|The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:18 PM
Peru is on the West Coast of South America, south of the Equator,
between 0 and 18 degrees south latitude and, 70 degrees and 81
degrees west longitude. Three times the geographic size of
California, with a population of about 27.94 million people, Peru is
the fifth most populated country in Latin America.
The country has four distinct geographic areas: the narrow
coastal desert region (about 25 to 40 miles wide), barren except for
irrigated valleys; the Andean highlands or sierra, containing some
of the world's highest mountains; the "ceja de montana" (eyebrow of
the mountain), a long narrow strip of mountainous jungle on the
eastern slope of the Andes; and the selva or rain forest area which
covers over half the country, including the vast Amazon River Basin
and the Madre de Dios River Basin.
The sierra, covering one-fourth of Peru, is an area of uneven
population distribution, rich in mineral wealth. Many of its
inhabitants live at elevations above 10,000 feet. The selva region
is sparsely populated and only partially explored. The climate in
the "ceja de montana" varies with the elevation from temperate to
Because Lima lies on an axis of instability in the Earth's crust,
seismic activity is common. Light earthquakes called "temblores"
occur but seldom cause damage. A strong earthquake occurred in Lima,
Callao and environs on May 24, 1940, causing major damage with over
2,000 casualties. Serious earthquakes also occurred in Cuzco (1950),
Arequipa (1958 and 1960), the Lima-Callao area (1966-74), and
Chimbote and the Callejon de Huaylas (1970).
Between May 1998 and May 1999, 85 light earthquakes occurred and
the strongest of these earthquakes were in Arequipa, Lima and
Huancayo. Peru lies below the Equator, therefore, its seasons along
the Pacific Coast, which includes Lima, are the reverse of those in
the Northern Hemisphere. Summer lasts from about mid-December
through April in that region and is generally pleasant, with warm,
sunny days and cool, comfortable nights. February is usually the
warmest month, with an average temperature of 79 oF and humidity of
83%. Temperatures rarely range above the mid-80s. Only two distinct
seasons occur in the highlands/sierra: the rainy season from
December to April and a dry period the rest of the year.
Temperatures fluctuate considerably depending on the weather and
Winter along the coast lasts from May or June to November and the
weather is chilly and damp. Sunny days in Lima's winter are rare,
particularly in July, August and September. Rain is virtually
unknown; however, a fine mist often falls and fog is common. The
coolest, dampest months are July and August, with average
temperatures about 60 oF, rarely falling below the low 50s. Humidity
is high all year, especially in winter, requiring a constant
vigilance against mildew and mold.
Population Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:20 PM
Peru's 2002 population is estimated at 27.94 million, with a
population growth rate of about 1.7 percent per year. The nation's
population consists of many ethnic groups, of which about one-third
live in the Lima metropolitan area. Indigenous peoples constitute
about 35 percent of the population, while Peruvian of mixed
indigenous and European descent ("mestizo") comprise almost 50
percent. Whites comprise almost 10 percent of the population, while
Asians and Blacks make up less than 5 percent of the total
population. In the Lima metropolitan area, the population is
overwhelmingly mestizo and white, with relatively large Japanese and
Peru has two official languages -Spanish and the foremost
indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by the government and
the media, and in most forms of education and commerce. English is
spoken by many educated Peruvians, and is understood in most major
hotels and in many restaurants and shops catering to tourists.
Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua or Aymara
and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous groups who
live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands
adjacent to the Amazon basin. All of the indigenous languages are
losing ground as increasing numbers of indigenous people move to the
largest cities, where Spanish is the most commonly used language.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:24 PM
When the Spanish arrived in the early 16th century, the territory
now known as Peru was part of the Inca Empire that extended from
southwestern Colombia to central Chile. The aftereffects of a
succession struggle in the Inca Empire between half-brothers,
Atahualpa and Huascar, facilitated its conquest by a handful of
adventurers led by Francisco Pizarro, who founded Lima, calling it
"City of Kings".
Peru was part of Spain's American Empire for almost 300 years.
Several prominent leaders of South American wars of independence
played a role in Peru's liberation: Jose de San Martin proclaimed
Peru's independence on July 28, 1821; and Simon Bolivar was
President of Peru from 1824 to 1826. Jose Antonio Sucre won the
battle of Ayacucho in 1824 (generally considered the last major
engagement of the wars of independence).
Since becoming independent, Peru and its neighbors have been
engaged in intermittent territorial disputes. Chile's victory over
Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific (1879-83) resulted in a
territorial settlement in which Peru lost Arica and Tarapaca
provinces to Chile. Following a serious clash between Peru and
Ecuador in 1941, the Rio Protocol (of which the U.S. is one of the
guarantors) established the current boundary between the two
countries. Occasional brief skirmishes have occurred over the years
along a part of the border area that was undemarcated. Major
fighting broke out on the Peru-Ecuador border (limited to a sparsely
populated jungle area) in January 1995 until the four Rio Protocol
guarantors brokered a cease-fire in March 1995. The U.S.
participated in monitoring the cease-fire, and along with Brazil,
Argentina and Chile, helped facilitate the signing of a global and
definitive peace agreement on October 26, 1998.
Throughout Peruvian history, the military has played a prominent
role and coups have repeatedly interrupted civilian, constitutional
governments. The last period of military rule lasted from 1968 to
For centuries the Peruvian indian population has cultivated the
coca plant (Erythroxylum coca vas coca). The coca leaf is chewed as
a mild stimulant and specific agent against altitude sickness, as
well as in herbal tea and for some traditional or religious
ceremonies. In the 1870s, the pharmaceutical industry isolated the
cocaine alkaloid, which is both a powerful local anesthetic, and a
highly addictive stimulant with significant potential for abuse.
An initial burst of cocaine abuse in Europe and the U.S. subsided
at the time of World War I, but in the 1970s, escalating demand for
cocaine in the U.S. again led to vast expansion in the limited
traditional coca crops with much greater cultivation destined for
illicit drug production. Since that time, cocaine has become the
most significant illicit substance abused in the U.S., and is a
growing problem for the rest of the world.
Peru is one of the world's largest producers of raw material for
cocaine. The Peruvian people have recognized the illegal drug
trafficking industry as one of their greatest domestic problems
since the 1980s. It is a source of financing for terrorist groups,
corruption of democratic political and judicial institutions,
economic and social distortion, and devastation of the Amazon
Peru returned to democratic rule in 1980 when Accion Popular, led
by Fernando Belaunde Terry, educated in United States, came to
power. In the 1985 elections, Alan Garcia of the center-left
American Popular Revolutionary Party (APRA) won the presidency and
controlled a majority of the two Houses of Congress. Alberto
Fujimori, an independent candidate, was elected President in 1990.
On April 5, 1992, with the support of the armed forces, President
Fujimori suspended the constitution and closed down the country's
congress and courts in what became known as "the auto-coup."
Following pressure by the international community, Fujimori called
national elections to choose a new unicameral congress in November
1992, to draft a new constitution. Fujimori's political movement,
Cambio 90/Nueva Mayoria, won a majority of seats when several
traditional political parties boycotted the election.
The new constitution, which the Congress drafted, was narrowly
approved in a nationwide referendum in October 1993. Unlike the
previous constitution, the new one allowed a sitting president to
run for reelection, which Fujimori did and won by a landslide in
April 1995. In 1996, the Congress passed legislation interpreting
the constitutional term limits for president, making it possible for
Fujimori to seek re-election in the 2000 national elections which he
won in July 2000. However, in mid September with the broadcast of
one short video tape showing a powerful intelligence chief,
Vladimiro Montesinos, apparently bribing an opposition member of
Congress, evidenced a potential criminal activity against the
President's closest and most controversial adviser. In mid-November
2000, the opposition won control of Congress for the first time in
eight years. This was the end for Alberto Fujimori and he extended a
trip to Asia amid rumours that he was seeking political asylum. By
the time his resignation was announced, it was of little surprise.
On June, 2001, Alejandro Toledo was elected President. He was
educated in the Unites States earning two Master's degrees and a
doctoral from Stanford. Under President Fujimori, many of the
problems that haunted his predecessors - including terrorism and
hyperinflation - were eliminated or greatly reduced. However, other
serious problems remain for Alejandro Toledo, including poverty,
high unemployment, the illicit drug industry and a weak judicial
Peru is divided into 24 departments and the Constitutional
Province of Callao (the country's chief port, adjacent to Lima). The
departments are subdivided into provinces that, in turn, are
composed of districts. Municipal government is a distant second in
power to the central government, with regional government a mere
appendage of the latter.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:25 PM
As Spain's most important viceroyalty in South America, Peru was
an art-producing center. The visual and performing arts continue to
thrive in Lima at the many commercial art galleries, cultural
institutions and museums. Peru has a splendid and valuable cultural
heritage. Museums throughout the country hold large and diverse
Pre-Columbian, Colonial and Republican collections. Aside from the
treasures of Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Sipan Museum (Chiclayo),
the Santa Catalina Convent (Arequipa), and archaeological sites such
as the Huaca de la Luna (Trujillo) offer a taste of the richness of
Peru's cultural history.
The Mission organizes and sponsors numerous activities to promote
the protection of Peru's cultural patrimony. These include workshops
and equipment for improving museum design and preservation of
collections, as well as digital video conferences on illegal
trafficking of cultural property.
During the last three decades painters such as Gerardo Chavez,
Alberto Quintanilla, José Carlos Ramos and Ramiro Llona have gained
international stature along with Peru's renowned painter Fernando de
Szyszlo and sculptor Victor Delfín. A younger generation of
promising artists has also sprung up now that Peru's economy
provides more opportunity to promote the arts. Several young
contemporary artists, such as Carlos Runcie Tanaka, Miguel Aguirre,
and Moico Yaker, are experimenting with different and innovative
techniques to create new artistic works that are recognized
internationally. The Embassy supports and hosts exhibitions of
photography and art work in conjunction with U.S. galleries, museums
and universities. The U.S. Employee Association sponsors an annual
exhibition and sale of contemporary Peruvian art to benefit poor and
disabled children in the community.
Musical offerings, including opera, are also available in Lima.
