Are you dreaming of a trip to Peru? Feel free to make your travel plans because the short answer is: Yes, it is safe to travel to Peru! Is Machu Picchu open? Yes, Machu Picchu is open! Peru is one of the most popular travel destinations in South America. Peru is a spectacular country that attracts travelers, backpackers, and tourists. While tourism was on its way to an almost complete recovery after the pandemic, there was a hitch in December. Because of the unstable political situation between December 2022 and February 2023, many foreign countries gave Peru ‘negative travel advice.’ Due to social unrest, the Peruvian government decided to close Machu Picchu from January 21, 2023, to February 11, 2023, due to ongoing civil unrest in Peru and to protect the Inca legacy. However, Machu Picchu is now fully open again, and hundreds of travelers enter daily. Start planning your trip! Peru is available again.
Is Peru safe to travel?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Peru. After ongoing social conflicts and strikes in southern Peru (Cusco, Arequipa, Puno) and Lima earlier this year, the situation is calm, and tourism has returned to Peru! Cusco organized a big event on Saturday, March 12, 2023, to celebrate ‘the return of tourism’ after the positive number of the first half of March, and the Peruvian government launched an extensive international campaign called ‘Peru Ahora” to reactive tourism.
Peru Ahora (Peru Now) will bring Peru back to the global spotlight as a diverse, safe, and competitive destination and was received with great enthusiasm. Peru wants to enhance the positive image that is characteristic of Peru and inspire tourists to travel to Peru to discover the country through its wide range of experiences, culture, landscapes, and sensations along its extensive coastline, including spectacular Andean landscapes and an exuberant Amazon jungle.
Why was Machu Picchu closed?
Machu Picchu was temporarily closed from January 21, 2023, until February 11, 2023. Due to Peru’s political crisis and civil unrest, this extreme measure guaranteed everyone’s safety and security. During the first week of February, the Ministry of Culture announced in a statement that they would officially reopen the historic site, Peru’s biggest tourist attraction. During the first two weeks after the reopening of Machu Picchu on February 15, the Inca citadel has already received 12,000 tourists, including locals and domestic and foreign visitors.
Is the Inca trail open?
Yes, the Inca Trail is open. On March 1, the Inca trail reopened after a month of maintenance in February (this happens every year), and trekking companies in Cusco are offering the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, and the Inca Jungle trek to Machu Picchu. You can also make the day trips to Rainbow Mountain, or the Humantay Tour (this was even possible in January and February). Also, the situation in Arequipa has calmed, so you can travel to the white city and travel between Lima and Arequipa. Check the overland transport options between Arequipa en Cusco before you plan your trip, and consider a plane. In addition, jungle tours are offered nearby Cusco (Puerto Maldonado, Manu) and in Iquitos, up on the north. Also, Northern Peru is safe to travel to.
If you have plans to travel to Peru in 2023, start planning your trip now! No further problems are expected at this time. However, only the situation around the airport of Juliaca near Puno has yet to be fully resolved. You may experience some hindrances if you want to travel overland from Peru to Bolivia. Contact Dos Manos Travel for updated information!
Plan your trip to Peru!
This might be your chance if you still need to plan your vacations for this year! Usually, the Inca Trail, for instance, is already fully booked for most of the year, and if you didn’t book your ticket 8 – 9 before, you used to be too late. Not this year! Explore Peru before massive tourism returns, enjoy the lower tourist numbers and the space to admire the culture and nature, and chat with the locals. You can travel to Peru again this year and make dreams true!
Recommendations for planning a trip to Peru:
- Book your tours with a local agency in Peru (instead of at Viator, GetYourGuide, or other prominent international agencies offering trips in Peru). Why? Because they also work with local agencies in Cusco, why wouldn’t you book yourself directly? Apart from saving money, when you are in direct contact with an operator in Cusco, it is easier to ask questions and contact them in case any issues arise. In addition, they can inform you about the day-to-day situation. The locals in Peru navigate the country safely every day and can give you insider advice to have a memorable and safe trip.
- Read Peru news. We recommend you read the news and stay updated on Peru’s situation. You can also consult a reputable travel agency or tour operator for up-to-date information on safety and security measures in Peru.
- Check the situation in specific areas you plan to visit to better understand the current situation. In case any issues arise, it’s better to avoid areas with protests and leave if it’s safe to. It’s not dangerous, but you want to save yourself the hassle. Pay attention to the signs and try to be ‘the hero.’
- Budget (some) extra time (and money). The worst thing that may happen is missing a flight or a train (last December, some people got stuck in Aguas Calientes). This will not likely happen again but plan an extra day before your international flight back home. Additionally, there may be occasional protests or strikes that can disrupt travel plans.
- Book your Train and Machu Picchu tickets ahead of time. Last year during high season, Machu Picchu tickets used to be sold out several weeks upfront; Inca Trail tickets are ‘always’ sold out a few months in advance (except for the months November – March; during these months, you can be lucky and find tickets a few weeks and sometimes even a few days ahead). Also, train tickets need to be booked in advance, as you must ‘match’ them carefully with the timeslots of your Machu Picchu ticket.
What happened in Peru in December and January?
The protests started in early December 2022 when the Peruvian Congress decided to remove former President Pedro Castillo from office because he attempted to illegally dissolve Congress to retain control before an impeachment vote. Castillo was taken into custody (until now).
Many Peruvians – especially people in the countryside who voted for Castillo – were furious. They demanded new elections, a new constitution, and Castillo’s release. People’s anger over social inequality and the increasing cost of living, especially in the country’s impoverished rural areas, is the main reason for the social protest.
In the meanwhile, Castillo’s vice president Dina Boluarte took over as president after Castillo’s imprisonment. Since the first social protests that started on 7 December 2022, at least 50 people, including minors, have died, and dozens – including civilians and police – have been injured due to the repression of demonstrations. The State of emergency was declared on 15 December, 2022. Soon, Amnesty International demanded the Peruvian State conduct an independent investigation into the (possible) human rights violation in Peru.
Since the reopening of Machu Picchu in mid-February 2023, tourism has returned to Peru. The government of Boluarte has ‘cleaned’ the roads, and the mayor road blocks near Ica, in and around Arequipa and Cusco have disappeared. So you can travel now to Peru without further problems.
Can you travel to Peru now?
Can you travel to Peru now? Yes, traveling around Peru is generally safe and reliable for all travelers, including (female) solo travelers. Peru is considered a relatively safe country to travel to when you take the usual precautions when traveling to any South American country. As with any destination, it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks, just be cautious in certain areas and avoid dangerous zones and neighborhoods. Overall, if you take the necessary precautions and stay informed, there is no reason to believe that travel to Peru in 2023 would be any less safe than in previous years. Peru is a phenomenal place to travel, with awe-inspiring scenery, dynamic cities, and friendly people.
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