Last Updated on December 4, 2023 by Eric Livingston
Live in Peru
- Live in Peru
- Live in Peru | Embrace It’s Legacy and Scenic Beauty
- If You Really Want to Live in Peru, Learn Spanish
- Inca History in Peru
- Indigenous Areas in Peru
- Climate Across Peru
- Peru’s Economic Stability and Growth
- Independence and Modern Era
- Live in Peru – An Expats Dream
- Award Winning Peruvian Cuisine
- Peru’s Two Culinary C’s – Ceviche and Chifa
- You Eat Guinea Pig?
- Political Scandal Rocked Peru in the 2000's
- Pardoned, Not Pardoned, Pardoned Not Pardoned
- Cities to Live in Peru
- Lima, Peru
- Best Places to Live in Lima, Peru
- Arequipa, Peru
- Best Places to Live in Arequipa, Peru
- Cusco, Peru
- Best Places to Live in Cusco, Peru
- Iquitos, Peru
- Sorry, There Are No "Best Places to Live" in Iquitos, Peru
- Trujillo, Peru
- Best Places to Live in Trujillo, Peru
- Other Notable Cities
- Banking System in Peru
- Firearm Laws in Peru
Live in Peru | Embrace It’s Legacy and Scenic Beauty
More and more people want to live in Peru. Situated on South America’s western coast, Peru is an interesting blend of historical charm and natural marvels. Peru is bordered by 5 countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador. Peru, renowned for its captivating landscapes and legacy of the Inca civilization, warmly welcomes visitors to explore its diverse topography and deep-rooted traditions.
If You Really Want to Live in Peru, Learn Spanish
Before I delve into the history and some of the best places to live in Peru, I’d like readers to understand that Peru, like much of Latin America is a Spanish speaking country. English is NOT widely spoken. Unless you want to live in an overcrowded, overly touristy place like Cancún or Playa del Carmen and listen to “Hey my friend” English all day, I suggest you bite the bullet and learn Spanish via television like I did. Make it fun! Make it part of your life, like working out or brushing your teeth and YOU WILL SPEAK SPANISH. Don’t wait!
Inca History in Peru
The Inca civilization, one of the most powerful and sophisticated ancient cultures, thrived in Peru from the 15th to the early 16th century. The heartland of the Inca Empire was in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Incas were known for their advanced agricultural techniques, impressive architecture, and intricate road systems. Their capital, Cusco, was a major cultural and political center. The Inca Empire reached its peak under Emperor Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui aka Pachacutec, expanding to include parts of, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador. However, in 1533, Spanish conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, ousted the Inca Empire, marking the end of the Inca rule in Peru.
Indigenous Areas in Peru
Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, is a significant hub of indigenous culture. The Sacred Valley, located near Cusco, is dotted with ancient Inca ruins and indigenous communities. The city of Arequipa, in southern Peru, is known for its indigenous influence, evident in its architecture and local traditions. Additionally, the Amazon rainforest regions of Peru like Iquitos are inhabited by various indigenous tribes, each with its unique culture and way of life. These areas continue to celebrate and maintain their indigenous heritage.
Climate Across Peru
Peru’s climate varies dramatically across its regions. While Lima, the coastal capital, experiences a mild desert climate, the Andean areas at higher elevations have cooler temperatures. In contrast, the Amazon Rainforest’s climate is lush and tropical, which makes Peru very diverse climatically. Here’s a breakdown of some different climates throughout Peru that you could live in:
Arequipa, nestled in the Andes Mountains, has a cool desert climate (Köppen Classification: BWk). Days are warm and sunny, while nights can be quite chilly. Arequipa experiences very little rainfall, therefore making it an arid environment.
Cusco, another Andean city, has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Classification: Cwb). It features mild days and cool nights throughout the year. The rainy season occurs from November to March, while the rest of the year remains relatively dry.
Located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, Iquitos has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Classification: Af). It’s characterized by high temperatures and abundant rainfall throughout the year, making it one of the wettest cities in the world.