Internationally known soloists, ensembles, and conductors perform
with either the National Symphony Orchestra or under the sponsorship
of the Philarmonic of Lima. Top foreign singers, folk dancers, and
ballet groups perform in Lima every year, and quality chamber groups
present concerts during the May-December season. U.S. artists
perform under Embassy auspices at Peru's Binational Centers (BNC's)
in Lima or in provincial cities. Peruvian theater, as well, has a
long and colorful history. Today many active professional and
amateur groups perform regularly, with several specializing in
The Embassy supports local arts events by bringing American
artists to Peru. The Jazz Festival and Jazz Ambassadors are regular
Mission activities, with presentations not only in Lima, but also in
other cities. In collaboration with Catholic University's annual
film festival, the Mission sponsors the visit of important
filmmakers, such as representatives of the Sundance Festival, who
make contacts with Peruvian producers and film directors. In
conjunction with the Lima Binational Center's International
Contemporary Dance Festival, the Embassy supports the visits of
dancers and choreographers, such as Bill Young, Steven Petronio, and
Dana Tai Soon Burgess.
Peru is well known for its writers and poets. Among these, Mario
Vargas Llosa is one of the world's most renowned contemporary
novelists. His novels and essays are read worldwide and have been
translated into many languages. His best-sellers include Green
House, Conversation in the Cathedral, Aunt Julia and the
Scriptwriter, and The War at the End of the World. His most recent
is The Feast of the Goat, a vivid recreation of the Dominican
Republic during the final days of General Rafael Trujillo's regime.
Other contemporary poets and writers include Julio Ramón Ribeyro,
Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Antonio Cisneros and Blanca Alva.
Spanish and English classes, a variety of cultural presentations,
and modest bilingual libraries are available to Americans and
Peruvians at the Lima Binational Centers (Instituto Cultural Peruano
Norteamericano-ICPNA). With locations in Lima, Miraflores, San
Miguel and La Molina, more than 30,000 Peruvians study English at
the ICPNA. Other Binational Centers supported by the Mission are
located in Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cuzco, Huancayo, Piura, and Trujillo.
Americans are encouraged to request the monthly cultural bulletin of
the Lima ICPNA and to visit the provincial centers, where they are
assured of a cordial welcome.
The Embassy also works closely with universities throughout Peru
to provide training and resources, as well as information about
studies in the U.S. The well-established Fulbright Commission
organizes the competition for scholarships to study in the U.S. and
hosts U.S. Fulbright students and scholars who come to work in Peru.
In addition the Mission manages several key projects to strengthen
civic education in Peruvian secondary schools, for emerging young
leaders through English teaching.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:27 PM
Peru is a developing country blessed with extensive natural
resources that enhance its possibilities for development. Rich
mineral deposits in the Andes, abundant timber resources in the
Amazon region, and a bountiful supply of fish along the country's
long coastline form a solid base of natural wealth. The arable lands
along the coast offer the potential for considerable growth in
agriculture, given sufficient investment in irrigation and other
agricultural technologies. Also, Peru's natural beauty, combined
with extensive pre-Columbian ruins from the Inca and other
civilizations, underlie the country's tremendous tourism potential.
Peru's economy has performed dynamically over the last two years,
with GDP growth of 4.8% in 2002 and 4.0% in 2003. GDP currently is
$61 billion, in a country of 27.1 million. During the 1990s, Peru
was transformed by market-oriented reforms and privatizations, and
met many conditions for long-term growth. Banking, retail services,
agriculture, mining, manufacturing and textiles are key sectors.
Peruvian inflation was 2.5% in 2003, with a stable currency and 9.4%
unemployment, and the fiscal deficit was 1.8% of GDP, under the IMF
target. Foreign reserves grew to $10.7 billion by February 2004.
External debt equals 48.1% of GDP. Growth was 3.1% in 2000, but the
collapse of the Fujimori government and ensuing political
instability deterred investment, and GDP was flat in 2001.
Peruvian exports reached $8.95 billion in 2003, with imports of
$8.24 billion, producing a $710 million trade surplus. Export growth
of 17.1 percent was propelled by high mineral prices and U.S. Andean
Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) benefits. Peru's
major trading partners are the U.S., EU, Japan, Colombia, Brazil,
China and Venezuela. Over 27% of Peruvian exports are destined for
the U.S. and 30% of Peruvian imports come from the U.S. Exports
include, copper, zinc, gold, petroleum, coffee, textiles and apparel
and fishmeal. Imports include machinery, vehicles, processed food,
petroleum and steel. Peru belongs to APEC and the WTO, actively
participates in FTAA negotiations and hopes to conclude a free trade
agreement (FTA) with the U.S. in 2004. Peru's registered stock of
foreign direct investment (FDI) is over $12 billion, with the U.S.,
Spain and Britain the leading investors. FDI is concentrated in
privatized sectors such as mining, electricity, telecom and finance.
Growth in 2004 should continue to be driven by construction,
investment (particularly in the Camisea natural gas project),
domestic demand and exports. Peru's economy is fairly well-managed,
and better tax collection and growth are hiking revenues, with
expenditures keeping pace. Nevertheless, major challenges remain.
The GOP faces strong social pressures to reduce poverty of 54%
(under $58/month) and extreme poverty of 24% (under $32/month).
Unemployment has risen to 10.1 percent, underemployment is around
45%, and growth is insufficient to generate strong new employment.
The government lacks revenues for adequate social investment.
Boosting long-term growth and reducing poverty will require
strengthening the judiciary and other institutions, reducing
corruption and completing other reforms to improve the investment
Currently, the U.S. government advises the American business
community that the best prospects for investment include mining, oil
and gas, apparel, telecommunications, food processing, food
packaging, construction and personal security equipment. In the
services sector, consulting services (especially in the areas of
finance and tourism) and licensing of franchises are also good
Automobiles Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:29 PM
Employees should bring a personal vehicle to Peru or buy one
here. Personal cars are desirable in Peru for shopping, visiting,
weekend excursions, etc. Parking is tight but adequate at the
Embassy. Some employees choose to commute to work in car pools.
Currently, there is home-to-office shuttle transportation for
employees who live in some specific areas of the city. Regulations
require a fee for this service. During local rush hours, which
coincide with Mission working hours, local buses are extremely
crowded and pickpocketing is common. U.S. Government employees are
discouraged from using them.
General traffic and driving practices differ greatly from those
in the U.S. Traffic signs are widely disregarded. Improper
signaling, failure to signal, and excessive speeding are frequent.
Traffic signals frequently fail, compounding congestion and
confusion. Lima's traffic can be nerve-racking at first, but most
people soon adjust to the improvised driving patterns. Traffic in
Peru moves on the right as in the U.S. License plates can be
obtained through the General Services Office (GSO). Personnel must
pay about US $ 10 for the cost of plates and registration. The
Peruvian Foreign Office requires a letter issued by a local
insurance company certifying that you have obtained "Third-Party
liability" and "Obligatory Insurance for Traffic Accidents"(SOAT)
insurance policies before issuing license plates and registration.
The Mission requires all American employees to purchase the above
mentioned insurance on their cars (to cover other vehicles in an
accident ) from a Peruvian company. Opinions vary on collision and
theft insurance. Such insurance can be purchased through several
American brokers, however, some employees prefer to purchase
collision and theft insurance in Peru from a Peruvian company. While
either option is expensive, in the event of an accident, purchasing
the entire insurance package from a local company may strengthen the
interest of the company in working toward prompt settlements.
Unleaded gasoline is available at 90, 95 and 97 octane. The
latter grades are most commonly used by those with American cars but
do not give the same performance as U.S. high test. The cost of a
gallon of gasoline is between 9 and 11.50 New Soles.
Peru currently allows U.S. employees to import cars of any make
into Peru and to sell them duty free after three years or at the end
of their tours, as long as the engine size falls under a certain
limit. Restrictions limit most Mission members between 1.8 and 2.5
liter engines size. Check with GSO/C&S Unit for the exact
engine-size limitations for your grade. Routine maintenance is
available for most makes of cars, but theft or parts substitution is
common. Current Mission policy is to dissuade importation of large,
flashy, and luxury models of privately owned vehicles for security
reasons. Newly assigned employees must obtain advance approval from
the Management Counselor before shipping such models. While the
Ambassador may import two duty-free cars into Peru, all other
personnel are limited to one.
Automobiles shipped to Peru require the commercial invoice,
certificate of title and gas emission certificate. The sum of the
three documents must contain the following information about the
vehicle: make, model, year, type of vehicle, vehicle identification
number, engine number, number of cylinders, capacity of engine in
liters or cubic centimeters, and cost of the vehicle in U.S.
dollars. If part of this information is missing in the documents,
the customs clearance process will not be initiated until the
information is completed by the owner. It is imperative that the
engine number of the vehicle be mentioned in the vehicle documents.
Also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of
Transportation will require the engine number when the license
plates are requested. For Government of Peru authorities, the engine
and serial number of vehicles are different. If the two numbers are
the same, certification from a proper dealer is required.
Schedule arrival of the vehicle to occur after you are in
country. Cars must be consigned in the employee's name. Automobiles
are not boxed for shipment to Lima, so remove such pilferable items
as windshield wipers, floor mats, radios, etc., before shipping. It
is a good idea to have a locking gas cap.
Department of State regulations effective since June of 1988, forbid
U.S. Government employees or family members to profit from the sale
of personal property imported into or purchased within the country
of assignment. If the imported or purchased personal property was
exempted from import restrictions, custom duties, or taxes, sale
cannot be made without prior approval to persons not entitled to
such exemptions. For purposes of implementing this regulation, items
of minimal value (currently defined as less than $200) are excluded
from the definition of personal property. Please bear this in mind
when shipping personal property to post.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:32 PM
Taxis, buses and smaller micro-buses abound. Buses are crowded
but inexpensive. Regular taxi service is available at reasonable
prices but the condition of most taxis is poor. Passengers should
agree upon a price before entering vehicle. Telephone dispatched
taxi service is also available at higher rates.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:32 PM
Lima, an important air hub of South America, has a large, fairly
modern airport, served by American Airlines, Delta Airlines and
Continental Airlines. Other International airlines serving Lima
include Lan-Chile, Avianca (Colombia), Varig (Brazil), Iberia
(Spain), LAB (Bolivia) and others.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:33 PM
Long-distance telephone and telegraph services to and from the
U.S. and other countries are good and getting better. All services
are routed via satellite. AT&T, Globalphone, MCI and Sprint direct
dialing to the U.S. is available through the International Voice
Gateway (IVG)). It is possible to dial direct to almost any country
in the world through the TELMEX (former AT&T) telephone company.
