Peru - Consular Information Sheet
April 7, 2000
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/EXIT 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 that 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 of $25 per person must be paid in U.S. currency
when departing Peru. There is also a small airport fee for domestic
flights. For further information regarding entry requirements,
contact the Peruvian Embassy at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue,
NW, Suite 605, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 462-1084
or 462-1085; Internet -- http://www.peruemb.org; 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 in the United
States. If documents are prepared in Peru, only notarization by
a Peruvian notary is required. This paragraph does not apply to
children who enter Peru with U.S. passports as tourists, unless
they hold dual U.S./Peruvian citizenship.
SAFETY/SECURITY: The Peruvian Government has effectively
contained the two active terrorist groups, Sendero Luminoso (Shining
Path) and MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement). Both groups,
however, are still capable of terrorist actions, and were designated
by the Secretary of State in October 1997 as "Foreign Terrorist
Organizations" 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. 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 information.
Political demonstrations occur sporadically in urban areas.
Demonstrations can cause serious traffic disruptions, 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: On March 1, 2000, the
Government of Peru eliminated all designated "emergency zones,"
in which certain constitutional rights had been suspended and
security forces had broad powers to detain people. The U.S. Embassy,
however, continues to restrict travel of U.S. Government employees
in the following 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, is risky. This list is under continuous review. Travelers
may contact the Embassy for updated information.
Ancash Department: Provinces of Pallasca, Corongo, and
Apurimac Department: Province of Chinceros.
Ayacucho Department: 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 Department: Provinces of Huancavelica, Castrovirreyna
Huanuco Department: 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 Department: Provinces of Satipo and Chanchamayo,
except the cities of La Merced and San Ramon by road from Lima.
La Libertad Department: Provinces of Bolivar, Sanchez
Carrion, and Pataz.
Pasco Department: Province of Oxapampa, except Puerto
Bermudez and Ciudad Constitucion by air.
Piura Department: Province of Huancabamba.
San Martin Department: Provinces of Huallaga, Mariscal
Caceres, Bellavista and Tocache, except the cities of Juanjui,
Bellavista and Saposoa by air.
Ucayali Department: 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.
CRIME INFORMATION: 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. In
downtown Lima and suburban areas frequented by tourists, however,
the risk of street crime is high.
Violent crime, including carjacking, assault, and armed robbery,
is common in Lima. Short-term armed kidnappings, in which criminals
seek to obtain funds from the victims' bank accounts via automatic
teller machines, happen frequently. Passengers who hail taxis
on the street are often assaulted. It is safer to use telephone-dispatched
radio taxis. Travelers should guard against thefts of luggage
and other belongings, particularly U.S. passports, at Lima's Jorge
Chavez International Airport.
Street crime is also prevalent in tourist cities in Peru's interior,
including Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and Juliaca, and pickpockets frequent
the market areas. In Cusco, "choke and grab" muggings are common,
particularly on streets leading off the main square and in the
area around the train station. Travelers should use only registered
taxis in Cusco and should not accept offers of transportation
or guide services from individuals seeking clients on the streets.
Resistance to violent crime often provokes greater violence, while
those who do not resist usually do not suffer serious physical
U.S. 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 the capture of
the thieves and the recovery of stolen property.
The number for the tourist police in Lima is (51-1) 225-8698
or 225-8699, or fax 476-7708. Reports may also be made directly
to: POLICIA DE TURISMO (Tourism Police), Jr. de la Union 1048
(one block from Plaza San Martin in downtown Lima), tel. (511)
424-2053. There are also tourist police offices in 15 other cities,
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 State's 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
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.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: 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 ones. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals
normally expect immediate cash payment for health services, although
many private facilities in Lima accept major U.S. credit cards.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: 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. 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 State's 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
health care providers before undertaking high-altitude travel.
In particular, travelers with heart or lung problems and persons
with sickle cell trait may develop serious health complications
at high altitudes. In 1999, several U.S. citizens died in Peru
from medical conditions exacerbated by the high altitude. 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.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: 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 CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
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 Peru's 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 or circumstance.
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. Inter-city bus travel
is dangerous. Bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries
are common, and are frequently attributed to excessive speed,
poor bus maintenance, and driver fatigue. Several foreigners were
killed or seriously injured in bus accidents in 1999. For further
information, travelers may wish to contact their nearest automobile
club, or (for information in Spanish) the Associacion Automotriz
del Peru, 299 Avenida Dos de Mayo, San Isidro, Lima, Peru, telephone
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Peru's Civil
Aviation Authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for oversight of Peru's 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
FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. 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 the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
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 1998 crashes of Peruvian
Air Force (FAP) planes flying civilian passengers left a combined
101 civilians dead and more than 50 injured. The domestic airline
TANS is owned and operated by the Peruvian military, but it is
subject to civilian civil aviation authority safety standards.
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 them articles that 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
buy only from reputable dealers and should insist upon documentation
from Peru's 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 eventually may be returned to the purchaser, but storage
and shipping charges are the responsibility of the purchaser.
Vendors in jungle cities and airports sell live animals and
birds, as well as handicrafts made from insects, feathers, or
other natural products. Under Peruvian law protecting the country's
biodiversity, it is illegal to remove certain flora and fauna
items, such as these, from their place of origin to another part
of Peru or to export them to a foreign country. Travelers have
been detained and arrested by the Ecology Police in Lima for carrying
on U.S. regulations for the 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 of Interior.
Additional information about the protection of Peru's cultural
heritage and its flora and fauna is available from the Embassy
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's 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
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Peru are strict and convicted offenders can expect long jail
sentences and heavy fines. Peruvian police are efficient at detecting
drug smugglers at Lima's 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. Anyone arrested
on drug charges, regardless of nationality, will face 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 united States.
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 fiance(e) should check 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.
CHILDREN'S 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 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.
more information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
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 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/. 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
e-mail 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 cannot
replace U.S. passports. U.S. passports are issued at the U.S.
Embassy in Lima.