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Is it safe to travel to Peru right now?

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 04-03-2022

Peru has definitely suffered during the Covid 19 pandemic, as have many South American destinations. however, the most important touristic sites, such as Machu Picchu, are now fully open for tourism. COVID-19 cases have shown a steady decline in the last few months, and  Peru is starting to see an ease of restrictions. This is excellent news for anyone travelling to Peru.

Airport attendant

The entrance requisites include, showing proof of your full vaccination card (virtual or physical) OR a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of your departure flight. You will be asked to wear double masks or a surgical KN95 mask on flights and in enclosed places such as shopping malls, banks and public buildings.

Masked tourists

Machu Picchu

Peru has taken some serious measures and established strict protocols to ensure a visit to the Inca site of Machu Picchu is as safe as possible. Especially since Peru got the Safe travel seal from the World Travel and Tourism Council. Over the past few months, cities such as Lima,Cusco, Ica, and Arequipa reduced the capacity at their main attractions, restaurants, and transports, making all of these safer for visitors. All tour operators must follow strict protocols to get permission and offer their touristic services and social distancing is being advised. Face shields are no longer required, however certain services such as the train are no longer including snacks and meals on board.
For the most up-to-date information, travel restrictions, safety requirements, protocols, and recommendations about COVID-19 in Peru, go to this page. https://www.gob.pe/coronavirus

Empty Machu Picchu

Security in Peru

Peru is the third biggest country in South America and is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is the home of ancient ancestral traditions, diverse culture, and impressive nature and biodiversity. When visiting Peru, you can appreciate how diverse each region is, not only with its  geography and nature but also culturally. Like many other countries in developing destinations, the region’s beauty and uniqueness are countered by inequality and lack of investment. Peru´s economy has certainly suffered during the past 2 years  and his has led toa rise in petty crime rates, such as theft and scams, especially  in the larger cities. The most experienced travellers will understand this well and not be too concerned. It is always a good idea however to pack a little “savvy” during your visit. Here are some helpful recommendations on your visit to Peru as well as most other parts of the world.

Peruvian police force

1. Avoid walking alone at night on dark streets. Use the same logic as in any other place in the world! 

2. Don’t flaunt valuable items!  If going for a walk around town or using public transport, be sensible and avoid showing off expensive items such as watches, jewellery, laptops and cameras. 

3. Be careful of pickpockets! Especially in built up areas, bus stations and markets. Don’t leave your bags unattended or on the back of your chair and take them with you, wherever you go.

4. Choose a reputable tour operator.  Even if this means paying a little extra, this is always the best way to travel. Reading reviews on trip advisor can help you with this decision.

Sacred Valley of the Incas

Is Peru safe for family vacations?

In general, Peru is a safe country to travel with children. People are kind, the landscapes are truly stunning and the learning experiences are culturally enriching and fascinating. Many families travel to Peru, some more adventurous than others however, there are few basics to remember. For example, talk to your doctor before taking babies under 2-year-old to high elevation. Book in advance with a reputable tour operator and make sure that all activities you book are suitable for the younger members of the family.

 Father and son travelling

Is it safe to travel to Peru alone? 

The general answer is yes, single travellers don´t usually have too many issues. It is recommendable to learn some Spanish before your travel, a little goes a long way, when trying to get around Peru. 

Female travellers

Peru is generally safe for female travellers. Women will however, get more unwanted attention, such as dealing with wolf whistling and cat calls. Women should be prudent if alone at night, you may be seen as an easy target for thieves; also, if you are at the bar, you should never leave your drink unattended.

Female tourist in Machu Picchu

 How safe is the water and food in Peru?

In some countries, it is appropriate to drink tap water. Unfortunately, this is not an option in Peru. Make sure you boil the tap water before drinking it at least for 1 minute. In general, the tap water is loaded with limescale and is detectable on drinking, even when boiled.  If you are staying at hotels, we recommend bringing a refillable bottle with you to stock up on water from their “bidon” of purified water, and avoid the use of plastics.

Picarones street seller

Peruvian food is famous worldwide for a  reason! It is delicious! You will see many cafés, restaurants, bars and street food with different plates on offer. Even though it could look fantastic, proceed with caution, especially with uncooked foods. For most Peruvians, street food is no problem and if you plan to stay in Peru for any length of time go ahead. If you are only visiting for a short time, untreated street snacks could lead to unwanted stomach issues, affecting your travel plans. The best way to experience Peruvian Cuisine is to ask for recommendations from your local guides, friends, or travel specialists. If you know you have stomach problems while traveling or have a sensitive stomach, only order raw food or fresh salads in more upscale restaurants.

street food

Is it safe to use public transportation or taxi? 

In Lima, traveling by public transportation could be an interesting experience. The system has improved in the last few years, and using the Metropolitano or the Corredor are both safe options. In other regions of Peru, public transportation can be a cheap way to get from A to B as long as you are up for an adventure. Combis and colectivos are an experience, however make sure you are super ware of your valuables if you choose to use one of these options.

Luckily for everyone, you can now use taxi apps in major cities,  starting with the most famous ones, such as Uber. It’s generally safe, but of course, you need to be careful and make sure you always check the route. Grabbing a taxi in the street might be difficult if you don’t speak Spanish, if you want to give it a try, just make sure it has a visible taxi company sign.

Authorized taxi plate

COVID-19 update: all taxis should have a separating transparent wall between driver and passengers. They should also only allow two to three passengers per car. 

 Is travel insurance necessary?

Life has taught us to expect the unexpected! This could range from the amazing and fun, to the downright terrible depending on your attitude and sometimes pure luck! There are certain things you cannot control when travelling in Peru, so opting for good travel insurance policy is the responsible thing to do.  It will be extremely helpful if accidents happen and if you lose something of value or if you have issues with flights or cancellations, especially post pandemic. Also make sure your policy covers Covid 19 related illnesses.

The perfect camping spot

Are there any unsafe destinations in Peru? 

If you are visiting big cities such as Lima, Cusco, or Arequipa, you should pay extra attention in crowded places as they are a popular spot for pickpockets or scammers offering services.
In the Amazon Rainforest, we always recommend booking your stay at a lodge which is the safest experience. Book in advance and avoid visiting without planning, particularly if you are travelling to Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.

poor neighbourhood

In summary:

Peru is a safe and fascinating place to visit, hether it is with your family, alone, or with a group of family and friends. Always follow your guide’s recommendations. The main advice is to inform yourself, having more information will always make you safer in Peru!  Happy and positive travels!

Cusco take off!