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Moving to Peru

Peru lies on South America’s west coast and boasts not only a large portion of the Amazon rainforest but also staggeringly beautiful beaches, majestic mountainscapes and plenty of ancient ruins, including Machu Picchu. Besides luring plenty of tourists, Peru, and its capital city of Lima, in particular, has also become a popular expat destination of late.

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 can speak English thanks to globalised youth culture, the language is rarely spoken outside large cities like Lima.

Living in Peru as an expat

Due to Peru’s intricate history, the population is a mixture of ethnicities and heritages. Expats will find the country has a diverse and colourful melting pot of languages, cuisines and cultures, including Chinese, Spanish and Amerindian, to name a few.

As one of the largest cities in the Americas, the sprawling metropolis of Lima is home to almost 10 million people. In fact, the city is home to a third of Peru's population, including a sizeable multi-ethnic expat community working in the many multinational companies based here. Lima is also a major financial centre in Latin America and generates over 50 percent of Peru’s GDP. Expats skilled in mining, manufacturing and tourism will find ample opportunities in the country, and English teachers are also becoming more sought after.

Decent accommodation in Peru is generally affordable. Freestanding houses are somewhat rare, but a few areas offer wider choices for expats and working professionals. Residential complexes on the outskirts of large cities often have some of the best choices available for new arrivals.

Expats to Peru should remember that despite its strong economy and multinational influences, it is still a developing country. The country has a limited public transport network which mainly consists of buses and taxis. A rail network exists, but it is more practical for tourists. Expats with their own cars can often explore the country more freely, but roads are generally in poor conditions, especially outside big cities. Air travel is a practical means of transport, considering the country’s size.

Public healthcare in Peru is often underfunded and understaffed. Cities have better amenities than rural areas, but even here, expats generally prefer private institutions. The country has public healthcare, called Segura Integral de Salud (SIS) and EsSalud, but expats often take out private or international healthcare to ensure coverage.

Cost of living in Peru

The cost of living in Peru is generally cheaper than in the US and Europe, especially for locally produced foodstuffs and services such as domestic help. That said, new arrivals should factor in the expenses of hiring taxis or buying a car, as public transport is usually rather limited.

Expat families and children

Public schooling in Peru is generally of good quality, though many schools are underfunded. Tuition is mainly in Spanish, with local languages such as Quechua offered in more rural areas. There's a number of good private and international schools in the country, and the choice of tertiary education is wide and usually of high quality.

Peru is a country with a range of colourful experiences and activities. Families can explore the rich historical sites or take a trek through the beautiful natural landscape. The large cities like Lima and Cusco offer many interesting things for newcomers to explore, including interesting tours and myriad exotic foods.

Climate in Peru

The country has a climate that varies across its different regions. With dry desert climates across its coastal regions and freezing temperatures in its mountainous regions, the climate in Peru may take some getting used to. The more tropical regions also experience a reasonable amount of rainfall during the wet season.

Most expats who choose to relocate to Peru instantly fall in love with this corner of South America. With warm and friendly locals, some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world, a rich history and a good standard of living, it's no surprise. New arrivals can enjoy a low cost of living and a truly unique expat experience.


Fast facts

Population: About 32 million

Capital city: Lima 

Neighbouring countries: Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil

Geography: While a mostly mountainous country and with the Pacific Ocean to the west, Peru is extremely diverse in its geography. There are three natural zones. The Costa (coastal) region is a narrow coastal plain consisting of large tracts of desert broken by fertile valleys. The Andes are in the Sierra highlands, with peaks towering over 6,000m (20,000ft). The fertile Selva (jungle) area lies between the Andes and the borders with Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. 

Political system: Presidential constitutional republic

Major religion: Roman Catholic 

Main languages: Spanish, Aymara, Quechua 

Money: The Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) is divided into 100 céntimos.

Tipping: Some restaurants add a service charge of between five percent and 10 percent, but waiters can be offered an additional 10 percent for exceptional service. Taxi drivers are not tipped, but tour guides are.

Time: GMT-5 

Electricity: 220V, 60Hz. Two-pronged plugs with flat blades and plugs with two round prongs are used.

Internet domain: .pe

International dialling code: +51

Emergency contacts: 105 (police), 116 (fire), 117 (ambulance)

Transport and driving: Driving is on the right-hand side

Weather in Peru

Peru has a varied terrain with a mixed climate across its different regions. The extreme altitude changes of the mountainous landscape mean that one part of the country may be experiencing freezing cold temperatures, while the coastal regions have sunny weather.

