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Is it safe to travel in Lima and Machu Picchu, Peru?

by Martha M.
(New Jersey, USA)


My daughter will be traveling through Lima and to Machu Picchu. Is travel in Peru safe?

I don't want to worry about my daughter but I don't have any idea and hope it is not like Mexico with all those killings and kidnappings. Should I be really worried?

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ANSWER:

Safety or security when you travel in Peru depends on where you are. It's like in the USA or a European country. Cities have a lot of crime. Small towns have much less.

Peru is a large country with varied settings.

Lima and Machu Picchu are very different. Lima is a huge city and has the crime found in other cities. Machu Picchu isn't even a town (one hotel and the site workers, etc).

So, first - Is Lima safe? Think of it this way. Is New York City a safe place to travel?

You can answer yes or no. It depends on where a person goes and what she does. Lima is like any other big city.

Your daughter needs to take normal precautions like not dressing in designer clothes or carrying expensive things, staying away from the bad sections, not going alone, avoiding people who want to "help you." She should always travel with a companion if at all possible.

Second - Is Machu Picchu safe? Machu Picchu is in the boonies and only tourists go there so as she tours it she will be safe. The hotels are mainly in Aguas Calientes nearby. There are mainly tourists and those in the tourist industry there. It exists for tourism and is isolated so it is not easy for the bad element to live there. But she should take normal precautions anyway.

She will be staying in Cusco for one or two nights at least. Since thousands of tourists pour through there every week, pickpockets and scam artists make it their home. Again, be aware of your surroundings and take normal precautions.

Other than that, your daughter will have a great time. The people are very friendly for the most part and Machu Picchu and surrounding areas are the trip of a lifetime.

For feeling safe at night when staying at a hotel, Lin and I use a portable door alarm. There are several different types. The way they work is to detect someone opening the door (or window). The type shown here has two thin blades that slip into the crack between the frames. There is a loop to slip over the door handle to keep the alarm from sliding down. When the door is opened, there is a loud shrieking sound guaranteed to give you a heart attack if you forget to disarm it.

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David (editor)


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