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Group stuck in Peru returns to U.S. 

  • Smith College alumnae were part of a tourist group stuck in Peru amid the South American country’s COVID-19 lockdown. Submitted Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 3/30/2020 1:57:55 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A group of Smith College and Dartmouth College alumni, parents and friends who had been stuck at a hotel in Lima, Peru for several days earlier this month have returned safely to the United States.

After not getting a response from the U.S. embassy, and with no flights being scheduled by U.S. government officials, the group was among 300 Americans stranded in the port city as a COVID-19 lockdown was implemented by the Peruvian government.

But Smith and Dartmouth officials, working with Gohagan Travel, the agency that arranged the trip, and representatives from Lima Tours, were able to get a charter flight to Miami on March 21.

On March 22, connecting flights were arranged for all the tourists, including Donald Joralemon, emeritus professor of anthropology at Smith, who said Monday that he and his wife were able to make it back to Northampton last week.

“We were all very grateful to Smith, Dartmouth and Gohagan Travel for getting us home,” Joralemon said.

The group was part of a tour visiting sites in the country, including Machu Picchu. When the lockdown began, the tourists scrambled to get to Lima so they could depart immediately, but were unable to get a flight at the time. It led to nearly a week in quarantine in the hotel.

With an Airbus Leman larger than what was needed for the group of about 32, Joralemon said other Americans stranded in Lima were also able to board the same flight to get back to the United States.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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