Travelers may wonder, is Peru a safe country to visit and yes, Peru has a well-deserved reputation as a safe country. Travelers to Peru can feel confident in their safety while exploring the many villages in the Andes and cities along the North coast. Peruvians are known for their hospitality and friendliness and typically, make a positive impression on visitors.
What Safety Concerns Exists in Peru?
Crimes against tourists, other than petty theft, within Machu Picchu and along the Inca Trail is essentially non-existent. However, as with any locale you are unfamiliar with, it pays to be alert while traveling within large crowds, especially during the high season.
The Peruvian Government continues to work hard to protect tourists and actively pursue the criminals who target them. The Peruvians have fostered an atmosphere of safety throughout the country. Despite constant reports and rumors about the danger of traveling in Peru, there is really very little to be worried about. Compared to other Andean countries, Peru’s crime rate is the lowest in the region.
The threat of violent crime in most of Peru is no greater than many of the world’s major cities. Travel around the country is relatively safe and reliable and the rebel element has been largely disbanded. Peru is simply too important of a travel destination to pass up, especially since travelers who take the following simple precautions will greatly reduce their chance of becoming a victim.
Tips to Keep Yourself Safe in Peru
- Take a “Green Taxi” (safe cab) from the Lima airport and put all your belongings in the trunk. They may be a little more expensive, but remember the fare is always negotiable in Peru. Never enter a cab with someone already in it and never let your driver pick someone up during your trip and Make sure your taxi has a blue, government- issued decal.
- Do not walk on dark empty roads or streets late at night.
- Never carry around your original passport unless you’ll need it. Keep a photocopy of your passport with you and leave your real passport in a safety deposit box at your hotel. As an extra precaution, it is a good idea to register it at the Embassy in Lima. It won’t take long and will save you days of precious holiday time if your documents are lost or stolen.
- Don’t leave your purse hanging on the back of your chair at restaurants.
At your hotel, put your important belongings in a safe or bury them in your suitcases.
If you plan to travel by bus, check out Cruz del Sur, a very clean and safe bus company
Leave your valuables at home.
Stick to areas where you see tourists and do not travel alone at night.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. If you feel threatened, contact the Policia de Turismo (Tourism Police). 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.
- Beware of snappily dressed groups working in concert at tourist hotspots, crowded markets, bus depots and even in hotel lobbies.
- Be aware of the possibility of drink spiking. Hallucinogenic plants, generally part of traditional shamanic rituals, have been used to 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.
- Possession of any drugs is considered a very serious offence in Peru, carrying lengthy jail sentences. Never volunteer to transport or carry anything for anyone.
- Caution should be used when placing valuables (specifically electronic items) into checked luggage when traveling through the airports.
- Credit card fraud is a problem in Peru. Never leave your card unattended and only deal with reputable vendors. Let your credit card company know that you are traveling to a foreign country.
- Only exchange money at banks or your hotel. Avoid exchanging your money anywhere that seems unofficial. Counterfeit money is common in Peru.
Final Thoughts on Safety in Visiting Peru
The bottom line is if you take precautions against petty theft, stay with a group, and avoid traveling at night, you’ll likely be one of the thousands of tourists who return home brimming with good things to say about Peru. Tourism generates jobs and helps provide a way for struggling Peruvians to lift themselves out of poverty.
Guiding Peru is a trustworthy and reputable tour company, offering you a safe and enjoyable experience to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s oldest and most exciting destinations.