The Pacific coastal regions have an unusual, dry desert climate and experience little rainfall. The capital of Peru, Lima, is located a bit further inland and also has low rainfall. On the other hand, the mountainous and jungle regions experience heavy rains, particularly in the peak wet season from January to March.

Lightweight clothing is generally needed in summer, but in mountainous regions, warm thermal clothing is essential. Waterproof clothing is required in the rainy regions.

 
 

Embassy contacts for Peru

Peruvian Embassies

  • Peruvian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 833 9860

  • Peruvian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7235 3802

  • Peruvian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 1777

  • Peruvian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6273 7351

  • Peruvian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 440 1030

  • Peruvian Consulate, Dublin, Ireland: +353 86 241 7649

  • Peruvian Embassy, Santiago, Chile: +56 2 2339 2624

  • Peruvian Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 213 8943


Foreign embassies in Peru

  • United States Embassy, Lima: +51 1 618 2000

  • British Embassy, Lima: +51 1 617 3000

  • Canadian Embassy, Lima: +51 1 319 3200

  • Australian Embassy, Lima: +51 1 630 0500

  • South African Embassy, Lima: +51 1 612 4848

  • Irish Honorary Consulate, Lima: +51 1 222 5252

  • New Zealand Honorary Consulate, Lima: +51 1 627 7778

Public Holidays in Peru

 

2022

2023

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Maundy Thursday

14 April

6 April

Good Friday

15 April

7 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

St Peter and St Paul's Day

29 June

29 June

Independence Day

28 July

28 July

Santa Rosa de Lima Day

30 August

30 August

Battle of Angamos Day

8 October

8 October

All Saints Day

1 November

1 November

Immaculate Conception Day

8 December

8 December

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Safety in Peru

Relative to other countries in Latin America, safety in Peru is not a major concern. That said, expats should stay vigilant, as crime does occur in both rural and urban areas, and civil unrest can cause disruptions.


Crime in Peru

Crime is a problem in the main cities, including Lima, Cusco and Arequipa. Petty crimes, such as mugging and pickpocketing, occur frequently in crowded tourist areas and on public transport, while more serious crimes, such as robberies, are also frequent in big metros.

The city also has a problem with unregistered taxi drivers taking advantage of unsuspecting foreigners, so it’s best to order a taxi ahead of time rather than hail one directly off the street, or opting for a ride-hailing service such as Uber.


Protests in Peru

Protests are common in Peruvian cities and towns, and can be quite disruptive, particularly for commuters. It’s not uncommon for protest action to carry on for days or weeks, so it’s best to keep abreast of developments. Although they are mostly peaceful, it’s best to avoid any demonstrations. 


The Shining Path in Peru

The Shining Path is a domestic insurgent group operating within Peru. The organisation is involved in illicit narcotics trading, mostly in the Ayacucho region, and has carried out a few terrorist attacks since its start in the early 1980s. The government has waged a relatively successful ongoing campaign against the group, and while the organisation was a lot more active a decade ago, they do still carry out occasional raids and attacks on small villages. It’s unlikely that expats will be affected by Shining Path terrorist activities, but areas in which they are known to operate are best avoided.

Working in Peru

Peru has experienced strong economic growth in recent years and there are a number of opportunities for job-seeking expats.

The mining industry especially attracts many foreign workers and companies. Opportunities also exist in agriculture, fisheries, gas- and petroleum exploitation, and manufacturing. Tourism and teaching English are also popular sources of employment among foreigners.

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is the centre of business and has the largest expat community. Some rural areas and smaller towns also offer work opportunities, especially in tourism.

All foreigners working in Peru are required to have a relevant work permit. Those moving to Peru as part of corporate relocation will likely have one organised for them by their employer.


Job market in Peru

It is not always easy for expats to find work within a Peruvian company. Not only do many companies give locals precedence, but there are also some restrictions on employing foreigners. Expats therefore often find themselves working in Peru for foreign-owned companies or are transferred to the country as part of corporate relocation. Others seek out part-time employment or look for work teaching English. The demand for English teachers is increasing, particularly in Lima where locals are keen to learn the language for business dealings or to give their children a leg up.


Finding a job in Peru

Many foreigners are transferred to Peru as part of a corporate relocation within their existing company. For new arrivals in the country still looking for work, the internet is a good place to start. Social networks such as LinkedIn are of great benefit to job seekers, and it's worth checking local newspapers for job listings too. Company websites may also post vacancies.


