Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coffee Shops and Night Life in Lima

Updated 19 April 2014

There are tons of coffee shops, pubs, bars, and discos to go to here in Lima. You can find some below and loads more in the Lima travel guide. Good maps are at Guia Calles, click on the "version nueva".

Coffee Shops
  • Cafe 21. General Borgoño 116, (On the corner of Pardo block 4) Thunderbird Hotels Pardo, Miraflores.
  • Cafe Cafe: They have three places. The first is on Malecon de la Reserva 610, Miraflores. The second is at Martir Olaya 250, Miraflores. The third is at CC Caminos del Inca, 4th floor, Surco.
  • Cafe de la Paz: Calle Lima 351, Miraflores
  • Cafe Haiti: Av. Diagonal 160, Miraflores
  • Cafe Restaurante Voltaire. Av. 2 De Mayo 220, Miraflores
  • Cafe Verde: Corner of Piura and Santa Cruz in Miraflores.
  • Cafe Z: Diagonal Ave 598, Miraflores
  • Gloria Jean's: Block 17 of Benavides in Miraflores.
  • La Maquina: Corner of Alcanfores and Diez Canseco in Miraflores.
  • Punctum. Av. Javier Prado Oeste 1970, Miraflores
  • Sama: Inside Casa Andina on La Paz in Miraflores.
  • Sweet Garden. Av. 28 de Julio 1301, Miraflores
  • Urban Cafe. Ovalo Guiterrez, Miraflores

Night Life
Many Peruvians like to go to bars, discos, and karaoke bars. A word of advice, a “club” is a strip club so here you don’t go to “clubs” or “go clubbing”, you go to discos. Also, people usually leave their drinks on the table when they go dancing. I’ve done and when I’ve been with friends and haven’t had problems. However, if you’re with people you don’t know, either finish your drink, take it with you, or order another one after you come back.

Sport clothes are worn by many people as many discos are outside and contrary to what you may think, it does get cold here especially at night. Remember, the sun goes down around 6pm, even in summer. And dancing is usually done in pairs and is a bit more innocent that what you may be used to. Salsa, meringue, bachata, and pop music are popular here. Discos will play both Spanish and English music. If you’re a women, men will ask you to dance and are usually very respectful.

If you’re in Lima, Friday starts on Thursday and people somehow manage to go out Thursday night and still go to work on Friday. Beer is most commonly drunk, the most popular being: Pilsen, Cusceña, Cristal and Brahma (a Brazilian beer). In addition, cities brew their own beer, so some people prefer Pilsen Callao and others Pilsen Trujillo. Other than beer, sangria, and pisco sour are popular drinks.

When beer is drunk among friends, only one glass is used, and the foam is dumped out after each person drinks. rum, whiskey, and other mixed drinks are available. Two famous national drinks are pisco sour and algorrobina. According to Peruvian beliefs if you eat a spoonful of sugar or honey before you go drinking, you won’t get drunk quickly. By law, you have to be 14 to enter a disco and 18 to drink, although this is rarely enforced. Look below to find some popular pubs and discos.

Bars and Pubs
  • Bar Ingles Los Eucaliptos at Av Miro Quesada San Isidro.
  • Bar Mochileros Pedro de Osma 135 Barranco.
  • The Corner Sports Bar and Grill, Av Larco 1207 Miraflores.
  • English Pub, Calle Atahualpa 174 (between blocks 1 and 2 of Pardo) Miraflores.
  • Fluid, Calle Berlin 333, Miraflores.
  • The Lion's Head Pub Av Grau 268, 2nd floor, Barranco.
  • Murphy's 1st block of Schell and the corner of Grimaldo del Solar in Miraflores.
  • The Old Pub San Ramon 295 Calle de las Pizzas.
  • Volunteers Bar Independencia 120 Miraflores.

