Is Peru Safe ? 7 Things to Know Before You Go
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Our travel safety expert shares his top tips for visitors, from petty crime to muggings and credit card scams. This is everything you need to know before you go to Peru.
Photo © iStock/tbradford
1. Petty crime in Peru
The threat of violent crime in most of Peru is no greater than many of the world’s major cities. Traveling around Peru is relatively safe, and the Shining Path Maoist rebel group has been largely disbanded. The Peru of today is a far cry from the militaristic repression, rebellion, corruption and terror of the past.
Here’s what you need to know about crime, scams and safety in Peru.
Despite continuing improvement, poverty is still a problem in Peru, and the country is known for petty crime. This doesn’t mean you need to be forever clutching your valuables to your chest, but you should practice your street smarts.
Here are some tips to keep your valuables safe:
- Dress casually when you are out and about in towns and cities
- Photograph or photocopy your passport, travel documents, bank cards and driver’s license before you head to Peru. Leave those copies at home or on a virtual drive
- Register your passport at the embassy in Lima. It won’t take long and can save you days of precious holiday time if your documents are lost or stolen
- Don’t carry any more cash than you need for the day, keep it along with your passport and documents close to your body
- Keep your camera packed away when not in use. Consider using a reinforced bag strap and camera strap
- At restaurants, avoid hanging your bag over the back of a chair, keep it in sight and close. Similarly, don’t leave your wallet or purse sitting on the table top which makes for an easy snatch and grab.
Distraction is a favored technique of petty criminals around the world. Someone distracts you by spraying sauce or paint on your clothing, falling in front of you, or dropping change at your feet, and then thieves use a razor to cut bags open, swoop in and grab any loose luggage or simply snatch and run.
Beware of groups working at tourist hotspots, crowded markets, bus depots and in hotel lobbies.
Some travelers have had their passports, wallets and other possessions stolen while sleeping on bus.es It may be slightly uncomfortable, but try to keep your wallet and passport on you while you’re snoozing.
Travelers have been robbed by bogus taxi drivers. Never hail a taxi on the street, instead use licensed telephone or internet-based taxis, or ask your hotel to book one for you. Be careful when arriving at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, and at bus terminals. Bogus taxi drivers and thieves posing as tour operators sometimes approach arriving passengers. At the airport, use one of the official taxi companies at the desks outside the arrival hall.
2. Credit card and money crime
Credit card fraud is widespread in Peru so always keep your card in sight when making purchases and if the shop assistant is taking too long to give you a receipt, it’s possible they are skimming your card. Keep an eye on suspicious transactions in your bank account while traveling and after you arrive home.
ATM fraud is common throughout Peru so avoid withdrawing money at night or in dodgy looking parts of town.
Counterfeit notes are becoming more widely circulated. If you need to exchange money, only use reputable places such as banks or foreign exchanges within hotels. Avoid exchanging money on the streets as the risk of receiving counterfeit money increases as does being robbed for your dollars. You may be also not given the exact amount of money exchanged due to slight of hand tricks by the money changer.
3. Express kidnapping
Express kidnappings have become more frequent, as the frightening practice spreads across South America. Travelers are held against their will and forced to tour the city’s ATMs, extracting as much cash as the thugs can squeeze out of your account.
Having a separate traveling account you can top-up as needed means you won’t be left penniless if this happens to you. It’s also a good way to make sure card skimmers can’t bankrupt you behind your back.
In most cases, the victim is released quickly after the withdrawal limit is reached although some have been held for several days until the account is well and truly emptied. Never fight back against your kidnappers. Things can be replaced, but you can’t.
4. Muggings in Peru
The Sacsayhuaman ruins that overlook Cusco are notorious for muggings. The sunset and sunrise views may be beautiful but they’re also prime time for thieves. If you do visit, make sure you’re in a group.
There have also been reports of “strangle muggings” in Cusco, Arequipa and Lima in which lone travelers are put in a choke hold from behind and relieved of their possessions while unconscious.
These, like regular muggings, tend to occur in dark, quiet areas when the victim is alone. For this reason, wandering by yourself isn’t a great idea, especially at night. Even if you’re traveling with a group it’s a good idea to take a taxi after sundown.
Armed criminals have also been known to target visitors ruising in the Amazon region. Check with your cruise company or boat tour operator what their security arrangements are. Many have armed police onboard their vessels 24/7 for the safety of passengers and staff.