Work culture in Peru

Peruvians are hardworking people, but family is also important and work commitments will generally not interfere with family time. Peruvians also have a highly relaxed attitude to time and it’s not unusual for meetings to start late.

Although many city-dwelling Peruvians can speak English, Spanish is the official, and business, language of Peru. Speaking Spanish may help with finding work and can make adjusting to life in Peru that much easier. Quechua, an indigenous language, is the other official language of Peru and is widely spoken in rural areas.

Doing Business in Peru

Peru has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The country encourages foreign investment, and expats doing business in Peru are generally made to feel welcome.

With rich deposits of copper, silver, gold, lead and zinc, mining is an important contributor to Peru’s economy. Other crucial sectors include agriculture, fishery, gas- and petroleum exploitation, and manufacturing. The capital, Lima, is the centre of commerce and is where most foreigners do business in Peru.

Peru’s abundance of natural resources, alongside a stable democracy and strong economic growth all contribute to a positive environment in which to do business.


Fast facts

Business hours

The business week in the country is Monday to Friday. Business hours are from 9am to 5pm, with an hour lunch break.

Business language

Spanish is the main language of business in Peru. While English may be understood in large corporate enterprises in Lima, it is not widely spoken or understood within the public sector.

Greetings

Men and women in business circles will usually greet each other with a handshake. Friends and close associates may greet each other with a light kiss on each cheek.

Dress

Business dress in Peru is formal and conservative, with business suits being the usual attire.

Gifts

Gifts are not expected at business meetings, but it is common practice to give a gift if invited to a Peruvian home. Flowers, liquor or chocolates are a good option; avoid giving knives or scissors, as these may be interpreted as a severing of the relationship.

Gender equality

Peru is still a traditional, macho culture with conventional gender roles. While there are opportunities for women within the corporate arena, salaries tend to be lower.


Business culture in Peru

As with most Latin American countries, building strong relationships and trust is essential when working in Peru. It’s important to network, as Peruvians prefer to do business with trusted associates. Personal connections often go a long way to securing good work opportunities.

Management style

The business culture in Peru is formal. Business structures are hierarchical, with decision making done from the top. There is very little consultation with those in lower positions. Those in authority are respected for being experienced and knowledgeable. When doing business in Peru it’s therefore important to ensure a meeting with a company’s higher-ups in order to avoid delays and miscommunications.

Communication style

The communication style in Peru is indirect and rather ambiguous, so it may be difficult to decipher what someone is truly saying. Saving face is important to Peruvians, and they generally try to avoid causing offence or confrontation. When conversing, a Peruvian may appear to agree with what is being said, even if they don’t really.

Peruvians are generally quite open and it’s not unusual to stand close together and to touch each other on the shoulder or hands while talking.

Business relationships

Building interpersonal relationships is essential, as Peruvians prefer to do business with those they know and trust. Expats should spend time getting to know an associate before any real business is dealt with. In line with this, business meetings will usually start with small talk about matters such as family or football.


Dos and don’ts of doing business in Peru

  • Do make small talk when starting a meeting, but avoid topics such as politics and religion
  • Do be punctual for meetings, but don’t expect that the Peruvian counterparts will be on time; it’s not unusual for meetings to begin late
  • Do try to learn some Spanish, especially if dealing with those within the public sector, as English is not widely spoken outside of city business circles

Cost of Living in Peru

Relative to other countries in Latin America, the cost of living in Peru is average. Living in the city, particularly in Lima, is more expensive than in rural areas, and the range of services and quality of produce also varies depending on the region.

According to Mercer's 2021 Cost of Living report, Lima is ranked 150th out of 209 cities, making it a mid-range city in terms of the cost of living for expats.


Cost of accommodation in Peru

The cost of accommodation in Peru is variable, with apartments being more expensive in the larger cities. Lima has the most expensive accommodation, particularly in areas such as Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro.

Accommodation is likely to be an expat’s greatest expense when living in Peru. For those moving here as part of a corporate relocation programme, it’s a good idea to factor accommodation costs into any contract negotiations.


Cost of education in Peru

Public schools in Peru are free, but education at a private or international school is expensive. Expats who'd like to send their children to an international school in Peru should factor this significant expense into their budget, and if moving to the country as part of a corporate relocation package, they should make provisions for this in their contract.


