Confirmed and under construction, our first series of big box retailers is coming to Pucallpa.
A visit to the San Francisco Native Community...
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We have received several thousand views of our post on sending and receiving packages to Peru, link HERE. It has also generated a lot of comments. It has been a very constructive dialog and helps me to better understand issues people are facing when receiving mail in Peru.
I have been planning this post for some time, but I needed to wait for a test package to arrive to further investigate and verify a few items in the post. Recently, I have had two very different experiences with aduanas, the Peruvian Customs agency. Some background: Aduanas is a division of SUNAT (think of a draconian tax collection agency modeled after the IRS in the States) is actually responsible for about 90% of issues with packages being sent into Peru. There are many reasons for this, but first and foremost, their job is to collect duties (taxes) on imported goods. If you look at countries that comprise Latin America, you will notice those that have the lowest or no taxes, make up for it by charging import duties on just about every item brought into the country. Fortunately, Peru is not that bad. You just need to follow some common sense guidelines to avoid most potential issues.
This information is only for packages sent using your home country’s national mail system to Peru.
First, a clarification. SERPOST and ADUANAS are not the same thing. They are two completely separate government agencies. SERPOST just sends and receives packages. ADUANAS/SUNAT is responsible for most of your packages being delayed and potentially taxed. All packages arrive in Lima in Callao, through ADUANAS and are then routed along to their destinations by SERPOST after they have cleared customs.
Link to SERPOST
Link to SUNAT/ADUANAS
Potential Red Flags
My package got flagged
What happens? You will receive a notice from SERPOST that you have a package being held for you. They will list the location and time the inspector is available to see you. In Pucallpa, they see 8 people per day between 8am and about noon, Monday and Thursday ONLY. If you owe tax, you can pay at some SERPOST offices or in Pucallpa, at the ADUANAS office.
Avoiding the less optimal outcome:
Handling the less optimal outcome: These people are human. They have a job to do, don’t hate them for it. In customer service, just like life, you usually get a lot further, a lot faster if you are polite. So, your package needs some extra attention, big deal, it happens! They are going to ask you what is in the package, what is it used for, is it a medication, how much did it cost, where is your receipt, they may ask you to demonstrate how something works, etc. They may say we just wanted to confirm what was in the package and send you on your way (OR) they may tell you to jump through several hoops to finally receive your package. Ask what your next steps are and collect whatever forms are provided to you. Most offices do not have English speakers, so you might need to speak Spanish or have someone that can translate for you.
Recent less than spectacular experience: A few months ago a friend sent a package to us. It contained supplements, vitamins and a bunch of other stuff. It was just supposed to be a few items, but ended up being about 15 pounds worth of randomness. Guess what happened… I got the dreaded notice from my mailman. What could have been a huge hassle turned out to be relatively minor. The ADUANAS inspector was not super helpful at first, gave us some forms to fill out and told us to bring them back. We went back a few weeks later because I had a second package. A different inspector was working, they rotate between the airport, port and post office. He was really helpful and told us to come back in the afternoon for the damage (taxes). It turned out we had to pay about 400 soles total, but we got our packages. The outcome could have been much different, technically they could have made me go to Lima, get a certificate for my vitamins and prescription for them too. At no time in the process were bribes solicited or offered.
Recent spectacular experience: On March 17th I ordered something online from the UK called Sugru, a silicone based fix stuff material. It shipped on the 18th and arrived on April 1st. I paid a whopping US$3.00 for shipping! The total value as you can see in the photos was about US$30. So, I am under $100 bucks, my package is the size of a paperback book, and it weighs in at a whopping 0.08kg. April 1, 2013, the mailman rode up to my house on his motorcycle and delivered the package you see in the photo. A friend also had 2 bottles of vitamins and a separate package arrive during the same time period. Both were delivered right to his house. No hassles, no issues.
Will this really help me? I sure hope so! So far, the comments support our experiences. Placing your trust in a process you know nothing about is never a good thing.
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UPDATE FOR 2013
About access to products… In the past, this was a major issue. Now, I can find most things that we would buy in Lima for less. There are some lesser know markets in Pucallpa that carry a great assortment of products. About the only item I can’t find here is an oven thermometer, of all things.
The absolute highlight for 2013? So far, it is the digital revolution here. We have true broadband for about 30% less than the old Movistar Speedy Plans. No more 200/400/600kbs, we now have 2, 4 and 6mbps! We can take online classes, teach them, enjoy better access to information. Also, in spite of a few major outages related to sabotage, service has been incredibly stable. I would rate the service and reliability at 4/5 stars.
Want more information or have something to share? Feel free to email us at [email protected]
Great news! The embassy will be here next week, on Thursday the 21st of March. You need to pre-register for services: Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 20 to [email protected] with your full name, date of birth, current passport number, and the type of service desired. They only visit about once every 18 months, so make sure you make an appointment if you need their assistance and can’t travel to Lima.
Time: 11:00 am and 1:30 pm only
Location: Av. Centenario #1679, Pucallpa.
The location is very easy to find. The following services will be offered on site:
Please follow the instructions on the above links and bring your completed application and required documents.
Link to original announcement: