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Travel Tips for Specific Groups

Women Travelers

Female travelers will soon discover that they attract a lot of attention from men in Peru. Foreign women-especially blonds-will be stared, yelled and whistled at on the street. It's generally harmless, and the best method is to ignore it-try not to get visibly annoyed or react in any way, as this will only draw further attention. Realize that it is as big of a part of Latin and Peruvian culture as the food or the art, and that local women, not just foreigners, are subject to this kind of interest as well.

Machismo is unfortunately ripe in Peru, and many Peruvian men see foreign girls are promiscuous or "easy", especially those who travel on their own or who frequent bars and clubs. Therefore it's important to be careful about how you act around men: not wearing revealing clothing or overdoing it on the drinks at the bar will help. If you talk to, dance with or go anywhere alone with a man, be aware that he will most likely assume that you want something with him. If the attention is really bothering you, wearing a ring on your left hand may help.

Traveling in groups and especially with males will also cut down on the unwanted attention. Use discretion when traveling alone: take cabs after dark, avoid deserted areas and always go with your gut instinct when it comes to safety. Avoid walking by yourself in the countryside; go on walks or hikes with a friend.

Female hygiene products are difficult to find outside of the big cities so women should stock up before heading out of an urban environment.

Gay and Lesbian Travelers

Most of South America, including Peru, has come a long way from the stereotypical male and female roles designated to each sex, especially within the younger generations. Lima, in particular, has an ever-growing gay scene including clubs, bars and gay-friendly travel agencies and hotels. Other cities like Cusco, Arequipa and Iquitos have small yet thriving gay scenes and are accepting of travelers from all walks of life. Be prepared though, as harassment of homosexual males still takes place. A common slang term for a male acting at all effeminate is "Maricón." It's best to avoid public affection of any kind, hetero- or homosexual, and keep a low profile while outside of a gay-friendly area. is a Spanish-language website for gay and lesbian travelers in Peru; also check out,a good English-language resource with listings of gay or gay-friendly bars, restaurants, hotels and hostels in Lima.

Senior Travelers
Energetic and enthusiastic seniors will find Peru extremely satisfying. Many travel agencies offer fully organized, group tours of everything from the big cities to the ruins to hiking up mountains. If you'd prefer to avoid the long, night-time bus rides, all big cities and tourist destinations are served by at least one airline. Generally, senior citizens-both local and foreign-are treated with respect and consideration by the locals. Most health care providers do not cover travel, so seniors should check with their provider before traveling and buy special travel insurance if necessary. Note that while some museums and attractions reduce entrance fees, discounts for senior travelers are generally rare.

Disabled Travelers

As in most Latin American countries, travel can be difficult for disabled persons in Peru. Uneven sidewalks, roads and a lack of wheelchair accessible hotels and restaurants can be frustrating. However, Peru is making strides to be more handicapped accessible through a nation-wide disability law. New hotels and restaurants often have wheelchair ramps, though few hotels will have specially-designed rooms. The best bet for travelers in wheelchairs is an upbeat attitude and travel with companions willing and able to lend a hand if need be. Call hotels and restaurants beforehand to ensure their accessibility. We suggest staying at more-expensive international chain hotels as they tend to be more accommodating.

Traveling with Children

Generally, traveling families have few problems as locals tend to treat children with a lot of respect. Teach your child to say "Gracias" and "Por Favor" and the locals will get a real kick out of it. Be careful of what and where your children eat. Make sure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit with you at all times, and always seek medical attention if your kids get sick-medical care is cheap and (at least in cities and tourist areas) plentiful.

Bargaining is appropriate, if not encouraged, for family rates at hotels, and sharing food between children at a restaurant is fine. Discounts are often given for children on airplanes and make sure to ask your travel agent about special packages and itineraries for families. On buses, children pay the full amount if they take up a seat, but do as the locals do-sit them on your lap-and they can usually ride for free.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Central Peruvian Andes Highlights, Holidays and Festivals in Peru, Travel Insurance In Peru, Lori Berenson: An American Behind Peruvian Bars, Health in Peru, South American Explorers Club, Peru, Peru-Chile Border Crossings, Highlights, Peru Geography, Climate, Flora and Fauna and Photography in Peru.

By Jordan Barnes

I love travel and...

11 Jun 2012

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