Cost of food in Peru

Food is relatively affordable in Peru. Food at local fresh produce markets is generally cheaper than in supermarkets and it’s often possible to bargain on the prices. he quality of products may vary.


Cost of transport in Peru

The cost of transport in Peru is quite low and it’s relatively cheap to travel around the country using public transport. The running costs of a vehicle can be expensive owing to high import costs.


Cost of living in Peru chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Lima in April 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

PEN 1,880

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

PEN 1,350

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

PEN 3,520

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

PEN 2,690

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

PEN 4.50

Eggs (dozen)

PEN 6.30

Loaf of bread (white)

PEN 6.10

Rice (1kg)

PEN 4

Chicken breasts (1kg)

PEN 18.50

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

PEN 17.50

Utilities

Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable)

PEN 107

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

PEN 0.50

Monthly utilities for standard household (electricity, water etc.)

PEN 255

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

PEN 80

Big Mac Meal

PEN 20

Cappuccino

PEN 10

Coca-Cola (330ml)

PEN 3

Beer (local)

PEN 8

Transport

Taxi/km

PEN 5

City bus

PEN 2

Petrol per litre

PEN 4.40

Culture Shock in Peru

Peru has a rich heritage, influenced by a melting pot of ethnicities. The country has historically been an important political and cultural centre of Latin America as the seat of the Inca empire and the entry point for the Spanish conquistadores.

Expats are unlikely to experience severe culture shock in Peru. Peruvians, in general, are reserved, peaceful, warm and welcoming to foreigners. Mestizos (those of Amerindian and European ancestry) form the majority of the population, with smaller groups of Amerindians (mostly Quechua and Aymaras), and those of European, Asian (mostly Chinese and Japanese) and African ancestry.

Time in Peru

The lifestyle in Peru is highly influenced by where expats choose to live but, generally, the country has a laid-back lifestyle. Family is highly important, so the biggest meals of the day usually see large gatherings of relatives.

In the middle of the day, workers return to their homes for a siesta (nap). Dinner times tend to be rather late and friends and families will often gather at a local restaurant or bar for this meal.


Language barrier in Peru

Spanish and the indigenous language of Quechua are the two official languages of Peru. Spanish is the most popular language, while numerous indigenous languages are also spoken in more rural areas. Expats will find that learning Spanish is essential for integrating into life in this Latin American country. While some Peruvians in the corporate sphere in cities such as Lima and the tourist city of Cusco may speak English, the average Peruvian will not.


Food and drinks in Peru

Cuisine in Peru is a fascinating blend of indigenous and Spanish flavours, alongside influences from the country’s Chinese, European and African populations.

Potatoes, corn, legumes, quinoa and a local chilli pepper (uchu) are the staples of Peruvian dishes. Thanks to Peru’s long coastline, fish and shellfish are also popular. One of the country’s most famous dishes is ceviche, which is raw fish marinated in lemon juice. Expats may be surprised to learn that guinea pig (cuy) is a staple meat in Peru. It’s usually served fried or baked as part of a casserole.

There are a few interesting local beverages to enjoy. Chicha morada is a drink made from purple maize and flavoured with cloves, cinnamon and sugar, and served cold. Pisco, a type of brandy, is the traditional drink of Peru. It’s used to make pisco sour, a delicious cocktail of pisco mixed with lime juice, egg white and sugar.


Meeting and greeting in Peru

Peruvians are generally friendly and the usual greeting is a handshake. A kiss on the cheek is common among acquaintances, but not among strangers. Indigenous Peruvians are generally quite reserved. It’s common for them not to greet each other and to avoid direct eye contact.


Tips to overcome culture shock in Peru

Learning Spanish will go a long way to easing into life in Peru and interacting with the local population on a daily basis.

Indigenous Peruvians are generally quite reserved and even shy, so expats shouldn't take offence if they are not overly friendly or avoid engaging in conversation.

Always show respect for the indigenous people and their traditions. Avoid referring to them as indios; a more polite term is indigenas.

Accommodation in Peru

Accommodation in Peru is generally quite affordable and there is a variety of options for expats to choose from, depending on their lifestyle and budget. The range and quality of accommodation vary considerably depending on where an expat chooses to settle. Housing in cities, particularly Lima, is far more expensive than in smaller towns. While apartments are the most common type of accommodation for city-dwelling expats, houses are often more popular in rural areas.


