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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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