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October 14th, 2008 · 62 Comments · Crossing Cultures, Looking Back at the United States, Money, Economics, Politics

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By Barbara R. Drake

On Sunday I posted Part I of "Should Americans Consider Moving to Peru?" (click here for link).

I floated the idea, proposed to me by a Scandinavian expat who's lived in the United States as well, that because Peru and the United States are so dissimilar, it's difficult to evaluate which country's lifestyle is better. In her words, Peru and the United States are "different realities."

A Peruvian in New Jersey comments that he agrees with the Scandinavian expat: "For forty years I have been trying to explain the Peruvian culture to Americans." He points out that the metaphysician  Carlos Castaneda, who wrote the bestseller "A Separate Reality," was himself Peruvian, Amoxicillin Clav coupon.

(Actually, much of Castaneda's life and authenticity as an anthropologist are under debate; his 12 books, however, are still damned good reads!)

Castaneda's Don Juan books explore Native American thought systems and practices that appear "illogical" (some might say "magical") from the standpoint of mainstream, Western society. This illogic is an aspect of Peruvian life that I find deeply intriguing, Amoxicillin Clav.

However, before I write about the singular, otherworldly differences between the two countries, Amoxicillin Clav canada, I'd like to list a few of the more tangible contrasts: living standards and economic prospects. Weighing some of those factors, it might be possible for an American to decide in favor of or against the expat life in Peru.


Could the average American adapt easily to life in Peru, I've been asked.

Consider these obvious differences:

  • You have to speak another language (Spanish);

  • You must use a different measuring system (metric) and currency (Peruvian sol);

  • You must adapt to a reversal in seasons (winter in Peru is summer in the U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, and vice versa), which can be disconcerting;

  • You're south of the equator so water flushes down the toilet in the opposite direction; the night sky is peppered with unfamiliar constellations.

Then there are the glaring gaps in sanitation and basic infrastructure in Peru:

  • You can't drink the tap water (most people buy filtered water);

  • Many people in rural Peru have no running water at all;

  • Roads in the capital and the countryside are full of holes, and;

  • There is no separate traffic police (hence people drive chaotically).

Some of these differences are so radical, they would convince many Americans to stay put in the U.S., even with foreclosures signs springing up all over the country.


Another shock for Americans (good or bad, depending on your perspective) is Peru's relative isolation from consumer culture. There are far fewer stores in Peru, 250mg Amoxicillin Clav, with a vastly reduced array of buying options. Lots of what you do see sold in department stores like Saga Falabella or Ripley is cheap stuff imported from China, but sold at two to three times what you'd pay for it in the U.S.

For an American citizen accustomed to zipping from Bloomingdales to Target to Tuesday Morning, the comparative lack of good shopping can induce frustration and even anger. This might sound like a superficial complaint, but it's remarkable, as an American expat, to discover how much we Americans take for granted being able to walk into a store and find whatever we are looking for, Amoxicillin Clav. Try looking in Peru for a replacement for your broken coffee pot – you'll be told it will take "two to three months" to arrive in the store (as I was told by Hiraoke in August).

On the plus side, as El Fotógrafo likes to point out, Amoxicillin Clav craiglist, you tend to spend a lot less money in Peru because you often can't find what you are looking for. In the end, you may improvise a solution from what you already have in your home.


On the face of it, Peru would seem to be a worse place to live because it has a higher poverty level (39% in 2008) than does the United States (12.5% in 2007, according to U.S. Census). Poverty is especially acute in remote rural areas of Peru, where subsistence farming of potatoes and maize is the norm and adverse climatic events associated with global warming have made crops less plentiful.

However, 1000mg Amoxicillin Clav, when you compare historical trends, poverty in the United States is on the rise while in Peru it has decreased in the last decade.

In recent years the number of U.S. households classified as "poor" has risen substantially, with millions of working and middle class Americans slipping into poverty, Amoxicillin Clav.

The Census Bureau reported in August that the official poverty rate in the United States rose in 2007 to 12.5 percent, compared to 12.3 percent the previous year. According to the bureau's American Community Survey, last year 37.3 million Americans were living below the income level, which, 50mg Amoxicillin Clav, according to the U.S. government, signifies poverty.

This is an increase of 800,000, or 2 percent, over the official U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, poverty level for 2006.

According to official government figures in Peru (which may or may not be accurate), poverty has been reduced substantially in the past decade. In 2004, Amoxicillin Clav japan, it was slightly under 50 percent, in 2006 it was at 45 percent, and in 2008 it is at 39 percent.

Alan García's government has pledged to reduce poverty to less than 10 percent in eight years, a projection that analysts and many Peruvians view with extreme skepticism.


While it is unlikely that Peru will hoist millions of its poorest citizens out of poverty in the next ten years, the country already is seeing a rise in the number of people classified as "middle class."