  • Amnesia, Blvd. Sanchez Carrion 153 Bar
  • Bar Kitsch, Av Bolognesi 743 Barranco
  • Barza Extreme, Calle Grau 288 Miraflores
  • Bash Bar, Schell 176 Miraflores
  • Calle de las Pizzas has lots of discos.
  • Club Cohiba, Av Ejercito 681 Miraflores
  • La Noche, Av Bolognesi 301 Barranco
  • La Sede, Av. 28 de Julio Y Larco
  • La Taberna de Barranco, Av Grua 268 Barranco
  • Phukett, Jiron San Martin 537 Miraflores
  • Son de Cuba, Blvd. San Ramon 277 Miraflores
  • Satchmo Café, Bar Av La Paz 538 Miraflores
  • Tayta, Parque Kennedy. Next to Bembos
  • Voce, Av Petit Thouras, Lince


Monday, August 11, 2008

Dating / Advice for Women in Peru

Updated 19 October 2017

The best dating advice I can give you is to say that the majority of Peruvians are fine to date and there are no problems (except for the normal ones that every couples have). However, please be careful since foreigners may be looked upon as conquests. Unfortunately, there are also “busca-gringos” and “busca-gringas” which basically means that they are looking for a ticket and visa out of the country. Some Peruvians are like this, but the majority aren’t.

Speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate, and you'll be able to communicate easier with your partner.

I’m happily married to a Peruvian, yet we have had to deal with the stereotypes. According to stereotypes, foreigners are with Peruvians for sex and Peruvians are with foreigners to get out of Peru. (Edited: I happily divorced my Peruvian husband. No sense staying with a liar and a cheat. I wrote this post about thinking carefully before marrying a Peruvian about a year after finding out about his double life.)

If you want privacy, most couples go to hotels. There is no stigma about this. It's just that most people live with their extended family and it's considered impolite to stay at home when you're looking for privacy.

As Peru is a bit of a chauvinist country, women are used to sell everything and many women here accept it. Scantily-clad women are used to sell anything from beer to car parts. Therefore men think that they have the right to whistle or say things to you on the streets. Although they're completely wrong, rude and uneducated.

If you decide to date or marry a Peruvian, be aware that you will probably fight over cultural things. However, if you really love each other and are getting married for the correct reasons and not for visas (it can work both ways, foreigners have been known to marry Peruvians for visas) then things will work out. You can create a family that will learn about different cultures and customs so that when your children grow up, they will be more sensitive to issues such as these.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

English Books in Peru

Updated 18 April 2014

Buy Online

As usual, it depends on where you are, if you’re in a big city, you’ll have no problem finding a bookstore that sells books. If you're a teacher, you might even get a discount. Ask the bookstore about teacher discounts.
  • Crisol also located in Lima has some English material. 
  • Calle Kilka (Calle Amazona, near the Rio Rimac) in the centre of Lima, just be sure to go during the daytime.
  • Cambridge University Press sells their books through SBS.  
  • East of Eden Books: It's a new English bookstore run by Kelly and Pame. They have a good number of titles, most used but some new: literature (Pulitzer winning titles and authors) and non-fiction. They also buy books. If you are interested in seeing what they have, you can send an email to eastofedenbooks@gmail.com.
  • Nutesa has a few book shops in Lima. 
  • Special Book Services is a big English book service. They have offices in Lima, Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cusco, Huancayo, Huanuco, Iquitos, Pucallpa, and Trujillo. 
Book Swaps
  • Book Crossing is a website dedicated to swapping books for free.
  • Annie Thériault, mailto:annietheriault@yahoo.ca, organises monthly book swaps in Lima.
  • If you're a member of SAE, you can exchange one book and get another. Non-members have to bring two books in order to get one.
  • Loki Backpackers on Av. Larco 189 in Miraflores has a shelf with books. It might just be for those staying at the hostel, but it never hurts to ask.
  • El Sol occasionally arranges book swaps in Lima. Check the Expat Calendar for details.
Book Sales
Twice a year, usually in May or June and September Good Shepherd Church holds an English book sale (there are also French, Spanish, and German books. In November, they also have their Christmas bazaar and they sell books there, but there's an entrace fee. Prices are pretty cheap, you can find classics for one sol and most other books are 3 books for 10 soles. Check Expat Peru and their Listserv for upcoming dates. Union Church of Lima has a library and lends books out to expats. You don't have to be a member of the Church to take out books. It's a two-room library stocked with novels and mysteries.

