Despite what you may have heard, Peru is not a country that has a lot of violent crime. There was a time when terrorism created a dangerous environment, and to be sure poverty has also created a problem with petty crime in the larger cities. But in general, tourists and travelers to Peru are not considered to be in anymore danger than visitors to any other developing country.
As mentioned, petty crime is something to be concerned with. Especially in the larger urban areas, or anywhere that tourists and travelers pass frequently; one should always be alert and aware of the surroundings and the people in it. This includes bus stations, markets and anywhere large crowds gather. There are things you can do to reduce the chances of becoming a victim while traveling in Peru. These tips are meant strictly to be preventative measures, not to give undue concern or fear of traveling.
Peru Safety Tip #1: Don’t wear jewelry in an ostentatious or show-offish manner. This includes watches, bracelets, necklaces and other fine or expensive items. Avoid temptation by not wearing them or keeping them covered.
Peru Safety Tip #2: Keep your camera put away. Only take it out to snap the necessary shots. Walking around with it hanging from your neck isn’t a good idea.
Peru Safety Tip #3: Carry a copy of your documents with you at all times. If possible, leave your passport in a safe place like the safe at your hotel and carry a photocopy with you while you’re out and about.
Peru Safety Tip #4: Don’t carry all your money with you. Only carry as much cash as necessary at any one time. If you need to carry a large sum, have it put away in your shoe or in a hidden pocket or bag and carry a smaller quantity in a convenient pocket. It’s best to use your ATM to take out just enough money for each day.
Peru Safety Tip #5: Speaking of ATMs, When possible, use ATMs inside banks or grocery stores rather than machines out on the street. Watch out for anyone who may be following your actions too intently.
Peru Safety Tip #6: When traveling by car or taxi, don’t carry valuable items inside the car with you. Instead, place items in the trunk. This is especially true on the road coming from the airport into Lima. Thieves are known to wait along this route and break windows to snatch items from inside cars.
Peru Safety Tip #7: Although it should go without saying, don’t let your luggage or hand baggage out of your sight. Make sure to keep an eye on baggage while paying taxis, for plane tickets or settling the hotel bill. A quick moment of inattention is all it takes to lose everything.
Peru Safety Tip #8: On bus trips, keep any carry-on baggage within your reach – Don’t use the overhead bins where items can be easily snatched. And of course, you should never for any reason agree to carry baggage or sealed packages for someone else on a bus trip or flight.