While it is difficult to find hard figures, especially since many Peruvians underreport their incomes to avoid paying quarterly taxes, a rising middle class is apparent in Lima and smaller cities, Amoxicillin Clav.

A 2003 working paper from The Food Industry Center, University of Missouri, Amoxicillin Clav ebay, co-authored by Benjamin Senauer and Linda Goetz, identifies a growing middle-class market in Lima, with 20% of the city's households falling into the middle or upper-class category. In the early 2000s, an annual income of $6,000 was required for an emerging middle-class lifestyle in Lima, say Senauer and Goetz.

The growth in Peru's middle class was reflected in the passage of the 2007 US-Peru "free trade" agreement. This legislation was orchestrated to enable U.S. Amoxicillin Clav, companies to sell to Peru's "rapidly growing" middle class, according to a Dec. 2007 press release from USDA acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner, 200mg Amoxicillin Clav.


As these figures suggest, people in the United States enjoy a better infrastructure, more material goods and less nationwide poverty.

However, prosperity for ordinary Americans is contracting radically, something that hasn't been seen on this scale since the Great Depression.

Peru, Amoxicillin Clav india, on the other hand, is expanding economically, and its middle class is rising. You don't need as much money here to live a middle-class lifestyle, and that can be attractive for expats with money to start their own business or with good job prospects (teaching, US Embassy jobs).

If you are willing to learn Spanish and can put up with the traffic and the grey Lima skies, Peru might be an option if you are eager to leave the United States.

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62 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jon // Oct 24, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    That sounds interesting. What area of Lima would you recommend from an American perspective? My wife is from there and was wondering about obtaining dual citizenship for US citizens. Is this possible?

  • 2 Barb // Oct 24, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Hi, Jon,
    Yes, you can obtain Peruvian citizenship through marriage to your wife (in addition to your US citizenship). Living in Peru and ExpatPeru (two well known websites) provide information on how to do this.

    You will need to first move to Peru and obtain your carnet de extranjeria (like a green card). That enables you to work in Peru (like a work visa). After living in Peru for two years, you’re eligible for Peruvian citizenship.

    I recommend living in Miraflores or San Isidro, because they’re relatively safe, have good housing and are centrally located. Other relatively upscale areas are La Molina and San Borja; however,they’re further out.

    If you’re more bohemian, you might like Barranco, which has a lively arts scene and some very old mansions. Crime is a problem there, though.

    Readers: Any other suggestions on where to live in Lima?

  • 3 richard luna // Oct 26, 2008 at 11:57 am

    My friend I am a 100% traveler due to my job. and this is my short list that I share with my fellow co-workers. I made it because I have seen so many of may american friends breaking this rules and getting in trouble. so here it is and up to you to follow. (i use this rules in New York, hong kong, tailand and any big city hehehehe)

    As in any big city, if you want to live in Lima .. general big city precautions:
    - if you own a car, DO NOT leave anything visible. believe me it will not last for too long.

    - if you have jewelry, DO NOT wear it. it will find its way out of your neck or wrist. (they are fast runners and jumpers. I think they could go to the Olympics but they are poor)

    - DO NOT look for “don juan” adventures unless you know the area very well. or you may lose you money or more.

    - BE CAREFUL of what and where you eat, maaaan the mexicans have ” moctesuma revenge”. In Peru it is call RUN to the closest toilet.

    - Please please please … forget about “indiana Jones syndrome”.

    - DO NEVER SHOW that you have lots of bills in your pocket. big brother (yeah BIG THUG) will be watching you and waiting the next opportunity to unload you.

    - Keep you passport in a secure place.

    Happy traveling

  • 4 Barb // Oct 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Richard, good suggestions for foreigners visiting Peru (esp. Lima) or living here. Your precautions aren’t paranoid — they’re realistic.

    Crime is prevalent in Lima, and foreigners are often targets because they stray into bad areas, flaunt their jewelry and cameras, and don’t safeguard their wallets adequately.

    On the topic of Don Juan adventures: there is a lot of sex tourism in Peru, which is a very sad phenomenon and which also can be very dangerous for the johns. Peruvian law is very hard on people who solicit or have sex with minors. The law says, “She said she was 18, she’s really 16; it’s your fault for sleeping with her.”

    And they will put the customer in jail.

  • 5 Jon // Oct 27, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the info, I agree that u have to be very careful in Lima but also try not to stand out. Good suggestion on San Isidro and Miraflores. I have been over most of the city and like both areas. I remember one of the funny experiences that I had on a trip to Lima. We were on the north side of the city near Mega Plaza and went to a outdoor market area. I have never walked so fast in my life to get to our destination to buy baby shoes. I am so used to walking casually in the US to get to get to my destination, but not in this location as we never stopped. It was not quite the tourist location but very interesting to say the least:)

  • 6 Jon // Oct 27, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Another quick question…… I will be in Lima in January of next year. I was curious if you should have a yellow fever vaccine to travel to Ayacucho? We will just be in Ayacucho city and not the lower elevations. I have had a hard time finding info about this.

