PeruOfficial Name: Republic of Peru
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Free, and issued at the port of entry
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n
Surco, Lima 33
Telephone: +(51)(1) 618-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(51)(1) 618-2000
Fax: +(51)(1) 618-2724
U.S. Consular Agent - Cusco
Av. Pardo 845
Telephone: +(51)(84) 231-474
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(51) 984-621-369
Fax: +(51)(84) 245-102
Peru is a developing country with an expanding tourism sector. A wide variety of tourist facilities and services are available, with quality varying according to price and location. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Peru for additional information on U.S.-Peru relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. Travelers entering Peru on a U.S. passport receive a card and an entry stamp from Peruvian Immigration upon arrival stating the length of approved stay (usually 90 days). Extensions are not available, and overstays will result in fines. Visit the Embassy of Peru website for the most current visa information. Peru does not require any immunizations for entry, although it recommends vaccination against Yellow Fever. The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Peru.
It is imperative that all travelers entering Peru – especially those crossing at a land border – obtain an entry stamp from Peruvian immigration authorities at the time and place of entry. Travelers without an entry stamp will not be allowed to exit the country. Immigration authorities often insist that travelers must return to the point of entry in order to obtain the stamp (e.g., a traveler who crossed into Peru by land from Bolivia will not be provided an entry stamp by immigration authorities in Lima, but will have to return to the original border-crossing point to obtain it). The U.S. Embassy cannot supply official letters legitimating a traveler’s claims about how and when s/he entered Peru for the purpose of obtaining an entry record.
In cases of passports that have been lost or stolen in Peru, travelers must first obtain a new passport and then “transfer” the entry record from their previous passport to the new one before they are allowed to exit the country. This service is not currently available at Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima. Travelers must take their new passports to Peruvian Immigration headquarters at Av. España 730, Breña, Lima, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in order to pay for and process the transfer. The current fee, which must be paid in Peruvian nuevo soles, is approximately $8.00.
Minor children with Peruvian citizenship – including those with dual U.S./Peruvian citizenship – who are traveling with only one or neither legal parent/guardian are required to have official authorization from the non-traveling parent/guardian(s). In Peru, the non-travelling parent/guardian(s) can complete this process at most public notaries or through a travel authorization issued by a family court. In the United States, the non-travelling parent/guardian(s) should visit the nearest Peruvian Consulate and complete a “Permiso Notarial de Viaje.” Please be aware that these authorizations are valid for 30 days and one trip only. If the minor child has only one legal parent or guardian, the travelling parent/guardian must present evidence of sole custody, as well as a completed Permiso Notarial de Viaje from a Peruvian notary.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.
The government of Peru prohibits the exportation of archaeological artifacts, colonial art and some natural artifacts such as fossils. These restrictions include archaeological material from the pre-Hispanic cultures and certain ethnological materials from the colonial period of Peru, which are considered protected Peruvian cultural patrimony. U.S. law enforcement authorities can take action even after importation into the United States has occurred. For more information, contact the Ministerio de Cultura (Ministry of Culture; Spanish with limited English). Travelers buying art should be aware that unscrupulous traders might try to sell them articles that cannot be exported from Peru. Peruvian customs authorities may seize such articles, and the traveler may be subject to criminal penalties.
Visitors who purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art should buy only from reputable dealers, and they should insist on 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 only after the purchaser pays all storage and shipping charges.
Vendors in some regional cities and airports sell live animals and birds, as well as handicrafts made from insects, feathers, or other natural products. Under Peruvian law, it is illegal to remove certain flora and fauna items 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 such items.
Information 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. 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. Travelers wishing to bring animals from the United States into Peru should consult the Peruvian Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agraria (SENASA) at 51-1-313-3300. Information regarding current restrictions is available on the SENASA website (Spanish only).
Peruvian customs regulations require that many electronic items or items for commercial use be declared upon entering the country. Failure to make a full and accurate declaration can lead to arrest and incarceration or significant fines. Undeclared items, including personal laptop computers may be seized and held.
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. The prescription sedative flumitrapezan (Rohypnol) is one such drug; others may come on the market at any time. 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.
Safety and Security
The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist group remains active in Peru and has previously expressed an intention to target U.S. interests. Sporadic incidents of Shining Path violence, mainly against Peruvian security services, have occurred in the recent past in rural provinces within the Regions of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, Huánuco, and Junín. Incidents have included attacks by large, heavily armed groups of Shining Path on Peruvian army and police patrols in remote areas, as well as kidnappings of Peruvian and foreign workers. Local community self-defense groups (“rondas campesinas”) may operate legally in some rural areas with minimal police presence; visitors are encouraged to cooperate with the rondas’ directions. 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.
