South America

Is Peru safe to visit in 2024?

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  1 February 2024

TLDR: Peru is OPEN to tourists – the situation is calm and safe, and peak travel season is ready to kick off BIG TIME!

NB: We will keep this page updated as events unfold in 2024.

UPDATE 1 Feb 2024: A small group of people protesting a new ticket system implemented by the government for trains to Machu Picchu caused some minor disruption by blocking the train tracks and causing the temporary suspension of train services to the iconic Incan site. The situation is now resolved and train services are operating as normal once again.


Is Peru safe to visit?

Despite the fact that political protests and unrest is part and parcel of life in Latia America, Peru’s recent woes caught international attention with a little more gusto than usual. Undoubtedly it was because the Peruvian Government took the unprecedented decision to close Machu Picchu, the country’s most visited tourist highlight.

Although the ancient Inca citadel closed for barely one month and eagerly reopened to tourists in mid-February 2023, many prospective travellers are wondering if there are lingering safety issues they should know about.

Is Peru safe to visit in 2024? That’s the question on many explorers’ minds.

Cuzco Carnival parade party, traditional.

Cuzco Carnival parade party, traditional.


If you’re contemplating visiting South America in the coming year, you will be happy to know that Peru is back to its general safety levels and ready to kick off its 2024 peak travel season in earnest.

Machu Picchu is open to tourists, tickets to the sacred site are pre-selling fast, and all airports and major cities like Lima and Cusco are suffering no ill-effects of the trouble at the start of the year. The land borders between Peru and Bolivia – the most popular for Highlights of the Andes tours that cover Lake Titicaca, the Bolivian Altiplano, and Uyuni Salt Flats – are also all open and perfectly safe to cross.

At Viva Expeditions, our primary goal is to deliver unforgettable travel experiences to discerning explorers, ensuring their enjoyment and safety. To this end, we thought we'd give you the lowdown on the cause of Peru's woes at the start of the year, how it all evolved and offer a welcome update on the current situation. This will give you a better understanding of why trouble brews sporadically in Peru and how it affects tourists when the proverbial hits the fan.

Peru is now ready to welcome visitors with open arms, so go ahead and plan your dream trip to the land of llamas and ancient Inca sites – it's all good news on the safety front!


What's been happening in Peru in 2023?

First, a little background info.

After suffering through the devastating COVID pandemic, Peru was well on its way to ‘full recovery’ when it faced the start of social unrest and political protests at the end of 2022. The protests were sparked by a singular event, namely the expulsion of President Castillo and his replacement by vice-president Dina Boluarte who had, by then, aligned with Peru’s right-wing opposition.

Yet as with all political events, every socio-political expert agrees that the situation was both a long time in the making and much more complex than the one event might indicate.

Many Peruvians deeply resented having a new President imposed on them. They saw the move by Boularte as profoundly undemocratic – protests immediately broke out as people demanded a democratic voting process. If you want us to have a new president, the Peruvians protested, then we demand our right to vote for one.


Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is now open and safe to go.


How the protests spread to Machu Picchu

The protests didn’t exactly come to Machu Picchu but they impacted train operations to the citadel, effectively leaving tourists stranded on either side. The government then decided to close the ancient site to preserve its integrity.

A handful of foreign tourists were stuck in Aguas Calientes for a few days but all were safely escorted out. It’s important to note that tourists are not typically targeted during times of social unrest, anywhere in South America. At most, they are inconvenienced. Some visitors needed to cut their trip short, or skip a particular destination.

Gaining deeper insight into Peru's social and cultural fabric and inequality between the well-to-do and disadvantaged minorities (mostly Quechua and Aymara communities living in the Andes) is a rewarding exercise for anyone who wishes to visit the country and make the most of their experience.

Luckily, Peru’s woes didn’t last long. The situation was defused by the government's announcement that Peruvians could go to the polls and vote for their chosen President in December 2024.

By mid-February, Machu Picchu was once again open to tourists. In mid-March, Cusco organized a huge festival to welcome back tourists. The government swiftly embarked on an international 'damage control' campaign to announce that all was back to normal in Peru and tourism could kick off once more.

And it sure did!


