Exercise increased caution in Peru, due to crime and Pan American / Parapan American Games. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
- The Colombian – Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region due to crime.
- The Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), including areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin, due to crime and terrorism.
Crime, including petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assaults, and violent crime, is a concern in Peru, and can occur during daylight hours, despite the presence of many witnesses. The risk of crime increases after hours and outside the capital city of Lima where more organized criminal groups have been known to use roadblocks to rob victims.
U.S. government personnel cannot travel freely throughout Peru for security reasons.
Peru will host the Pan American Games from July 26 to August 11, 2019, and Parapan American Games August 23 to September 1. U.S. citizens should be aware major events are a prime opportunity for thieves and other criminal elements to prey upon unsuspecting tourists.
- Travelers should be alert at all times and avoid carrying large amounts of money or other valuables. Purses, wallets, cell phones and electronics should be secured while traveling on buses, combi, or other forms of public transportation.
- Travelers should use an app-based taxi service, order a taxi by phone, or use a service affiliated with a major hotel whenever possible.
- For additional travel tips and security information, travelers should visit the Pan American and Parapan Games 2019 information page.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Peru:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans as needed.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the U.S. Embassy webpage.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Peru.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Colombian – Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limits the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling within 20 kilometers of the border with Colombia in the Loreto region, except on the Amazon River itself, without permission. This includes travel on the Putumayo River, which forms most of the Peru-Colombia border.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) includes areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group are active in the VRAEM. The group may attack with little or no warning, targeting Peruvian government installations and personnel.
Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limit the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.
In urban areas, the crime rate has increased. U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling in the VRAEM except for certain areas during daylight hours. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens due to these travel restrictions.
U.S. government officials and their families are permitted to travel within many areas of the Department of Cusco, including the Machu Picchu area, the Sacred Valley, and city of Cusco.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Travel Restrictions for U.S. Government Personnel
U.S. government personnel must request advance permission for any travel to the Peruvian-Columbian border and the VRAEM. Sometimes, they are required to travel in armored vehicles or carry personnel trackers. They cannot not use inter- or intra-city bus transportation or travel by road outside urban areas at night except for:
- Travel by commercial bus on the Pan American Highway, between the Pan-American Highway and Huaraz, or between the Pan-American Highway, Arequipa, and Cusco.
- Travel by car on the Pan-American Highway south from Lima to Paracas or north from Lima to Huacho (approximately three hours north and south of Lima).
In the restricted areas, they are permitted to use only the following routes during daylight hours:
- Road travel from Ayacucho city to Huanta city, staying within the city limits of Huanta, and from Pisco city (Department of Ica) to Ayacucho city.
- Train travel from Lima to Huancayo city (Department of Junin) and Huancavelica city.
- Road travel from Lima to Huancayo city.
- Road travel from La Merced city to the Satipo provincial boundary.
Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with an increase of the Travel Advisory Level from 1 to 2; addition of information regarding the Pan American and Parapan American Games; and updates to the high risk areas.
Originally Published: July 18, 2019