With landscapes ranging from towering mountains all the way to dense rainforest, Peru is definitely an amazing place to visit. Couple it with colonial heritage as well as the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and you have yourself one hell of a destination.

But the country is not devoid of perils. Corrupt politicians, severe weather, dangerous animals, sketchy mountain roads, insurgent groups and drug traffickers are rife; all of this may rightly have you wondering, “Is Peru safe?”

Your concern is totally understandable. To help you ease your worries, I have created this epic insider’s guide. It’s complete with the top tips of how to stay safe in Peru. We’re all about travelling smart at The Broke Backpacker, so I want to help you out with some major pointers that’ll keep your trip trouble-free.

There’s a whole lot of ground to cover. This includes whether or not it’s safe to travel to Peru right now (there are some political issues currently underway), whether it’s safe for a family trip, and even if it’s safe to drive. Peru is a growingly complex country so there will lots more besides these.

You may be a first-time solo traveller worried about a solo trip to Peru. Maybe you’ve heard how amazing the cuisine is and you’re wondering if the food in Peru is safe. You may just be anxious about Peru in general.

Don’t worry. This insider guide has you covered; vamos.

There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, as things change quickly. The question of “Is Peru Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on who you ask.

The information in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practice common sense, you will probably have a wonderful and safe trip to Peru.

If you see any outdated information, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. Otherwise, stay safe friends!

Updated December 2023

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    a girl exploring a lake in the mountains of Peru
    Welcome! But how safe is Peru?
    Photo: @amandaadraper

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    Is Peru Safe to Visit Right Now?

    5,275,000 international visitors were welcomed in Peru last 2019, according to the data gathered from the World Bank. Tourists had a generally positive stay.

    Peru is definitely a popular stomping ground on the South American backpacking trail. Who doesn’t want to see Machu Picchu, right?

    Because of all the totally cool things you can see, do and visit here, tourism is big news.  Adventure tourism, beaches, history and a big helping of eco-tourism make it a perfect destination for everybody.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not without its issues, though. Crime happens, as it does everywhere, but in Peru, you’ll likely be targeted BECAUSE you’re a tourist. Visitors are often seen as wealthy.

    Theft, mugging, pickpocketing in crowded places, as well as corruption (from the police to even tour agents), make it a potentially scary place to visit. So do drug trafficking gangs – and political demonstrations that turn violent.

    Travelling smart is going to increase your chances of staying safe. Not looking like a complete tourist will help you NOT be a target of street crime. Being careful of your surroundings is also going to pay off too – literally.

    But you still might want to pick when you travel wisely. The rainy season in Peru can be devastating. We’re talking floods, power outages and landslides. All are pretty unsafe if you ask me. Try not to travel between November and April.

    Aside from the politics of Peru, it’s pretty much as safe a time as any to visit. Visiting Lima, in particular, has become a lot safer in recent years – it used to see a higher proportion of the country’s overall crime rate.

    Check out our detailed where to stay guide for Peru so you can start your trip right!

    Peru Travel
    So, is Peru dangerous?

    Safest Places in Peru

    When choosing where to stay in Peru, a bit of research and caution is essential. You don’t want to end up in a sketchy area and ruin your trip. To help you out, I’ve listed the safest areas to visit in Peru below.


    Arequipa is one of the safest places in Peru. It offers a laid-back alternative to Lima and Cusco, making it a great spot for families. Whilst caution should be taken everywhere in Peru, Arequipa has a safer atmosphere, letting you relax a little bit more.


    Often considered a smaller Lima, Chiclayo benefits from the great nightlife and culinary scene associated with Peru’s metropolitan areas without the stifling crowds. This easily makes it one of the coolest AND safest places to stay in the country!


    Peru really is just one big adventure destination – but I love Huancayo for the off-the-beaten-path feel! As a relatively unknown destination, Huancayo is also inexpensive and safe – making it a great option for adventurous budget travellers backpacking through Peru.

