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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Peru (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Peru (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: Considering a move to Peru but uncertain about where to settle? Venturing on an exploratory trip to visit multiple popular expat destinations can be incredibly enlightening. Here's a list of recommended places to consider during your exploration of Peru.

Embarking on a Look-See Trip to Peru is an invaluable step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory journey allows potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads to immerse themselves in the local culture, assess the living conditions, and determine the suitability of various cities and towns for their lifestyle. By visiting different areas, one can evaluate factors such as cost of living, climate, community, and amenities firsthand, ensuring a well-informed decision when choosing a new home abroad.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See Trip in Peru, it's essential to tailor your itinerary based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on the major cities and nearby attractions, while a 20-day journey allows for a deeper exploration of both urban and rural areas. For the shorter trip, consider starting in Lima, then traveling to Arequipa, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley. If you have 20 days, add visits to the coastal town of Paracas, the white city of Arequipa, the colonial charm of Trujillo, and the northern beach town of Máncora. This extended itinerary provides a broader perspective on the diverse living environments Peru offers.


Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 10 million. It's a hub for international travel and offers a vibrant mix of modern amenities and rich cultural heritage. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to districts like Miraflores and Barranco for their safety, coastal views, and lively dining and arts scene. The cost of living can be higher here compared to other Peruvian cities, but the quality of life and access to services are unparalleled.

Travel Tip: While in Lima, don't miss the chance to dine at Central Restaurante, renowned for its innovative dishes that take you on a gastronomic tour of Peru's biodiversity.


Arequipa, known as the 'White City' due to its stunning colonial architecture made of sillar, a white volcanic stone, offers a more laid-back lifestyle. With a population of around 1 million, it provides a balance between city life and proximity to nature, including the nearby Colca Canyon. Expats enjoy a lower cost of living here, a pleasant climate, and a growing community of like-minded individuals.

Travel Tip: Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery for a serene and historical experience in the heart of Arequipa.


Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site that captivates with its blend of Inca and Spanish colonial history. The city's population is around 430,000, and it serves as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Expats appreciate the rich culture, the artisan markets, and the relatively low cost of living. Cusco's high altitude and cooler climate are something to consider for those with health concerns.

Travel Tip: Savor traditional Andean cuisine at Chicha por Gastón Acurio, a restaurant that celebrates local flavors in the heart of Cusco.

Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley, with its picturesque towns like Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo, offers a tranquil rural setting amidst the Andes. These communities are smaller, with a slower pace of life, ideal for those seeking a retreat from urban hustle. The cost of living is lower, and the proximity to natural wonders and archaeological sites is a significant draw for expats and digital nomads who value outdoor activities and historical richness.

Travel Tip: Explore the Pisac Market, where you can find a wide array of handcrafted goods and fresh produce, perfect for experiencing local life.


Paracas is a small resort town on the southern coast of Peru, known for its beautiful beaches and the Paracas National Reserve. It's a favorite among expats who prefer a coastal lifestyle and enjoy nature and wildlife. The town is relatively quiet, with a growing expat community, and offers a moderate cost of living.

Travel Tip: Take a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands, often referred to as the 'Poor Man's Galapagos,' to witness an abundance of marine life.


Trujillo, the third-largest city in Peru, is famed for its colonial charm and proximity to pre-Columbian archaeological sites like Chan Chan. The city has a warm climate, a population of around 800,000, and a cost of living that's attractive to expats. Trujillo's coastal location and cultural festivals add to its appeal for those considering a move to Peru.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to see the Huanchaco beach, where you can observe the traditional reed watercrafts, known as 'caballitos de totora.'


Máncora is a small beach town in the north of Peru, popular for its surf breaks and laid-back atmosphere. It's a haven for expats looking for a tropical climate and a slower pace of life. The cost of living is low, and the town is becoming increasingly popular with digital nomads seeking a beachside lifestyle.

Travel Tip: Enjoy fresh seafood with a view at La Sirena d'Juan, a restaurant that offers some of the best culinary delights in Máncora.

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.

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

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 GlobalSJB Global

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.
Learn More

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