If you are planning to visit Peru, you will have a lot of opportunities to create amazing drone content as Peru has it all: mountains, jungle, desert and the sea. More than that, Peru is home to the world famous Machu Picchu, which will be a guarantee for an amazing photo.
Flying your drone in Peru will allow you to view many sites from a different perspective and to get memorable photos and videos.
However, before bringing and using your drone you should consider local drone laws in Peru and also the airport regulations. This short blog post focuses on all you need to know if you plan to take your drone to Peru.
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What are the Local Drone Laws in Peru?
Years ago, it was only possible to import a drone with a special approval of the Peruvian Transport and Communications Ministry. Fortunately, regulations were changed and this does not apply anymore.
In order to get a clear understanding of what the situation is like nowadays, we talked to Peruvian customs on the phone and also via email. Officially, you have to indicate your drone on the customs-form that you are given on your international flight before entering the country.
If you fail to do so and officials will notice that you carry a drone during a random control, according to General Customs Law 1053 (Ley General de Aduanas 1053) you will have to pay a penalty of 50% of the drone’s value.
However, I myself have entered Peru with a used drone (DJ Mavic Air) without having filled out the customs form and nothing happened.
In fact, my drone was in my backpack and I passed the security check without being controlled so I could just walk out.
Drone shot of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas
This isn’t a rare case as I have heard this story from many of our clients as well. In case you have a bigger drone with its own suitcase, you’ll be on the safe side declaring it.
If you have a small drone as I do, you should be fine carrying it in your backpack as they are hardly ever control backpacks. But be aware of the potential penalty, the payment, in case they do check.
Apart from that, you have to go to custom’s office (SUNAT) at the airport to get a declaration of temporary import (declaración de ingreso temporal) for your drone.
This is done via a security deposit payment, which you will be returned when leaving the country. At this point, you will also be given instructions on how to get the payment back.
This security deposit serves as a VAT, in case the drone should stay in the country. The government does this in order to avoid that people import drones cheaper than they are offered here and then sell them on the Peruvian market.
Sounds crazy, and it kind of is, but don’t worry because you will get your money back. Anyway, if you have to pay this security deposit, make sure you get to the airport early on your day of travel so you won’t have any problems.
Traveler at one of our sites during the Sacred Valley tour (Salt mines of Maras).
8 Rules to Follow for Flying Drones in Peru
Apart from the specified distance of 4 km (2.5 miles) to the airport, the other points aren’t official laws but rather rules to follow for flying drones in Peru.
Most of them are intuitive, but it’s always good to review them once in a while. Especially if you are just getting started. Let’s take a closer look:
- Only use your drone during daylight hours and only when the weather conditions are appropriate.
- Do not let your drone fly beyond your line of sight.
- Do not fly your drone where you might disturb animals (especially not without permission).
- Do not use your drone within 4 kilometres (or 2.5 miles) of the airport.
- Do not fly with your drone over large crowds of people.
- Do not fly with your drone at archaeological or religious sites where it is not allowed.
- Do not fly with your drone in military or government areas.
- Respect the privacy of other people when flying your drone.
Some ruins you see on the Inca trail
If you aren’t sure of whether you can fly your drone or not, it’s always best to ask the travel agency or your guide before. Normally, you shouldn’t have a problem flying your drone in most of Peru.
However, there are some spots where flying is prohibited or where you need a special permit.
Where is it Not Allowed to Fly your Drone in Peru?
At some archaeological sites, such as Machu Picchu, it is not allowed to use your drone. In general, it’s always best to ask a person with authority first before flying just so that you are on the safe side.
Recently, more and more communities have become stricter about drones as their animals have been irritated by the flying objects. Due to security reasons, we at Exploor don’t allow drones during group tours, only during private tours.
That’s why many of them, such as the Palccoyo community, either require you to pay for the usage (S/ 50 at Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain or to get their permission before or on-site, such as at the Humantay Lake or the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, respectively.
The good news, however, is that our guides are great photographers that know some off the beaten path spots where you will be able to get amazing pictures without other tourists on it.
View of Cusco’s Sacred Valley from the bird
Using Drones in Cusco
|Site||Is it allowed to fly my drone here?|
|Machu Picchu||Not allowed.|
|Humantay Lake||Only after approval of the local community or getting there early and having some cash to pay a donation to the locals.|
|Alt.Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo||You have to pay S/50 ($15; 13€) to the local community.|
|Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca||You most likely have to pay a small donation to the locals.|
|Sacred Valley||On none of the sites it is not allowed, but there are some spots in Pisac and close to the salt mines of Maras where you can fly.|
Tips and Recommendations
- It’s always best to ask your guide before starting your drone.
- Ask your international airline about drone regulations regarding the transport.
- Avoid flying around military facilities, government buildings, archaeological/religious sites or over private property.
- Make sure to have your permit it on you in case you fly where it is needed.
- Check online for individual experiences and drone laws in Peru.
Puno’s floating Uros Islands from above
As drones are getting more attention on a global scale, it’s very important to be informed about the rules and regulations of the country you want to visit. Also, it’s always recommendable to double check the specific requirements of your airline.
We recommend you check their website or give them a quick call just to make sure that you won’t experience any problems when traveling.
In Peru, the usage of drones is still not as regulated as in the US or in Europe, which makes its usage easier. In case you carry a small drone in your backpack, you most likely don’t need to worry about declaring it and you can just pass through.
However, don’t take my word for granted here…if you do get checked, you will have to get a declaration of temporary import at Peruvian customs.
The general recommendations for flying your drone in Peru are the same as in other countries as well. However, we urge you not to fly at archaeological sites where it is forbidden.
Apart from the drone laws in Peru, we also recommend checking out the current Peru travel restrictions so you know what to expect.
Have you already taken your drone to Peru? Share your experience with us in the comment section below!