Local police and coast guards have also increased their presence along the rivers throughout the region including checkpoints and high speed boats in the event of an emergency.
In the event of an armed robbery, do not attempt to resist attackers or do anything that puts you at risk.
5. Women’s safety in Peru
Women travelers can feel generally confident whilst in Peru, but should expect to draw a little attention, especially if traveling alone. Fortunately, this attention often manifests itself as protective treatment from locals.
However, sometimes you may get some unwanted advances or comments from smooth talking locals known as bricheros. These are usually abandoned as soon as you express your discomfort but if you feel unsafe, talk to a security guard or duck into a shop or restaurant.
Women should be particularly careful to avoid isolated areas and should not get into cabs alone. Hitchhiking is also a bad idea.
Groping does happen on the cramped minibuses (combis). Should it happen, let the driver or ticket seller know. There is also nothing wrong with causing a scene to embarass the offender in front of other passengers.
Be aware of the possibility of drink spiking. Hallucinogenic plants, generally part of traditional shamanic rituals, have been used render tourists senseless before a robbery or assault. Never leave your drink unattended and don’t drink anything you didn’t buy yourself, or at least see poured.
If traveling to more rural areas, dress more conservatively. Some female travelers also recommend wearing a ring to appear married to thwart any potential Peruvian casanovas.
6. Tourist police
If you are the victim of a theft or assault, the Policia de Turismo (Tourism Police) should be your first port of call. Established specially to protect you and the lucrative tourism industry, they speak at least some English and are trained in handling all sorts of crimes against tourists.
The nearest POLTUR office will be able to provide case reports if something is stolen and will contact your embassy in the event of any more serious crimes.
Due to a string of false reporting of theft around tourist spots, you may be questioned quite sternly about your testimony. They may even search your hotel room. Don’t be offended by this, they’re just doing their job. Again, being polite and cooperative is the best way to speed up the process and get you back to your holiday.
If you have any complaints about a hotel, tour company, bus company or even customs agents, the Servicio de Proteccion al Turista, or INDECOPI, has a 24-hour hotline and staff who speak both English and Spanish.
You won’t have to look far to find a member of the Peruvian police force. Hopefully, your only contact with them will be while traveling through borders and control points.
Most of the time you’ll pass through without a problem, but there is a chance they’ll want to check your luggage. These searches are rare but very thorough and can be frustratingly slow.
Despite this, always go out of your way to be polite and cooperative in these situations. The police are there to help you but some of Peru’s law enforcement has a tendency to regard foreigners as either drug runners or political subversives, particularly near the cocaine-plagued Colombian border.
The possession of any drugs is considered a very serious offence in Peru, carrying lengthy jail sentences.
7. Peruvian rebels and conflict
Despite constant reports and rumours about the danger of traveling overland in Peru, there is really very little to be worried about.
The country’s two major rebel organisations, the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Tupac Amaro Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) have largely dissipated. There has been no major attack or activity in a tourist area since 2002 and what few rebels remain seem to be scattered in the country’s remote north. Many government travel advisories have issued a “Do not travel” notice regarding areas near the Colombian border due to narcotics trafficking and occasional insurgent activity from across the border.
The US Bureau of Diplomatic Security reports that visitors hiking near Choquequirao ruins have been held up and robbed by armed bandits affliated with politically motivated groups.
Rarely, buses traversing these remote jungle areas may be stopped, but these seizures are more likely to result in some strangely generous “voluntary donations” than any hostage taking.
Although visitors have been injured in past incidents, neither group has focused on using foreigners to make political statements.
Nevertheless, roaming bandits and the pattern of armed holdups in the past indicate traveling overland by night is not your best option, especially in the north.
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Good article on Peru. I recently returned form a 2 week G-adventures tour and had a great time. My advice to anyone staying in Lima is to stay in Millaflores. The district feels very safe and there are lots of people walking out and about at all hours. There is also a police/security presence. I ventured to other areas of Lima by day in a guided tour and it felt perfecly safe and fine but I know the city can get dangerous at night. While driving through the Peruvian countryside, some of the small towns certainly felt abit dodgy and rundown. But overall in general it felt safe as long as you use common sense and take basic precautions.