    Many Thanks!

  • 7 Barb // Oct 27, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Check this world Yellow Fever report:

    It notes that yellow fever vaccines aren’t necessary when traveling to most destinations in Peru, other than locations in the jungle below 2,300 meters. (I don’t know the elevation of Ayacucho city proper.)

    It does say that malaria is a risk in Ayacucho and visitors should be vaccinated.

    With climate change heating up the environment in Peru, there are more insect-borne illnesses spreading in areas that previously didn’t see them.

  • 8 Sara // Nov 10, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    It doesn’t seem like 20% is a very large percentage for the middle and upper class…wonder how that compares to the US? And one only needs an income of $6,000 a year to qualify! I can see why Peru would be attractive to expats, even when dealing with its worst aspects (to me, water, driving). I think it would be interesting if you created a category on “Cost of Living” listing exact prices. So many Americans are looking for a retirement alternative – imagine actually living well on social security! (How about “Retirement in Lima” category as well?)

  • 9 Miguel Fuentes // Nov 13, 2008 at 1:15 am

    mm Besides those places, Santiago de Surco (another distric) west side could be a great choice, especially the Monterrico area. However, it is somehow further. Another good place could be in Chorrillos, close to the oceanfront, if’d be nice to get an apartment with ocean view, and it is very easy to get to Miraflores or San Isidro if you drive or take a “colectivo” through the Costa Verde highway and then go to the Express way. there are also better places in Chorrillos in a residential area called “Los Cedros de Villa”, but it’s much further, and I would advice to take a taxi fromt there to a central area. In addition, areas of Jesus Maria close to the San Isidro border are pretty good locations, too! They take district laws and order very seriously, and there are pretty good looking old mansions around there.

    With respect of being safe, well, I have always lived in Lima, and felt pretty safe, but this is because I know where to go, and how to go. I have worn expensive clothes and stuff like that in Miraflores, San Isidro and even in some areas of Lima downtown and never been robbed! But I know that not all places are like that, so I dress very simple for those areas =]

  • 10 Barb // Nov 13, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Miguel, thanks for the tips.

    Uh, are you by any chance a real estate agent? :)

  • 11 Miguel Fuentes // Nov 15, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Your welcome,

    No, I am not real state agent; I just know that because I always like walking around everywhere :)

  • 12 marvin // Jan 8, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    hello… i´ve been in Lima for already 3 months… in november my baby boy was born and also got married… I’m a musician so i’m currently working in that field in Lima ( if you like Salsa you should come out and see a show or two)… I’m definitely going back to the States soon but for now I would like to find a part time job in anything, especially somewherre whewre i can use the bilingual gift i have … any suggestions to where i can go ??? any other suggestions are welcome…

  • 13 roboto // Jan 13, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    So this is the deal. I am Peruvian/American I guess you could say. Born in Peru, raised here in Miami. Im 27 and earn about $19.50…If I decided to move to Peru..will I be able to live ok? or well? or better than good?…I guess I want to know what a person that gets about $2500 (after taxes) a month can do there in respect to living..ofcourse I still owe some credit cards here and loans which i’d pay onine but with that in mind…what do you all see with these numbers?..I have all my cousins, aunts and uncles there and love vacationing there and I’m getting tired of the Miami scene…thanks!!!

  • 14 Barb // Jan 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    roberto, if you could earn $2500 / month in Peru, you could live very, very well. The question is: Can you line up a job here that pays that much? Check on what musicians get paid in Lima/Peru, if you are thinking of earning a living that way.

    Being bilingual helps in Peru but I think what gives a greater advantage is having contacts who can help you get a position. If I were you, I’d research U.S. companies that are looking for employees to work in Peru. If you contract with them in the US, you’ll get a better salary than you would obtaining the same job here in Peru.

  • 15 Ysa // Mar 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I am a Peruvian leaving in the USA and Canada for over 30 years. I want to go back to PERU and not worry about high living standars in North America anylonger . I enjoyed that already for 30 years. Just to share my plans. If I put for sale my condo in Canada I will get about $500.000.00 I have a house in PERU, I can live very well with $ 500.00 to 1,000.00 a month. I will buy a membership in Las Terrazas and in El Bosque country club. Let’s make a nice group once we are all there, life will be more pleasant.

  • 16 Barb // Mar 2, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Ysa, you will be sitting pretty. I don’t know what it costs to belong to Las Terrazas, but you’ll definitely be able to afford it when you sell your home.

  • 17 Mario // Mar 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Herer is a link for a food store (like albertson or Bashas) so you can look at food prices. This one in particular is a little expensive compraed with other simmilar grocery’s stores.