If you attend any conferences, there are usually many stands which sells books at discounted price because of the conference. You may want to buy them through Amazon and have someone mail them to you. You can also download classics on Gutenberg and maybe able to find some on Torrentz.

Prices are pretty reasonable, listening exercises are usually rather expensive. For example, a Practice Exam book for FCE which has 5 exams will cost about 80 soles at SBS, however the cassettes are 150 soles. If you attend any conferences, there are usually many stands which sells books at discounted price because of the conference. You may want to buy them through Amazon and have someone mail them to you.

If you’re in Lima, you can become a member of the Británico, or ICPNA library. Prices vary from 20 to 85 soles for a year’s membership. Fulbright has a free library and it's free, but it mainly has info on studying in the USA. Union Church of Lima also has a free library. (Av. Angamos Oeste 1155, Miraflores. Phone 441-1472)


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shopping in Peru

Updated 18 April 2014

If you go to Peru, you can't miss out on the shopping experience! From big department stores to markets to small mom and pop stores, you're sure to find something you love! Here are some tips that will help you out.

Bigger stores
When you go into shops with other bags or a backpack, you might have to check your bags. They give you a little number and you get your stuff when you leave again. You don't have to check purses. If you don't have to check your bags, then when you leave you will have to open them and show the security guard that you haven't stolen anything.

If you buy something, they often staple the receipt on the outside of the bag. When you leave you will have to show your receipt and purchase to the security officer at the door.

Markets can be found in every town and offer a variety of goods from food, to clothes and furniture. Just make sure that your money is well-hidden and don’t bring anything of value to a market. Bargaining is done, just don’t expect a huge discount. Usually they will take a few soles off the price, especially if you are buying more than one.

Shopping in Lima
If you’re in Lima and want to find bargain there are plenty of places you can go to. For info about markets, check out Hitting the Markets in Lima. You can go to Gamarra, which is famous for its low prices, located in La Victoria on Prolongacion Gamarra. It goes on for blocks and people come from Chile and Ecuador to take advantage of the cheap prices. 

There are buses that’ll take you there on Aviacion. The main area is block 6 to 9. Fabric can be found along block 15 of Humboldt and the 6th block of Gamarra. Imported fabrics can be found at Fanitex, Gamarra 661, Shop 114. Paruqe Canepa is between Prol. Gamarra and Huanuco, Unanute and Humboldt. 

Take a taxi to get there and go in the morning. Make sure you put your money in different pockets and leave your purse at home. Also, dress down. Look below for more market options
  • Arequipa around block 20 has lots of cheap clothing shops and opticians.
  • Jesús Maria. About a block from Republica Dominicana, Av Horacio Urtega and Av Arnaldo Marquez.
  • Magdalena around the municipal market. Jose Galvez, Tacna, Leoncio Prado and Castilla
  • Mercado Central on Abancay. ALso Chinatown and Mesa Redonda as well as El Hueco.
  • Polvos Azules, in Lima on 28 de Julio, near Flores, is another possibility, however, the quality varies and it’s not the best neighbourhood.
  • Polvos Rosados which is near Ovalo Higuereta is known to foreigners and Peruvians alike, but the prices are a bit high. A better bet would be to go across the street to Polvos de Higuereta, prices are better, it’s cleaner and there’s better lighting. There are also galleries next to Polvos Rosados, they’re located between Polvos Rosados and the Ovalo. Places to get manicures, pedicures, hair cuts and other spa treatments can be found in Santa Rosa, which is next to Polvos de Higuereta and the galleries next to Polvos Rosados.
Foreign Food
If you're interested in Peruvian cuisine, try reading Peruvian Food and Drink. Wong and Vivando are two grocery stores that tend to have a decent selection of foreign food. If you can't find it there, try the places below.

