Road Conditions and Safety: Driving conditions in Peru are very different from those found in the United States and can be considerably more dangerous. Visitors are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with local law and driving customs before attempting to operate vehicles.
- Roads are often poorly maintained and may lack crash barriers, guard rails, signs, and streetlights.
- Fog is common on coastal and mountain highways, making conditions more treacherous.
- Slow-moving buses and trucks frequently stop in the middle of the road unexpectedly.
- Road travel at night is particularly hazardous. Due to safety concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling on mountainous roads at night.
- Traveling in a group is preferable to solo travel. Spare tires, parts, and fuel are needed when traveling in remote areas, where distances between service areas are long.
Traffic Laws: Traffic laws are often ignored and rarely enforced, creating dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians.
- Seat belts are mandatory for driver and front-seat passengers in a private vehicle.
- It is against the law to talk on a cellular phone while driving, and violators may be fined.
- When driving in urban areas, taxis and buses often block lanes impeding traffic.
- Directional signals are not often used, and vehicles frequently turn from the middle through traffic lanes.
- While driving outside major cities and on the Pan-American Highway, you must drive with your lights on.
- If a traffic officer signals you to stop, you must stop.
- Traffic officers must wear uniforms and identification cards that include their last name on their chest.
- Traffic officers are not allowed to retain your personal identification or vehicle documents.
- Under no circumstances should you offer or agree to pay money to traffic officers.
- If you are involved in an accident, you MUST contact local police and remain at the scene without moving your vehicle until the authorities arrive. This rule is strictly enforced, and moving a vehicle or leaving the scene of an accident may constitute an admission of guilt under Peruvian law.
- If your car is a rental, call the agency or representative of the insurance company provided by the rental agency.
- Always carry your driver’s license, a copy of your passport, and the rental agreement when you drive a rental car.
- International driver’s licenses are valid for one year, while driver’s licenses from other countries are generally valid for 30 days.
Public Transportation: Many buses are overcrowded, poorly maintained, and lack safety features such as seat belts.
- Bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries are common due to routes along narrow, winding roads without a shoulder and steep drop-offs.
- Accidents are frequently attributed to excessive speed, poor bus maintenance, poor road conditions, and driver fatigue.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Peru?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Peru?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Peru should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
For emergency services in Peru, dial 113.
- Adequate health facilities are available in Lima and other major cities. Care in rural areas is generally inadequate.
- Public hospital facilities are often well below U.S. standards.
- Private, urban health care facilities are often better staffed and equipped.
- Ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except Lima, where training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
- Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
- Specialized medical care can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and you are expected to pay in full at the time of discharge.
- Pharmacies are widely available. However, some medications might not be offered, and brand names will differ from products in the United States.
- Exercise caution if you explore herbal and folk remedies.
Altitude-Related Illness: Many popular tourist destinations, such as Cusco/Machu Picchu, Arequipa/Colca Canyon, Kuelap/Chachapoyas, Puno/Lake Titicaca, are at high altitudes. Altitude-related illness is common. Altitude illness affects many people who are otherwise in good health, sometimes severely. Do not underestimate its potential effects. Its onset can be rapid, and it may be life-threatening if untreated. Learn about it before you go, and ask your doctor concerning medication and whether any pre-existing condition may be adversely affected at high altitude. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about travel to high altitudes.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Prescription medication: Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription. Check with the Government of Peru to ensure the medication is legal in Peru.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): If you are considering traveling to Peru to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery: Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.
Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in the Peruvian legal system.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
The following diseases are present in some parts of Peru:
- Diarrheal disease
- Guillain-Barr? Syndrome
- Hepatitis A and B
- Yellow fever
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including routine childhood immunizations such as measles, mumps and Varicella (chickenpox), as these highly infectious illnesses are not uncommon in Peru. Vaccines for hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, and yellow fever are also recommended.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Peru are severe.
- Offenders can expect long pre-trial detention and lengthy prison sentences, under harsh conditions with significant expense for themselves and/or their families.
- Never agree to carry a suitcase or package through customs for anyone.
- Peru uses strict screening procedures for detecting narcotics smuggling at its international airports.
Customs Currency Regulations:
- $30,000 USD or its equivalent in cash or negotiable items is the maximum allowed for entry or exit.
- Any amount in excess of $10,000 USD must be declared and the legal source proven.
- Peruvian law forbids the export of pre-Columbian objects and other artifacts protected by cultural patrimony statutes.
- U.S. customs officials are required to seize pre-Columbian objects and certain colonial religious artwork brought into the United States.
- Avoid products made of wild plants and animals, as many are of illegal origin and may involve protected or endangered species, whose sale and export are illegal.
