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Old December 28th, 2010, 04:00 PM   #1
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Peru customs

Has anyone gone to Peru to film before?

From my quick search, I see that Peru is not an ATA Carnet country. What is the customs procedure for taking equipment in and out of Peru? I will most likely be flying into Lima.

I will be looking into this further (contacting proper authorities), but this is a stat holiday today and everything is closed here!

Thanks,

Brent
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Old December 28th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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Hi,
I travelled to Peru a few years ago flying in and out of Lima.
No problems with equipment at the airport on entry or exit, but did have one of our a personal suit cases broken into and small (but expensive) items belonging to my wife stolen. When we were at the check in desk a female security officer made a further search of the cases, it was here I believe the searcher marked the case, our other three cases arrived in order.
When she was searching she was asking me questions not relating to what she was checking and at the same time not even looking looking at me. The way the case had been broken into and the tidy state the contents were left in had all the signs of the case being targeted as opposed to random untidy search being made by the thief, several more expensive items were left undisturbed.
Nort really answering your question as such, but warning you of what can happen

Mick
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Old December 28th, 2010, 06:47 PM   #3
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Mick's experience is not atypical for Lima. I've been a couple times with ENG equipment, never declaring anything, and never had any problems. Same with Arequipa and Cuszco. Not saying you shouldn't declare, just saying I've never had any problems or heard of anyone having problems. If someone has, I'd like to know because I'm going back in April.

A few years ago a member of our party did have their suitcase stolen before they exited customs. That is they picked it off off the luggage rack waited a moment for their next bag and literally at the moment they leaned forward and retrieved their second bag the first bag was gone. Dress down and stay frosty.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 12:17 AM   #4
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It all depends on the current alert situation in Peru. We had no trouble getting to Machu Pichu via Lima and Cusco but a couple of months later some friends did in the middle of a Lima garbage collectors strike. 50cals on armoured cars with water canon. They stayed off the street. Check your travel advisaries.

More of a problem was the high altitude at Cusco, it's higher than Machu Pichu. Follow the advice of locals in getting conditioned to it. It affects everyone differently so allow 2 days of no work, no alcohol .. just chicken soup.

The hotels have tanks of oxygen available at reception. Have a great trip.

Cheers.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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Brent, I have flown in and out of Lima , and from Lima into the interier an couple of times. Never had a problem with customs and I was carrying an XL-2. As with any big city, play it smart and don't flash stuff around and don't walk around at night with a nice rig on your shoulder. Also, if you are planning on going to Machu Piccu, be warned, anything that even looks like pro video/DSLR will cost you a $400 US fee as you would be classified as a "professional". Bob

Last edited by Bob Safay; December 30th, 2010 at 06:51 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 05:44 PM   #6
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Hi Bob, we will be walking the red line through the airport...will have all paperwork/visas/etc.

We will also be paying the permit fees as we will have too much equipment not too.

Did you drive from Lima - Machu Picchu or did you fly?

Any special customs forms to fill out as they are not an ATA carnet country? (I'll be checking next week with the proper agencies, but if anyone has had experience let me know).

Thanks,
Brent
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 08:16 AM   #7
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Brent, we flew from Lima to Cusco. From there we took a tour van up through the Sacred Valley to the town of Ollantaytamo. Visited the ruins there then took the train from there up to Machu Picchu station (Aguas Calientes). This is where you board the bus that takes up up to Machu Picchu. FYI, park fee is S/ 122.00 (Sol) and must be paid in national currancy. You must purchase this either at the museum in Cusco or in Aguas Calientes. YOU CANNOT PURCHASE THE ENTRANCE TICKET AT MACHU PICCHU ITSELF. You can then take the train all the way back to Cusco. When you are in Cusco you must visit the ruins at Sacsayhuaman, the stones are even larger than the ones used at Machu Picchu. Bob
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 08:26 PM   #8
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We flew Air Peru from Lima to Cusco in an old Boeing 737-200 with the radio aerial coming out the pilots window and tied onto the tail. At Cusco (altitude 10,800') they have benches spaced out from the plane to the terminal so out of breath passengers can rest. Acclimatization at peru : How To Fight With Altitude Sickness

