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Peru - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Peru to serious crime, as well as social conflicts and strikes that may occur across the country.
Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following areas due to terrorist and criminal activity:
- 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)
- Huallaga and Tocache provinces in the department of San Martín
- the Upper Huallaga and Ene river valleys in the departments of Huánuco and San Martín
- Padre Abad province in the department of Ucayali
- Huacaybamba, Humalíes, Leoncio Prado and Marañón provinces in the department of Huánuco
- Concepción and Satipo provinces in the department of Junín
- Tayacaja province in the department of Huancavelica
- the districts of Abancay, Andahuaylas and Chincheros in the department of Apurímac
- Huanta and La Mar provinces, in the department of Ayacucho
Border area with Colombia - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 20 km of the border with Colombia due to drug trafficking and occasional incursions by armed guerrilla forces from Colombia into Peru.
Border area with Ecuador - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 20 km of the border with Ecuador, especially in the Cordillera del Cóndor region, as landmines pose a safety threat. See Safety and security for more information
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Peru. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Terrorism and other criminal activity (see Advisory)
Domestic terrorism is largely restricted to the remote jungle areas of Peru where the Shining Path guerrilla group is present. This includes the region where the Apurímac, Ayacucho, Cusco and Junín departments meet, parts of Huancavelica and Ucayali departments, and the Upper Huallaga river valley in the Huánuco and San Martín departments. Overland travel in these regions is unsafe.
Incidents have included:
- temporary ambushes of small villages
- bombings or threats of violence against local security forces or community figures
Cocaine production and trafficking occurs in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river valley (a region referred to as VRAEM). Travel is particularly dangerous in areas where there is coca cultivation and processing.
Border area with Colombia (see Advisory)
Criminal activity related to narcotics trafficking and occasional incursions by armed guerrilla forces from Colombia at Cordillera del Cóndor, Peru, pose a threat to personal security.
Border area with Ecuador (see Advisory)
Cross the Peru–Ecuador border at official crossing points only due to the presence of landmines along the border.
Crime is a problem throughout the country. Petty theft, assault and armed robbery occur frequently. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness, especially at night. Avoid walking in deserted or under-populated areas. Travel in groups whenever possible.
Criminals posing as taxi drivers often rob tourists along the route to and from Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport. Use a secure taxi service when arriving at and leaving the airport. Exercise caution en route to and from your hotel. Find information on registered taxi companies from the Lima Airport Partners website.
While travelling by car or by taxi, 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 to “smash and grab” and to attempt entry when they see travel bags or merchandise. Criminals have thrown objects in front of oncoming traffic in the hope 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, when there is a higher risk of robbery.
Armed robberies are on the rise. While most victims are not physically injured, criminals will not hesitate to use force when opposed. If you are robbed, hand over your cash, electronic devices and valuables without resistance.
Be particularly vigilant after visiting a bank, automated banking machine (ABM) or change bureau, as thieves may follow and rob victims. Use ABMs inside banks and during regular hours of service, when guards are on duty.Petty crime is prevalent in Lima, other cities and even in crowded, public areas, and occurs at any time of day. Theft occurs frequently in hotels, restaurants, bus stations and airports, on intercity buses and microbuses and while hailing taxis. Avoid wearing expensive watches and jewelry, or showing signs of affluence. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Never leave bags unattended.
Pickpockets and bag snatchers may work in pairs or groups and employ a variety of ruses to divert their victim’s attention. A common scam involves spraying a substance on victims and then robbing them while pretending to help clean the stain, or distracting the victim by asking questions while another person perpetrates the theft. In some cases, thieves on motorcycles will snatch purses, backpacks or cellular phones.
Thefts on boats by river pirates occur along rivers in the Amazon jungle.
Armed gangs have been known to stop buses to rob travellers, especially at night. Incidents of assaults on buses have also been reported.
Assaults have occurred along the Inca Trail and in the Huaraz region of the Cordillera Blanca mountains. Hiking in these regions should be done in groups.
Express kidnappings involving tourists have occurred in Peru. Victims are usually abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ABMs for their release. Most express kidnappings take place at night, but incidents also occur during daylight hours. Incidents often involve criminals posing as taxi drivers, or taxi drivers working for organized gangs. Be suspicious of strangers approaching you on the street.
Virtual kidnappings occur throughout the country. Criminals use stolen cellphones to contact family members claiming to have kidnapped the owner of the phone and then ask for ransom money. Never leave your cellphone unattended. Be cautious when using cellphones and smart devices in public as they are often targeted by thieves, especially while people are using them. Ensure your phone is password protected.
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. Avoid moneychangers on the street, as they may carry counterfeit currency or work with pickpockets.
