Today all travelers are asking: "Is it safe and secure to visit Peru?" or "Is it possible to visit Machu Picchu?". Well, Peru is a safe destination now! The Peruvian government has taken a number of security measures against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Peruvian government issued a state of emergency and closed the borders and cities immediately when the virus appeared. President Vizcarra declared a quarantine effect from 16 March until 30 September 2020. During this time, neither Peruvians nor foreigners could move on the streets. Also, he issued an updated travel advisory allowing flights to only repatriate Peruvians and return foreigners to their home countries.
Promperu (a state agency in charge of the promotion of Peru) and MINCETUR (the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism) declared about the tourism problems of the country. All local tour operators, travel agencies, hotels, Tour Guides, etc. were stopped due to the pandemic. The MINCETUR overseed the implementation of health and safety protocols in Cusco and Lima. It was to reactivate tourism in the months following the quarantine.
During the first week of October 2020, all Peruvian borders reopen!
In a ceremony held in Machu Picchu (Cusco) on 13 October, Peru received from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) the SAFE TRAVELS seal, the world's first safety and hygiene seal in tourism!!!
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) detailed that WTTC created the “Safe Travels” seal in order to contribute to the responsible and safe reopening of tourism, once the local authorities determine that the conditions exist for it. Therefore, the entity developed a set of protocols designed under the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This seal also has the backing of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and more than 200 CEOs of the main business groups in the sector. Minister Rocío Barrios remarked that the biosecurity protocols issued by the Peruvian Executive regarding the tourism sector were evaluated by WTTC professionals and have their approval, which allows our country to have world-class health security standards in tourism. The ceremony was attended by the president of the Council of Ministers, Walter Martos, and the Japanese citizen Jesse Katayama, who became the first tourist to enter Machu Picchu after being reopened to the public in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peru is one of the most important destinations in the world and one of the first to obtain the Safe Travels seal from the WTCC.
On the 28th of September, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru issued the new necessary regulation called the "Health Guidelines for COVID-19 for Tourist Destinations".
It will form a framework for private and public subjects operating in tourism to prevent, monitor, and check the spread of the coronavirus.
Following the regulation, the first health and safety protocols to visit Machu Picchu after the coronavirus have been implemented by the Cusco office of the Ministry of Culture and SERNANP (a public organization attached to the Ministry of the Environment).
According to the new protocols, any visitor has to enter with a company of a professional Tour Guide, who will be responsible to meet the protocols.
Machu Picchu and Inca Trail are the Peruvian top destinations. Loads of travellers had booked them, but could not arrive because of the Covid-19.
The Ministry of Culture's website says the new cancellation policy allows a refund of Inca Trail permits and Machu Picchu tickets.
If you booked the Inca Trail in advance and you could not visit it, you might postpone your tour until the year 2021. Your Inca Trail operator will need to do the paperwork for you to change the trail's date to a later date of this year or 2021. This will be done for no extra charge. In case, you like to cancel your hike, you will need to wait for a refund since tour operators will need to replace you with anybody else to change personal details given at the permit afterwards.
If you have booked a Machu Picchu ticket by yourself, you will need to wait till the quarantine is over. At present, the Ministry of Culture is closed. It is very important to email them explaining about your requirement enclosing a copy of your ticket.
Postpone: In case, you prefer to postpone your Machu Picchu tickets to a later date, the ministry will likely accept it and make it without any extra charge.
Refund: If you like the canceling of your tickets, it is probable the ministry will refund the ticket amount for no extra bank transfer fee.
Postpone: Your tour operator will need to present to the ministry a list of all the travellers going with your group in order to postpone for a later date of this or the next year (2021).
Refund: If travellers prefer to cancel the trek, their tour operator should prepare a letter requesting a cancellation explaining its motive. Then, it might take some time to receive a reply from the ministry.
The Ministry of Culture of Peru's website says only:
PeruRail and Inca Rail are railway companies which normally operate trips to Machu Picchu. They do not operate it during the quarantine. Only a local train works now. If you have booked a train to Machu Picchu in advance, contact them directly by email. They will change the date of your trip or give you a refund.
Well, Machu Picchu was closed. At present, Tierras Vivas has been accepting the necessary steps to provide security and safety to all our travellers. Our booking policy is being replaced with new ones. Tierras Vivas will offer a private group service. We will operate in small groups (2 - 4 person max.) only. Our Tour Guides and other staff will implement a new safety policy into our tours/ hikes.
The virus keeps having a global impact. The U.S. government has established a state of emergency. This meant travel companies, leading airlines, and cruises had to cancel their routes. Italy, France, China, Iran, South Korea, and Europe were in quarantine. Some parts of Europe suffer from the 2nd wave nowadays applying local lockdowns.
In general, there is a higher risk for older travelers and those having a chronic disease. For that reason, it is recommended that these tourists reconsider traveling. If they travel, they should always follow strict hygienic rules such as washing their hands frequently, wear a mask/respirator, monitor their health and limit interactions with others for a period of 14 days after returning from a journey.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from a common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Coronavirus was first discovered in November 2019 in Wuhan, within the Hubei Province of China. On 12 February 2020, the WHO announced that the official name for this specific strain of coronavirus is Covid-19.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization tweeted that they characterized officially the situation as "pandemic".
Fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you get these symptoms, call a medical centre in advance seeking medical help. Follow the advice of your local health authority. Stay home if you feel unwell.
National and local authorities have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to direct you quickly to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash them with soap and water.
Washing hands with soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Keep Social Distancing
Keep a distance of 2 metres from anyone coughing or sneezing.
When someone coughs or sneezes, s/he sprays small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain viruses. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the coughing person has the disease.
Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
Hands usually touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus into your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can spread the body and can make you sick.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
Make sure that you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. It means covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of the used tissue immediately afterwards. Ideally, use a mask or a respirator to protect yourself and others from infection spread.
The virus spreads by means of droplets. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect people around you from viruses such as cold, flu, and COVID-19.