Peru’s Economic Stability and Growth
Peru has emerged as a robust economy in South America. Abundant in natural resources like copper, gold, and silver, Peru’s economy depends on mining and exports. Additionally, sectors such as tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing significantly contribute to the nation’s economic stability. The official currency of Peru is the Sol or Soles when plural.
Independence and Modern Era
Peru gained independence from Spain on July 28, 1821, under the leadership of prominent figures such as José de la Riva-Agüero and José de San Martín. San Martín, an Argentine general, played a pivotal role in liberating several South American countries from Spanish rule. His military campaigns, including the decisive Battle of Ayacucho on December 9, 1824, led to the complete independence of Peru. This significant achievement marked the end of Spanish colonial rule Peru emerged as a sovereign nation. Today, Peru proudly stands as a sovereign nation, preserving its heritage while embracing modernity. That’s what so many people like to live in Peru.
José de San Martín was an Ally of Simón Bolívar
Two of the most influential leaders in the Latin American wars of independence, were in communication during the independence movement. exchanged a series of letters and eventually met up to discuss the liberation of South America from Spanish colonial rule.
Did José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar Physically Meet One Another?
The two independence leaders met in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on July 26 and 27, 1822. During this meeting, they discussed the future of the South American independence movement. As far as recorded history indicates, this was the only documented physical meeting between Bolívar and San Martín. The details of their conversation and the nature of their relationship have been a subject of historical debate, but it is widely acknowledged that they did have a face-to-face meeting in addition to their written correspondence.
José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar Didn’t Always Agree
While they shared a common goal, they also had differences in their approaches and visions for the newly liberated nations. Despite their occasional disagreements, their combined efforts significantly contributed to the independence of several South American countries and Panama (which was part of Colombia until the U.S. intervened in 1903).
Live in Peru – An Expats Dream
From the lively streets of Lima to the serene beauty of Lake Titicaca, the arid, mountainous, cool climate of Arequipa, vast desert landscapes to the steamy Amazon, Peru offers varying climates and topography to suit all tastes. Peru draws expatriates from around the world with its unique blend of ancient allure and contemporary living. I personally enjoy countries whereby you can appreciate their history yet enjoy modern living at the same time. Peru is a great example of this, like Mexico. I understand why so many want to live in Peru.
Award Winning Peruvian Cuisine
Peru’s cuisine is renowned globally for its diverse flavors, innovative techniques, and exquisite presentation, earning accolades and recognition on the international culinary stage. Its gastronomy blends indigenous ingredients with influences from Spanish, African, and Asian culinary traditions. From the flavorful heat of aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper) to the hearty aji de gallina (shredded chicken in spicy sauce), Peruvian cuisine serves up a gastronomic adventure, for foodies from around the world. In 2023, Central, in Lima was named the best restaurant in the world by Conde Naste in their annual The World’s 50 Best Restaurants contest.
Peru’s Two Culinary C’s – Ceviche and Chifa
One of Peru’s most celebrated dishes is ceviche, a refreshing and tangy seafood dish made with fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice, onions, and chili peppers, often served with sweet potato and corn. While it’s not unique to Peru alone, it’s certainly a staple in Peruvians diet, especially in coastal locations where the seafood is always fresh. I’m a big fan of ceviche. I ate it a lot in neighboring Ecuador.
Chifa, a popular culinary style in Peru, represents the fusion of Peruvian and Chinese flavors, creating unique dishes like lomo saltado, a stir-fry combining marinated beef, vegetables, and Peruvian spices and Chaufa which is simply Peruvian-Chinese style fried rice accompanied with some form of protein. Dishes are typically served with tallarin (spaghetti like noodles) or rice and some are even accompanied with french fries. I ate so much Chaufa in Ecuador and will eat a lot more in Peru.
You Eat Guinea Pig?
I certainly don’t. While some Andean highland regions of Peru indulge in the traditional dish of cuy (guinea pig), it’s not a staple across the whole country and generally not eaten by middle to upper class Peruvians. It’s a widely available low-cost source of protein for the locals that live in the Peruvian highlands. It’s not that odd really. I’m guessing cuy probably even tastes good. They eat grasshoppers (chapulines) in Mexico, big assed ants (hormigas culonas) in Santander, Colombia, grubs in Iquitos, Peru, Balut (chicken fetus in egg) in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam etc. If I had to choose any of those, I’d probably go with Cuy. Cuy is also eaten in Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. I’ve seen them hanging for sale in Ecuador. No thanks. I’m sure they taste fine but I just can’t.