Incidents have been reported involving intercity tourist buses which were stopped, even on heavily traveled routes, by informal road blocks set up in the night by highway bandits. Night-time road travel between towns or cities is generally prohibited for all U.S. Embassy employees due to the risk of robbery and unsafe road conditions. The only exception is nighttime travel on the Pan-Americana Highway. U.S. Embassy employees are permitted to travel at night on the Pan-Americana Highway south from Lima to Paracas or north from Lima to Huacho.
The U.S. Embassy restricts travel of U.S. government employees in Emergency Zones designated by the Government of Peru (where certain rights are restricted and the military may be in charge of providing security) and areas where terrorist groups or narcotics traffickers are known to operate or have recently resorted to violent actions. Overland travel in or near these areas, particularly at night, is risky. The Embassy also strongly recommends that, when traveling in areas near the Emergency Zones, U.S. citizens heighten their security awareness and implement additional security measures. The following list contains the current restricted zones applicable to U.S. government employees:
- Provinces of La Mar and Huanta.
- Road travel from Ayacucho City to San Francisco City.
- Daylight road travel from Ayacucho City to Huanta City.
- Staying within the city limits of Huanta.
- Daylight road travel from Pisco City (Department of Ica) to Ayacucho City.
- 20-kilometer swath of territory contiguous to the Apurimac River and Ayacucho Department (specifically: the districts of Kimbiri, Pichari, Vilcabamba, and Echarate in the Province of La Convencíon).
- Everywhere else including the Machu Picchu area and City of Cuzco.
- Provinces of Churcampa, Acobamba, and Tayacaja.
- Train travel from Lima to Huancayo City (Department of Junin) and Huancavelica City.
- Daylight road travel from Lima to Huancayo City.
- Daylight road travel from Pisco City (Department of Ica) to Ayacucho City (Department of Ayacucho).
- All zones; no ground travel is permitted without the approval of the Deputy Chief of Mission.
- Flying into and staying within the city limits of Huánuco City and Tingo María City.
- Province of Satipo. In the Province of Concepcion, travel east of the cities of San Antonio de Ocopa and Santa Rosa (located northeast of Concepcion city). The Districts of Santo Domingo de Acobamba and Pariahuanca in the Province of Huancayo.
- Daylight travel from La Merced City to the Satipo provincial boundary.
- 20-kilometer swath of territory contiguous to the Colombia border. Travel on the Putumayo River.
- Provinces of Tocache, Mariscal Caceres, Huallaga, and Bellavista.
- Flying only into and remaining within the city limits of Tocache City, Saposoa City, Juanjui City, and Bellavista City.
- Provinces of Padre Abad and Coronel Portillo west of Pucallpa City and west of the Ucayali River. Road travel from Pucallpa City to Aguaytia City and all cities west of Aguaytia.
- Flying into and remaining within the city limits of Pucallpa City and Aguaytía City. The province of Coronel Portillo east of the Ucayali River.”
Political demonstrations and labor-related strikes and marches regularly occur in urban and some rural areas. They can also cause serious disruptions to road, air, and rail transportation. Demonstrations are often—but not always—announced in advance. While these activities are usually peaceful, they can escalate into violent confrontations. As a general rule, it is best to avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Visitors are encouraged to keep informed by following the local news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides.
The Peruvian government is working to remove land mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the 1995 Peru/Ecuador border conflict, but crossing or approaching the Peru-Ecuador border anywhere except at official checkpoints can still be hazardous. The entire Peru/Colombia border area is very dangerous because of narcotics trafficking and the occasional incursions of armed guerrilla forces from Colombia into Peru’s remote areas. Although there are no mines on the Peruvian side of the Peru/Chile border, seasonal heavy rains occasionally wash unmarked and unexploded mines across the border from Chile into Peru.
The U.S. Embassy in Lima has put tours over the Nazca Lines in Nazca, Peru, off-limits to its direct-hire personnel if the flights originate out of Nazca’s Maria Reiche Airport, due to potential safety hazards of small commercial aircraft based at that airport.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Peru on Twitter and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and check for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Approximately 400,000 trips are made by U.S. citizens through Peru each year. A small but growing number of U.S. travelers have been victims of serious crimes. The information below is intended to raise awareness of the potential for crime and suggest measures visitors can take to avoid becoming a victim.
