If you have ever Googled how to get a yellow fever shot in Peru, or even Lima specifically, you know how much information (helpful and not-so-helpful) is out there. While doing the research ourselves, we came across so many TripAdvisor threads and web pages declaring THIS is how you get the shot. Well let me tell you, it seems most of those are actually wrong.
In our personal experience, we found it was NOT actually at the main airport in Lima, and is now no longer at the Hospital Nacional Arzobispo Loayza near downtown Lima either (a thread had said it was, but six years ago...). So while the internet is full of misinformation on the subject, let us tell you how we ended up getting the vaccine, in about ten minutes no less,
and for FREE!
We originally planned on going to the airport in Lima to get the shot since we had to head over there to pick up our friend anyway. We had read a lot of information explaining that you could just walk into the airport and go to the small hospital inside the international terminal and grab it. Luke, being the smart guy he is, decided to call the airport hospital just to make sure this was still the case. And lucky he did, because they told us we could NOT actually get it there anymore. We don't know when this changed, but according to a woman working there they no longer administered the vaccine.
So we instead headed over to Hospital Nacional Arzobispo Loayza, another spot commonly mentioned as a place to receive the vaccine. After walking around the beautiful and historical gray stone buildings, which reminded us both strongly of the movie “Shutter Island”, looking for any sign of people administering vaccines. We finally found a nurse who spoke okay English and who pointed us to Building 7. Which ended up being… the maternity ward, not exactly what we were looking for.
At first we thought it was some misunderstanding (it wouldn't be the first time someone asked if we had a child or I was pregnant). But after looking around some more, we found that on the second floor they do administer vaccines, but just for children and newborns.
But because we were not under a year old (or something to that degree) we couldn't actually get the yellow fever vaccine there. Which was a real bummer. But, they did give us a list of hospitals that we could go to that would have it as well as their times of operation (score). The one the very helpful nurse recommended was Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia, about two miles north of Hospital Loayza.
Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia, though farther away from the city center than Hospital Loayza, is still quite easy to get to. You simply hop on the Metropolitano Bus and take it up to Estacion Honorio Delgado (you can take route B, D, and 5 - we took D). Once off the bus you walk right across Avenue Tupac Amaru until you see an older, but still legible sign, for Cayetano Heredia. The street you are looking for Honorio Delgado Street (like the stop name). Take this all the way until you see a big yellow building on your right (there will be a big gate to walkthrough). From there all you have to do is walk straight towards a small building right past the gate, where there will be a small window with someone waiting to check you in
Once at the window, you just have to tell them you want, "vacuna contra la fiebre amarilla". Then they will ask for your passport, name, and age. Once the paperwork is all filled out, you will receive a booklet with all the necessary information - take that and walk through the door to be checked in by a nurse. After a quick wipe on the arm with a cleansing towel she will administer the yellow fever vaccine. We had expected the shot to be quite painful, especially since the nurse mentioned in passing that it would be… but it honestly felt like the normal flu shot (though our arms did ache for about 15 minutes after, but that also went away fairly quickly).
Both of us were in and out in about ten minutes, with our handy dandy books proving we had gotten the shot in hand. But the best part was not the quickness, but the fact that the shot was completely FREE! This was such a great bonus since we had considered getting the shot in the US before heading down to Peru, but it would have cost us over $240 each.
Overall, the whole ordeal was actually pretty easy. While the run around between the different hospitals was kind of annoying, everyone we talked to was super helpful and in the end the shot itself was super fast. Plus, it cost us nothing and allowed us to get into Ecuador and feel safe exploring the jungle regions of Peru.
So if you are looking to get the yellow fever vaccine yourself, simply head over to Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia and get yours today.