Arequipa is not known for its safety, but most crimes seem to be along the lines of pickpockets and robberies. To be safe, don’t carry valuables or backpacks around with you, keep your money and papers tucked away in a money belt, and be aware of your surroundings. A little extra caution is warranted at night, especially when leaving the bars and restaurants. There have also been reports of some taxi-related crimes, including ambush and kidnap.  Most are opportunist, but it's safest to secure a cab by calling ahead.  Try not to hail cabs off the street.  If you do encounter a problem, contact the tourist police (Policia Nacional de Turismo), where you are sure to get someone who speaks English and is eager to help.

In terms of health, be on the safe side by drinking only bottled water, even in major hotels, without ice. Avoid shellfish, and stick with fruit that you can peel. Limit sun exposure during the first few days, since it can be extremely strong. Wear a hat, keep applying that sunblock, and try to find some shade. Should you require medical care in Arequipa , you are likely to find good-quality care and English-speaking doctors. Be prepared to pay though, as many doctors and hospitals require immediate cash payments, and do not accept medical insurance from overseas.