Internet Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:40 PM
Several local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer standard
dial-up services for those bringing personal computers to post, and
28.8 kbps to 54 kbps modem speeds are available depending on the
telephone lines servicing the area where the user resides. ISPs
provide communications and browser software for most standard
operating systems. ISP subscription fees vary but closely parallel
those in the U.S. ranging from $10.50 to $35 per month. Red
Cientifica Peruana (RCP), the longest established and perhaps the
best known ISP offering full, 24-hour dial-up service, charges $19
per month with a three-month-in-advance requirement. Their bills are
payable at the bank branch located in the Embassy. America On Line
(AOL) and other U.S. Internet services are available, but users must
pay a per-minute charge for connect time via long distance telephone
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:34 PM
Lima Peru's Army Post Office (APO) provides full APO service to
all active duty military personnel, Department of Defense (DOD)
civilian employees, and DOD contractors attached to the U.S. Embassy
Lima, Peru. It also provides full APO service to Foreign Service
Officers and Civil Service employees of other U.S. Government
Agencies such as the Department of State (DOS), USAID, NGA, DEA,
DOTS, DHS, FAS, FCS and Peace Corps. Full APO service is also
provided to the dependents of those listed above. APO service for
retired military personnel is limited to receiving or sending mail
weighing no more than 16 ounces. IAW DOD regulation No. 4525.6-M,
U.S. government contractors other that DOD contractors are not
authorized to use APO services.
The APO receives mail via U.S. flagged airlines two or three
times a week. The APO offers first class, priority, fourth class,
insured and certified mailing. Registered mail, money orders, and
express mail are not available.
Parcels may weigh no more than 70 lbs. and may not have a combined
length and girth of more than 108 inches for priority mail, and 130
inches for standard mail. U.S. postage stamps may be purchased
through the APO. U.S. dollars and personal checks drawn on U.S.
banks are the only means allowed to pay for stamps and other APO
services. The APO will not accept personal checks written for less
Address APO mail as follows:
American Embassy-Office Abbreviation (POL, DAO, etc)
Unit No. _________
APO AA 34031
International mail (commercial couriers) is considered unreliable,
expensive and much slower than mail sent via the APO.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:39 PM
Lima has 37 AM and 29 FM radio stations that provide news and
popular Latin American, classical, contemporary, European, American,
and Peruvian music. World news coverage in Spanish is adequate, and
reception is good. Peru's leading news radio station is Radio
Programas del Peru (RPP): BO 730 AM and 89.7 FM. VOA short-wave
reception is good, and VOA Spanish programs are regularly
rebroadcast on CPN Radio (90.5 AM) in Lima, and on other stations in
Seven TV stations operate in Lima. Six of them, Channels 2, 4, 5,
9, 11 and 13, transmit 24 hours daily, while Channel 7 starts at 6
a.m. and broadcasts until 2 a.m. All broadcasts are in color and use
the standard American television (NTSC) system. Most programs are
the same as in the U.S. -soap operas, Westerns, audience
participation, domestic comedies, old movies, and dubbed U.S. shows.
All are commercial with 8 to 22 minutes of advertising an hour. Two
Peruvian companies provide cable TV service to metropolitan Lima.
The monthly fee is approximately $35 for about 50 channels including
some from Europe, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and the U.S.
(ESPN, TNT, FOX, and HBO are not the U.S. premium channels). Before
purchasing a parabolic antenna, check with post.
Peruvian telecommunications laws aim at improving the content of
Peruvian TV to make it more of an educational and cultural medium,
but progress is spotty. American TV's with a transformer to convert
220v current to 110v will receive local programs. However, cables,
rabbit ears or access to an external antenna is required. Bring
radio, TV equipment, VCRs, DVDs, and TV cassettes and disks from the
U.S. as they are slightly more expensive here.
Ham radio operators who hold a valid U.S. license are entitled to
operate in Lima. Licenses also can be obtained locally. Prior notice
and payment of a small fee must be given to the Ministerio de
Transportes y Comunicaciones, Direccion General de
In the past few years, DVDs have become very popular. Many places
rent English-language films, both current and classic, as well as
U.S. TV shows. Tapes, the majority of these at moderate prices, are
often pirated so the quality is poor. However, a U.S. video chain
(Blockbuster Video) has several stores.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
4/22/2004 1:35 PM
Lima has a competitive press with 25 daily newspapers. The most
influential is the 164 year-old paper of record, conservative El
Comercio. Well-informed readers often also consult center-right
Correo, Peru.21 and Expreso, and center-left La Republica.
Gestion tries to be Peru's version of The Wall Street Journal. El
Peruano, the government gazette, is the only medium that publishes
the text of official communications. Other dailies are more or less
sensationalistic and colorful.
One political magazine is published in Lima, influential,
centrist Caretas. Two respected think-tank publications, rightist
economic weekly Semana Economica and moderate leftist political
monthly Ideele, are published in both hard copy and electronically,
along with a wide range of specialized periodicals on economics and
The country's difficulties have affected the media. Although
press, TV and radio commercials have increased, overall advertising
revenues have decreased. Serious newspapers are relatively expensive
-newsstands sell copies at 14 cents to 57 cents daily and 14 cents
to $1.00 on Sundays with home delivery costing more. The official
daily El Peruano costs a hefty 57 cents. Caretas has become quite
expensive (at about $3.45).
Delivery of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the
Washington Post, and the International Herald Tribune may be ordered
by mail -the lag via APO is usually about 5 days. Newsstands sell
Time, Newsweek, and a few other popular American magazines. Prices
are higher than those in the U.S. Some bookstores, mostly in
Miraflores and San Isidro, sell English-language books. The Human
Resources Office keeps the Embassy community up-to-date by
circulating The Humboldt Current weekly by e-mail.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:41 PM
The Mission operates a Health Unit in the Embassy building.
Services are available for all eligible U.S. Mission employees and
dependents. The Health Unit is staffed by a Department of State
Regional Medical Officer (RMO) who provides primary care services.
These services include, but are not limited to diagnosis and
treatment of common acute problems and management of chronic
illnesses; health teaching; administration of immunizations; and
referrals to the local medical community. Three registered nurses
(RN) and a part-time Peruvian internist also provide health care
services. A Regional psychiatrist (RMO/P) is also based in Lima and
provides consultations when available.
The Health Unit keeps a small supply of prescription medications
most frequently prescribed. They are dispensed for acute medical
problems treated at the Health Unit. Individuals who require daily
medications should bring an adequate supply with them. Do not pack
these items in either your airfreight or household effects (HHE) as
such items may be delayed in customs. The Health Unit has several
systems in place to facilitate a supply of prescription medications.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications (e.g., aspirin,
Pepto-Bismol, cold tablets, vitamins, cough syrup, etc.) are
available in the commissary. You may want to bring a supply of OTC
medications (especially if you prefer any particular products) and a
Lima has several good private hospitals called "clinicas." These
clinics lack some of the "high-tech" equipment found in the U.S. but
are more than adequate for emergency situations and stabilizing
patients. The physicians are trained in Peru, Europe, and in the
U.S. Many are U.S. board certified.
The Health Unit maintains a list of hospitals that are considered
advisable for Mission use. Individuals should have planned elective
surgery done in the U.S. If medical services are unavailable in
Lima, patients are evacuated to the nearest adequate medical
facility, usually Miami, with authorization from M/MED upon Regional
Medical Officer's recommendation. The Health Unit also maintains a
referral list (by credentials) for specialists in various areas.
Outpatient medical care expenses are the responsibility of the
individual; in general U.S. health insurance is not accepted and
payment is expected at the time of the visit (expenses generally are
reimbursable as allowed through your specific insurance plan.)
Dental care including orthodontics is available by both U.S. and
Peruvian-trained dentists. All family members should have a general
dental examination prior to arrival.
Community Health Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:42 PM
Lima has a high incidence of hepatitis A, measles, typhoid,
diarrheal disease and tuberculosis. Poverty, overcrowding, and
malnutrition are common. Malaria, yellow fever, dengue and rabies
are common in the jungle.
Mission families are generally healthy. They experience the same
illnesses as in the U.S. in addition to gastrointestinal infections,
usually from contaminated food or water. Winter (May through
November) is cool and humid. The cool, sunless weather increases the
number of colds, bronchitis, asthma, and allergy-related complaints.
Due to many factors, e.g., terrorism, high crime, need for increased
residential security and periodic water shortages, and during the
long, sunless, gray winter, many individuals express stress-related
symptoms and occasional depression.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:43 PM
The following are suggestions for staying healthy in Peru.
* Arrange a visit to the Health Unit for a detailed orientation,
a review of current immunizations, and to obtain a copy of the
health manual. The health manual has considerable useful information
* Use bottled water, as tapwater is not potable. Commercially
prepared soft drinks and beer are considered safe.
* Vegetables and fruit require disinfection with a chlorine solution
before eating. Avoid salads and raw vegetables and fruits in
restaurants. Do not buy from "ambulantes" (street vendors).
* It is recommended that you start the Hepatitis A, and the
Hepatitis B series, before coming to post. Yellow fever immunization
is required for jungle travel and for travel into some other
countries (such as Brazil) from Peru. Have this vaccine before you
come to Peru. The following immunizations should be kept current:
typhoid; diphtheria; tetanus; polio; measles, mumps, and rubella;
* Individuals who will be working in the jungles and/or traveling or
living in outlying areas should take the preexposure rabies and
Hepatitis B vaccines prior to arrival.
* Handcarry your immunizations record as you would your passport. Do
not pack your yellow International Immunization Card in the
airfreight or HHE.
* Bottled drinking water is not adequately fluorinated. The Health
Unit provides fluoride for children over six months of age.
* Automobile accidents commonly occur. Use of seat belts and
child-restraint systems are required.
* Before traveling outside Lima check with the Health Unit for
malaria precautions. The malaria prophylaxis medication recommended
is Mefloquine or Doxycycline. Discuss which medication would be best
for you with Health Unit personnel.
* Notify the Health Unit in the case of hospitalization or need for
blood or blood products. Since AIDS and other infectious diseases
are present in Peru, the Health Unit has a walking bloodbank system.
Copies of the blood list are kept at the Health Unit and in the
homes of Embassy health care providers. Individuals are advised that
in the event of an emergency they might be contacted. If the blood
donor questionnaire yields no positive answers, you will be asked to
donate blood after an HIV test. Know your blood type before coming
* Contract employees should review their contract regarding policies
for emergency medical evacuation to the U.S. and Health Unit access.
Individuals not covered by the Department of State Medical Program
should carry supplemental travelers insurance for emergency medical
flights to the U.S. Although not accepted in Peruvian hospitals, you
should continue your U.S. hospitalization and insurance plan for
coverage during home leave, temporary duty, or R & R in the U.S.
