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Everything An American Should Know About Moving To Peru

Posted Country Guides / November 16, 2021

Relocating to a new country is a thrilling adventure filled with opportunities, and Peru is a destination that captivates with its rich tapestry of culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm-hearted people. From the bustling streets of Lima and the serene beauty of Cusco, this guide for Americans moving to Peru offers practical advice, insights, and tips to help you transition smoothly.

Relocating to Peru offers a blend of cultural immersion, diverse landscapes, and a lower cost of living. Navigating visa and residency requirements, finding job opportunities, and adapting to the healthcare system are key steps for expats. Spanish proficiency enhances the experience in major cities like Lima.

Understanding Peru – Key Country Facts You Should Know Before Moving to Peru from the US

Peru is a country of incredible diversity both in its landscapes and cultural and historical heritage. Situated in western South America, it is home to Machu Picchu, an ancient city of Incas set high in the Andes mountains, and a portion of the Amazon rainforest. The capital, Lima, on the Pacific coast, offers a rich pre-Columbian history and a bustling contemporary life.

With a population of over 32 million, Peru is a melting pot of indigenous and mestizo cultures, reflected in its music, art, and cuisine. The official languages are Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara, underscoring the country’s varied ethnic backgrounds. The country features a broad climate spectrum, from the dry Pacific coast and temperate Andean highlands to the tropical Amazon basin, allowing for diverse weather experiences.

The country’s economy is largely based on agriculture, mining, fishing, and tourism, with a growing interest in sustainable practices. Understanding these key facts can enhance your appreciation of the country and ease your transition as you embark on your new life abroad in this fascinating nation.

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Necessary Documentation for Moving Abroad – Visa Requirements for Peru

When planning on relocating to Peru, understanding the necessary documentation is crucial to ensure a smooth transition. Peru offers several visa types to accommodate different needs, including:

  • Tourist visa – generally issued for stays up to 183 days, this visa does not permit employment and is suitable for short visits.
  • Work visa – necessary for finding work in Peru as a foreigner. To qualify for a work visa, you must have a confirmed job offer from a Peruvian company, which will sponsor your application.
  • Student visa – intended for individuals looking to study in Peruvian educational institutions. Proof of enrollment and sufficient funds to cover your stay are required.
  • Resident visa – there are various types, including those for retirees, investors, and professionals. Qualifications vary, but generally, proof of a stable income or investment and a clean legal record are needed.

Permanent Residency and Citizenship 101

Permanent Peru residency permits can be applied for after legally residing in the country for a certain period, typically on a temporary visa such as a work or marriage visa. Applicants must demonstrate they have lived in Peru for at least three years, have a stable income or investment, and are in good standing with Peruvian laws.

Citizenship can be sought after two years of permanent residency for those married to a Peruvian citizen or after living in the country for a continuous period of at least five years as a permanent resident. The process involves demonstrating integration into Peruvian society, such as proficiency in Spanish and knowledge of Peruvian history and culture. Citizenship grants the right to vote, a Peruvian passport, and other civic benefits.

What Are the Best Cities to Live in Peru?

Peru offers a diverse range of big cities, each with its unique charm and appeal. Whether you’re looking for the hustle and bustle of urban life or the tranquility of a coastal town, Peru has something to offer. Here are some of the best cities to consider when planning your move.

The Beautiful Capital City of Lima

As the capital and largest city of Peru, Lima stands as a vibrant metropolis combining modern convenience with rich cultural heritage. It’s the economic, political, and cultural center of the country, offering a wide array of employment opportunities, international schools, and a bustling culinary scene renowned worldwide.

The cost of living in Lima, Peru, is relatively affordable compared to Western standards, with expenses for a single person averaging between $500 and $700 a month, excluding rent. However, if you decide that moving to Lima, Peru is for you, be prepared for its busy traffic and the coastal fog known as ‘garúa’ in the winter months.

Arequipa - the White City

Arequipa is a city that combines history, culture, and the natural world. It is dubbed the “White City” because of its magnificent sillar, a white volcanic rock, and its structures from the colonial era. It’s surrounded by three impressive volcanoes and is near the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Arequipa boasts a more temperate climate than Lima, a lower cost of living, and a growing expat community. It provides many reasons to move for those seeking a slower pace of life without sacrificing the amenities of a large city.

Discover the Fascinating History of Cusco

Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the gateway to Machu Picchu. It’s a city steeped in history, with stunning colonial architecture, Incan ruins, and vibrant indigenous cultures.

Living in Cusco allows a deep dive into Peru’s past and present, with a strong tourism industry offering employment opportunities. The high altitude (over 11.150 ft) may take some adjustment, but its unique charm and the warmth of its people make it a compelling choice.

Trujillo - A Hidden Gem of History, Culture, and Coastal Serenity

Trujillo is known for its beautiful colonial architecture, cultural festivals, and proximity to archaeological sites like Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas. This city on the northern coast of Peru offers a warmer climate, beautiful beaches, and a more relaxed lifestyle.

If you’re interested in history, archaeology, and surfing, it might be time to move to this beautiful city. Trujillo’s growing economy, lower cost of living compared to Lima, and friendly local community make it an appealing option for expatriates seeking a balance between urban conveniences and coastal tranquility.

Take the Cost of Living Into Consideration

The cost of living in Peru can vary significantly depending on the city and lifestyle choices, but one of the most substantial expenses for expatriates and locals alike is housing. In metropolitan areas like Lima, the cost of renting or buying property in Peru is higher, with upscale districts such as Miraflores and San Isidro commanding premium prices.

