US Consular Information Sheets and Travel
Warnings for Peru
September 14, 1999
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Peru is a developing country with a growing economy
and expanding tourism sector. A wide variety of tourist facilities and
services is available, with quality varying according to price and location.
ENTRY AND DEPARTURE REQUIREMENTS: A valid U.S. passport is required to
enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or
onward travel. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist stay of 90
days or less. Visitors for other purposes must obtain a visa in advance.
Business visitors should ascertain the tax and exit regulations which apply
to the specific visa they are granted. U.S. citizens whose passports are
lost or stolen in Peru must obtain a new passport and present it, together
with a police report of the loss or theft, to the main immigration office
in the capital city of Lima to obtain permission to depart. An airport
tax must be paid in cash when departing Peru. There is also a small airport
fee for domestic flights. For further information regarding entry and customs
requirements, travelers should contact the Peruvian Embassy at 1625 Massachusetts
Avenue, N.W., Suite 605, Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone (202)462-1084
or 462-1085; or the Peruvian Consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles,
Miami, New York, Patterson (NJ), San Francisco, or San Juan.
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MINORS: Minors (under 18) who are citizens
or residents of Peru and who are traveling alone, with one parent or with
a third party must present a copy of their birth certificate and written
authorization from the absent parent(s) or legal guardian, specifically
granting permission to travel alone, with one parent or with a third party.
When a parent is deceased, a notarized copy of the death certificate is
required in lieu of the written authorization. If documents are prepared
in the United States, the authorization and the birth certificate must
be translated into Spanish, notarized, and authenticated by the Peruvian
Embassy or a Peruvian consulate within the U.S. If documents are prepared
in Peru, only notarization by a Peruvian notary is required. This requirement
does not apply to children who enter the country with a U.S. passport as
tourists, unless they hold dual U.S./Peruvian citizenship.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Peruvian law strictly prohibits the export of antiques
and artifacts from pre-colonial civilizations. Travelers buying art should
be aware that unscrupulous traders may try to sell articles to tourists
which cannot be exported from Peru. Such articles may be seized by Peruvian
customs authorities and the traveler may be subject to criminal penalties.
Travelers who purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art should
make such purchases only from reputable dealers and should insist that
the seller supply documentation from Peruís National Institute of Culture
(INC), showing that the object is a reproduction and may be exported. Peruvian
customs authorities may retain articles lacking such documentation and
forward them to INC for evaluation. If found to be reproductions, the objects
are eventually returned to the purchaser, but storage and shipping charges
are the responsibility of the purchaser.
The Peruvian Government has strengthened legislation to protect the country's
biodiversity, making the export of many flora and fauna items from their
place of origin to another part of Peru or to a foreign country illegal.
Vendors in jungle cities and airports sell live animals and birds, as well
as handicrafts made from insects, feathers, or other natural products,
which are illegal to export from their place of origin. Travelers have
been detained and arrested by the Ecology Police in Lima for carrying such
items. Please contact the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C. or one of
Peruís consulates in the United States for specific information regarding
Information on U.S. regulations for importation of plant and animal products
is available from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture via the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.
Travelers bringing animals to the United States may also wish to consult
with U.S. Customs, or the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department
MEDICAL INFORMATION: Medical care is generally good in Lima and usually
adequate in other major cities, but less so elsewhere. Urban private health
care facilities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural
Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation
to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Please check
with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy provides
for medical evacuation from overseas. Doctors and hospitals in Peru do
not accept U.S. medical insurance, even if your policy applies overseas.
They normally expect immediate cash payment for health services, although
many private facilities in Lima accept major U.S. credit cards. U.S. Medicare
and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside
the United States.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance
programs, is provided in the Department of Stateís Bureau of Consular Affairs
brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
SPECIFIC HEALTH RISKS: Visitors to high-altitude Andean destinations such
as the Cusco (10,000 feet) and Lake Titicaca (13,000 feet) areas may need
some time to adjust to the altitude, which can adversely affect blood pressure,
digestion and energy level. Travelers are encouraged to consult with their
personal medical provider before undertaking high-altitude travel. In jungle
areas east of the Andes, malaria is a serious problem. Cholera, yellow
fever, hepatitis and other exotic and contagious diseases are also present.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299);
or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The Peruvian Government has effectively contained
the two active terrorist groups, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA
(Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement). However, both groups are still capable
of terrorist actions, and were designated by the Secretary of State as
"Foreign Terrorist Organizations" in October 1997, under 1996
anti-terrorism legislation. Although both groups have targeted U.S. interests
in the past, there have been no serious attacks against U.S. interests
since a July 1995 attack in which an employee of a U.S. mining company
was murdered by Sendero Luminoso terrorists. Terrorist attacks have not
occurred at traditional tourist destinations for several years. Sporadic,
isolated incidents of Sendero violence occurred in 1999 in rural provinces
of the Junin, Huanuco, San Martin, and Ayacucho Departments. Incidents
in 1999 included roadblocks, village raids, and armed confrontations between
Sendero Luminoso columns and army or police patrols. None of these incidents
occurred in areas normally visited by tourists. Mining prospectors, adventure
travelers and others considering travel to remote areas of Peru are strongly
advised to contact the U.S. Embassy in Lima for current security information.
