14 Quick Travel Safety Tips to Travel Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
These safety tips will help you to prevent many potential problems during your travels in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Our first important travel safety tip is not to worry too much while traveling. A careful but relaxed mindset will already prevent most problems.
1- Make pictures
Before you go traveling, it can be very useful to make photos of your most important documents and send them to your mailbox, in case you get stolen from everything. If you arrive in a new country it is also useful to make a copy of the small entrance paper and the entrance stamp you got in your passport. This proves that you not only have a valid passport, but also that you arrived legal in the country.
2- Watch your belongings
The biggest cause of getting stolen is usual that people are not careful enough: Always keep an eye on your own things! Never expect that another will do this for you if you didn´t ask him or her.
3- Don’t show valuable things
Do not show too much with the valuable thing you carry around and don´t take too many valuable things with you if you´re going to explore the city. Leave things behind a lock in your hotel or somewhere hidden and/or locked in your backpack. One of the preventions for not getting robbed is when nobody knows that you have anything with you that´s worth stealing. A backpack that has HP written on the back, isn’t really smart…
4- Fake wallet
Use a fake wallet with about 20 US$ and an old banking card. You can give this away when you get robbed on the street (they might get angry if you don’t have anything at all to give them…) and/or put one wallet at an obvious place in your big backpack, so when it happens that someone gives your backpack a quick look in the dorm, or at the airport, he will find this wallet and hopefully stops looking for the real valuable things.
5- Backpack up front
In crowded places it´s better to carry your small backpack on your chest.
6- No valuables on the streets
Be careful with wearing jewelry if you´re going out on the street. Also it is wise to go directly back to your hotel after you take manoy from an ATM. It can be that someone is watching the ATM and follows you when you take money out, in hope that you enter a quiet street…
7- Make backups
If you travel with a digital camera, make sure that you make regular backups. If you have a 4 Gig. memory card big enough to store all the pictures of your 4 weeks journey and you lose this card, it gets wet, or dusty on the last day, you lose everything…
8- Choose your taxi
If you take a taxi, it´s better to take one that you choose while it rides, one with clearly visible official signs, or even a radio. It is better not to take taxi’s that just stop next to you and ask if you need a ride. Also never get into a taxi that already has another person in the back.
In South American busses it is best not to leave any valuable things in the storage places above your head, or even under your seat if the person behind you could reach it. Keep your valuable things close to your body and your small backpack between your legs, with the strap around your leg(s). Especially in Peru, but also more and more in Ecuador and Bolivia there are good overnight bus services available, but they cost a little more. It is often not much and for your own safety and comfort we recommend to choose the better companies when available. For Peru I even dare to say that their bus services like Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, Ittsa, etc. are safer and more comfortable than most bus services in the Netherlands! Public busses in Peru are officially obligated to switch driver each 4 hours and the better companies really do so. Cruz del Sur Bus has even an ISO security certificate!
10- Avoid quiet streets and big crowds…
Travel guides often recommend not to go over street in the dark, but this recommendation isn’t always valid… Some streets can even be safer to walk in the evening, than early morning, or during lunch time. A very important indication if a place is safe to walk is to observe the ‘traffic’. If no one else is walking and there is very little traffic in general, than it is usually better that you also don’t walk there (at that moment). But it can be that the same street in the evening comes back to live and you meet several couples and families with children who are shopping, then you can just mix in with the crowd. Of course, on the other side, you also have to be extra careful for pickpocketing when there are many people/ big crowds…
11- Careful with ‘the police’
Do not trust policemen (especially without a police car) who ask you to show your papers without a clear reason. Show them a copy and tell them that the original is in your hotel room or that you will only show it at the policy office. Most real policemen will not ask tourists on the streets for their papers (this counts for Latin America, but might be different in other parts of the world!)
12- No distraction
Don´t get tricked by distraction! This is one of the most common tricks to steal your wallet or even your backpack. Do not accept help when someone (or something) spills ´by accident´ something on your clothes. If you notice that something got spilled on you it is better to keep on walking, go to your hotel or enter a big not to crowded, public building, before you clean yourself.
13- Watch out for drugs!
Watch out for a drug that´s called Scopolamine. This drug takes away your resistance and part of your memory, which means that someone can steal everything from you, you even help the person and after you don´t remember! It doesn´t happen often, but just be a bit careful with accepting food or drinks from a total stranger.
14- (Travel) insurance:
Please don’t forget to always have a good travel insurance while traveling and/ or joining abroad. If you don’t have an insurance yet, we can recommend you to have a look on: Volunteercard