Cusco

Cusco (often spelled Cuzco) is located in south-eastern Peru. It is also often referred as the “Archaeological Capital of the Americas” as its history dates back to 1200AD, and it’s linked to the first Inca ruler Manco Capac. Cusco has become a major tourist destination that hosts around 2 million visitors a year, which is why the Constitution of Peru designated it as the Historical Capital of Peru. While this beautiful city is a safe place to visit, there is a threat of crime. Take care of your personal belongings at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Below, you’ll find more information on how to stay safe while traveling in Cusco.

SAFETY INDEX

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Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Tourism is the main source of income for Cusco, so crime against tourists is frowned upon. Standard safety precautions are recommended in Cusco. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other major city. Watch out for petty crime in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Muggings have happened in urban areas, but it isn’t common. People walking alone are often the targets, especially at night. In case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any other city, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you like a tap on the shoulder, spitting or getting something spilled on you. Credit card skimming is also common.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Overall, taxis and public transportation are safe. Make sure you book a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible as there have been reports of traveler being robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Flooding and landslides can happen during heavy rains and may result in public transportation disruptions.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Activity by the Shining Path terrorist group has been reported along the trekking route to Espiritu Pampa in Cusco. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Many women travel safely without any issues. However, there have been reports of sexual assault throughout the country. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Remain extra vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

Violent crime is not very common in Cusco, but it is important to be extra caution in certain zones as crime is more likely to occur. High crime areas in Cusco are calle Bélen, Puente Santiago, and Santiago district.

Distrito Cusco

This is the district that offers the most attractions in terms of archaeology, religion, and culture like: el Complejo Arqueológico Pukapukara, Complejo Arqueológico de Colcampara, Complejo Arqueológico Kusicancha, the Qorikancha, Totorapaqcha, and the archeological park Sacsayhuamán among others.

Barrio San Blas

Located to the northeast of Plaza de Armas and with a strong Spanish colonial architectural influence, San Blas is an area quite different from the rest of the city. It is also known as the artisan’s quarter. Here, you’ll be surrounded by ancient Inca history and will find the famous 12-angled stone, Plaza San Blas, Iglesia San Blas, the cathedral San Cristobal, and many boutiques and cafés!

Colcampata

This is considered one of the oldest barrios in Cusco. Some historians believe that this was the place where Manco Cápac built his first palace. The Colcampata Palace is located close to the Sacsayhuamán Shrine. Some parts of the enormous building remain in the area that you can still appreciate.

Useful Information

Most countries do not need a visa to enter Peru when the purpose of the visit is tourism. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your departure date. Your stamp may be for 30 days on your passport though the limit is 180 days. If this happens, explain the immigration officials that you need more days and show your return ticket. You may also get a tourist card called Tarjeta Andina de Migración (Andean Immigration Card) that you must return when you exit the country. If you lose this card, you can visit an immigration office for a replacement (www.digemin.gob.pe). www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in Peru is the Nuevo sol (S). ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in main cities, but be careful of possible scamming and never leave your card out of sight. S100 bills are hard to exchange in small towns, so make sure to always carry small bills.
The weather in Peru varies per region as the country’s geography is very diverse. On the coast, the winter lasts from June to September. Expect heavy rains in the mountains and jungle from December to April. Tumbes and Piura have tropical climates, while it hardly ever rains in Lima and most of the coast.
The busiest international airport in Peru is Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) in Lima. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page