I never like to write bad things about Peru. For me, Peru it is a country of so much promise, great culture, incredible attractions and wonderful people. But, from time to time there are things which happen that put a dampener on Peru travel. So I thought I would write a short article about 5 Peru travel annoyances that you need to be aware of!
Before highlighting the most common annoyances in Peru, I just want to reiterate that Peru is a really safe place to visit, and in the 7 years that I have lived here, I have never once experienced a problem. Nowadays Peru travel is second nature to me, but in my time I have also travelled quite extensively around the world. The places that I felt most at risk were actually not in Peru, but in westernised countries like the US, Italy and Hungary.
Common sense is your best deterrent from getting into trouble, but often when people are on vacation they seem to let their guard down and forget simple precautions. Always, keep your wits about you, and apply the same precautions that you would when you are at home. Most Peru travel annoyances can be avoided with a little common sense.
So here they are my top 5 Peru Travel Annoyances that you need to keep in-mind!
Lima Airport – Bag Robberies
Lima Airport is a modern, clean and busy airport. Although it is only has one terminal, it’s an important hub for flights from Europe, North America and other South American countries. There are lots of people going about their business, from the busy check-in desks to departures to arrivals. Petty crime seems to be on the increase in Lima Airport, and it is focused around the food-court on the second floor. The food-court which has about 100 small tables offers travellers a choice of famous fast-food restaurants before proceeding through to the departures lounge. Opportunist petty thieves use this area to snatch bags from un-suspecting travellers. Thieves easily and swiftly walk through the food-hall swiping handbags from backs of chairs, and it all happens in seconds. DO NOT leave your hand-bag on the back of your chair, or any valuables in easy reach of passing petty crooks.
This happened to a Peruvian friend of mine recently. They took her hand-bag, which contained her passport, money and credit cards. A real Peru travel annoyance, especially as you need your passport to catch a flight!
ATM Scams – All Cities
One of the easiest ways for petty thieves to get your cash is with simple ATM scams. This does not just apply to Peru travel, but also to your home country, and just about anywhere else you travel in the world. There are many scams out there, but a few simple precautions will help you avoid them.
Only use an ATM that is located inside a bank, not out on the street.
Before you use the machine, check to see if there is anything unusual about it. Get hold of the card slot and give it a tug, look around for any additional cameras that don’t seem quite right and check the money slot to see if any devices are attached.
Avoid using an ATM at night time.
Always cover your PIN entry, and don’t let anyone else see it.
A simple swipe of your wallet and a crook will probably have a fist full of cash, a few credit cards and maybe a driver’s licence or other important documents. Having this happen on your Peru vacation is a real Peru travel annoyance. Not only do you have to cancel all your credit cards from another country; you have no way to withdraw money.
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In Peru it is very un-common to get pick-pocketed. However, there are occasions when the possibility is much greater. You need to be more aware when walking in any large gatherings of people. For example: festivals, music events, gatherings in main squares or during New Year celebrations. It is also possible at Machu Picchu. NEVER put your wallet in your back pocket, only carry what cash you need and avoid using a handbag.
You will soon realise that taxi transportation is one of the most popular methods of getting around in Peru. Not all taxis are the best looking, and some are in dire need of a mechanic, but if you want to get around cheaply and conveniently – a taxi is a great choice. Although for the most part most taxis are genuine, there are a few crooks posing as taxi drivers. AVOID getting taxis in the street and if possible, get your hotel to phone ahead for a radio cab. At Lima Airport avoid taxi drivers touting for business outside the terminal building and use TAXI GREEN the official taxi operator who have a stand located in the arrivals hall.
Avoid Walking Late at Night
I once met a guy in a bar in Cusco. He told me in one week he had been mugged twice. In 7 years I have never been mugged once. Obviously I felt a little sorry for the guy, but I was also intrigued to find out a little more. It transpired that both times it was late at night and he was on walking on his own on back street. To make things worse he had also been drinking! I felt a little less sorry for him after his explanation.
Walking late at night in any city on your own is probably not advised, and it is no different in any city in Peru. If you are out late at night, always walk with others or use a registered taxi. In the cover of dark, crooks seem to have more confidence in their abilities.
This article ‘5 Peru Travel Annoyances’ was brought to you by the Peru travel experts at TheOnlyPeruGuide.com a free online resource of Peru travel information.