Peru, home to world wonders like Machu Picchu and the Peruvian Amazon, has long been high on the bucket list of many travellers. Whether you want to hike the renowned Inca Trail or sample some of the world’s best restaurants in Lima, an adventure to Peru is a true delight. However, Peru has been in the news recently due to civil unrest, leaving many nervous visitors unsure about what to do next. Is it safe to travel to Peru?
We’re glad to report that yes, Peru is a safe and welcoming destination, with local businesses eager to welcome back international visitors.
Here’s what you need to know about safety and travelling to Peru in 2023.
What has been happening in Peru?
In December 2022, former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo was impeached by Congress and removed from power in what has been described as a political coup. While Castillo’s departure was the catalyst for protests across Peru, the unrest has been building over time, with many unhappy with Peru’s current fractured political party system and pushing for change.
Castillo is from a rural area of the country, with his departure from power also spurring resentment over the treatment of many Indigenous Peruvian groups, mobilising them to take action. However, frustrations in the country are also related to the state of the economy and inflation, access to food, and employment, with regional governments not always utilising their budgets to provide all of the necessary services for local communities.
As a result of the protests, Peru saw roadblocks, airport closures, and temporary closures of tourist destinations like Machu Picchu. This led many travellers to wonder, ‘Is it safe to travel to Peru?’.
Yes! Peru is now fully open again and visitors from all over the world are welcome.
Many of the protest strategies, which included paying protestors or fining community members who did not attend, didn’t create immediate change. As the protests started to lose some of their backing, the protests also slowed, and the roadblocks began to be removed. Many now believe that the government is trying to do more to meet the social and economic needs of the people and widespread protests are highly unlikely to reoccur.
Is Peru safe to visit?
Yes, is it safe to visit Peru and tourism has returned to normal. Airports, hotels, cultural sites, and restaurants are open and ready to share the wonders of the country with visitors. While visitors should always be cautious in terms of securing valuables and taking care in new environments, the protests are over and now is actually one of the best times to visit Peru, as tourist numbers haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels – meaning fewer crowds in places like Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.
Chimu’s Product Manager Emma McCormick recently visited Peru and was excited to see the country blossoming after the pandemic. “I felt really safe when I was in Peru. Our Chimu guests stay in Barranco and Miraflores which are both more upmarket areas of Lima and cater well to tourists.”
However, as with any country you may visit, isolated protests or changes to an itinerary are always possible. As Peruvian experts, Chimu Adventures has on the ground staff that are constantly monitoring the situation and are easily able to adjust trips if need be, ensuring you have an incredible adventure in Latin America.
Is Machu Picchu open?
Understandably, many tourists visit Peru for the phenomenal cultural experiences of the UNESCO World Heritage site Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Due to the protests and subsequent road closures, the Machu Picchu Citadel and Inca Trail Network were temporarily closed for a few weeks, but reopened on February 15, 2023.
It has since remained open and there is no indication that it will be shut down again, so travellers can plan their trips with confidence and security.
Note that advance entry tickets are required for visiting, but Chimu’s Signature South America itineraries that visit Machu Picchu always include your admission tickets, local guide, and transport.
Machu Picchu is considered a very safe area to visit, although, from a safety perspective, it’s important to be aware of the altitude sickness and to always take care when hiking and ensure you have the proper gear, with some of the Inca Trail hikes offering steep inclines and uneven terrain. In Cusco, you may be approached by hawkers, but a polite ‘no thanks’ is fine. Tourist areas like Cusco and Machu Picchu depend on tourism for their livelihood, so the local government and tourism operators ensure their community stays as safe as possible.
Emma’s insider tip for travelling in Peru: “Having a guide really does help, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. They can give you advice about the safest areas. This is especially true in the city centre in Lima – it’s nice to have a guide as it can be quite busy.”
It’s an exciting time for Peru, says McCormick. “Tourism is starting to come back now though. All of the guides and hotel staff etc. were genuinely happy to have tourists there.
You definitely don’t feel discriminated against as a tourist in Peru and there are so many options of things to do and places to eat and explore!”
If you’re dreaming of a Peruvian adventure, Chimu Adventures are happy to help! We offer several Signature South America itineraries to Peru, with guaranteed and flexible departure dates, local guides, and optional add-ons to customise your trip.
Or, our experienced Destination Specialists have travelled extensively and are glad to answer any of your questions about safety in Peru and planning your trip. Contact us now to get started!
Peru safety tips
- As with many places in Latin America, there is a chance of theft and petty crime in Peru which is usually opportunistic. You can reduce your risk with common sense – keep a sharp eye on your valuables, avoid flashing cash or credit cards, and try not to walk alone in the evenings in major cities in areas where you may feel uneasy.
- It’s always useful to check on the travel advisory to Peru with SmartTraveller, or with the guidelines from your home country, ensuring you’re up to date on the current situation on the ground.
- It can help to travel with a local guide or tour operator and ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance (which you’ll need anyway if you’re travelling onward to Antarctica!)