Parque Industrial in Villa El Salvador has hand-made furniture. Buses that go up Benavides or Tomas Marsano pass right by this huge market. It’s between Pachacutec and Sepradora Industrial Streets. The same furniture can also be found at Plaza Hogar on Angamos in Surquillo. Or else, just head to Saga and Ripley, they usually have a decent selection.

The place where you buy the furniture should have a delivery service. If you buy it in a department store, they'll use their own. If you buy it in a market, you'll have to bargain with the beatup trucks. The price will depend on the distance and whether or not your place has an elevator. They'll wrap your furniture in blankets to make sure it doesn't get damaged. Then you get in the truck with them and tell them how to get back to your place. If you don't speak Spanish, either write the instructions down or bring a friend with you.

More Tips
Don't forget that many shops have sales at the end of the season (August or February). Ripley, Saga, and Ace Home Center often have great sales. Some shops on Larco, near Ovalo Miraflores have good prices as well, though the quality might not be as good. Also check out the Yellow Pages and the ExpatPeru Garage Sale Forum.

Shopping Online
Peru has a huge online market as well. Though you won't be paying by credit card, instead you'll meet the seller in person and exchange cash for goods. Never go alone to someone's house. Don't go to bad neighbourhoods. And trust your gut instinct.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Studying Spanish and Other Languages in Peru

Updated 14 April 2014

Try looking at this article about studying Spanish. If you’re looking to study formally there are plenty of options from studying online to at a school or with a private teacher. If you want to study long-term in Peru, try looking at this info on how to get a student visa.

Arequipa: Institutes

Cusco: Institutes

Intercambios / Language Exchanges
You could also try to arrange an “intercambio” where you speak Spanish for half the time and they speak English. That way both of you will get better and won’t have to pay a teacher. Try finding one at Conversation Exchange or My Language Exchange.

Lima: Institutes

Lima: Private Tutors
Expect to pay about $8 to $20 an hour. If you want to take Spanish classes for an extended period of time or for many hours a week, ask for a discount. Discounts are normal for these cases and if you don't ask for a discount, you're paying much more than you should. Don't always go for the cheapest option. Remember you get what you pay for. If possible arrange to meet with the teacher ahead of time, see their materials and see if you think you'd feel comfortable taking lessons with them. Language schools also offer private classes. You can find more teachers advertised at LIP's Classified.

Listings of Language Schools
Look for places with small classes and try to talk to current students to get an idea of what their methodology is like. Here are some more lists of language schools.
On Your Own
Online Resources
The Spanish Resources Section has dictionaries, cognates, Peruvian slang and a vocabulary section. Here is a list of Peruvian Slang. Spanish Word of the Day sends you daily emails with Basic to Advanced Vocabulary. If you download Vuze, you can then get programmes like Michael Thomas Spanish and Learn Spanish Like Crazy.

Other Languages
If you're in Lima, you should have no problem finding a teacher to teach you other languages. You can try looking on the Expat Listserv through Expat Peru. Or try contacting one of the places below.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Volunteering and Donating in Peru