A peace treaty ending the Peru/Ecuador border conflict was signed on October
26, 1998. Because of mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the conflict,
crossing or approaching the Peru-Ecuador border anywhere except at official
checkpoints is extremely dangerous. Travelers planning overland travel
to the border area are encouraged to check with the U.S. Embassy for updated
Political demonstrations occur sporadically in urban areas. Demonstrations
can cause serious traffic disruption, but are usually announced in advance.
Visitors are encouraged to keep informed by following the local news and
consulting hotel personnel and tour guides. While these demonstrations
are usually peaceful, as a general rule, it is best to avoid such crowds.
U.S. EMBASSY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS: The U.S. Embassy restricts travel of
U.S. Government employees in several areas where terrorist groups and narcotics
traffickers resort to violence, usually against local security forces and
civilians. Overland travel in or near these areas, particularly at night,
Private U.S. citizens may wish to take the following U.S. Embassy employee-restricted
travel areas into account when planning travel to the interior of Peru:
Ancash: Provinces of Pallasca, Corongo, and Sihuas only.
Apurimac: Province of Chinceros.
Ayacucho: Provinces of La Mar and Huanta (except Huanta City), and the
highway that joins Huanta City to Ayacucho City. Overland travel from Ayacucho
to San Francisco is prohibited.
Huancavelica: Provinces of Huancavelica, Castrovirreyna and Huaytara.
Huanuco: All areas except the city of Huanuco by highway from Cerro de
Pasco. All highways leading into Tingo Maria from Huanuco (south), Monzon
(west), Aguaytia (east) and Uchiza (north) are prohibited.
Junin: Provinces of Satipo and Chanchamayo, except the cities of La Merced
and San Ramon by road from Lima.
La Libertad: Provinces of Bolivar, Sanchez Carrion, and Pataz.
Pasco: Province of Oxapampa, except Puerto Bermudez and Ciudad Constitucion
Piura: Province of Huancabamba.
San Martin: Provinces of Huallaga, Mariscal Caceres, Bellavista and Tocache,
except the cities of Juan Jui, Bellavista and Saposoa by air.
Ucayali: Province of Padre Abad and the western section of Coronel Portillo
(between Pucallpa City and the border with the Province of Padre Abad.
The highway between Aguaytia and Tingo Maria is prohibited.
This list is under continuous review. U.S. Embassy "restricted travel
areas" do not necessarily correspond to Peruvian government-designated
"emergency zones." Certain constitutional rights are suspended
in these "emergency zones," granting police and military security
forces extraordinary powers to detain and hold people. For updated information
on U.S. Embassy restricted travel areas, please contact the U.S. Embassy
CRIME INFORMATION: While violent crime is a major problem, especially in
Lima, Peru is relatively safe outside the above-listed areas for the group
tourist who takes appropriate precautions and does not stray from organized
tour groups. The risk of street crime in downtown Lima and suburban areas
frequented by tourists is high. Street crime is also prevalent in tourist
cities in the interior, including Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and Juliaca. Pickpockets
are common in crowded market areas. Robberies of travelers' luggage and
belongings, particularly U.S. passports, are common at Lima's Jorge Chavez
International Airport. Travelers arriving in the early morning after all-night
flights are particularly vulnerable to airport thefts. Violent crimes,
including carjacking, assault, and armed robbery, are common in Lima. Short-term
armed kidnappings, in which criminals seek to obtain funds from the victims'
bank accounts via automatic teller machines, occur regularly in Lima. Strict
1998 legislation that permits violent criminals, including armed gangs
and kidnappers, to be tried in military courts has had some deterrent effect
on such crimes. Armed assaults of passengers who hail taxis on the street
occur regularly. The U.S. Embassy encourages its personnel to use only
telephone-dispatched radio taxis, which are considered safer.
Outside Lima, "choke and grab" attacks against tourists occur
in Cusco, particularly near the train station and on the Plaza de Armas
(Main Square), and in Arequipa. Resistance to violent crime often provokes
greater violence, while those who do not resist usually do not suffer serious
physical harm. Travel in groups and with experienced guides during daylight
hours is safer.
Visitors to Peru should immediately report any criminal activity against
them to the nearest police station or tourism police office, and to the
U.S. Embassy in Lima or the Consular Agent in Cusco. Immediate action may
result in detaining the thieves and recovering stolen property.
