Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Housing and Classified Ads in Peru

Updated 10 December 2016

You might also be interested in reading the article, Can You Buy Property in Peru without a CE? 

Where to Live
Although many people end up in Lima, there are other cities that attract foreigners, such as Piura, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Arequipa, Iquitos, and Cusco. More info about these cities can be found at Popular Peruvian Cities to Live In.

As for Lima, it's a sprawling city and you're sure to find an area that you like. Check out Guia Calles for a layout of the city and its districts. If you're a social butterfly, try San Isidro, Jesus Maria, Miraflores and Barranco as they are close to culture centres and other get-togethers. If you have allergies or asthma, head out to the East where it's drier. Winter in Lima means overcast skies, but Chorillos and Barranco seem least affected by the winter fogs. Residential areas, think grass with fences, are to be found in La Molina, Monterrico, Camacho, and La Plancie.

What's Included
Some places might share a water bill and divide by the number of apartments. Same goes for outside lighting. If you have a security guard, gardener, or cleaner, you'll probably have to share the costs for that.

Garbage collection is free. Just one word of advice, don't use garbage cans, they'll probably get stolen. People just put their garbage in bags. Some apartment complexes might have a big bin for this. A few recycle, though it's not that common. Things like plastic bags, glass, and batteries can be recycled at Wong (a grocery store). Garbage pickers are abundant and informal recycling does take place this way. If you have a lot of things you want to get rid of, consider donating them. If yours doesn't include furniture, you can find places to shop at in the shopping section.

Staying for Free
Try a home-swap or Couch Surfing. There are also house sitting jobs out there. Take a look at Intervac and House Carers. Some tips on house sitting can be found at NuNomad.

Short-term Rental
Take a look at Apartment Club Peru or student housing.

Rental Prices
If you're planning to rent, keep in mind that you'll often have to pay at least two months rent at the beginning. And you'll usually sign a six month or one year rental agreement. If you have to break the rental contract, you should give written notice at least 30 days in advance. Make two copies, one for them, then have them sign and date the other one and keep it for your records. For house or apartment hunting, the best thing to do is to ask around and check in the local paper. Usually ads are posted on Saturdays and Sundays. Call quickly as housing gets taken very quickly. Online is a good place to start. Try the places below.

Prices of apartments vary. They usually are unfurnished, which means they come with nothing, no stove, fridge, nor water heater. In Lima, expect to pay at least $150 for an small unfurnished room with bathroom. In Miraflores, prices are high; a room may start at $200 and a small unfurnished apartment will be at least $350. Furnished flats in Miraflores run about $500. In the provinces, prices will be slightly lower. If you’re not planning on staying a long time, it would probably be best to buy your furniture at the market or second-hand.

Buying Property: Prices
Some people are able to buy property without a mortgage, but if you need a mortgage, be prepared to pay interest between 8.6% to 11%. You'll have to have residency in Peru in order to get a mortgage from a Peruvian bank. If you want to get a mortgage or loan back home, do some research first. People have reported that banks often don't want to give mortgages or loans for overseas property. In order to increase your chances to get a mortgage in Peru (you have to be a resident or citizen), you should make monthly deposits for 12 months. Your mortgage will be based on those deposits.

Property prices vary a lot throughout Peru and even throughout Lima. In general, smaller towns will have lower prices. However, small towns that get lots of tourists, such as Mancora, will also have higher prices. Right now
prices now are anywhere from $800m2 and up (really nice areas start at over $1000m2). The good news is that property is always a good investment and prices are relatively cheap compared to the rest of the world.

