Peru: Missing Calif. Couple Alive, Having a Blast
Pair in 'remote, paradise-like' Amazon region
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2013 1:55 AM CST
Updated Feb 27, 2013 6:24 AM CST
The couple are seen in this photo from Facebook, which they stopped updating in late January.   (Facebook)

(Newser) – A young American couple reported missing in Peru are alive and having the time of their lives, according to Peruvian authorities. The country's tourism minister says Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand are currently on a small boat heading up a jungle river in a "remote, paradise-like region," and are unaware that their failure to contact their families—or post on Facebook—since late January has caused such a commotion, CNN reports. The couple are on a four-month cycling trip through South America and authorities say they have spent the last few weeks in remote areas with poor communication links.

"These two young people have fallen in love with Peru," the tourism minister says. "They have visited off-the-beaten-path places and it seems like they're having a blast—so much so that they have forgotten to communicate with their families." But Hand's mother says she won't celebrate until she has proof of life—"my son's voice on the phone and a picture of him holding the missing poster." The minister says a small plane will be sent to take video of the couple and prove that they're safe and sound.