Credit card skimming is also a concern. You should keep your credit cards within sight while making transactions.
Thieves pose as police officers to gain the confidence and cooperation of their potential victims. If you are stopped by local authorities, ask to see official identification and record the officer’s name, badge number and district. For traffic violations, request that the officer issue you a fine in writing, which is payable at a later date. You should also note the location of the arrest. Legitimate police officers have also extorted money in exchange for not charging for minor offences or traffic violations, or have stolen money and valuables during searches. If you are searched, even at the airport, ensure you have all your belongings before leaving.
If you are planning to participate in volunteer activities in Peru, ensure that the company organizing your trip is legitimate. Make sure your accommodations and return arrangements are secure before travelling. Learn more about volunteering abroad.
Spiked food and drinks
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 the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Incidents of sexual assault, including rape, occur throughout the country, even to women travelling in groups. You should not travel alone, especially after dark. Remain particularly vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis. See Her own way - a woman’s safe-travel guide for travel safety information specifically for Canadian women.
Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances, especially regarding the acceptance of rides or other invitations. Assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreigners have occurred. In some cases, tour guides have been implicated. For information about tours and tourist assistance and information, contact iPeru.
Women reporting sexual assault should contact police immediately. Medical examinations at identified clinics are part of the investigation process. Women who have delayed reporting may experience more scrutiny by local authorities.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Demonstrations and protests are common throughout the country. Strikes and roadblocks are frequent and may cause the interruption of services, including public transit, and the closure of businesses and government offices. Impromptu road blocks may also affect travel within southern Peru, especially travel to and from the cities of Arequipa, Cusco and Puno. Protests around Puno can sometimes result in the closure of the border crossing with Bolivia. Protestors may block rivers essential for transportation in some remote regions, including the Manu region of Madre de Dios, resulting in the temporary detainment of tourists.
Avoid large crowds, political gatherings and marches as they can turn violent without notice, which may lead to injuries and death. Police may use tear gas or other methods to disperse crowds. Road blocks and transport disruptions may occur, including access to airports and rail services. Participating in demonstrations may lead to detention or even deportation by Peruvian authorities. Monitor local media reports for up-to-date information and follow the advice of local authorities. Confirm your travel plans with your travel agency or tour operator, and ensure they have made appropriate security arrangements. Contact iPeru by phone or email for the latest developments.
Poor road conditions, aggressive driving practices, a lack of respect for driving laws and a lack of traffic signs are common road hazards in Peru. Mountainous roads can be particularly dangerous, especially at night. Accidents are frequent and result in many deaths every year. Regular police spot checks can cause traffic delays.
When renting a vehicle, always purchase insurance. Most drivers in Peru have only the minimum required car insurance, which may not adequately cover accidents.
Public transportation in Lima consists of a chaotic system of privately owned and operated buses, microbuses (micros), small vans (combis) and moto-taxis. Many of the buses and combis in Lima are old, poorly maintained and overcrowded. Drivers of these vehicles tend to dominate the roads and disregard other drivers or pedestrians.
Intercity bus travel can be dangerous due to the risk of bus accidents, which are usually 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 publishes, in Spanish only, a list of those bus companies with the highest rates of involvement in fatal or serious injury traffic accidents.
Do not hail taxis on the street. Reserve a taxi by calling a reputable taxi company or use taxi services associated with major hotels. Licensed taxis are not metered, so agree to a fare prior to departure and do not pay until you have reached your destination. Taxi drivers sometimes do not provide change or will continue to drive until they can obtain change, so try to carry the exact fare.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
There have been incidents involving small aircraft over the Nazca Lines, some resulting in fatal accidents. Ensure that your airline has a good record and appropriate safety measures are in place.
Adventure travel and tours
If you plan to partake in adventure travel in Peru, review the security arrangements with your travel agent, tour operator or tour guide prior to travelling. You may also contact the Peruvian government’s Tourist Information and Assistance website, iPerú, for the latest information on situations throughout Peru that may affect your safety.
The Ministry of Tourism of Peru recommends using the services of tour companies and agencies associated with one of the following associations for your travels in Peru (websites in Spanish only):
- APOTUR (Asociación Peruana de Operadores de Turismo Receptivo e Interno),
- APAVIT (Asociación Peruana de Agencias de Viaje y Turismo) or
- APTAE (Asociación Peruana de Turismo de Aventura, Ecoturismo y Turismo Espacializado).
Remote areas of Peru, where popular jungle excursions operate, may not have cell phone coverage or internet access. Always leave the contact information of tour operator with your family and friends. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad system.