VIOLENT CRIME: Violent crime, including carjacking, assault, sexual assault, and armed robbery is common in Lima and other large cities. The Embassy is aware of reports of women being sexually assaulted in their place of lodging, or after their drinks were drugged while visiting bars or nightclubs. Women travelling alone should be especially careful to avoid situations in which they are vulnerable due to impaired judgment or isolation. Resistance to attempted robberies often provokes greater violence, while victims who do not resist usually do not suffer serious physical harm. "Express kidnappings," in which criminals kidnap victims and seek to obtain funds from their bank accounts via automatic teller machines, occur frequently.
In the recent past, there have been a number of cases of armed robbery, rape, other sexual assault, and attempted rape of U.S. citizens and other foreign tourists in Arequipa and in Cusco city, as well as in the outlying areas in the vicinity of various Incan ruins. These assaults have occurred both during daylight hours and at night.
Taxis and road crime: Passengers who hail taxis on the street have been assaulted and robbed. Street taxis are not well regulated and are often used as a front by criminals to rob unsuspecting victims. The Embassy’s Regional Security Officer recommends that all Embassy personnel use telephone-dispatched radio taxis or car services associated with major hotels and not hail taxis on the street.
Some crimes in the city of Cusco and in Arequipa have involved the drivers of rogue (or unregistered) taxis. Travelers should use only licensed, registered taxis such as those available from taxi stands in Cusco displaying a blue decal issued by the municipal government on the windshield of the vehicle. Visitors should not accept offers of transportation or guide services from individuals seeking clients on the streets. In the city of Arequipa, express kidnappings have become such a problem that all U.S. government personnel are prohibited from hailing taxis off the street. U.S. government personnel there must use cabs from well-established dispatch taxi companies. The Embassy’s Regional Security Officer recommends that all U.S. citizens visiting Arequipa also use dispatch taxi companies. In recent years there have been several reports of U.S. citizens falling victim to so-called “express kidnappings” in Arequipa after taking taxis hailed on the street. On occasion, the victim was bound, beaten, and held for over 24 hours as the assailants attempted to empty cash from bank accounts with the victim’s stolen ATM card.
Theft: Travelers should be particularly careful when arriving at Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport. Travelers should guard against the theft of luggage and other belongings, and particularly U.S. passports. Bogus taxi drivers and thieves pretending to be tour operators sometimes approach arriving passengers. Additionally, arriving tourists may be targeted on main roads leaving the airport. Thieves sometimes smash windows at traffic lights to steal bags out of passenger seats, so it is best to store bags in the trunk of the car.
If possible, pre-arrange your airport pick-up with your hotel or tour operator and ask for the name of the person meeting you. If you must take a taxi, use one of the reservation desks located in the airport arrival hall; contact details are available through Lima Airport Partners Always ask your transportation provider whether security window film is installed in the vehicle, as added protection against “smash-and-grab” types of crime.
Travelers should not leave any valuables in sight or unattended in parked vehicles as these become inviting targets for thieves. Visitors should also ensure they secure purses and other personal belongings when in cafés and restaurants as street criminals are adept at surreptitiously removing items of value from purses or clothing slung over chairs.
Street crime: Thieves often smash car windows at traffic lights to grab jewelry, purses, backpacks, or other visible items from a car. This type of assault is very common on main roads leading to and from Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, specifically along De la Marina and Faucett Avenues and Via de Evitamiento, but it can occur anywhere in congested traffic, particularly in downtown Lima. Travelers are encouraged to put all belongings, including purses, in the trunk of a car or taxi.
The threat of street crime is greatest in areas that attract large crowds, particularly crowds of tourists or wealthy Peruvians. A crowd allows a thief (or thieves, since petty thieves often operate in a group) the opportunity to select and approach the potential victim without attracting attention. Visitors should be especially careful when visiting tourist areas in Lima such as the Plaza de Armas (Government Square), the Plaza San Martin, Acho Bullring, Pachacamac, and any location in downtown Lima. Additionally, visitors to municipal markets as well as the Gamarra textile district of La Victoria should be extremely cautious. Street crime is also prevalent in cities in Peru's interior, including Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, and Juliaca. U.S. citizens traveling alone or in unescorted groups are more vulnerable to street crime.