    A Basic budet for a family of 4 could be:
    Home, apartment: $300-500/month
    Services (wather and electricity): $100/month
    Cable, High speed Internet and land phone: $100/month
    Food: $250-350/month
    Gasoline (1 car): $125/month
    Other expenses at home (propane, security, etc):$100/month
    Basic living expenses: no mre than $1200/month (middle class)

    Other expenses could be:
    Maid, by day (cleaning, cooking,etc 8hours): $20
    Maid by month living at your house: $200
    Fancy buffete dinner: $16/per person
    Every day menu: $2.5
    McDonalds, BK, regular combos: $6-7
    Haircut: $9
    Shave your head:$3
    an the list continues…. email me if you need more prices..

    I am going back to Peru in mid 2010. I am in the US since 2005 and we miss my Lima very much..

  • 18 Barb // Mar 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Mario –
    Great dato! (Or is that “datos”?) I’d vouch for most of these figures. (I do not know what it costs to shave one’s head, though.)

    Hope the prices stay at these levels when you return in 2010. The great thing about Peruvians in recent years is that when food prices rise, the people take to the streets and protest. The price of chicken and rice is front-page news, and people will agitate until inflated prices are lowered. This is one thing that I love about Peruvian people — their willingness to fight for their economic wellbeing. People in the U.S. should take a lesson.

  • 19 Mario // Mar 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Hi All.
    Something I forgot to mention is that the best schools for kids (Kindergartne, elementary, middle and high schools) are private and range from S/200 (+/- $65) per month through S/.3000 ($950)/month.

  • 20 raquel // Mar 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I was born in Peru but raised in Virginia since the age of 4. As much as i love it here and am thankful for all the opportunities this country has to offer, i just can’t wait to get my degree and move back. Miraflores, San Isidro are all great places to live, but i would suggest to explore beyond Lima.

  • 21 Dave // Mar 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    It seem to me that most of the expat bloggers are experts in Lima because they reside in Lima. Would you happen to know any statistics for Arequipa?

  • 22 matthew // Apr 21, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I was in lima for three months in 2008. I went there strait after graduating from University. I lived in san borja for a few months. and also in Surquillo. I liked San Borja. La molina is also nice however as already mentioned Miraflores and San Isidro are better located. They are also probably the most expensive areas (which is still cheap in american standards).

    About not driving, I actually didnt mind taking the shotty public transportation ie Micros, Buses, Combis, unliscensed taxis.

    It has never felt greater to cross a city for 1.2 soles or about 50 cents depending on the exchange. Also short distances allow you to pay “china” or 50 centimos for the trip.

    Taxis are different too as you must determine a price with the driver before you enter the car. I loved this!! no more taxis with meters tacking out dollars per the quarter mile! Go from almost one end of lima to another end in a taxi for under ten dollars.

    I think for me the food was perhaps the worst part. My advice is don’t eat at Rosa Toro and do not eat any “menus” until you find a place that suits your stomach.

    Another good thing is being able to walk to a drugstore on almost every corner. If you have a pain just tell them and they give you pain killers for cheap. I found myself in need of some electrolytes and some pills after my 2 trips to rosa toro… no further comments needed there.

    Overall I preferred living near Parque de las Tradiciones in Miraflores the most.

    I plan to move to peru permanently once i pay my college loans off and save the proper principal to start my business in Lima. I would have no problems living in the areas of Los olivos (the houses are newer there), Pueblo Libre, and Jesus Maria. Parts of Surquillo were ok but at night its sketchy sometimes. I word stay away from anywhere in San Juan De Jurigancho. Its perhaps the poorest, and ugliest part of lima. Also San Martin de Porres would be another poor option. I didnt really care for La Victoria (riky vicky) either. Its a rather poor area i thought. I havent really been to “cono sur” or the south part of lima to comment on it.

    As far as living is concerned, better to be in places seen as “pituco” such as miraflores, san isidro, la molina, and San Borja. These places are higher class. They have guachimen derived from the english name watchmen. I noticed in man parts of la molina the communites are gated and the watchmen patrol the gate strictly enforcing entrance. ID is necessary until the watchmen come to know you more personally. Personally I love lima. Like any city it has bad and good. However I feel like you hear more bad things from peruvians that would rather leave the country than to stay in peru…

  • 23 Barb // Apr 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    There is a movement afoot to have meters installed in cabs in Peru, but for the moment, you still must negotiate your price before getting into a cab. I agree: prices are cheap compared to those in major US cities.

    How can you say the food is the worst part? I’ve never eaten better since moving to Lima.

  • 24 Paco // Jun 25, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Hey roboto wats up brother. im peruvian / american also. i was born in peru but now im american citizen n i live here in Us. But im looking to move n live in peru because its getting hard out here. You said you makin 19.50. Thats pretty good man u can live nicely there. See im 22 and i go back every year but i m trying to save money so i can live there. Let me know what ur plans are. I need some more tips. Thanx Please anyone any info will be good.

  • 25 Mile D. // Jul 25, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I’m not interersted in Lima.
    What’s Arica like?

