Traveling to Peru during Covid
Instructions for North American Guests Traveling to Willka T’ika
– Updated January 2022 –
With the “3rd Wave” of Omicron now arriving in Peru, the government has been talking about new policies for traveling in Peru. As we’ve seen before, these norms and policies are constantly changing so it’s even more important to regularly check your airline and embassy website before traveling. As of January 7th, the US Embassy in Peru stated the following (again: check daily for updates, edits, or even reversals):
*** Effective December 6, 2021, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day of travel.
CAVEAT: their use of “viral” or “molecular” is confusing! At least one traveler arrived with an antigen test and was told he needed a molecular PCR test and sent home! This may have happened because the inspector was not able to differentiate between a “rapid antigen test” vs “viral antigen test.” To be safe, we recommend a molecular PCR test. This site also links to CDC for further clarification about testing.
In Peru, an antigen test (“prueba antígena“) is easy to obtain and costs around $40. Results can often be obtained in 30 minutes. A molecular test “PCR prueba molecular” costs over $100 and often 24 hours as it must be sent out to a lab. In cities like Cusco, where there are labs, results can be obtained in a few hours. This is important for travelers who travel to countries in Europe or to Brazil where molecular PCR tests are required. So far, there have been no issues traveling back to the US with antigen tests. We can arrange for you to have your antigen test at Willka T’ika so that you have your results before you travel.
Regarding vaccines, PERU RAIL has been posting regularly about evolving vaccinations requirements:
At PeruRail we care about your health and that of our collaborators, therefore, we remind you that to come to Peru you must present the certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 with the full dose up to fourteen (14) days before the flight OR present a Negative molecular test with a result of not more than 72 hours before embargo in the country of origin. At the same time, take in count that you must wear a double mask or a single KN95 mask on permanently during the flight and within the airport facilities, and within 72 hours prior to the trip, you must register in the online form “Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS)”.
CAVEAT: PeruRail may require vaccinations to enter their train which would be a problem for anyone trying to get to Machu Picchu. Until this policy has been clearly defined, travelers who are unvaccinated should consider an alternative plan if they are not able to board trains. Other government buildings, shopping malls and banks are also requiring proof of vaccination so please keep this in mind. On the other hand, train companies, like restaurants and private companies may end up not enforcing this requirement, especially for tourists. It’s too soon to tell. Fortunately, with the exception of taking the train, guests Willka T’ika will not need to enter any public spaces where these requirements are in effect.
At Willka T’ika, all of our staff are vaccinated. Our guests are not required to be vaccinated yet we do ask everyone to provide a negative PCR or Antigen test upon arrival as well as follow our ongoing biosecurity protocols.
In addition to these updates, and updates from the aforementioned websites, including your airline, please refer to our guidelines below for step-by-step advice about how to travel. Don’t forget to print your test results, have an original copy of your vaccination card, and complete your Affidavit of Health and Geolocation Authorization. And if you speak Spanish here is some general info regarding measures the Peruvian government is taking to increase safety. Fortunately, most of these restrictions are for those living in cities and will not apply to your time at Willka T’ika.
– Updated December 2021 –
On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified a new COVID-19 variant as a variant of concern and named it Omicron. As of December 4, 2021, Omicron has been identified in the United States and is reported now in more than 20 countries. The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and general prevention strategies needed to protect against COVID-19. According to the CDC, everyone 5 and older should get vaccinated and boosters are recommended for everyone 18 years and older. If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.
– Updated October 2021 –
Peruvians, resident foreigners, and non-resident foreigners entering Peruvian national territory must present a molecular (PCR) test with a negative result (within 72 hours) prior to boarding an incoming flight to Peru, in accordance with current health regulations. Proof of vaccination is currently not required.
Get ready to travel to Peru with this detailed guide for before, during, and after your flight from North America to Cusco.
Review updated information
A few days before travel, your airline should e-mail you travel information. You should also check their website for updates. This information changes often so don’t rely on old e-mails or even this blog without checking! For example, in June, traveling with a mask + face protector was required. In July, two masks and no face protector were required.
Complete your Health Affidavit / Declaración de Salud*
Within 72 hours before your flight, complete your Health Affidavit online. LATAM tells you how to do it here. There is also a new app that you can use to Pre Register with “Migraciones” (Peruvian Immigration). Although you can now show Migraciones the form on your phone, you should always have a printed copy with you on your trip. You will need a copy of this “Declaración de Salud” when you check-in for your international (Lima) flight in the US and you may need it again when you check-in for your Cusco flight in Lima. It also a good idea to have a printed copy of both your boarding passes to Lima and to Cusco so you have them when you arrive. You will need to show them to enter the international terminal.
* When you are at customs in Peru, they will ask for your ‘Declaración’ referring to this document, not to a form for declaring items brought into the country.
Here are some steps to completing this document, which can be tricky for non-Peruvians:
NOTE: not all fields are marked as mandatory. However, when you try to submit, it will highlight the missing necessary information.
Nationality: American must select “EE.UU” for Estados Unidos
Type of Document: Select “PAS” for Passport
Date of Birth: Use the calendar and select the year. Notice format: 12/8 is August 12, not December 8th.