    Places to Avoid in Peru

    Unfortunately, not all places in Peru are safe. You need to be careful and aware of your surroundings pretty much anywhere you go in the world, and the same goes for visiting Peru. To help you out, I’ve listed a couple of no-go or caution areas below: 

    • Sacsayhuaman ruins – this area is known for muggings after dark. Avoid walking outside at night! 
    • Huallaga Valley – Cocaine is still being produced here… a real no-brainer to stay away from.
    • Lima (at least certain parts) – while I personally don’t think that Lima’s safety is as much of a big deal as everyone seems to claim, it does pay off to be more careful when visiting the city.

    Keeping Your Money Safe in Peru

    One of the most common things to happen to you whilst travelling is losing your money. And let’s face it: the most annoying way for this to actually occur is when it’s stolen from you.

    Petty crime is pretty much a problem all over the world.

    The best solution? Get a money belt.

    Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
    Active Roots Security Belt

    Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

    It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

    Hide Yo’ Money!
    Avoid these dudes – the notorious lords of crime in Peru

    15 Top Safety Tips for Travelling to Peru

    Many tourists visit Peru and have a trouble-free time! It’s all about being aware of your surroundings, we’d say. But to get into more detail here’s a round-up of the best travel tips for staying safe in Peru.

    1. Don’t wear flashy clothes, accessories or jewellery – looking rich is going to make you a target.
    2. Try not to look lost – even if you are! Looking like a tourist is also going to make you a target…
    3. Wandering around at night is a no-no – ESPECIALLY by yourself, ESPECIALLY in a major cities.
    4. Be aware of techniques used by thieves.
    5. Stick to well-trodden routes if you’re near the Ecuadorian border – because of landmines.
    6. Learn some local lingo – that’s Spanish, of course.
    7. Use ATMs during the day… preferably INSIDE a bank – these are hotspots for muggings.
    8. Always keep an emergency stash of cash – Never keep all your cards/ currency in one place. And hide it all from thieves with a hidden money belt.
    9. Only drink what you buy and watch it when you’re out – drink spiking happens.
    10. Be careful with ayahuasca ceremonies – proceed with caution.
    11. Stay away from protests and demonstrations – these can get ugly.
    12. If someone wants your money, give it to them – in the event of a mugging, just hand it over.
    13. Be vigilant in the main coca growing regions – steer well clear.
    14. Don’t trek by yourself – having a buddy is 10x better.
    15. Pick a good, well-reviewed tour agent -it’s not worth saving money on bad, unsafe trips.
    16. Take a good medical kit with you – you never know when you might need it!
    17. Watch the news – politics can change, a natural disaster may happen; it’s best to know!

    All it takes to be secure is a little bit of good judgment, some research, some caution and general attention paid to what’s going on around you. Case closed.

    Is Peru Safe to Travel Alone?

    You’ll be pleased to know that Peru is safe to travel alone. It’s actually quite popular.

    Don’t worry, as long as you travel smart you’re going to love solo travelling here! Here are my top tips for solo travellers in Peru…

    • Make friends! Lima, Pisco, Arequipa, Cusco – you’ll find ample opportunities at these places in the local hostels and meet some awesome people to travel with. Safety in numbers, folks.
    • Plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. If you’re worried about traveling by yourself, or the safety of anywhere you’re going, the best way to stay safe is to PLAN.
    • Being open-minded is a good way to travel solo, albeit with an air of caution, of course. But being closed up and keeping yourself to yourself isn’t what solo travel is about.
    • Learning some Spanish will open up the country to you. Not only is learning a new language fun, but it goes down well with the locals too.
    • It’s important also to just be alert to what’s going on around you. Like, someone could suddenly fall over in front of you, or drop something, or try to give you something – chances are these sorts of things will involve a scam. 
    • Pay attention to government warnings. Check weather and heightened crime warnings in the area.
    • Don’t walk around at night. This is never a good idea!
    • Never leave food or drink unattended. NO ONE is safe from spiking. Yes boys, even you.
    • Check out reviews for hostels. The best hostels in Peru aren’t always the cheapest option.

    Being open to meeting new people but listening to your gut is probably going to make your trip not only safe but also one you’ll likely never forget!