Tips for Buying Property
Before you sign for a house/apartment/land, always go to SUNARP (registros publicos) to check out its status. You can also do it online. You only pay a few soles. It's just in front of the Rebagliati hospital. Make sure there’s no mortage (hipoteca) on the property and the owner doesn’t have any legal problems. You’ll need a DNI, CE or the permission to sign a contract visa. Once you’re ready to buy, go to a notary and they will tell you everything that you need.
  • You will have to sign a Minuta (which is a short document saying who’s selling and who’s buying) Make sure the notary legalizes the signatures.
  • You will also have to sign an Escritura (which is the long legal document that explains everything).
  • Go together to the Municipality and you each will get two copies of a PU (Public property taxes, ex. water, sidewalks, etc) and an HR (Private property taxes, your property) You will have to fill out these forms so that the property legally changes names. You will also have to pay a fee to transfer the names.
  • Many people prefer a cheque de garantia (we got ours at BCP and they cost $20 each) We got two cheques, we gave the owner the first one after we signed the Minuta and the second one after we signed the Escritura. After you have bought your house you should take out insurance to protect it. Mapfre is pretty cheap and very reliable. Congrats! you now own property in Peru!

Building Your Own Place
If you want to build, keep in mind there's lots to think about, the electrical fittings and service, the plumbing fixtures and service, water service, doors, windows, protectors for doors and windows, the amount of cement for the floor, tiles for the floors, plastering and painting , kitchen cupboards, the kitchen sink, stove, bathroom things, water heater, etc. You will also be charged for bringing all the material and hiring a guard so nothing gets stolen.

Costs are usually around $250-$400 per square meter. Building permits and licenses are about $500 and drawing up the plans may cost about $8 per square meter. So a house of about 350 m2 with a pool, 4 bedrooms, would probably be around $135K, which is probably similar to the houses that are on the market. If you're looking for recommended construction workers, look at the Household Help section.

By building your own house, you can choose everything, but it can be a hassle to deal with government workers, construction workers, etc. If you do build your own, make sure you pay as you go. I'd be wary about paying up front. Pay when a job in done. So when the floor is down, you pay for the floor.

We've never built a house, but we have remodeled 2 flats. It's a long process and you have to deal with people never showing up and charging too much. If you decide to go ahead and do it, make sure you have lots of time and patience. Here are two threads that talk about it: Expat Peru and Living in Peru.

Classified Ads

Latin American Addresses
  • Alt. Altura: Near
  • Atrás Atrás: Behind
  • Av. Avenida: Avenue
  • C Calle: Street
  • CC Comercial Central: Shopping Centre
  • Cdra. Cuadra: Block
  • Cl Calle: Street
  • Cls Calles: Streets
  • Cnl Colonel: Colonel
  • Edf. Edificio: Building
  • En frente En frente: In front of
  • Entre Entre: Between
  • Esq Esquina: Corner
  • Este Este: East
  • Fco. Francisco: Francisco
  • La espalda La espalda: Behind
  • N Numero: Number
  • Numero: Number
  • Norte Norte: North
  • Of Oficina: Office
  • Ofc Oficina: Office
  • Oeste Oeste: West
  • P Piso: Floor
  • Plza Plaza: Square
  • Pto Puerta: Door
  • R Rua: Street (Portuguese)
  • Sur Sur: South
  • Urb Urbanizacion: District
  • Torre Torre: Tower


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Piura: An Oasis in the Desert

Updated 2 July 2016

Fresh air, palm trees and a peaceful atmosphere is what makes Piura a perfect place to relax in. Piura's a friendly little town that recently started to grow because of the private university, UDEP. Although Piura’s the fifth largest city in Peru, it’s still got a small town atmosphere. With the city centre only stretching for about five blocks and the main plaza filled up with people chatting or just passing the day, Piura’s a place where you can go to let all your cares and worries drift away.

If you're going to travel around Peru, you should definitely head up north and visit Piura and the nearby beaches. Situated in the north of Peru, Piura’s called the city of eternal heat and rightly so. While the summer’s are so hot that they’re stifling, the winter’s are warm and fresh. Piuranos (as people from Piura are called) are friendly and helpful. Piura still keeps the tradition of having two to four hours off for lunch, so the majority of schools, businesses and stores shut down in the middle of the day. If you’re not used to an afternoon siesta, don’t fear as the larger shops and grocery stores, as well as some banks don’t close down during lunch.

If you want to experience Piura, catch a bus from Lima, about 14 hours and when you arrive, take a deep breath and enjoy the pure desert air. Hostels are fairly cheap and you should be able to find a nice room for less than $10 a month. Head off to Avenida Grau, which goes from Ovalo Grau to the Plaza de Armas, where the cathedral is.