You may have to click multiple times to change the year
For destination address use “Cusco” for “Department”, “Urubamba” for “Province”, and “Urubamba” for District. For both hotel and quarantine address use: Hotel Willka T’ika, Predio Lucmayoc s/n, Paradero Rumichaca Urubamba, 08660, Peru
Complete Contact Info (use 01 for US prefix). If you have a Peruvian cell phone you have to insert the prefix “9” in the country code field. Ex. 9 – 51 – 977 708 889
If you are Resident in Peru: Leave this blank if you are a tourist
If you are unable to leave this section blank (as has happened before), use the above information as your address
Health Information: You should click “no” on the first 2 questions and not click any of the symptoms. Click all 3 declarations to agree with Peru’s conditions of travel.
After submitting the form, print a copy and save a copy on your computer and phone. You will need to show this form both in the US and possibly in Lima before boarding your Cusco flight.
Get your test!
Schedule your COVID test within 72 hours of scheduled arrival to Peru. PCR tests can hopefully be received in 24 hours, although some clinics request a 2-3 day turn-around, which is cutting it very close. As a last resort, many international airports offer testing services but these are very expensive and can be congested.
When you receive your test results, print them out and keep them with your travel documents. The document should clearly show the patient’s name (you), the results (Negative), and the date the test was taken (within 72 hours of arrival).
Note: vaccination cards are not a substitute for testing in Peru although it is a good idea to have a photo or copy of your card for your return to the US.
Arrival in Lima Airport
Now is a good time to review the pre-arrival information sent to you from Willka T’ika. Note that since Covid some things have changed and are constantly changing. Be patient and remember that everyone is doing their best to reactivate tourism in a safe way.
After you walk through the Duty Free area (there is bathroom there!), grab a free baggage cart and claim your bags. This may take a while depending on how busy the airport is. Walk through the “green” light in Customs. You will exit to the left, passing a variety of taxi vendors. There is free WIFI in the airport that may require registration with an email.
You will need to exit the international terminal (Door #2). As soon you walk outside, you will see the Hotel Wyndham Costa del Sol across the street. Turn left on the same sidewalk and walk about 200 meters until you arrive at Door #5, #6, or #7 (the first door where the security guard is allowing people inside). Show your boarding pass and they will let you into the Domestic Terminal.
Lima to Cusco
Assuming you have checked baggage, you will need to manually re-check it in the National Terminal. You will need to show your boarding pass to enter the terminal so have your copy handy. There is no such thing as baggage checked automatically all the way to Cusco, no matter what anyone tells you! For LATAM, walk all the way to the left back towards the International Terminal, and show your boarding pass to Cusco. If you were able to get your bags ticketed to Cusco you may be able to use the “Bag Drop.” Usually, you need to wait in line to check your bags and confirm your boarding pass. If your connection is tight, make sure to let someone know and they will move you to the front of the line. If you leave your bag without getting a luggage claim tag it will be considered abandoned and you will be responsible for recovering it. This happens to our guests about once a month and it can take days to get the bag back.
Walk to the other side of the airport (away from the Int’l Terminal) and go up the escalator. You will see many stores and a large food court. We recommend not stopping here but going through security. Follow the line for “National Flights.” Once you have cleared security, you can find your departure gate and relax before your 1-hour flight to Cusco. Before you board, you may be asked again for your Health Affidavit.
Arrival in Cusco
When you deplane in Cusco you will be at 11,400 feet elevation. Take a big breath!
Grab a free baggage cart and claim your bags. Now is a good time to use the bathroom as the drive to Willka T’ika is 70 minutes.
You will exit the terminal and have to find your driver. Currently, due to Covid, taxis are not allowed to enter the terminal which unfortunately means you may have to push your cart to the right and towards the gate where there will be dozens of taxi drivers waiting. Make sure you look for the driver with a “Willka T’ika” sign and/or your name on it. He will help you carry your bags the rest of the way as airport security will not allow you to take the cart out of the parking area. Hopefully, by the time you arrive, they will have figured out a better way to let designated drivers inside. Take another breath, soon you will be in the Sacred Valley.
If you have any issues: delays, can’t find your driver, etc. Call Arturo on our Emergency line: +51 984-868-166. It is a VERY good idea to have this number saved in your phone, ideally in a Whatsapp account which is what everyone uses in Peru. You can also call our office number: +51 84 201-508
The US will also require you to complete the “Public Health Covid-19 Passenger Self Declaration Form.” When you check in to your flight in Cusco, you will be handed a paper copy of this document to complete before boarding in Cusco and again in Lima.
All travelers should plan to be tested before leaving Peru.
If you are flying directly from Willka T’ika (Cusco) to your home, we will help you arrange an Antigen test from a local clinic, Cima. We can help you arrange for Cima to send a health worker to our hotel and conduct the test in our parking lot. The cost is ~$45 for an Antigen test and you will get results within an hour on a printed certificate to take with you on your trip. (Note, for Europeans PCR tests are available for ~$130 and take 48 hours.)
If you are planning on staying in Lima or traveling anywhere else in Peru you will need to get tested in Lima before leaving. There are several options for testing in Lima hotels and at the airport, including “Unilabs” in the airport parking lots. Allow 3 hours for results and the cost is around $70. As this information is also changing regularly, we can help you figure this out when you are at Willka T’ika.