Dependent parents are not covered by the State Department Medical
Pro-gram and therefore have no authorized access to the Health Unit.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 4/22/2004 1:43
Several employment opportunities exist in the U.S. Mission for
spouses and adult family members. The post also has an active
program for teenagers during Peruvian summer holidays,
December-February and also June-September, appropriate for teens
attending U.S. colleges.
Positions most often available are for secretaries who are given
temporary FMA. Qualification requirements include standard
secretarial skills such as typing and use of normal office word
processing equipment and software. Fluency in Spanish, while not
mandatory, is preferred for many positions. If necessary, tests for
these positions are available in the post's Personnel Office.
Occasionally, there are Professional Associate Positions available
in the Consular Section. Dependents interested in employment at the
U.S. Mission should bring a complete record of previous employment,
particularly of Federal Service. Correspond with the Embassy Human
Resources officer before coming to post. A medical examination is
not required for temporary appointments, but security clearances
Post family members have found positions of a more technical
nature at USAID. Family members interested in work should check with
the Overseas Briefing Center at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI),
their individual agencies, and Mission Family Liaison Office to see
what preparatory courses are available before departure.
Local employment opportunities are limited. Local wages are much
lower than in the U.S., and fluency in both Spanish and English may
be required. Some family members, with proper qualifications, have
taught or substituted at Colegio Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American
School in Lima, which most children of U.S. Mission personnel
Since February 1988, all adult family members of U.S. employees
assigned to this Mission are allowed to be employed on the local
economy in Peru. They must seek permission for specific employment
from the Peruvian Foreign Ministry through the U.S. Embassy. Those
employed on the local economy are subject to local social security
and income taxes. For more information on this subject, contact the
Human Resources Office at post.
American Embassy - Lima
Post City Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM
Lima lies in the center of Peru’s coastal desert area on the
Rimac River, 8 miles from the Pacific Port of Callao and about 475
feet above sea level. Its coordinates are 12 degrees south latitude
and 77 degrees west longitude, the same longitude as New York City,
3,500 miles north. The Pan American Highway links Lima with Ecuador
(600 miles north) and with Chile (720 miles south).
Although only 12 degrees south of the Equator, Lima is not
tropical. The Pacific Ocean’s cool Humboldt Current moderates the
Peruvian coastal climate. Two distinct seasons occur: summer and
winter. Winter is cool and damp with overcast skies; summer is
moderate and generally pleasant. Rain is practically nonexistent in
the area, though light mist and drizzle persist throughout the
Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, and
named the “City of Kings,” probably because the site was discovered
on Epiphany. The seat of the viceroy was established here in 1542
with jurisdiction over all Spanish territory in South America except
The City of Kings has changed in the past 25 years from a quiet
city of Spanish colonial charm into a modern-day metropolis.
Although many colonial landmarks still stand, new office buildings
and hotels tower over the dignified mansions and churches of the
17th and 18th centuries. Greater Lima with its suburbs covers
roughly 400 square miles and has a population of more than 7
million, making it the fourth largest city in South America. By day
the city teems with business and traffic; at night it assumes a
typical Latin American cosmopolitan appearance, offering excellent
restaurants, nightclubs, discotheques, concert halls, and movie
The area is rich in centuries-old plazas and churches. Inca and
pre-Inca ruins are nearby, and artisan objects of silver, leather,
and alpaca wool are available. Many modern entertainment and sports
facilities are also available.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 4/22/2004 2:57 PM
The U.S. has maintained diplomatic relations with Peru since
1826. Since 1920 these relations have been at the Ambassadorial
level. The Embassy in Lima, organized along traditional lines, is
the center of all U.S. diplomatic and consular operations. A
consular agent serves the Department of Cuzco in southern Peru.
Besides the Department of State, several government agencies have
offices in the Embassy building located on the 17th block of Avenida
Encalada, in the suburb of Monterrico - Santiago de Surco. The
imposing grey, blue, black and white-tiled structure was completed
in June 1995, and inaugurated on July 4, 1995. The move to the new
Embassy building consolidated the Embassy's services and operations
by uniting offices previously operating in three different
locations. Except for National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NGA), and
Naval Medical Research Center Detachment (NMRCD), all main
government agencies now operate out of the new Chancery.
The Embassy building is situated on a gently sloping site that was
formerly used as practice fields by the Association Lima Polo Club
in Monterrico. The 80,000 square meter compound accommodates the
five-story Chancery building, a new annex building which houses the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and
several ancillary buildings, including a primary power plant, a
shipping and receiving building, and three controlled entrances. The
U.S. Government instructed the designers to respect the green,
garden-like character of the neighborhood, so flowers, shrubs, and
lawns were carefully integrated into the design. As a result, a
park-like environment and open green spaces surround the building.
The new building is a skillful combination of pre-Columbian
architectural motifs with high-tech detailing that has created a
harmonious amalgamation of contrasts, depicting the richness of the
past, and showcasing modern-day technology. Natural and man-made
materials, with muted colors and reflective surfaces, are displayed
in the facade of the building. A large rusticated black rock-like
base structure completes the design.
The Consular section is located on the first floor of the Chancery.
The American Citizen Services Unit, which handles U.S. passports,
registration, reports of birth and various other federal benefits
programs, is open to the public from 8:00 to 12:00 Monday-Friday,
except on U.S. and certain Peruvian holidays. Special hours for
Mission employees only are on Wednesday afternoons, from 2:00 to
4:00. The ACS waiting room is located off the main lobby. Visa
services, both immigrant and nonimmigrant, are available by
appointment only, except in the case of serious emergencies.
Nonimmigrant visa appointments are available by calling the
Embassy's information and appointment service, Atento, at 595-1000.
Referral and protocol cases are handled at the window in the ACS
waiting room every workday from 8:00 to 10:00.
The Defense Attache's Office (DAO), the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), the separately appropriated State Department
Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), the Military Assistance Advisory
Group (MAAG), the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), the Foreign
Agriculture Service (FAS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS)), comprise the other government
agencies at the new Embassy building.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), an agency of the United
States Department of Justice, maintains a staff of Special Agents
and Intelligence Research Specialists within the Embassy. These
personnel, along with technical and administrative staff, manage a
broad-based number of counternarcotic programs and initiatives,
principally with the Peruvian National Police (PNP), aimed at
curtailing the flow of illegal narcotics to the United States. These
programs are implemented throughout Peru and are conducted in
concert with an overall U.S. Peruvian strategy employed by the Lima
Several government agencies involved in counternarcotics activities
maintain a presence in the cities Pucallpa and Iquitos, east of the
Andes. In Pucallpa, the NAS manages several facilities, including
offices, aircraft hangars and barracks for temporary duty staff.
NGA has offices located on Avenida Aramburú near San Isidro. The
NMRCD is located at the Centro Médico Naval on Ave. Venezuela in
The main telephone number for the Embassy is 434-3000 and connects
to all the Mission offices housed in the chancery.
Embassy office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; NMRCD is open
from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and NGA is from 8:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/22/2004 2:58 PM
It is the policy of Embassy Lima to assign new personnel to
permanent quarters in advance of arrival at post in a manner
consistent with good management practices and in the best interests
of the U.S. Government. To the extent feasible, employees' stated
housing preferences will be taken into consideration when
assignments are made. It is also the Embassy's policy to provide
quarters in good and safe condition and to assure that all quarters
are properly and adequately maintained.
Occasionally, newly arrived State employees are temporarily
housed in Government-owned houses until their residence is ready for
occupancy. Other agencies make accommodations in hotels.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/22/2004 2:59 PM
The Embassy will provide each member of its staff with the best
housing available at the time of arrival. We will ensure that the
residence assigned is suitable and appropriate to the official and
personal requirements of the employee and his/her family according
to the regulations and standards described in 6 FAM 720.
The U.S. Government owns a fully furnished, two-story,
seven-bedroom, Spanish-baroque residence for the Ambassador. The
grounds cover a triangular city block.
The DCR is a four-bedroom Colonial house located in the San
U.S. Embassy Lima maintains an inventory of government-owned
residences and residences on short-term leases. Assignments are made
by the Inter-Agency Housing Board (IAHB) from this pool of housing
and are based on consideration of space standards applicable to the
employee's position grade and family size. As per 6 FAM 724, space
eligibility depends on a combination of family size and position
rank (not personal grade). Sixty percent of our personnel are housed
in residences while 40 percent are in apartments.
USAID has the authority to manage its own leased housing
portfolio. The USAID housing pool falls under the same US government
rules, regulations and procedures as other agencies.
The Regional Security Office must survey each residence, and its
recommendations must be implemented before quarters can be occupied.
Furnishings Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:01 PM
The residences for the Ambassador, DCM are fully furnished by
Interior Furnishings (IF). The Marine Security Guards' residence is
furnished by the Marine Corps.
Currently, Lima is designated a furnished post. State Department
direct hire employees will be provided with a basic set of furniture
for the living room, dining room, master bedroom and for other
occupied bedrooms. Each residence includes window coverings.
All employee residences are provided with major appliances: a
washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, freezer, dehumidifier, space
heaters, ceiling fans, and A/C units. The A/C units will be
installed in the main living room and in all fully occupied
bedrooms. A limited shipment of personal effects is authorized for
employees who are entitled to U.S. Government-leased and-furnished
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:03 PM
All residences have water cisterns and pumps. The Embassy
provides every residence with two dehumidifiers and a space heater
for every fully occupied bedroom.
Electricity in Lima is 220 volts, 60 cycles, very different from
that in the United States. The electric current here is also not as
consistent as in the U.S., which results in rapid burnout of light
bulbs and irregularities in the functioning of personal appliances.
For items that are susceptible to damage from power surges, such as
computers and other electronic items, it is recommended that surge
protectors be used. Transformers are needed in Lima for appliances
used in the United States. Transformers can be purchased and shipped
with HHE or purchased in Lima at numerous hardware stores, including
Radio Shack and Ace Hardware. Post encourages incoming employees to
buy small appliances (blender, microwave, mixer, iron, etc.) that
are 220 volts. Many stores in Lima have small appliances at
reasonable prices. Transformers can become a fire hazard when
Welcome Kits are supplied to each housing unit occupied by State
employees and to those agencies that have signed up for
non-expendable supplies under ICASS. The kits include bed linen,
blankets, towels, cutlery, kitchen and cooking utensils, irons and
ironing boards. Welcome Kits are provided to both incoming and
outgoing employees, for temporary use pending arrival of shipments
or immediately prior to departure.
