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Expat Exchange - Pros and Cons of Living in Peru
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Pros and Cons of Living in Peru

By Joshua Wood, LPC

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Summary: If you're moving to Peru, it's important to learn about both the Pros AND Cons of living in Peru.

Peru, a country known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes, has become an increasingly popular destination for expats from around the world. Whether you're drawn to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, the bustling city life of Lima, or the tranquil beaches of Mancora, Peru offers a unique blend of experiences that cater to a variety of lifestyles. However, like any country, living in Peru comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we'll delve into the pros and cons of making Peru your new home.

Pros of Living in Peru

One of the most significant advantages of living in Peru is the cost of living. Compared to many Western countries, the cost of housing, food, and healthcare in Peru is significantly lower. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Lima, the capital, can cost as little as $500 per month. Dining out is also affordable, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $10.

Another major draw for expats is Peru's rich and diverse culture. The country boasts a mix of indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian influences, which are reflected in its music, dance, art, and cuisine. Peruvian food, in particular, has gained international acclaim, with dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado earning rave reviews from foodies worldwide.

Peru's natural beauty is another significant advantage. From the Andean mountains to the Amazon rainforest, the country offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Whether you're into hiking, surfing, or bird watching, you'll find plenty of opportunities to indulge your passions.

Finally, Peru's people are known for their warmth and hospitality. Many expats report feeling welcomed and accepted by the local community. This, combined with the country's relaxed pace of life, can make for a very pleasant living experience.

Cons of Living in Peru

While there are many advantages to living in Peru, there are also some challenges that potential expats should be aware of. One of the most significant is the language barrier. While English is spoken in tourist areas and by some professionals, the majority of Peruvians speak only Spanish. This can make everyday tasks like shopping or visiting the doctor more difficult if you don't speak the language.

Another challenge is the country's infrastructure. While cities like Lima have modern amenities, many parts of the country lack reliable electricity, clean water, and internet access. This can be particularly challenging for those who work remotely or rely on technology for their livelihood.

Crime can also be a concern in Peru. While the country as a whole is relatively safe, certain areas, particularly in larger cities, have high rates of petty theft and violent crime. It's important to research and understand the safety of the area you're considering before making a move.

Finally, while the cost of living in Peru is generally low, wages are also significantly lower than in many Western countries. This can make it difficult to save money or maintain the same standard of living you're used to, particularly if you're working in a local job.

Despite these challenges, many expats find that the benefits of living in Peru far outweigh the drawbacks. With its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and friendly people, Peru offers a unique and rewarding living experience for those willing to navigate its challenges.

Expats Talk about Pros & Cons of Living in Peru

"I loved living in Arequipa, the 2nd largest city in Peru that no one had ever heard of. Yes, there is poverty aplenty, but I can count on 1 hand the number of people I saw drunk, sleeping on the street or begging. The cultural center of the city is the heart that has been beating for close to 500 years. New life flows in and out of AQP with tourists and then some of them stay to become local entrepreneurs. Open air mercados and bright shiny super grocery stores co-exist. Tiny little shops that sell plastics or unique local items. Across town to find blueberries. Down to San Camilo for fabric or notions. Over to Metro for Kraft mozzarella, Tottus has the creamy yogurt. Out for brunch on Sunday for french crepes or maybe a healthy brekkie with at Cafe Fiora. Lunch with friends at Tia Diario for the best ceviche ever! Along with a light Chilean Sauv Blanc. Internet and Dish media at home with the local news option. Every day 72F (22C) or close enough not to notice. Rainy days in December-February. Sit on the patio listening to the rain fall still warm enough but a cuppa is a welcome companion. Dog walks up on Chichani one of the three guardian volcanoes that surround AQP which sits at 8000 ft (2400m). We'd walk along the road dodging the occasional tourist SUV or combi carrying locals to Chivai. Birds circling and very luckily one July, a group of Giant Andean Hummingbirds chose to nest there. Think the size of a skinny robin. Unique to Peru, although the bird book for Peru has 50 pages of hummers and related species alone. Arequipa is a perfect starting point to seek out adventures of all kinds. Cusco-1 hr flight. This is the perfect way for guests to visit Machu Picchu. Arriving from Lima into Cusco is going from sea level to 14,000 ft (4300m) and altitude sickness. Our guests came to AQP 1st, spent a few days sight seeing, acclimating then on to Cusco, relaxed and ready to hike around Cusco then onto the lower Machu Picchu. Puno on Lake Titicaca and the truly amazing lenten celebration of Candelaria. While on the way there, guess what? In the tiny town of Lampa are two amazing exact copies of Michelangelo's Pieta. Colca Canyon, deep gorgeous and hotels with hot springs. Cotahuasi-deepest canyon in the Western Hemisphere. The beachtowns around Mejia, A Ancient petroglyphs in Toro Muerte. A 1 1/2 hr flight to Lima to try out world class gourmet cooking. The Nasca lines are best accessed from Lima. The Arequipa Hay Festival brings authors, thinkers, artists, film makers etc, to share their experience. My friend proudly displays her photo of Salman Rushdie and her. Art exhibitions are frequent along with poetry readings. The little Andean Museum is beginning to upgrade its collection and the experts advising them. Plays-Trust me the Peruvian version of Hamlet needed no translation. Then a lovely choice of late night restaurants to enjoy. And of course the world famous Arequipa Chile relleno made with the local hot chile Rocoto. On Sunday, adobo Arequipa style only truly enjoyed in one of the many picanterias. There is a private golf course, lots of bicycling trails, although with AQP traffic-caution. We have not ruled out retiring to AQP. But there are some down sides: dust. It is high and dry. Not frequent but power and water outages. TRAFFIC is a dance done best by locals and the not faint of heart. Road signs, as in most of South America, are optional. Corruption-it exists although we only saw it a few times. Street dogs, sad and too many Fireworks-the only time they are welcome and amazing is on Christmas and New Years Eve. The former being the more spectacular 360 degree view from our rooftop. The rest of the year, name a Saints day, name any day, you will hear fireworks being set off. Peruvian parties-many, not all, are extensions of when music was a live band of guitars and a singer. Now it is wall size speakers and amps, with the occasional talented singer. Our neighbor had a birthday party for his 4 year old. A high pitched woman's sing-song voice amplified with a mic and giant speakers went on for over 6 hours. Most parties are at night beginning around 9 or 10 and can go on til 4:00 or when the local association president gets tired of the phone calls and the police show up, the host decides he is tired of the drunken behavior or there is nothing left to drink," commented one expat living in Arequipa, Peru.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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