Cusco is a fascinating city and a Unesco World Heritage Site that receives thousands of tourists and travelers every year. The well-preserved colonial architecture, surrounded by several ruins and Spanish colonial buildings, Cusco is a city with an incredibly rich history that attracts people from all over the world. But is Cusco a safe destination to visit in Peru?
Tourism is the main source of income for Cusco, the authorities are doing their best to protect travelers from any kind of crime that might happen there. However, petty crime in tourist areas does occur and travelers need to protect their personal belongings at all times. Just like in many large cities which attract many tourists, taxis and public transportation are not reliable and people can become victims of robbers and thieves there. Most taxis in Cusco are safe, but there are some bogus taxis where travelers have been robbed. Always use one of the official companies. If you decide to drive in Cusco, bear in mind that driving standards in Peru are poor. Bus crashes are common, especially at night. If you are staying in Cusco for a long time, the Combis are also a cheaper and a reliable means of transportation.
The risk of being pickpocketed in Cusco is generally high in locations frequented by tourists and street crime in Cusco can be an issue. Pay special attention when withdrawing cash from ATMs, since thieves only want your money. You should always give them money and and valuables, to avoid any more serious consequences. Remember that street crime is rarely violent and is usually opportunist, so never leave your valuables unattended and don’t flash, cell phones or cameras around and you will avoid a number of issues.
Cusco is prone to various natural hazards, including flooding and landslides, as a consequence of heavy rains. Peru is in an active earthquake zone and if you are planning to visit this area, you should get familiar with volcanic activity and follow the advice of the authorities.
The Shining Path terrorist group is active in the Cusco region, so internal terrorism is possible. When it comes to global terrorism risk, attacks in Peru cannot be predicted. Tourists are not direct targets but can find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Watch out for any suspicious activity.
Cusco has also been known to have the occasional demonstration. Local people will take to the streets and protest and usually try and affects tourism as a way of being heard by the government. In general, these protests are peaceful and are not usually directed at tourists specifically. Protests can however interrupt travel plans and can affect trains and buses.
Taxi drivers are the most frequent scammers since they try to take advantage of travelers whenever they can. Pay attention to the meter and avoid being overcharged. Tourists have been targeted and robbed by bogus taxi drivers and robberies have been reported in taxis from the Cusco airport.
Cusco is not so dangerous city, but opportunistic crimes like muggings and thefts do occur.
One of the dangerous areas where you should not wander alone at night is the Plaza de Armas.
Pay attention to people trying to sell you items in the streets and keep an eye on your pockets. Pickpocketers usually work in teams with one person distracting you while the other tries to check out your pockets.
Use only licensed taxis and avoid crowds in front of the sights.
Cusco is a touristy city, and most of the locals live from tourism, so crime against tourists is frowned upon, which does not mean it cannot happen from time to time. However, you should follow the same common safety rules you usually do.
Try to minimize to minimum walking alone at night (Cusco city does not feel sketchy unlike Lima), keep an eye on your valuables, or better leave it in your hotel room, do not show off your expensive camera, and travel by radio taxi.
Cusco is not a dangerous city, but like anywhere in the world, opportunistic crimes do happen. There are numerous robberies and crimes, especially in secluded areas far from the historic center. The Plaza de Armas by day can be a very friendly place, but in the early hours of the morning, it can be a bit dangerous. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to visit it, just try not to find yourself alone at night. You have nothing to worry about as long as you are in a large group of friends or locals. It is important to pay attention to people who are trying to sell you things or those who seek your attention at all costs. This can be a tactic to distract you and steal your belongings. It is also a good idea to use only licensed taxis, as there are other unofficial ones. And contrary to the thinking of many, they continue to charge the same as the officers. As for violent crimes, these are not frequent or common, but it is better to exercise caution. Especially if you are in the district of Santiago, Belén, or the Santiago Bridge. Generally speaking, you can think of Cusco security as pretty good. The main source of income for Cusco is tourism, so you will see how the authorities take security measures all the time. But this does not mean that there are no minor crimes. The Imperial City brings together people from all over the world, making it an excellent opportunity for those seeking to take advantage of others. But you don’t have to be afraid, just be cautious. Every traveler, no matter where they go, is responsible for the care of their belongings. Therefore, we will give some recommendations and other travel tips for beginners. There are also a number of tourist and regular police within the historical center for peace of mind. As ever though, be sensible and be cautious.