Is Puno Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On April 29, 2024
Puno, Peru
Safety Index:
45
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Peru is known for its stunning landscape and archaeological sites and is the birthplace of the indigenous Inca people.

Travelers often visit the country to see Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon, and the Sacred Valley.

However, that doesn’t mean that other cities don’t have much to offer.

In fact, the cities are filled with rich history, both from the Inca and Spanish empires.

If you’re planning to travel, you might want to visit Puno, Peru.

It’s known as the folklore capital of Peru, the birthplace of the Inca civilization, and is next to Lake Titicaca.

One of the major attractions is the Uros floating islands, a small island where the Uros people live.

The island was used by the Uros people to avoid being attacked by the Inca, and so they made a village that thrived upon the lake.

As for the Spanish part of Puno, travelers will enjoy heading to the Cathedral of Puno.

The stunning Baroque Colonica cathedral was designed by Simon de Astro in 1757 and includes incredible architecture.

That being said, you’ll want to know if traveling to Puno is safe and if there are any risks.

Below, we’ll highlight everything you need to know for a safe trip.

Warnings & Dangers in Puno

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

Puno is one of Peru's safest cities, but it has some risks. While walking around during the day is generally safe, it gets riskier in the morning or evening. Those traveling must be cautious of their surroundings, as muggings and theft are the most common crimes.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM

The standard method to get around Puno is by taxi. However, you’ll need to be mindful since many taxis are unregistered and unregulated. Always use registered taxis to be safe.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH

One of the highest crime rates in Puno is pickpocketing. It’s a tourist destination, and often, these areas will have theft from pickpocketing, bag-snatching, and even muggings. It’s recommended to only carry what you need and to be attentive to your surroundings.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: HIGH

Due to its location, Puno is at a higher risk of disaster than any other place in Peru. Flood, landslides, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and earthquakes are risks. When traveling to Puno, travelers should familiarize themselves with safety procedures to reduce the risk of injury or death.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: HIGH

Puno is known to have a high mugging crime rate. Generally, tourist areas are safe, but only during the day. You must know your surroundings if you’re traveling at night or early in the morning. It’s often recommended to reduce the number of items you carry, as you’ll deter muggers from trying to get your belongings.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

Over the years, Puno has become a safer place, but that doesn’t rule out the risk of an attack. There have been a handful of instances of terrorist attacks and organized criminal groups attacking people in Peru. While Puno is one of the safer areas, it’s always best to understand that anything could happen.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: HIGH

There is a high scam risk, mainly credit card-related risk. If you plan to travel there, consider using cash or a wallet to prevent scanning. That being said, there are other scams as well. If it’s too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

One of the safest female solo traveler destinations in Peru is Puno. There is relatively low risk, and females often feel safe walking alone. Of course, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of female-related crimes. However, the tourist areas are pretty safe, and locals are friendly.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: HIGH

Don’t drink the tap water in Puno, as it is mainly sourced from the surrounding lake. While locals are used to this, visitors may not have a strong enough immune system to fight off contaminants. Many places provide bottled water for free, but it’s urged to buy your own.

Safest Places to Visit in Puno

The safest places to travel in Puno are the tourist destinations.

These areas are frequented by a wide variety of people and are heavily regulated, allowing travelers to stay safe while visiting.

However, it’s important to remain mindful, as some criminals target these areas for petty crimes.

Some of the safest places in Puno include Pino Park, Plaza Mayor de Puno, and Mirador El Condor.

Other safe destinations are the Puno Cathedral, Lake Titicaca, and Uros floating island.

All of these destinations are generally recommended on tourist travel lists and are safe during the day.

Places to Avoid in Puno

There aren’t exactly specific places in Puno that are unsafe.

The destination is generally considered safe in the tourist areas and even around the town.

However, the main concern comes from what time of day you’re traveling and what you’re carrying.

As we’ve stated previously, petty crime is a huge issue in Puno.

Carrying no valuables with you will allow you to avoid confrontations or criminal attention.

You should always be wary of your surroundings and stay in well-lit areas.

One of the biggest issues is unregistered taxis, especially if you’re walking on foot.

Don’t use unregistered taxis, as they are generally full of crime.

You’ll only want to utilize registered taxis, which can be contacted via hotels or the airport.

If you’re offered a ride by anyone, always decline, even if it seems harmless.

Another safety risk is walking during the early morning or at night.

These times, petty crimes generally are more active due to fewer people being around.

Many travelers have reported getting mugged simply by walking outside the airport or even near their hotels.

