For its good food, interesting culture and incredible landscapes, Peru is a very popular destination for tourists. But you might wonder: is it safe to travel in Peru? Yes, it definitely is, but don’t take any unnecessary risks!
Just as other countries in Latin America, Peru sometimes has the reputation of being a dangerous country, especially for travelers, as tourists often are considered rich and therefore better targets. For women, for example, Peru can be worrisome as it is at the 3rd place in the world when it comes to sexual violence against women between 15 and 45 years. Many awful stories are told, and most of the people I met when traveling alone told me to be very careful. However, I can personally attest I’ve never had the slightest problem, and have only met incredibly nice people during my numerous travels.
Peru is just like any other normal country where there is delinquency but these people do not represent the majority of Peruvians. Yes, some places are dangerous and shouldn’t be frequented alone late at night, but just be careful and don’t take any unnecessary risks. In other words, don’t go there.
Read carefully these few tips, and feel safe to travel all around this beautiful country full of pleasant surprises!
Traveling in Peru by bus
When traveling by bus, choose wisely your company, and don’t always opt for the cheapest bus option. Most of the long routes in Peru include going up and down very high mountains. If you choose the cheapest buses, you risk ending up with only one driver for an 8-hour long trip during the night! Moreover, the cheapest it is, the less comfortable you are going to be during the trip.
The safest bets for bus companies in Peru are: Cruz del Sur (considered a tourist favorite, but it is also the most expensive), Movil Tours, Oltursa, Tepsa and Cromotex. Also, leaving your luggage in the cargo hold is totally safe, but don’t leave any valuables such a computer or a camera.
Taking a taxi in Peru
When you need to take a taxi, ask beforehand to the locals what it will cost more or less, and how long it will take for you to arrive at the desired destination. When taxi drivers see tourists, they might want to take advantage and give them higher prices. If you already know how much you’re supposed to pay, you can’t be fooled! As for the route, you can check on Google maps as you are driving, or just always be a little alert by looking out the window to see more or less where you’re heading. In Lima, most of the drivers use Waze, and you can look over their shoulder if they are following the routes.
Using an ATM in Peru
When taking money out of the ATM, make sure nobody is around you. BCP is the only bank that doesn’t take any extra charges from other cards, and you can find one ATM from this bank in most of the cities. Always keep your money and phone in a little bag close to yourself (not in the front pocket of your backpack!).
Safest and most dangerous districts in Lima
In Lima, the safest district is Miraflores, and you don’t risk anything there. It’s even safer than in certain cities in Europe! There is a tourist police and you will see security everywhere. Don’t stay in Callao, the airport district, because it is one of the most dangerous in Lima. And when you travel to other cities, ask a Peruvian the places where it is not recommended to go and try not to go there (or at least not alone during the night)!
Relevant recommendations for traveling in Peru
Beforehand, try to get information about what to do if there is an earthquake in Peru. Unfortunately, they are frequent, even though they are often not intense. It is always better to be prepared in case you experience a strong and dangerous one.
Listen to your body! Peru is a country with very high mountains, and altitude can be dangerous if not taken seriously. If you feel really sick, consider getting down 1,000 meters at least for a day or two. Also, wear sunscreen, a hat, and plan enough water for your trips!
In general, don’t go wandering around alone at night, and try to avoid deserted areas, especially if you are by yourself.
If you follow these recommendations, the risks of traveling in Peru are no different than in any other country. Don’t forget that people tend to privilege stories with horrible happenings, and all the stories of people traveling without any problems are often forgotten or not told. Don’t be too afraid, and enjoy your stay in this incredibly beautiful country!
By Julia Natri.
Cover Photo Julia Natri.