Beach family repatriated after being stranded in Peru


Photo provided by Nick Beach

Senior Nick Beach and Sally Beach, mother, fish piranhas in Iquitos, Peru. “Instead of doing it and having fun, in the back of your mind you’re always thinking of what’s next, what are we gonna do?” Nick said regarding his four-day stay in the Peruvian Amazon.

Abigail Slimmon and Berk Oto

Lush forests, gourmet meals, pink dolphins and piranha fishing. What was not to love for U-High senior Nick Beach and his mother, Sally, during their spring break trip to Peru? That is, until President Martín Vizcarra banned international travel, turning their treehouse fantasy into a treehouse prison. 

Now, Ms. Beach and Nick are self-quarantining in their Old Town neighborhood home after being stuck in Iquitos, Peru, due to severe travel restrictions which began March 13, just as the Beaches began their trip.

In order to return home, the Beaches registered with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to alert the Federal government on their location. Fortunately for them, the U.S. embassy in Peru was actively trying to repatriate thousands of Americans still stuck in the country. Over 40 of them were in a Facebook group with the Beaches, keeping each other updated whenever they had access to the Internet — which was scarce.

“We were in Iquitos, which is a smaller city only accessible by plane. So once we got back to the city, we were in contact with a Facebook group, where everything was being organized,” Nick said in an interview with the Midway. “The U.S. was working on getting flights to Lima, but we couldn’t get to Lima by car or anything, we were stuck in the city we were at.”

The Beaches attempted to continue their vacation in the Peruvian Amazon as planned while waiting for transport out of Peru.

“Instead of doing it and having fun, in the back of your mind you’re always thinking of what’s next, what are we gonna do?” Nick said. “I was very logical about it. What we need is food, water and a place to stay. Let’s just go wherever we have the best chance of having that.” 

In order to extract them from their remote jungle city the State Department pulled off what Nick could almost characterize as a miracle.

On March 26, 100 U.S. citizens were repatriated from Iquitos, according to the website for the U.S. embassy in Peru.

“We didn’t go through Lima. The U.S. brought a flight to Iquitos and flew us straight to Miami, which was very rare,” Nick said. “Me and my mom were definitely part of the first half of people that got out. We were pretty lucky.”