New to Lima - Safety concerns

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Ward
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New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Ward » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:11 am

Hello, My Husband and I are moving to Lima in a couple of weeks for 6 months for his work. We have heard some terrible stories about how dangerous it is in Peru and that we will be unsafe most of the time, we have lived in many countries before and usually find that the general opinion of a place on google and travel safety websites are not actually how it is, we are hoping this is true about Peru too. We will be living in Miraflores region. I am hoping to get some opinions on here about how safe Lima is or isn't, and any particular areas to avoid. We will be bringing our bikes too as we are keen mountain bikers so hope to be able to safely ride out into the hills and outer villages, does anyone have any comments about the safety aspect of this too?
My Mum is convinced we will be robbed and kidnapped within hours of getting there.....she googles far too much! We have read to general do's and dont's and are leaving our jewelry and good camera's in Australia and we are smart experienced travelers, but I cant help feeling anxious about coming.
Looking forward to hearing back from people,
Mel


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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Ward » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:52 am

As no one has replied i am assuming that means there are NO Safety concerns.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby ironchefchris » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:42 am

This is a subject that has been hotly and emotionally debated here recently and over the years. Maybe people are just tired of the topic, feel they've sufficiently stated their opinion, or don't want to contribute to a thread they feel will just turn into a back and forth argument. Here's one of the most recent:

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=27617&p=144384&hilit=+Safety#p144384

Here's something from the home page about safety:

http://www.expatperu.com/safety-in-peru.html

I would do a search on the site or Google (using 'expatperu safe' or 'safety' as search parameters) and you'll find plenty of opinions on safety in Lima and Peru in general.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby jimuazu » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:50 am

I was robbed in Miraflores on my first day there. Just don't go where there aren't other similar people also wandering about -- I decided to walk down to the beach, going across an enclosed pedestrian bridge, which is obviously a perfect place to rob someone. Miraflores is safe once you know where not to go and have an awareness of your surroundings and who (if anyone) is sizing you up. Mine was a beginner's mistake. Also be aware that when you're fresh off the plane, you 'smell' different. If you expand your range and confidence bit by bit over a week or two then places that seemed scary and dangerous at the start (and probably were dangerous because you looked 'new') become safe and familiar.

In my experience, going out walking in the hills around Huancayo, you need to take care. Some places are fine, with friendly locals and no trouble. Other places the locals might be afraid that you are from a mining company, or that you've come to steal their children or their animals. One place there was a crazy woman ringing the village alarm bell who wanted to burn me on the spot, but the other villagers were having none of it. Another nearby village is known for thieving, and some women I met obviously called ahead to have someone try to rob me, but I talked him out of it. Another mountain on the other side I was attacked by two huge dogs until the elderly shepherdess came and pulled them off (I only had some bruising on my arm). So now when walking I'd rather go where people aren't, on the high places, so I tend to look for a quick route up.

Mind you that was just Huancayo. I had many long and safe walks around the Sacred Valley and its hills. So I guess it depends on where you are and how used they are to tourists.

Cycling around Huancayo, I had a big scare with a pack of street dogs chasing after me, almost under my wheels. I wouldn't want to repeat that experience. I guess it must be just the same for the locals, and with a motorbike it would be even more dangerous.

Anyway, I've got away with my adventuring so far with no permanent damage, so with awareness I think you will be okay.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby teamoperu » Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:23 pm

Ward wrote:As no one has replied i am assuming that means there are NO Safety concerns.


You say you are experienced travellers, then a statement like this? Maybe people wonder if you really think a question as you posed it will give you an answer and do not want to waste time answering you. Especially when there already is much information available here were you to get energetic and look.

Best listen to your mum. You will be disembowled if you dare enter Lima. What other response are you expecting... or is this set up?
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Sergio Bernales » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:23 pm

Run! Run! It's not safe! Carry a gun at all times!
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby gringito » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:52 pm

Sergio Bernales wrote:Carry a gun at all times!

