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Disposition of Remains
August 4, 2022

The following general information is provided to assist families with their initial decisions following the death of a loved one. Indicated costs are estimates, based on deaths with no unusual circumstances.

  1. Maximum Period before Interment

Under Peruvian law, embalmed remains may remain unburied for as long as necessary.  Unembalmed remains, however, must be interred within 24 hours after death, if the body is to be interred in Peru.

  1. Embalming

Peruvian law specifies that remains are to be embalmed within 48 hours of death.  In practice, however, a much longer period of time may pass before the embalming takes place.  There are several qualified morticians in Lima; fewer in the outlying provinces.  Whether in the capital or outlying areas, embalming falls far below U.S. standards.  Complete arterial replacement of bodily fluids is not practiced; and ‘partial’ or ‘segmented’ embalming is the norm.  It is common for the embalmer to remove the internal organs of the body during the procedure; internal organs must be removed if the body is to be exported from the country.

  1. Cremation

Local law permits cremation.  Remains can be cremated at any of six locations in Lima: the Centro Funerario Villa, the Navy Hospital, the British Cemetery, Jardines de la Paz Cemetery, the Campo Fe Cemetery, and Huachipa Cemetery.  Cremation is possible in Cusco and Iquitos; however the crematorium standards fall below that of Lima, therefore most funeral homes return human remains to Lima for cremation.

  1. Caskets and Containers

When human remains are to be transported out of the country, they are placed in a hermetically sealed metal coffin which is in turn placed in a wooden coffin.  The wooden coffin is placed in a wooden shipping container for shipment by air. The coffins are of good quality, and are suitable for direct burial upon return of remains. 

  1. Exportation of Remains
  • Embalming the remains.
  • Placement of the remains in appropriate caskets and containers, as described in paragraph ‘4’.
  • Authorization from local civil authorities (the Fiscal).
  • Authorization of the Doctor who performed the autopsy.
  • A transit permit from the Peruvian Ministry of Health.
  • Authorization of the International Health Office in Callao.
  • Authorization of Customs and the Peruvian Airport Corporation.
  • Authorization of the Airline (air waybill airline)
  • Copy of the Peruvian Death Certificate
  • Necropsy and Inhumation certificate
  1. Costs (all the amounts listed are in U.S. dollars)

Cost for mortuary services and funerals in Peru are comparatively expensive, and in many cases substantially higher than the equivalent services in the United States.  Despite the high costs, services and available facilities generally fall far below U.S. standards.

Approximate Prices (without freight):

Local burial without embalming$1,900.00
Local burial with embalming$2,400.00
Preparation for shipment (Lima)

Preparation for shipment (Province to Lima)

Local cremation$2,500.00
Cremation for shipment$3,500.00

Air freight to Lima: Additional transportation expenses will be incurred for deaths outside Lima for transportation of remains to the capital.  Air freight charges to Lima from Arequipa and Iquitos are approximately $400.00.  Air freight to Lima from Cusco is $400.00.

International Air freight: Average weight of caskets and containers required for export is 220 kgs (including body and packing materials).   If the weight is more than 220 kgs, the airline will charge extra per kilo.

Below are the approximate prices for air shipment from Lima to various points in the U.S.:

Human Remains Surcharge:

Destination/DestinoHuman Remains/Restos humanosAshes/CenizasPersonal Effects/Artículos personales
New York$2,430.00$1,280.00$495.00
Los Angeles$2,630.00$1,280.00$495.00
Houston, TX$2,730.00$1,380.00$495.00

Total Cost:

The following are the preparation and freight charges for the shipment of the remains from Lima to various cities in the United States: Handling cost: $94.40.

  1. Exhumation and Shipment

Exhumation is permitted no sooner than 2 years after the burial if the body has not been embalmed.  If the body has been embalmed, exhumation is permitted at any time.  Authorization from the Lima Welfare Office is required for exhumation of remains. Cost involved with exhumation would include the opening of the grave, funeral home costs for removing the exhumed remains from the cemetery, and the cost of transporting the remains to the U.S.  Exhumation for the purposes of cremation or repatriation may be limited in cases where a criminal investigation is under way.

  1. Autopsies

Autopsies are routinely required for all deaths that occur outside of a hospital environment.

  1. Local customs regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, and Memorial Services

Local customs and procedures are similar to those found in the United States.