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See Peru like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Is Peru Safe? Here's Everything You Need to Know

ViaHero
Updated September 21, 2020

Generally, Peru is a safe place to visit—with a little guidance. But like most countries in the world, Peru has cases of coronavirus.

Check out our update below: 

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

When will Peru be safe for travel?

Like most places around the world, Peru has cases of coronavirus. So, when will it be safe to travel to Peru?

Here's the latest: 

September 21st: Americans are not permitted to enter Peru. On September 1st, the president extended Peru's national emergency measures for another 30 days

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In the meantime, read on to learn why Peru is safe to visit—in normal circumstances. It's a beautiful and exciting destination. 

Overall, Peru is a very safe country for travelers

Cusco, Peru | _Dianna/Pixabay

Peru is a super popular travel destination right now, with more and more visitors arriving every year. It’s one of the safest countries for travelers in South America, and has a level 2 travel advisory from the US Department of State—that’s the same rating given to the UK, France, and tons of other popular destinations. 

Prepare for your trip and take standard travel safety precautions. With some insider advice, you'll be fine. 

What kind of trip are you thinking about next?
Travel is changing daytoday, which is why there’s never been a better time to work with a local—someone who actually lives in the place you’re visiting—to give you the inside scoop of what it’s like on the ground!
So tell us what kind of trip you want to plan, and we’ll connect you with the perfect local to get you started.

The most common issue is petty theft

There is a high risk of pickpocketing in Peru's major cities, similar to other well-traveled countries. Pickpocketers often target travelers, so here are a few tips to avoid a robbery: 

  • Leave your valuables at home: Travelers wearing nice jewelry and clothes or carrying fancy electronics are at higher risk of getting pickpocketed or mugged. 
  • Use the buddy system: There’s always safety in numbers. Don’t walk around alone, especially in quiet or dark areas. 
  • Take a taxi when the sun goes down: You’re less likely to have issues in broad daylight. Locals recommend avoiding walking alone at night—it’s safest to order a taxi or take an Uber. 
  • If you need an ATM, pick a very public one: Travelers will occasionally be targeted by thieves while they’re at the ATM. To be safe, only use ATMs in busy, well-lit areas—preferably inside a bank or hotel. 

Benefit from local advice. When you have a local plan your trip, they'll let you know how *they* navigate the country safely. 

Don’t drink the tap water

Peru’s tap water doesn’t meet the WHO standards for clean drinking water. Locals generally don’t drink it right out of the tap either—you should always boil your water first, or just stick to bottled to be perfectly safe. Avoid ordering drinks with ice, especially from a street vendor. 

We're big fans of reusable water bottles with a filter. Instead of consuming tons of plastic during your trip, you can travel in a more sustainable way by investing in a good water bottle.

Call a taxi to avoid scams

Taxi drivers in Peru have been known to scam travelers by taking longer routes to their destination or running up the price without a meter. If you want to take a taxi, you should call a reliable company instead of hailing a cab on the street. Apps like EasyTaxi or Cabify can also be super helpful—they work just like Uber, but with a cab instead of a private car.

Local Tip:

Before you get in a cab, make sure the driver has a working meter so they can’t drive up your price. If they don’t have a meter, plan out your route beforehand and tell them exactly which way you want to go. 

Uber exists in Peru but...

Uber in Peru is limited—as of right now, it’s only available in Lima. Plus, the service gets some mixed reviews. if you're considering this option, get an insider opinion—our local trip planners will provide detailed transportation instructions when they design your guidebook.

You can use a reliable taxi app to order a ride (TaxiBeat is a great option if you’re staying in Lima), or take a public bus during the daytime. For nighttime travel, locals generally recommend a taxi—it’s safer and a less complicated than trying to figure out the night bus schedule. 

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

Solo female travelers love Peru

Solo traveler in Peru | Barbara Zandoval/Unsplash

Is Peru safe for a woman traveling on her own? Yes—but locals say you should always exercise caution. Solo female travelers are at a higher risk of assault or harassment anywhere in the world, and Peru is no exception.

Check out this link for some great tips for staying safe as a woman traveling alone. Or, better yet, get some local advice from someone who knows Peru. Many of our Peruvian trip planners are women! 

Machu Picchu is safe too—just stay hydrated!

Planning on exploring the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu while you’re in Peru? It’s quite a climb, but it’s totally doable as long as you’re in good shape. The hike up the Inca Trail, which leads you up the mountain, can be strenuous, and you’ll definitely feel the effects of altitude change. But as long as you stay hydrated, take it slow, and don’t drink too much the night before, it won’t affect you much. 

The village at the foot of Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, is well-traveled. Locals say it's generally a very safe place to pass through. 

Hiking is best in the dry season

The rainy season varies from region to region in Peru, but locals tell us it mostly occurs in the winter, between December and March. Rainfall can get really heavy and sometimes results in floods or landslides. If you plan on hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, locals recommend planning your trip between April and November—the weather will be a little chilly, but it’s safer and drier than in the rainy months. 

Indulge in Peru's amazing cuisine (but be safe about it)

Market food in Peru | Barbara Zandoval/Flickr

Peru is full of incredible food, but you don't want a stomach bug to ruin your trip! To stay safe while sampling the local flavors, keep these tips in mind: 

  • If you’re getting food from a stall or vendor, make sure you see it being made in front of you.
  • Always wash unpeeled fruit or raw veggies before you eat them (in bottled or filtered water).
  • Ceviche is a delicious seafood dish that you absolutely have to try while you’re there—but because the fish is cooked by acid rather than heat, it needs to be super fresh; make sure you get it from a restaurant, not a street stall.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and apply it before every meal (yes, it may seem nerdy, but trust us—it’s worth it).

And for the most delicious food? Get some local recs! Our trip planners can suggest their favorite spots in town for an authentic meal. 

Here are the numbers to call in case of an emergency: 

Just in case you find yourself in an emergency situation while you’re exploring Peru, here are the important numbers you should know: 

  • For police: 105
  • For a medical emergency: 106 
  • For the US embassy: +(51)(1) 618-2000

We’d recommend those first two numbers in a serious emergency, but definitely call the embassy if you need help with your passport or have to get back home right away. 

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Millions of travelers visit Peru every year. The country is full of incredible food, culture, and natural scenery—there’s a reason it’s the most popular travel destination in South America! As long as you’re prepared for your trip and take precautions while you’re there, you’ll have a safe and amazing adventure in Peru. 

Still have questions about travel to Peru?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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