Safety in Peru

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:

  • Never take a taxi waiting outside the airport grounds.
  • When travelling from your hotel to the airport, go with a taxi recommended by the hotel. drivers have official identification.
  • Try not to arrive in a new city or town late at night.
  • Keep your valuables hidden.
  • Avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins where tourist would be expected to go.
  • Read the guide books and talk with other tourists to find out which areas are best avoided.
  • When arriving in a new town, keep to your original plan and stay in the hostel that you have decided on. Don't let the taxi driver persuade you that your hostel is fully booked and that he knows a cheaper and better one. .
  • Don't wear expensive looking jewellery.

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:

  • On public transport have your day pack close to you at all times, preferably with the straps around your legs or padlocked to the luggage rack
  • If planning on going to market areas, crowded streets, fiestas etc. don't go with all your valuables. Leave them in the hotel. If your planning on buying something expensive keep your money safely in a money belt. Try to be discreet when opening it! .
  • Bag slashing is rare nowadays but for added safety you can wear your day pack on your chest. If it's on your back try to walk without stopping. If you need to stop, sway your pack gently from side to side so that you can feel if anyone is tampering with it.

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



  • Australia 222-8281
  • Great Britain  617-3050
  • Argentina 433-3381
  • Austria 442-0503
  • New Zealand 422-7491
  • Brazil 421-5650
  • Canada 444-4015
  • Chile 611-2200
  • Spain 513-7930
  • France 215-8400
  • Germany 212-5016
  • USA 434-3000
  • Mexico 221-1100
  • Switzerland 264-0305


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.


Answer  02
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

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