Visitors are advised to keep cash and identification in their front pockets and to limit their cash on hand and unnecessary credit cards. Replacing items such as credit cards, U.S. driver’s licenses, and other identification while in Peru can be difficult and time-consuming. Handbags should not be carried, but if they are, they should be tucked into the crook of an arm or, if carrying a bag with a shoulder strap, do not allow the bag to hang freely, but keep a hand over the clasp. It is generally recommended that all jewelry be removed prior to going to a market or other crowded areas.
Visitors are advised not to carry their U.S. passports if they are not needed. If the police request identification, a copy of the passport is acceptable. A copy of the data page, the page with the Peruvian visa, and a copy of the page with the Peruvian entry stamp should be carried.
Tourists should be particularly cautious when visiting the Sacsayhuaman ruins outside Cusco. They should not travel alone, but rather in as large a group as possible. Visitors should also avoid these areas at dawn, dusk, or nighttime, since roving gangs are known to frequent these areas and prey on unsuspecting tourists. There have also been reports of tourists hiking near the ruins of Choquequirao being robbed by armed men who may be affiliated with politically motivated terrorist groups. U.S. citizen backpackers have also been victims of armed robbery while hiking on trails other than the Inca Trail.
Crime also occurs on roads, particularly at night and outside urban areas. Clandestine, impromptu roadblocks can appear on even major highways, where bus and automobile passengers are robbed. The risk is even greater on rural roads after dark. In addition, numerous U.S. citizens have reported the theft of passports, cameras, and other valuables on overnight bus rides, by thieves who take advantage of sleeping passengers or their stowed luggage in the cargo area underneath when opened during scheduled stops for passengers to disembark or enter the bus.
Fraud: Counterfeit U.S. currency is a growing and serious problem in Peru. In many areas of Lima, moneychangers openly change money on the street. These individuals should be avoided as they are a conduit for counterfeit currency, and in many cases, work together with pickpockets by pointing out potential victims. In addition, these individuals have frequently been the victims of violent robberies in which bystanders have been injured. There have also been several reported incidents of counterfeit currency being paid out as winnings by casinos, though the Embassy has not received reports of this happening at larger, well-known casinos.
Incidents of credit card fraud are on the rise, particularly the electronic “skimming” of credit card data. Travelers should keep their credit cards within their sight while making transactions.
Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may also be breaking local law.
One increasingly common extortion technique is known as the “grandparent scam.” It involves calls placed by persons alleging to be attorneys, local law enforcement or U.S. government employees claiming that a person’s relative—nearly always a grandchild—has been in a car accident (or other ruse) in Peru and has been arrested/detained. Often the caller will put another person on the line purporting to be the grandchild, who claims he doesn’t sound like himself because he has a cold or has been crying. The caller asks for a large sum of money to be sent by Western Union to ensure the subject’s release and admonishes the relative not to speak to any other family members. If you receive a call like this, BEFORE YOU SEND ANY MONEY, contact family members to confirm the actual whereabouts of the supposedly detained grandchild. If it turns out he or she might actually have traveled to Peru, contact the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or the U.S. Embassy in Lima for assistance. Further information on international financial scams is available on our website.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a lost or stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and, with your consent, contact family members and/or friends on your behalf.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in Peru, you are subject to Peru’s laws and regulations. Peruvian laws may differ significantly from those in the United States. You may not have the same protections available to you as under U.S. law, and penalties for breaking the law can also be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Peru's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Peru are strict, and convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Persons engaging in sexual conduct with children and using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country may be prosecuted in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Peru, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy in Lima of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Adventure travel and travel to remote areas: Peru’ s natural wonders offer numerous opportunities for adventure travel, and for participation in activities like trekking/hiking, mountain climbing, surfing and diving. Responsible participation in these activities, especially in remote or inherently dangerous areas (e.g., at high altitude) requires not only careful consideration of your own personal safety, but also consideration for those who may be called upon to assist you in the event of a crisis.
Travelers to all remote areas should check with local authorities about geographic, climatic, and security conditions.Plan and prepare well in advance of your trip. Leave detailed written plans and timetables with a friend or family member before you travel, or with local authorities in the region where you are traveling. Be aware of communication limitations in remote areas; advise family and friends with whom you regularly communicate (even if only by e-mail or Facebook updates) about where you are going and for how long you are likely to be out of communication.
Trekkers and mountain climbers should be aware that local rescue capabilities are limited, and that the U.S. government cannot command or otherwise divert Peruvian government resources from their assigned duties in order to participate in search and rescue efforts. Few rescue helicopters are in service, and cell phone service may be unavailable. U.S. citizens who plan to visit remote, mountainous areas should contact the Peruvian National Police's High Mountain Rescue Unit ("USAM") at telephone 51-1-575-4696, 51-1-575-4698, 51-1-575-1555; fax 51-1-575-3036, or e-mail: email@example.com. Some USAM officers read and/or speak English.
