Easy Covid Testing for US-Bound Travelers Going to Machu Picchu
US-Bound travlers returning from Peru will find this info useful. The Peruano Suiza Clinic in Cusco offers PCR and Rapid Antigen tests for travelers returning to the US or other countries. I include links below to two clinics in Cusco as well as Unilab in Lima. As a tour operator who has been working with groups traveling to Peru since March, Adios Adventure Travel has experience assisting people with their arrangements for covid testing for US-bound flights.
Who can travel to Peru?
Whether you're vaccinated or not, all healthy people are welcome to visit the land of the Inca. Peru allows vaccinated to enter with proof of completed doses, and unvaccinated travelers to enter with neg molecular PCR test before boarding their flight to Lima. But. But, on December 15, Perurail announced that all passengers must show proof of vaccination or proof of neg molecular PCR test within 72 hours (not rapid antigen test) to board trains to Machu Picchu and now hotels and restaurants are asking for vaccination cards. Covid tests are pretty easy to get now in Cusco. Here's a link to our blog post that includes more details about arrival protocols in Peru.
What is required for US citizens to return to the US from abroad?
Updated December 17, 2021, the CDC requires all international travelers age 2 years and older, to provide a negative test for covid right before boarding their flight to the US. And the latest change is that all passengers regardless of vaccination status have a 24 hour window in which to get the test before boarding their US-found flight. Or they can provide proof that they recovered from Covid-19. I copied the exact content of the new policy from the CDC website below: (here's a link to the CDC website)
- "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."
- Rapid tests are acceptable if they are a viral test that meet the requirements under the Order. (this information is found by scrolling farther down the page on the CDC website, to Test and Vaccination Documentation Requirements.)
Travelers departing Cusco, Peru after their visit to Machu Picchu, usually fly to Lima airport for a few hours before making their international connections. There is a lab in Lima airport offering rapid testing, but we have heard reports that there are a limited number of appointments available each day, which must be reserved in advance online. Travelers who are flying Delta from Lima will depart at 9AM. We are paying close attention to the 24 hour testing window with our groups. This information could change, so it's worth it to check their website. (link to Unilab below.)
Are covid tests required for domestic flights in Peru?
Yes, for non-vaccinated passengers. Check the airline website for the full details. Currently the Latam website says unvaccinated passengers over 18 years old need negative RT-PCR test result 72 hours before departure.
Vaccinated travelers can show their vaccination card.
- Link to Official Peru Travel website. Negative covid test or covid vax cards (or other documents as described by your international airline) before boarding your flight to Lima, Peru
- valid passport (must not expire within 6 months of your arrival dates)
- Peru health statement (available online 72 hours before you travel)
Be aware that everyone's temperature is taken at the entry to the airport, rail stations and other sites. Should you travel with your own thermometer? What else do you need to know about having your temperature taken? What if you have a fever? CLICK HERE to read our tips about how to prepare for having your temperature taken, like, every day in Peru.
Can you travel to the US without a covid test if you meet the standards for being fully vaccinated?
No. Currently all travelers age 2 years or older, going to the US need to show proof of neg covid test before boarding their US-bound filght. Please follow your international airline for exact details about the documents required for people who are unvaccinated, and those who have had the vaccine, as well as people who have recovered from covid. (visit the CDC website which is linked above in this post)
Where can you get covid test in Cusco? We have it right here:
Clínica Peruano Suiza
Grupo Peruano Suiza
Av. Perú K-3 - Urb. Quispicanchis
Cusco - Perú
Telefonos: +51.84.242 114 | +51.84.237 009 | +51.84.237 168
It's important for travelers to review and understand the full details and descriptions of covid tests accepted by your international airline. It's easy to take a taxi from the Cusco city center to the Peruano Suiza clinic. It's best if you can call in advance and set up an appointment. While the clinic is open 24 hours a day every day, keep in mind that the laboratory may not be open all the time. Be careful to plan ahead if you need tests on a Sunday or a holiday. Check ahead to see if they offer it. Don't expect people to speak English at the clinic or over the phone. Ask your hotel reception to call the clinic for you and arrange a taxi.
