A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Peru

| © Jae/Flickr
Brandon Dupre

Peru is a country with a very diverse landscape and plenty to see all over the country. This means that when you visit Peru you most likely won’t be staying in one place—you’ll be traveling all around the country, from the northern beaches to Lima to Cusco, and Machu Picchu to the deserts in the south. That’s a lot of traveling, and if you’re alone, it may feel overwhelming to get around. Not to fear, here is a guide of things to do and where to go in order to be safe, and how best to travel the beautiful country of Peru solo.

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Know some Spanish

If you’re traveling alone then it will be imperative that you know a few phrases in Spanish, preferably much more. You’ll need to know essential phrases like asking directions, buses, hostels or hotels, etc. Best to brush up on basic conjugation and verbs, because along the way you will certainly need to ask some important questions and understand answers—it can really save you, just knowing a few expressions.

Knowing basic Spanish is essential to getting around Peru

Gringo Trail

Heading along the so-called Gringo Trail (from Lima to Pisco to Ica to Arequipa to Cusco) you’ll most likely bump into someone worth traveling with and who is going the same way as you—well, really, everyone will be going the same way as you along the Gringo Trail. This will help you meet other solo travelers or maybe team up with another group.


By no means should you not take taxis—they’re reliable and can have decent prices. But when in a big city, Uber can be very helpful. If you don’t know the directions or how to articulate those directions to a taxi driver, Uber becomes an easy solution to this problem. It has recently made its way to Lima and has had great results. It may take longer than just hailing a taxi, but it can really help if you aren’t confident in your Spanish.

Don’t travel with a lot of money

Taking out large sums of money might seem like a good idea because you’ll avoid international fees, but really it’s not. Unless you stash it away in a safe at a hostel, avoid taking out those large sums of money and definitely don’t go out with too much money. Having all that cash on you at one time is just setting yourself up for disaster. It’s much better to have 50 soles pick pocketed than 400 soles.

Don’t carry too much cash around with you

The tourist spots

Everywhere you may find yourself there will be a travelers’ hostel or bar or attraction where you can find some people to mingle with. There are certain hostels that are more social and have good atmospheres for meeting new people. Just do some quick research on the hostels and bars in the area and you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you.

Museums and plazas

Museums are magnets for people traveling throughout an area. Everyone wants to know the history of a place and a museum is where they’ll find it. Not only can you meet people at a museum, but it is also a good way to occupy some time. Another great way to meet people is to go to a plaza. Peru has plenty of plazas in every city, and each plaza attracts everyone: from vendors and families, to travelers and street performers. The plazas are the heart of every city and offer a perfect place to meet people and mingle with the locals.

Plaza de Armas, the heart of Cusco, Peru

Watch your stuff

This may go without saying, but you have to be very vigilant with your belongings at all times. Especially when you’re traveling alone with a big backpack on, you’ll be a glaring target for theft. The best way to prevent your things from getting stolen is to be careful of where you put them and watchful of your surroundings. Large, busy bus stations with all their commotion are usually the best times for thieves to do their thing, especially when it gets crowded and everyone is bumping into each other. Don’t keep all your money and valuables in one place and always know where you’re storing it. Keep an eye on where you keep your money and constantly recheck to make sure your money and phone and computer are still there.

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