Is Peru safe for Americans?

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Peru, a South American country known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, offers American tourists an array of unforgettable experiences. From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu to the bustling city of Lima, Peru is a destination that appeals to a wide range of travelers. While the country is generally considered safe and welcoming to visitors, it is essential to be aware of potential risks and challenges that may arise during your visit. In this article, we will discuss the primary concerns for American tourists in Peru and provide guidance on how to navigate these challenges. Before traveling here remember to purchase travel insurance.

Petty Crime

Although Peru has a relatively low rate of violent crime, petty crime such as pickpocketing or theft can still occur, particularly in urban areas and popular tourist spots. To minimize the risk of theft, it is essential to:

Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution in crowded or unfamiliar areas

Secure your belongings and avoid displaying expensive items or large amounts of cash

Use reputable transportation options, such as registered taxis or rideshare services

Keep copies of important documents, such as passports and credit cards, in a separate location

Altitude Sickness

Many popular tourist destinations in Peru, such as Cusco and Machu Picchu, are located at high altitudes. Altitude sickness can affect travelers who ascend too quickly, causing symptoms such as headache, nausea, and shortness of breath. To minimize the risk of altitude sickness, it is essential to:

Ascend gradually, allowing your body time to acclimatize to the higher elevation

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water

Avoid alcohol and heavy meals during the first few days at high altitude

Consult a doctor before your trip about medications that can help prevent altitude sickness

Health Risks

Travelers to Peru may be exposed to certain health risks, such as waterborne illnesses, vector-borne diseases, and foodborne infections. To minimize these risks, it is essential to:

Visit a travel health clinic before departure to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations and medications, including malaria prophylaxis for certain regions

Practice good hygiene and avoid consuming tap water or uncooked food from street vendors

Use insect repellent and protective clothing to minimize the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever and Zika virus

Outdoor Activities and Safety

Peru's diverse landscapes offer exciting opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife watching. However, these activities can pose risks if travelers are not properly prepared or aware of their surroundings. When engaging in outdoor activities, it is essential to:

Choose appropriate routes and activities based on your fitness level and experience

Check weather conditions and follow local safety guidelines

Carry necessary safety equipment, such as a map, compass, and first aid kit

Inform someone of your travel plans and expected return time

Road Safety

Driving in Peru can present challenges due to poorly maintained roads, erratic driving behavior, and limited traffic enforcement. To minimize risks while driving in Peru, it is essential to:

Familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations

Drive defensively and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles

Avoid driving at night in rural areas, where lighting may be limited

Use a reliable GPS navigation system to avoid getting lost


While Peru is a beautiful and generally safe destination for American tourists, it is essential to be aware of the unique challenges and risks associated with visiting this diverse country. By taking appropriate precautions and staying informed, you can mitigate these risks and fully enjoy the natural beauty, history, and cultural experiences Travel insurance is a must for anyone who spends hundreds or even thousands on a trip.