Posted by: Ali | November 21, 2009

Mail in Peru

As I am used to living in Canada, where the mail system is fast, reliable, and organized, I am constantly amazed by how weird the Peruvian mail system is.  Let’s say there are two halves: sending and receiving, both with their own eccentricities.

Sending mail is an adventure.  I obviously don’t know all the details, but I have mailed a few things to Canada, including a few boxes, a few envelopes and several post cards.  The first time I went I was amused that I had to fill out three different forms, including a customs declaration.  I also had to provide a photocopy of my passport which then then stapled to the customs declaration and taped to the package, but my favourite part was that I had to provide a fingerprint.  It ran around S/. 100, for about 700 grams.  I mailed a few of these and the price varied between 80-120 soles for approximately the same size and/or weight.  Then one week I mailed something to Canada and it cost S/. 25 and they didn’t ask me for a finger print, customs declaration, or copy of my passport.  I figured at the time that every time before that I had gone to the very same teller who started to recognize me at the post office, and the last time I went to a different teller, but turns out that if your package is under 0.5 kg it only costs S/. 25.  So you can mail two packages for S/. 50 instead of one package for S/. 100.

Receiving mail is also fun!  Usually when the mail arrives someone at the house has to sign for it (even if it’s just a bank statement), and provide an identification number, which for foreigners is a passport number.  Then they give you the present and they leave.  But sometimes they give you a carbon copy of the sheet that you signed, in case you want to frame it and put it on your wall.  If there’s no one there to sign for it, sometimes they slip it under the door, sometimes they try to deliver it again the next day, and sometimes they ship it to the post office where you have to go collect it.  The mailman also comes multiple times per day, usually with different mailmen.  For example, the bank statements apparently have their own courier company.  I assumed that the policy with heavy packages was that they sent them directly to the post office, as was the case when my dad sent me a package last week.  The mailman came to my door, had me sign for my mail, then handed me a slip that was apparently a claim ticket.

But I had a new experience today!  I got a package from my mom when I happened to be still in bed this morning.  Maria, the housekeeper, came to my room and asked me for my passport number, so I wrapped myself in a blanket and went to the door and started rattling off my number, when the guy shook his head and said he needed to see my actual passport or a copy of it.  I was confused, and went to get a copy of my passport.  I assumed he was going to keep the copy, but he just copied down the number I told him and handed the photocopy back to me.  He had me sign and gave me about three different forms that I got to keep.  Then he gave me my package and told me that if I wanted to give him a tip that would be okay.

So thank you mommy for the presents and the adventure surrounding it.  (Yes, it got here in time for Christmas)  Within the package were such wonderful various things as more tea, Halloween candy, socks, and a whole pile of books.  Sweet!


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  3. […] passport number, so I wrapped myself in a blanket and went to the … Here is the original:  Mail in Peru « Adventures in Peruvia Share and […]

  4. I’m glad it arrived and I’m glad it made you happy! That took about 2 weeks. Do you get mail delivery on Saturdays?


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