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PERU - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Peru. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to potential social conflicts and strikes that may occur across the country.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the following areas:
- the districts of Kimbiri, Pichari and Vilcabamba in La Convención province in the department of Cuzco (the city of Cuzco and Machu Picchu are not affected);
- the Upper Huallaga and Ene river valleys in the Huánuco and San Martín departments;
- La Mar and Huanta provinces in the department of Ayacucho;
- Marañon, Huacaybamba, Leoncio Prado and Humalies provinces in the department of Huanuco;
- Huallaga and Tocache provinces in the department of San Martín;
- Padre Abad province in the department of Ucayali;
- Tayacaja province in the department of Huancavelica; and
- Satipo and Concepción provinces in the department of Junin.
In these areas, remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group continue to conduct occasional ambushes, kidnappings and attacks. In addition, narcotic trafficking pose a threat to security.
Regional Advisory for the border area with Colombia
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to areas along the Colombian border due to narcotic trafficking and occasional incursions of armed guerrilla forces from Colombia into Peru’s remote areas.
Regional Advisory for the border area with Ecuador
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the border area with Ecuador, especially the Cordillera del Cóndor region, as landmines pose a security threat. Crossing the Peru-Ecuador border should be done at official checkpoints only.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Terrorism (see Advisory)
There are continuing concerns about possible domestic terrorist activity by subversive groups, including remnant members of the Shining Path. Isolated incidents have occurred in remote areas and cities within the departments of Puno, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Junín, Ayacucho, Cuzco, Ucayali, San Martín, Huánuco, Huancavelica and Apurímac. Incidents include robberies, kidnappings, temporary takeovers of small villages and, although rare, violence (including bombings) or threats of violence against local security forces or community figures. Overland travel in these regions can be dangerous.
Travel in areas where there is coca cultivation and processing is dangerous. You should review regional advisories carefully.
Crime is a problem throughout the country. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times, especially at night. Travel in groups whenever possible throughout the country.
Petty crime is prevalent in Lima and other cities. Purse snatching, pickpocketing, theft from vehicles and break-ins occur, even during daylight hours and in crowded public areas. Thefts also occur frequently in hotels and restaurants, and while hailing taxis. Avoid walking alone in deserted or under-populated areas. Avoid showing signs of affluence, wearing jewellery, and carrying unnecessary credit cards and large amounts of money. Keep your valuables and identification on your person (in your pocket or in a pouch under clothing, for example).
Attacks and robberies on vehicles occur regularly along the route from the airport in Lima. Tourists are often targeted by criminals posing as taxi drivers along this route. When arriving at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport, use a secure taxi service to go into the city, and exercise particular caution en route to your hotel. Further information on registered taxi companies is available on the Lima Airport Partners website.
Theft on intercity and micro buses and at bus terminals is also very common. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Never leave personal belongings unattended. Avoid travelling after dark, when armed gangs have been known to stop buses to rob travellers.
If you are stopped by police or security forces, ask to see official identification. Record the officer’s name, badge number and district. Thieves have been known to pose as police officers in order to gain the confidence and cooperation of their potential victims.
Thefts on boats by river pirates have been reported along rivers in the Amazon jungle.
Avoid moneychangers on the street, as they may carry counterfeit currency or work with pickpockets. Bystanders have been injured during violent robberies targeting these individuals.
Credit card skimming is also a concern, and travelers should keep their credit cards within sight while making transactions.
Violent crimes such as carjacking, assault and armed robbery are frequent, especially in the cities of Lima, Cuzco and Arequipa.
While travelling by car, keep your doors locked and windows shut at all times. Keep your personal belongings in the trunk of the vehicle as criminals have been known to shatter windows (“smash and grab”) or attempt entry at the sight of travel bags or merchandise. Criminals have also been known to throw objects in front of oncoming traffic in the hopes that cars will stop. If this occurs and you need to stop, do so only in a safe location, such as a gas station. Avoid travelling by road outside of major cities after dark as there is a high risk of robbery at night.
Recent incidents of assaults on buses have been reported. Avoid travelling on buses at night.
Incidents of sexual assault including rape have been reported in the cities of Lima, Cuzco, Puno, Pucallpa, Arequipa, Chiclayo and Trujillo, and in many isolated areas elsewhere in the country. Female travellers should exercise caution at all times, especially at bus terminals and in taxis. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk.
Remain vigilant due to the threat of “express” kidnappings, in which victims are usually abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from automated banking machines (ABMs). Most express kidnappings take place at night, but cases also occur during daylight hours. Express kidnappings often involve criminals posing as taxi drivers, or taxi drivers working for organized gangs. Kidnappers tend to select victims according to outward signs of affluence, such as their clothing, vehicle or place of work. Do not accept transportation or guide services offered by individuals seeking clients on the streets, and book a secure taxi from a reputable company. Resisting a robbery can lead to further violence.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Demonstrations, protests and strikes are common throughout the country and may increase in the lead-up to, during and after elections. Strikes and marching demonstrators may cause road blocks which disrupt, public transit and travel on roads. Protests in the area of Puno can sometimes result in the closure of the border crossing with Bolivia.
Recent demonstrations in the Arequipa region have become violent and have led to deaths and injuries. Impromptu road blocks may affect travel within the region, especially travel to and from the cities of Arequipa and Puno. Disruptions could resume without notice. Confirm your travel plans with your travel provider.
Avoid large crowds, political gatherings and marches as they can turn violent without notice. Monitor local media reports for up-to-date information and follow the advice of local authorities.
Poor road conditions and a lack of traffic signs are common. Mountainous roads can be particularly dangerous, especially at night. When renting a vehicle, always purchase insurance. Avoid travelling by road outside of major cities after dark.
Intercity bus travel can be dangerous. Bus accidents are frequently caused by excessive speed, poor vehicle maintenance and driver fatigue. Only use reputable transportation companies. Contact your travel agency for a list of recommended intercity bus companies. The Peruvian Ministry of Transportation (website in Spanish only) publishes a list of the bus companies with the highest rates of traffic accidents resulting in fatalities or serious injuries.
Do not hail taxis on the street. Reserve a taxi by calling a reputable taxi company or use taxi services associated with major hotels. Agree to a fare prior to departure, and do not pay until you have reached your destination. Having exact fare is recommended as taxi drivers sometimes fail to provide change or will continue to drive until they can obtain change. Police spot checks are common and can cause delays. Carry identification and vehicle registration at all times.
There have been a number of incidents involving small aircraft in the area of the Nazca Lines, some resulting in fatal accidents. Ensure that your airline has a good record and appropriate safety measures in place.
Do not expect safety standards to be the same as in Canada.
If you intend to trek:
a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) register when entering national parks;
g) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
h) register with the Embassy of Canada in Peru; and
i) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out. Treks and hiking excursions should be undertaken in groups, with experienced tour guides only.
Each year, several hikers and climbers partaking in adventure activities are victims of serious accidents in the Andes, some of which are fatal. Climbers should be well informed on the possible hazards and exercise extreme caution in steep or slippery areas, which are neither fenced nor marked. Exercise extreme caution while climbing the Huayna Picchu, a peak near Machu Picchu, where serious injuries and deaths have occurred. Assaults have also been reported along the Inca Trail and in the Huaraz region of the Cordillera Blanca mountains.
Contact the Peruvian national police’s High Mountain Rescue Unit (USAM) before visiting mountainous areas in Ancash (tel.: 51-1-575-1555, fax: 51-1-575-3036, email: email@example.com).
Swimming in jungle lakes and rivers can be dangerous due to the presence of parasites and wildlife. Strong currents exist in the Pacific Ocean and in rivers. Seek advice from local residents before swimming and consult local authorities about recent conditions.
There have been several recent accidents and drownings involving tourists white-water rafting, particularly on the Urubamba River near Cuzco. Ensure that the rafting company follows strict safety guidelines prior to participating in any such activities.
Recently, spiritual cleansing ceremonies offered by shamans and other individuals have led to the serious illness, deaths and assaults of several tourists. These services are not regulated and may involve taking substances that can cause medical complications and severely impair cognitive and physical abilities.
Dial 105 for emergency assistance. For tourist assistance and information, contact iPeru (tel.: (01) 574-8000, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Peruvian government has opened tourist police offices in most tourist destinations. Tourist police can be contacted at 0800-2221 from anywhere in Peru. The local telephone numbers for the tourist police in Lima are 51-1-715-6554 (Miraflores), 51-1-423-3500 (Lima North) and 51-1-243-2190 (Lima South). Jorge Chávez Airport in Lima has its own tourist police office open 24 hours a day to provide service (51-1-517-1841). There are also tourist police offices in 15 other cities, including all major tourist destinations, such as Cuzco, Arequipa and Puno.
Tourists may register complaints on a 24-hour hotline provided by the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI). INDECOPI operators speak English (tel.: 224-7777 in Lima; 01-224-7777 outside Lima; or toll-free 08-004-4040 within Peru). In Lima, the INDECOPI office is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (there is an answering machine after business hours). The office at the Jorge Chávez International Airport operates 24 hours a day.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Peruvian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Peru or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Peru, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Although Canadians do not need a tourist visa to visit Peru, all travellers will need to complete a form called the Andean Migration Card (Tarjeta Andina de Migración) upon arrival. This document must be presented prior to departure from Peru. Failure to produce this document may prevent exit, and result in delays and/or fines until a replacement is obtained.
The length of stay—up to a maximum of 183 days—is determined by immigration officers. Overstaying is a criminal offence and Peruvian immigration charges a fee of US$1 for each day of overstay. This fee must be paid upon exiting the country.
Canadians should ensure they receive an entrance stamp in their passport at the port of entry, especially at land borders. Immigration offices at some land borders may not be open at all times or be difficult to locate. Cross at official checkpoints only. By law, Peruvian immigration officials will require anyone who does not obtain a stamp upon entry to apply for an expulsion order before leaving the country. The application for the expulsion order is lengthy and may take weeks to complete. Expulsion will result in being barred from re-entry. Returning to the original point of entry to obtain the stamp before leaving Peru is no longer acceptable by Peruvian immigration officials.