Peru is not only dangerous for fireigners. Woman, particularly single mothers and Indigenious girls often become prey of rich man from the Northern countreis. One of the Indigenious girls I know, K. Miranda from Lima, has been repeaditly conntacted by a man twice her age calling himsemf Nedzad from Tesanj. The man send innapropriate, seductive messages, youvenille stickers and attempted to arrangee meeting in Peru. He even made promisses that he will help her immigrate. The family found out before it was too late but this man is probably now looking for an other naive young girl. Not sure how do we protect young people from this hidden danger. There should be a place to report this type of behaviour
Peru is very dangerous for tourists. I was on a private tour organized by a very well-known agency and I had a very nasty experience in Cusco. Upon arrival at the Cusco airport, everyone found themselves locked in the airport as a major riot was going on. Cars were burning and people were yelling. Once the situation seemed better, the guide said that we would be escorted by the police to our hotel in our minibus. Once the gate was opened, we soon saw that there was no police. Towards the end of the road, we were literally attacked by locals. Our vehicle was swarmed by at least 20 men that started to shake our vehicle.One man had a large rock in his hand and began to hit the tires. They were yelling at us in Spanish to abandon the vehicle. The driver told us that he would lose his job if something would have happened to the minibus so we were taken to a side street and abandoned there with our suitcases. Another couple decided to walk to their hotel but we didn’t as we feared for our safety. For some reason the police never showed up. My husband and I headed back to the airport and flew back to Lima. Many tourists were stranded for two full days in the mountains and local shops refused to open their doors to tourists so many were forced to walk long distances to get to the airport. Trains were not runnng as locals were blockng the tracks. We met a group of Brazilians that were abandoned on a train and therefore had to walk over 10km’s to get back to Cusco.
Comment 31. Section in Lima is Miraflores
We were booked to go to Peru in 2 weeks but having read various safety / security advice warnings I am cancelling the trip.
Peru needs to sort this out, they don’t deserve tourists money and they won’t now be getting mine.
No more 3rd world countries for me thank you very much.
Much to say about Peru good and bad like in any other country, I have read all the comments I agree on most of them , yes there is corruption in most levels of society from Presidents becoming very wealthy all the way to a street thug with a pal in the justice system, hope one day it all will change.
Lived in the US for years and seen how people obey the rule of law is amazing. When I am in Peru I prefer to visit the north eastern part like Amazonas Chachapoyas , Cajamarca you’ll be surprised how humble people are ,totally opposite of Lima
These regions offer a variety of tourist attractions on an hour or so flight from Lima. Peru is not a zhit hole as a previous comment , the government does a good job educating the children . God bless you all.
I have been in Cusco and its surrounding areas for 4 days now and I feel the area is very safe for tourists. In Cusco there is always police presence and everyone I met were polite and helpful.
In addition the recent flood has not affected this area at all.
I got mugged at gun point in New York so there is danger everywhere. I always keep my guard up when traveling to unfamiliar places. A little research in advance on places to avoid and what to watch out for goes a long way to keep my traveling safe.
Peru has a lot to offer and it’s a great destination for travelers.
When goint to Nasca, AVOIS the Loki hotel! Just go to Google and have a look for “Wilberth Luis Cancho Meza “.
Anyway, I swear you, Peru is a breathtaking country, full of emotions and good people.
Honestly, Peru is a different level of dangerous than they say, it’s not dangerous.
Philip Jones, about the “no more third world countries for me”, some developed countries are actually quite dangerous (like the USA) and some developing countries are very safe (like most of Asia and the Pacific Islands)
According to the 2017 Global peace Index, Peru is ranked 71 in global safety. The USA is way down at 114.
PHILLIP Jones, you should think before you write, your comment was ignorant and disrespectful, you are not the centre of the universe, if you weren’t such an idiot you would know that there is crime everywhere now, Peru unfortunately has a few percentage higher than countries like Australia for example, you can shove your “tourist money” up your behind and stay in you narcissistic bubble.
HAHAHAH Bro Why did you get into the car if there was a riot I go to peru all the time and if there is a riot you either stay in the airport or find a store they arent trying to hurt you they are just gonna destroy things due to what is being protested once I was in truijo and there was a giant mob yelling and marching pushing police and all I did was walk into the market and I was fine the worst thing you can do is leave or just try not to stand out Shawna
Peru isn’t dangerous at all. Well if your not a moron anyway. The US, as a whole, is more dangerous than Peru, as a whole. Obviously there are areas you want to avoid in any city. Also, I wouldn’t consider Peru “third world”. Yes Cusco is very old, but it’s quite modernized. Calling Lima third world is like calling New York City third world. That’s an ignorant statement, stay home.
