Is Arequipa Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On April 7, 2024
Arequipa, Peru
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Arequipa, Peru is a beautiful place to visit.

It’s a great way to visit Colca Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the world.

It’s full of colonial architecture, palm trees, and sunshine that seems never-ending.

However, before you decide to travel here, you should know if it’s a safe location.

Warnings & Dangers in Arequipa

Overall Risk


Arequipa, Peru is certainly worth visiting. However, there is a level of danger you should be aware of. Crime, including violent crime, is high in Arequipa. Drug use and trafficking is common here, and the local authorities are often overwhelmed. There's also a high risk of natural disasters here. The U.S. Department of State doesn't recommend avoiding travel to Peru, although they do recommend avoiding certain areas. When traveling to Arepuipa, they recommend using extra caution.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Arequipa, Peru has a reputation for dangerous taxis. The good news is that you can find licensed taxis, which are safe. The bad news is that unlicensed taxis pose a serious risk. Tourists have been assaulted and robbed when using unlicensed taxis. To avoid this danger, never hail a taxi on the street. You can call for a taxi yourself, or have your hotel or airline call a taxi for you. This will prevent you from unknowingly getting into an unlicensed taxi.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpocketing is common in Arequipa, Peru, particularly in crowded areas. Some pickpockets will work in groups, with one person distracting you, while another steals your belongings. Others may simply target tourists enjoying the sights. To avoid pickpocketing, you can use a money belt or specialized clothing with secret pockets. Never put your wallet or valuables in your back pocket. Don't put anything important in a purse or backpack, because this provides easy access for thieves.

Natural Disasters Risk


Arequipa is prone to several natural disasters. There are 7 volcanoes near the city, so volcanic eruptions and lahar, or volcanic debris flows, are concerns. Earthquakes, landslides, and flash floods are also dangers. In February of 2023, flooding and landslides due to heavy rain caused 7 casualties and 20 missing persons.

Mugging Risk


Muggings and robberies do occur in Arequipa. Unfortunately, violent crime is more common in Arequipa than it is in many cities in the country. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't travel here, but you should take precautions to keep yourself safe.

Terrorism Risk


The risk of terrorism in Arequipa is low. However, there are terrorists active in some remote areas of Peru. Civil unrest is a much greater concern. The U.S. Department of State currently advises an increased level of caution when traveling to Peru, due to crime and civil unrest.

Scams Risk


Scams are an issue in Peru. Some scams are international, with Peruvians posing as people in need online. However, credit card skimming is also common.

Women Travelers Risk


The risk to women travelers in Arequipa is high. Sexual assault is common here. Drugs like scopolamine are used to incapacitate people, particularly women. Violent crime can occur even in populated areas or in broad daylight, so you should be vigilant at all times.

Tap Water Risk


You should generally avoid drinking the tap water in Peru, including Arequipa. H. Pylori and other microbes can be present in the water. Locals may be accustomed to these microbes, but they can cause stomach upset for you. Hotels in Arequipa will have filtration systems that make their water safe to drink. However, you should use bottled water when out of the hotel. It's also a good idea to avoid ordering drinks with ice, unless you are sure the water is safe to drink.

Safest Places to Visit in Arequipa

Like any city, some areas of Arequipa are safer than others.

Safe neighborhoods in the city include Yanahuara, Sachaca Cayma, Cercado, Paucarpata, and Jose Luis Bustamante y Rivero.

The city center is also considered fairly safe.

Places to Avoid in Arequipa

There are some places that you should avoid when visiting Arequipa.

Jose Luis Bustamante is considered very dangerous.

Other risky areas include Miraflores, Hunter, Socabaya, Mariano Melgar, Yura, Cayma, and Cerro Colorado.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Arequipa