  • 26 Mark Dowling // Aug 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I’m googling your website and seen it hasn’t had anything new in awhile. First off any news? Are you still in Peru.

  • 27 Barb // Aug 6, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Did you visit the homepage? I’ve posted several new items this week. Yes, I’m still in Peru.

  • 28 John // Aug 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I am an australian goin g to Lima in Nov. How long do u think US$15000 would last if say I partied 2 times a week and chilled out the rest?

  • 29 Barbara // Aug 20, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Readers, would you care to answer John’s question?

  • 30 Gabriela // Aug 20, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I just wanted to add my personal experience regarding health issues in Peru. I am originally from Cusco and in our last visit, my husband had a terrible food-borne disease, but was wonderfully treated in a local clinic. He was admitted at once, got the tests done in record time and was in a room getting medication through IV within 45 minutes. It did help I knew I couple of clinic doctors from my university years in Cusco, though. He recovered quickly and was soon up and about.
    Our 3 year old son, on the other hand, had a cold and it took him the whole 4 weeks of our stay to completely recover from the ear infections derived from the cold (there are no flavored antibiotics in Peru for children, they taste like hell)
    Overall, I would say Health Services are good and available for a very low price, but the many oportunities to become ill are also there… food/air/water borne diseases are a prevalence in Peru.
    So that is the main reason why we are planning to make short and sweet visits to Peru in the future. It is too bad for me because I do really enjoy the many beautiful aspects of my country: all of my relatives are there, people are very warm, humble, kind, generous friendly…food is just AMAZING and there is plenty to see and do for fun. I would love to share that and more with my family

  • 31 Barb // Aug 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Sorry about your family’s illnesses. This does happen frequently, unfortunately, even to people who are paranoid about where and what they eat (like me).

    Let us know the name of the clinic in Cusco where your husband received good medical care. Other visitors may appreciate the info, in case they need to go to a hospital there.

  • 32 Gabriela // Aug 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

    The Clinic was Pardo Clinic in Cusco. They had very reasonable rates and good services.
    An advice to any Canadian visiting Cusco: do get checked by a doctor before leaving Cusco if you have any symptoms of food poisoning. My husband had some experience with this. He came back to Calgary with an infection that took our Health system too long to diagnose and treat. Get checked in Cusco or Lima. They do know what bugs you are likely to get and will treat you quick for a speedy recovery

  • 33 Guy // Sep 9, 2009 at 12:21 am


    I am a Gringo, but my wife is of Peruvian decent. My wife had been living here in the states for a little over 7 years prior to me meeting her. We have been back to Peru several times since our meeting.

    We are considering to retire in Peru, yet have a summer home here in the USA. Out of all the areas that I had visited, I keep coming back to the conveinence of living in Lima. So, we starting our search for a property in or around Lima. We have not yet narrowed down where we would like to live, but we did like the Mira Flores area. As well, my wife keeps talking about buying a home south of Lima.

    I was reading some of the posts on here, and found that the prices people were finding were a bit cheaper than what I have noted. Granted, I have been viewing condos on the ocean which were requesting prices of 180,000 american dollars. As much as I would enjoy living right on the ocean, it is not a “got-to-have” item.

    The question, just wondering if you guys’ have any advise of how to get started in searching for a property? I guess I am kind of looking for a place to vacation to now, and when we retire in a few years it would become our home. My wife does have a lot of family that lives in and around Lima, but it is hard to communicate with them being that my Spanish is not that good, haha.

    Looking forward to reading some of your posts.


  • 34 Naturalizedgringo // Sep 13, 2009 at 4:22 am

    You brought up good issue but somewhat I could not connect between cause and effect. The level of poverty is more or less relative than absolute. Abolute level of poverty in US could be high end in Somalia relatively. I disagree with your analogy that the increase of poverty is main reason for expats are moving to south.

    For last 30 years – which is half of my life- there has been drastic social and economic change in US as well as the most of rest of the world except a certain countries in south America and continet of Africa. I still remember a significant portion of people from the country which I spent the first half of my life had emigrated to Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. And you had to bribe a lot to get the ticket to those countries. Now that countries is one of top 18 richest countries of the world.

    The common cultural traits of south American countries or the third world which all expats have pointed out and complained about is manana attitude, urinating on street, corruption, treating woman as 2nd class, ineffciency, injustice, etc is actually not cultural difference but civilizational difference. In England you drive in left lane and right lane in US. It is not matter of effeciency, justice, sanitary, humanity, etc., but we have different way of doing things. Like different religion. That is cultural difference. But the other less civilized traits you see in Peru is exactly same as the ones you will see in any other under-developed countries. Because the country I came from was not better than Peru now, but it is like US now.

    The civility is matter of ecomic wealth. On matter of survival in extremely harsh economic condition you just simply can not expect the civility civility you has in US. You are just lucky that you don’t see massacre with matchet like several African nation.

