Peru in South America, is located on the western side of the continent, encompassing a large part of the Andes mountain range that runs the length of South America and faces the South Pacific Ocean. Peru shares its borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil, and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. What makes this country stand out among all the other countries in the world are its unsurpassed cultural diversity and history. The archaeological heritage of pre-Columbian cultures and the nexus of the ancient Inca empire attract true adventure lovers to this country. Every year it gets thousands of visitors thanks to its wanders. Lots of travelers head straight to Machu Picchu as it’s the most famous destination in the country, but there is so much more to see and do. Peru has amazing beaches and its beauty is not only about historical sites and colonial cities like Lima and Cusco. Of course, we can't forget about the natural wonders like Rainbow Mountain, Lake Titicaca, Amazon Rainforest, and the mysterious Nazca Lines.
Unfortunately, Peru is also infamous to be a quite dangerous country, for different reasons. The Media and Embassies often say it’s a dangerous country, as it’s not unusual to see violent strikes and violent protests in the cities due to dissatisfaction with the government, and pickpockets are pretty common. But if you listen to all that the media says, you would never go to Peru. They generally focus on the negative aspects of the country, they only talk about strikes, violence, protests, social problems, drugs, and poverty. Of course, we are not here to deny that these issues exist, just like every other country, Peru has its issues, yet you can travel safely throughout Peruvian territory especially if you join a tour group.
There is a current issue in Peru regarding protests and strikes, due to the arrest of ex-President Pedro Castillo. However, this is not generally directed at tourists. Most of the time Peruvians are just fighting for their rights in their country because they want better conditions of life and work, they deserve a better country and they don’t want a government that makes bad decisions. The people are calling for a general election, but this has not been addressed by the government. Protests are generally not directed at tourism and tourists are generally safe unless they get caught up in the protests by accident, or the streets and tourist destinations are closed due to the protests.
Machu Picchu and The Inca Trail have been temporarily closed as the train tracks were damaged during the protests. The Inca Trail will be closed (it is generally closed in February for maintenance) until March 2023 approximately and Machu Picchu is closed until further notice. It is expected to re-open once the train lines have been restored.
Juliaca Airport has suspended operations until at least mid-February. The airports in Arequipa and Cusco both temporarily suspended operations on January 19, until further notice. And trains in the south are all currently suspended.
Embassies are advising that you should avoid any protests or government buildings where protests are likely to take place. The current protests could spread to other parts of the country and lead to road closures, further rail suspensions, and the closure of airports. Travelers to Peru are therefore advised to monitor local social media and adhere to government advice. They should also travel with a sufficient supply of food, water, and medication, as well as local currency in cash.
Speak to your tour operator or travel provider first. The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory to “reconsider travel” due to civil unrest. The UK Foreign Office hasn’t issued any travel warnings for Peru yet, which usually means you’re still expected to travel despite the current situation. However, any reasonable travel company will let you cancel the trip or request a postponement, especially if you’ve booked a package holiday. If you’ve booked certain elements of your trip separately, you may need to check the terms and conditions of your booking for the cancellation policy. If you are on a tight schedule then it may be wise to postpone your trip to Peru until things become more stable, as travel plans may not go according to plan. If you are flexible timewise, then you can take advantage of visiting archaeological sites with a lot fewer people and be prepared for last-minute changes to plans.
Contact us here if you are uncertain about travel to Peru during the strikes and how your trip could be impacted if you plan to travel in the next few months.