BY: Maria Valencia
Peru is considered a safe country to visit but travelers need to be cautious in most areas and avoid dangerous zones and neighborhoods. Also, travelers should stay up to with the current civil unrest situation.
Protests erupted throughout Peru in early December 2022. People’s anger over inequality and rising prices, especially in the country’s impoverished rural areas, is a major reason for the rallies.
The trigger was the Peruvian Congress’s decision to remove former President Pedro Castillo from office. Castillo had attempted to illegally dissolve Congress in order to retain control prior to an impeachment vote. He was subsequently taken into custody and is still there.
Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s vice president, took over as president after his imprisonment. CNN reports that protesters are demanding new elections, Boluarte’s resignation, a new constitution, and Castillo’s release. They are also now demanding accountability for the damage and deaths caused by security forces during the demonstrations.
Latest Safety Updates and News from PERU:
May 10 – Peru’s overall advisory level has decreased according to the U.S. State Department
Peru’s alert level was downgraded to level 2, urging travelers to “exercise increased caution,” according to the government. The change is due to a decrease in crime and civil unrest in certain parts of the country. The stabilization of the country creates a favorable environment for tourists. This improvement in security allows visitors to fully enjoy Peru’s natural beauty and its famous cultural and recreational sites, such as the famous Machu Picchu.
Despite the fact that the country’s general warning level has dropped, travel advisories still list the following as places to “not travel to:”
- Due to criminality, the region along the Colombia-Peru border in Loreto.
- Due to crime and terrorism, the Valley of the Apurmac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), which includes parts of the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin.
- due to civil turmoil, the Puno region, which includes the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, and the Apurimac Region.
April 6 – Authorities have renewed state of emergency advisories until April 19
The state of emergency in the La Libertad Department has been extended by the officials through at least April 19. The departments of Amazonas and Tanca were originally included in the La Libertad state of emergency, but since the extension only applies to La Libertad, those departments’ emergency declarations have been allowed to expire. As of right now, the following places are still in a state of emergency:
- “Padre Abad Province, Ucayali Department: Through at least March 30
- Apurimac, Arequipa, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Puno, and Tacna departments: Through at least April 5
- Ica Department: Through at least April 12
- Pan-American Highway, the Central Highway, the South Apurimac-Cusco-Arequipa Highway Corridor, and the South Interoceanic Highway Corridor: Through at least April 14
- Condorcanqui and Imaza and Aramango districts, Amazonas Department: Through at least April 19
- La Libertad Department: Through at least April 19”
Some constitutional rights are suspended during states of emergency, and the military forces are authorized to conduct law-enforcement functions such as protest policing. All security activities in Puno Department have been delegated to the armed forces. Troops deployed under emergency declarations have primarily concentrated on securing airports and other vital infrastructure.
March 7 – Machu Picchu has reopened amidst protests
After nearly three months of political protests that shifted abruptly towards the capital, Peru’s culture ministry has reopened Machu Picchu to the public.
As demonstrators damaged local train lines, highways, and airport access, government officials shut down the tourist destination. As a result, about 400 tourists were flown from the scene and relocated from the landmark.
Demonstrators protesting Castillo’s removal from the presidency have blocked roads and halted airport operations in the weeks thereafter, leading to deadly violence that has claimed nearly 60 lives. The protesters and many of Castillo’s supporters in the nation’s capital are calling for Boularte to resign and for Congress to call early elections.
Is Peru Safe To Travel Now?
The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in Lima, Cusco, Puno and Callao provinces. Although it does not directly affect tourists, the state of emergency suspends certain constitutional rights and gives the police and military more powers to monitor and suppress protests.
In addition, many foreign governments have issued travel warnings. The United States Department of State has issued a Level 3 travel warning, which means that Americans should reconsider traveling to Peru.
The U.S. Embassy in Peru has advised Americans to stay safe by:
- Keeping away from crowds, protests, and demonstrations
- Avoid interfering with barriers.
- Follow any directions issued by local authorities or police.
- Keep an eye out for media updates and advisories.
- Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates from the United States Embassy in Lima.
February 16: Peru’s ‘racist bias’ drove lethal police response to protests, Amnesty says / Theguardian.com
Amnesty International found that Peru used deadly force against indigenous and campesino protesters with racial bias, leading to at least 60 deaths. In 46 possible human rights violations, 12 deaths were caused by gunfire, with all victims shot in the chest, torso, or head. The investigation covered Lima, Chincheros, Ayacucho, and Andahuaylas.
January 24 – Peru arrests 200 in Lima and closes Machu Picchu
More than 200 people were arrested by Peruvian police for allegedly entering illegally the campus of a major college in Lima, while officials in Cusco closed the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail as deadly anti-government protests spread across the country.
Cultural authorities in Cusco said in a statement that “in view of the current social situation in which our region and the country are immersed, the closure of the Inca trail network and Machu Picchu has been ordered, as of January 21 and until further notice.”
Tensions rose again Friday as police battled protesters and security forces in Lima used tear gas to disperse the crowd while flames raged in the streets. Dozens of Peruvians were injured as a re