A modern one-bedroom apartment in these areas can range from $500 to $1,000 per month in rent, while a similar property in less affluent districts may cost between $300 and $600. Purchasing property also reflects this variance, with prices per square meter in prime locations significantly higher than in other parts of the city or country.

In contrast, cities like Arequipa and Trujillo offer more affordable housing options, with rents and purchase prices generally lower than in Lima. However, regardless of the city, additional costs such as utilities, maintenance, and homeowners’ association fees should also be considered when creating a moving budget for housing in Peru.

Navigating Healthcare in Peru

The healthcare system in Peru presents a dual system comprising both public and private sectors. The public healthcare system, managed by the Ministry of Health (MINSA), offers basic medical services at a low cost, accessible to all residents, including those enrolled in the Comprehensive Health Insurance (SIS) designed for low-income individuals.

Individuals who can afford private medical coverage or out-of-pocket costs often choose the private sector. It’s renowned for its better quality of care, more contemporary facilities, and shorter waiting times.

Major cities like Lima, Arequipa, and Trujillo host reputable private hospitals and clinics with English-speaking staff, catering to a range of medical needs. For expatriates moving to Peru, investing in a private health insurance plan is recommended to ensure access to the best healthcare services without significant delays. It will provide peace of mind in navigating the healthcare landscape of their new home.

Job Opportunities in Peru

The job market in Peru is dynamic, offering diverse opportunities across various sectors for locals and expatriates looking for a job. Key industries include mining, agriculture, textiles, and tourism, with a growing emphasis on technology and services. Lima, as the economic hub, presents the widest range of opportunities, particularly in finance, education, and IT.

For expatriates moving without a job, language skills can be a significant advantage – those proficient in Spanish and English are highly sought after. So, consider learning Spanish in Peru for better job opportunities. The burgeoning startup scene also offers exciting prospects for entrepreneurs and tech professionals. However, securing employment may require a work visa sponsored by the employer.

Educational Landscape – Comparing School Costs in Peru to the US

Schools in Peru offer a variety of educational options ranging from local public schools, which are free, to private and international schools that cater to diverse curriculums including American, British, and the International Baccalaureate.

Generally, the cost of private and international schooling in Peru is significantly lower than in the United States. While fees vary widely, parents can expect a more affordable education in Peru without compromising on quality, especially in private institutions offering bilingual or international programs.

What Is Public Transport Like in Peru?

Public transportation varies, with Lima featuring buses, a rapid bus service called the Metropolitano, and a growing metro system. Other cities rely on buses and minibusses, with taxis and app-based rides like Uber providing convenient, albeit pricier, alternatives. While navigating public transport can be an adventure, it’s a window into Peru’s rich cultural and environmental diversity, offering an authentic glimpse into daily life.

Things to Do and See – Immersing in Peruvian Culture

Exploring Peruvian culture is an adventure into ancient history, vibrant traditions, and gastronomic delights. From the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu to the lively local festivals, Peru is a celebration of its indigenous and colonial past.

Wander through cities adorned with historic architecture, sample traditional dishes that blend native and global flavors, and immerse yourself in the colorful markets teeming with handmade textiles. Engaging with Peru’s rich heritage and warm hospitality offers a deep and meaningful connection to this diverse and captivating country.

Around 1.5 million people visit Machu Picchu every year

A Culinary Journey Through Peru – Tastes of Tradition and Innovation

Peruvian cuisine is a fusion of flavors, showcasing the country’s biodiversity. From the coastal ceviche, fresh fish marinated in citrus, to the Andean staple of quinoa and the rich, spicy stews of the Amazon, there’s a dish for every palate.

Lima, often called the gastronomic capital of South America, offers culinary tours and cooking classes to dive deep into its food scene. Sampling traditional dishes like lomo saltado (stir-fried beef) or exploring the variety of potatoes and chilies is a must for any food enthusiast looking to experience Peru’s cultural heritage.

Hiring Movers to Help You Move to Peru Easily

When moving overseas to Peru, hiring professional movers can significantly ease the transition. These companies specialize in international relocations, offering comprehensive solutions that cover everything from packing your belongings with care to handling the complex logistics of shipping overseas.

Expert packing services ensure your items are securely wrapped, boxed, and inventoried, minimizing the risk of damage during transit and other relocation mistakes. Moreover, an international moving company is adept at navigating customs regulations.

By partnering with a reliable overseas shipping company such as I Love International Moving, you can focus more on the excitement of starting your new life and less on the relocation stress that comes with the process of moving internationally. Professional movers will take care of everything from adequate packing materials to loading the moving truck and shipping all your belongings either by sea or perhaps by air freight.

So, make sure to do your research when choosing an overseas moving company. Get quotes from at least three different companies, and look for reviews and recommendations until you find one that best suits your needs.

Embracing a New Chapter – The Journey to Your New Life in Peru

Relocating to Peru presents an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a country rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re drawn to the culinary delights, the vibrant culture, or the breathtaking landscapes, Peru offers a compelling destination for those seeking an adventure. With the support of professional movers, your journey to starting a new life can be a seamless and stress-free experience. So, contact I Love International Moving and allow our team to take care of everything and provide you with an efficient move.

Georgia Michaelson

Born and raised in St. Louis, Georgia Michaelson is a content writer with a specialty in moving and traveling. Her tips can help you relocate without a fuss

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