Don’t leave buildings until the daytime to avoid these situations.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Puno

  1. Avoid Walking –  It’s best to rely on travel agencies or on registered taxis to get around. Puno isn’t a big city, but it can become dangerous if you travel by foot. You will be a bit safer during festivals and other local events, as there are usually guards or police around. However, travelers are generally targeted by those who are walking around alone.
  2. Only Use Registered Transportation – Using any other type of transportation can become risky. There are instances of people getting kidnapped or mugged. You don’t want to fall victim to any of these issues. So, we always rely on travel agencies or registered transportation. Generally, hotels, restaurants, and the airport will have a list of official taxi services you can use. If you’re unsure, be sure to look the company up online.
  3. Be Attentive – Petty crimes often happen to people who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. It’s easy to get distracted in Puno, as the town is bustling with amazing architecture and history. However, this is the perfect opportunity for a petty crime to happen. Always be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to where your items are, and don’t get too distracted.
  4. Bring Sunblock – While not a safety risk to your well-being, Puno is excessively sunny and hot. Many people report that they get sunburned when they are outdoors. If you plan to be out, dress accordingly and bring sunscreen. You may also want to invest in a hat and always carry water with you.
  5. Be Mindful of Walking in the Hills – It’s been a known place for robberies. Tourists often want to go on a nice hike up the surrounding hills. However, these aren’t safe. Many organized crime groups will wait for tourist groups to come and rob them at gunpoint. It can become a very dangerous situation, and it is recommended that you skip the hills.
  6. Always Check Your Payments – Credit card theft is the biggest issue in Puno, and there are many scanners. Some scammers will get your card information if you’re using an official business or just walking around. It’s best to only have as much money as needed on the card and to check your banking each day. This can allow you to catch any charges you might not have made.
  7. Be Wary of the Altitude – Puno is higher than Machu Picchu, and people may experience discomfort. You’ll likely not feel well if you’re not used to a high elevation. Having a strong heart and being weary of any health conditions is advised.
  8. Travel in Groups – Traveling in a group is recommended, as you’re less likely to become a target of a crime. Always stay with at least one other person, but a group is recommended.
  9. Check Government Travel Bans – Due to protests, Peru has had some travel bans placed on it. Many governments have placed a travel ban or advisory warning on their websites. Keep updated with this information, as it can help prevent you from traveling to a dangerous location.
  10. Be Careful of Mosquitoes – Some mosquitoes can carry deadly diseases, and you’ll want to be prepared. Getting vaccinations and carrying bug spray are recommended.

So... How Safe Is Puno Really?

Puno, Peru, is one of the safest places in the country.

Due to its major tourist destination, there is less risk of crime.

However, those who travel there will need to keep in mind that it’s dangerous to walk places, especially in the evening or early morning.

Other than that, the town has a lot to offer.

Tourist scams and transportation scams are also a big threat.

When traveling, you must rely mainly on official transportation and ask hotels to help you find the right agencies.

In addition, tourist scams are pretty common, and as a foreigner, you’ll need to pay close attention.

The biggest safety concern is the protests in Peru.

While not as common as in Puno, Peru has been experiencing some civil unrest and crime.

For a short time, other countries placed travel bans, which resulted in some tourists becoming trapped.

It’s important to weigh this risk, as it was a recent occurrence in 2023.

Lastly, due to Puno’s location next to Lake Titicaca, there are many mosquitoes. Generally, this wouldn’t be a problem.

However, these mosquitoes are Aedes aegypti, a species that can transmit disease.

They are most active during November and March, as the weather is more rainy, and they are attracted to that.

The CDC also recommends that tourists planning to travel to Puno take malaria pills as a precaution.

How Does Puno Compare?

CitySafety Index
Puno45
Lima53
Cusco52
Arequipa32
Ayacucho44
Iquitos71
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66
Belize City (Belize)37
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

United States citizens don’t need a visa to travel to Peru if their stay is under 183 days. If you travel for more of those days, you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa. This means you’ll need a passport for at least six months, apply for a tourist visa, and pay a fee ranging from $150 to $200.

Currency

Currency

The currency used in Peru is the Sol. The best way to get money is to exchange it at banks and hotels. Be wary of moneychangers, as some of them can be scams.

Weather

Weather

The average temperature in Puno is 47.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature can drop to 32 degrees, with summers being 61 degrees Fahrenheit.

Airports

Airports

To get to Puno, you must fly to Inca Manco Capac International Airport. Then, take a public bus from Lima to Puno. The bus trip is 18 hours and is continuous.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must when traveling to Peru. Though not required by law, travel insurance can help cover various issues. You’ll mainly want it for medical costs, as United States healthcare plans don’t cover international expenses.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Puno Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 9° C
Feb 9° C
Mar 9° C
Apr 8° C
May 7° C
Jun 6° C
Jul 6° C
Aug 7° C
Sep 8° C
Oct 9° C
Nov 10° C
Dec 10° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
13.313.313.413.313.81413.914.615.115.216.114.6
Low
°C
5.35.553.10-1.2-1.4-0.41.53.34.45.2
High
°F
565656565757575859596158
Low
°F
424241383230293135384041

Peru - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Arequipa32
Ayacucho44
Cusco52
Iquitos71
Lima53
Puno45

Where to Next?

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