Coronavirus in Peru: What You Need to Know

All the latest about traveling in Peru during the Coronavirus pandemic, including international flight, Machu Picchu and Inca Trail news.
Women cleaning plane on Delta Airlines to sterilize before the next flight in order to minimize the spread of Coronavirus
Image: Delta Aircraft Cleaning" by Delta News Hub, used under CC BY 2.0 / Resized and compressed from original

At Peru for Less, the health and safety of our travelers is our top priority. We understand that there is concern surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are doing all we can to assist our travelers during this time. Cases of coronavirus in Peru have been confirmed, and have been gradually increasing over the past months. We continue to closely monitor the situation as Peru gradually opens its touristic services. 

If you have any questions whatsoever, we are available to answer those questions and bring peace of mind during this time. Contact us here

*This article was last updated on October 23, 2020. The article was created on March 13, 2020.

Coronavirus FAQs

The latest, at a glance (updated October 23, 2020)

  • As of October 22, 2020, the borders to Peru have been re-opened to select cities in the US and Canada, in addition to other countries. New destinations with flights to/from Peru include: Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Miami, Toronto in Canada; and major cities in Brazil and Argentina. See full list here.
  • Machu Picchu and the two-day Inca Trail are set to open on November 1st.
  • On Tuesday, October 13th, Peru and Cusco have been deemed by the World Health Organization as a safe place to travel. In fact, Cusco was given the Safe Travels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

More in-depth information below.

Is there coronavirus in Peru?

Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in Peru was reported in March 2020. According to the latest reporting, there are 874,118 cases in Peru, as of October 22, 2020. We continue to closely monitor this situation, and protocols continue to be set and enforced by the government. 

WHO is tracking COVID-19 worldwide. 

Is it still safe to travel to Peru?

Yes, with exercised caution. On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, Peru and Cusco have received the World Health Organization’s Safe Travels Stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council. Of course health measures and protocols must be adhered to by all residents and visitors. Keep in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 travel notice for Peru, which states to avoid nonessential travel at this time. 

For some background, on the evening of Sunday, March 15, 2020, President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra and the Council of Ministers declared a national state of emergency. The state of emergency was extended many times and ended on July 1, with continuing limitations and protocols in place. These protocols were taken by leaders across the globe to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Domestic Flights

Domestic flights within Peru started resuming operations on July 15. For latest status on domestic flights, contact us for trip planning or see the U.S. Embassy in Peru website. 

International Flights

The international borders to Peru were closed due to the state of emergency on March 17 and as of October 5 have begun gradually resuming flights to select neighboring countries. As of October 22, 2020, flights from select cities in the USA and Canada have been restored, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Cities included in the new destinations permitted into/out of Peru are:

  • Houston
  • Atlanta
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Orlando
  • Miami
  • Toronto, Canada
  • San Jose, Costa Rica

See full list here. 

International Entry Requirements

All passengers arriving to Peru must present a negative COVID-19 molecular test (either PCR test or test de antígeno) issued within 72 hours of departure time. Health screening procedures are in place at the airport as well. Read more about Lima Airport COVID-19 policies here.  Initially, all passengers exiting Peru needed to present another negative COVID test 72 hours before departure as well, but whether or not this is still a requirement is yet to be confirmed in an official statement by the government. 

Are there mandatory quarantines in Peru?

There is no mandatory quarantine as long as the traveler presents a negative COVID-19 molecular test issued within 72 hours of their departure time to Peru. Travelers may explore freely and enjoy the services and sites that are open, but the practice of social distancing, use of masks, and limiting of group gatherings is still mandatory. 

That being said, there is still a curfew in place that all must adhere to: 

Curfew
  • Through October 31, all individuals throughout the country must stay in their homes between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., Monday-Sunday. 
  • Private vehicles’ circulation is forbidden all day on Sundays until 4 a.m. of the next day, nationwide.

Is Machu Picchu closed due to Coronavirus?

Machu Picchu is set to reopen on November 1, 2020. Once open, all visitors and staff must follow these guidelines: 

  • Visitors, guides and employees must maintain 6 foot distance at all times. 
  • Tour groups must maintain 65 feet of distance at all times
  • Tour groups are limited to 8 people including the guide.
  • Temperatures will be checked before entry. Anyone with a temperature above 100 can not enter. 
  • 675 visitors will be admitted per day, 75 per hour.
  • There will be four one-way circuits and a stop-go system so groups don’t mix. 
  • Mask plus face shield must be used at all times.
  • No food allowed.
  • Huayna Picchu, Machu Pichu Mountain, Inca Bridge and Sun Gate are close until further notice.
  • All visitors must show an affidavit indicating that they are free of covid-19 symptoms.

Is the Inca Trail open?