Be sure to take pictures of the gorgeous architecture and pop into the cathedral for a visit. Afterwards, you can sit and enjoy the sun in the plaza and eat at any one of the restaurants in the plaza or on the many side streets. At night, you can go to the cinema or shopping at the small mall in the city centre. If you like the nightlife, there are a few discos to choose from, the most popular are Soltimbu or Queen’s. Both have DJs who mix Latin music with the latest English hits. You’ll be sure to find yourself dancing to the catchy beat.

After a long day, go back to your hostel, have a good night sleep and go to the nearby beaches the next day. Northern beaches are famous for their cleanliness and great waves, Mancora and Punta Sal are the most popular ones and only about 3 or 4 hours away. After a couple of days in Piura, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face your hectic schedule once again. Read about other cities in Peru in Popular Peruvian Cities.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Amazing Peruvian Foods, Drinks, and Recipes

Updated 23 August 2017

Peru is world-renown for its cuisine. Meals are usually served late in the day and rice accompanies lunch and dinner. Lunch is typically eaten around 2-4pm and dinner from 9pm onwards. Breakfast is usually bread with jam and white coffee. Lunch is the biggest meal and Peruvians don’t think that sandwiches or hamburgers are meals.

Many restaurants have “menus” which consist of soup or salad, a main dish with rice, and a refreshment. Most vegetables are cooked and salads are consist usually of a few of the following: avocados, tomatoes, beets, grated carrots or lettuce and may use mayonnaise as a dressing. Chinese food, or Chifa is also very popular here.

If you're looking to try real Peruvian food, you'll have plenty to choose from. Most dishes are served with a plentiful amount of white rice. And if you're at a restaurant, they usually have menus which consist of a starter, main dish, drink, and dessert. Peruvian food is one of the famous all over the world. with a bit of patience and creativity, you can try to make some dishes as well. For info on where to go shopping for the necessary ingredients, read hitting the markets in Lima.

In big cities you will find tons of Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa Johns, however, the prices are pretty much the same here as at home. Here are some small, but tried and true places in Lima. If you're interested in Peruvian cuisine, try reading . . .
If you've got a sweet tooth, look no further. Suspiro Limena is made with caramel and milk. Although it's served in a small dish, you might not even be able to finish it because it's so rich. Picarones are made with sweet potatoes and spun into a ring and then served with syrup. Besos de moza literally translated means, "the young lady's kisses". They have a graham cracker bottom and are filled with meringue and the whole thing is dipped in chocolate. Chocotejas are chocolate filled candies. Alfajores are small cookies with caramel in the middle and powered sugar on the outside. Turrones are popular Christmas time sweets and are made with honey and almonds. You can find out more about these desserts in the post about sweets in Peru. You can easily re-create these delights at home as well. Here are a whole bunch of fantastic recipes for Peruvian desserts.

Dining Out
Cucharas Bravas has good info on what to eat. 

Famous Foods
Peruvians are very proud of their cuisine and even have certain foods that they claim are the best in the world. If you like fruit you're in luck, here are 22 amazing fruits you've got to try.  Lemons (which are the size of a golf ball and green) are said to be cure-alls from everything from a cold, making nails strong, and helping you lose weight. Potatoes come in many varieties and grocery stores usually carry at least ten different kinds. Peruvian grains are making headlines as super foods, so if you're here you should definitely try some. Don't forget desserts as well!

Ceviche is a famous raw seafood dish, topped off with lemons and onions, you'll often get roasted corn pieces on the side. Lomo saltado is great for meat lovers. It has strips of beef with garlic, peppers, onions, and tomatos. Aji de gallina is a creamy chicken with pepper mixture. Pachamanca is a highland cuisine which is made by putting meats and vegetables in tinfoil and then burying it and the grow and making a fire over it. All the juices from the meat and vegetables stay inside and make for a mouth watering meal. Recoto rellano is also a highland dish, famous in Arequipa. It's like stuffed peppers, but spicier.

