I am a 22 year old white American male who will be traveling to Peru with three friends in may of 2013. Of the four in our group, three of speak fluent Spanish. We have plans to hike the inca trial to macchu piccu but are reconsidering due to the travel advisory issues by the us embassy in Peru in feb of 2013. This advisory cites a raised threat of kidnapping as the primary reason for the warning. How serious is this threat? Should we change out plans? Any insight you have helps, thanks.
I am US citizen who lives in the US and I arrived alone in Cusco the day before the travel advisory was posted on the US Embassy website. I go to Cusco several times a year and I know many guides & other local people.
We were very surprised by the alert and no one was aware of any situations or events with tourists that could be cause for concern. But several local guides speculate that the US gov is not happy about how the Peruvian authorities handled the assault on 3 Americans who were driving around lost last Dec late at night, and wandered in to the village of Palca. (4 hr from Cusco) The villagers thought the strangers were stealing their cattle & beat them badly.
Everyone I know in Cusco, agrees that the local authorities should have investigated & arrested those who were involved. But it doesn't appear that anything much was done about it.
From the standpoint of a tourist, I spent a week in Cusco after the kidnapping alert was posted and talked to many Americans. No one was concerned about the threat at all and everyone was out and about. Some Americans wondered how kidnappers would be able to distinguish between Americans & other nationalities.
I spent a weekend in Ollantaytambo and with a local friend, went to visit a rural ruins in the nearby valley. We gave a few locals a ride in our truck and even asked for directions. They were typically shy but friendly.
I am 56 yo woman and I would not hesitate to go back to Cusco at any time. No Americans have been kidnapped, injured or threatened at this point. The tourist police were very visible.
The kidnapping threat is expected to "expire' by the end of Feb. Depending on when you travel and where, every traveler should learn to monitor all conditions that can potentially threaten one's safety while on the road.
I can't tell you if you should go or not, but I hope this is helpful. 3 months ago
Porter, the first thing to pint out is that the 'emergency message' from the Embassy says the threat exists only through to the end of February.... well before your group arrives.
Secondly, as the US Embassy in Peru itself acknowledges, tens of thousands of American citizens travel to the Cuzco/Machu Picchu region every year without incident. But they are obliged by law to inform citizens if they receive information which suggests a threat.... and in this case the threat has been confirmed by an Embassy source as intercepted telephone conversations between members of the Shining Path terrorist group. There is a hard core cell of Shining path which operates in the northern parts of Cuzco province (about 100 miles north of Machu Picchu). As this NY Times report explains that group did kidnap 36 construction workers last April. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/world/americas/peru-objects-to-us-embassys-warning-to-tourists.html?_r=0
They're a serious terrorist group, it is sensible that the Embassy should share its information with you, so that you can make an assessment of the situation for you and your circumstances. 3 months ago
Peru is very safe... I have lived there for the past year and a half and never had a problem... It helps being American because you are in general much bigger than the Peruvian people and as long as you speak the language, you shouldn't have any problems. 2 months agoAnswered by Mike via WorldNomads.com
I travelled Peru for a month in 2009, even did the Inca Trail.......and it's was one of the most amazing trips I have been one.
I travelled with my family in a small group from Lima up to Lake Titicaca and then even to the Amazon......never did I feel unsafe. We did hear of a few tourist having their backpacks stolen or their wallets picked pocked but as I see it no different then any other country. Just be safe, don't flash money or fancy clothes or jewelry. Stay out of trouble........even last October my husband and I went Egypt when their was huge statements warning people not to go......so it's up to everyone to make their own choices. Hope you go and you will be soooooo happy you went. 2 months ago