Living as an Expat in Peru

1. What are the best cities for expats to live in Peru?

1. The best cities for expats to live in Peru largely depend on individual preferences and priorities. However, some cities are consistently recommended for their expat-friendly environment, amenities, and quality of life. Lima, as the capital city, offers a vibrant expat community, international schools, modern infrastructure, and various job opportunities. Cusco is another popular choice, known for its rich cultural heritage, proximity to the famous Machu Picchu, and picturesque setting in the Andes Mountains. Arequipa is praised for its pleasant climate, colonial architecture, and affordable cost of living. Trujillo is favored for its beautiful beaches, historical sites, and welcoming local population. Additionally, cities like Arequipa and Piura are attracting more expats due to their growing economy and emerging opportunities. Ultimately, the best city for expats to live in Peru will depend on their lifestyle preferences, budget, and career prospects.

2. How difficult is it to find accommodation as an expat in Peru?

Finding accommodation as an expat in Peru can vary in difficulty depending on the city and neighborhood you are looking to live in. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Housing Options: Peru offers a variety of housing options for expats, including apartments, houses, and serviced apartments. In cities like Lima and Cusco, there are expat-friendly neighborhoods with a good selection of rental properties.

2. Language Barrier: One of the challenges expats may face is the language barrier, as many landlords and real estate agents primarily speak Spanish. It may be helpful to have a local contact or hire a bilingual real estate agent to assist with the search.

3. Rental Market: The rental market in Peru can be competitive in popular expat areas, so it’s important to start the search early and be prepared to act quickly when you find a suitable property.

4. Legal Requirements: Expats may need to provide proof of income, a copy of their passport, and sometimes a local guarantor to secure a rental property in Peru. It’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and have all necessary documents ready.

Overall, while finding accommodation as an expat in Peru may have its challenges, with careful planning and research, it is certainly possible to find a suitable place to live in this diverse and welcoming country.

3. What is the cost of living like for expats in Peru?

The cost of living for expats in Peru can vary depending on the city they choose to reside in and their lifestyle choices. Generally speaking, Peru is considered to be an affordable country for expats compared to many other countries in the Western world. Some key expenses to consider include housing, healthcare, groceries, transportation, and entertainment.

1. Housing: Renting an apartment in a major city like Lima can range from around $500 to $1,500 per month, depending on the location and size of the property.

2. Healthcare: Expats in Peru have the option to use the public healthcare system, which is generally affordable, or opt for private health insurance for more comprehensive coverage. Private health insurance can cost around $50 to $150 per month.

3. Groceries: The cost of groceries in Peru can be relatively low, especially if you buy local produce and shop at markets. A monthly grocery bill for a couple can range from $150 to $300, depending on eating habits and dietary preferences.

4. Transportation: Public transportation in Peru is affordable, with bus fares typically costing less than $1. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also relatively inexpensive compared to many other countries.

5. Entertainment: Going out to eat at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $20 per person, while a basic dinner can be as low as $5. Movie tickets are around $5 to $10, depending on the cinema.

Overall, expats in Peru can enjoy a comfortable standard of living without breaking the bank, making it an attractive destination for those looking to live abroad on a budget.

4. Is it necessary to speak Spanish to live comfortably as an expat in Peru?

Speaking Spanish is highly recommended if you want to live comfortably as an expat in Peru. Here’s why:

1. Communication: The official language of Peru is Spanish, and while many Peruvians in urban areas may speak some English, the majority of the population only speaks Spanish. Being able to communicate effectively in Spanish will make daily tasks such as grocery shopping, dealing with paperwork, and interacting with locals much easier.

2. Cultural Integration: Speaking Spanish will also help you integrate better into the local culture. It shows respect for the country and its people, and will allow you to build stronger relationships with Peruvians.

3. Employment Opportunities: If you plan on working in Peru, speaking Spanish is almost always a requirement. While there are some job opportunities for English speakers in certain industries, having fluency in Spanish will significantly expand your options and make you a more competitive candidate.

4. Navigating Daily Life: From ordering food at a restaurant to asking for directions, having a good grasp of Spanish will make your day-to-day life as an expat much smoother. It will also help you avoid misunderstandings and navigate any challenges that may arise more effectively.

In conclusion, while it may be possible to get by as an expat in Peru without speaking Spanish, doing so will greatly enhance your experience and quality of life in the country.

5. What are the healthcare options like for expats in Peru?

Healthcare options for expats in Peru can vary depending on individual needs and preferences. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Public Healthcare System: Peru has a public healthcare system that provides services to residents, including expats. However, the quality of care in public hospitals and clinics may not always meet international standards, and wait times can be long.