Covid Tests. Clinics offer PCR and Rapid antigen test. The PCR test may require 24 hours to obtain results. The medical staff will take a swab and have the results ready by the next day, (although one of our clients who used the service reported that the covid test certificate was issued later on the same day the test was conducted.) The antigen test results can be ready in less than 2 hours.
You should get an electronic report, and you can go in person to pick up a hard copy. Payment can be made with a credit card. Visa credit cards are most widely accepted in Peru. Like most of Peru, cash is always best.
Can you get a covid test if your hotel is located in the Sacred Valley?
No. There are no clinics or health facilities offering covid tests in the Sacred Valley. I suppose a hotel could set it up if they chose to. But that's something you need to plan for. Ask your hotel in the Sacred Valley what your options are. It takes at least one if not two hours by car from some hotels in the Sacred Valley to get to Cusco. It's a matter of organizing your logistics to get to one of the clinics in Cusco who offer the tests. Our company is assisting our groups by arranging itineraries that allow proximity and time for getting the tests done in Cusco at the end of each trip. Adios Adventure Travel can help you organize tours and hikes so that your itinerary allows time to get the test before you depart. Our local guides are helping our groups with phone calls and transportation. We can even arrange for a lab technician to come to your hotel to get your sample if you're staying in a hotel in the Cusco historical center. Ask your tour operator or your hotel to help you. If you still need help, I can put you in touch with our team in Cusco. Of course, they're available for other guided services including tours and activities. See more below.
Another group of clinics in Cusco:
Choose from several locations on their contact page
Phone:(+51 84) 231718
Pardo clinics have walk-in service. But our guide in Cusco recommends that you call in advance just to confirm how long it might take.
Assistance to and from the clinics in Cusco.
The first place to get help is to ask your hotel or your tour operator. We have been assisting our groups with covid testing services as needed. For almost a year, we organized all our group itineraries to allow time for testing with the least amount of disruption to travel experiences. There can be challenges to getting tested if you happen to need it on a holiday. Our manager in Cusco has found a couple of small clinics who will go the extra mile for our groups. For help setting up tours, activities, hikes and hotels, just ask. Text or call me in the US - JACQUIE 757-714-6649. Or I can put you in touch with our manager in Cusco who may be able to assist you with transporation, phone calls, testing in your hotel, and anything else you need. You shouldn't need a translator. The cost for the covid test is around $150 USD for PCR and $30-50 for Rapid Antigen (subject to change) and does not include transportation. We've been arranging trips to the clinics for our groups on the day they fly to Lima to return home. Need more info about setting up your trip? firstname.lastname@example.org (please give us at least 1 week advance notice)
Can you get covid test in Lima airport?
Unilab Services at Lima Airport states they are open from 5am - 11:00pm every day. Usually an appointment is needed which can be made from the link I included below. Clinics in the city offer both PCR and antigen. The city is at least a 45 minute drive each way from the Lima airport. Although there is luggage storage at Lima airport near the international arrivals area, I heard that it is currently closed. Unless you're spending a couple of days in Lima city center, it might be more reliable and convenient to get the test in Cusco before you fly down to Lima.
Unilab Clinic Locations and Appointments
Choose from serveral locations
Can you bring your own covid self-test to use for re-entry to the US?
The CDC says they accept covid self-tests for travelers returning to the US. Click here to see the CDC website. Scroll down to FAQ and look under Test and Documentation Requirements. There's a list of criteria. Here's a great article I found on Fodor's Website. "Which At-Home Covid Test is Best for Traveling? We Look at 6 Options." Finally.The last place you need to verify which tests are accepted is with your international airlines. Thank of them as your Dad standing at the front door before you go out on a date. If Dad sees any red flags, you ain't going out.
Personal Side Note:
Many of our past travelers have reached out to check on our small travel company during the covid shutdown. We're very grateful for the support and want to share one of our favorite accessories for travelers looking for gift ideas. People always ask me what my most useful travel gadget is. I took this handy air-tight bag for hand-washing laundry, called the SCRUBBA, and turned it into a multi-use "tote-of-all-trades," with more functions than a swiss-army knife. (if you purchase the bag through the link on our website, I get a small commission for which I am truly grateful)