Updated 1 May 2014

Volunteering can be expensive and some places charge very high fees. The places below don't charge anything or have a small fee. The guide, how to live your dreams by volunteering overseas has tons of info if you're interested in volunteering abroad. You should also take a look at Go Overseas' list of programmes, Teaching, Volunteer South America and Trabajo Voluntario for affordable programmes.
There are plenty of places who will be glad to receive your donations, from old newspapers, to clothes to furniture. If you're in Lima, try contacting the places below. If you're outside of Lima, check the yellow pages, they usually have Emaus in other cities as well.
Starting an NGO
You will need either a CE or to be Peruvian in order to open an NGO. Here are the required documents. Thanks go to John for the list.
  1. The Foundation Act (Elaboración de Acta de Fundación de la ONG)
  2. Article of Association (Elaboración de los Estatutos de la ONG)
  3. Legalised books and associates of the NGO (Legalización de Libro de Actas y Libro Padrón de Asociados)
  4. Norms (Elaboración del Acta Estatutaria)
  5. Sign in front of a notary (Escritura Pública ante Notario Público)
  6. Register in the NGOs of Peru )Inscripción de la ONG en los Registros Públicos previa separación del nombre)
  7. Register the NGO with SUNAT (Inscripción de la ONG ante la Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria – SUNAT)
  8. Register with SUNAT to accept donations (Inscripción de la Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria - SUNAT como entidad perceptora de Donaciones)
  9. Register with SUNAT to be exempt from taxes )Inscripción de exoneración de Impuesto a la renta ante la Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria SUNAT)
  10. If involves education, you will need a license for the Ministry of Education (Presentación Del Perfil y Proyecto Educativo ante el Ministerio de Educación para obtener la licencia del Sector correspondiente.)
  11. License from the city (Licencia de apertura y funcionamiento ante la Municipalidad)
  12. Get the civil defense license (Presentación del Expediente Técnico para obtener certificado de Defensa Civil)
  13. Register with the Peruvian International Association (Registro y Licencia ante la Agencia Peruana de Cooperación Técnica Internacional – Adjuntando Plan Anual de Actividades.)
  14. Open a bank account for donations (Apertura de cta. cte. ante los Bancos para realizar transferencias interbancarias.)


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Free Time Activities in Peru

Updated 1 May 2014

You can meet other expats on the forums about Peru, which you can read about in the article, Virtual Expats. Also, try look at the upcoming events below, where you can meet expats and Peruvians alike. If you like sports or arts, take a look at the clubs below.

Don't forget to check the classified section of El Comercio on Sundays as well. Teachers ofen advertise there and you can find everything from how to cook Peruvian food to sewing to Quechua lessons there. If you're looking for free courses, PUCP has them in Aulas Libres.
Country Clubs in Lima
These are usually pretty expensive, such as Club Regates, Club Terrazas, Club Esmeralda, or Country Club Villa. However, it's worth asking around as some are keen to give discounts to foreigners and short-term residents.

Gyms in Lima
Most gyms give discounts if you pay for a couple months at a time. Some gym sites are listed below. You can also find a comparison of some gyms in this thread.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Upcoming Events in Peru

Updated 2 April 2014

There are many things to do both during the day and at night here in Peru. Take a look at the calendars below and you'll never be bored! No matter if you're planning on staying here for a few days or the rest of your life, check out the guide book by Lonely Planet, Frommer's, and DK Eyewitness Travel Guide.
Cultural Centres
Often cultural centres, such as ICPNA, Britanico, Alianza Francesa, APJ, Goethe, or the Russian Cultural Centre have events that are free or affordable. Read more about Peruvian Culture Centres.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Popular Peruvian Cities to Live In

Updated: 25 October 2017

Peru’s a big place and boasts of having it all: the sandy coast, the steamy jungle, and the fresh mountains. Be sure you know what you want before moving here or looking for a job or place to study. Cities have certain characteristics. Be clear about your expectations and you’ll enjoy your time here.


Known as the white city because of all the granite, Arequipa's a relaxing place to live in or visit. It’s also high up in the mountains, so you’ll be sure to get plenty of fresh air. Arequipa is also pretty touristy because of Misti, the volcano, and the fact that it’s relatively close to Chile.
Image source

As the second biggest city in the country, Arequipa has a decent sized foreign population, though not as many foreigners live here as in Cusco or Lima.