My 15 year old daughter and I took the Haku Shanty Town Tour in June. We were led by Jimmy whom we’d toured with the preceding day (City Tour). We were the only ones on the tour, which should have been a red flag, but we trusted Jimmy and the driver. On the first tour with this group we were to told to leave our belongings in the van, which we did, but not on the Shanty Town tour (another red flag). We shopped at the market but then were taken to a remote location to ‘see an overview’ of the area. Sitting outside a very small shop with bars on the windows, two armed men approached us and robbed us of everything. EVERYTHING. It’s funny but the shop owner sold us a couple of drinks then disappeared and did not return (another red flag). Our passports, money ($700), credit cards, jewelry that hadn’t been transferred to the Marriott safe because we had only arrived 2 days earlier, Kindle, an expensive camera (don’t carry one), medications, camera bag with accessories, handbag, and 2 cell phones were taken. It was quite tramautic, still is. The men had arrived by taxi which was still sitting there when we hurriedly departed. The license plate was turned over to the police but they seemed somewhat disinterested in the event. It was odd but Jimmy told me he had seen these men watching us in the market. What? Then why take us to a remote area?
Thankfully, we had copies of our passports and credit cards in the hotel safe. This was almost certainly a setup by Jimmy and his 2 ‘friends’. We never saw him again although we took several comped tours with this company as we were essentially stuck in Lima for 12 days waiting for passports and credit cards.
The owner of the company was a great help with getting new passports issued and stamped, taking us to various shops to replace items, free tours, retrieving the police report, and giving us some money to survive for a couple of days. The amount wouldn’t have covered 3 nights at the Marriott but it was appreciated for food and sundry items.
Needless to say, our trip was altered if not ruined. At the very least it was distressful and upsetting. We had planned a 9 day Amazon cruise that left 2 days later, without us, because we had no passports and couldn’t take air transport. After receiving temporary passports, we were able to take another trip that we had booked to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. The trip was amazing.
Although we met many wonderful people on the trip , we will never return to Lima. It is a dangerous city and the police were of absolutely no help in Shanty Town. I’d stick to the Historic Center, Miraflores and Barranco. Although we still would like to tour the Amazon, it’ll likely be from another country.
Although this has nothing to do with the robbery, my husband and my daughter’s father died in March and this trip was supposed to bring us peace and solace.
Me and my girlfriend travelled Peru about a year and a half ago as part of a trip around the whole of South America.
At no point did we feel unsafe and we didn’t exactly play by the rules. In fact we’ve decided that, mainly thanks to the people of Peru, this is one country we would return to in a heartbeat!
Only scary moments we remember is the ubiquitous **** street dogs and severe turbulence on a domestic flight to Iquitos. That was it!
Useful blog. I am travelling to Peru this summer with Kuoda travel as I am too afraid to travel to USA anymore. There are far too many guns and random shootings in USA. from rock concerts, to shopping malls, movie theatres, and schools. I won’t go back any time soon. Would it be wise to take my old Samsung tablet vs. my new ipad? Should I forgo taking my go pro camera? Being from Canada and travelling mostly to Cuba (super super safe) I am not used to crime!
I am from the United States and I will say this. I am a prior United States Marine. And Peru is extremely safe compared to the States. All you people trolling and saying comments about other countrys is really ignorant. There is problems in every country in the world today if you choose to find it. I don’t care what country you go to if you don’t have some common sense trouble will find you. You would not walk to South Chicago in the middle of the night or Eastern Moscow. So don’t do stupid things in Peru you will be fine it’s a very safe country.
As an Aussie, middle aged white female tourist, nearing 60 years of age.. I have backpacked around Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador several times independently over the past 20 years,. NEVER had any issues. Don’t know where all these morons are going to get into so much trouble.
I’ve been to remote villages, long overnight altiplano bus rides that have taken almost 24 hours.. often been the only “gringo” in the place. and found the Andean people generally to be very friendly ; if a little shy and restrained at first, a smile breaks down all barriers. Most just want to know where you’ve come from, not what you’ve got in your back pack that they can steal. Don’t flash your cash, don’t dress like a hiking add for Katmandu. You don’t need those $300 walking shoes, unless you have serious feet issues, look at what the locals wear, cheap knock off runners, Do the same.. dress like the locals, this way you give them no reason to be jealous of you. Unless your hiking or climbing up Wyna Pichu or the Glaciers of northern Peru, do you really need those $400 “wank” ” wank” hiking pants & super-down jacket? seriously.. All you do is make yourself a target for young guys who want your stuff because they’ll never be able to afford one of your shoes, let alone the pair of them in the foreseeable future , and other tourist see you as a wanker asking to be robbed.
