a stone ruins on Machu Picchu

If Machu Picchu, or the culinary delights of Lima are on the list for 2021, you may need to put the brakes on those plans. Peru has reinstated a 14 day travel quarantine which effectively makes leisure travel impossible for most.

There’s no telling quite how long it will last at the moment, so here’s what you need to know about Peru’s new international entry rules, and when things may change for the better.

Peru’s New 14 Day Travel Quarantine

From January 4th, 2021, Peru will initiate a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all international travelers. Much like Thailand, anyone willing to spend the first 14 days of a vacation in total isolation would be able to visit, but short of that, it’s pretty much a no go. Residents of Peru will be able to quarantine at home, but visitors will need to use approved hotels.

Peru’s approach to shunning international travel has been an interesting one in recent weeks, including bans on flights over 8 hours in length, rather than excluding specific points of origin. Passengers must also continue to present a negative covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure, and are required to fill out a medical and geological health form.

Countries are operating with an abundance of caution in the first quarter of 2021, as a more contagious, but not more deadly variant of covid-19 makes the rounds. For areas with limited medical facilities, keeping resources well managed until covid-19 vaccine distribution increases meaningfully is the paramount concern.

Before briefly reopening to international tourism, Peru closed off to the world for 7 months, to the point that a Japanese tourist who planned to visit Machu Picchu the day all international flights were shut down was stranded in the country for the entire duration.

The tourist needed to take up work to pay for their extended stay, but as a consolation, the visitor was finally able to visit Machu Picchu before returning home, and received a private tour from the head of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

a stone ruins on Machu Picchu

How Long Will Peru Stay Closed?

To be clear, Peru isn’t entirely closed. They’ve just made it extremely hard to reach, in an attempt to shun tourism for the time being. If you’re willing to quarantine for 14 days, and arrive into the country on flights shorter than 8 hours, which may require an extra connection or two for some – you can technically go.

But ‘caution’ is the word for Q1 of 2021. Peru doesn’t want to make things any worse than they need to be, just before vaccinations begin making a meaningful impact on the world’s epidemiological situation. Until there’s more rollout, and fears over the new strain are abated, Peru is likely to stay ‘mostly’ closed for at least two to three more months.

However, as a tourism dependent nation, which has hummed with international visitors bringing billions to the country in recent years, it’ll be eager to open up quickly as good news rolls in, from late spring. If you’re planning for Peru, Summer or the second half of 2021 seems like the most likely candidates for an uninterrupted trip, at least for now.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. I believe Chile did the same thing last week but with a 10 day quarantine (shortened to 7 with negative COVID test on day 7). Sad as I was hoping to visit both Chile and Peru as an add-on to the awesome NYC – GRU business class deals from a couple weeks back. Hopefully they reopen in the next couple months.

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