Food Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:04 PM
The American Employees' Community Association (AECA) operates a
2,000-item grocery store that carries U.S. products. Stocked items
include canned goods, paper products, toiletries, baking products,
cereals, frozen foods, pet foods, sodas, beer, liquor, wines,
cigarettes, and American gift items. The commissary can special
order items for individuals.
Freight expenses from the U.S. to Callao increase the prices, but
they are competitive in quality and price with local items.
Refundable commissary membership fees are $300 per family and
$150 for singles. Temporary Duty Personnel pay a nominal daily fee.
The commissary is located on the Embassy grounds. Commissary hours
are as follows: Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturdays
9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
American-style supermarkets are abundant in most residential
areas. Markets offer a variety of locally produced and processed
goods. Many small specialty shops can be found throughout greater
Lima, but imported foodstuffs are expensive.
Delicious, fresh, domestic and imported fruits and vegetables,
both tropical and temperate, are sold in Lima year round. Bananas,
melons, oranges, and such tropical fruits as papayas, mangos, and
maracuya (passion fruit) are of good quality and reasonably priced.
Apples, plums, peaches, strawberries, watermelon, pears, etc. are
also available in season. Small limes are used for drinks and in
cooking. Fresh fruit juices, including strawberry and melon, are
popular. Many fresh herbs and spices are sold in the supermarkets.
Fish, fresh meat and chicken are generally available. Beef, pork,
and some cuts of lamb are good, but quality varies. Pork should be
Fresh, pasteurized milk is available at some local supermarkets
(La Molina brand is preferred but sometimes difficult to find). Many
Americans buy boxed, long-life milk, and powdered or canned milk is
available. Local and imported cheeses are plentiful and varied;
there is no lack of good cheeses in Lima. Ice cream is inexpensive
and is of good quality.
Mission personnel usually buy alcoholic beverages from the
commissary. Seven brands of beer are brewed in Peru and good Chilean
wines are available locally. World-famous "pisco" brandy (distilled
from grapes) is widely served and "pisco sours" are traditionally
offered as a gesture of hospitality. Locally bottled soft drinks
include Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, Canada Dry, Ginger Ale, Seven-Up, and
tonic. The bright yellow Inka Cola is a favorite Peruvian soft
Peruvian cuisine excites the palate and is imaginative and
varied, with many dishes based on fresh fish and seafood. Corn,
potatoes, and chicken, are combined with fresh spices such as basil
and coriander (Chinese parsley) to make delicious soups. Rich
desserts are popular. Restaurants are good, but slightly more
expensive than Washington D.C. for similar quality food.
Clothing Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:04 PM
All items of apparel are sold locally but imported items are
expensive. The style and fit of locally produced apparel are
different, so bring a good supply of clothing or, if you are
familiar with dressmaking, yard goods, because local tailoring and
dressmaking services are good. Excellent fabrics may be purchased
here. Peru is famous for export of a high-quality cotton.
Attractive, good-quality shoes are available, but expensive, and
large, half-size, and narrow sizes are hard to find. Some people
choose to bring a sufficient supply of shoes and maintain an outlet
in the U.S. for reordering. If you have doubts about bringing an
item, and it is a mailable size/weight, wait until after arrival to
decide whether it is needed and, if so, order it through the mail.
Men Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:04 PM
Most Peruvian men dress conservatively, wearing shirts and ties
to both office and social gatherings. Tuxedos are generally not worn
at formal affairs. In summer, sport shirts and slacks are acceptable
for day and eveningwear.
Women Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:05 PM
Women will find woolen and other medium weight warm dresses or
suits practical for office or social wear during winter. Long
dresses or long skirts and tops are occasionally worn at evening
social functions. Evening jackets and wraps are necessary in winter
and frequently lightweight shawls are needed in summer. Shorts are
rarely seen in public in the city, but are common at clubs, picnics,
and at home.
Dress slacks are generally acceptable, depending upon style and
fabric, and are suitable for coffees, luncheons, teas, meetings, and
cocktail parties. Street-length dresses or separates are worn more
Children Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:05 PM
Colegio Roosevelt students wear navy blue pants/skirts and white
and/or powder blue shirts/blouses and white knit tops. All uniform
items must be purchased in school. Elementary school uniforms
include a warm-up suit for gym, which must also be purchased
locally. Students through grade five have the option of wearing it
in place of the regular school uniform. Black athletic shoes are
acceptable to uniform standards and could be purchased in the U.S.
Medium-quality oxfords are available locally. Kindergarten and
preschool children must also wear uniforms. For gym, children will
need a warm-up suit that should be purchased in Lima. They will also
need white tennis shoes and socks and in the summer will wear white
shorts and light shirts for gym. During March all students must wear
a "summer uniform" because of the warm weather.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:06 PM
American and European brands of toilet articles and cosmetics are
expensive here: domestic brands are more reasonably priced and some
are satisfactory. The commissary stocks some toiletries. However, it
is advised to ship/bring a supply of preferred brands.
Many families bring small supplies of household medicines and
other needed articles. Pharmacies are well stocked with antibiotics,
vitamins, and U.S. patented medicines at controlled prices
comparable to those in the U.S.
Bring or ship the following items: nondrip candles, plastic or
wooden coathangers (metal ones can rust), plastic kitchen equipment
such as dish drainer and wastebaskets, household tools, Christmas
decorations, etc. Bring an artificial Christmas tree if you wish, or
plan to buy one in Peru, since Norfolk pines are the only locally
available "Christmas" trees.
Families with small children should bring small gifts suitable for
birthday presents. Such gifts are usually expensive and birthday
parties are numerous, as are baby and bridal showers. Ship
children's strollers, playpens, and cycles; they are available
locally but are expensive.
Photography enthusiasts could bring a supply of film, but remember
that it deteriorates if stored in a humid climate for long. Most
film types are sold locally and the commissary sells basic types.
Basic Services Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:06 PM
Tailoring, dressmaking, shoe repair, hairdressing, barbering,
laundry, dry-cleaning, and other services are available at
reasonable prices. Although materials and miscellaneous sewing items
are available, bring patterns, polyester fabrics, pins, needles,
polyester thread, etc., or arrange a U.S. source.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:07 PM
A maid's salary is currently about $150 to $200 per month. For
full-time help, the employer also must pay a social security tax of
about 18% of monthly salary. Both live-in maid and day maids are
easy to find. Besides monthly pay, the employer must provide
uniforms, food, and for daily domestics, transportation money.
Live-in servants need a simple bed and chest of drawers, available
locally at modest prices. Some employees and families have found
that domestic help is essential because their presence helps improve
home security and because air pollution and dust create constant
Gardeners and ironing women, are available, as well as day
workers, who can be hired to wash and wax floors, clean windows, and
polish furniture (jobs maids generally do not do). Gardeners
generally have their own lawnmowers. Good caterers are available for
special entertaining at reasonable prices.
Peruvian law requires employers to give servants 15 days vacation
when they complete a year of continuous service. Also, 15 days
indemnity will be due domestic workers for each full year of
service. More specific infor-mation is given at post. Employees are
entitled to a bonus of 2 weeks pay in July and again at Christmas.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:08 PM
The Lima Cathedral, originally built in the 16th century, has
been almost entirely reconstructed and is currently used primarily
as a museum. Lima has many other Catholic churches, some of
considerable historic and artistic interest. Masses in English are
conducted at the Santa Maria Reina Chapel, Avenida Sta. Cruz and
Conquistadores 1293, Ovalo Gutierrez, in Miraflores.
Three Protestant churches have Sunday services in English: the
Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd at Av. Santa Cruz 491,
Miraflores. Sunday services include Holy Communion at 8:00 a.m. with
Morning Service at 10:00 (Creche and Sunday school available). The
International Union Church at Av. Angamos 1155, Miraflores offers
interdenominational Worship Services in English on Sundays at 10:30
and Sunday school at 9:15 (adults) and 9:30 and 10:45 (children).
The Union Church also offers Bible Studies on Fridays March to
November. The New Life Bible Fellowship at El Lindero 345, La Molina
offers an interdenominational English Worship Service on Sunday at
10:00 a.m. Sunday school is at 9:00 am and there is a children's
Sunday school as well. Several Jewish congregations offer services
in Hebrew and Spanish, with many English-speaking members of the
congregation, such as, Congregation 1870 located at Libertad 375,
Miraflores that offers services at 7:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays
at 8:30 am and 5:30 pm. Asociacion Judia de Beneficeacia Eculto de
1870 is located at Jose Galvez 282, Miraflores (445-1089), Central
Social y Cultura Sharon at Dos de Mayo (440-0290) and Union
Israelita del Peru can be contacted at 440-0290. Mormon services in
English are also offered at the chapel located on Javier Prado Este
750 in La Molina. Lima has missionaries from many Protestant
denominations, but their church services are usually in Spanish. The
YMCA and YWCA are active in the Lima community.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:17 PM
School-age children usually attend the Colegio Franklin D.
Roosevelt, an international school in Lima. Instruction is in
English and programs are offered for preschool age children (3 and
4-year old), as well as kindergarten through grade 12. Colegio
Roosevelt is accredited by the U.S. Southern Association of Colleges
and Secondary Schools. This private, coeducational,
non-denominational school, was established in 1946 to provide
schooling for dependents of major U.S. companies in Peru. Its
curriculum is primarily designed to prepare students for future
enrollment in universities. The school has about 1,242 students
(kindergarten through grade 12). About 70 children of Mission
employees attend Roosevelt. The student population is made up of 22%
U.S. citizens; 58% Peruvian and the remaining 20% of the students
are third country nationals (April 2003 REO report).
The large campus is quite impressive. Separate buildings are used
for the high school, middle school, elementary school, multipurpose
media facility, and the gymnasium. Many faculty and administrative
personnel are U.S. citizens. Average class size is 20-25 students.
The post education allowance covers the school tuition cost and bus
transportation, but not the $50 semi-annual activities fees. School
begins the first week in August and continues until early July, with
a 2-1/2 month holiday from mid-December through February. The school
does not have a cafeteria. Children either carry their lunches or
purchase snack food.
To enroll your children, write the Management Counselor and
request that the school be notified. USAID employees should write
their executive officer. Include the name, present grade, age, and
sex of each child to be enrolled. The school will help complete the
enrollment procedure. Preliminary testing of elementary-grade
children is required to aid the school in grade/class placement.
Guidance counselor interviews of secondary students assist in class
scheduling. To assist administrators, the school recommends that
copies of official transcripts, standardized tests, report cards,
letters of recommendation and any additional information that would
be helpful, be forwarded to FDR prior to your arrival to post.
