By Stacey Leasca
July 25, 2019

The U.S. State Department is once again warning Americans about traveling to certain parts of Peru.

According to TravelPulse, the department re-issued its warning ahead of two major sporting events involving American athletes — the Pan American Games taking place fom July 26 to Aug. 11, as well as the Parapan American Games from Aug. 23 to Sept. 1.

In the level two warning the State Department said in part, “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.”

While the country itself comes with the level two warning some regions come with a level four alert, meaning travel is outright banned for official American personnel.

Along the Colombian and Peruvian border in the Loreto Region the State Department said, “Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limits the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.” It added, “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.”

The other region that is now off-limits to official American representatives is the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers, or VRAEM.

“Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group are active in the VRAEM,” the State Department said. “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.”

While the warning certainly sounds dire it does not include popular tourist destinations in Peru including Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

In those regions — and really any tourist destination — the State Department encourages travelers to exercise normal precautions. That includes staying alert, not carrying large amounts of cash, securing personal items like purses and backpacks, and only using app-based taxi services or ordering a taxi by phone. So, don’t put off your dream trip to Machu Picchu, just make sure to stay aware of your surroundings when you go.

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