To protect natural resources along the Inca Trail, the Peruvian government charges fees for hiking the trail and instituted limits on the numbers of hikers permitted on the trail. Hikers in peak season (June–August) are advised to make reservations for the Inca Trail well in advance via a travel agency. The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance each year for the month of February. Visitors should always register when entering national parks. Hikers should exercise extreme caution in steep or slippery areas, which are neither fenced nor marked. Several climbers have died or suffered serious injuries after falling while climbing Huayna Picchu, a peak near Machu Picchu. Only very basic medical assistance is available at Machu Picchu.
The historic site of Machu Picchu has a daily visitor limit of 2,500 guests. This limit is strictly enforced. The government of Peru recommends purchasing tickets in advance to avoid possible disappointment if the maximum has been reached for the day of an intended visit. The website of iPeru, Peru’s tourist information and assistance agency, has detailed information on how to obtain tickets.
Swimmers, surfers, rafters, and boaters should be aware of strong currents in the Pacific Ocean and fast-moving rivers. Seasonal rains can exacerbate already dangerous conditions. Those considering white-water rafting should consult local authorities about recent weather and the impact on white-water rafting conditions. Be cautious in relying on those with a commercial interest in gauging conditions. Companies offering white-water rafting in Peru, their guides, and their equipment may not be held to the same standards as similar companies in the United States. Travelers are advised to seek advice from local residents before swimming in jungle lakes or rivers, where large reptiles or other dangerous creatures may live; caimans, resembling alligators, are found in most jungle areas of Peru.
Ayahuasca: Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychotropic plant, generally brewed as a tea that has traditionally been used for religious, ritual, and medicinal purposes by the indigenous peoples of the region. It is said to elicit intense modifications in thought processes, perception, and emotion. The psychoactive ingredient is Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a drug classified as Schedule I in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”
Ayahuasca tourism, in which shamans “guide” visitors through psychedelic rituals, is a burgeoning industry in the jungle regions of Ecuador and Peru. There is no way to thoroughly vet ayahuasca tourism operators, and if you choose to participate, please be aware of the potential risks involved. Some participants have reported adverse experiences during the rituals, including being seriously assaulted and robbed. Victims report a range of scenarios, from being alert but unable to maintain control of their surroundings, to total amnesia. In 2012, a U.S. citizen died in Peru while under the influence of the drug.
Disaster preparedness: Peru is an earthquake-prone country. U.S. citizens in areas affected by earthquakes can expect to experience temporary difficulty communicating with family and friends in the United States and in securing prompt onward overland transportation out of the affected areas. You are strongly encouraged to register your trip with the Embassy by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and to contact your family directly or, if unavailable, the U.S. Embassy following a significant disaster. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Medical supply donations: Philanthropic groups and individuals planning to enter Peru with medical supplies in quantities greater than for personal use are strongly advised to consult with a Peruvian consulate in the United States prior to arrival in Peru. Medical, dental and other kinds of charitable donations are subject to confiscation by Peruvian authorities for failure to comply with Peruvian regulations. Medical teams, non-profit organizations or visitors to Peru who plan to donate medical supplies, medicines or other similar items may wish to review Peruvian regulations governing such donations (Spanish only) or contact Agencia Peruana de Cooperacion Internacional (APCI) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 51-1-319-3632 before proceeding. The U.S. Embassy cannot accept such items by mail, assist in evading customs requirements, or provide a broker to secure their release if they are held.
Please see our Customs Information.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Peru. For more detailed information about LGBT rights around the world, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Peru, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what is available in the United States. Peruvian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services. Peruvian law also provides for the protection, care, rehabilitation, security, and social inclusion of persons with disabilities, and mandates that public spaces be free of barriers and accessible to persons with disabilities. However, the government of Peru has devoted limited resources to enforcement and training, and little effort has been made to ensure access to public buildings and areas.
In general, access to buildings, pedestrian paths, and transportation is difficult for persons with disabilities. Few hotels are equipped for travelers with disabilities, and few restaurants, museums, and means of transportation make any special accommodations. However, with the growing tourism industry in Peru, an increasing number of businesses can be found that offer packages and facilities for travelers with special needs. Visitors are encouraged to research ahead of time to find out if they can be accommodated at the lodgings and tourist sites they intend to visit.