English, history, social studies, Spanish, science, math, and
physical education are standard offerings in the high school as well
as elective courses. International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and
diploma as well as Advanced Placement (AP) are available.
Additionally, Roosevelt offers a strong computer-education program.
Extracurricular activities include sports (baseball, basketball,
soccer, field hockey, tennis, softball and volleyball). Photography
Club, Drama Club, National Honor Society, student government and
Varsity Club. Gifted and talented children programs are offered.
Students with diagnosed mild learning disabilities may be included
in regular classes with support from a specialist. However, it
should be noted that Colegio Roosevelt has limited resources for
special needs students. Programs for students with learning
difficulties or those in advanced curriculums do not compare with
those offered in U.S. public school systems. It is imperative to
contact the school prior to assignment to Lima to discuss whether or
not the school can meet the educational needs of your child. All
relevant information should be forwarded, along with academic and
health records, before arrival to enable the school to better
evaluate individual students. More detailed information regarding
resources for special needs students at FDR can be obtained from the
Overseas Briefing Center.
The school offers a short summer activities program. Colegio
Franklin Delano Roosevelt can be contacted at: (phone) 51 1 435
0890, (fax) 51 1 436 0927 or (e-mail) firstname.lastname@example.org. Their web
site address to be contacted is: www.amersol.edu.pe.
Employees should contact the Community Liaison Office (CLO) at
(phone) 51 1 434 3000, ext. 2614, (fax) 51 1 436 0927 or by e-mail
CLOL@state.gov for additional information on Colegio Roosevelt. The
CLO also has information on other schools in Lima such as the French
and German schools and several bilingual schools with
British/Peruvian curricula. Currently, there are 19 children of U.S.
mission employees attending Newton College which is one of the
British Peruvian schools here in Lima. Again, it is important to
mention that this school also has very limited special needs
Newton College is an Anglo-Peruvian, co-educational, bilingual
school for students aged 2 to 18. It is built on a large, beautiful
campus next to a lake in an attractive Lima suburb. In addition to
the Upper School and Lower School buildings, there are multi-purpose
rooms for Nursery, Kindergarten, Art, and Music, and a new cafeteria
providing hot, nutritious meals based mostly on Peruvian cuisine. A
sports complex is under construction and will include a swimming
pool. The school has its own field study center in the Amazon jungle
for students to carry out research projects.
One of the major objectives of the school is to develop bilingual
students. Both English and Spanish are the languages of instruction.
For those students not fluent in either, language support is
provided to rapidly develop their fluency. French is offered as an
elective to students from the age of 11. The curriculum is based on
the International Baccalaureate Organization and the I.G.C.S.E.
(Cambridge University). This curriculum is designed to prepare
students for future enrollment in universities.
The school year runs from March to December and is divided into 4
terms, each one 9 weeks long. Admissions of new pupils mostly take
place in March or August, but can also occur during term times. On
completion of the entrance exams the pupil is placed in the
corresponding year group. With regard to pupils entering in August
from northern hemisphere schools, the College will decide whether to
allow the pupil to forego or repeat half of the academic year. This
will depend on the pupil's academic background and maturity.
Class size is normally 25 students per teacher. However, many
subjects and activities class sizes are much smaller, thus providing
for a more individual approach to teaching and monitoring.
Lower school implements the International Baccalaureate Primary
Years Program. Each class has two principal teachers, one teaching
the English taught part of the curriculum and the other, the Spanish
taught part of the curriculum. In Upper School, English and
Mathematics pupils study with others in classes of similar ability.
In their last two years in Upper School all pupils follow the IB
Extracurricular activities are offered after school and on
Saturdays. Interhouse competitions (based on the four British royal
houses) provide spirited competition in sports and the arts.
There is a limited special needs program for pupils with language
and mild attention-deficit problems. The special needs unit is run
by the educational psychologist department. For more intensive
special needs the school coordinates with external therapists.
Special provision is also made for pupils with some physical
handicaps. It is imperative to contact the school directly with
regard to the special needs of your child as resources are limited.
For more information refer to their website at www.newton.edu.pe.
When contacting the school directly or through the website, please
specify that you are with the U.S. Embassy.
Mission families often send children ages 2 - 5 to half day
pre-school programs which are available in most neighborhoods. The
quality of education they provide is generally impressive. Many of
these offer bilingual programs for the children. Embassy employees
have personally visited many of the day care centers. The CLO
maintains updated information on several of them.
Peru has a large number of national and private universities,
including 14 in Lima. One semester courses like those given in U.S.
colleges and universities generally are not offered here.
Agriculture and engineering are taught at national universities in
Lima. All courses are in Spanish and enrollment is restricted.
The University of San Marcos in Lima is the oldest in the Americas
(founded May 13, 1551) and is the largest in Peru. Its faculties
include humanities, law, medicine, sciences, economics, education,
and veterinary medicine. However, it has been plagued with student
disturbances and is currently undergoing an economic crisis.
The Catholic University is the largest private university in Lima.
During July and August it sponsors a special program for U.S.
students, as does the University of Lima, which has an excellent
School of Communications. The University of the Pacific specializes
in business education and other related programs.
Post Orientation Program
The Mission offers a semi-annual a comprehensive orientation
program for all new arrivals and their adult family members to
explain the programs of the various components of the Mission and to
brief employees on life in Lima.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:17 PM
As financial resources permit, the State Department offers formal
language-training courses for all eligible employees and dependents.
Employees of other agencies should check with their agency to
determine availability of training. Instruction is at the beginner,
intermediate and advanced levels. Classes use either the
Programmatic Method or the 55-unit FSI basic Spanish textbook, in
addition to other material such as articles and books. The
Binational Centers offer a language program to teach Spanish to
foreigners in Peru. In addition, English language classes are
available. You may also arrange inexpensive private language
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:18 PM
Sports facilities, aside from various spectator sports, are
limited to private clubs, gymnasiums or health studios. Lima has
many popular, but expensive sporting clubs and several tennis, golf,
swimming, and riding facilities. Some clubs have almost impossible
admission requirements but others have memberships available that
range from expensive to moderate. Restrictions may apply to women
and ethnic groups. Clubs usually require initiation fees or shares
(some of which can be sold on departure) plus monthly or quarterly
dues. A few waive initiation fees or share-purchase for
diplomatic-list employees. Several modern, well-equipped health
studios and gymnasiums in the area provide exercise facilities,
boxing, wrestling, weight lifting, etc. The Embassy Commissary
Association maintains a small inexpensive workout room at the
Embassy. In addition, there are two tennis courts, a basketball
court, and several soccer courts, and a volleyball court on the
Embassy grounds. An active softball league operates on weekends at
The American Association is a social/charitable membership
organization for U.S. Citizens and Canadians living in Lima. Among
its activities are group trips to outlying areas, a monthly
restaurant night, and other social events. It sponsors a community
picnic each year on Labor Day and a joint Canadian/US Independence
Day Celebration on July.
The USEA, the United States Embassy Association, is an
organization that works closely with the CLO office to plan events
for U.S. personnel and their families. Their activities include:
sponsoring a monthly potluck luncheon, welcoming newcomers through
neighborhood committees organizing shopping trips and neighborhood
walking tours, raising money for charitable organizations, and other
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:18 PM
Almost every area and town in Peru has its own unique festivals
and celebrations. These are mostly colorful religious events.
Comfortable, clean tourist hotels operate in most frequently visited
towns. Reservations for all in-country travel can be made through
TRAVEX, which maintains offices in the Annex building, or through
several local travel agencies. The South American Explorers' Club
has an office in Lima with extensive files on trips within Peru.
Membership costs $30 per year.
Nearby Pacific Ocean beaches offer swimming and surfing, but the
undertow and currents are dangerous, and many nearby beaches are
contaminated by raw sewage. About 20 to 30 miles south of Lima are
clean, pleasant beaches that are also safe for children. These
include the Punta Hermosa and Santa Maria beaches. Surfing in Peru
deserves special mention. The many coastal beaches provide a variety
of waves rarely seen in other localities. However, the water is
usually quite cold, so surfers require wetsuits as well as
surfboards. Both are expensive in Peru. A group of sailing
enthusiasts in Lima holds regattas during the summer for Lightning
Both surf and small boat fishing are available at Pucusana (30
miles south) and Ancon, though they are expensive and it's difficult
to get small boats in summer. Trout fishing is available at Lake
Titicaca, on the Altiplano in southeast Peru about 810 miles from
Lima, and in neighboring mountain streams, but not in the vicinity
of the city.
Three aviation clubs are located about 12 miles from the city
center. These include a flying club, a gliding club, and a parachute
club. Fees vary and at times have been high by U.S. standards. A
good working knowledge of Spanish is needed to participate in the
activities of these clubs.
Lima has facilities for target, skeet, and trap shooting. You may
rent or board horses at several stables and riding clubs. Inter-Club
riding competition is well organized and competition keen. Spectator
sports include horse races (held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and
Sunday), polo, colorful bullfights (October-November), soccer,
basketball, cockfights, and professional boxing and wrestling.
Bring any sports equipment you plan to use here, particularly tennis
and squash racquets, scuba equipment, surfboards, golf clubs,
badminton sets, ping-pong, volleyball, hunting and fishing
equipment, swings, plastic pools, bicycles, yard equipment for
children, baseball gloves, balls, and bats. Local equipment is
expensive. A game known as "fronton" is also popular and is similar
to outdoor paddleball.
Lima offers a wide choice of good restaurants for business
lunches and social dining. Sidewalk cafes and drive-in restaurants
abound in the city. Some snackbars feature American-type services
and food. Certain tourist areas offer more elegant dining. Many
popular restaurants specialize in Chinese food, pizza, fried
chicken, or Peruvian Creole food. Many U.S. fast food francheses
such as Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Mc Donald's
and Domino's Pizza operate in Lima.
Entertainment Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:19 PM
Several theaters in Lima show first-run movies. American films
are popular and are widely shown with original soundtracks and
Spanish subtitles. Lima also has live theaters with most
performances in Spanish. An active amateur theater group, sponsored
by the British community, regularly presents plays in English.
The National Symphony Orchestra offers concerts during winter, at
times featuring vocal or instrumental artists from Europe, the U.S.
or other Latin American countries. The city has a local ballet
company, and international ballet companies occasionally perform.
International soloists participate in the elegant Municipal
Theater's annual opera season.
Lima has several nightclubs with dance orchestras and floorshows,
discos, and good jazz bars. These clubs are expensive and prices
vary according to the entertainment offered.