Good idea!

@Ward:
The MOST dangerous thing in Lima is to drive by bicycle!!!!
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Ward » Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:21 pm

Thankyou jimuazu for your honest and informative answer, we intend to do lots of hiking and biking by ourselves so its nice that that someone gave a straightforward and honest answer, we always research fully an area as much as we can before we go to try and be safe, and ive had experience with stray dogs chasing me on my bike too, so I understand your concern there. As for teamoperu, your response sounded rude and uncalled for, all I wanted was an over view to if the place is safe ( meaning apart from the general common sense safety rules which are needed in EVERY city in the world), as a young woman who will be on her own most of the time it is my right to be anxious. Ironchefcris, I will check out the link you posted, I did try to find existing threads but there are so many threads on the forum I couldn't find any with safety in their keyword. Thankyou
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Sergio Bernales » Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:49 pm

gringito wrote:
Sergio Bernales wrote:Carry a gun at all times!

Good idea!

@Ward:
The MOST dangerous thing in Lima is to drive by bicycle!!!!


Agreed, although being a pedestrian comes a close second. I've nearly been hit by bikes several times.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby ironchefchris » Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:01 pm

Sergio Bernales wrote:
gringito wrote:
Sergio Bernales wrote:Carry a gun at all times!

Good idea!

@Ward:
The MOST dangerous thing in Lima is to drive by bicycle!!!!


Agreed, although being a pedestrian comes a close second. I've nearly been hit by bikes several times.

I see why you choose to carry a gun at all times. Something of a larger caliber that will pierce an engine block, something smaller for the dangerous bicyclists.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Dave » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:06 am

I lived in Miraflores for 13 months, I never had a single 'safety' issue. Once I received counterfeit change from a taxi driver, but that's it. I was never the victim of a violent crime even though I'd sometimes walk down the street alone at 3am.

Miraflores is pretty safe. It's not ISIS territory, you're not going to be kidnapped. And you've "lived in many countries before", so you know how to act as a foreigner: keep your wits about you, dress like the locals do, and always act like you know where you're going even if you don't. A universal truth of criminals around the world is that they always look for an easy target, so don't be one.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby ironchefchris » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:40 am

^ Yup to all of the above. That's been my experience too. Have walked around Miraflores at all hours without issue, biggest "safety issue" was getting a fake twenty back as change from a friendly taxi driver. When possible I try to pay taxistas with coins so they can't deny your bill for whatever reason and possibly pass you back a counterfeit. I always try not to be the easy target.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby caliguy » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:18 pm

if you will be staying in Miraflores, it is one of the most touristic quietest places in Lima. it is also less chaotic then lets say, La Victoria. if you bring your bikes, better keep a close eye on them at all times!
in my experience with stray dogs, if you are confronted by an aggressive dog: do not run, but turn in their direction and yell at them while slowly moving toward them. sounds crazy, but it's worked for me more than a dozen times. for some odd reason, dogs can sense a foreigner :D my wife always says "don't speak english around dogs" lol!
good luck on your stay :D
every place has it's own spirit. you just need to tune into it.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby sunflower » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:08 pm

Lived over 9 years in Lima and even rode my bike on a regular basis ... and I'm still alive to now enjoy the Caribbean :-)

Use you common sense, be a little bit more careful and observant and most important enjoy your half year in Lima ... it's a really great place to stay for a certain time.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby vivaperusurf » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:33 pm

Plenty of popular hiking places in the sierra of lima dept. stick to the popular well known spots.

on another note small remote villages in the sierra, they are isolated and do NOT take kindly to strange people wandering THEIR land. some parts of the sierra are very dangerous, while others welcome you with warm hearts and open arms. best to travel trails and stick to places with nearby tourism. off the beaten path and maybe you will get - beaten. sometimes it is worth it to ask permission if you can find any of the locals as they will spread the word. especially if you are spending tourism dollars. some of these places have things going on they dont want you to know about and some just generally carry a great resentment for anyone who is an outsider. remember you are an outsider, these small pueblos often carry their own traditions and beliefs and may perceive you as a very serious threat. i would recommend going with other peruvians if possible or a guide.

