A Miami-Based Peruvian shares a journey back to Peru
Recently I went home to visit my family. During this time with a global pandemic, it was a difficult decision because my parents are at a vulnerable age and I did not want to put them at risk. Once I learned about all the security measures and protocols in place, I thought that I would be safer inside a plane than in a supermarket in Miami and not a danger to those I was visiting.
To travel to Peru, you have to present a current test with a negative result of Covid -19. The test can be PCR or Antigen and needs to be valid for 72 hours from when you receive the result. In Miami, the tests can be done at GO2GO, CVS, Walgreens and Urgent Care – all are free. Travelers need to complete an online affidavit 48 hours before departure date. This form is required from Peru’s Healthy System department so they can locate you and can track your journey.
During my stay in the country, they called me twice to make sure I was feeling good and had no symptoms. When I returned to Miami, they called me once more to ask about my health.
Airport & Flight Experience
One of the things that amazed me most during this trip is how much customer service at Miami International Airport (MIA) has changed. In the past, this very busy airport had a reputation for poor customer service. It seems that, incredibly, the pandemic spurred change. The people who work at the MIA made me feel welcome and you could see it on their faces, as if to say “Thank you for reviving the airport.” They were very effective in providing information and instruction on following the protocols. And, staff at both the airline, American Airlines, and on the ground, like the immigration staff, were equally positive.
I felt it was almost like a celebration of both the staff and the travelers! Indescribable sensation! It also reminded me that we need to count our blessings. Suddenly, we saw that we could lose the everyday things that we take for granted – the main one is our health and the health of our loved ones as well as the ability to walk about freely and interact with the people in our lives and through our work.
Check in at the airlines was very organized but many travelers were not paying attention to the distances suggested. First, they check to make sure your paperwork was in order. You have to show the affidavit you completed, which can be printed or you can have it on your cell phone, the negative certificate of the COVID-19 test, and your current passport. Once the data is verified, you continue the counter for routine processing, where you again show the affidavit and the COVID-19 certificate.
The migration process is very similar to the one that existed before, only now you scan your passport yourself. At the gate you are required to use the face shield to board. During the flight they offer you a bag containing a sandwich and cookies, and drinks are offered as usual from the cart.
Upon arrival at the Lima Airport, I saw that everything is clearly marked and they are enforcing protocols. But I realized that it was different from the Miami airport in that people paying attention to distancing. The signs clearly marked the distances; even the escalators were clearly marked with red ‘x’s on each separating the white foot print to indicate the proper distance.
At immigration, two people are checking the protocol paperwork are in order. If you do not have the certificate valid within the required time period, and try to enter with a Peruvian passport, staff will perform a quick test and if it is negative, you can enter normally or, if you test positive, you will be quarantined. If you enter with a passport other than Peruvian, and you have no your negative test, you are returned to your country.
When collecting your baggage, the suitcases, there are two strips, one is for black suitcases and the other is for coloured suitcases. In addition to signalling where to stand. At the exit, I noticed that the people who would normally welcome arrivals were all waiting outside the building, respecting the distance and wearing masks.
Experience in Lima
My transport, organized by Big Five Peru, was waiting when I exited the airport. Following protocols, they took my temperature, gave me a bottle of sanitizer, which I also used on my shoes and the step of the van. In the van, a welcome kit contained more sanitizer. As we drove into the city, I saw that the streets of Lima are cleaner, people were wearing their masks and there was less traffic.
At Hotel B, I enjoyed a delicious brunch with Maria Jose Gueudet, Hotel Manager, and we were able to talk about how the hotel. They are this month with 35% occupancy, the hotel has had to reinvent itself during the pandemic to be able to keep the permanent staff employed. During this time, several staff have discovered new abilities such as a housekeeper who began working as a cook and the gardener who found a talent for painting. They strictly follow the protocols and as a result I felt very safe inside the hotel. They have not only preserved their skill in gastronomy, they have taken it a step further by creating a deli that has become the favorite of their neighbors. In fact, called B Deli, it has helped several in the neighborhood survive this pandemic.
I took a tour of the neighborhood of Barranco, where residents have taken advantage of this situation to remodel it by painting the houses, adding new graffiti art, some of which are by noted Peruvian artist Jade Rivera. I also visited fascinating Las Pallas Gallery, specializing in traditional folk art, weavings, pottery, masks, hand painted frames, amulets, carved gourds and more. I also stopped at the Jade Rivera Museum and savoured some of the best croissants at the French bakery, Surquelo.
Supermarkets, shops, restaurants, markets and other enclosed spaces are restricting entry, taking people’s temperatures and providing sanitizer. Everywhere, people seem to be complying with everything, I am very proud of my Perucito! I felt super safe and am pleased to say that Peru is ready to again receive travelers.
>> If you are also hitting back the road and want to share your experience in Latin America with the REMOTE Community, partners and friends, please send your story to email@example.com.