2. Private Healthcare: Many expats in Peru opt for private healthcare services, which typically provide higher standards of care, shorter wait times, and more English-speaking staff. Private healthcare facilities are available in major cities like Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco, offering a range of medical specialties.

3. Health Insurance: It is highly recommended for expats living in Peru to invest in a comprehensive health insurance plan to cover medical expenses. Many international insurance providers offer plans specifically tailored to expats in Peru, providing coverage for routine care, emergencies, and repatriation if needed.

4. Medical Evacuation Services: In the event of a serious medical emergency, expats may consider subscribing to a medical evacuation service that can transport them to a facility with advanced medical care, either within Peru or to their home country.

5. Overall, expats in Peru have access to a mix of public and private healthcare options, and it’s essential to research and choose a healthcare provider and insurance plan that best suits your needs and budget. Additionally, maintaining good health practices, staying up to date with vaccinations, and seeking medical advice when needed can help expats stay healthy and safe while living in Peru.

6. How easy is it to find work as an expat in Peru?

Finding work as an expat in Peru can be both challenging and rewarding. The job market in Peru is competitive, and many positions may require fluency in Spanish. However, there are opportunities available for expats, particularly in industries such as tourism, hospitality, teaching English, technology, and mining. Networking is crucial in Peru, so joining expat groups or professional organizations can help in making connections. Additionally, having a work visa is important when seeking employment in Peru as an expat. It is recommended to research the job market, understand visa requirements, and be prepared to adapt to the local work culture in order to increase your chances of finding work in Peru as an expat.

7. Are there any specific visa requirements for expats living in Peru?

Yes, there are specific visa requirements for expats living in Peru. The type of visa you will need depends on the purpose of your stay in the country. Here are some common visa options for expats in Peru:

1. Tourist Visa: This visa allows expats to stay in Peru for up to 183 days (non-extendable) for tourism and other non-work related activities.

2. Temporary Resident Visa: This visa is suitable for expats planning to stay in Peru for an extended period for reasons such as work, study, or family reunification. It is typically valid for one year and can be renewed annually.

3. Work Visa: Expats planning to work in Peru will need a work visa sponsored by a local employer. The requirements for this visa may vary depending on the type of work and the applicant’s qualifications.

4. Permanent Resident Visa: After living in Peru for a certain period of time on a temporary resident visa, expats may become eligible for a permanent resident visa, granting them the right to live and work in the country indefinitely.

It is important to consult with the Peruvian consular services or an immigration lawyer to determine the specific visa requirements based on your individual circumstances and intended length of stay in Peru.

8. What are the best ways for expats to meet other expats or locals in Peru?

There are several effective ways for expats to meet other expats or locals in Peru:

1. Expat Community Events: Many cities in Peru, such as Lima and Cusco, have active expat communities that regularly organize social events, networking gatherings, and cultural activities. Attending these events can be a great way to meet like-minded individuals and expand your social circle.

2. Language Exchange Meetups: Language exchange meetups are popular in Peru, especially in bigger cities. These events provide an opportunity for expats to practice their Spanish or local language skills while also meeting locals who are looking to improve their English or another language.

3. Join Clubs or Groups: Joining clubs or interest groups related to hobbies, sports, or cultural activities can be a fantastic way to connect with both expats and locals who share similar interests. Whether it’s hiking, cooking, photography, or book clubs, there are plenty of options to choose from in Peru.

4. Volunteering: Volunteering for a local organization or charity not only allows expats to give back to the community but also provides an excellent opportunity to meet locals and other expats who are passionate about making a difference.

5. Social Media and Online Forums: Social media platforms and online expat forums can be valuable resources for connecting with other expats in Peru. Joining relevant groups or following expat pages can help you stay informed about upcoming events and meetups in your area.

By actively engaging in these different avenues, expats in Peru can successfully build a strong social network and create meaningful connections with both fellow expats and locals.

9. How safe is it for expats to live in Peru?

Living as an expat in Peru can be a rewarding experience, but safety concerns are something that should be taken seriously. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Overall, Peru is considered relatively safe for expats, particularly in popular expat locations such as Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa. However, like in any country, it is important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.

2. Crime rates tend to be higher in larger cities, so it’s advisable to take precautions such as avoiding displaying expensive items, using reputable transportation services, and being mindful of your personal belongings in crowded areas.

3. While petty theft and scams targeting tourists can occur, violent crime against expats is relatively rare. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about the current safety situation and to follow local safety recommendations.

4. Hiring the services of a local guide or using trusted resources can be valuable in navigating unfamiliar areas and minimizing potential risks.