- Peruvian authorities will seize any protected species that is sold or transported, either live or transformed into food, medicinal beverages, leather, handcrafts, garments, etc.
- Some products, including live animals, require special permits when leaving Peru.
- Knowingly importing into the United States wildlife or plants that were taken from the wild or sold in violation of the laws of Peru (or any other country) is a violation of the Lacey Act (16 USC ? 3371).
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Special Circumstances: Many popular destinations in Peru are remote. These areas have few facilities that are able to provide advanced or emergency medical care.
- Local rescue capabilities are severely limited. Many mountain areas are too high for helicopters to fly safely. Accidents or injuries while hiking or climbing are common; crisis responders may take hours or even days to reach you if they are traveling over great distances and/or rough terrain.
- When using tourist company services, travelers are encouraged to use qualified and licensed operators. Many do not meet international safety standards. Inquire about safety standards prior to engaging in adventure activities. The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo (Tourism Ministry) website provides information on tourism companies.
- Always check with local authorities before traveling about local geographic, climatic, health, and security conditions that may impact your safety.
- Be aware that you may not have access to phone or internet for days at a time. Check in with family prior to going to remote areas and leave detailed written plans and timetables. Use of a personal GPS beacon is encouraged.
Ayahuasca/Hallucinogens: Traditional hallucinogens, often referred to as ayahuasca, are often marketed to tourists as ?spiritual cleansing? and typically contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a strong hallucinogen that is illegal in the United States and many other countries.
- Health risks associated with ayahuasca are not well understood, and, on occasion, people suffer serious illness or death after taking these drugs.
- Intoxicated travelers also have been sexually assaulted, injured, or robbed.
- These incidents often occur a great distance from medical facilities, making the risks even greater.
Seismic Activity: Earthquakes are common throughout Peru. On May 26, 2019, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the Loreto region of Peru. One fatality in the Cajamarca region and 11 injuries as well as isolated power outages and some infrastructure damage were reported.
- Visit Peru?s National Emergency Operations Center (COEN) for more information.
- In the event of a natural disaster, monitor local media and government agencies, including IPeru, the Commission to Promote Peru for Exports and Tourism (PROMPERU), and Peru?s National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI) for updates.
Legal Issues in Peru:
- U.S. citizens have reported unethical practices by lawyers and others, resulting in costly losses and little hope of remedy through the local judicial system.
- Peruvian laws are subject to change with little notice. The Peruvian government publishes little information in English. The U.S. Embassy cannot give detailed advice about Peruvian law.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report
- Human Rights Report
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Peru.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:
- Peruvian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities and mandates that public spaces be free of barriers and accessible to persons with disabilities.
- The government of Peru has devoted limited resources to enforcement and training, and little effort has been made to ensure access to public buildings and areas.
- Sidewalks (if they exist) are uneven and rarely have ramps at intersections.
- Pedestrian crossings are infrequent, and motorists almost never give pedestrians the right of way. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Cruise Ship Passengers: See our travel tips for Cruise Ship Passengers.
Safety and Security
Security: Exercise increased caution when visiting Peru due to crime and terrorism. U.S. Embassy Lima enforces a Restricted Travel Policy for Embassy personnel, which is based on its assessment of conditions and developments throughout the country. See the Overseas Security and Advisory Council?s 2020 Crime and Safety Report for Peru. See the latest Travel Advisory for Peru.
- The VRAEM (Valley of the Apur?mac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers) is particularly remote and a known safe haven for narcotraffickers and the last operational remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group.
- There is little government presence in many remote areas of the Andes and Amazon basin. Illicit activities, such as illegal mining and logging, and coca production, are common.
- Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limit the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in these areas.
- The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens along the Colombian border and in the VRAEM, as U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling in these regions.
Civil Unrest: Demonstrations and strikes may occur occasionally. Protesters may block roads and sometimes burn tires, throw rocks, and damage property.
- Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent with little or no warning.
- Avoid demonstrations and prepare back-up transportation plans.
- Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
Crime: Crime is a widespread problem in Peru.
- Pick-pocketing, robbery, and hotel room theft are the most common crimes. Armed robberies have occurred throughout the city, including popular tourist destinations. Armed assailants usually target victims for their smartphones, wallets, or purses. If confronted by someone with a weapon, it is best not to resist.
- Incapacitating drugs, such as rohypnol and scopolamine, have been used to facilitate robberies and sexual assaults. Seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.
- Sexual assaults and rapes can occur, even in tourist areas. Travel in groups, do not leave food or drinks unattended, and use caution if a stranger offers you food or drink.
- On routes to and from the airport in Lima, robberies have occurred where the assailant uses a tool to break a window while the vehicle is stopped in traffic. Keep your belongings in the trunk or out of sight. Authorized taxi booths are present at the airport in Lima that will charge a flat rate according to the destination.