having been throughout most of the sierra liberteña i have never run into problems. often been invited in for a warm tea and a discussion that surprises me, but in the south, it is a different story. use extreme caution.

im just talking about trekking here. general security is at best extremely lackluster and you should consider yourself on your own in most instances. police rarely do anything to help tourists and often place you at fault for just being there. that has been my experience.

i find that in peru there is real serious racism to anyone who is considered an outsider, unless you have money in which case they are your best friend for life and will never leave you alone.

the scams here are endless and many will rip you off for something you wouldnt even think of like your shoes or a nice hat surf trunks, pair of shorts. in some places it is the custom to just pilfer whatever they can. it is really disturbing and i try not to let it get to me but for this country to progress they need to stop all this bs with some serious order. the problem is kids grow up around parents who have little to no values and they turn out worse than parents. in some places they have very little value for human lives and it is really surprising to me. almost to the point that it makes me want to do something about it, but im not from here and just always respect whatever beliefs others have. it is their world we just live in it.

people from cities tend to be more vivo and will look for whatever way they can to get something from you. my kids are sick. my mom is dying. dont fall for it. always be very careful of whatever city you are in and stick to the well travelled tourist areas, unless you like high levels of risk. there are many places i have been i wold consider safer than the US and many places that i wold consider tierra del nadie. take it for what it is worth your mileage may vary. i am not in lima and do not spend much time there, as i consider it to be just as much a hellhole as the worst parts of ny or dc or la or sf. ymmv-good luck and stay safe.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby gringolandia » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:07 pm

Everyone has different ideas of what is safe*, but the basic rule of thumb here is to not make yourself an obvious target. Don't wear expensive jewelry or really fancy clothes to places of questionable safety (ie any place you don't know to be safe), and don't carry more in your wallet than you're willing to lose.

As far as bicycling, I personally avoid it except for just riding around at my beach club area**. After a short time experiencing how people drive here you'll understand why one might want to avoid riding on the roads (though I do see groups of bicyclists on the roads, usually with a car at the front and back for protection), and as far as riding out in the hills I'd just echo what other people said: only go to popular places, and do so as part of a group. There is a dirt road I drive on to get to a friend's house at a nice place in the mountains and he tells me to be cautious because the road is known to be used by drug traffickers. Another example is a friend who rides his dirt bike all over the place south of his beach house, but he won't go north because he expects to be robbed if he goes that way.

I have seen stores for Specialized bikes (planning to take my Stumpjumper there at some point to get it tuned up, but haven't gotten around to it yet), so you may want to Google that and call or stop by to get expert advice. I bet they can hook you up with a group to go biking with.

* The advice you get here from an expat that is living on $1K/month may vary substantially from the advice you get from an expat living on $10K/month.

** You'll be here for the summer season, and anyone from Lima who can afford to do so spends the summer (particularly Jan-Feb) at the beach, so you may want to start looking into renting a place if you haven't already. You may be able to find a very safe place that offers fantastic mountain biking opportunities.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby aussie perdido » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:36 pm

Hi 'Ward',

I have friends who have been robbed, beaten, held at gunpoint, ripped off, deceivingly married for their nationality.. the list continues, but I've been here more than 15 years and I myself have never endured anything more than a near miss in an alley I drove into by accident (on Primavera just before Tomas Marsano) that i simply drove out of in a hurry. I ride my expensive looking mountain bike to work everyday (without riding on the road itself) and have very expensive camera and lenses that travel around the country with me. If you're well traveled and don't get drunk in public (without a ton of good friends), you'll have a good six months in Lima, especially if you get out and travel Peru.

Just don't expect to ride a mountain bike from miraflores to the hills... there's some great mountain biking, some of the best vertical descents in the world, but best to go with a group that takes you out and back there in a van as getting out of the 'bubble' isn't for the faint hearted.