In conclusion, while Peru is generally a safe place for expats to live, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks, especially in larger cities. By staying informed, taking necessary precautions, and embracing the local culture responsibly, expats can enjoy a fulfilling and safe experience in Peru.

10. How is the education system in Peru for expats with children?

The education system in Peru for expats with children can vary depending on the region and the specific school chosen. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Public Schools: Public schools in Peru are generally attended by local children and may not always be the best option for expat children due to language barriers and differences in curriculum.

2. Private Schools: Many expat families choose to enroll their children in private international schools in Peru. These schools usually offer a bilingual education, English-speaking teachers, and an international curriculum that may be more aligned with what expat children are used to in their home countries.

3. Accreditation: It is important to check if the school is accredited by international organizations or follows recognized educational standards to ensure that the quality of education is up to par.

4. Extracurricular Activities: Many international schools in Peru offer a variety of extracurricular activities such as sports, arts, and music programs, which can enrich the overall educational experience for expat children.

5. Support for Expats: Some international schools may also provide support services for expat families, such as orientation programs, counseling services, and assistance with transitioning to life in Peru.

Overall, expat families in Peru have options when it comes to choosing the right education system for their children, with private international schools often being the preferred choice due to their focus on providing a well-rounded and culturally diverse educational experience.

11. What are some common cultural challenges expats face in Peru?

1. Language Barrier: One of the common cultural challenges expats face in Peru is the language barrier. While many Peruvians in urban areas may speak some English, the primary language spoken is Spanish. Expats may find it challenging to communicate effectively in their daily interactions, especially in rural areas where English proficiency is lower.

2. Different Cultural Norms: Peru has a rich cultural heritage with unique customs and traditions. Expats may experience cultural differences in social etiquette, greetings, and ways of expressing emotions. Understanding and adapting to these cultural norms can be a challenge for expats adjusting to life in Peru.

3. Hierarchical Society: Peruvian society tends to be hierarchical, with a strong emphasis on respect for authority and seniority. Expats may find it challenging to navigate this hierarchical structure, especially in professional settings where hierarchy plays a significant role in decision-making and communication.

4. Punctuality: In Peru, punctuality is often more relaxed compared to some Western cultures. Expats may find it challenging to adjust to the concept of “Peruvian time”, where appointments and meetings may start later than scheduled. This difference in attitudes towards time can lead to misunderstandings and frustration for expats.

5. Family and Social Expectations: Family plays a central role in Peruvian society, and social relationships are highly valued. Expats may find it challenging to navigate the expectations around family obligations and social gatherings, as well as the emphasis on maintaining strong interpersonal relationships.

Overall, while living in Peru can be a rewarding experience, expats may encounter cultural challenges that require patience, openness, and a willingness to learn and adapt to the local customs and way of life.

12. How is the transportation system in Peru for expats?

1. The transportation system in Peru can vary significantly depending on the city or region where the expat is located. In major cities like Lima, there are various transportation options available, including buses, taxis, and the Metropolitano bus rapid transit system. However, traffic congestion can be a major issue in cities like Lima, which can result in longer commute times for expats.

2. Expats may also find that mototaxis, small three-wheeled vehicles, are commonly used for short distances in certain areas. While convenient, mototaxis can be less safe than traditional taxis or rideshare services.

3. In some regions of Peru, such as Cusco or Arequipa, transportation options may be more limited, with taxis being the primary mode of getting around. Expats should be cautious when taking taxis and only use licensed taxis or reputable rideshare services to ensure their safety.

4. Overall, while the transportation system in Peru can be a bit challenging for expats due to traffic congestion and varying levels of safety, with some careful planning and awareness of the local transportation options, expats can navigate the system effectively and get around the country with relative ease.

13. What are some of the best activities or excursions for expats to do in Peru?

1. Machu Picchu: A visit to the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is a must-do activity for expats in Peru. This iconic archaeological site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains.

2. Explore the Amazon Rainforest: Peru is home to a portion of the Amazon Rainforest, which provides a unique opportunity for expats to get up close and personal with diverse wildlife and lush vegetation. There are various eco-lodges and guided tours available for exploring the Amazon.

3. Visit Cusco and the Sacred Valley: Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, is a charming city with well-preserved colonial architecture and a rich cultural heritage. The nearby Sacred Valley is also worth exploring for its Incan ruins, traditional markets, and beautiful landscapes.

4. Sandboarding in Huacachina: Huacachina is a desert oasis located near the town of Ica, where expats can try their hand at sandboarding on the towering sand dunes. It’s a thrilling and unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.

