Local laws and customs

More than 10 British nationals are currently in prison in Peru, most of them for drugs offences. Drug smugglers face long terms of imprisonment and conditions in Peruvian prisons are unpleasant. Pack your luggage yourself and keep it with you at all times. Don’t carry anything through customs for anybody else. Don’t take coca leaves or coca tea out of the country. It’s illegal to import these items into the UK.

Some British nationals are being targeted for recruitment as drug couriers through email scams, where online fraudsters, through the promise of financial reward, ask people to travel to Peru where they are unexpectedly presented with some items/gifts to take with them out of the country. These items contain drugs and the person carrying them will face detention for drug trafficking. You’re strongly advised to ignore this type of e-mail or online request.

Sex with a child (in Peru this means under 14 years old) is illegal. Offenders will face long term jail sentences.

You are not allowed to take any archaeological artefacts from the country without the proper authorisation.

In Peru you will likely find products made using wild plants and animals. The vast majority of these animals and products are of illegal origin and could involve protected or endangered species. Their commercialization and export are also illegal or may require special permits when leaving Peru.

The following common products, which are often found for sale in Peru, could be illegal. We recommend avoiding them. At the very least, you should ask about their origins before buying or consuming them:

  • Products made from the skin of felines, deer, bears, snakes, and other animals
  • Crafts made with preserved invertebrates (butterflies, spiders, beetles, starfish, etc) and vertebrates (sea horses and fish)
  • Crafts and jewelry made with wild bird feathers (including condor feathers), turtle shells, teeth, bones, and other animal parts
  • Live monkeys and birds, such as finger monkeys, parakeets, and macaws
  • Dishes made with caiman, paca (wild rodent) or turtle meat, and beverages made with frog.

For more information, go to the Campaign Against Illegal Wildlife Trafficking website.

The sale of souvenirs made with any animal parts, including condor feathers, is illegal. These feathers are often sold in tourist markets in Cusco.

You should carry identification with you at all times. You can carry a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport and keep the original document in a safe place. You may be asked to show your passport to enter some archaeological sites. You should check with your tour operator in advance.

Homosexuality is legal in Peru but social attitudes are generally conservative. Crimes against the LGBT community are not included in recently adopted hate crime legislation and same-sex partnerships are not formally recognised. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples are likely to be frowned upon. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

You should avoid taking photographs of anything of a military nature.