MIL-OSI New Zealand: Peru

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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Safe Travel

  • Reviewed: 17 January 2024, 08:16 NZDT
  • Still current at: 17 January 2024

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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Avoid non-essential travel to the department of Puno due to ongoing civil unrest (level 3 of 4).

Avoid non-essential travel to within 20 kilometres of the border with Colombia and Ecuador due to the presence of drug traffickers, the occasional presence of armed guerrilla forces, and landmines. Avoid crossing the border with Colombia by land. (Level 3 of 4).

Avoid non-essential travel to the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers (VRAEM) due to terrorism and crime (level 3 of 4).

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Peru due to violent crime (level 2 of 4).


Violent Crime
Violent crime, such as carjacking, assault, and armed robbery is common throughout Peru, particularly in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa and other major cities. New Zealanders in Peru are advised to be vigilant about personal security at all times. We recommend you avoid travelling alone, travelling at night and to isolated areas, including to remote areas for the purpose of hiking, trekking or camping. When travelling by car, always keep your windows up and doors locked.  

As victims of financially-motivated crime are often targeted because of their perceived wealth, it is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as jewellery and mobile devices, as well as carrying large amounts of money and unnecessary credit cards. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of crime as this could lead to an escalation in violence. 

Unlicensed taxi drivers have been known to assault and rob their passengers in Peru. Where possible, we recommend using pre-booked or radio-dispatched taxis, or if arriving at the airport in Lima, arranging transport at taxi counters within the international terminal. We advise against hailing taxis from the street or accepting unsolicited offers of transportation.

Sexual assaults can occur, even in tourist areas. There have been cases of criminals in Peru using drugs to temporarily disorientate victims (such as scopolamine) and commit robberies or assaults. These may be administered through food, drinks and cigarettes. Victims are affected quickly and are vulnerable to crime, including robbery and assault. Do not leave food or drink unattended or accept any food or drink from strangers or recent acquaintances. If you suspect you have been affected by such drugs, seek immediate medical attention.

Luggage should be kept in the trunk of the vehicle or out of sight, as thieves have been known to ‘smash and grab’ belongings, particularly in Lima to and from the airport.

Theft on intercity buses is also common, particularly when travelling after dark. Armed gangs have also been known to stop buses to rob passengers. We recommend you keep your passport with you at all times during your bus journey and take particular care of valuables when travelling by bus.

Armed criminals target riverboats in the Amazon region in order to assault and rob passengers. Check your cruise company has adequate security arrangements in place before booking.

Street crime, such as pick-pocketing and bag-snatching, is prevalent especially in crowded and public places. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. Thieves may work together to distract victims and rob them while their attention is diverted. In some cases, motorcyclists will grab bags and other belongings from pedestrians. 

‘Express kidnappings’ have occurred in Peru. This is when criminals abduct a victim for a short amount of time while funds are withdrawn from the victim’s bank account. To reduce the risk of this occurring we recommend you use ATMs located inside banks during daylight hours. 

Civil Unrest/Strikes
Protests and strikes are common in Peru and may disrupt local public services and transport. They can be called at short notice and can affect tourist areas such as Arequipa, Cuzco, Iquitos and Puno. Protests and demonstrations have been taking place across Peru since the change of government on 7 December 2022, including in the tourist hubs of Cusco, Puno and Arequipa. 

New Zealanders in Peru are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as even those intended as peaceful have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Comply with any instructions issued by the local authorities, including any curfews. Monitor local and international media, review personal security plans and be aware of your surroundings. If unexpectedly in the vicinity of a protest or demonstration, exercise caution and leave the area quickly. Participating in demonstrations may lead to detention or even deportation by Peruvian authorities. 

Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group are still active in areas of Peru. While there have been no major attacks in recent years, isolated security incidents have occurred in some remote areas. Terrorism in Peru is closely linked to drug trafficking and organised crime. There is a higher threat to your safety in areas where drugs are cultivated and processed, such as Alto Huallaga, Aguaytia and the Apurimac-Ene-Mantaro (VRAEM) river basins area. We recommend seeking local advice before deciding to travel to potentially dangerous or remote areas and advise New Zealanders to avoid non-essential travel to the VRAEM. 

New Zealanders in Peru are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places.

Unexploded landmines, planted during the 1995 Peru/Ecuador border conflict, remain in place near the Peru-Ecuador border, although these are gradually being cleared. Crossing this border should be only be undertaken at official crossing checkpoints.   

Landmines may also be present near the border with Chile. If you are travelling to these areas it is advisable to stay on well-used roads and paths. 

Ayahuasca ceremonies
Traditional hallucinogens, often referred to as Ayahuasca or San Pedro, are found in Peru and marketed by shamans and other individuals as ‘spiritual cleansing’. While not illegal, there are many serious medical risks involved in taking these substances, consumption is not regulated and medical help is not always located close by. Serious robberies, assaults and rapes have also occurred. 

Road travel
Intercity buses are often involved in road accidents. To reduce risks, use a reputable transport or bus company and avoid overnight travel where possible. 

Commercial and internet fraud is common in Peru. New Zealanders should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true, as they may be a scam. For further information see our advice on Internet Fraud and International Scams.

Natural Disasters
Peru is a in an active seismic area with several major fault lines. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis can occur. Travellers should be aware of the possibility for travel disruptions in the event of seismic or volcanic activity. Familiarise yourself with general safety procedures in the event of an earthquake.

Peru’s rainy season is from November to May. Flooding and landslides are common in the Andes during this period.

General Travel Advice
The Ecuadorian authorities announced via press release that as of 11 January all foreigners who enter Ecuador through the Colombian or Peruvian land borders must present a criminal record certificate from the country where you lived for the last five years. The certificate must be legalised with an Apostille, for more information see our advice here.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Peru should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for adventure activities and medical evacuation by air. The safety standards of some transport and tour operators can vary. 

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

It is a legal requirement to carry a form of photo identification with you at all times.

The export of antiques and artefacts (huacos) from pre-colonial civilizations is illegal. Only purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art from reputable dealers and insist on obtaining documentation from Peru’s National Institute of Culture to prove that the object is a reproduction and may be exported.

Photography of military establishments is prohibited, and could result in detention. Failure to produce them could result in a fine or arrest. 

New Zealanders in Peru are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Santiago, Chile is accredited to Peru

Street Address Isidora Goyenechea 3000, 12th Floor, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile Telephone +56 2 2616 3000 Fax +56 2 2951 6138 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0845-1300, 1400-1715 hrs

New Zealand Honorary Consulate Lima, Peru

Street Address El Haras 140 La Molina, Lima 12 Lima Peru Telephone +51 997 515 191 Email

See our regional advice for Central/South America

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