You have to realise that Latin America is a few decades behind in gender equality so leave your feminist ideals at home, they’ll just get you into trouble. If a man wolf whistles or shows you some attention, do as the locals do, wiggle your butt a bit more and smile graciously.! Don’t start hurling abuse, it’ll get you nowhere except insults.! ( possible even hurt their male ego and push them into something they feel they have to do to defend their male honour in front of their friends that might actually be dangerous )
USE your common sense if you’ve got any.. Don’t do things you wouldn’t do at home. if something doesn’t “feel” right then it most probably isn’t. don’t be polite. be safe.
Humour instead of anger will get you a lot further. LEARN some basic Spanish, for gods sake you’re in a foreign country, don’t expect them to speak your lingo, you have to speak theirs.
If you don’t walk around dark alleys and bars at home at 2am in the morning then don’t do it whilst on holidays. Are you nuts? Are you just asking for trouble? Do as the locals do.
if there are no locals out at night, or on the streets, then why should you be ?
If some one does attack you, in the highly unlikely chance..Peruvians don’t carry guns like people in the USA, they might have a knife, or a belt that they use like a whip, but they aren’t gonna kill you for you to bring attention and an international incident down on themselves, with foreign police and embassies breathing down the local cops necks to hang them for a crime that you possible invited them to do by your very ignorance.
Cant believe most of the dribble written here, Stay home, don’t come to Peru. they don’t need people like you there anyway.!
While this is a good article, the line about it being about as safe as any other large city in the world is a complete lie. I’m in NYC on almost a weekly basis driving for Uber. Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, never Staten Island for some reason, but I’ve never once had to follow any of those rules there. Or in Boston, or Atlanta, or Chicago, or even my home town of New Haven, CT, one of the most dangerous cities in America. Lima sounds like the South side of Chicago multiplied by a factor of ten. My wife is from Mira Flores. She tells me all the time how much violence there is. For example, her mother had a friend who withdrew a large sum of cash at the bank. She was robbed in her taxi, shot three times in the stomach and later died. Police there are corrupt so no investigation took place and no one went to jail. She keeps trying to get me to go visit and I’m like, “Really? No, I like my vacations to be fun and care-free, I don’t want to have to focus on staying alive”.
Jacob, yes there are also dangerous areas in the US, a “first world” nation, but these are areas populated by 3rd world people. Blacks in the US are 3rd world people, regardless of how long they’ve been in the US. Most of the violent crime in the US is committed by 3rd world peoples – black and brown people.
JoeG, you literally made one of the most ignorant and racist statements I’ve ever seen on the internet. You ate everything that is wrong in the world. LET ME REPEAT. You are the problem. Hope you meet a fate deserving of someone as completely ignorant as you.
Great article and thank you for the tips you shared here!
Using common sense is always the correct answer when traveling to ANY country! Going to Peru on a quick trip with niece, so was reading here for any updates. All seems like common sense! Just want to see the Beauty of Lima and Machu Picchu. See excited!!
Thanks for the detailed post. I will keep all your points in my mind. Peru has everything from sunny beaches to mountainous zones.
This month I will go to Peru and I have already booked a luxury room at Llanganuco Mountain Lodge. I hope my trip will be successful without any problem.
i have been traveling to peru every year for around 25 years now and stay around 25 days each time i go. it is like a second home to me now. i have witnessed the city of lima transform from a third world country into a very modern city with a healthy growing economy. it is now the #1 restaurant destination of all of south america. there are so many oppurtunities to open a successful business here on many levels that it boggles the mind. just go to one of their malls “jockey plaza” which by the way is nicer than any mall in atlanta on any given day any time and i swear you would think it was christmas time with all the shoppers. go to the mall near my house in north atlanta and it is dead during any week except christmas. as far as worrying about crime i simply do not go into any depressed areas where #1 i do not have any business being there. the same holds true to where i live in the usa and would expect to be true anywhere else in this world.
A few things NOT to do.
Indulge in poverty tourism – please DO NOT go on those stupid ‘shanty town tours’ there is nothing to see and you’re making yourself a target. People there live terrible lives and they’re not there so you can take pictures with your expensive camera – it’s no more ‘real’ Peru than pitucos living it up on Asia beach.