Medical care is generally good in Lima and usually adequate in other major cities, but it is less adequate elsewhere in Peru. Urban private health care facilities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural ones. Public hospital facilities in Cusco, the prime tourist destination, are generally inadequate to handle serious medical conditions. Although some private hospital facilities in Cusco may be able to treat acute medical problems, in general the seriously ill traveler should return to Lima for further care as soon as is medically feasible.
Visitors to high-altitude Andean destinations, such as Cusco (11,000 feet), Machu Picchu (8,000 feet), or Lake Titicaca (13,000 feet) should discuss the trip with their personal physician prior to departing the United States. Travel to high altitudes could pose a serious risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death, particularly if the traveler has a medical condition that affects blood circulation or breathing. Several U.S. citizens have died in Peru from medical conditions exacerbated by altitude. Tourists or business visitors, particularly those who suffer from cardiac-related problems or high blood pressure, who wish to travel to high-altitude areas in Peru, should undergo a medical examination before traveling. New arrivals, even healthy and fit persons, will feel symptoms of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) at high-altitude, and most will need time to adjust to the altitude. Most people will have increased respiration and heart rate. Many will have headaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, minor gastric and intestinal upsets, and mood changes. To help prevent these complications, consult your personal physician, avoid alcohol and smoking for at least one week after arrival at high altitudes, and limit physical activity for the first 36 to 48 hours after arrival at high altitudes.
In jungle areas east of the Andes mountain range (cordillera), chloroquine-resistant malaria is a serious problem. Travelers are advised to check the CDC Website to determine if they are going to a malarious area in Peru. Most tourist destinations such as Lima, Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Arequipa and Lake Titicaca do not have malaria, but many areas in rainforest destinations in Loreto, Madre deDios and other provinces east of the Andes have malaria risk. Cholera, yellow fever, hepatitis, dengue fever, and other exotic and contagious diseases are also present. To prevent insect borne illness such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever and other illnesses, travelers should carry and use insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Treating clothing and tents with permethrin and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets will help diminish bites from mosquitoes as well ticks, fleas, chiggers, etc., some of which may also carry infections. Yellow fever is endemic in certain areas of Peru; in general, those areas are located on the eastern side of the cordillera and at lower elevations in jungle areas. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Peruvian government recommend that travelers to Peru, who are over 9 months of age, receive a yellow fever vaccination and carry documentation of the vaccination with them on their trip.
Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.
Diarrheal illness caused by contaminated food or water is very common in Peru and is potentially serious. If suffering from persistent symptoms, seek medical attention. Local tap water in Peru is not considered potable. Only bottled or treated (disinfected) water should be used for drinking. Fruits and vegetables should be washed and/or disinfected with care, and meats and fish should be thoroughly cooked. Eggs, meat, unpasteurized cheese, and seafood are common sources of the bacteria that can cause travelers' diarrhea, and they should be properly prepared or avoided.
Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks or who will have remote, rural travel or expect animal exposure. Although canine rabies is uncommon in Peru, there are many bat associated rabies cases in the rainforest areas. Bites and scratches from bats, dogs or other mammals should be immediately cleaned with soap and water and medical evaluation sought to determine if additional rabies immunization is warranted.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: The information below is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving conditions in Peru are very different from those found in the United States and can be considerably more dangerous. Visitors are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with local law and driving customs before attempting to operate vehicles. Road travel at night is extremely 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. Armed robbers, who force passengers off buses and steal their belongings, sometimes hold up inter-city buses at night. Bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries are common, and they are frequently attributed to excessive speed, poor bus maintenance, and driver fatigue. Because of these safety concerns, the U.S. Peace Corps in Peru restricts Peace Corps volunteers’ use of overnight inter-city buses and requires Peace Corps volunteers who make inter-city bus trips to use certain bus lines with good safety records. Current approved lines are Cruz del Sur, Linea, Movil Tours, CIAL, OLTURSA, Ormeño, TEPSA, and ITTSA. The Peruvian Ministry of Transportation also publishes a list in Spanish of the intercity bus companies with the highest rates of traffic accidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. For further information, travelers may contact their nearest automobile club, or (for information in Spanish) the Associacion Automotriz del Peru, 299 Avenida Dos de Mayo, San Isidro, Lima 27, Peru, telephone 51-1-440-0495.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website for the national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety in Peru (Spanish and English).
AVIATION SAFETY AND OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed Peru’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Peru’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page