Types of accommodation in Peru

The majority of expats in Peru live in one of the larger cities and choose accommodation in the form of apartments. Houses are usually rare, but those wanting more space and a garden may find what they’re looking for if they’re prepared to pay more.

Apartments can be furnished, semi-furnished or unfurnished, with the latter being the most common. Furnished apartments may include basic furniture and appliances, while unfurnished accommodation will likely not have any appliances at all.

In general, expats should expect to pay more for accommodation that is closer to the city centre and near public transport routes. Those cities and areas popular among expats also tend to be the most expensive. Residential complexes on the outskirts of cities can be perfect for expats, with a variety of apartments and houses that have relatively up-to-date amenities.


Finding accommodation in Peru

Online property portals are extremely helpful when it comes to looking for accommodation. Most local newspapers and their electronic counterparts also have listings of available accommodation to rent.

There are many estate agents operating in Peru and they are a good source of information and assistance when it comes to finding accommodation. Local agents can also guide expats through the entire rental procedure, which may be different from what expats are used to. Many landlords do not speak English, so expats should bring a trusted friend along, or enlist the help of an estate agent when viewing accommodation.


Renting accommodation in Peru

The renting process in Peru can be unfamiliar to many expats. The language barrier can also be a big hurdle to overcome, so expats should consider going with an estate agent who can speak both English and Spanish.

Safety and security are important considerations when choosing accommodation in Peru. Crime is a concern in Peruvian cities, and house break-ins occur frequently. Expats should choose secure accommodation, preferably with 24/7 security and an alarm system. Apartments on upper floors are also more secure.

Leases

Two types of leases exist in Peru: fixed-term and indefinite-term leases. Fixed-term leases require the tenant and landlord to adhere to the contract for a pre-specified time. These leases can be signed for up to 10 years, so expats should read the terms of their contracts carefully before making a deal.

Indefinite-term leases offer a bit more leeway. These contracts can be suspended at any time, as long as the agreed-upon notice is given. The notice period is usually one month, but it can be longer or shorter, depending on what was arranged with the owner.

Deposits

A security deposit of up to three months’ rent is often required to secure a property. The deposit ensures that the property is not damaged while the renter lives there. If no damage is done to the property during the rental period, expats can get their deposit back. In case the property was damaged in any way, the amount for the repairs will be taken from the deposit and the rest can be returned.

Utilities

When renting property in Peru, expats should ensure that a proper signed rental contract is in place and that the responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant are clearly defined, including an inventory and which utilities are included. Water, electricity and other utilities are not always included in the rental price and will be an additional expense for the tenant.

Healthcare in Peru

Healthcare is inconsistent in Peru, with especially few decent facilities available in rural areas. There are public and private healthcare facilities in the country, but expats usually prefer to make use of private healthcare, as public facilities are notoriously inadequate.


Public healthcare in Peru

Public healthcare in Peru is generally poor and insufficient, largely due to a serious lack of funding. Public hospitals are subject to long waiting times, and those with non-urgent health concerns often have to wait months for an appointment.

Basic healthcare is seriously lacking in rural areas, with small under-resourced clinics providing very basic services. It’s unlikely that staff in these facilities will be able to speak English, and any serious medical emergencies may require evacuation to a city with better facilities.


Private healthcare in Peru

Private healthcare facilities are available in Peru, particularly in Lima and Cusco. These institutions are generally better staffed and equipped than public healthcare and are the preferred option for expats living in Peru.

Private healthcare in Peru is generally quite affordable, but doctors will often expect cash payment upfront, regardless of a patient’s medical aid. So when visiting a doctor, it’s important to confirm this ahead of time.


Health insurance in Peru

Public health insurance is available to Peruvian nationals through two systems, Segura Integral de Salud (SIS) and EsSalud. SIS is regulated by the Peruvian Ministry of Health and is largely aimed at those who are poverty-stricken and have no health coverage. EsSalud is aimed at the working population and their families, providing healthcare within a specific network of medical facilities.

For easy access to the private system, it’s important for expats to ensure that they have some form of private health insurance. For those moving to Peru as part of a corporate relocation package, this should be considered when negotiating a contract.


Pharmacies in Peru

Pharmacies are plentiful in Peruvian cities and many are open 24/7. Some of the larger supermarkets, such as Santa Isabel, also have pharmacies, and most medications are easily available over the counter.


Health hazards in Peru

Altitude sickness is common for visitors to Peru and it’s best to take the necessary precautions. Symptoms include headache, nausea, lethargy and dizziness. Expats experiencing any of these symptoms should visit a healthcare professional.

