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.
|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.
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.
CDC Recommends the Following Vaccines (as Appropriate for Age):
See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect.
"Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
"Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay 6 months in the region, or be exposed through medical treatment. R
"Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
"Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
"Yellow fever vaccination, if you will be traveling outside urban areas.
"As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants.
|To Stay Healthy, Do:
"Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
"Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an "absolute 1-micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1-micron filters" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
"Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
"If you will be visiting an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
"Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly at 4-hour intervals) and permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.
"To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
"Always use condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
"Don't eat food purchased from street vendors.
"Don't drink beverages with ice.
"Don't eat dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
"Don't share needles with anyone.
"Don't handle animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague).
"Don't swim in fresh water. Salt water is usually safer.
What You Need To Bring with You:
"Long-sleeved shirt and long pants to wear while outside whenever possible, to prevent illnesses carried by insects (e.g., malaria, dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis).
|"Insect repellent containing DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide),
in 30percent-35percent strength for adults and 6percent-10percent for children,
as well as a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin. (Bed nets
can be purchased in camping or military supply stores.) Bed nets may also
protect against insect bites that transmit Chagas disease.
"Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have diarrhea.
"Lodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available. See Do's above for more detailed information about water filters.
"Sunblock, sunglasses, hat.
"Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s).
After You Return Home:
If you have visited an area where there is risk for malaria, continue taking your malaria medication weekly for 4 weeks after you leave the area. If you become ill with a fever--even as long as a year after your trip--tell your doctor that you traveled to a malaria-infected area.
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. 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 (51-1) 440-0495.
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 website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. 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) 256-4801.
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.
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.
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 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 via the Internet at 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 of Peru.
|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 imprisoned.
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.
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 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.
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