Political Scandal Rocked Peru in the 2000’s
Vladi-videos Scandal and Downfall of Fujimori Regime
The “Vladi-videos” scandal took place in 2000. During this time, a series of secretly recorded videos were released to the public, showing widespread corruption within the Peruvian government, particularly implicating former President Alberto Fujimori, and several high-ranking officials. These videos, recorded by Vladimiro Montesinos, a notorious intelligence chief accused of numerous crimes himself, captured instances of bribery, vote-buying, and abuse of power.
Alberto Fujimori Flees to Japan, then Chile
The scandal led to significant unrest and political disorder in Peru, eventually contributing to the collapse of the Fujimori administration. In the aftermath, Alberto Fujimori initially fled to Japan and later to Chile, where he was arrested and extradited back to Peru in 2007.
In the End, Alberto Fujimori was Given a 32-Year Prison Term
In 2009, Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his connection in human rights abuses, specifically for his role in two massacres carried out by paramilitary groups in the early 1990s. Additionally, he was given a separate 7-year prison sentence for corruption charges related to his government’s illegal wiretapping activities and embezzlement of public funds. In total, the Peruvian court issued a total prison term of 32 years for Alberto Fujimori, although there is some ambiguity in Wikipedia regarding the additional sentence added.
Pardoned, Not Pardoned, Pardoned Not Pardoned
Alberto Fujimore is 85 years old as I write this in November of 2023. Here is a breakdown of his pardon requests being granted then annulled:
First Time Alberto Fujimori is Pardoned
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski grants him a pardon on grounds of poor health.
Peruvian Supreme Court Sends Him Back to Jail
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of Justice annulled Fujimori’s pardon, compelling him to return to prison.
Constitutional Court of Peru Reinstates Pardon
Later, the Constitutional Court of Peru, in a narrow 4-3 decision, reinstated the pardon. However, the conditions and timeline for his potential release remained uncertain.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights Rescinds Pardon
Subsequently, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights overturned the ruling of the Constitutional Court, directing Peru not to release Fujimori.
Cities to Live in Peru
Lima, the capital city of Peru, stands as the largest and most populous city in the country. Situated along the central western coast of South America, Lima boasts a rich history and vibrant culture. It serves as Peru’s economic, political, and cultural epicenter. Lima’s diverse districts offer a glimpse into the country’s multifaceted identity, blending colonial architecture with modern developments. The city’s culinary scene is renowned globally, making Lima a gastronomic paradise. With a population exceeding 10 million, Lima’s dynamic energy is palpable, drawing both residents and visitors alike. Lots of Expats choose to live in Peru make Lima their home.
Best Places to Live in Lima, Peru
Miraflores is Lima’s most upscale and tourist-friendly district. It sits alongside the Pacific. It offers a mix of modern apartments, luxury homes, and convenient access to amenities. Parque Kennedy (Named after U.S. President John F. Kennedy) is one of the most iconic parks in Miraflores, Parque Kennedy is vibrant with street performers, and for some reason the presence of friendly cats! It’s a central meeting point surrounded by shops and cafes.
Often called Lima’s bohemian district, Barranco is a charming neighborhood with narrow streets, colorful colonial-style houses, and a lively artistic atmosphere. It’s all hipster-like. It’s known for its cultural spaces, galleries, and a variety of dining options. Barranco is popular among artists, expats, and those seeking a more chill lifestyle.