There is some risk of malaria in rural areas of Peru, particularly in the jungle areas east of the Andes Mountains. Expats visiting these areas should ensure that they take the advised precautions.


Emergency services in Peru

Emergency services are seriously lacking in rural areas, but are available in the larger cities. For an ambulance, expats can dial 117.


Hospitals in Lima

Clinica Anglo Americana

Website: www.clinicaangloamericana.pe
Address: Av. Emilio Cavenecia 250, San Isidro 15073

Clinica San Borja

Website: www.sanna.pe/clinicas/san-borja-lima
Address: Av. Guardia Civil 337, San Borja 15036

Clinica el Golf

Website: www.sanna.pe/clinicas/el-golf-lima
Address: Av. Aurelio Miró Quesada 1030, San Isidro 15073

Education and Schools in Peru

Expats moving to Peru with children can rest assured that they'll receive decent education. Not only is Peru’s public school system considered to be among the best in Latin America, but there are also plenty of international schools in Peru to choose from – a popular choice with expats, due to the language barrier.


Public schools in Peru

Peru’s public schooling system generally offers a good level of education, though it is somewhat underfunded. Schooling in Peru is compulsory for children from age six to 16, with public schooling free for all Peruvians.

Public schools follow the local Peruvian curriculum, with instruction in Spanish. Some public schools in rural areas also have instruction in a local language such as Quechua.

The Peruvian education system is split into three levels: primary, secondary and technical/vocational education. Children in the primary and secondary levels follow a general curriculum. After completing primary and secondary schooling, children have the option of following an academic or technical route at the technical/vocational level. This is offered through technological institutions, most of which are private, but still overseen by the Ministry of Education.

The usual school week is from Monday to Friday, with the school day from around 8am to 2pm. The school year runs from March to December and is split into two semesters.


Private schools in Peru

There are several private schools in Peru, though fewer than public or international schools. These schools follow the Peruvian curriculum. While the main language of instruction is Spanish, many private schools in Peru offer instruction in both Spanish and English.

Private schools are not free and may charge high fees, though some low-fee private schools are available. Many schools are run through religious organisations, while others are cooperatively managed by a private board and financed by fees. Most private schools are located closer to big cities, such as Lima, so expats should carefully consider schools when deciding where to live.


International schools in Peru

Attending an international school is often a good choice for expats. The language barrier in local schools can be a big problem and the International Baccalaureate programme ensures children can continue schooling in other countries as well. International schools also have better funding than local institutions, offering children better educational resources.

There are a number of international schools in Peru. Most of these schools are based in Lima, but some can be found in Arequipa. International schools generally teach in Spanish and English, and either follow the Peruvian curriculum or IB. In some cases, curricula from other countries may also be taught.

International schools tend to be much more expensive than other schools and they can be rather exclusive, so expat parents should apply ahead of time.


Tertiary education in Mexico

Peru has a wide selection of private and public universities. The quality of education is reasonably high, with Spanish as the main language of tuition. Most institutions require three years of study and afford graduates certification as technical professionals. Private universities may have their own structure and expats should research the available programmes to ensure they are enrolled in a programme that corresponds with their needs.

The country also offers specialised technical higher institutes for agriculture and engineering, higher pedagogical institutes focusing on training teachers, and higher postgraduate centres that are comparable to university branch facilities.


Special-needs education in Peru

Most government schools in Peru do not have educational programmes for those with special needs. In rural areas especially, students with learning disabilities are often overlooked, since the teaching force here is already stretched rather thin in most cases. In grades one and two, remedial classrooms are available, but not afterwards.

In urban areas, several institutes with special programmes do exist where students get individualised attention and regular support. Several programmes also aim to recruit volunteers to help educate children with learning disabilities.

Private and international schools often have much better resources to help expat children with special needs.


Tutors in Peru

Private tutoring can help any expat child adapt to a new educational system or with a specific subject. The individual attention afforded by a tutor can be just what the child needs to integrate and succeed. Tutors can also be a good way for expat kids to bridge the language barrier, by teaching them Spanish.

Although tutor companies in Peru can be somewhat scarce, many online resources are available, such as Apprentus or TeacherOn. HiPerú is a reputable tutor service in Peru.

Transport and Driving in Peru

Getting around Peru is relatively easy and inexpensive. Owing to its varied and unique terrain of mountains, deserts and rainforests, travelling around the country can be an interesting but sometimes tricky and time-consuming experience.