The two-day Inca Trail is set to open on November 1 to test planned safety protocols. Official opening to the public will be November 15. There is no word yet as to when the classic four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu will recommence. The following protocols will be in place for the two-day Inca Trail:

  • Temperature check required. Anyone with a temperature of 100 or above can not enter the trail. 
  • Groups will enter with 5 minutes of difference. 
  • Trekkers must maintain 13 foot distance between each other while hiking 
  • Trekkers must maintain 6 foot distance in eating and other rest areas. 
  • There must be a 65 foot distance between groups

Tourist sites and establishments open status

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu will re-open on November 1 with strict health measures and safety protocols in place. See more above

Inca Trail

The two-Day Inca Trail will open officially on November 15 with strict health measures and safety protocols in place. The reopening of the classic four-day Inca Trail is yet to be determined. See more above

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon reopened to tourism on Thursday, October 15th. All tour guides and visitors must follow all health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Other Archaeological Sites

As of October 15, the following sites reopened to locals. 

  • Sacsayhuaman
  • Qenco
  • Tambomachay
  • Pukapukara
  • Pisac

Date for reopen to the general public is still TBD.

Restaurants

Restaurants (excluding bars and clubs) will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity and with the necessary health protocols in place, with dine-in services available.

Shopping

Malls, banks and supermarkets can extend to 60 percent capacity.

Culture and Entertainment

Reopening of libraries, museums, archaeological monuments, cultural centers, art galleries (except movie theaters and theaters) with a capacity of 60 percent.

Parks

Reopening of zoos, national parks, and themed parks with a capacity of 60 percent.

Coronavirus health facts

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of infectious viruses that can cause a range of conditions from the common cold to serious respiratory infections. COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus, or novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  

COVID-19 is an infectious condition that targets the upper respiratory tracts including the nose, throat, lungs, and airways. The coronavirus is currently under investigation and it is important to remember that COVID-19 has high infectivity but low mortality. In fact, around 80 percent of people have mild symptoms and recover from the disease in about two weeks. Read more about the seriousness of coronavirus and how to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.

How do you get coronavirus? What’s the risk?

COVID-19 is spread from an infected person to a healthy person. 

The coronavirus enters a person’s body through their eyes, nose, or mouth, and spreads if a healthy person:

  1. Comes in contact with contaminated-COVID droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. 
  2. Comes in close contact with an infected person. Close contact means more than 15 minutes of face to face contact or more than 2 hours in the same room as a confirmed case. 
  3. Or, touches contaminated surfaces.

Washing your hands with plenty of soap and water is a great way to protect yourself. Continue reading how to reduce your risk for coronavirus.

Is coronavirus serious if you get it?

The vast majority of the population, about 80 percent, have mild cases of COVID-19 and do not require hospitalization – only home isolation. For some, the symptoms are milder than a cold, to the point they wouldn’t have even known they had it had they not gotten tested. For others, it may be more like a strong case of the flu. In a small percentage of the population – mainly elderly, immunosuppressed, and people with underlying health conditions – more serious illness can occur, that would require hospitalization. 

What are the symptoms? 

Here are the main symptoms of the coronavirus, according to WHO:

  • Dry cough 
  • Temperature 
  • Fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Pandemic travel prep

In the case of traveling during a pandemic, these are some key points to keep in mind:

Reducing your risk for coronavirus

Good hygiene and no-touch greetings are among the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19: 

  1. Social distancing. Stay 6 feet away from people in public and try to avoid large group gatherings. 
  2. Constant hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, for at least 20 seconds each time.
  3. Hand sanitizer. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer that is 60 percent alcohol or higher. 
  4. Don’t touch your face. Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth increases the risk of catching a contagious disease. 
  5. Clean down surfaces. Clean door handles, workspaces, and your mobile phone multiple times a day with disinfectant wipes. 
  6. Mindful sneezing. If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow or with a tissue. 
  7. Greetings. Handwaving over handshaking is a good no-touch greeting option to prevent the spread of germs. It would be especially wise to not hug or kiss elderly people to minimize any possible exposure.

What to do if you think you might have contracted coronavirus?

Here are the steps if you think you have contracted coronavirus, from CDC: 

    1. Medical appointment. Call your doctor and make an appointment. Be sure to let them know that you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. This allows them to prepare accordingly to minimize exposure. 
    2. Stay home. If COVID-19 is confirmed, you should isolate yourself at home, avoiding public areas and public transport. 
    3. Facemask. If you do need to go for a follow up visit with your doctor, be sure to wear a facemask on the way, and in the office. Learn how to use a mask properly here. 
    4. Outside. If you want to get fresh air, walks alone outside in your neighborhood are okay, although you should wear a facemask. If you live in a dense urban area, it is better to stay inside.
    5. Limit contact. You should keep a safe distance, like a separate room in your house, from those you live with. This includes both humans and pets. While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in pets, there is too little research to take the chance.
    6. Postpone travel. When travel to Peru is restored, it is highly advised that individuals with COVID-19 not travel. This helps avoid spread to others and allows the individual to effectively heal. A better idea is to postpone your trip to a later date when you are well.
If you contract coronavirus in Peru, here are steps to follow:
  1. Follow the advice of local authorities.
  2. Call your travel health insurance provider to find a doctor near you.
  3. Make a doctor’s appointment and follow the doctor’s advice.
  4. Call your travel agent to make appropriate arrangements/postponements of your current bookings.
  5. Practice home isolation. Stay indoors, away from other people, and out of public spaces.
  6. Discontinue the upcoming legs of your journey until you are better.
  7. U.S. citizens looking for repatriation flights should email PeruRepatriations@state.gov for information.