Grocery Shops
The biggest ones are Wong, Vivanda, Plaza Vea. Eco is something like the Peruvian's version of Aldi's. When you go into shops with other bags or a backpack, you will 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.

International Food
If you're looking for a taste of home, in big cities you will find tons of Starbucks, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Papa Johns, however, the prices are pretty much the same as back home.

Pisco is Peruvian
For many years Peruvians and Chileans have argued over the creation of Pisco, but as any Peruvian knows, Pisco is Peruvian. So what better place to try a Pisco Sour than Peru? Made with pisco, eggs, and lime it has a real kick to it. Algarrobina is a drink made in the north. Algarrobina is made from pods of algarrobina trees and is similar to molasses. Take that and mix it with whisky or pisco, milk, egg whites, sugar, and vanilla, and you're in for a sweet treat.

For those of you who don't like mixed drinks, there are plenty of Peruvian beers, such as Cristal and Pilsen. And if you're into fruit drinks, there's no shortage here, from the exotic to everyday ones. Strawberries with milk, chirimoya, guayaba, and mixed fruit drinks are available at most restaurants. Inca Kola is the yellow soft drink that beats Coca Cola and Pepsi in Peru. It tastes like cream soda. You can read more about Peruvian drinks here.

Meat is usually served with lunch and dinner and milk is often drunk in the morning. However, vegetarians will be happy as there is a large variety of beans, fresh fruits and vegetables which are widely available. If you live with a family or friends, tell them specifically what you can and cannot eat. For some Peruvians, being vegetarian simply means no pork or beef, they don’t consider chicken or fish something that you can’t eat. They don’t understand that there are different types of vegetarians, and some of them won’t drink milk or eat honey. If you explain things clearly, you should be fine. 


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Money Matters in Peru

Updated 15 April 2014

If you need info about paying taxes in Peru, please see Income Tax.

There are ATMs at all banks. Most banks allow you to make a certain number of withdrawals a month without being charged. After that, you will be charged a nominal fee. If you withdraw money using an ATM that is not your bank, you will also be charged a fee. Paypal is good for taking out money made from abroad.

Be wary of using your home debit card in ATMs here in Peru. Some banks have agreements, but not all do. Fees are often very high, so check with your bank before withdrawing money here. ING Direct allows you to withdraw from BCP banks here in Peru, not all banks do. You could also open an ING Direct Account and then withdraw funds from an ATM without paying fees at BCP or Interbank and Global Net. Some other banks may also allow you to withdraw funds with no fees, but please check before doing so. Charles Schwab doesn’t charge ATM fees, and automatically refunds any charges from the bank where you withdraw money. They also have no monthly fees. Bank of America doesn't charge if you use Scotiabank ATMs.

Bank Accounts
Your employer can open a bank account on your behalf. To open a bank by yourself, most banks require either a DNI (National ID Document-this is for Peruvian citizens) or a carne de extranjeria (foreign resident card) plus a copy of your electricity or water bill that shows your address. Interbank and BCP will let you open an account with a tourist visa. Be aware that every time you take out or deposit money, you have to pay the ITF (tax), which is about 0.1%.

Usually there are two types of accounts: Plazo Corriente (Running) and Plazo Fijo (Fixed). A Plazo Corriente account allows you to withdraw money. A Plazo Fijo means that you shouldn’t withdraw your money for a certain amount of time which varies between one month and two years. Plazo Fijo gives you a higher interest rate. You can withdraw money from a Plazo Fijo, just ask your bank or caja if there are any penalties. Be careful of banks, as they usually charge a maintenance fee if you have less than X in your account. In my opinion, it’s much better to open an account at a “Caja”. If you want to compare different accounts in Peru (interest and cost effectiveness) try SBS.

Best Exchange Rates
  • Casinos
  • The corner of Larco and Benavides in Lima
  • Central municipal in Barranco in Lima
  • First two blocks of Huaylas in Lima
  • Larcomar in Lima
  • Moneygram
  • Petrol Stations
No matter where you live, you'll need a budget. Look at Creating a Budget to find out how to manage your finances. People often say that in Peru, you can leave like royalty on little money. Don't forget about saving for retirement. It's never too early to start saving, so the sooner you can start, the better. Try reading this article about saving for retirement. Lastly, you need to learn how to recognise counterfeit money.