- Use hotel safes, if available. Avoid wearing obviously expensive jewelry or clothing, and carry only the cash or credit cards that you need.
- Stay alert in crowds and on public transportation. Be aware that thieves might create distractions to target you.
- Avoid isolated areas when on foot, especially after dark.
- Be alert for robberies in which criminals enter a taxi and force victims to withdraw money from ATMs.
- Use an app-based taxi service, order a taxi by phone, or use a service affiliated with a major hotel, as it is usually safer than hailing an unknown taxi on the street.
- Use ATMs in well-protected indoor areas such as banks or shopping malls. Avoid withdrawing large amounts of cash at one time.
- Do not let your credit card out of your sight in order to avoid credit card ?skimming.? You should expect the vendor to use a credit card reader in your presence. The vendor will ask for your passport or ID number on the receipt.
- To avoid carjacking or theft from your car while you are stopped at intersections, drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up. Do not leave valuables in plain view.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy in Lima. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
- U.S. Embassy: +51-1-618-2000 (phone is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
- Local police: 105 (National Police)
- Tourist Police: 0800-22221
- IPeru: 01-574-8000 (a tourist information service that has English-speaking personnel)
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care.
- Assist you with reporting a crime to the police.
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent.
- Provide general information regarding the victim?s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
- Provide a list of local attorneys.
- Provide information on victims? compensation programs in the United States.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution.
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home.
- Replace a stolen or lost passport.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance. Telephone (answered 24 hours): +51-1-618-2000
Tourism: The tourism industry, including adventure activities (e.g. paragliding, sandboarding, etc.), is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. U.S. citizens are encouraged to pay attention to waiver and liability policies of tour companies, as they may vary or not exist. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Peru.
Requirements for Entry:
- A passport with six months validity is required to enter Peru. Migraciones (Immigration) authorities may also require evidence of return/onward travel.
- Be sure your date and place of entry is officially documented by Migraciones, whether you arrive at a port, airport, or land border.
- Your length of approved stay will be determined by border officials at the time of entry, and can range from 30 to 183 days. Extensions for tourists are usually not approved, and overstays result in fines.
- The Embassy is unable to assist if you are denied entry. Peruvian immigration requires airlines to return travelers who are denied entry to their point of origin.
Requirements for Exit:
- If you do not have an entry record, you will not be allowed to exit the country until immigration authorities confirm the time and place of your entry into the country. This can be a difficult process, costing considerable time and money to resolve.
- Make sure Immigration (Migraciones) records your entry, and then save the record for your exit. An entry record is required even at remote border crossings, where often the proper officials are not present.
- Immediately report lost/stolen passports to local police and keep the report. You must apply for a new passport at the Embassy and obtain a replacement entry record from Migraciones using your police report prior to exiting Peru.
Travel with Minors: Regardless of nationality, all children who are traveling with both birth parents are required to have a valid passport and the necessary visa or citizenship of the country where they are traveling. Peruvian immigration procedures are complex for minors traveling without one or both parents/legal guardians.
For entry/exit from Peru, U.S. citizen minors under the age of 18, traveling alone (or with only one parent), generally do not require additional documentation if entering as a tourist for less than 183 days. However, if more than 183 days, then a Permiso Notarial de Viaje is required (see below).
U.S. citizen minors who are dual national Peruvians, traveling alone (or with only one parent), require a Permiso Notarial de Viaje. Furthermore, step-parents or guardians accompanying a dual U.S.-Peruvian citizen minor must provide a Permiso Notarial de Viaje from the non-traveling minor?s parents (as listed on the birth certificate). Finally, if an accompanying parent has sole custody, legal documentation is required (such as a foreign court-approved custody document stating sole custody, a death certificate, a Peruvian court-approved document for travel, or a birth certificate listing only one parent).
A Permiso Notarial de Viaje is a written, notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent(s). Peruvian immigration will not accept a document notarized by the U.S. Embassy or a document notarized by a U.S. notary in lieu of a Permiso Notarial de Viaje. Please be aware that these authorizations are valid for 30 days and one trip only.
How to get a Permiso Notarial de Viaje:
- In the United States, at the nearest Peruvian Consulate. There are multiple locations.
- In Peru, at most Peruvian notaries. An apostilled U.S. birth certificate is required for issuance.
The Embassy is unable to assist travelers who are prevented from traveling for lack of a Permiso Notarial de Viaje.
HIV Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Peru.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Peru for information on U.S. – Peru relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
U.S. Consular Agency – Cusco
Av. El Sol 449, Suite #201
Telephone: + (51) (84) 231-474
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (51) 984-621-369
Fax: + (51) (84) 245-102