Each year, several hikers and climbers are victims of serious, sometimes fatal, accidents in the Andes, including at the Huayna Picchu peak near Machu Picchu. Trails, such as those found in Ollantaytambo, may be poorly marked. Hikers have become lost. Be aware that steep or slippery areas are neither fenced nor marked. Exercise extreme caution while climbing, as local authorities have limited rescue capabilities. Before travelling to Peru for adventure activities, ensure your travel health insurance includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation, in the case of serious illness or injury.
If you intend to hike, trek or climb:
- never do so alone;
- always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the hiking company is reputable;
- register when entering national parks;
- ensure that you are in top physical condition;
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal; and
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes and potential hazards before you set out.
Before visiting mountainous areas in Ancash, contact the Peruvian national police’s High Mountain Rescue Unit (USAM) by telephone, +51 1 575 1555; fax, +51 1 575 3036; or email, email@example.com.
There have been several recent white-water rafting accidents and drownings involving tourists, particularly on the Urubamba River near Cuzco. Companies offering white-water rafting, their guides and their equipment may not be held to the same standards as similar companies in Canada.Strong currents exist in the Pacific Ocean and in rivers. Life guards are not always present or properly trained at beaches. Seek advice and consult residents and local authorities about conditions before swimming, surfing or participating in other aquatic activities.
Swimming in jungle lakes and rivers can be dangerous due to the presence of parasites and wildlife.
Spiritual cleansing and ayahuasca ceremonies, offered by shamans and other individuals, involve taking substances that can cause medical complications and can severely impair cognitive and physical abilities. Exposure to these substances has led to serious illness, injury, assault and even the death of several tourists. Ceremonies often take place in remote areas with no access to medical or mental health facilities or resources and limited communication with local authorities. Most of the time, the facilities lack basic first aid or emergency plans for those suffering from physical or psychological illness from these ceremonies. Ayahuasca ceremonies are not regulated and there is no way to assess the safety of any of the services, the operators or the shamans.
There are tourist police offices in most tourist destinations. The local telephone numbers for the tourist police in Lima are:
Miraflores: +51 1 715 6554
Lima North: +51 1 423 3500
Lima South: +51 1 243 2190
Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima (open 24 hours a day): +51 1 517 1841
To reach tourist police elsewhere in Peru, call 08 0022221 (toll free).
Tourists may register complaints regarding tours and business practices with the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI). This includes safety issues or concerns. INDECOPI operators speak English and are available at 08 004 4040 (toll free) throughout Peru.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Peruvian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Peru.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
If you entered Peru with a business visa, you must obtain a certificate from the Peruvian Ministry of the Economy to prove that all Peruvian taxes on income earned during the trip have been paid prior to leaving the country. The certification is required even if no money was paid or earned and must be presented to the central Peruvian immigration office in Lima before departure.
If you enter Peru via a land border, you must fill out the Andean Migration Card (Tarjeta Andina de Migración) at the port of entry.
You must obtain an entry stamp in your passport from Peru’s immigration office at the port of entry, including at land borders where immigration offices may not be open at all hours or may be difficult to locate. Only cross the border at official checkpoints. Also, be sure to obtain the required exit stamp from the country you are leaving.
If you do not obtain a stamp upon entry, you must apply for an expulsion order at the immigration office in Lima before leaving the country. The application for the expulsion order may take weeks to complete. Expulsion will result in being barred from re-entry into the country. Returning to the original point of entry to obtain the stamp before leaving Peru is no longer acceptable by Peruvian immigration officials. If you did not obtain an entry stamp upon entry, you should attempt to obtain a stamp at the closest immigration (migraciones) office as soon as possible. If you need further assistance, contact the consular section of the Embassy of Canada to Peru in Lima and provide the location of the immigration office you visited and the name of the immigration officer.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must obtain a new entry stamp on the replacement passport from the National Superintendent of Immigration (Superintendencia Nacional de Migraciones) or at Lima’s Jorge Chávez airport.
Length of stay
The length of stay—up to a maximum of 183 days—is determined by immigration officers. Overstaying is a criminal offence. Peruvian offenders will be fined 4.05 Peruvian soles for each day of overstay. This fee must be paid upon exiting the country.
Peruvian–Canadians entering Peru using their Canadian passport are subject to visit restrictions, including length of stay and associated fines.
See Laws and culture for additional information.
Travellers carrying more than US$10,000 or its equivalent in any currency 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.
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.
Children born of Canadian parents in Peru require a Peruvian passport to leave the country for the first time. Contact Peruvian immigration officials for more information.
More about travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - February 12, 2018
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional 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 - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
* 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.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
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 visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional 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 , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. 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.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- 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.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
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 professional.
