Houston couple stuck in Peru due to coronavirus travel restrictions finally make it home

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Ranjana Varghese and Richard Sherwood's journey home from South America sounds like it's straight out of a movie.

"Every step was quite anxiety-riddled," Varghese explained.

The couple was a few days into their trip to Peru when the government ordered non-citizens to be out in less than 24 hours. ABC13 first reported the couple being stranded last week.

Flights were sold out, and they had few options.

They even reached out to Representative Dan Crenshaw for help.

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FULL INTERVIEW: See what a Houston couple did after being asked to leave Peru when the government ordered non-citizens to leave in less than 24 hours

Finally, they found a man who would take them on a private charter from the town of Arequipa to the capital.

"We flew into the Lima airport. There's nobody there," explained Sherwood. "An empty bus comes and picks us up. There's like one lady who confusingly opens the door (and asked) 'Why are you guys here?' Because, there's no, like, no flights allowed. We were like, 'We're here. Let us in.'"

The couple also told the woman they were on a private charter flight, and she said, "Okay."

"When we told them we were from another city in Peru. We walked into the baggage hall, and there were teams of medical professionals," Varghese said.

Despite the trouble, the couple was able to get home. They were able to fly back to the United States Friday night.

They told ABC13 they understand the severity of COVID-19 both here and abroad, and they will gladly abide by local orders.

"We're so happy to be home, it's not hard to be like, 'We're not leaving.'"

Varghese and Sherwood said there are countless more people who are stuck in Peru. Now that they're home, they're sending emails and advocating to officials on those travelers' behalf.

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