    While the country I came from became one of top richest countris from being poorer than Peru 40 years ago, Peru and other south American nations maintained the status quo in last four decades. Economically and culturally both. You know what? That is why those south American countries is nice place to live after retirement for US and other developed countries. The primary reason is because of the relative economic preference. We, American retirees are taking advantage of relative poverty of the third world economy. This is pull effect from the third world.

    And last 30 or 40 years America has had significant cultural (not civility) and economic change. No bank was opened after 5 PM and on week ends 30 years ago. Corporation merge was almost non until 30 years ago. IBM was very proud of not terminating any single employee until 1982. Air line pilots had 6 figure pension average age of 50. Two person income was not necessary for single household to make a living. No corpopration CEO made astronomical wage 30 years ago (average CEO wage was 30 times of average wage comare to 300 times now). To put that in a simple word, America is becoming Japanized. If the trend continues, there will be no difference between Japan and America. It will be living HELL with plenty of foods and luxuries. Japanese has been used to that for long history with the culture of feudal society but for individualistic American that type of social and economic stress and constraints is not easy to put up with. Rather go to Peru and relax with no money. This is push effect.

    So we are willing to tolerate the uncivility of the third world in return being relieved from social stress of modern civilized society including myself. We are lucky because all those southern countries has stayed exactly same as 40 year ao.
    Once they achieve economic prosperity all those un-civilities will disappear also. It will be like a Switzland and perhaps these people will escape to US for their retirement.

    Modernization and economic prosperity is not necessary desirable. Suffering comes from desire.

  • 35 Naturalizedgringo // Sep 13, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Make this box bigger. I couldn’t do proof reading and see entire pagraph while making entries. Gee, full of typographical and grammer erros. Looks shit.

  • 36 Eleonn // Sep 15, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Hi Barb… really nice blog.

    About theplaces where to live in Lima other than those that you already mention would be Magdalena’s zone close to San Isidro and La Punta in Callao. I’ve live in Lince (right on the border with San Isidro) and now in Surquillo (right on the border with Aurora-Miraflores) but Im looking to move to La Punta which is like a small town inside Lima. If you go there you’ll love it. No traffic, no chaos, 100% secure place, etc. Here is the link of La Punta’s municipalidad For those who don’t speak spanish, on the left click on: A Punta de Fotos.

  • 37 Alan // Nov 22, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Hi All,

    I have a peruvian wife and I know she could find out but I wanted to ask if any one has costs for middle priced schooling for young children?

    We are looking to return to Peru in about 2012.

    What should I expect to pay?


  • 38 Barb // Nov 23, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Costs for private schools are high in Peru. Most middle-class people send their kids to private schools, so that’s no doubt what you will end up doing.

    I send our kid to a British Peruvian school, and it’s exorbitant — $560/month. Reyes Rojas, the school in Barranco, is about $300/month, and I think many of the Catholic schools are about that. I am not sure since I didn’t look into Catholic schools for our kid.

    Roosevelt is about $1,000/month or more. Markham, one of the finest bilingual schools, is up there, too.

    When you have more than one kid, the school provides a small discount, but not much.

  • 39 carloncho // Dec 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Hello , I’m original from Callao Peru and in California since 1979 and I travel ones a year to Peru and of course I stay close to Callao , I’m planning to buy an appartment in La Punta Callao , is a very safe place , there is no crime in that little town , people had leave there for generations ,so if you love sea food , ocean view and peace this is the place . Take care , ciao.

  • 40 Barb // Dec 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    La Punta has intriguing architecture. I took a bunch of photos there last year but didn’t post them. Maybe I’ll do so this summer.

  • 41 Barry from Oklahoma // Dec 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    My wife and I have opened an account in Peru and are transferring money their regularly in preparation for moving there. We don’t know when we’ll do it, but having noted the falling value of the dollar, we decided that is was time to start preparations. We’ll probably move to Lima which is where most of my wife’s family lives.

  • 42 Barb // Dec 11, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Are you storing your money in soles or dollars in Peru?

  • 43 Barry from Oklahoma // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Soles, definitely. We are saving up to build a house. We plan to buy some land and build a modest 2 story and split the lower story into one area for a business and one apartment, then rent them both out.

  • 44 Brian // Dec 21, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    My wife is from Lima (San Borja) and has been here in Miami area for 6 yrs. Due to the economy and other reasons we are considering moving down to Lima where her family still lives. Problem is, I speak very little english. I am a Photographer / sales manager by trades and want to know what kind of employement is available down there or is it profitable to bring my photography business there and open up. I am visiting there for the first time in February when I get vacation time from the sports team I shoot for. Any insight would be appreciated!!!

  • 45 Ricardo // Feb 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Brian, ur english speaking must be very limited but ur english grammar is great ;)
    Salu2 from Boston

  • 46 Walter // Feb 11, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    interesting info. A question regarding cash transfers. Can bank cards (debit) be used in Lima?