    Is Peru Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

    Travelling solo is one thing, but travelling solo as a FEMALE is a whole other ball game. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be more to consider when you’re travelling alone as a woman.

    However, Peru is pretty much safe for solo female travellers, as long as you keep these safety tips in mind.

    • Don’t walk around by yourself at night, especially in Lima. Around the world, women by themselves are targets – particularly at night. Just don’t do it.
    • Get yourself a local or travel sim cardThis is ALWAYS a good idea. Let people know things!
    • Stay at well-reviewed hostels in Peru. Make sure reviews mention it’s good for solo travellers and check to see if they have female-only dorms at that rate. Remember that a hostel is basically just a genuinely great place to meet new people.
    • Machismo is part of Peruvian culture. Street harassment in Peru does happen. Usually in the form of catcalling. Also, women in Peru don’t usually go out to bars, so just bear in mind that because you’re breaking the norms of Peruvian society you’ll get some attention from locals.
    • When catcalling does happen, ignore it. 
    • There are no set ‘rules’ on what to wear to not get attention, but the less revealing, the better.
    • Think up ways to curb sexual advances. You’re “married,” for example.
    • Be careful about giving out your information. No matter how friendly they may seem, the risk is real.
    • Stock up on sanitary products. Guess what? You won’t be able to find those out in the sticks.
    snowy mountains in peru
    I met so many solo female travellers in Peru!
    Photo: @amandaadraper

    While there’s the very real issue of chauvinism, which can be intimidating at times, all-in-all Peru is still safe for solo female travellers. Peruvian society, in general, will be protective of females travelling by themselves. Plenty of women backpack through Peru without issue.

    Where to Start Your Travels in Peru

    White City
    peru - Arequipa
    White City


    Arequipa is a safe, affordable and laid back place in Peru that fits every traveller’s need. Attractions and adventures can be found inside and outside of the White City.

    Is Peru Safe for Families?

    Peru is an amazing place to travel with children. That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be safe, but plenty of families DO make the trip to this fascinating country and love it.

    That said, it’s probably a better place to visit with older children who can appreciate the historical sights. Trekking around in the mountains is going to be HARD on little legs, and even harder on you if you plan on carrying them. Take the Machu Picchu hike for example – it’s definitely worth the visit, however, it’ll require quite a bit of fitness.

    To help limit stress and keep the whole family happy, consider the following tips, which are catered specifically for managing children.

    • Peru can get hot! Exposure to the heat is going to be something you’ll have to consider.
    • Altitude sickness can be a mortal problem and it’s really NOT recommended to take children under 3 years of age to higher elevations. You need to treat altitude sickness seriously.
    • In the Peruvian jungle, yellow fever is a risk. Really small children, we’re talking under 9 months, shouldn’t travel here at all (since the yellow fever vaccine isn’t given until children are over this age).
    • Malaria is also a danger, but you can take precautions against this.
    • DON’T let your children pet any street dogs, or go near them, for that matter. This is NOT safe!
    • Staying at an upmarket resort is usually safer and helps to limit a lot of the aforementioned problems.
    a stray dog sitting near a bush in peru
    The strays in Peru are cute tho
    Photo: @amandaadraper

    If you’re here for adventure and you want your children to share it, then I’d say Peru is safe to travel for families. Ultimately, it’ll be safer and LESS stressful the older they are, maybe 7 years and upwards.

    In Peruvian culture, family, and especially children, is very important. Needless to say, this is going to help you get to know locals all that much easier and make your time even more enjoyable in Peru.

    Getting Around Peru Safely

    There are many ways of travelling around Peru, but some are safer/easier than others.

    Is Driving in Peru Safe?

    Whilst you CAN hire a car and use it in the main cities, I wouldn’t.

    The rainy season can cause landslides and flooding making roads completely inaccessible. Oh, and did I mention corrupt police stops? They happen, a lot.

    The short answer is: no. Driving in Peru is not safe.

    Are Taxis/Uber in Peru Safe?

    All real taxis in Peru have a taxi sign on top of the car. Look at the license plate tooIt should be all white with a yellow bar on the top.

