Welcome to Peru!
Peru is one of my favorite countries ever. And it’s a country that keeps pulling me to return one day. The magic of Peru is difficult to put into words: its mountains are spellbinding; its valleys are so deep & so vast, they whisper of a thousand mysteries; & though Peruvian people can be stoic when you first meet them ~ particularly the Peruvian women, there’s something incredibly solid & reassuring about them at the same time. Peru is filled with magic, & within its borders exist so many not-yet-explored, far-off places. With a journey to Machu Picchu, you merely scratch 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 (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 navigable 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 Travel
Lima International Airport
Puerto Maldonado (Amazon)
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Peru Travel Overview
- 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%
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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.