside of Lima. If you’re going for the food, you’re going to spend some money. But, if you’re willing to eat at local, low-maintenance, low-frills eateries, you can save a lot of money. Make sure to negotiate and look around if you buy souvenirs.

Tipping

Expected. Roughly 10% is a good amount to tip at restaurants. You should give your tour guides some Soles as well. For a free tour, 20 Soles seemed a good amount. 

WiFi Access

Excellent. Overall, I found that when there was WiFi (which there is in most places) it worked well. In more remote places, though, like Lake Titicaca, you will not find any WiFi.

SIM Cards / Cell Phone Service

Claro or Movistar or Entel. Easy! I was told Entel has the best service AROUND Peru so that’s who I went with. Cost about $12 USD to set it up with 3 Gigs of data, UNLIMITED voice calling to the US and Europe (!!) and SMS messaging among other benefits. Plus, if you run out of data, you can top up for about 29 soles (about $10) any time you want, though the plan will last you a month. Worked great in my iPhone.

Toilets

Average. All toilets are Western, but many of them require you to put your toilet paper in the garbage instead of the toilet.

Insects, Rodents and Reptiles

Not bad. I traveled in winter and didn’t encounter any mosquitoes or vermin.

Passport, Visa and Entry/Exit Rules

Easy. It’s always a good idea to check the US government website (or your country’s local government if not the US) for in-depth information as well as the embassy of Peru website or the US Government travel website. You’re allowed 90 days in the country as a tourist. You are likely to be asked to book an exit flight from Peru before you fly there. If you’re traveling by the seat of your pants, you can always book your ticket at the airport and then plan to cancel it within 24 hours.

Health, Water, etc.

Unsafe. I used tap water the entire time, and learned that in Puno, people got parasites from drinking tap water there. I didn’t risk the tap water anywhere in Peru.

Weather

Varies. Seasons are opposite to the northern hemisphere. Winter is cold, and the higher altitude you venture to, the colder it will be – bundle up if you travel there in winter!

Essentials to Pack

Sunglasses and sunblock. Leave room to buy those alpaca sweaters, bring a hat and gloves, and bring altitude sickness medication, or plan to buy some there.

How to Make Friends

Peru Hop! If you’re solo traveling, go with Peru Hop – check out my article – it’s one of the easiest and best ways to make new friends!

What to Do and See

In Lima, make sure to see all the different neighborhoods. The city is HUGE and each one is very diverse. Go to Lake Titicaca, the villages are amazing. Machu Pichu, of course! Check out the Amazon and beaches up north if time allows. If you can brave high altitude, you may enjoy Rainbow Mountain.

Where to Stay

Hotel Tinkus Inn – Lima. Affordable and very close to Kennedy Park in Miraflores so feels very safe even at night. Staff is mostly lovely. Rooms on the street are a little noisy, but if affordability and comfort and safety are more important, you can live with it!

Unumizu Hotel – in Cusco, this place was charming! Really cheap and abotu a 15-minute walk from the town center. Staff is DELIGHTFUL, rooms are clean and comfortable.

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