Peruvians celebrate their country's independence on July 28 and
29 with military parades, official receptions, and religious
Social Activities Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:20 PM
Most entertaining in Lima is done in private homes, clubs, or
hotels. Staff members are invited to many official and nonofficial
functions. Aside from the large receptions and dinners expected of
the Ambassador, DCM, and some senior officers, entertaining depends
on your wishes and finances.
Peruvians are conservative and reserved about admitting outsiders
to their social and family circles, but they are friendly to
Americans. With a little time and effort you can make valuable and
pleasant friendships. It is a good idea to reconfirm appointments,
particularly social engagements, the same day or the day before.
Social organizations open to membership by American personnel
(some by invitation only, others by application) include the
American Society of Peru, the Toastmasters, the American Women's
Literary Club, the Lima Women's Chorale, Good Companions (British
theater group), Lions, Rotary, and several sport clubs. For
children, Lima has active affiliates of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and
Girl Guides. Bring transfer cards if you wish to enroll your
children in one of these groups.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:21 PM
Although the social life is active, most functions call for
street clothes -dark suits for men and cocktail dresses for women.
Very few official functions call for black tie for men and long
evening dresses for women
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:22 PM
Officers of the various Diplomatic Missions in Lima no longer
exchange calling cards upon arrival at post; newcomers may wish to
bring a supply for official and personal calls. Cards can also be
printed in Lima less expensively than in Washington, D.C. Engraving
is expensive. Married personnel find "Mr. and Mrs." folding cards
are practical invitations for informal entertaining.
Special Information Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:22 PM
Military personnel need to contact the chief of their service
missions (MAAG, NIMA, DAO, NMRCD, Marine Detachment), for additional
details on their organization, and for specific information on
assignments, uniform clothing requirements, housing, and social
practices. Statements made in this report about allowances,
furniture, shipment, medical services, and other related items
generally apply only to direct-hire employees. Contract personnel
receive benefits only as stated in their contracts. However, if a
contract stipulates that the Mission is to provide furniture to the
contractor, read the guidelines in this report detailing furniture
The Embassy requests that employees bring eight passport photos,
size 1.6 by 2 inches, in order to process the accreditation with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Peruvian Driver's License. If
the employee cannot obtain the requested size, he or she should
contact the Personnel Office for assistance upon arrival.
Note: Personnel with diplomatic and/or consular titles receive
diplomatic carnets issued by the Foreign Office; all other personnel
receive official identity cards issued by the same office.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:25 PM
You can fly to Peru from most parts of the U.S. in less than 16
hours (6 hours nonstop from Miami). Military personnel must comply
with the Foreign Clearance Guide procedures if stopping in Panama.
The contract carrier from Washington is currently Delta Airlines.
Remember that the seasons are the reverse of those in the U.S., so
pack your luggage accordingly. Also, essential documents, medicines
and clothing especially for children should be brought with you.
Send any other important items (extra clothing, linens, small
household effects) in your UAB.
To avoid loss and damage in customs and excessive demurrage
costs, ship airfreight and HHE so that they arrive as close to, but
always after, your arrival. Please note that airfreight clearance
may take up to a month.
Because of the delay in receiving airfreight, many people mail
additional items to themselves via APO prior to their arrival at
post. Such items might include (depending on the season) extra
sweaters and blankets, additional toys, and books.
U.S. Government personnel must consign personal shipments to the
U.S. Dispatch Agent whenever possible. But such agents cannot be
used when: (1) shipment is door-to-door and responsibility for
pickup, forwarding, and delivery lies with the company contracted;
(2) the shipment is not made at government expense; or (3) military
personnel own the shipment.
Instruct packers to line the interiors of crates and lift vans
with waterproof paper or plastic for ocean shipments. Because Lima
has a high level of humidity, dehumidifier products must be used.
Pilferage and breakage in shipment at the Port of Callao can be a
problem. Although security at Callao has improved recently, packers
should use sufficient packing materials and strong-banded boxes of
Ocean shipments and all papers for Lima should be addressed as
(Note if USIS, USAID, STATE, etc.)
In door-to-door shipments to Peru add to the above:
Attention: (Name of carrier's agent)
For unaccompanied baggage see paragraph 2, Customs and Duties.
Due to the very limited storage space found in most quarters and
post's inability to provide storage facilities, you should be very
selective in packing items to be shipped to Post. Don't bring more
than that which can be comfortably accommodated in moderate-sized
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:26 PM
Peruvian law exempts from customs examination the accompanied
baggage of accredited Ambassadors and Diplomatic Officers for the
initial entry only. In general, this privilege is extended to the
personal effects of such officials. The baggage and HHE of other
authorized personnel can be inspected under Peruvian law, and such
inspections are occasionally made.
Unaccompanied baggage and HHE of the Ambassador, Diplomatic
Officers, and other official personnel including USAID, and USAID
contract technicians are not charged customs duties when shipments
arrive within 6 months from the date of your arrival. Such shipments
should always be marked "Unaccompanied Baggage" since this wording
will help to get early clearance from customs. This marking should
appear on the bill of lading.
Official personnel without diplomatic status who are members of the
Mission may bring in "free entry" shipments of personal HHE within
the 6-month limit. These shipments must also be sent and marked as
Shipments by authorized personnel arriving after the 6-month period
are subject to duties. These duties, however, are then charged by
the Foreign Office against a quota of duty exemptions granted
annually to each officer according to rank. The quotas are as
follows: Ambassadors and Ministers Plenipotentiary, $15,000; Mission
Counselors and Chargés d'Affaires, Military, Navy and Air Attachés,
and Counselors, $10,000; Directors and high officials of agencies
and international organizations, Civil, Cultural, Commercial
Attachés, First, Second and Third Secretaries, and Attachés,
official and international experts (USAID), $8,000; administrative
staff, $6,000. Under agreement with the Peruvian Government, USAID
employees are considered the equivalent of First Secretaries for
customs purposes. Values to be charged against the quotas are free
on board (f.o.b.) value. A major portion (80%) of an individual's
quota is pooled to establish duty-free entry for the commissary.
UAB (airfreight), HHE, and POV shipments must be planned so as to
arrive in Peru at the time of employee's arrival. UAB, HHE, and POV
must not/not arrive at post prior to employee's arrival. Paperwork
for liberation of UAB, HHE, and POV cannot/cannot be processed until
employee is accredited to the mission. It is important to know that
if a shipment arrives at port before the arrival of the employee and
it is not cleared from customs within 30 days, the GOP considers the
shipment to be abandoned and will auction it. Clearance of UAB, HHE,
POV generally takes from 3 to 4 weeks.
Passage Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:30 PM
Bring a copy of both your air and sea freight shipment
inventory/packing list to GSO customs and shipping unit as soon as
you arrive at post. If you are bringing firearms, liquor or
flammables special restrictions apply and you must advise post in
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, new arrivals are
authorized only three duty free shipments. Upon arrival notify both
the customs and shipping section and human resources that you plan
on making supplemental shipments so it is noted on your
applications. Failure to advise this will make shipments beyond the
initial three subject to very high Peruvian taxes. Prior to making a
supplemental shipment, GSO customs and shipping will again need a
The Mission emphasizes that all shipments of baggage and HHE (in
fact, everything except automobiles), should be shipped to Peru
plainly marked as Unaccompanied Baggage. This marking must also
appear on the bill of lading.
Each person entering the country on official business must have a
valid passport and a Peruvian visa. If you are unable to obtain a
Peruvian visa, please advise by immediate telegram.
All agencies arrange to meet and accommodate newcomers when they
are notified of arrival. Inform your parent agency in Lima as far
ahead as possible as to mode of travel and expected arrival time. If
arriving by ship, give the name of the vessel. Also tell them how
many people will be with you so arrangements can be made for
adequate transportation and customs clearance.
All new arrivals will receive a welcoming cable or letter. If you
need additional information or have other questions, write or email
the Management Affairs Counselor (MAO) or Executive Officer (USAID).
The Mission desires to be as helpful as possible and the concerns of
new personnel are our concerns. The Community Liaison Office (CLO)
sends important letters about Post to incoming employees who also
receive welcome packets upon arrival.
For security reasons, all new arrivals receive official
transportation from the airport to temporary (or, if available,
permanent quarters.) Please be sure that the Embassy has been
advised of your exact arrival time. If you are not met, call the
Embassy (618-2436). A Marine Guard is always on duty.
Following is important information on the importation of vehicles
Restrictions: There is an engine size limitation to import personal
owned vehicles (POVs) established by the Government of Peru (GOP) as
1. Ambassador: May import duty free two vehicles without engine size
restrictions, every three years.
2. Charge D'affairs, Minister Counselor, Counselor, Military, Naval,
Air and Police Attaches; Consul General and Director of
International Organizations: may import duty free one vehicle up to
3.0 liters engine size every three years.
3. Diplomatic officers with the ranks of first, second, and third
secretaries, consuls, vice consuls, military, naval, air and police
assistant attaches: may import duty free one vehicle up to 2.5
liters engine size every three years.
4. Administrative and technical staff may import one vehicle up to
1.8 liters engine size, which must be imported within six (6) months
after the member has arrived in country and is accredited to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Motorcycles or off road recreational items are considered
vehicles. The number of vehicles authorized to be imported duty free
is mentioned above for each category. A second vehicle, like a
motorcycle, could be brought into Peru with the agreement to
re-export it at the end of the employee's official tour. Please
contact GSO/Customs and Shipping Unit for more information.
Newly-assigned employees must obtain advance approval from the
Management Affairs Counselor (MAO) prior to shipping a second
Vehicles imported duty free by accredited employees can be sold
locally tax-free after the vehicle has been three years in country.
If the employee is transferred or finishes his official tour before
three years, he/she will need to pay the import taxes for the
remaining time to complete the three-year period. That amount will
be calculated by the MFA dividing the import taxes by thirty-six
(36), and the result will be multiplied by the number of months
remaining to complete the three year-period.
If an employee arrives in Peru with travel authorization for two
years of duty only and is accredited accordingly to the Peruvian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), he/she can sell the vehicle tax
free at the end of his/her official tour. But for this two-year
exception to apply the employees' tour must end without fail in
exactly two years. Otherwise, the three-year rule applies.
Under current GOP regulations, vehicles exceeding the engine size
authorized may be brought into Peru under a temporary importation
permit for a period not to exceed one year. After the one-year
period, the vehicle must either leave the country or the appropriate
import taxes (97% of the C.I.F. value of the vehicle) must be paid.
