The U.S. State Department regularly issues travel advisories to American travelers to help them make informed choices about where to go on their next vacation and has just issued an update for a very popular South American destination.
Every country in the world is assigned a level between 1-4. Level 1 means exercise normal precautions, level 2 means exercise increased caution, and level 3 means reconsider travel.
The highest level is level 4, which is a do not travel warning.
These can change at any moment.
Here’s why the U.S State Department has updated its travel guidance for Peru:
Increased Crime In Peru
Peru has still been given a level 2: Exercise increased caution warning. However, the travel advisory has been updated with new warnings about crime in the country.
Travelers to Peru are warned to exercise increased caution due to crime, civil unrest, and the possibility of kidnapping.
There are also areas of Peru that American citizens are told not to travel to at all. These have been given a Level 4 – Do not travel warning and are:
- The Colombian-Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region due to crime.
- The Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) including areas within the departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin. This is because of the risk of crime and terrorism.
One of the main reasons that Peru has been issued a level 2 warning is because of the crime in the country.
Crimes like petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assault, and other violent crime is common in the country. This can happen even in daylight hours or when witnesses are present.
The risk of crime increases at night. And although kidnappings are rare in Peru they can happen.
Travelers should also be aware that the political situation in Peru can lead to instability. When demonstrations take place these can lead to the shutdown of roads, trains, and major highways.
This can happen without warning so you should have a plan in place about what you will do if a demonstration breaks out while you’re in the country.
If you work for the U.S. government then you should also know that U.S. government personnel can’t travel freely through Peru right now for security reasons.
Why Visit Peru?
Travel Advisories are great for ensuring travelers stay safe and raising awareness of problems you might face. But they shouldn’t put you off visiting one of your bucket list destinations.
Destinations with a level 2 travel advisory are still considered safe to visit.
Peru is a beautiful country with incredible landscapes. It is a unique and colorful destination that attracts visitors from around the world.
Machu Picchu is Peru’s most famous landmark, and taking the Inca trail to this incredible landmark is a once-in-lifetime experience. But Peru has so much more to offer.
You can hike to the Gocta Falls, which is one of the world’s tallest free-falling waterfalls, or explore the abandoned mountaintop city of Kuelap.
Foodies won’t be disappointed with Peruvian food, which takes influences from its large migrant Chinese and Japanese communities. Native dishes are rich and hearty yet delicate and flavorsome.
And of course no matter where you are in Peru you should take the chance to meet its most famous residents: The llamas and alpacas that call the country home.
Staying Safe In Peru
For travelers who decide to go ahead and visit Peru the U.S. State Department has some advice to help you stay safe on your vacation.
U.S. citizens are advised to be aware of their surroundings and monitor local media for breaking events. If something happens on a wider political scale in the country, then you should adjust your plans accordingly.
Travelers should also follow the Department of State and U.S. Embassy on social media so that if the situation in the country changes, you’ll find out as soon as possible.
You are strongly advised not to visit the Level 4: Do Not Travel areas of the country.
Because U.S. government personnel are banned from traveling within 20km of the border with Colombia in the Loreto region, they will be extremely limited in the support they can provide you if you have an emergency in this area.
The same is true of the VRAEM. Terrorist groups are known to be active here, and U.S. government personnel have extremely restricted access to the area.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com