If you need help or advice while traveling in Peru, who can you call?
There are the standard emergency numbers in Peru--police, fire brigade, and ambulance--but these services may not be the best option. You could try calling your embassy in Peru, but embassies can only help in certain situations.
One good option for tourism-related complaints and inquiries is Iperú, Peru’s official tourist information and assistance service. Alternatively, and especially for more serious problems, you could seek help from the nearest member or office of Peru’s tourist police (policía de turismo).
The Role of the Tourist Police
Peru’s Dirección Ejecutiva de Turismo y Medio Ambiente (DIRTUPRAMB), or Executive Directorate of Tourism and Environment, is a specialized force within the Peruvian National Police (Policía Nacional del Perú, or PNP).
The Tourism Division within DIRTUPRAMB, which is in charge of Peru’s official tourist police, was developed with the following mission in mind:
“...to plan, organize, direct, control and supervise police operations of prevention and investigation of the commission on administrative offenses, misdemeanors, and crimes as a result of tourism activities, providing support, guidance, security, and protection to the tourists and their property.” (www.pnp.gob.pe; División de Turismo)
In other words, the tourist police are charged with assisting and protecting tourists as well as the historical/cultural sites and attractions that they visit.
The Tourist Police and You
The tourist police patrol on foot and by vehicle (car and motorbike). The motorized squadron of the tourist police is known as the Aguilas Blancas (White Eagles).
You can spot a tourist policeman or policewoman by his or her white shirt or by the white trim decorating his or her jacket. Car and motorbike patrols typically have “Turismo” clearly written on the driver’s helmet and/or on the vehicle itself (also with white trim).
You’ll see tourist police officers patrolling on foot in most major cities in Peru, especially those with a high influx of foreign tourists. They are generally very approachable, friendly, and trustworthy--something that can’t be said for all members of the Peruvian National Police.
Tourist police carry a sidearm but don’t let that deter you from approaching them with what may seem like relatively unimportant questions (such as directions). They are normally happy to help and often prove to be excellent sources of local information. Just learn and obey the laws, and you'll be fine. For instance, Marijuana possession may be legal to a certain extent, but that doesn't mean you won't get in trouble.
Tourist Police Offices in Peru
Lima (Tourist Police Headquarters)
Address: Av. Javier Prado Este 2465, fifth floor, San Borja (near the Museo de la Nación)
Tel: +(51 1) 225-8698 / 225-8699 / 476-9882
Address: Calle Jerusalén 315-A
Tel: +(51 54) 23-9888
Address: Plaza Amalia Puga
Tel: +(51 44) 823438
Address: Av. Saenz Peña 830
Tel: +(51 74) 22-7615 / 23-5181
Address: Av. El Sol, Templo Coricancha
Teléfono: +(51 84) 22-1961
Address: Plaza de Armas (Municipalidad de Huaraz)
Tel: +(51 44) 72-1341 / 72-1592
Address: Av. Arenales, Urb. San Joaquín
Tel: +(51 34) 22-4553
Address: Coronel FAP. Francisco Secada Airport
Tel: +(51 94) 23-7067
Address: Los Incas, Block 1
Tel: +(51 34) 52-2105
Address: Jr. Deustua 538
Tel: +(51 54) 35-7100
Address: Independencia, Block 6, Casa Goicochea
Tel: +(51 44) 24-3758 / 23-3181