Many cities in Peru have relatively concentrated ‘tourist areas,’ and one way to stay safe is to stick to these areas places, call taxis from your hotel and use other precautions that may limit your full experience of the city. If you have the urge to not confine yourself there are a lot of great way to explore, and most of the starting with asking. Figure out what safe areas there are to explore in each city before wandering out to find them, and find out how to get to them. A bilingual reception staff, like those at Pariwana Hostels in Lima and Cusco, can be helpful in making sure you know exactly where you’re going, and if you’re feeling adventurous there are always many people to ask concerning the layout of the city who may give you different, and even fuller answers.
If using sources such as waiters, taxi drivers and friendly locals on the streets, try to confirm these locations with a local you trust, often someone back at your hostel. Next plan a route to avoid getting lost; getting lost in a foreign city is never safe, especially as you stray off the more worn tourist paths.
First write down the areas or streets you may want to visit, and then look at a map. Being able to review these areas will help you find them while you’re enjoying your day, and also help you identify where the areas end so you don’t accidently wander out of them and into somewhere higher risk, plus, studying your map while exploring an new city will help you learn its layout. Make sure to identify, or ask for, landmarks or boundary streets that will indicate to you that you’ve gone far enough, and then further ones that will tell you you’ve already gone too far. Make sure they are obvious things that you can see from a relatively long distance, large churches that peak over the top of the rest of the skyline often work well, major streets or bridges that will automatically make you pause when you reach them or similar natural ‘speed bumps’ in the city layout. Look for these landmarks as you wander and pay attention to where you came from, don’t hesitate to turn around and cover the same ground to get back to an area you know. Remember nothing is more like holding up a “Roba me” sign than unfolding a huge map in an area that you already shouldn’t be in, and trust your intuition. Wander far, and wander well!