That being said, if you wanted to, you could easily spend a fortune in Peru. Posh flats in Miraflores and San Isidro are easily $1000 and up a month. Shopping at name brand stores will set you back. Dining in alta cocina resturants, and constantly going to upscale supermarkets will leave you wondering how people can live on so little. However, if you budget and plan well, you can live on very little money a month. See Lima on $500 a month for tips and tricks.

Earning Extra Income
Exchanging Money
XE has exchange rates as does the Banco Central. The currency used here is the Nuevo Sol.You can exchange money outside of many banks or at “casas de cambio”. If you change it outside of a bank, only use official money changers who wear vests. You’ll get a better rate than at the bank. Just be careful of counterfeit bills and double count your money before handing it over and use your own calculator. Travellers cheques are difficult to exchange here in Peru, so you’re better off simply bring cash to start off with, or withdrawing money from an ATM. If you're interested in stocks, try the Bolsa de Valores Lima.

How to Save Money in Peru
Paypal Paypal is now available in Peru. You can find more information in the Paypal article.

Transferring Money
If you want to transfer money, you could use the Banco de Credito del Peru, Western Union , Money Gram or Jet Peru (has a few offices in certain countries) Other banks or cajas may also transfer money, so please check with your home bank and bank in Peru. Xoom also works through Interbank. Paypal or Pagum (link provided by fanning. Pagum is the Peruvian version of Paypal, but can't be used for business purposes.) is good as well.

Traveller's Cheques
Some banks have high fees for cashing traveller's cheques. Interbank only charge $10, but you have to change the money into soles. Banco Continental also charges $10. Other places with low rates include Moneygram, Scotiabank and Casas de Cambios (money exchange places)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Communication in Peru

Updated 16 April 2014

Most guide books contain information about communication. Nowadays, it's pretty easy to keep in touch with people back home. The country code of Peru is 51. All city codes begin with 0, however, we someone wants to call to Peru, they have to drop the 0. In order to call out of Peru you will have to dial 00 then the country code followed by the phone number. If you want to make phone calls, the best thing to do is to go to a Locutorio, which is a place that has phone booths. They charge much less than if you use a public phone.

Land lines
If you want to get a land line, you will have to go to Telefonica or Telmex and ask for one. I recommed Telmex over Telefonica, prices are better and it takes less time to get the line installed. Fees vary between 40 and 120 soles a month. Americatel is another option. You will need your ID and a water or electricity bill. If usually takes between one and two weeks for the phone to be installed and then you can make a certain amount of free local calls. It’s free to receive calls. Be aware that you will usually sign a contract for six months. If you cancel early you will have to pay for the remaining months and a fee. If you're interested in VOIP calls, try looking at this link.

Cell phones
Cell phones are very common and there are three servers: Telefónica/Movistar, Claro and Nextel. Telefonica and Claro have similar rates and offers and Nextel tends to be more expensive and is used for businesses. You can either buy a post-pago or a pre-pago cell phone. Post-pago means that you sign a contract and Pre-pago means that you buy phone cards and can use your cell phone as long as it has money on it.

Internet cafes or cabinas can be found just about everywhere and charge between .50 soles to 2 soles a half hour depending on where you are. Internet connections tend to be fast and many have USB ports as well. If you want to get internet at home, you will have to contact Speedy, which is part of Telefonica. Fees vary, but are around 100 to 200 soles a month.

WiFi places are popping up all over the place. Starbucks and MacDonald's in Parque Kennedy have it. As well as Parque Kennedy itself, just be wary of taking your laptop there out in the open. Vivanda also recently installed WiFi. You can also watch TV and movies online, see the section below on Radio, Newspapers, and TV.

Fax services can be found in cabinas and locutorios or photo copy places. Faxes inside the same city are around 1 or 2 soles. National faxes are around 2 and 3 soles and International are about 3 to 5 soles. Make sure that the fax feedback form says that the fax was sent and double check the number that they sent it to.

