We want to go to Peru for the Ayahuasca Ceremonies but are very concerned about our safety. Everyone who we speak to about this says that we will be kidnapped, raped and even killed. Is there any truth in this?
Four of us traveled there together January 2015 and never had a problem. almost 2 years agoAnswered by Sharon via WorldNomads.com
I travelled Peru for a month as a single woman in 2006. I have travelled a lot and Lima topped my list for actually being afraid to even open my day pack to get out my camera as it would likely be grabbed from me. The taxi driver from the airport had a large padlock on the boot so luggage wasn't stolen from the boot at traffic lights, and he also insisted I put my day bag on the floor so it wasn't enticing a smash and grab at the lights. And be VERY alert for scammers who approach you in cafes and restaurant or anywhere really as they have very developed skills of diverting your attention while they steal. One nearly got the money I had just put out for my lunch bill by coming up and waving a bag of lollies closely over the table and very vocally trying to get me to buy some while his hand under the bag was trying to lift up the money at the same time. I caught on in time to save the money but he managed to get my multipurpose travel gadget of calculator, alarm clock, language converter etc
My best advice would be to rely on the advice of the locals, especially managers/proprietor of the hostels where you are staying or staff where you are eating. In Lima, DON'T use the unofficial taxis as the tales you hear of a traveller being driven to a dangerous place and made to pay a large amount of money to be taken back to safety ARE TRUE. Honest hostels will arrange for a safe taxi at no extra cost.
Bus travel is actually cheap and safe and quite luxurious - eg meals and drinks served by a hostess and very comfortable and large reclining seats for a fraction of the price you would expect to pay eg $30 to get from Lima to Cuzco. One bus journey I had from Nazca went the long way through the mountains as the shorter route was a known 'hold up' area where bandits operated, which is something you might not know if you were driving etc. Flights are also quite cheap within Peru if you purchase them as you need them - definitely do not pre-book internal flights from Australia. There are a large number of English speaking travel agents everywhere.
Overall, just be hyper alert and actively minimise opportunities for thefts etc. almost 2 years agoAnswered by Coventry via WorldNomads.com
I spent 3 months in Peru in 2012 (with three ayahuasca ceremonies), and another month last year in 2015. I'm a 27 year old solo female traveller.
Peru as a country I had very little problems travelling. I took the local buses, stayed at local houses/hotels where no english was spoken and flagged down taxis on the street.
I was pickpocketed once on a bus by two women who took some cash out of my backpack when I wasnt looking. For the amount of buses I took I think this was a rare case.
My advice is to be streetsmart, learn some spanish, and dress down. Dont wear flashy things and be wary of the people who approach you. Often I would ask others for help and found generally that Peruvians are very friendly and love talking to you, and most are happy to help. As for the men, the Latin culture is very different. Men would often hassle me for attention, but never did I feel in danger in Peru, it was just an annoyance. I had to get used to the catcalling and whistling and stares. I think as two girls travelling together this will probably be less for you, as their culture cannot understand why a female wants to travel the world without a boyfriend.
As for the ayahuasca ceremonies - be very careful. When I drank back in 2012, it had not hit the 'big backpacker' scene yet. I knew local gringos who was able to recommend a reputable shaman. When I returned last year I was shocked to see every second person in Cusco claiming they are a shaman. You do not want to be drinking with anybody, and to be honest last year my friends warned me not to return to the jungle as there are many bad men there at the moment (calling themselves shamans) who are taking advantage of the masses of tourists wanting to drink Aya, and robbing them and sexually assulting them.
So, please, be very careful who you drink with and follow your gut.
Best of luck to you both. Peru is an amazing country. almost 2 years agoAnswered by Grace via WorldNomads.com