Ayahusca ceremonies – see how many Peruvians go on them? No, it is full of stupid foreigners who want to get high and try to disguise it around a ‘spiritual journey’ most Peruvians wouldn’t trust these people as far as they could throw them but of course, the perpetual quest to get high by a lot of people in the first world continues unabated and thus once again – they become targets for criminals and then go on to complain that Peru is ‘dangerous’ – it’s dangerous if you hang around unscrupulous criminals – leave your drug taking for home.
Searching out for cocaine and prostitutes – as above – leave all that for home, that is the best way of getting yourself robbed or murdered.
Walking around wherever you want – you’re not in Copenhagen – some parts of Lima aren’t safe for visible foreigners – you can go as far as Jesus Maria put go past the centre of Lima and you’re asking for trouble.
Taking taxis off the street, even if your Spanish is good enough, unless you speak Spanish like a local, they’re going to rip you off or worse – my advice is try and go for the older drivers who are more than likely trying to make an honest sol but that would be a last resort – try and get a ‘taxi seguro’ whenever possible.
And of course, take out the amount of money for the day, don’t wear jewellery, don’t wear shorts and sandals because you then scream ‘I’M A TOURIST COME AND ROB ME OR AT LEAST RIP ME OFF’ but if it is so important because you feel ‘comfortable’ then make sure you’re in established tourist spots.
While in Peru, DONT take taxis. You can get kidnapped in one. Buses look terrible but are FAR safer
I’ve been to Lima over 15 times now. I’m married to a Peruvian. I’m a 59 year old male, white hair, light skin from North Dakota. I have tourist written all over me. In all that time, there was only one instance where I felt a little threatened. Some crazy guy on the beach that was high on something started yelling at me, something like “get the hell out of my country”. But before long, some police showed up and took him away. This was in the Chorillos district. I’ve ventured out alone on walks nearly every day in the past month, anywhere from 2 to 8 miles a day. But only in La Molina, Miraflores, Barranco, and the old downtown area (Lima district). I love these walks! I carry a nice camera, but keep it in my backpack instead of the camera bag (less obvious). I know it’s not recommended, but I usually wear shorts and sandals as it’s summer now and very warm. I know that pegs me as a tourist but I think my light skin and white hair give me away anyway, so I might as well be comfortable. On all of these walks, I have never once felt threatened. I take precautions, wallet in front pocket or deep in a backpack, and if someone is walking behind me, I slow down and let them pass in an open area. I stay observant at all times. Don’t look like an easy target, it’s the same anywhere in any big city. And I never walk alone late at night. I use Uber to take me where I want to start walking. It’s cheap and safe. I asked a taxi one time how much my ride home would be, she said 50 soles. As I walked away she said, how much would you pay? But I just went to a restaurant, had a beer and used their wifi, then ordered an Uber from the Google maps app for 16 soles. 50 soles is only 14 bucks, so if that’s your only option it’s still a good deal, but Uber is way cheaper. And the price is determined when you book it, not after they see you’re a gringo. My advice, if you want to really experience Lima, you need to do some walking around. Miraflores is absolutely beautiful but you need to walk around to really enjoy the incredible views. People are the same everywhere, most are good people, just don’t be stupid, don’t act arrogant, respect their culture, and you’ll be fine.
I loved your amazing travel guide on Peru, that is one of my dream place to journey. I hope I will be there soon. Your photographs are also stunning.
Please, we need to accept that Peru is Not a safety place.
The newspapers in Peru only says lies about the reality of the country. One good example is how women are treated.
I found that the majority of the newspapers are own by “Group El Comercio”, reason why the real status of Peruvians are not revealed.
The exchange rate of the Dollar is very behind and it is not true that Peruvian Economy is good.The Macroeconomics data are not correct.
It is time to tell the truth and investors have figure out and are quitting,
This is very misleading, I was there almost a month in 2019/2020 just before covid (which covide made even more socialist) you need to be on guard at all times! Lima especially is terribly stricken with all kinds of crime. They do have guns, I’ve seen it myself. If they have ammo is a different story, and can’t speak of. Please it is a beautiful place, but only In the super high tourist attraction places that also do have a bit more security though still suspect. You still have to get to those places through the worst of the areas. Peru is a beautiful country with many great open welcoming people but needs extensive research to all areas planned to visit and how (even some taxis are in on it) keep in mind the new president is communist so prepare for worse.
