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Cusco Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Cusco, Peru in 2024?

Planning a trip to Cusco evokes excitement and concern about safety. Many travelers share this curiosity while eager to explore its ruins and culture.

Tobi Miles
March 29, 2024
Cusco Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Cusco, Peru in 2024?

Rest assured, Cusco is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like any popular destination, it has its share of concerns. From navigating the narrow cobblestone streets to exploring the surrounding majestic mountains, knowing what to expect can make your journey smoother and more enjoyable. Let's dive into what makes Cusco a safe place for your next adventure.

Safety Overview of Cusco

When considering a trip to Cusco, safety is undoubtedly one of your top concerns. It’s essential to dive into what makes Cusco a destination worth visiting, alongside understanding the safety precautions to take. Despite the common anxieties surrounding travel to South American cities, Cusco is generally safe for tourists. This isn't to say it's free from concerns, but with the right knowledge and actions, you can significantly mitigate risks.

Cusco's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the gateway to Machu Picchu means it sees a large influx of tourists every year. This popularity contributes positively to its safety, as local authorities and businesses prioritize tourist security to maintain the city's global reputation. However, like any tourist hotspot, there are instances of petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, especially in crowded areas.

To give you a clearer picture, let's look at some data:

Crime Aspect


Comparison (National Average)

Petty Theft



Violent Crime



Tourist Police Presence



Travel advisories often rank Cusco as safer than many other popular destinations in South America, praising the efforts made by local law enforcement and the tourist police. Knowing where you're going and staying informed can go a long way. Here are a few tips to enhance your safety:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.
  • Utilize safe transportation options, opting for official taxi services or Uber.
  • Keep your valuables secure and out of sight.
  • Stay informed about areas to avoid after dark or any local scams targeting tourists.

Safety in Cusco, as in any travel destination, boils down to preparation and awareness. With these insights, you’re better equipped to experience all that Cusco has to offer, keeping safety concerns in check.

Crime Rates in Cusco

Understanding the crime rates in Cusco is essential for ensuring your stay is both enjoyable and safe. While Cusco is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, like any popular tourist destination, it's not immune to crime. However, the situation may not be as daunting as you might think.

Recent statistics paint a comprehensive picture of safety in Cusco. According to data from the Peruvian National Police, the crime rates in Cusco are considerably lower than in many other parts of the country, especially when it comes to violent crimes. To put it into perspective, here's a breakdown:

Crime Type

Incidents per 100,000 inhabitants

Violent Crimes


Petty Theft






Petty theft stands out, signaling that pickpocketing and bag snatching are the primary concerns. Conversely, violent crimes, drug-related offenses, and fraud/scams occur less frequently, which suggests a relatively safer environment for tourists.

It's important to note that the local authorities and tourist police are actively working to reduce these numbers further. Their presence is notably stronger in areas with heavy tourist traffic, providing an added layer of security.

When comparing these figures with other South American cities, Cusco's crime rates are quite favorable. This distinction is crucial, as it highlights the city's efforts to ensure the safety of its visitors.

Visual aids in tourist areas and increased surveillance have also contributed to a safer environment. Initiatives like these demonstrate a proactive approach to maintaining Cusco’s status as a top destination for travelers seeking both adventure and cultural enrichment.

Yet, staying informed and cautious is key. Being aware of your surroundings and taking recommended safety precautions can significantly mitigate risks, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders that Cusco has to offer.

Tips for Staying Safe in Cusco

Exploring the historical city of Cusco can be an unforgettable journey, but ensuring your safety is paramount. Here, we'll guide you through practical tips and strategies to help you navigate Cusco securely, minimizing risks and maximizing your experience.

Stay Vigilant in Crowded Areas: Cusco's bustling markets and plazas, especially around the main square, Plaza de Armas, are hotspots for pickpockets. Always keep your belongings in sight and avoid carrying valuables in your back pocket or in easily accessible bags.

Use Authorized Transportation: Opt for registered taxis or transportation services recommended by your accommodation. Unauthorized cabs pose risks of overcharging and less secure journeys. Most legitimate taxi services in Cusco are now equipped with digital meters and identification, ensuring a safer ride.

