Whether you call them lucky or plucky, recent visitors to post-pandemic Peru are enjoying their experiences more than usual. New rules for visitors to Machu Picchu offer optimum conditions for exploring the ancient Inca citadel without the hustle and bustle of crowds as seen in recent years. But what do travelers need to know about navigating the airports, trains, bus stations and hotels? Here’s information to unravel some of the rumors and explain what our recent groups arriving in Peru are reporting.
As of Aug 12 2021, the following changes are implemented in Peru:
(note: entry tickets to Machu Picchu are sold out for many dates in late Aug, early Sept. There was a meeting this past week to consider releasing more entry tickets in August. Nothing was decided at the meeting. But we’re hopeful they will do it soon. It’shard to plan ahead without knowing. We have a legitimate hack and may be able to get you in if we have 6-7 days advance notice)
- 4 and 5 day Inca Trail reopening on July 15 (with capacity at 50%)
- Cusco curfew changed to 12am – 4am
- capacity at Machu Picchu was increased from 40% to 50%. (but availability is limited in late August and early Sept.)
- Machu Picchu trains and shuttle buses are at 100% capacity
- Lima airport “Left Luggage” storage is closed indefinitely. If you’re visiting the city of Lima (about 45 minutes from the airport) you could ask the airline to store your bags. However US-based airlines don’t open until the evening, about 3 hours prior to the first scheduled departure. (Delta, United, Jet Blue)
- Arequipa region is the only region in Peru still at high alert with the most covid restrictions
- Face shields are no longer required on domestic flights. But you still need them for trains and buses. Face masks are still required everywhere.
Date of Reopening at Machu Picchu
March 11, 2021. Peru announced the suspension of quarantine for tourists arriving in Peru if you have proof of neg covid test upon arrival in Lima. Contact us now to book your trip.
On June 21 capacity was increased from 40% to 50% at Machu Picchu and 30% at archaeological ruins in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The Cusco to Machu Picchu corridor is the most reopened destination in Peru and our local tour guides and groups are reporting that there have been no problems getting entry tickets or permits to hike the easy 1-day Inca Trail. I noticed on the official Machu Picchu government website that entry ticket availability is over 2180 per day through July 11, but on July 12, the capacity drops back down to around 880 per day. Keep in mind that these numbers are for all foreigners. And the same quantity applies to CAN travelers from latin countries.
Covid arrival protocols in Lima, Peru
Anyone who is in good health can travel to Peru. The US Embassy Peru website, and the Lima airport arrival protocols, both stipulate that travelers need a neg covid test (or other eligible documents) to show upon arrival in Lima. This policy has been consistent since March 2021. Our groups have all reported the same thing. But you need to pay attention to the parameters for getting each different test.
Everyone should follow the recommendations of the international airlines which lists the tests and documents needed to board flights tor Peru, but recently the airlines are being sloppy. We have seen people show up in Lima with an expired test because of the date they got the test. The Peru online health declaration (provided by your airline or from the link in the Lima airport arrival protocols page) asks travelers to agree to 14-day quarantine. Our groups who have arrived recently, report that after you show up with your negative covid tests (or other qualifying documents) the quarantine is waived. No further testing is needed. Having covid vaccination does not offer any advantage at this time, but travelers should carry their covid vaccination cards.
Recent changes to the parameters of covid tests. This is really important. Apparently, the molecular PCR test has a different window for testing than the (rapid) antigen test. If you’re going to use the rapid test, it appears that it must be within 24 hours of your arrival in Lima. Here’s a link to the official Peru Travel website PDF document. Please verify the extact details with your international airline. No tests are needed for domestic flights. International airlines seem to be slow to react to this recent changes in testing parameters. We’ve seen people arrive in Lima and get delayed a day so they can take another test on arrival before continuing on their trip. This is usually due to the anitgen (rapid) test being administered more than 24 hours before arrival.
No matter what you read now, all travel protocols are subject to change, especially if you’re planning a trip to Peru later in 2021. Rules are subject to change and travelers should review the protocols when they book their flights, then review again when it’s time to get the covid test right before they travel. We’re all hoping that the US will eliminate the requirement that all US-bound passengers arriving on international flights must show neg covid test.