I am planning a bus tour of south Peru this fall with a tour company “Peru Hop.” I would like to get some advice on the safety of these bus tours. I am also looking at renting a car but I am concerned about road conditions and also how safe a couple driving alone would be. We are late 50 and early 60’s. We are really looking forward to this trip and are not afraid to go but we want to know what to expect. I tend to lean towards a bus tour because we would be part of a group. Thank you in advance for any advice!
Roads in Peru are dangerous but Peru Hop as a company is probably OK. Rental cars are expensive and driving in cities such as Lima and Arequipa requires nerves of steel and local knowledge of road humps, one way streets, etc. If you have an accident, you will inevitably be at fault as a “wealthy” gringo. I would recommend using a tour company to provide a car or minibus with driver instead of driving yourself. Probably no more expensive and your nerves will be in better shape.
So Lisa, did you go and how safe did you feel overall but especially in the Puno area? Thanks. I head there in 3 weeks.
Been several times, had a great time every time. Foods amazing in Lima as well, travelled to a few places.
I’m well travelled so just follow general obvious advice and you’ll be fine, from the UK.
Ok i aggree that like most cities in the world you have to be carefull. however to say that peru and the cities here are safe i strongly disaggree as i have personal experience. i was with a friend in medellin and some guys tried to snatch his phone out of his hand but failed. they then ripped my money belt from me but i lunged at the guy and ripped it back off him. we then took off running they chased us. my friend dipped into a shop which in hindsight wasnt a good idea. the guys turned up outside the shop, the shop owner tells us not to worry that wer safe. he says hes going to call the police so the police turn up. two guys with guns and battons, wer sat down and tell them what happened. at which point they then tell us that we need to pay them 300 us dollars each. i then acting on adrenaline called their bluff and said no. stood up grabbed my friends arm and said wer leaving. we walked out and kept walking and nobody followed us. we wer lucky and obviously in hindsight the way i acted was stupid i could have got us both hurt but i was angry and not thinking staight. the us may be more dangerous statistically but that does not make peru safe. you cannot base a whole countrys safety on your experience and maybe a few people you spoke to. the difference is also the blatent high level of corruption with the police ive heard it many times on my travels and have experienced it first hand. to ad to this two days ago (near the end of my travels) i was robbed at gunpoint in a tuktuk in iquitos after being drugged in nightclub. i have met two others who have been drugged and robbed also. the amount of male tourists being drugged and robbed in south america (particularly colombia) is going up all the time. this is why bottled drinks in colombia are wrapped at the tops with tissue. i was told by the police that many male tourists are being found dead in their hotels from being overdosed by these robbers. there´s definitely precautions i could have taken to prevent these things from happening but it is also just bad luck and quite common because a lot of these people have very little money and see toursits as easy money. i don´t wear jwellery or have a flashy phone. the police aren´t great in the uk, however at least if im being robbed and i call them back home i can expect them to help me not also try to get money from me. appolgies for lack of punctuation the keyboard i´m using is terrible. none of the major cities here are safe. there is a reason there are so many police in and around the main square of cusco.
It seems my fellow jews comment was deleted.
No matter. Don’t invest or come to marxist-communist Peru.
Is Peru Safe For Travelers?
Peru is one of the most popular and well-loved countries in South America. Home to the world-famous Incan city of Machu Picchu, Peru has an amazing history and the most enchanting landscape in South America.
From sampling Cuy to shearing llamas, you don’t know what your trip will bring.
You may even come across a rather kindly bear who enjoys marmalade sandwiches.
However, for some tourists, South America poses a risk as to the safety of those who travel there.
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Is Peru Safe?
Those who travel to South America must ask themselves, is Peru safe?
It’s all well and good to think of cute little llamas, but with Peru being so close to dangerous countries with gang warfare and drugs, is it that safe?
Is it Safe to Travel to Peru right now?
The simple answer is; yes.
Compared with neighboring countries to the north and the east, Peru is quite tame as far as crime is concerned.
Although there were acts of terrorism in certain regions in the last couple of years, nothing has really emerged recently.
Make sure to check the news before booking a plane ticket.
The US and other government bodies have advised against all travel to the Colombian border area in the Loreto Region due to crime.
As well as the area in central Peru known as the Valley of the Rivers Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro (VRAEM) due to crime and terrorism.
The main concern of anyone traveling to Peru should be altitude sickness.
As part of any Peru travel itinerary, you’ll most likely want to visit the sights of the Peruvian topography which includes some of the highest natural and man-made wonders in the world.