Post will request, but cannot guarantee extensions to the one year
time limitation imposed upon vehicles imported under the temporary
importation permit. A vehicle imported under temporary importation
cannot, repeat cannot be sold locally, it must be shipped abroad or
to the employee's next Post. Please contact GSO/Customs & Shipping
if you plan to bring a vehicle with larger engine size.
Parking spaces are small and garage doors tend to be no higher
than 68 inches. Personally owned vehicles with height greater than
68 inches must not be shipped to Post without previous Post
approval. If someone must ship a larger vehicle, they may have to be
housed in an apartment building.
Purchase and Sale of Vehicles: Non-US specification vehicles are
readily available both new and used at prices at or below US prices.
All personnel bringing a vehicle to post must provide the
following documents and information: 1) copy of vehicle's commercial
invoice/bill of sale and copy of the ownership title even if they
are second hand vehicles, and 2) gas emission certificate. These
documents must be hand carried as they are required for customs
clearance. If this is not possible, the losing post, Dispatch Agent,
or military transport officer should mail it to Lima as quickly as
Vehicle documents must, repeat must, contain the following
information: make, model, year, serial number, engine number, number
of cylinders, color, capacity of engine in liters or cubic
centimeters, cost of the vehicle in U.S. dollars. If the documents
do not contain all the information required, employees will have to
provide it to post in writing. The MFA and the Peruvian customs will
request the engine number (located in the engine block) for the
custom clearance and registration of vehicles. For GOP authorities,
the engine and serial numbers of vehicles are different, if the two
numbers are the same, a certification from the proper authority or
dealer is required.
Without the documents mentioned above, post cannot clear the vehicle
out of customs.
Pets Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:31 PM
Pet owners should contact GSO customs & shipping at least one
month before bringing a pet to post. Post needs complete information
on the type of animal, size and weight of the pet you plan to bring.
Please also include in the notification your pet's breed, name, age,
color, sex, estimated value, and scheduled date of arrival. Some
landlords allow pets and a limited number of such quarters may be
Pets can arrive as accompanied baggage or as cargo.
- If a pet arrives as accompanied baggage the owner must carry
with him the export certificate from the Department of Agriculture,
a health certificate and vaccination certificate and bring US$50.00
cash to cover Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture fees. Arrival can be
any day of the week.
- If pet arrives as cargo a copy of the airway bill, export
certificate, health certificate and vaccination certificate must be
sent to customs & shipping unit to the following fax 511-434-3066 at
least five working days prior to the arrival of the pet. The pet
needs to arrive at Post on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday because
customs office closes on weekends. There will be an approximate
charge of US $510 cash per pet for expenditure services that owners
must pay, such as:
o Ministry of Agriculture Fee
o Import Taxes
o Embassy GSO expeditor services which is approximately US $20 per
Note: Customs clearance of pets take approximately seven hours. GSO
can provide names of private companies who provide this service.
Please note that during the summer months due to high temperature
of air cargo holds air carriers flying from the U.S. enforce a pet
embargo that may extend from May 15 through September 15. Owners
must check with their individual air carriers for specific details.
There are a number of good veterinarians around Lima and some
provide 24 hour service in case of emergencies. The commissary sells
pet food and pet items.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:31 PM
Any employee, contractor or dependent wishing to import any
firearm must forward a written request to Post, attention RSO and
GSO prior to coming to post. Include the make, model, caliber and
serial number of every weapon. Generally, only one handgun and one
shotgun or rifle per household will be approved. Exceptions may be
granted to law enforcement officers. Local law provides that law
enforcement and military personnel are authorized to import handguns
in calibers up to .45 (pistol) and .357 (revolver). All others are
limited to 9mm and .38 calibers respectively. Shotguns up to 12
gauge and rifles up to .44 caliber are permitted. Personal full
automatic weapons are not allowed. The only approved method for
shipping firearms to or from Post is within an employee's household
effects. A sole exception will be made for Federal Law Enforcement
Officers who may follow individual agency guidelines for the
transport of weapons used in official duties. Authorization by post
to import weapons does not allow the employee to carry the weapon in
country. All requests to carry weapons in country must be submitted
to the Regional Security Office and approved by the Ambassador. All
firearms brought into Peru must be taken out of the country upon
transfer. Department of State regulations do not permit ammunition
to be shipped in either air or surface freight.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 4/22/2004
Peru's currency changed on January 1, 1986, from the Sol to the
Inti. On January 1, 1991, the currency changed from the Inti to the
new Sol. In April 1, 2004, the exchange rate was new soles 3.41= US
A legacy from the years of hyperinflation is that many businesses
price items in U.S. dollars. Payment is usually made in the Sol
equivalent value but many stores readily accept U.S. Dollars as
well. Counterfeiting, both of U.S. Dollars and Soles, is a problem
and caution should be exercised when conducting transactions. Peru
uses the metric system of weights and measures, except for gasoline,
which is sold by the gallon.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:36
Official American personnel do not pay Peruvian personal and
income taxes but do pay sales taxes on municipal services, airline
tickets (reimbursable), restaurants, movies, gasoline and telephone
The Embassy and USAID cashiers do not provide accommodation
exchange. A local bank operates in both locations, cashing personal
checks for dollars or local currency and performing all banking
U.S. Government American personnel receive salaries and
allowances in dollars by direct deposit. You should establish and
maintain a checking account in the U.S. Salaries and allowances may
be sent directly to your bank in the U.S. by arranging a pay
allotment after you arrive at post.
Newly arrived Department of State employees will continue to
receive salary payments through the Consolidated Financial Service
Center in Charleston, S.C. Payment of allowances and differentials
is normally delayed from 4 to 6 weeks following arrival at post.
Upon departure, the respective Financial Management Office (with
the Ambassador's approval) may convert excess Soles from sale of
personal property into dollars. Employees must certify that such
Soles were acquired legitimately.
Exportation of Peruvian Antiquities
The Government of Peru prohibits the exportation of ancient
Indian artifacts and colonial art. The U.S. Government supports this
policy and, in accordance, with the GOP Law No. 12958 of February
22, 1958, and Decree of Law 18780 of February 4, 1971 (available in
General Services Office), U.S. employees are prohibited from
including such articles in their HHE or exporting them by any other
The packing companies in Lima are prohibited from packing and
shipping items that appear to be antiques and will return such items
to the Mission if the employee has departed post. Due to the large
number of facsimiles, the packing companies cannot differentiate
between the real item and a copy. In order to avoid delays, acquire
in advance a certification from the Instituto Nacional de Cultura
verifying that the item is a copy and may be exported. Contact GSO
for assistance in obtaining the certification.
The post is not responsible for any item returned by the packing
company. Such items may be turned over to the Peruvian authorities
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:33 PM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on Peru. The Department of State does not endorse
Bingham, Hiram. Lost City of the Incas. Phoenix Press, 2003.
Caraway, Caren. Peruvian Textile Designs. International Design
Library, Stemmer House, 1983.
Carey, James C. Peru and the United States, 1900-1962. Notre Dame
Clayton, Lawrence. Peru and the United States: The Condor and the
Eagle. University of Georgia Press, 1999.
Crabtree, John. Fujimori's Peru: The Political Economy.
University of London Press, 1998.
Crabtree, John. Peru (Oxfam Country Profile Series). Oxfam
De Soto, Hernando. The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism
Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Basic Books, 2003.
Frost, Peter. Exploring Cusco. Nuevas Imagenes S.A., 1989.
Hemming, John. Conquest of the Incas. University of New Mexico
Kenney, Charles D. Fujimori's Coup and the Breakdown of Democracy
in Latin America. University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.
Klaren, Peter F. Peru: Society and Nationhood in the Andes.
Oxford Press, 1999.
Insight Guides - Peru. Insight Guides, 3rd edition, 2003.
Lonely Planet Peru. Lonely Planet Publications, 2000.
McClintock, Cynthia and Fabian Vallas. The United States and
Peru: Cooperation at a Cost. Routledge, 2002.
Minta, Stephen. Aguirre: The Re-Creation of a 16th Centry Journey
Across South America. Henry Holt and Company, 1993.
Morales, Edmundo. Cocaine: White Gold Rush in Peru. University of
Arizona Press, 1989.
Moseley, Michael E. The Incas and their Ancestors: The
Archaeology of Peru. Thomas and Hudson, Ltd., 1992.
Palmer, David Scott. The Authoritarian Tradition. Praeger
Palmer, David Scott, ed. Shining Path of Peru. St. Martin's Press
Peru: A Country Study (Area Handbook). Claitors Law Books and
Publishing, 4th edition, 1993.
Poole, Deborah and Gerardo Renique. Peru: Time of Fear. Latin
America Bureau, 1992.
Prescott, William H. History of the Conquest of Peru. Phoenix
Simpson, John. In the Forests of the Night: Encounters in Peru
with Terrorism, Drug-Running and Military Oppression. Random House,
Stap, Don. A Parrot Without a Name: The Search for the Last
Unknown Birds on Earth. University of Texas, 1990.
Vargas Llosa, Alvaro. The Madness of Things Peruvian: Democracy
Under Seige. Transaction Publishers, 1994.
Vargas Llosa, Mario. A Fish in the Water: A Memoir (Farrar Straus
Giroux, 1994). Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (Farrar, 1982 or
paperback, Avon, 1985). The War of the End of the World (Farrar,
1984). The Feast of the Goat (Picador, 2002).
Wethey, Harold H. Colonial Architecture and Sculpture in Peru.
Harvard University Press, 1949.
Wise, Carol and Riodan Roett, eds. Post-Stabilization Politics in
Latin America: Competition, Transition, Collapse. Brookings
Institution Press, 2003.
Wise, Carol. Reinventing the State: Economic Strategy and
Institutional Change in Peru. University of Michigan Press, 2003.
Wright, Ronald. Cut Stones and Crossroads: A Journey in Peru.
Viking Penguin, 1988.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 4/22/2004 3:35 PM
New Year's Day American
Martin Luther King's Birthday American
Washington's Birthday American
Holy Thursday (half day) Peruvian
Good Friday Peruvian
Labor Day Peruvian
Memorial Day American
St. Peter & St. Paul Peruvian
U.S. Independence Day American
Independence Day Peruvian
St. Rose of Lima Peruvian
Labor Day American
Combat of Angamos Peruvian
Columbus Day American
All Saints Day Peruvian
Veterans Day American
Thanksgiving Day American
Immaculate Conception Peruvian
If any authorized U.S. Federal Holiday falls on a Saturday, the
Embassy is normally closed on the preceding Friday. If such a
holiday falls on a Sunday, the Embassy is normally closed on the