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
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. Consult Well on Your Way—A Canadian’s Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad for more information.
Private hospitals and clinics in urban centres are well-staffed and -equipped to handle any emergency or medical issue. Public hospitals and rural facilities, even in some tourist destinations and major cities, may not meet Canadian standards or may be inadequate to treat serious conditions. Cases of serious injury or illness in remote areas may require evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility in the country. Clinic, hospital and evacuation expenses can be costly and the service provider often expects immediate cash payment or confirmation of payment from an insurance company.
You should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford prior to your departure. Your health insurance should include health, life and disability coverage that will help you pay for large expenses, such as the cost of hospitalization or medical treatment outside of Canada.
See Travel insurance for more information.
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. A health-care professional can advise you on how to prevent or reduce the effects of altitude sickness.
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
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, as there have been cases of airport smuggling. 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. A photocopy of your passport—specifically of 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.
Peruvian authorities may impose fines and other penalties for any action considered to be disrespectful at historical and archaeological sites such as Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo and Saqsayhuaman. Visitors to Machu Picchu must adhere to strict regulations regarding entry restrictions and behaviour within the site. Check with your travel guide or agent for the latest information.
Peruvian law strictly prohibits the export of antiques and artefacts (huacos) from pre-colonial civilizations. Purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art from reputable dealers only and insist on obtaining documentation from Peru’s National Institute of Culture to prove that the object is a reproduction and may be exported.
The export of coca tea bags and products is prohibited.
It is illegal to remove certain fauna and flora items from Peru. Items made from or displaying animals, insects or plants may be seized. If you are convicted of possession of such items, you could face heavy fines or jail sentences.
- National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR ) - Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru (in Spanish)
It is forbidden to photograph military installations.
Although the laws of Peru do not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, same-sex partnerships are not formally recognized. Homosexuality is increasingly socially accepted, but much of Peruvian society remains conservative. See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
A foreign driver’s licence can be used only in Lima and only for 30 days after arrival. To drive outside of Lima or for an extended period, an international driving permit is mandatory.
Carry identification and vehicle registration at all times.
States of emergency
A state of emergency allows regional governments to access funding and resources immediately before, during or after an emergency event. It also gives the Peruvian armed forces responsibility for law and order alongside the police. Some civil rights may be suspended and curfews may be imposed. Confirm with your insurance company how a Government of Canada travel advisory or a state of emergency declared by Peruvian authorities may affect your insurance coverage.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Peru.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Peru, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
The currency is the Peruvian nuevo sol (PEN). The U.S. dollar is widely accepted.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Lima, but less so outside major cities. Many establishments will request to see a passport (or a photocopy) to confirm the identity of the person using the credit card.
Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted.
In small towns, ABMs may not be readily available. ABMs in large cities may accept out-of-country bank cards and credit cards. ABMs often have limits to the amount and number of daily withdrawals; larger amounts may require multiple withdrawals. You should inform your banking company of your travel prior to departing and confirm whether you will be able to use ABMs in Peru and the limitations on withdrawals.
Natural disasters and climate
Peru’s national defence institute provides information on emergency preparedness, alerts and emergency response regarding natural disasters in Peru at Instituto Nacional de Defensa Civil (INDECI) (in Spanish only). You can also follow INDECI on Facebook and Twitter (@indeciperu) to receive emergency messaging in Spanish.
Seismic activity and tsunamis
Peru is in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes. If you are indoors when an earthquake strikes, make your way to a safe zone if you are unable to exit the building. Safe zones are usually marked in public buildings with an “S,” which indicates where the structural pillars are located.
Tsunamis can occur following seismic activity. Tsunami evacuation routes are posted along the Costa Verde in Lima and several locations on the coast. Further information is available from the Dirección de Hidrografía y Navegación (in Spanish only).
Dangerous landslides can also occur, even after minor earthquakes.
Higher tides are experienced several times throughout the year and may cause flooding and damage along the coast.
There are active and potentially active volcanoes in southern Peru. Two government department websites provide up-to-date information on volcanic activity (in Spanish): the Geophysical Institute of Peru, Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), and the Geology, Mineralogy and Metallurgy Institute, Instituto Geologico Minero y Metalurigico (INGEMMET) (in Spanish).
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.
Rainy season and El Niño
The rainy season extends from November to May in the Peruvian Andes. Heavy rains, resulting in flooding, mudslides 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. In recent years, unusually heavy rains associated with El Niño have worsened the impact of these events. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 105
- tourist police: 0800 2221
- medical assistance: 116
- firefighters: 116
Lima - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Lima and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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