Prices are lower than Lima, but if you want to go shopping for touristy stuff, expect to pay. If you want to g out on the town, stay close to the centre if you want to meet foreigners and if you want to make locals, head away from the tourist traps.

Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Peru is Cusco and Manchu Picchu. There are lots of travel guides about Cusco and you can even hire a guide when you go there. The self-guide tour book has amazing reviews and is a must-read if you're going to visit Manchu Picchu. Voted as one of the Modern Wonders of the World, it’s no wonder that people flock to Cusco. You should have no problem finding people who speak English and you’re sure to find people who speak other languages as well. In addition to a high foreign population, Cusco also has many native people living there as well. Cusco’s a big of a hodge-podge with foreigners, Peruvians, and native people living together.

It’s located in the eastern part of the country, near Bolivia. Cusco’s located high up in the mountains, so be sure to allow yourself a couple of days to adjust to the altitude. Bring some medicine as people often suffer from altitude. sickness while they are there.
Image source

Due to the large foreign population, prices tend to be a bitter higher than in other cities. However if you ask around and learn a bit of Spanish, you’ll find places to go where you can get lower prices.

Many handicrafts, such as jewellery, clothes and artwork can be found in Cusco. You’ll have no shortage of courses or teachers to choose from if you decide to take up a hobby. All of this gives Cusco a bit of a bohemian, laid-back atmosphere.

Image source
Reachable only by a five day boat ride or by plane, Iquitos is a mystical city. Since it’s in the jungle, expect high temperatures and lots of humidity. In addition, seasons are reverse what they are in the coast and mountains. In the jungle, summer is in July and August and known as the dry season. Lots of rain, humidity and bugs can be expected in the wet season.

The most populated city in Peru has changed by leaps and bounds in the past 50 years when it was a sleepy capital. Now many businesses, both local and international have jobs in Lima. In addition, the majority of paperwork, such as immigration issues and passports, or visits to embassies, have to be taken care of in Lima. Because of this, there are many foreigners who call Lima home. You’ll have no problem finding people from your country, try going to the embassy and they should help you get in touch with others.
Image source

Located smack dab in the middle of the western coast, Lima’s easy to get to, weather it be by bus, car, or plane. If you have an international flight, you’ll be flying into Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima.

There are about 8 million inhabitants in Lima and because of this, you can find just about everything you need. High end as items as well as bargains can be found in Lima depending on where you look. So there’s things that will fit everyone’s budget. Read more about budgeting in Lima in the article, Lima on $500 a month.

The fifth biggest city in Peru is more of a little town. Here in Piura everyone knows everyone and you’ll be hard pressed to go downtown and not have someone recognise you and say hello. Piura's a friendly little town that recently started to grow because of the private university, UDEP.
Image source

Similar to Trujillo, Piura has a large young population, but because Piura is located in the middle of the desert and far from many things, prices are higher than in Trujillo. There’s a central market and a small downtown where you can find most things that you need.

Since Piura is a smaller city, there are things to do, but you’ll have less to choose from. Still, there are discos, cinemas, malls, and plenty of restaurants for you to try out. There are a few foreigners here, but most of them are married to Peruvians or volunteering. Read more in Piura: An Oasis in the Desert.

As a university town, Trujillo has a large young population. Because of this, there’s no lack of things to do, whether it’s dancing until dawn, hitting the markets or just relaxing while sipping a coffee, there’s something for everyone.
Image source

Lately Trujillo has grown quickly and many people refer to it as the little Lima because you can find just about everything you need there. However, the daily stress that characterised Lima is miles away from laid-back Trujillo. There are less foreigners here than in Lima, but since Trujillo is one of the larger cities, there are places to meet foreigners, try the main language schools.

Expect prices to be lower than in Lima, especially housing. Because Trujillo is a university town, just about everyone offers some type of housing for students. You should have no problems finding something that suits your needs and fits your budget.


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