How was the 2023 travel season in Peru?

Tourist numbers to Peru may not yet have fully recovered from the COVID pandemic yet they certainly bounced back quickly from the protests. It was a stroke of unexpected good luck that the political unrest actually occurred during the country’s tourism off-season. The first four months of the year are characterized by heavy rains in the Andes – so much so that the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed every year in February for maintenance.

By May 2023, tourist numbers rose quickly. By July, they had reached a 3-year high, signalling a swift return from the drastic pandemic slump, where Peru saw a sudden 70% of its tourism revenue – from 5 million annual visitors in 2018 and 2019, to merely half a million in 2021.

Almost 3.5 million tourists visited Peru in 2023, post political unrest.


Peruvian flag and yellow church in the Barranco neighborhood in Lima, Peru

Peruvian flag and yellow church in the Barranco neighborhood in Lima, Peru


Projected visitor numbers for 2024

Projected visitor numbers for the 2024 season are promising for Peru, and point to expected incoming arrivals of just over 4 million tourists.

Truth be told, safety is something many first-time travellers to Peru and South America worry about. So, the question of whether Peru is a safe destination is one we field pretty much every single year.

Here’s quick overview of safety issues if travelling to Peru in 2024.


How safe is Peru for travellers, in general?

Aside from the odd stint of unrest, which is often seen all over Latin America (these are proud people who have fought fiercely for their independence and eagerly take to the streets to protect it), Peru is generally a safe place for tourists.

Petty and opportunistic theft is the most you’ll ever have to worry about here, as with the rest of South America. If you have your wits about you, take simple precautions, keep your valuables safe, and are reasonably vigilant, you’ll enjoy a rewarding and hassle-free trip in Peru.

The closure of Machu Picchu was an unprecedented and untypical event – the country relies heavily on tourism and constantly does its utmost to protect it like its economy depended on it. Because it does. It’s important to remember that if trouble does break out, tourists are rarely unsafe. Tourists are the country's lifeline in many ways, and protecting them is paramount.

Naturally, we recommend you always keep abreast of the latest news from your government’s travel advisory board before travelling anywhere. Also, keep up to date with Peruvian national news – sporadic protests for Boluarte’s resignation continue to this day and definitive election dates have yet to be confirmed.

Keep checking back to this page for updates.


What you can do to keep safe when travelling to Peru

Aside from keeping updated on Peru's news, your best safety bet is to book and travel with a reputable travel agent (like us!) working with an array of local reps. The benefits of travelling on an organized tour of Peru are that it comes with a virtual safety net – up-to-date news on the ground, 24/7 support should you ever need it, and peace of mind knowing that we have your back.

This doesn't just help during political unrest or 'big' troubles. Having our local guides and support team on the ground in Peru means you don't have to figure everything out alone. Like almost every country on earth, Peru has its share of not-so-safe regions and city neighbourhoods you should avoid – a local guide will ensure you do precisely that.

General safety guidelines for Peru include the following :

  • Don’t display valuables (like expensive phones and cameras) in public
  • Keep an eye out for pickpockets on public transport and crowded tourist sites
  • Avoid travelling alone after dark (Peru is generally safe for lone travellers, even females. Yet moving about cities, taking taxis or buses late at night alone is not recommended)
  • Only travel with 100% comprehensive travel insurance (that ‘random’ inconvenience does not need to cost you dearly!)
  • Keep away from major coca-growing regions in the north
  • Whenever you arrive in a new city, find out which neighbourhoods/areas/streets you should avoid
  • Travel with a reputable tour/bus/travel operator


Peru is a land of incredible contrasts, ancient cultural traditions, extraordinary landscapes, fascinating histories, exquisite food, and warm, welcoming people. A visit to Peru is a trip not easily forgotten – for tours to the ancient site of Machu Picchu, luxury cruises in the Amazon, treks in the Andes and comprehensive itineraries showcasing the country's very best – visit our Peru Tours.


Llama pack in Cordillera Vilcanota, Ausungate, Cusco, Peru

Llama pack in Cordillera Vilcanota, Ausungate, Cusco, Peru


Start planning your dream trip to Peru and Contact our Destination Specialists today.

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