  • 47 Guy // Feb 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Hi Barry,

    Interesting concept of saving money in soles. We transfer money to Peru at times, but it must be taken out of an ATM. Are you directly transferring into a bank account? If so, what bank are you using for this savings account? We are returning to Peru in July 2010, so maybe I can do a little more research at this time.

  • 48 Barry from Oklahoma // Mar 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

    We are actually doing it the Peruvian way–family. We opened a joing bank account with my mother in law and send the money to her, she converts it to soles at a “friends” place where she can get a better exchange rate, then she deposits it in the account. It’s a desposit only account for now to avoid temptation of yanking the money out for some other use.

  • 49 Sergio // Mar 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Hello there,
    Barb I like you blog, it’s interesting see how people from other countries see us.

    I live in Lima, and want to tell GUY that now is a good time to invest in the real state market in Peru. For instance my house in San Borja (a middle class district in Lima) was valued in 2001 in $120 000, now it is $200 000 and it is been stimated that by 2015 it is going to be $250 000 ! Almost twice.

    Besides Miraflores and San Isidro, there are very nice, green, safe and affordable areas in Lima where an American who likes Peru could live such as:
    Jesus Maria
    San Borja

    The most expensive district in Lima Metropolitan area is La Molina, where the houses are over
    5 000 sq ft. and prices are between $ 250 000 – $ 2 000 000

    One more thing, maybe this information would be useful for you. My sister who lives in Canada is planing to move her savings to Peru because there are some banks that pay up to 12% of interest for one year CD (in Soles). I understad they pay up to 8% if the savings are dollars.

    Have all you a nice day.

  • 50 Barry from Oklahoma // Mar 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Just be careful and save your paperwork when dealing with a Peruvian bank. You will open one type of account and they will “accidentally” put it in another type. You’ll have to present the paperwork to correct it, and any fees they have withdrawn from it will stay gone, even if it is their mistake.

  • 51 juanjo // Apr 1, 2010 at 7:26 am


    Anyone knows what’s the cost for a internet connection in Perú, for example 100 Mbps, how much it would cost per month?
    thanks in advance

  • 52 Erwin Anders // Apr 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    There is much talk about Lima. Some of us may be sickened by “Asphalt Cowboy” type cities, (Lima). Why move from Annapolis Maryland to New York, when you should move from New York to Annapolis?
    Downsizing your economy, so you can travel and get to know the Amazon river, Cusco, Chile, Brazil. Have enough savings to go back home, visit Lima for a few good dinners, movies and whatever you like.
    Some may be interested to move to the upper jungle. Costs are cut to less than half comparing to Lima. Don´t sell your home in the States, and your retirement amount doubles or triples immediately.
    Concerns about not getting things, having to wait 3 month for an article. Haven’t we had enough of consuming, of buying? We, “baby boomers” have been the best consumers in history. The next generation will not manage something similar, simply because WE are the “Boom Generation”. We will outnumber any generation.
    What is our “rush” at our age? Run to the next mountain? Why don´t you stay on this mountain and enjoy life?
    We also owe nature a lot. Our routine of working at a daily basis made us forget about many things. I´m trying now to produce one and up to 2 tons of fish, called Tilapia. (One ton of Tilapia gives you 2-thousand Dollars). We can have pineapple plantations, cocoa, you name it. We can help reforest, you´ll need no money. To the contrary, the government gives you the plants, and a little money to pay a few people to do the work for you. Guys will work for you for 15 to 20 Soles per day (One Dollar, about 2.81 Soles)
    Buy land for 1,500 Soles per Hectare, -553 Dollars-. (100 by 100 meters, y guess we have to multiply by 3.3 to turn it into feet, and one hectare is about 2.47 acres?) We may help stop somewhat illegal logging. (The future of our kids) Specially land surrounding water, small rivers. Ignorance drives many people to destroy nature.
    If you decide to do nothing, just your mere presence will generate a new economy for locals, and other places if you wish to travel.
    We are about to finish two projects, one near Tarapoto, a city with about 110-thousand people, with about four daily flights to Lima.
    Healthcare agreements have been signed with many countries. As soon as doctors in Lima know that Americans are moving to our area, they will open offices in province. We have already Americans, Italians, French, Germans living in our areas. We see each other every so often, because everyone has his own things to do.
    Visit the name will be changed, all construction expenses fell under my name anyhow. We are almost done, about six weeks to go?
    It is dangerous anywhere. You just have to know where and where not to go, at what time, etc. and nothing will happen. Most of my family members reached the age of 80, and nobody was robbed. My generation, -within my family-, not either.
    It made no difference to Americans who retired in Budapest during the 90´s. When it comes to cutting down expenses and have a better standard of living, Peru is a pretty good place to be.
    Many Europeans are moving to India, but again, to large and expensive cities. Why?
    Keep your bank account in the States, you can use your debit or credit card. They will charge about 3 to 4 Dollars per transaction. Talking about stealing.

