Every guide book has a responsibility to warn you about the worst things that can happen to you whilst traveling in Peru ….. thieves, drug pushers, corrupt police, prostitutes, terrorists and worse. It's easy to become paranoid and decide it's best to stay at home. But just how safe are you in your own town or city?
Peru recognizes that tourism plays an important part in its developing economy and has taken great steps in the last few years to change its poor security record. You'll find a lot more police, especially plain clothed officers, in the towns and cities most frequently visited by tourists. Thankfully the instances of assaults on tourists are very rare. so we can say Peru is safe.
BUT Personal security is a very subjective thing to talk about. If we say that Peru is totally safe, then travellers will take fewer precautions; If we say that it's dangerous, then a huge number of potential travellers will avoid Peru and miss out on one of the most beautiful countries in the world. At the end of the day you need to be careful and use your common-sense.
The possibility of being assaulted can be greatly reduced by taking a few simple precautions:
What Peruvian thieves are expert at, however, is making the most of a good opportunity – a moments lapse in a tourist's concentration is their business. Long bus trips, crowded streets and packed trains are all their territory. We don't recommend that you avoid these places because you can't, but again common-sense precautions should be taken:
They are basic precautions to avoid being robbed, not just in Peru, but anywhere in the world ... even in your own home town.
If, at the end of the day, you are unfortunate enough to be robbed … just accept it as a travel experience. Make sure that you have good insurance and that you've read the small print before arriving in Peru so you know what is required to make a successful claim.
Excluding precious photos, most things can be replaced in Peru. Finally don't let it spoil your holiday and don't suddenly believe that every Peruvian is a thief. The overwhelming majority are kind, honest, hardworking people who detest the thieves probably more than you do – when they get robbed they usually don't have insurance!
The emergency phone number in the whole of Peru is : 105 (not 911)
The police in Lima : 225-0220
Firefighters : 116
Red Cross : 275-3566
Airport (International and National Flights) : 511-6055
My husband and I leave on Saturday for a trip to Peru. We are going to Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Urubamba. I keep hearing about people having things stolen while in Lima and Cuzco. Should we be worried? Any advice on how we can best prepare ourselves?
We traveled to the very same places earlier this month and encountered no problems any where. We found Peru to be very safe. We stayed in very nice and not-so-very nice hotels/hostals.
We took the usual precautions and put digital devices out of plain view and kept money and important documents in the room safe or it was kept with us.
We ventured to all the markets and in and around the Plaza de Armas in cusco where the police were plentiful and possibly served as the major deterrent to thieves and pickpockets that we all have heard about. We also ran into a high school group of 30 from the US and they remarked that their week stay in Cusco had been incident-free.
The only surprise for us is that my husband was offered marijuana and cocaine in one of the alleys in Cusco as he walked by. That said, he is offered drugs every where we go in the US. I tease him that it is because he looks like he needs it! LOL.
I should also mention that we are very low key. We don't stand out with designer clothes, watches or jewelry. I did not carry a handbag, but kept things in my pant leg pockets and inside pockets of my outerwear.
Have a safe trip. It is sure to be wonderful. Take care.
My daughter and I never felt at all unsafe when we were in Peru last summer. You should just take the same precautions you would take in your home city of Chicago or any city for that matter. Be aware of your surroundings and people around you, especially in crowded areas; use licensed cabs; carry valuables in a front pocket or money belt; don't venture into "bad" areas; etc. If you search this forum, you will find many posts on this topic. I've observed many pickpockets at work in cities all over Europe, but didn't feel like it was nearly as big of a problem in Peru. We loved Peru and its people very much and look forward to returning one day