However, if you're posting here because your worried about what your mother says and really don't know what to expect, I suspect that maybe the first few weeks will be a shock to your system and that you should let your hubbies company arrange transport for you each day (and from the airport) until you get your bearings. Most serious Australian companies here do that. then talk to other wives from his work and you should get centered pretty quickly.

If you are into photography, coming to peru without your best cameras would be one of the most regrettable mistakes of your entire lives. this is one of the most photogenic countries on earth, if not the most photogenic in terms of diversity, bring your camera don't walk down the main drag with it drapped over your shoulder... and ditch those stupid canon/nikon neckstraps that tells the thief exactly what model you have! if you do any travel outside lima and know anything about photography, you will regret not having your best gear so much that you'll probably buy more when here or have it sent over (costly). and if your only a point and shooter, then whatever gear you have wouldn't be that expensive enough to worry much about anyway. Just be stealth, jusge every situation before taking or revealing your gear, and bear in mind that recently the camera thieves have been targeting photography students near their places of study.

in my opinion travelling even to developed countries with jewelry is questionable in terms of why you would want to do that, but don't go as far as leaving your wedding rings at home... in fact I've found a prominent simple gold wedding ring can often be very helpful in plazas, restaurants and bars for reducing the amount of unsolicited attention from would be tricksters thinking you could be persuaded back to a hotel room, especially your hubby!... or maybe just all my single mates are simply better looking than i am :)

enjoy your stay
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Ward » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:50 pm

Thankyou everyone for your replies. This has been very useful. I arrive in a couple of days and am looking forward to it :-)
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby Polaron » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:56 pm

I'm returning to Lima after a nearly four-year hiatus. I am not really concerned about crime and violence, as I will be avoiding the more dangerous places, such as downtown at night. Surprisingly I have never been robbed out of the blue in the six Latin American countries I've lived (I've had things stolen, though).

The trick is to look determined, never afraid or unsure. Avoid dark, enclosed places where there aren't other people, and stand tall and proud. It has worked for me, but of course, I'm a big guy. It also helps to speak the language.
Professional, bilingual writer at your service.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby gringito » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:48 pm

sunflower wrote:Lived over 9 years in Lima and even rode my bike on a regular basis ... and I'm still alive to now enjoy the Caribbean :-)
.


When YOU ride a bike it is like a "lighthouse on wheels"!
Therefore, you may not be representative as far as the biking safety issues is concerned.

Moreover, WHERE did you ride your bike in Lima?
There a places where this is quite safe and MANY, MANY places where it is simply suicide.

Just my 2 Soles.

PS:
@sunflower: the Caribbean seem to be boring....
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby sunflower » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:54 pm

gringito wrote:
PS:
@sunflower: the Caribbean seem to be boring....


You seem to have no idea .... :D
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby gringito » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:16 pm

sunflower wrote:
gringito wrote:
PS:
@sunflower: the Caribbean seem to be boring....


You seem to have no idea .... :D


It seems you miss Peru...
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby sunflower » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:50 pm

Really? Do you think so? Sorry, I have to disappoint you. There are a few things I miss, sure; but no, right now there is nothing pulling me back to Peru soon. I'm actually very happy and content where I am right now :-)
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby teamoperu » Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:44 am

sunflower wrote:Really? Do you think so? Sorry, I have to disappoint you. There are a few things I miss, sure; but no, right now there is nothing pulling me back to Peru soon. I'm actually very happy and content where I am right now :-)


Thinking you are one of those fine people who can be happy just about anywhere: part of your wonderfully positive disposition, the sun follows you! Then there are those who have dark clouds everywhere: part of their sad negative disposition. Each to his or her own, but I sure like being with upbeat positive people over the downbeat negative ones.
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Re: New to Lima - Safety concerns

Postby sunflower » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:35 am

Wow, I'm speechless ... and that doesn't happen very often :-) Thank you teamoperu for your lovely words.

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