    Before you even get in the taxi, agree on a priceHaggling is okay, so go for it. In conclusion, taxis in Peru are safe so long as you take the necessary precautions.

    Uber’s available in LimaThat’s it. Is uber safe in Peru? Yeah, but not great.

    They’re often more expensive than taxis and the cars they use are pretty shabby too. Better choices would be alternative rideshare apps like Cabify.

    Public Transportation in Peru

    I wouldn’t say that buses in Peru are safe. Sometimes, however, bus travel is unavoidable if you want to get where you’re going.

    City buses are the main mode of public transport for most urban locals. There are also many long-distance buses. Make sure to do your research on these – seriously – as accidents happen often. 

    There are also trains in Peru. These follow high-altitude tracks and are pretty cool and fairly safe. The main routes are Cusco to Machu Picchu, Cusco to Puno, and in the north, Lima to Huancayo. 

    Cycling in Peru

    Cycling and bikepacking in Peru is actually quite safe – and popular too! Bike lanes (ciclovias) exist in some popular tourist areas in Lima.

    Are taxis safe in Peru
    Photo: Daniell Veramendi (WikiCommons)

    So there you have it. Taxis aren’t the safest, but the best option in my opinion. Beats walking, I guess.

    Crime in Peru

    The US Travel Advisory for Peru suggests exercising increased caution when visiting Peru (Level 2). It says on the site that crime in Peru, petty crime and theft, carjackings and some violent crimes such as assault are common in Peru.

    Whilst this is true, it’s important to remember that tourists are seldom a target of violent crime. Petty theft and scams in Peru are what you should be watching out for.

    Of course, it goes without saying that crime in Peru increases at night time. So if you’re worried, don’t go wandering after nightfall, ESPECIALLY if you’re under the influence.

    I am personally from the UK, so I like to use the UK GOV site to check safety measures when travelling. No matter where you are from, I would recommend using many different country’s sites to get a good idea of what you can expect.

    The UK GOV site for Peru suggests that following laws in Peru is extremely important. Especially regarding drug laws! Another top tip is to always carry an ID with you.

    It’s important to do your own research before visiting Peru AND to keep up to date with the current situation whilst in Peru. Check with the Peruvian government and local authorities on crime statistics, monitor local media, and seek local advice. If you are exposed to crime in Peru, contact local police.

    If you’re planning on heading to Peru for an ayahuasca trip, be very f*kin careful.

    Travelers having a flower bath in ayahuasca retreat.
    Delicious-ey goodness at an ayahuasca ceremony!

    What to Pack For Your Peru Trip

    Everyone’s packing list is going to look a little different, but here are a few things I would never want to travel to Peru without…


    Hanging Laundry Bag

    Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

    Gifts for backpackers

    Head Torch

    A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.

    Yesim eSIM

    SIM card

    Yesim stands as a premier eSIM service provider, catering specifically to the mobile internet needs of travellers.


    Monopoly Deal

    Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

    Pacsafe belt

    Money Belt

    This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

    Get Insured BEFORE Visiting Peru

    Before you set off, get some good travel insurance. It’s pretty much a no-brainer in the modern day.

    ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

    They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

    SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

    Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

    FAQs about Staying Safe in Peru

    So, how dangerous is Peru? Well, here are some quick answers to common questions about certain aspects of safety in Peru.

    So, How Safe is Peru?

    Yes, I’d say Peru can be very safe – IF you’ve done your research and keep our travel safety tips in mind. If you go out looking for trouble in Peru, you’ll definitely find it. However, it can also be avoided very easily.

    The best way to stay safe in Peru is to simply travel smartly. If you listened to me, then you will be able to dodge the shay taxi drivers, the thieves, the gang violence, the political unrest, all of it.

    By covering your own back and having the proper security nets in place, you will be able to enjoy backpacking in Peru even more enjoyable. Just keep hydrated, don’t push yourself, meet good people, and have fun.

    Enjoy Peru and Machu Picchu, folks!

    Looking for more info on traveling to Peru?

    Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!