Peru Travel Overview!
Peru is one of my most favorite countries ever, & it’s a country that keeps pulling at me to return one day. What makes Peru so special is fdifficult to put into words: for its mountains are spellbinding, its valleys so deep & vast that they whisper of a thousand mysteries, & its people are, on the surface, stoic ~ particularly the Peruvian women, but there’s something so solid & reassuring about them at the same time. Peru is filled with magic, & within its borders there still exist so many not-yet-explored, far-off places. With a journey to Machu Picchu, you are merely scratching the surface of Peru travel, & all that this mysterious & remarkable country has to offer.
Peru Travel “Tourist Circuit”
The official “tourist circuit” for Peru travel looks something like this: fly into Lima, immediately fly up to Cusco (the gateway to Machu Picchu), get acclimated for a day or two (Cusco is above 11,000 feet in elevation), take a tour to Machu Picchu (via several routes: the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek, Inca Jungle, train, etc.), perhaps head over to Lake Titicaca (the highest lake in the world) & stay with its indigenous people on floating islands, perhaps head up to the Amazon or down to Huacachina for some sand-boarding.
Or you could always check out the new Peruvian backpacker “hotspot” ~ Rainbow Mountain. When I went, I could barely find a tour operator to take me there. But today, it’s blowing up my Instagram feed it’s so popular. Get to Peru NOW, before all of these hidden gems turn into well-worn tourist circuits…
Map of Peru
If you scroll over the red ballons on the Map below, you’ll find all the hot spots in the Peru travel circuit ~ including all the ones listed above, plus some extras!
Lima International Airport
Puerto Maldonado (Amazon)
Is Peru Safe for Female Travel?
Safety is always going to be a concern for most travelers when heading south of the border ~ whether to Mexico, Central or South America. I know my family was concerned when I flew to Peru, because they’d heard rumors that “blondes had a hard time” down there, or were hassled because they stood out. Personally, I did not find this to be the case more so than any other country.
But first off, since the idea of “safety” is a relatively subjective thing ~ let’s take a look at some hard statistics regarding safety in Peru. The Global Peace Index ranks, in order from most peaceful to least peaceful, nearly all developed nations in the world. It takes a look at numerous statistics, including terrorism, internal & external conflicts, homicides, etc. If you are a female (or anyone, really), who is looking to travel to a particular country but is concerned about safety: the GPI is a great place to start. This will start to give you a more “objective” feel of a country’s safety, in comparison to other countries.
And, to give you an idea of where things stand as of 2017: Iceland is the #1 safest country in the world (I can attest to this), with virtually no crime to speak of. On the other end of the spectrum, at #163, lies Syria, which is currently the least safe country in the world.
So where does Peru lie? And how about the United States, for that matter? In the Global Peace Index, Peru is ranked #71, near Greece & Nicaragua. Where is the United States, you ask? Well, interestingly enough….all the way down at #114! Meaning, there are 113 countries that are statistically safer than the United States. Offer that interesting fact next time your family voices concern about your travels.
But back to Peru & female travel: I was in Peru for over a month, in the beginning of 2016, & traveled with a good girl friend for two weeks, then spent about four weeks traveling by myself. I don’t have any “scary” stories to relate, nor did any petty thefts occur during this time ~ & frankly, I loved my time in Peru. Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be aware of when you travel in Peru.
Ayahuasca & Safety in Peru Travel
Many people choose to participate in “Ayahuasca Ceremonies” during their Peru travel experience. Personally, I did not. If you’ve never heard of it, Ayahuasca is a medicinal herb with mind-altering properties, that people take in order to have, what are in some cases, life-altering visions. Kind of like LSD when it was discovered back in the 60’s. And it’s recommended that Ayahuasca be taken ONLY under the supervision of a trained shaman.
Now, because I was so curious, I asked just about everyone I met in Peru if they had tried Ayahuasca. The overwhelming majority had tried it ~ & the experiences they had varied wildly. The common denominator was that people shat & pissed themselves uncontrollably. Strangely, none of this sounded fun to me. But I’d say, overall, the feedback from people’s Ayahuasca experiences ran about 60% positive, 30% negative, & 10% very negative. But people who loved it really loved it.
