Were you wondering: is Peru Safe?
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.
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?
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, money belts 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
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
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!
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