Peru was on my travel bucket list for a long time. Ever since learning about Machu Picchu, I dreamed of making my way to the Peruvian mountaintop ruins. I was naturally a little nervous to travel alone, especially with my vision and hearing challenges. By overcoming my fears of solo female travel in Cusco, Peru, I made my Machu Picchu dream a reality! I spent ten days exploring the towns, mountains, and countryside of Peru. I spent most of my solo time in Cusco before joining a tour group for the remainder of the trip. After an incredible experience, I put together this quick guide to help others also navigate solo female travel in Cusco.
SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL IN CUSCO
Originally, I wanted to visit Lima and Cusco. With this being my first time traveling solo in South America, though, I started small. So, I skipped over Lima, Peru’s capital city with nearly 10 million people. I had a brief airport-only connection in Lima before flying onward to Cusco, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range.
In Cusco, I felt really safe as a solo female traveler. I returned to my hotel before sunset, arranged airport transportation in advance, and respected local dress codes, including COVID masks. I also limited my alcohol content and traveled light, keeping my laptop and valuables at home.
Once I landed in Cusco, I primarily traveled independently around the city by foot. On one of the days, I booked a group day trip to visit Humantay Lake. While I was only solo traveling in Cusco for four days, I was able to do a lot of activities. Cusco was absolutely amazing, to say the least!
What to Do In Cusco as a Solo Female Traveler
Walk around Cusco
The Historic Center of Cusco felt very safe and walkable. In the heart of the Historic Center is Plaza de Armas, a bustling square surrounded by cathedrals, monuments, and restaurants. I was often approached by locals trying to sell artwork. Sometimes I was followed by more aggressive sellers, but I was mostly left alone after a firm, direct rejection.
In addition to the Historic Center, other walkable destinations include Mercado San Pedro, Iglesia San Cristóbal, and Acueducto de Sapaniana. Only when acclimated would I recommend doing the trek up to the statue of Christ that overlooks the city.
Visit XAPIRI GROUND Art & Café
Not too far from Plaza de Armas is one of my favorite coffee shops in the world, Xapiri Ground. The interior space of Xapiri Ground is stunning and Instagram-ready, full of natural light, plants, and cozy seating. After enjoying a handcrafted mocha, I explored the highlight of Xapiri Ground, curated galleries of artwork by Peruvian Indigenous communities.
Dine at Green Point Restaurant
With coffee covered, the next must-visit spot in Cusco is Green Point Restaurant. Green Point Restaurant is a plant-based restaurant just around the corner from Xapiri Ground. Although I am not vegan, Green Point was on point (pun intended); I happily devoured a quinoa burger with caramelized onions and garlic fries. A unique feature of the restaurant is that you can sit inside a greenhouse-like environment. Dining solo never felt so comfortable as I ate among oversized plants, trees, and under string lights.
adventure to Humantay Lake
Humantay Lake is one of the more popular day trips that you can do from Cusco – and for good reason! Sacred to the Incans, Humantay is an alpine lake set high up in the scenic, snow-tipped Andes mountains. The tour takes a full day, beginning with an early departure before sunrise, and returns in the evening. The easiest and usually most affordable way to visit Humantay Lake is via a group tour.
Recommended Group Tours in PerU
Under30Experiences is one of my favorite tour companies for authentic travel experiences with like-minded travelers ages 21-35. I went on my first trip with u30x to Costa Rica in January 2021. The itineraries were thoughtfully planned out with included activities, meals, and boutique accommodations. Under30Experiences runs group trips to Peru that include Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Rainbow Mountain. Here is my referral link to get $100 off your first trip!
When I travel I like to look for tours, itinerary inspiration, and unique things to do through GetYourGuide. The app helps connect travelers with local operations and also provides helpful reviews. I booked the Humantay Lake all-inclusive full-day Tour with Willka Travel here.
Best Hotel in Cusco for Solo Female Travel
Due to COVID and some hesitancy around hostels, I treated myself to reasonably priced (by U.S. standards) accommodations. That said, I found one of the best hotels in Cusco! If there is availability, I highly recommend booking a room at Antigua Casona San Blas.
The biggest issue I ran into was the altitude! Nearly 11,200 feet in elevation, the altitude is no joke so going slow is crucial. Plus, drink as much coca tea as you can! Not everyone likes the taste but after a few teas, I became accustomed and comfortable with drinking the tea. I also recommend downloading Cusco on Google Maps so you can easily access directions without relying on WiFi or data.
Disclosure: I may receive a small commission should you decide to book directly through my links. Every dollar goes directly back to support Wanderlight Moments & Usher syndrome awareness.