In many countries, taxicabs are unregulated. There are no meters. What is worse, many of them are looking for victims to rob, rape, or kidnap. According to the PeruNews website:
In the taxi robbery, a driver takes you to where his accomplices are waiting and then stops, sometimes pretending to stall the engine or run out of fuel. Then, you get mugged or kidnapped. Nice.
Many of the cabs used in these crimes have just been stolen, so don’t get into a vehicle with e.g. a broken window. You can reduce the chances by taking a cab from a company that you call up.
On the street, one cab is as good as another. The fact that it’s yellow, has a phone number written on it, is parked by the cinema rather than being driving past when you flag it down, a driver with official-looking ID; none of these means a safe taxi.
Many of the worst instances take place from Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport. Of course you can get a better deal if you walk past the legitimate (and more costly) taxi stands in the airport’s international arrivals area, but you can also get driven to ATMs and requested under duress to drain your bank account with the maximum permissible withdrawals.
That’s one of the reasons it’s a good idea to have a cellphone in Peru. This way, you can get a list of legitimate taxi companies from your guidebook and call for pickup. So what if it costs a few soles more! Your security is worth something, no?
Another problem, even with legitimate taxis, are thieves that break windows and grab the passengers’ bags. Make sure your luggage is securely locked in the trunk, and keep any bags with you on the floor and between your legs. You might even want to get a strap that attaches them to your legs. I plan to do that, even though I am taking a Taxi Verde or a Mitsui Remisse from the airport.
In one sense, Peru is a dangerous place. In another—wherever you are in the world—you have to keep your eyes open and be ready.