  • 53 Barb // May 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Hey, folks, Erwin and some friends have started a commune kind of thing in Tarapoto, as a way to get out of the rat race. I wish them luck.

    Always be careful, readers, when someone tries to sell you land in the jungle. People may not really own title to the land, and you will end up paying lots ‘o greenbacks for a piece of paper that means zilch. You do need a good lawyer to make sure that you are not being ripped off.

    On the subject of money: ScotiaBank does not charge money to withdraw from a US checking account.

  • 54 Vincent // May 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Just go to Lima around Christmass time have a good time enjoy eating and drinking with tons of happy peruvians and turn around and get on a plane bound for the USA; that’s my advice. I was born in Lima and after spending more than 3 weeks straight in Lima; you will star to miss the good old USA

  • 55 steven.m // May 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    my wife has family in lima thinking of leaving the u.s. how long would 125,000 last me in peru

  • 56 Vale // May 20, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hello, Im also a Peruvian/America. I was born in Peru lived there until I was 13 when I moved to the states. Now Im a US citizen but maintained my Peruvian citizenship. Im about to graduate college, get my bachelors degree and Ill be going back to Peru in November for vacation but also to try to find a job there. Im 23 now and I want to move back to my country, I miss it so much. The problem is I still have much of my student loans to pay and a credit card. So I will need to find a good job that will pay me enough to pay such bills. Is it possible to find such job? even with contacts. Help. I really want to go back.

  • 57 Jaime // Jun 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I am a peruvian living in US, soon to return to Peru.
    I would like to say that this article focuses on the negatives when talking about bad roads, grey skies, consumer wonts and such.
    There are plenty of good reasons why Peru, Lima and the rest of Per is an attractive proposition for people looking for a nice place to live.
    This article is biased towards showing Peru as a bad place.
    Here in Los Angeles , CA and all of Southern Ca. there are plenty of nice things, but also a pletora of ugly places.
    We do not zero in on the bad when talking about US, CA or any other state.
    The middle classes in Peru seem weak by comparison, but the big difference is the system of credit that allows families in the US with relatively low incomes to live in luxury by purchasing cars, homes and other things through borrowed money.
    Most american middle class families “look” good, but financially speaking, these families leave on the edge, indebted and in rat race all of their lives.
    In Peru, a person driving a BMW paid twice as much for that car in Peru ( cars cost on average twice as much as cars cost in the US ), and in cash, while the US counterpart uses that car and looks good, while he makes less than $24.000 a year.
    Looks can be deceiving.

  • 58 Guy // Jun 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm


    Great blog, kind of wish it was more active. Anyway, I will be returning to Lima in a few weeks to visit my wife’s family. I have reviewed the blog, but I cannot seem to find what the bank’s name is that accepts deposits from the US. Any help would be appreciated. I did see that Scotia Bank does allow withdrawls without a fee. What is the best bank to work with if you are in time looking to move to Lima?


  • 59 Rafael // Jul 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    question for you? I’m a US Marine I’m Cuban Born and rase in cuba, at 13 I came to the states, I end it up growing up in the states My wife is Peruvian we have a total of 4 kids 2 boys and 2 girls, the 2 yunger ones were born here in the US, my Wife and I are talking about moving to Peru but I dont want to go until I have a confirmation that I have a Job line up over their, Im do for re-tirement soon anyways so with my Retirement I know we will be ok, but like I said before I steel like to get a job, most probably with the Embasy.. Do you have any info on who I have to contact or is their any company besides teaching English that I could work for. We have family over their and we can stay for a while until I can find property to buy.

  • 60 Jaime // Jul 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    If you are billingual ( Cuban/peruvian wife/US citizen) you could work as an official US Embassy interpreter.

  • 61 Jenny // Jul 28, 2010 at 2:25 am


    I am from Australia and my husband has just been offered a job in Peru.

    We would be moving a 14 and 11 year old from Melbourne. Any advice on schooling and housing. I really don’t know where to start and am feeling really stressed about making a huge decision that will affect all of us. Do you think we should make the move to Lima???

  • 62 Kelly // Aug 2, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Hello Barb,

    Congratulations on a wonderful website!
    I was born in Lima and raised in the U.S. and
    now with my B.A. in International Relations and Spanish in hand and zero debt to worry about, I am on the hunt to permanently return “home”. Your articles were a phenomenal way for me to catch up with the political, environmental, and social changes that rarely make the 7 o’clock news here .
    I tried to find some contact info (in the About section of the blog) but the website wasn’t working. I say this because I did some environmental research at College and wanted to ask you about your NGO Clima y Cultura and if you had any openings for a 21-year-old (soon to be 22) who craves hands-on experience a bit more than American dollars?

    any help would be greatly appreciated!