Moving to Peru

Historically central as both the seat of the Inca Empire and the Spanish Empire in South America, Peru has a long and prestigious, if somewhat troubled, history. The population is a mixture of ethnicities and heritages, which makes for a diverse and colourful melting pot of languages, cuisines and cultures, including Chinese, Spanish, Amerindian, and other influences.

Expats moving to Lima, the capital, will find a grand old city with an eclectic skyline - impressive Spanish colonial architecture is intermingled with functional concrete and sleek, contemporary glass skyscrapers. The fourth largest city in the Americas, this sprawling metropolis is home to almost 10 million people. A third of Peru’s population can be found here, including a sizeable, multi-ethnic expat community who work in the many multinational companies with bases in Lima. The city is also a major financial centre in Latin America, and generates over 50 percent of Peru’s GDP. The climate in this port city is mild and humid, despite being surrounded by desert.

New arrivals to Lima and Peru will need to pick up some Peruvian Spanish to get by outside of international businesses. Although increasing numbers of young adults are able to speak English due to a globalised youth culture, this language is spoken very little for the most part. Jobs teaching English in Peru are available and attract plenty of young foreigners to the country.

Expats to Peru should remember that despite its strong economy and multinational influences, Peru is still a developing country. New arrivals should be prepared to deal with often insufficient utilities, a lack of decent public transport, a dysfunctional bureaucracy often mired in red tape, and corruption.

The cost of living in Peru is generally cheaper than in the US or Europe, especially for locally produced foodstuffs and services like domestic help. However, new arrivals should be prepared to pay for decent accommodation and factor in the extra expenses of hiring taxis or buying a car, as public transport is usually avoided by expats.

Those moving with kids will be pleased to know that the public school system is of a very good standard and expat parents will have a choice of top private and international schools.