The reason I’m bringing it up in tandem to our safety discussion, is that I heard from a few females I met that certain “shamans” weren’t really shamans at all ~ but were saying they were in order to take advantage of females when they were out of their minds on Ayahuasca. Not very noble.
So, if Ayahuasca is something you’re interested in trying while you’re in Peru, I would recommend ONLY doing it with people you trust, & to research exactly WHO is leading the ceremony. Talk to people. Get feedback & recommendations. And only proceed if you really feel comfortable with the whole idea.
- Safety = Generally Safe 75%
- Cost = Cheap 30%
- Adventures = Abundant 95%
- How Safe I Felt as a Solo Traveler = Quite Safe 90%
- Hot Guys = Short but Handsome! 60%
- Drivers = 100% Freaking CRAZY!!! 100%
Read Peru Travel Blogs!
What is Machu Picchu Like? This was a question that I asked myself prior to visiting Machu Picchu, one of the Wonders of the World, located in the Andes Mountains of Peru. In particular ~ I wondered what it would be like to travel there as a female. One of my...read more
Through the mist.....there it was. After seven miles of trekking above 14,000 feet, high up in the Peruvian Andes: there was the mountain I had longed to see for myself: Rainbow Mountain. No real, live place in this world has ever reminded me more of Dr. Seuss and...read more
A friend of mine is leaving for Peru tomorrow, and he called me up last week to get some advice for his trip. Here are the top tips I gave him for traveling to Peru. They will work well for those traveling alone or in a group. But pay special attention if...read more
Watch Peru Travel Videos!
Read About Peru Travel!
Women & Children in Peru
Peru ranks 80 out of 144 countries in terms of gender equality, according to the 2016 Global Gender Gap report. Though traditional Andean culture is notably egalitarian (women are allowed to inherit property under its tenets, unlike in many other parts of the world), this changed noticeably after the Spanish conquered the Inca Empire in 1572. Since then, Peruvian society has become more patriarchal, and some would say, more machista.
Add to that Peru’s 20-year internal, armed conflict that lasted from 1980-2000, which left over 70,000 people dead, and many others affected by torture and rape. Though the country is showing increasing economic progress, and the armed conflict has ended, Peru still suffers from widespread inequality, discrimination, and even racism.
Many of these problems affect women and children in Peru to a greater extent: for instance, the female literacy rate in Peru is 92%, compared to 97% for men. These numbers will likely be changing soon ~ as currently, there are more women than men enrolled in education programs in Peru.
Women in Peru are less likely to travel than Peruvian men, and thus, are less likely to speak Spanish, the national language. This makes them more socially isolated, and less likely to interact with outsiders or foreigners. I witnessed this personally throughout my travels in Peru: the men are predominantly the ones to work in the cities & as tour guides/in all tourism-related jobs (usually the higher-paying jobs), whereas the women are typically working in the homes & on the farms. I cannot tell you how many times I saw Peruvian women, wearing traditional clothing, headed straight up the steep, Andean mountains, headed back home carrying a HUGE sack on their backs ~ likely filled with food, clothing, or other necessities for their families. This lack of ability to travel, and lack of ability to speak with outsiders, tends to keep Peruvian women firmly “in their places,” at home and on the farm.
One of the biggest problems faced by women in Peru though, is no different than many other parts of the world: dramatic wage inequality. For the same work, a woman will earn $8,661 (in USD) vs. her male Peruvian counterparts, who will earn $15,323 USD. So, for the same work, a woman will earn nearly half what a man will earn, for doing the same job.
Support Female Artisans from Peru!
By purchasing handmade, Peruvian crafts from the Little Market’s Peruvian collection ~ you are not only bringing beautifully crafted work into your home, but you are also directly affecting the lives of women in Peru. And if you have ever visited this country and been affected by it, as I have, this is no small thing.
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