Public transport in Peru

Buses

Buses offer a relatively cheap means of getting around Peru, but they’re often overcrowded and slow. A number of private companies are also available, and many of these companies operate their own bus stations. For long-distance buses, it’s possible to book tickets online or buy tickets directly from the bus company offices.

Trains

There are a number of train services, but they don’t offer a practical means of getting around Peru. Trains are mostly used by tourists who want to enjoy a scenic journey around the country. In particular, the most popular train route connects Cusco with the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.


Taxis

Taxis are plentiful in Peruvian towns and cities. The taxi industry is not thoroughly regulated though, and many private vehicles also operate as taxis. Few taxis are metered so it’s best to negotiate the fare before embarking on a journey.

There have been some issues with unregistered taxis taking advantage of unsuspecting foreigners, and even using taxis to carry out crimes, so expats should be cautious when hailing a taxi from the street. Ordering a taxi ahead of time over the phone may be a more expensive option, but it is also a safer one.

Colectivos are shared minibus taxis that operate along fixed routes in and between Peruvian towns and cities. These are often ageing vehicles with questionable safety records. These vehicles also tend to be overcrowded and drivers have a reputation for driving erratically.

Some ride-hailing apps, such as Uber, are also available in larger cities and are usually more convenient, as they circumvent any possible language barriers and payment issues.


Driving in Peru

For expats living in a Peruvian metropolis, it’s normally quite easy to get around using public transport and a private vehicle is not necessary. That said, many expats do choose to have a car, especially if they want to explore more of the country.

Roads are generally in poor condition and driving standards in Peru are bad. Traffic can be horrendous in the cities, especially in Lima, and accidents occur frequently.

Travelling at night can also be risky due to crime, especially in rural areas. Outside of the main cities and towns, many roads are unpaved and a four-wheel-drive vehicle may be necessary.


Air travel in Peru

Due to the country’s size and vast distances, it is often more convenient to fly between cities in Peru. Some towns are, in fact, only accessible by plane. 

Jorge Chavez International Airport, located just outside Lima, is the country’s main air hub. Several international carriers have regular services to and from Peru, while the main air carriers operating within the country include LAN, Star Peru and LC Peru.

Banking, Money and Taxes in Peru

Peru’s banking system underwent privatisation during the 1990s and expats have a number of options when it comes to managing finances. The country has a modern banking system that is regulated by the Central Reserve Bank of Peru.


Money in Peru

The official currency is the Sol (PEN), which is divided into 100 céntimos. The currency is represented with the symbol S/.

  • Notes: PEN 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200.
  • Coins: PEN 1, 2 and 5 and 5, 10, 20 and 50 céntimos.

US dollars are widely accepted in Peru, but the exchange rate on these is usually poor. Day-to-day transactions may also be difficult to make in US dollars, as many small shops are only used to trading in soles.


Banking in Peru

Expats will find that banking in Peru is relatively easy. Both local and international banks operate in the country and most Peruvian banks offer modern facilities and services.

Expats should be aware that there have been some issues with counterfeit foreign currency in the country, particularly US dollars, so when exchanging money, it’s best to do so at a legitimate establishment.

Banking hours vary, with most branches open between 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm Monday to Saturday. Some banks are also open on Sunday for a limited number of hours.

Opening a bank account

Foreigners can open a bank account in the local currency or in some foreign currencies, including dollars. In order to open a Peruvian bank account, expats need to provide their passport and have a foreign residence card. Proof of address and proof of income may also be required.

Peruvian bank charges can be quite high and most banks charge for every transaction, so it’s best to shop around and compare rates when deciding which bank to open an account with.

Internet banking

Peru has modern banking facilities, including cellphone and internet banking services, allowing expats to avoid wasting time in long bank queues.

ATMs in Peru

ATMs are available across the country. Foreign bank cards are not always accepted in ATMs, so it’s best to check before trying to draw cash.

Credit cards

Rural Peru remains a largely cash-based society and credit cards aren't a typical means of payment. That said, credit cards are accepted in major shops, restaurants and hotels in Peruvian cities.


Taxes in Peru

Peruvian residents pay tax on a progressive scale on their worldwide income, while non-residents are only taxed on income earned in Peru. For tax purposes, a resident is someone who has lived in Peru for at least 183 days in a 12-month period; the days don’t have to be consecutive.