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Lima, like other big cities all over the world, can be a dangerous place. When traveling to Lima, above all, you need to know which barrios to avoid and things that you shouldn’t do. In a foreign country knowing this can be difficult, which is why some research is a necessity before you hit the sights. The City of Kings is worth the trip and your time, so here is our guide to keeping you safe while exploring Peru’s capital.
Don’t have your eyes glued to your cell phone like you do when getting around back home. First of all, you won’t be aware of your surroundings the more you look at your phone, which, in a country you aren’t familiar with, can be dangerous. Secondly, you become a target. Whipping out your phone instantly makes you a target for pick pockets and thieves to follow you around, waiting for the right moment. Only look at your phone if you have to and best to do it in a safe place, like a restaurant or coffee shop.
There are countless stories of travelers in crowded areas having valuables stolen right off their backs during all the commotion. When in a crowded place like a concert or bus or bus terminal, it is recommended to wear your backpack with your valuables in front of you.
The fanny pack is back and is probably the best place to store your most valuable items like passports, cash, phones and credit cards. They’re easy to watch and it feels nice not to have anything in your pockets.
Uber is beginning to take off in Lima and is probably the safest way to get around the city. It is very cheap – about the same price as a taxi – and best of, if you don’t know the language, just type in your destination. If you take taxis – which you definitely should – just make sure that the taxi is registered. Taxis are easy and the fastest way to get around, just make sure it’s legit.
Ladies: you’re going to get cat called, whistled at and even more offensive comments directed your way while walking around the city. Even with your partner, the lewd comments don’t stop. While it’ll take all your energy not to say something back to these men, you should refrain while in Lima – and any country you aren’t familiar with. Just do your best to ignore it and walk away – you may hate it, but at least you’re safe.
A little bit of research can go a long way when getting around Lima. The city can be very confusing to navigate and the buses are near impossible to decipher, so make sure you know your plan. You never know when you could take a wrong turn and end up in a bad barrio. Lima has very nice and safe districts such as Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro, but even in these districts, you should be vigilant. Thieves know that these areas are where tourists and travelers hang out.
If you get jumped or robbed, don’t fight back. Let the robber take your phone and money. It isn’t as valuable as your life – aggravating the thief could just escalate the situation.
There are stray dogs all over Peru and Lima is no exception. While most are very sweet and only want some food and love, others aren’t so nice. If you see some dogs, it is safest to grab some rocks. Once you throw one – not to hit the dog, but just to act as a warning – the dogs will leave you alone. Even making the motion to pick something up from the ground will usually scare them.
Just like any big city, you need to be on your toes and use your head. Don’t go down dark streets, especially alone, or take a lot of money out with you at night and don’t wear flashy clothes and jewelry and be smart about where you take your money out from.
It’s always best to trust your intuition and go with it. If something doesn’t feel right, leave. Above all, though, have fun. Lima is a great place and a city you’ll never forget – be smart and enjoy yourself.