Peru’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) lists these local resources:
  • Report suspected cases directly to government authorities with the emergency 113 phone number.
  • If you have symptoms, dial the toll-free number 113, send a WhatsApp message to (+51) 952-842-623, or email infosalud@minsa.gob.pe. Responses may be in Spanish only.

How to insure your trip in case of coronavirus?

We asked three of our senior travel advisors about travel insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak, and this was their advice: 

Travelers should purchase an insurance policy that includes “Cancel For Any Reason” or CFAR. The majority of policies that include the “Cancel For Any Reason” must be purchased within 14 to 21 days of the first payment toward a trip. These policies cost about 40 percent more than typical cancellation policies, and reimburse up to 75 percent of the trip’s cost. 

With our research in recent days, Squaremouth seems to have the most reasonable policies in relation to the coronavirus but would, of course, require “Cancel For Any Reason” policies and would need to be purchased very quickly after making your trip deposit. The company can certainly change this moving forward at any time, so do contact them directly at your earliest availability. Timing is very important with this type of coverage.

Your Peru for Less trip

If you have any questions about a trip booked with Peru for Less, feel free to check-in with your Travel Advisor for specific information regarding your reservations. If you have questions regarding a self-booked flight, please contact your airline directly.

Peru for Less Updated Postponement Policy

We know that right now is an uncertain time for traveling and for planning trips in general. That’s why we have carefully negotiated with our partners and local providers to offer the most flexible postponement terms in the market. Up to 10 days before your trip, you can postpone your trip with us with zero fees. This allows you to plan your dream trip to Peru without worrying about losing out if the unexpected happens. Learn more about our postponement policy here.

News-To-Date

Timeline:

October 23

As of October 22, flights to and from select cities in the US, Canada and 17 other countries have been resumed. See full list of cities here.  Localized quarantines and social immobilizations have been lifted.

October 19

Machu Picchu to open on November 1st with strict safety protocols at 70 percent capacity. Also, it is no longer mandatory for high risk groups (individuals 65+ and other immunocompromised groups) to remain in quarantine, as long as they are practicing the government safety protocols. 

October 5 

International flights begin, with limited Latin American countries that are still being negotiated and ratified. The initial countries do not include United States, European or Asian countries. Current countries being considered are Chile, Colombia, Brasil (only São Paulo), Mexico, Ecuador and Panama. 

September 26

Phase 4 of reopening begins with gradual and selective restart of different economic and touristic activities. 

August 14

Peru travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines continue to be closely monitored. In a recent interview, the Minister of Tourism stated that international borders will likely not be open until early 2021. 

August 3

On July 30th, Peru’s Ministry of Tourism projected that international flights in and out of Peru will not resume until late 2020 or early 2021. There are no official dates as of this moment, but there is a strong push from the tourism sector on the government for more clear information. Machu Picchu is still closed. Once we have further information, we will post an update. 

July 1

State of emergency is now over, and phase 3 of reopening is in effect. As of today, July 1, people may walk around the streets, wearing masks and maintaining distance. The curfew is now from 10pm to 4am Monday-Sunday. Sunday curfew has been lifted, besides the regular daily curfew as is to be observed the whole week. More details about phase 3 of reopening detailed below. 

June 12

Phase 2 of reopening is in effect. Little by little more parks, restaurants (for takeout) and transport are opening up. Social distanced walks with face mask are permitted. 

May 22

Today President Vizcarra announced that the quarantine has been extended until June 30th, 2020. There have been some modifications. Toque de Queda (Curfew) will now be from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. except in some regions like Iquitos. Virtual Commerce like electronic devices and clothing is open. Medical like dentists, therapy and others are back open.

May 8

President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, has extended the state of emergency in Peru to Sunday, May 24 in a continued effort to control the spread of COVID-19. 

April 23

The state of emergency in Peru has been extended to Sunday, May 10 in an effort to continue controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

April 8

Martin Vizcarra, extends the state of emergency to April 26 in an effort to continue controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

April 2

Vizcarra announced an updated social distancing protocol. Women can leave their home to do their essential errands (supermarkets, pharmacies, banks) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Men can leave their home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Sundays, neither men or women are permitted to leave their homes. On Monday-Saturday, curfew is 6pm-5am. State of emergency still expected through April 12, 2020. 

March 26

President Vizcarra, has announced an extension of the state of emergency and quarantine detailed on March 15, to April 12, 2020. 

March 15

President Vizcarra, has declared a state of emergency in Peru from March 15, 2020 through April 1, 2020. This is a precautionary, preventative measure being taken in Peru and many countries across the globe to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please know that we are working around the clock to monitor the situation and assist our travelers. See the FAQs below for more in-depth information about border closures, transport, accommodations, local resources, and more.

Disclaimer

Peru for Less does not specialize in healthcare advice. The answers we’ve compiled for the Coronavirus FAQs are based on guidelines and details from reputed institutes cited throughout this article. Some information may not be up-to-date despite our greatest efforts.