After 2 days acclimatisation we took the train to Machu Pichu and stayed at the old Sanctuary Hotel, the last guests before the rebuild. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge by The Peru Guide

We had New Years eve 1999 there, the dinner party in the hotel restaurant with local entertainment cost $A700 for 2 and the meal was awful. (My wife later wrote complaining to Orient Xpress and and we got a full refund) But right on midnight all the guests each took a lantern and we single filed out through the ruins .. to absorb the Inca magic. Oh boy there were/are? no handrails around the narrow paths, you sober up real quick.

From a video/photo point of view, daylight breaking at Machu Pichu is worth the price, for a while I was the only person out in the ruins and as the sun came up, they took on a surreal look. It was freezing at that altitude so take warm clothing. You can't come up from the lower levels at daylight as the bus doesn't run till later, it takes 30mins .. we did see a few ppl walk it later.

A monopod is helpful in the low light and plenty of battery power. Soundwise the shape of the ruins give it a reverberant sound, birds echo, the cam mic should be enough. There's a lot of climbing to do, get in shape :)

Even though there's now an airport at MP, the train journey to and from Cusco is part of the Peru experience. Make ALL bookings, including the train and that bus trip well in advance. HTH

Cheers.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 10:57 PM   #9
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When shooting at Machu Pichu make sure that you get a filming permit in advance. I didn't and it cost me $400 at the gate. Check on this in advance.

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Old January 3rd, 2011, 06:59 PM   #10
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Just curious, is the $400 permit per day or for a set period of time?

Also, there's not an airport there -- absolutely no place to put one. There was a heliport at one time (and may still be at Aguas Calientes).

Thanks for the interesting info everyone is sharing. I've been to Peru many, many times. (In fact, just got back from a 12-day trip last week.) While most of the time, I've just taken a small camera -- took a 60D this past trip -- but would love to go back with my XH-A1 one day. After 16 trips in the past 6 years, I feel comfortable enough there to not worry about equipment security as long as my main purpose is filming -- even it's only for my own personal use -- and my focus can be on keeping my stuff close to me at all times. (On this last trip, my wife wouldn't even let me keep my 60D stored in her mother's locked home, even though we were 4 hours from the nearest town!)

I've always worried about taking stuff through customs. The "personal" camera description that they talk about is way too vague and getting a valid, specific commitment from a government official on what is acceptable without declaration is probably not going to happen.

As to the strikes and the riot police -- don't worry about that kind of stuff. I've seen quite a few protest marches and even filmed a couple (with police permission, of course). In one, the folks were armed with sharpened sticks and the protests were serious, but Peru has a history of these things happening every week for decades and the police always outgun the protesters. The odds of anything dangerous happening are almost non-existent. Both police and the protesters know the importance of not doing serious damage to tourism and the dollars it brings. The problem is the disruption of transportation that strikes and protests cause. Peruvians accept these things a lot more than folks here in the U.S. Road blockages are quite common so I'd recommend flying if you can. (Buying plane tickets at the last minute doesn't usually carry a penalty and is surprisingly cheap.)

Last year, a major strike caused the train to Machu Picchu to stop for a day and I was stranded there for an extra day. Of course, that meant that instead of the daily train bringing a few thousand folks to MP, about 200 of us who had spent the previous night in AC and been "stranded" had the whole place to ourselves! It was about as perfect an experience as you could imagine. At times, it seemed the place was almost empty.

Brent, I'm really interested to hear what you learn through official channels and how the customs process goes for you. Please share your experiences with us when you get back.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 02:26 PM   #11
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Ha! Machu Picchu Airport Map | Peru Airports I figured they might be referring to that helipad just by the railway line as you reach the MP terminus. The one with the giant Russian chopper standing by for ppl who pass out from the altitude on the Inca trail. That's gone too eh.

But yes you're correct there's no MP airport, that's why the Spanish Conquistadors couldn't find it either .. or the other lost city that's said to be there :)

Cheers.
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