Prior to having our backpack stolen in Peru, we thought the country would be one of the more tourist friendly and safest in the region.
This opinion came to be because, as travelers, we're constantly bombarded with the fact that so many destinations around the world are considered “unsafe.” Nearby countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia all have this connotation blasted regularly, and not a day goes by where you hear warnings to travelers in the region. Ask any random person why they wouldn't want to visit, and odds are good the first thing they're going to say is “it isn't safe” regardless of if they know why or not.
Peru, on the other hand, is relatively quiet in this respect and seemingly gives the perception as being a destination safe for all visitors. With ad campaigns blasting left and right, the tourist board and other agencies do a very good job at making Peru the must visit destination in South America. Where so much negativity comes out from other nearby countries, Peru seems to be that shining beacon calling visitors from far away to enjoy a safe and wonderful holiday in an otherwise lesser-traveled region of the world.
Sadly, this projection is simply not true.
Peru is no better than the rest in terms of safety for both locals and visitors alike, and this disconnect is very troubling to us.