Safety Facts about Peru
Peru doesn’t have the reputation for drugs that neighboring countries Ecuador and Colombia have, but that doesn’t mean nothing will happen to non-suspecting tourists oblivious to their surroundings.
The US government travel bureau has Peru at a level one, the same amount of precaution that should be taken when traveling to places such as the UK or France.
Some facts and statistics to help your understanding of the country:
- Peru’s homicide rate is one-sixth of Colombia’s at 7.7/100k.
- Floods and landslides occur frequently during the rainy season and may result in extended road closures. In 2017, heavy rains near the coast resulted in 62 deaths and 12,000 destroyed homes.
- Many tourists to Peru make the trip for Ayahuasca usage. This has resulted in brain damage and sexual abuse whilst under the influence.
- Due to the cocaine production in VRAEM, one of the areas the US government advised to never travel to, Peru started producing a bigger Cocaine output than Colombia in 2012.
- The biggest issue that Peru has is domestic violence. 7 out of 10 married women in Peru has experienced physical abuse at some point during a relationship.
- Note that the cost of living in Peru can change drastically but the average person working in Peru typically earns around 7,540 PEN per month.
Is Peru Safe to Travel Alone?
Peru is perfectly safe to travel alone!
If you stay within the confines of the tourist areas or cities in the daytime and trust your instincts, you’ll have a wonderful trip.
See some of these day trips from Lima you can do here.
You’ll need to abide by the unwritten rules of independently traveling to South America: such as don’t go out at night, don’t trust strangers, and don’t flash expensive items.
Peru is a great stop-off point for exploring the Andes. Coaches are great for solo travelers, just make sure to look after your belongings.
Backpacking Peru Safely
Backpacking is great in this country since the public transport and private transport is incredibly secure.
Compared with Colombia, you’ll feel safer and will find the people timider but accommodating.
Backpacking is not just for gringos, there are tens of thousands that visit the country every year just to see Machu Picchu. So there are touristy regions despite the warnings of no travel in certain regions.
The hostels are everywhere, the food is cheap and the chocolate is some of the best you’ve ever eaten. Not to mention you can find speciality coffee in this part of the world.
Peru: Travel Safety Tips
Peru has the potential to be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
Here are some top tips to help you before you make the trip out:
- Due to COVID-19, most air travel has been prohibited. Visit Travel Health Pro for more info visit.
- Don’t accept offers of drugs. Not only is it illegal, but it’s dangerous. This includes stimulants as well as hallucinogens.
- If you are a person that suffers from typical culture shock symptoms see our tips on adapting to new surroundings on this blog.
- Book a taxi through your hostel or another trusted service. See these hostels in Lima if staying in Peru’s capital
- If you want to take expensive equipment use a Pacsafe backpack to deter theft of cameras or smartphones; and to keep them concealed.
- Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked your room, book taxis or buses through the hotel.
- Keep away from crowds of people. You could be attacked or arrested if it’s an anti-government demonstration. These tend to happen within certain areas of La Paz.
- Make sure to take sunscreen. You’re literally on the equator so the risk of skin damage is very high.
- Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets and keep your money hidden away. Bras, hidden money wallets or secret bag compartments will do.
- Read up online how to deal with high category earthquakes. You’re likely to experience small ones but it won’t hurt to know what to do when a big one hits.
Traveling Around Peru by Bus
The best way to get around Peru is with the coach services. The best of which has to be Cruz del Sur.
They have a website for timetables and information regarding prices.
Their services on-board coaches include sandwich bars, movies, and extra leg-room.
The coastal Pan-American Highway and many of the main routes into the mountains recently have been paved. This means that the roads are a lot less bumpy than those in Bolivia and Ecuador.
However, on some of the rougher mountainous routes, punctures and landslides may delay the arrival time by several hours.
For local public buses, buy tickets on the bus itself. For any other type of service, purchase tickets at least an hour before departure.
Travel Insurance for Peru
No matter who you are, it is recommend that backpackers and all types of travelers use World Nomads Insurance for a fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get Your Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant travel insurance cover from the date of travel that you choose.
Is Peru Safe?
Peru is an amazing mountainous country to visit and is perhaps one of the safest South American countries in the northern part of the continent.
It would help when visiting Peru if you knew at least some Spanish since not many people will speak English.
They’re more likely to speak the indigenous languages in fact.
Give Peru a try on your backpacking trip, or if you have Machu Picchu on your bucket list!
Learn more about what Peru is known for on this blog.
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