Thanks to some of its biggest attractions, like Machu Picchu, Peru draws in a huge number of visitors every year looking for a solo travel adventure. Beaches and surf towns stretch along the wildlife-roamed Pacific coast. Meanwhile inland, there are swathes of desert and varied landscapes to explore – stretching from the heights of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon – that together create space for hiking, kayaking and all forms of adventure.
Naturally, if you’re thinking of climbing to Machu Picchu or searching for wildlife in the Amazon, it’s worth planning ahead. The country and friendly Peruvian people – not to mention the food – are well set up for solo travelers. But if you don’t want to go entirely alone, group solo trips to Peru combine the same independence and space with the added comfort and familiarity of traveling with like-minded people. Here’s everything you need to know before traveling to Peru.
Peru travel facts
Peru borders five other South American countries and the Pacific Ocean, with its current bringing in a tide of marine life, including whales. On land, thanks to its varied geography, Peru holds an immense amount of biodiversity, including the largest range of butterfly species in the world. There’s 13 Unesco World Heritage sites spread across the country and it’s also home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World: the iconic Machu Picchu. With terrain that spans coast, mountains, desert and rainforest, Peru’s larder is diverse and its food innovative and varied, which has contributed towards the country’s reputation as one of the world’s top culinary destinations, especially in the capital Lima.
Is Peru good for solo travel?
There’s beautiful scenery and adventure to be had on a solo adventure in Peru. Think hiking to Machu Picchu, cycling through the Sacred Valley or paddling on an oxbow lake in the Amazon. These activities often benefit from having a like-minded group with you for company, allowing you to focus solely on the surroundings. Flash Pack’s group solo travel trip opens up the options for being able to fully immerse yourself, while having a dedicated local guide to lead the way.
Best places to visit in Peru
The capital Lima is a great place to start. Lying on the Pacific coast, it’s known for its food scene and top restaurants that make use of the country’s rich and varied ingredients, sourced from the sea, mountains, the Amazon and coastal desert.
Further inland in the Andean highlands, the city of Cusco holds historical significance as the capital of the Inca Empire, while the nearby Sacred Valley offers peaks to climb and cycling trails. Beyond this, there’s the iconic 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the multi-coloured Rainbow Mountain and bountiful Amazon basin, teaming with exotic wildlife. Struggling to decide where to start and which route to follow? Flash Pack takes care of all of that with their Peru adventures.
Where to stay as a solo traveler in Peru
Luxury hotels are alive and well in Peru in the form of converted country haciendas and characterful stays with thick stone walls, spas and scenic rooftop terraces. If you’re looking to get a little off the usual track and stay with locals, there are guesthouses and homestays on the edge of Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake – which spills over the border into Bolivia, too. In coastal places, such as the surf town of Máncora, there’s a growing boutique hotel scene, with properties by the beach, with sand-side yoga classes and surf lessons on tap. Heading to the Amazon? Jungle lodges await – and neighboring wildlife, too.
How to get to Peru
Most travelers fly into Lima, Peru’s capital city lying on the Pacific coast, then take domestic flights or shuttles to get to other destinations around Peru. Lima is the main airport for international flights, with cities in the US and Canada offering direct flights. You can also get to Lima overland by bus or car from the neighboring countries of Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. There’s also the option of getting to Peru by sea, with some cruises running down the coast from America’s west coast.
How to get around Peru
You can fly with LATAM on domestic flights around Peru. But getting around Peru by bus is a popular option for solo and group travelers, with routes going almost everywhere, from major cities to must-see attractions. There are overnight options, with seating that’s either semi- or fully-reclinable to give a chance of sleep. The train journeys are an attraction in themselves, going through incredible scenery. Due to big distances and diverse, challenging terrain, driving isn’t the easiest option. Within cities, taxis or combis (a kind of micro bus) are the best ways to get around.
Best time to visit Peru
The temperature and seasons change between regions. Skies are often clear, sunny and bright in the Andes during the dry season (May to October) with nights being on the chilly side. This is the best time to go, especially if you’re planning on hiking while there. This is also peak season, so booking far in advance is recommended. It’s also the best time for the Amazon basin, although rains do come with heavy downpours. For coastal trips, between December and February is best when the temperature sits around 29°C.
Peru travel itineraries
If you’re looking to experience all of what Peru has to offer, check out Flash Pack’s Spectacular Peru trip. You’ll get to sample the country’s gastronomical heritage while learning to make a pisco sour and taking a foodie safari through Lima’s best restaurants. Then you’ll continue on to the Amazon jungle to paddle through in search of exotic wildlife and stay in remote lodges. Around Cusco, you’ll mountain bike through Incan ruins in the Sacred Valley, chug through the Andes on a Vistadome train with panoramic views and, finally, ascend the guidebook-gracing beauty of Machu Picchu.
What to pack for solo travel in Peru
Peru’s varied activities, climates and adventures means your bag will need to reflect this. For any trips to the Amazon or Sacred Valley, come prepared with hiking boots, a lightweight rain jacket and mosquito repellent. No matter where you go during the rainy season, you’ll want waterproofs. Packing lightweight options and lots of layers is best for traveling around, but bring a woollen jumper for chilly nights, especially at higher altitudes. Going coastal? Think light cotton clothes and beachwear.
Solo travel advice for Peru
When hiking to Machu Picchu, leave yourself rest days in Cusco to acclimatize and stay hydrated. Many of the main routes and trails are popular with solo travelers in Peru, so making friends is easy, especially as people congregate at hotels and head off in trekking groups. Joining a solo group tour can definitely help this, too, while taking in all the logistics of moving through the country. If you’re vegetarian or have dietary requirements, it’s worth doing a little research ahead of time to find places for you.
Is it safe to travel solo in Peru
Thousands of visitors travel to Peru every year and most trips are trouble-free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before traveling. Once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Largely speaking, Peru has a great tourism infrastructure and has become really popular for solo travelers. Indeed, Peru is one of the safest countries in South America for solo travel. Stick to the usual safety precautions, like avoiding dimly lit areas and keeping valuables safe. For extra peace of mind, consider travelling with a group of other solo travelers.
Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel to Peru with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.
A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveler or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.
Images: Flash Pack