5. Take a culinary tour in Lima: Peru is famous for its delicious and diverse cuisine, and expats can explore the food scene in the capital city of Lima through culinary tours and cooking classes. Be sure to try Peruvian specialties like ceviche, Lomo Saltado, and causa.

6. Paragliding in Miraflores: For the adventurous expats, paragliding off the cliffs of Miraflores in Lima offers a bird’s eye view of the city and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a memorable experience that provides a unique perspective on the coastal landscape.

7. Trekking in the Andes: Peru is home to the stunning Andes Mountain range, offering plenty of opportunities for trekking and hiking. Popular treks include the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Huayhuash Circuit, and the Ausangate Trek.

8. Visit the Uros Floating Islands: Located on Lake Titicaca, the Uros Floating Islands are a unique attraction where the indigenous Uros people live on man-made islands constructed from totora reeds. Expats can visit the islands, learn about traditional ways of life, and even take a boat ride in a reed boat.

9. Surfing in Mancora: Mancora is a beach town located in northern Peru known for its great surf conditions. Expats can take surf lessons, rent a board, and enjoy the laid-back beach vibe of this popular destination.

10. Wine tasting in Ica: Peru may not be as well-known for its wine as its South American neighbor, Argentina, but the region of Ica produces some excellent wines. Expats can visit vineyards and wineries in Ica to sample local varieties and learn about the winemaking process.

Overall, Peru offers a wide range of activities and excursions for expats to enjoy, from exploring ancient ruins to indulging in delicious cuisine and adrenaline-pumping adventures. Each of these experiences contributes to a rich and immersive cultural experience in this diverse and captivating country.

14. How is the internet and phone service in Peru for expats?

1. Internet and phone service in Peru for expats can vary depending on the area they are living in. In general, major cities like Lima and Arequipa have good internet and phone service coverage with fast connection speeds. However, more rural or remote areas may have limited options and slower internet speeds.

2. The main internet service providers in Peru include Movistar, Claro, and Entel, which offer a variety of packages to choose from based on speed and data requirements. Expats can easily get a residential internet plan by signing up online or visiting a local office.

3. In terms of phone service, Peru has good coverage nationwide, with multiple mobile operators offering prepaid and postpaid plans with competitive prices. Expats can easily get a local SIM card to use in their unlocked phones, allowing them to make calls and use data without incurring high roaming charges.

4. Overall, expats living in Peru should not have major issues with internet and phone service in urban areas, but they may need to do some additional research and possibly invest in a good data plan if living in more remote locations. It is always recommended to read reviews and ask other expats for recommendations to find the best service providers that suit their needs.

15. What are some common etiquette tips for expats living in Peru?

Adapting to the cultural etiquette in Peru is essential for expats living in the country. Some common etiquette tips include:

1. Greetings: In Peru, greetings are important. It is customary to greet people with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek. Greet the most senior person first in a group.

2. Personal Space: Peruvians tend to be more physically affectionate and may stand closer than what you’re accustomed to. Respect personal space but also be prepared for a more intimate interaction.

3. Politeness: Politeness is highly valued in Peruvian culture. Use “Por favor” (please) and “Gracias” (thank you) frequently in your interactions.

4. Punctuality: While Peruvian time might be more flexible, try to be punctual for appointments and meetings, especially in professional settings.

5. Dining Etiquette: When dining with Peruvians, wait until the host invites you to start eating. It is polite to try a bit of everything served.

6. Communication Style: Peruvians tend to use indirect communication styles. They may avoid saying no directly to avoid conflict, so pay attention to non-verbal cues.

7. Dress Code: Dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites or attending formal events.

By following these etiquette tips, expats can navigate social interactions with more ease and show respect towards Peruvian culture.

16. Are there any specific banking or financial considerations for expats in Peru?

1. As an expat living in Peru, there are several banking and financial considerations that you should keep in mind to manage your finances effectively. Firstly, it is essential to open a local bank account in Peru to facilitate your day-to-day transactions and avoid high fees associated with using international accounts.

2. When choosing a bank in Peru, consider factors such as ease of access to ATMs and branches, online banking services, and customer support in English if you are not fluent in Spanish. Some popular banks in Peru for expats include BBVA Continental, Scotiabank, and Interbank.

3. It is also important to be aware of the currency exchange rates and potential fees associated with transferring money between your home country and Peru. Using reputable money transfer services or online platforms can help you save on fees and secure competitive exchange rates.

4. Additionally, expats in Peru should familiarize themselves with the local tax regulations and requirements, especially if you have income from multiple sources or overseas investments. It is advisable to seek professional advice from a tax consultant or financial advisor to ensure compliance with Peruvian tax laws.

