How to stay safe while traveling in Peru
How to stay safe while traveling in Peru. From the friendliness of it’s people, to the natural beauty and range of activities — Peru captivates it’s travelers. To ensure you make the most out of your trip in Peru while exploring exciting destinations such as Cusco, Machu Picchu or the Amazon rainforest. For people traveling in groups, couples or friends or (female) solo travelers, here are some tips to help you stay safe and enjoy the culture while traveling in Peru.
Be carefull on the streets
It is important to always be aware of traffic in Peru. When out in the streets of Lima, Cusco, or any other city, be careful and look both ways before crossing the street. Do not assume that vehicles will yield to pedestrians. In general, pedestrians are expected to yield to traffic. Be cautious: many vehicles follow their own rules.
Money issues in Peru
Small change in Peru is essential. Larger bills are not accepted in certain areas. There are several locations in the cities capable of breaking change (or exchanging foreign currency) but better make sure you have small change when traveling by taxi or buying in local shops.
Some credit and debit cards are not accepted. The most common credit or debit card accepted is Visa but there is a surcharge. Some places accept MasterCard.
When visiting (black) markets in Peru – like for instance in Cusco El Molino, el Baratillo or the San Pedro Market – hold on to your wallet to avoid pickpocketing.
Bargain for deals
Bargaining in Peru is expected and earns respect. Along with great deals, bargaining also gives you the opportunity to practice your Spanish*. Some seasoned tourists suggest starting at half the given price and finding a compromise. As it may seem you are already getting a deal, it is possible to save more. Make sure not to show all your money when paying for your merchandise. This tempts thieves and lets them know that you have money to available to steal.
*If you are interested in learning more Spanish in Peru, there is a special course Spanish for Travelers at AMAUTA Spanish School in Cusco.
Local Peruvian Food
Peruvian food is great, so is Peruvian street food. Just be careful when trying the food especially when you buy it from street vendors.
Ceviche is just one example of a great and delicious Peruvian dish, with fresh seafood and lime typically served with corn and sweet potatoes. For the more adventurous consumer, cuy, guinea pig, or alpaca burgers are just as delicious. These dishes are classic Peruvian dishes that all tourists should try before leaving Peru. However, there are precautions that tourists should take. Food safety is important for all foreign travelers.
Avoid vegetables that have not been peeled or cooked. Make sure the water consumed has been boiled or is bottled; be careful with ice as well. If you do not know the handling of a specific item, ask. Most restaurants, especially in touristy areas (the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, for example) have high sanitary standards.
Be careful to consume street food (any food sold on the sidewalks). These vendors do not necessarily have to follow any health standards, and often contain germs that foreigners have not been exposed to before.
Try Coca Tea
Finally, take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy coca tea. Filled with several antioxidants, this mate (herb tea) can help ward off altitude sickness also known as “sorroche”. Contrary to some Western beliefs, the tea is not harmful but healthy. The coca leaf is not processed and is safe to drink or chew.
We hope our How to stay safe while traveling in Peru – tips will help you to enjoy Peru to the fullest!
Want to read more? here are some great tips too on safe travels in Peru and what to do when you are being robbed.