Keep Copies of Important Documents: Losing a passport or essential travel document can turn into a nightmare. Keep photocopies or digital copies of your important documents in a separate place from the originals. It's also wise to email copies to yourself for easy access anywhere.

Beware of Scams: Tourists can sometimes be targeted by scammers offering too-good-to-be-true deals on tours, accommodations, or even counterfeit goods. Always verify the credibility of the offer and deal directly with established vendors or agencies.

Stay Informed About Local Laws and Customs: Cusco has specific regulations and customs that, when breached, could lead to uncomfortable situations or legal issues. Familiarize yourself with local norms regarding public behavior, dress codes in sacred places, and restrictions on photographing certain sites.

Health Safety: Cusco's high altitude can affect even the fittest travelers. Acclimatize gradually, stay hydrated, and consider consulting with a healthcare provider about altitude sickness medication before your trip. Stick to reputable eateries to avoid food and waterborne illnesses.

Following these guidelines and staying informed about your environment can greatly enhance your safety and enjoyment while exploring the rich cultural tapestry of Cusco. Remember, the key to a memorable visit lies not just in the sights you see but in the precautions you take.

Emergency Services in Cusco

When exploring Cusco, it's crucial to know about the emergency services available to you. This knowledge isn't just a safety net; it’s a necessary component of planning your trip.

Tourist Police are your go-to in case of any issues related to safety or disputes. Efficiently located at Av. El Sol 604, they are specially trained to assist travelers. Ensure you have their contact number: +51 84 224 971. It’s your first line of defense against any unforeseen complications.

Medical emergencies require immediate attention and Cusco is prepared for that. The Hospital Regional at Av. de la Cultura 710 is equipped to handle serious health concerns. For minor issues, Clinica Pardo near Plaza de Armas is highly recommended. Their modern facilities and English-speaking staff ensure that you receive the best care possible. Here are some contact numbers you should keep on hand:


Contact Number

Tourist Police

+51 84 224 971

Hospital Regional

+51 84 235 113

Clinica Pardo

+51 84 240 903

Furthermore, if you find yourself in a legal bind or need consular assistance, many countries have consulates in Cusco or nearby Lima. It's advised to have the contact information for your country's consulate before your trip.

In case of a natural disaster or serious emergency, familiarize yourself with the Indeci Cusco (Regional Institute of Civil Defense). They provide guidelines and assistance during such events. Knowing where to go and who to call reduces panic and ensures you're not left unaided.

Being informed about emergency services in Cusco isn’t just about being prepared; it’s about ensuring you have the peace of mind to thoroughly enjoy your journey in this majestic city. Carry this essential information with you, and you’re set to explore Cusco’s wonders with an added layer of security.


Armed with the right information and resources, you're now better prepared to tackle any challenges that may come your way in Cusco. Remember, safety is paramount, but it's equally important to enjoy the rich culture and breathtaking landscapes this city offers. By keeping the contact numbers of emergency services handy and knowing where to find help, you can navigate Cusco with confidence and peace of mind. So pack your bags, embark on your adventure, and let Cusco unfold its wonders for you, securely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What emergency services are available in Cusco for tourists?

Emergency services in Cusco include the Tourist Police for safety issues, Hospital Regional, and Clinica Pardo for medical emergencies. Additionally, Indeci Cusco is available for assistance during natural disasters.

How can tourists contact the Tourist Police in Cusco?

Tourists can contact the Tourist Police in Cusco by visiting the local police station or dialing the emergency number provided in tourist guides and information centers.

What medical facilities are recommended for emergencies in Cusco?

For medical emergencies in Cusco, Hospital Regional and Clinica Pardo are highly recommended. They provide comprehensive medical services and have facilities to cater to various emergencies.

Is there any consular assistance available in Cusco for international tourists?

Yes, international tourists can seek consular assistance in Cusco. It’s advised to contact your embassy or consulate upon arrival for guidance and in case of emergencies.

What should tourists do in case of a natural disaster in Cusco?

In case of a natural disaster in Cusco, tourists should follow the guidelines provided by Indeci Cusco, which is responsible for disaster response and preparedness. It is also recommended to stay informed through local media and emergency services.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 29, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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