If your passport is lost or stolen, a new Andean Migration Card and a new entry stamp on the replacement passport must be processed at the Superintendencia Nacional de Migraciones (Spanish only).
If you entered Peru on a business visa, you must show certification from the Peruvian Ministry of the Economy that all Peruvian taxes on income earned during the trip have been paid. The certification is required even if no money was paid or earned. You must then present this certification to the central Peruvian immigration office in Lima.
Travellers carrying more than US$10,000 or its equivalent in any currencies or any monetary instrument must declare the amount exceeding US$10,000 when entering or leaving Peru. Furthermore, it is prohibited to carry currencies or monetary instruments exceeding US$30,000 when entering or leaving Peru.
Consult the government of Peru's Essential Guide for Tourists Visiting Peru for more information on entry and exit requirements.
Children and travel
We strongly recommend that Canadian children carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, or travelling with only one parent/guardian, with friends or relatives or with a group. A consent letter may be requested by immigration authorities when children enter or leave a foreign country or by Canadian officials when children re-enter Canada. Failure to produce a letter upon request may result in delays or refusal to allow children to enter or exit a country.
Minors exiting Peru after a three-month stay are automatically protected by Peru’s law on minors and will require the authorization of both parents/guardians to exit the country.
See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Leishmaniasis, cutaneous and mucosal
Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Consult Well on Your Way—A Canadian’s Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad for more information. If you have a medical emergency while abroad, officials at the nearest Canadian government office can provide you with a list of licensed health care providers.
Private hospitals and clinics in urban centres are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural facilities. Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical care.
When travelling to the Peruvian Andes, you may experience health problems caused by high altitude. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and may require medical evacuation from the area.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences, regardless of the amount of narcotics seized at arrest.
Pack your luggage yourself and keep it with you at all times. Do not carry anything through customs for anybody else.
Prison conditions in Peru are poor.
Foreigners are required to carry photo identification at all times. Be cautious when you carry your passport, especially in entertainment venues. A photocopy of your passport—specifically the information, visa and entry stamp pages—is generally acceptable. However, police may require that you produce the original. Failure to show identification could result in detention and police questioning at the nearest station where fingerprints would be taken.
You should respect local customs and laws when visiting Peru’s historical sites. Fines and other penalties may be imposed by Peruvian authorities for any actions considered to be disrespectful at historical and archaeological sites such as Machu Picchu, Saqsayhuaman, and Ollantaytambo.
Peruvian law strictly prohibits the export of antiques and artefacts (huacos) from pre-colonial civilizations. Travellers who purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art should buy only from reputable dealers and should insist upon documentation from Peru’s National Institute of Culture showing that the object is a reproduction and may be exported.
The export of coca tea bags is prohibited and it is illegal to remove certain fauna and flora items from Peru.
It is forbidden to photograph military installations.
A foreign driver’s license can be used only in Lima for 30 days after arrival. To drive outside of Lima or for an extended period, an international driving permit is mandatory.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Peru. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Peruvian citizen. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Peruvian nuevo sol (PEN). The US dollar is widely accepted. Credit cards are widely accepted in Lima, but less so outside major cities. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted. In small towns, automated banking machines (ABMs) may not be readily available. ABMs in large cities may accept out-of-country bank cards and credit cards. You should inform your banking company of your travel prior to departing and confirm whether you will be able to use ABMs in Peru.
Counterfeit currency in both nuevo sol and U.S. dollars is a growing and serious problem. Counterfeit bills are widely distributed, including by banks, casinos and local stores. Tourists should be aware of the security features of the currency they are using and be aware of scams involving switching legitimate bills with counterfeit.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
Peru is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes; in coastal areas, earthquakes may cause tsunamis. If you are indoors when an earthquake strikes, make your way to a safe zone. These are usually marked in public buildings with an “S,”, which indicate where the structural pillars are located. If you are outside, keep away from buildings and other areas where objects could fall.
The rainy season extends from November to May in the Peruvian Andes. Heavy rains, resulting in flooding and landslides, often cause transportation delays. Utilities, emergency and medical care, as well as food, fuel and water supplies may be affected. Water-borne and insect-borne diseases may also become a threat. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
There are active and potentially active volcanoes in southern Peru. Ubinas Volcano has erupted multiple times in recent months. Consult the Geophysical Institute of Peru Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP) (in Spanish) and the Geology, mineralogy and metallurgy Institute Instituto Geologico Minero y Metalurigico (INGEMMET) (in Spanish) for up-to-date information on volcanic activity.
Debris from erupting volcanoes may clog rivers and cause them to overflow, resulting in potential flash floods and mudslides. Transportation and services may be affected. Ash clouds may cause disruptions to domestic and international flights.
If you live or are travelling near active volcanoes, monitor levels of volcanic activity through the local media, pay careful attention to all warnings issued and follow the advice of local authorities. Be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice. Consult the Instituto Nacional De Defensa Civil (in Spanish) for information on emergency procedures.
Lima - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Lima and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa toll-free at 001-800-387-3124 or call collect to 613-996-8885.
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