The number for the tourist police in Lima is (51-1) 225-8698 or 225-8699,
or fax 476-7708. There are tourist police offices in 15 cities in the interior,
including all major tourist destinations such as Cusco, Arequipa, and Puno.
Tourists may register complaints on a 24-hour hotline, provided by INDECOPI
(National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of
Intellectual Property). In Lima, telephone 224-7888 or 224-8600. Outside
Lima, callers should dial the prefix (01), then these numbers, or call
the toll-free number 0-800-42579 from any private phone (the 800 number
is not available from public phones). The INDECOPI hotline will assist
in contacting police to report a crime, but is intended primarily to deal
with non-emergency situations such as poor service from a travel agency
or guide, lost property, or unfair charges. The loss or theft abroad of
a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and
the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. While in Peru, travelers are encouraged
to leave their passports in a hotel safe or other secure location, and
to carry a photocopy of the passport data and photo pages. U.S. citizens
can refer to the Department of Stateís pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad for
ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. This publication and others,
such as Tips for Travelers to Central and South America, are available
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402; via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs;
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that countryís laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available
to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be
more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Peruvian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Peru
are stric,t and convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and
heavy fines. U.S. citizens who are tempted to smuggle illegal drugs from
Peru to the U.S. should be aware that Peruvian police are efficient at
detecting such smugglers at Limaís international airport and at land border
crossings. Since 1995, more than 35 U.S. citizens have been convicted of
narcotics trafficking in Peru. Many of these U.S. citizens were recruited
in the U.S. by drug traffickers who offered free trips to Peru and the
chance to earn quick cash. Potential travelers should view with extreme
skepticism any offer of free travel to Peru. Anyone arrested on drug charges,
regardless of nationality, suffers protracted pre-trial detention in poor
prison conditions. Further information on prison conditions and the judicial
system is available in the Department of State's Human Rights Report on
Peru, available via the Internet at http://www.state.gov.
Travelers should be aware that some drugs and other products readily available
over-the-counter or by prescription in Peru are illegal in the United States.
In 1998, several travelers from Peru were jailed when found by U.S. Customs
to be in possession of the prescription sedative Flumitrapezan, trade name
Rohypnol, which is banned in the U.S. Although coca-leaf tea is a popular
beverage and folk remedy for altitude sickness in Peru, possession of these
tea bags, which are sold in most Peruvian supermarkets, is illegal in the
OTHER LEGAL ISSUES: Civil marriage in Peru of U.S. citizen non-residents
to Peruvians is difficult, and documentary requirements vary by location.
The Peruvian potential spouse should check carefully with the municipality
where the marriage will take place to determine what documents are required.
The U.S. Embassy does not authenticate U.S. civil documents for local use.
All U.S. documents must be translated and authenticated by a Peruvian consular
officer in the United States.
ADVENTURE TRAVEL SAFETY: Inca trail hikers are significantly safer if they
are part of a guided group trail hike. Visitors should always register
when entering national parks. Hikers should exercise extreme caution in
steep or slippery areas, which are neither fenced nor marked. A number
of people have died after falling while climbing Huayna Picchu, a peak
near Machu Picchu. Travelers to all remote areas should check with local
authorities about geographic, climatic and security conditions.
Adventure travelers should be aware that rescue capabilities are limited.
In recent years, several hikers have died and others have had to be rescued
after serious accidents in the Huaraz region of the Cordillera Blanca mountains,
where Peruís highest peaks are located. Most rescues are carried out on
foot because helicopters cannot fly to the high-altitude areas where hikers
are stranded. There have been several drownings of rafters and other boaters,
including an experienced U.S. kayaker who drowned in an unexplored river
in 1998. Travelers who participate in mountain climbing, river rafting
or other travel in remote areas should leave detailed written plans and
a timetable with a friend and with local authorities in the region, and
should carry waterproof identification and emergency contact information.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens
may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the
United States. The information below concerning Peru is provided for general
reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Road travel at night is dangerous due to poor road markings and frequent
unmarked road hazards. Drivers should not travel alone on rural roads,
even in daylight. Convoy travel is preferable. Spare tires, parts and fuel
are needed when traveling in remote areas, where distances between service
areas are great. Fog is common on coastal and mountain highways, and the
resulting poor visibility frequently causes accidents. Highway truck and
bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries are common, and
are frequently attributed to excessive speed, poor bus maintenance, and
driver fatigue. For further information, travelers may wish to contact
their nearest automobile club, or the Associacion Automotriz del Peru,
299 Avenida Dos de Mayo, San Isidro, Lima, Peru, telephone (51-1) 440-0495.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the Government of Peruís Civil Aviation Authority as Category
1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight
of Peruís air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may
contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone
1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAAís Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information
regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD
Peruvian civil aviation authorities have no statutory oversight authority
for the safety of military aviation. Military aircraft are occasionally
leased for civilian use, usually in an emergency situation or for charter
flights contracted by private companies for their employees and dependents.
