As solo women travel is on the rise knowing what you are getting yourself into is important. Over this past year I spent some time in Lima and have now narrowed down the most important things I learned over my experience.
- The currency is Soles.
When planning your trip I recommend getting familiar with conversion rate and currency. It’s also important to bring cash while out, there are very places outside Miraflores that will not take card. Plus with many cards carrying fees having cash can eliminate that worry. I recommend bringing 50-100 soles daily for spending this should cover a typical day of exploring and in eating in Lima, Peru.
2. There are free walking tours daily.
Lima by Walking offers two free walking tours Monday through Saturday. One tour of Downtown Lima and the other tour of Barranco. Each tour lasts about 3 hours focusing around the history of Lima, tips from the locals including restaurant suggestions and shopping. The tours are offered in English and Spanish. These are great for learning your way around the city and starting your trip.
3. The public transportation only takes exact change.
Lima public transportation systems consist of various buses. Depending on where you are going this can range from S/. 0.50 – S/. 3.00, however the machines only take exact amounts. I recommend bringing S/. 5.00 worth of coins with you to avoid any issues. Also don’t be startled by all the people on the busses it is normal for these to be quite crowded.
4. Only use official taxi companies.
All across Peru there are number of companies that act as real taxi. These “fake taxis” are known to rip people off or in worse cases take people to somewhere they don’t want go. I recommend using this app to avoid this or have your hotel call you one. Though there is Uber there are not many and it is band from picking up people from the airport. For airport travel I recommend Airport Express Lima.
5. Do not drink the tap water.
Though the water is fine to brush your teeth with and shower, it is not safe to drink the water in Peru. I recommend sticking to bottled water or a filtered bottle. This one by Survimate is great and leaves the water tasting fresh.
6. Carry your stuff in a money belt.
Avoiding purses and giant camera bags is recommended as it can drawl unwanted attention. With a simple money belt you can keep your things more secure and make it less obvious you’re a tourist. This is important when traveling as incidents happen much faster when you are alone.
7. Avoid wearing name brands and revealing clothing.
I say this because there are parts of Lima that are not so safe so blending in is key. Women can still wear shorts, skirts or dresses, I would just make sure they are not too short as the may warnt cat calls.
8. Look into extra activities when you get there.
When traveling it is easy to get caught up in planning your every move. However many hostels or travel partners can offer the same trip at a cheaper rate. While in Lima, I found many companies didn’t even have updated website or the price was higher online. For example the surfing online is 50 soles or more, when walking the beach coast, there are plenty of surf stands offering for surfing for 20 soles.
9. Smile at people on the street.
Traveling to a new place alone can be scary, however I found smiling at others eases your comfort and theirs. People come from all different walks of life however a simple smile is understood in all cultures.
10. Learn some Spanish if you can.
I would say 40 percent of the people I spoke with in Lima knew English. It is helpful to know the small things like that “thank you” or “how much?”. I recommend using Quizlet flashcards or making friends with people who do speak spanish. This will be easier than you think people in Peru are very friendly and Lima is full of solo travelers just like you.
For more insight on Peru check these out:
- Solo Traveler Itinerary for 3 days in Lima, Peru
- Feeling Liberated by Exploration (stories from Peru)
- Life is Alluring (stories from Peru)