People have different reasons for travelling alone to Peru. Sometimes it’s an active choice, and sometimes it’s due to circumstances. Either way, if you’re considering solo travel, you probably have some questions: how much will it cost? Is it safe to travel alone in Peru? What about Spanish? Here we go through some common queries that people have when travelling alone for the first time.
What’s best, joining a group or travelling independently?
Joining a group means you have guaranteed companionship and can spend as much or as little time socialising with the rest of your group. You will find that as a solo traveller you are much more approachable than a group of close-knit friends, so it is easy to make friends with likeminded people. It is reassuring knowing that everything has been organised for you by people who know what they’re doing, and that your guide and tour operator are trusted points of contact if you have any concerns. The age range can vary, but this works well as older passengers love the energy of the younger ones, whilst younger passengers are interested in the stories and experiences of older ones.
“I travelled alone with Llama Travel to Peru and Guatemala and it was wonderful. I’m in my 60s and the groups were small with ages ranging from early 20s to early 70s. We had a ball!”
Alternatively, if you are more independent and prefer to do your own research and organisation, there are many benefits to travelling independently. It allows you to be spontaneous with your plans and is a great opportunity to do what you want to do and see what you want to see. Travelling on your own definitely does not mean being alone, it just gives you more flexibility.
How expensive is it to travel alone to Peru?
Before you travel on your own, it is worth knowing how much you will need to save for things like meals, accommodation and any additional costs. Below are a few factors to consider when budgeting for your solo trip.
How to budget for food in Peru
Many lunches and dinners will not be included in the price of your holiday. In Peru, lunch tends to be the main meal of the day and it is worth making the most of this. You will find that many restaurants offer lunch as a set menu or ‘menú’ for a very reasonable price. It usually consists of a soup followed by a choice of main dishes, then a small dessert. A ‘chifa’ is a Chinese restaurant, serving high-quality Chinese dishes with a Peruvian twist. Dinner tends to be a more expensive meal when eating out in Peru and it is good to budget approximately US$15 – 20 for a meal, although many restaurants have excellent value meals for less than this.
Single supplement: What is it & how much will it cost?
If you have travelled on your own before then you are probably aware of the term ‘single supplement’. Most hotels don’t discount their rooms if they are only occupied by one person, as it still requires the same amount of maintenance, regardless of how many people are sharing it. This means that if solo travellers want to have a room to themselves, they will often have to pay the same amount that would usually be split between two people sharing.
Additional costs in Peru
Whether travelling alone or not, there will be certain costs that crop up on a holiday to Peru, some of which can be avoided whilst others are compulsory. It is important to check whether the agency you book through includes things like Inca Trail permits, Machu Picchu entrance fees, train fares and internal flights, as these tend to add up to a considerable amount. Although completely at your discretion, tipping is another cost to consider, and you should reward your guides and porters with the amount you feel appropriate for their service.
Further tipping and budgeting guidelines for Peru can be found on our website.
Staying safe as a solo traveller in Peru
Peru is a relatively safe place to visit and most single travellers feel safe throughout their stay. However, like with anywhere in the world, crime can be a problem, and single tourists are sometimes seen as more vulnerable targets.
How to stay safe when travelling alone
Most of it goes without saying: be vigilant with your belongings, don’t carry around large quantities of cash, keep your valuables in a safe place etc. If you join a group, your guide will give you recommendations about where to eat and the best places to explore, and it’s always a good idea to tell him/her what your plans are when you venture out on your own, to avoid any worry or confusion. For tips on how to minimise risk to yourself you can read our essential information for Peru.
Going to Peru as a single female traveller
As a single female, it can be intimidating being in an unknown destination on your own. Whilst you are not obliged to spend any time on your own, there are various things you can do to ward off unwanted attention such as staying on well-lit streets, never giving out too much information to a male stranger, avoiding expensive jewellery and revealing clothing but most of all learn to trust your instincts and assess the safety of situations you find yourself in.
“As a single (female) traveller, Peru is a really safe place to visit, I never felt intimidated or unsafe.”
Hiking the Inca Trail as a solo traveller
The Inca Trail is a perfect example of how rewarding it can be to travel alone. Throughout the trek you will find yourself walking with different people for different stretches of the trail, depending on who you find yourself chatting to during a lunch break or who has a similar walking pace to you. You can bond with people over little things like asking someone to take a photo of you, or sharing stories about previous travels.
“Six months after my husband died, I needed a physical and psychological challenge. All I had to do was get fit for the Inca Trail. There were different people on each leg of the trip so I had company. I came back stronger in body and mind.”
Fitness requirements for the Inca Trail
Whilst a reasonable level of fitness is required, your guide will let everyone go at their own speed, and there is no pressure to keep up with the faster walkers. Take your time and appreciate the stunning landscapes on your own, taking breaks when you need them. Trekking at high altitude can be quite strenuous, and some people acclimatise faster than others – there is no clear link between your level of fitness and the likelihood of suffering from altitude sickness.
For more information about walking the Inca Trail with Llama Travel click here.
Do you need Spanish to travel in Peru?
Many people visiting Peru don’t speak any Spanish, and it is relatively easy to get by without it. If you join a group, your guide will communicate with you in English, and it will be the common language with fellow travellers in your group. That being said, for your own peace of mind you might want to carry a phrasebook with you and learn some basic conversational Spanish before you go. You are also likely to pick up a few words and phrases during the holiday, and Peruvians you meet will appreciate your efforts to speak some Spanish.
Travelling alone to Peru is an exciting journey of self-discovery and an opportunity to share memories with new friends and likeminded people. If you’ve got the urge for a solo adventure to Peru or anywhere else in South America, browse our range of holidays perfectly suited to single travellers.