It’s also home to Puente de Suspiros which I’ve seen so many people mis-translate to Bridge of Sighs. While it’s true “Suspiro” means to “sigh” it also means to desire or yearn for something in addition to exhaling profoundly. Therefore, a much better translation is the “Bridge of Wishes” as that is the idea of El Puente de Suspiros, not to sigh! When you think of “sigh” it’s generally negative as in “My husband just looked at me and sighed when I asked him to take out the trash.” That’s not what El Puente de Suspiros is about! Stop with Google Translate already and learn real Spanish! A bridge of sighs makes no sense! So, make a wish, hold your breath, cross the bridge and let out a suspiro! Haha
If you’re all serious and businesslike then San Isidro may be for you. It’s the well-established residential and financial district of Lima. It’s got lots of green spaces and upscale homes. San Isidro is considered one of Lima’s safest neighborhoods and is also the most expensive.
While primarily a business district, San Isidro is home to a variety of cafes and upscale restaurants, making it a culinary destination.
Known as the “White City” due to its striking white volcanic stone buildings, Arequipa is the second-largest city in Peru. Surrounded by three imposing volcanoes, the city’s dramatic setting adds to its allure. Arequipa’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed 2000. The city exemplifies a seamless blend of Spanish colonial and native architectural styles. Arequipa is renowned for its culinary scene. It serves as the gateway to the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for adventure. Arequipa is the second most popular city for expats to live in Peru after Lima.
Best Places to Live in Arequipa, Peru
Located north of downtown Arequipa, Cayma is a peaceful residential area known for its spacious houses and parks. The district offers a quieter environment while still providing easy access to the city center.
Vallecito is a central district known for its convenience and proximity to key amenities. With a mix of residential and commercial spaces, Vallecito offers a dynamic urban lifestyle while maintaining a sense of community.
Yanahuara is a historic district with a colonial charm and iconic viewpoints offering stunning panoramas of Arequipa and the surrounding volcanoes. It has a mix of traditional and modern residences, making it an attractive area for both locals and expats.
Nestled in the Andes Mountains, Cusco holds the distinction of being the historic capital of the Inca Empire. This city, surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders. Cusco serves as the gateway to the iconic Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1983 that is deemed New Seven Wonders of the World. The city itself boasts enchanting colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and vibrant markets, offering visitors a unique blend of ancient history and modern charm. It’s a certain type of person that chooses Cusco when deciding on where to live in Peru.
No Fancy Malls in Cusco
Best Places to Live in Cusco, Peru
San Blas, often referred to as the artisan’s quarter, is a picturesque neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets and a bohemian atmosphere. It’s known for its art, boutique hotels, and cozy cafes.
San Pedro is a central district known for its busy market and proximity to Cusco’s main attractions. It offers a mix of traditional and modern living, attracting expats, locals and tourists.
Santa Ana is a residential area known for its peaceful surroundings and scenic views of Cusco. There’s a mix of housing options that provide sense of calm while still being close to Cusco’s historic center.
Iquitos, situated deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, is the largest city in the world inaccessible by road, not including islands. Accessible only by river boat or plane, Iquitos offers a unique experience for travelers seeking adventure in the Amazon basin. Surrounded by lush rainforests and the Amazon River, Iquitos serves as a gateway for exploring the diverse flora and fauna of the region. The city is also known for its vibrant street markets, traditional Peruvian cuisine, and the captivating Belén neighborhood, which floats on the water during the rainy season, providing an extraordinary glimpse into the Amazonian way of life. There are virtually no expats living in Iquitos. It appears to be an awesome destination to visit but not the best place to live in Peru for most foreigners.
Sorry, There Are No “Best Places to Live” in Iquitos, Peru
The concept of “neighborhoods” in Iquitos takes on a different meaning as the city harmoniously merges with the surrounding Amazon rainforest. Residents often dwell in riverside communities, fostering a unique urban-nature coexistence. Many make a living off the land, relying on the abundance of the Amazon River for sustenance. However, this symbiotic relationship with nature also brings challenges, with poverty being a reality. Despite the absence of traditional residential districts, Iquitos’ appeal lies in its close connection to the lush rainforest.
Trujillo, located on the northern coast of Peru, is steeped in pre-Colombian history and colonial charm. Most consider it to have a pleasant climate year-round. Trujillo is a hub of archaeological wonders, including the ancient Moche and Chimú civilizations. The city’s colonial architecture, colorful facades, and lively atmosphere make it a captivating destination. Trujillo’s nearby beaches, such as Huanchaco, are cool spots for surfers and beach enthusiasts.