5. Finally, consider setting up an emergency fund or savings account in Peru to cover unforeseen expenses and emergencies. By planning ahead and staying informed about the local banking system, expats can navigate the financial landscape in Peru with confidence and ease.

17. How is the food and cuisine in Peru for expats?

Peru is renowned for its diverse and delicious cuisine, making it a paradise for expats with a love for food. As an expat living in Peru, you will have the opportunity to indulge in a wide array of flavorful dishes that reflect the country’s rich culinary heritage. From ceviche, a popular dish made of fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices and garnished with onions and spices, to lomo saltado, a savory stir-fry combining beef, onions, tomatoes, and fries, there is something to satisfy every palate. Additionally, expats will have the chance to explore a variety of local markets, street food vendors, and upscale restaurants that showcase the best of Peruvian gastronomy. The fusion of indigenous flavors with Spanish, African, Chinese, and Japanese influences creates a unique dining experience that is sure to delight the adventurous expat foodie.

18. What are some useful resources or websites for expats living in Peru?

1. Expat Peru ( This website is a valuable resource for expats living in Peru, providing information on various aspects of expat life including housing, visas, healthcare, and cultural adaptation.

2. GringoTree ( GringoTree is a popular online platform for expats in Peru, offering classifieds, events listings, and forums where expats can connect with each other and share information.

3. Expat Focus ( Expat Focus is a comprehensive website that offers advice and resources for expats living in Peru, covering topics such as visas, healthcare, education, and finance.

4. Meetup ( Expats in Peru can use Meetup to find and join groups and events tailored to their interests, as well as meet fellow expats living in the country.

5. InterNations ( InterNations is a global network for expatriates, with a dedicated community in Peru offering resources, forums, and events for expats to connect and network.

6. Local expat Facebook groups: Many cities and regions in Peru have local expat Facebook groups where expats share information, ask for advice, and organize meet-ups and events. Joining these groups can be a great way to connect with the expat community in Peru.

19. What are the best ways to stay healthy and fit as an expat in Peru?

Staying healthy and fit as an expat in Peru is essential for overall well-being in a new environment. Here are some of the best ways to maintain your health and fitness while living in Peru:

1. Maintain a Balanced Diet: Embrace the local Peruvian cuisine which is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Incorporate superfoods like quinoa, avocados, and local vegetables into your meals for a nutrient boost.

2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially in higher altitude areas like Cusco and Arequipa, to prevent dehydration and altitude sickness.

3. Exercise Regularly: Join a gym, take dance classes, or explore outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, or biking to stay active and fit. Peru offers a diverse range of landscapes perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

4. Practice Mindfulness: Take time to relax and de-stress through activities like yoga, meditation, or simply enjoying the beautiful surroundings Peru has to offer.

5. Prioritize Sleep: Ensure you get enough restorative sleep to support your immune system and overall health.

6. Get Regular Health Check-ups: Familiarize yourself with local healthcare providers and seek regular check-ups to monitor your health status.

7. Avoid Tap Water: Stick to bottled or boiled water to prevent water-borne illnesses.

By following these tips and adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can easily stay fit and healthy as an expat living in Peru.

20. How is the weather and climate in Peru for expats?

The weather and climate in Peru can vary significantly depending on the region, as the country is geographically diverse with three main regions – the coast, the highlands, and the jungle. Here is a brief overview of the weather in each region for expats:

1. Coast: The coastal region, where major cities like Lima are located, has a mild and dry climate. The weather is generally sunny and warm throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C). However, during the winter months (June to September), a gray mist called the ‘garua’ can cover the coast, leading to cooler temperatures and high humidity.

2. Highlands: The highlands, including cities like Cusco and Arequipa, have a cool and dry climate due to the high altitude. Temperatures can range from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) during the day, but drop significantly at night. The highlands experience two main seasons – the dry season from April to October and the rainy season from November to March.

3. Jungle: The jungle region, found in the Amazon basin, has a hot and humid climate with frequent rainfall throughout the year. Temperatures can reach highs of 90°F (32°C) or more, with high levels of humidity. The rainy season in the jungle typically lasts from December to April, bringing intense downpours and occasional flooding.

Overall, expats living in Peru should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions depending on the region they choose to reside in. It is important to pack accordingly, with layers for the highlands, lightweight clothing for the coast, and rain gear for the jungle. Additionally, staying informed about the local climate patterns and being adaptable to changing weather conditions will help expats make the most of their experience living in Peru.