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Safety in Peru - Info. Peru

Now that Peru has moved on from the political violence it suffered in the 1980s, the country is generally a safe one. Tourists are rarely victims of violent crime in Peru, but unfortunately petty crime-in particular pick-pocketing and theft-is common, and travelers are easy targets. Follow these tips for personal safety:

  • In crowds (especially in markets and on public transportation) always hold your bag close to your body and in front of you where you can see it. Most thieves work in teams: one will distract you while the other slashes your bag or picks your pocket. If you are approached by a suspicious person asking for money, directions or the time, just walk away quickly. Don't let yourself get trapped.
  • Never, ever put your bag on the floor anywhere: in restaurants, bars, buses, etc. Keep it on your lap or on the table where you can see it. Even if you have it on the floor by your feet, a quick-acting thief can quickly whisk it away without you or any of your traveling companions noticing. Time and time again, travelers have their belongings stolen this way-and only realize minutes or even hours later.
  • The less-safe areas in most cities are usually easily identifiable. They are often around bus stations and major outdoor markets. Lodging is usually less costly in these areas, but it is better to spend a few dollars more per night to get an upgrade for peace of mind. Researching the perfect spot beforehand is the best way to avoid being stuck in a neighborhood that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Do not accept food, drink, cigarettes or other items from strangers, especially on buses. They may be drugged and you’ll wake up days later without a memory or belongings. These drugs have no taste or smell, and are fine enough to be blown into your face. In bars and nightclubs, always keep a close eye on your drink.
  • There are no plainclothes cops in Peru. Ignore any person coming up to you who claims to be one, and demands to see your passport and sufficient funds. Often the “cop” will ask the same of another “foreigner” (an accomplice). Another common ploy to relieve travelers of their belongings is to distract their attention: spritzing mustard, shampoo, excrement or other goo on the victim and offer to clean it up (while cleaning out pockets).
  • Use locally produced shoulder bags so you blend in more, wearing the strap across the chest. Day and fanny packs attract thieves. In bus terminals and airports, keep a close eye on your baggage, especially at holiday times. Always keep an arm or leg through the strap. Arrive to your destination during daylight.
  • Wherever you are, avoid walking alone late at night and early in the morning: take a taxi instead. Whether you're taking a taxi at night or during the day though, always be on your guard. It is very important to take only registered taxis: people getting robbed, kidnapped or attacked in taxis is not unheard of. Ask someone at your hotel or the restaurant you're at to call you a taxi. If you must hail a taxi on the street, make sure it's an official one (the appearance of official taxis varies from one city to another, so check individual city listings for advice).
  • Make photocopies of your documents and keep them separate from the originals. Where possible, lock your valuables-passport, credit card, etc.-in the hotel safe and only venture out with a small amount of cash. If you're traveling with your valuables, keep them well-protected: ideally in a money belt under your clothes, and have a wallet or coin purse with a small amount of money within easy reach.
  • A relatively new security scam in Peru involves thieves gaining access to traveler's personal online accounts (e-mail, Facebook, bank accounts, etc.) by surreptitiously installing spyware software on public computers-for example in Internet cafés and on public computers in hotels and hostels. The thieves then use this information to impersonate the traveler and obtain money from friends and family. If you must use public access computers, be very careful to not allow the computer to save your username and/or password (it will often automatically ask you if you wish your details to be saved-always say no) and to always, always log out of any account when you have finished using it, rather than simply closing the browser window. Change your passwords frequently, and avoid using public computers to access high security accounts (such as online banking) where possible.

Check individual regions and cities for information of safety precautions to take in specific areas.

Info., Medical, Traveler Advice

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Studying Quechua in Peru, Volunteering in Peru, Photography in Peru, Population, Peru Food and Drink , When to go, Organized Tours, Central Peruvian Andes Highlights, Health in Peru and Lima Highlights.

26 Jun 2012

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