Best Places to Live in Trujillo, Peru
Victor Larco Herrera is a district in Trujillo known for its modern infrastructure, shopping centers, and residential areas. It’s considered one of the safer neighborhoods in the city, attracting families and professionals.
La Merced is a historical district with colonial architecture, narrow streets, and a lively atmosphere. It offers a mix of traditional and modern living, with easy access to local markets and cultural attractions.
El Golf is an emerging residential and commercial area in Trujillo, characterized by modern developments and green spaces. It’s become a good choice for those seeking a contemporary lifestyle with proximity to amenities.
Other Notable Cities
Chiclayo is located on the northwestern coast of Peru, is known for its rich cultural heritage and archaeological discoveries. The city is a gateway to ancient wonders such as the Lord of Sipán tomb, showcasing artifacts from the Moche civilization. Chiclayo’s vibrant markets, including the Mercado Modelo, offer a glimpse into local traditions and crafts. The city’s culinary scene is celebrated, with a focus on seafood dishes, making it a delightful destination for food enthusiasts.
Huancayo, nestled in the scenic Andean highlands, offers a serene escape into Peru’s natural beauty. Surrounded by picturesque mountains and valleys, Huancayo is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The city is renowned for its traditional folk music and colorful festivals, providing visitors with an authentic cultural experience. Huancayo’s nearby attractions, such as the scenic Jauja Valley aka Mantaro Valley and the thermal baths of Cochas Chico, make it a charming destination off the beaten path.
Banking System in Peru
Historical Roots of the Peruvian Banking Sector
The Central Reserve Bank of Peru (Banco Central de Reserva del Perú; BCRP) is the Peruvian central bank. The bank produces both metal and paper currency, called the Sol or Soles in plural. Its presence in Arequipa dates to 1871. At that time, it also provided management of savings accounts in Southern Peru. Today it’s the equivalent of the Federal Reserve of the United States or the European Central Bank. Over the years, the sector underwent significant transformations, welcoming international players like Banco Santander and BBVA. In 1996, the Superintendencia de Banca, Seguros y Administradoras Privadas de Fondos de Pensiones (SBS) (Spanish) was established, serving as the regulatory body overseeing the banking industry. The currency of Peru is called the Sol or Soles if plural.
Modern Developments and Regulatory Framework
In recent years, Peru’s banking landscape has witnessed a surge in innovation and technological advancements. Digital banking solutions, mobile payment platforms, and internet banking services have become commonplace, ensuring convenient and secure transactions. The SBS continues to play a pivotal role in regulating the sector, ensuring compliance with international standards, and fostering a stable financial environment for businesses, consumers, and investors that work or live in Peru.
Firearm Laws in Peru
National Superintendence of Control of Security Services, Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives for Civil Use
The following information was taken directly from Peru’s Ministry of Interior’s National Superintendence of Control of Security Services, Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives for Civil Use government website (Spanish) and translated into English. You can find Peru’s firearms legislation PDF in Spanish with the articles establishing the regulations, requirements and law of gun use and ownership which is dated April 1, 2017. You can own a firearm and live in Peru but the law is quite strict. Read on.
Regulations of Law No. 30299
On April 1, 2017, by Supreme Decree No. 010-2017-IN, the Regulations of Law No. 30299, Law on firearms, ammunition, explosives, pyrotechnic products, and related materials for civil use, were approved. This legal norm reaches natural or legal persons, public or private, and details the various aspects contemplated in the articles of the law, in addition to Final Complementary Provisions and Transitory Complementary Provisions.
Conditions and Prohibitions for the Use of Weapons, Ammunition and Related Items
To access and maintain a license to use firearms, you must meet strict conditions and demonstrate that you have the physical, psychological, and legal conditions necessary to be a legal bearer of firearms.Among the Obligations and Prohibitions for the Use of Weapons, Ammunition and Related Items Are:
If you incur any of these offenses, the National Superintendency for the Control of Security Services, Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives for Civil Use (Sucamec) is empowered to cancel or suspend your license to use firearms.
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