The US Department of State reissued a travel advisory cautioning against travel to Peru on July 18. Certain areas in the South American country have increased risk, according to the State Department.
“Crime, including petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assaults, and violent crime, is a concern in Peru, and can occur during daylight hours, despite the presence of many witnesses,” the travel advisory said.
“The risk of crime increases after hours and outside the capital city of Lima where more organized criminal groups have been known to use roadblocks to rob victims,” it added.
Other areas are altogether banned for US government personnel to visit, though the big hot spots like the Machu Picchu area, the Sacred Valley, and city of Cusco are all kosher.
Areas that are banned for US government personnel, and have the “Do Not Travel” warning from the State Dept., include the Colombian-Peruvian border area and areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin — namely the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM).
Government personnel who need to travel in those areas must request advance permission, and may need to be transported in armored vehicles.
Within the VRAEM, remnants of a communist revolutionary group called the Shining Path remain, mostly involved now in cocaine production. “Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limit the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area,” the warning said.
The Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board did not respond to a request for a comment from Business Insider.
Warning comes ahead of the Pan American Games
This travel advisory was reissued by the State Department ahead of the Pan American Games and Parapan American Games. The games run from July 26 to September 1. Hosted in part by the National Olympic Committees, the Games occur once every four years. The last Pan American Games occurred in 2015 in Toronto.
“US citizens should be aware major events are a prime opportunity for thieves and other criminal elements to prey upon unsuspecting tourists,” the advisory said.