  1. Travel as Part of a Group. Arequipa is considered a dangerous city, so it’s wise to travel with others. Avoid leaving your hotel room alone if at all possible. If you’re alone at night, you should avoid being out. Being part of a group makes you much less likely to be the target of crime, particularly violent crime.
  2. Keep Doors and Windows Locked. Keep the door to your hotel room locked. When you are in a vehicle, keep your doors locked and windows up, even when the car is moving. People have been robbed while in vehicles.
  3. Keep Personal Belongings Close. To avoid theft, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your belongings. Never sit a bag beside of you. Put it between your feet. Avoid putting bags into overhead compartments. Keep your I.D., cash, and credit cards in a money belt, rather than in your bag. If your bag is stolen, you won’t lose your most needed items.
  4. Take Preventative Health Measures. Peru has several mosquito borne diseases. You should speak to your healthcare provider about malaria prevention before leaving for Peru. You should also get vaccinated for yellow fever. Wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellent, and sleep with a mosquito net.
  5. Prepare for Altitude Sickness. Altitude sickness occurs when you are at a higher altitude than your body is used to. It can cause dizziness, shortness or breath, headaches, and feeling generally unwell. You can get medication for altitude sickness at drug stores in Arequipa, or ask for a prescription for it before your trip. Coca leaves are a traditional remedy for altitude sickness in Peru, and readily available.
  6. Stay Vigilant. When traveling in Arequipa, you’ll need to stay vigilant. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t get so distracted by the sights that you don’t notice what’s going on around you. You should also avoid getting intoxicated, because this will make you an easy target for crime.
  7. Follow Local Laws and Customs. It’s very important to follow all local laws and customs while you are in Peru. Acting inappropriately in some locations is against the law, and you can be detained for this behavior. This is particularly important at sacred or historical sights. Peru also has strict laws against drugs. If you are caught with drugs, you may end up with a lengthy prison sentence. If you do some shopping while in Arequipa, be sure that you are allowed to bring the items out of the country. There are laws prohibiting some antiques from being taken outside Peru. Remember, it’s your responsibility to know the laws and customs. Be sure to research how you should behave before your trip. This will not only keep you out of trouble, it’ll help you get along with the locals as well.
  8. Enroll in STEP. STEP stands for Smart Traveller Enrollment Program. It’s a free service that connects you with the nearest U.S. Embassy. It allows you to receive alerts about the area, including weather and security alerts. If there’s an emergency, registering allows the authorities to find or contact you easily.
  9. Don’t Display Valuables. You should leave any valuables that aren’t absolutely necessary at home. This includes jewelry. In fact, it’s best to avoid jewelry completely, because even the appearance of wealth can make you a target for criminals. You should also be cautious with cameras and your phone. Smartphones are often stolen and can be considered a sign of wealth as well. Of course, expensive clothing should also be avoided in most cases. If you want to dress up to enjoy a nice dinner, go for it. However, it’s best to avoid wearing clothing that is expensive or attracts attention while exploring the area.
  10. Be Cautious With Food and Drink. There are a few reasons to be careful with what you eat and drink. First, contaminated water is a problem here. Something as simple as rinsing fruit with contaminated water can make you very ill. The best rule of thumb here is to peel it or cook it. Be sure that any food you eat is fully cooked, and avoid drinks with ice that may be contaminated. The other concern with food and drink is that criminals can slip drugs into them. Never leave anything you are eating or drinking unattended for a moment. These drugs are often tasteless and can leave you incapacitated. Then, you may be robbed, assaulted, or even kidnapped.

So... How Safe Is Arequipa Really?

Arequipa is considered a risky city to visit.

However, in reality, it’s no more dangerous than many cities in the U.S. Crime is the biggest concern here.

Muggings, pickpocketing, and assaults are relatively common.

If you travel to Arequipa, you should use caution and stay aware.

Many people travel to Arequipa safely.

Just be aware of the risks and take the proper precautions.

How Does Arequipa Compare?

CitySafety Index
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71

Useful Information



You won't need a visa if you are a U.S. citizen traveling to Peru. You will need a valid passport, however. The passport should be valid for at least six months. When you enter Peru, you'll show your passport, and you'll get a tourist stamp. This is valid for up to 183 days.



The currency in Peru is the Sol. You can exchange U.S. dollars for Sol at local banks or exchange offices. You can also withdraw money in dollars or Sols from ATMs. Many businesses in Peru will accept dollars, particularly in cities like Arequipa. However, it's important to have some Sol for situations where a credit card or dollars are not accepted.



The weather in Arequipa is mild, with temperatures typically ranging from 48°F to 73°F. It's rare for temperatures to drop below 44°F or above 76°F. Interestingly, the city doesn't have seasons as we know them. The temperatures vary by just a few degrees from one part of the year to the next.



The nearest airport is the Rodriguez Ballon International Airport, which is about 30 minutes away from the city center. You can't fly directly from the U.S. to Rodriguez airport. However, you can reach Arequipa from Lima, which is an hour flight, or Cusco, which is a 30-minute flight. You can also come into the city from La Paz in Bolivia.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance isn't required by the Peruvian government. However, healthcare costs can be very expensive. If you need private medical care, which is often the best option, you are expected to pay the bill when you are discharged. Travel insurance can cover unexpected health expenses, which may not be covered by your U.S. health insurance policy. You can also get a travel policy that covers travel hazards, including lost luggage and delayed flights.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Arequipa Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 18° C
Feb 18° C
Mar 18° C
Apr 18° C
May 17° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 16° C
Aug 17° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 17° C
Nov 17° C
Dec 18° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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