Two crashes of Peruvian Air Force (FAP) planes flying civilian passengers,
in March and May 1998, left 101 civilians dead and more than 50 injured.
The new domestic airline TANS is owned and operated by the Peruvian military,
but it is subject to civilian civil aviation authority safety standards.
Y2K INFORMATION: As a consequence of the so-called Y2K ďbug,Ē on or about
January 1, 2000, some automated systems throughout the world may experience
problems, including unpredictable system malfunctions. In countries that
are not prepared, the Y2K problem could affect financial services, utilities,
health services, telecommunications, energy, transportation and other vital
services. U.S. citizens who are traveling to any country during this time
period should be aware of the potential for the disruption of normal medical
services. Travelers with special medical needs should consult with their
personal physician and take appropriate precautions. While travelers do
not necessarily need to alter their travel plans, being informed and prepared
for possible disruptions is prudent.
Peru is working with the international community to minimize any impact
as a result of Y2K and appears to be generally prepared to deal with the
Y2K problem. The World Bank has rated Peru among the best-prepared countries
in Latin America to face Y2K computer problems. It appears that there is
a low risk of potential Y2K disruptions in key sectors, with the exception
of the health sector. The telecommunications, financial and water and sewage
sectors are expected to be Y2K compliant by late fall. Peruís public hospitals
and clinics are vulnerable to Y2K disruptions, and the government lacks
the budget to fix or replace vulnerable medical equipment. Problems with
machines relying upon time sensitive chips in the health care sector (such
as dialysis machines) are possible. Limited disruptions are also possible
in the energy sector. U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Peru in
late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of potential difficulties.
It is difficult to predict the severity or duration of Y2K-related disruptions.
U.S. citizens in Peru should take practical precautions, anticipate the
potential for disruption to their daily activities, and be prepared to
cope with the impact of such disruptions. Information about personal preparedness
and Y2K is available in the Department of State worldwide Public Announcement
of July 26, 1999, which is accessible on the Department of State Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/y2kca.html.
Aviation and Y2K: The U.S. Department of Transportation is heading an international
year 2000 civil aviation evaluation process to review information on Y2K
readiness in aviation based on reports to the International Civil Aviation
Organization and other available sources. The Federal Aviation Administration
is working with the industry and its international partners to encourage
sharing of Y2K readiness and contingency planning information so that air
carriers will be able to make appropriate decisions. Please consult your
airline about contingency plans in the event of unforeseen Y2K-related
delays, cancellations, or disruptions. Please see the Department of Transportation
Y2K home page at http://www.dot.gov/fly2k for updated information on Y2K
and aviation issues.
As January 1, 2000, draws nearer, we will provide updated information available
to us about important Y2K issues in Peru on the Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/y2kca.htmll. Please monitor the home page of
the U.S. Embassy in Lima at http://rcp.net.pe/usa for additional updates.
More information is available at the Peruvian government Y2K website at
CHILDRENíS ISSUES: In Peru, international adoptions are strictly regulated.
An adoptive child must be abandoned by the birth parents and placed with
a government-approved agency before he or she can be adopted internationally,
unless the adoptive parent has Peruvian nationality or is a Peruvian resident.
Current information on Peruvian adoption procedures and the immigrant visa
application process for orphans is available from the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy. Information on the pre-adoption requirements and the
I-600 orphan petition process is available from the U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service (USINS) office at the U.S. Embassy. For more information
on international adoption of children, international parental child abduction,
and international child support enforcement issues, please refer to the
Department of Stateís Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/childrenís_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Peru
are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy
in Lima and obtain updated information on travel and security in Peru.
The Consular Section is open for citizen services, including registration,
from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays.
The U.S. Embassy is located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida
la Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone (51-1) 434-3000 during business
hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), or (51-1) 434-3032 for after-hours emergencies;
fax (51-1) 434-3065 or 434-3037; Internet website - http://www.rcp.net.pe/usa,
or in Spanish at http://www.usia.gov/espanol. These websites provide information
but do not yet have interactive capability to respond to specific inquiries.
The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco is located in the Binational Center (Instituto
Cultural Peruana Norte Americano, ICPNA) at Avenida Tullumayo 125; telephone
(51-8) 24-51-02; fax (51-8) 23-35-41; Internet address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Consular Agency can provide information and assistance to U.S. citizen
travelers who are victims of crime or need other assistance, but replacement
U.S. passports must be issued at the U.S. Embassy in Lima.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated November 5, 1998, to
update sections on entry and departure requirements, customs regulations,
medical information, safety and security, crime information, criminal penalties,
legal issues, traffic safety and road conditions, adventure travel safety,
aviation safety oversight, Y2K information, childrenís issues, and registration/Embassy
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