The national postal service is called Serpost. Postal service is iffy, so you might want to have things sent to your work, rather than your house. If you're going to send a package or letter, don't seal it. The post office has to check it before they close it. And Serpost doesn't offer tracking for its parcels and packages.

Couriers are also available, but more expensive. Try also TNT, Olva Courier (they work with DHL, but have cheaper rates), Fed Ex, UPS, or DHL. It is usually safe, however, be wary of sending money. NEVER send cash. I ask for my mail to be sent to my school as it’s more likely to arrive to a business than a home address. Things usually take about one or two weeks to arrive. If you need to pick up a package, you will need your original ID, a photo copy and have to pay a fee of about 7 soles. When having things sent to you, have your last name written in capital letters.

If you're moving to Peru, you can have your mail forwarded to you. DHL , USABox, Skybox, Earth Class Mail, all have mail forwarding services. There are plenty of other. Just search for "mail forwarding address" and you'll find plenty. Prices vary so shop around.

Newspapers, Radio, and TV
In Ovalo Miraflores in front of McDonald's they sell foreign newspapers, such as The Guardian and some German papers. Here's a list of Newspapers in Peru

Radio Stations vary city to city. But here are a couple. RPP, Studio 92, CPN, Filarmonia, Radio San Borja. 107.7 and 102.1 in Lima have English songs. Studio 92 also has English songs and is in cities around Peru.

There are a couple of local TV channels with news, talk shows, and comedy. Cable is available from your telephone company. Cable Magico from telefonica is a popular cable company. Direct TV is also an option.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Transportation (Getting Around Peru)

Updated 15 April 2014

You have many options: combis (buses) mototaxis, taxis, and motorcycles (in smaller cities, you ride on the back of motorcycles like a taxi), and planes.

Problems with Transport
I wrote about the problems with transport before in think carefully before marrying a Peruvian. I said that transport is cheap in Peru, if you want to take combis. I did and they took forever, stopped at green lights, went at red, were driven by maniacs with dirty finger nails, had people crouching down in mini-vans, fighting over fares, bribing police officers, making me angry and stressed out. Many expats drive or take taxis due to this.

Things are slowly changing. There's now the Lima Metro, the Metropolitano Bus, and the Huancayo Metro is in the works. That being said, a friend of mine recently told me that you can tell a country is a developed, first world country when everyone takes public transport. For that to happen, public transport should be:
  • Safe
  • Convenient
  • Reliable
  • Organised
  • Clean 
  • Affordable, with fixed prices
And most public transport in Peru isn't like that. At least not yet. Taxis and mototaxis do not have meters, so you have to agree on the prices beforehand. If you use taxis, try to use safe ones. There are tons of informal taxis, don't use these. Look at the driver and the condition of the taxis as well. When in doubt, don't take it. Try asking a person at a restaurant or hotel to call you a safe taxi.

Is Peru Too Laid Back?
Latin America is known for its laid back lifestyle, but this could be too much of a good thing. This lackadaisical attitude meaning that planning is thrown out the window and things are done in a slipshod manner. This goes for roads, bridges, buildings as well as the future, such as planning for retirement. However, you have to take things into stride and try to understand more about Peruvian culture.

While it's getting better, bribery is still commonplace. I'll never forget the day that I was on a combi that got pulled over by a police officer. The driver took 20 soles in his filthy hands and put it in the documents that he handed over. The policeman held it up, told the driver that he couldn't accept bribes and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. Classic. This is why Peru will not achieve first world status in my lifetime.

Recommended Taxis
If you prefer arranging for a taxi beforehand rather than hailing one on the street, try one of the following taxi companies below.
  • Estrella: 362-6258
  • Molina: 348-988 or 348-6465
  • Molitaxi: 479-0030. Cell: 422-3322 or 422-6899
  • Peru: 3653958 or 3652285
  • Real: 4706263
  • Seguro: 241-0290 or 241-9292
  • San Borja: 476-8945 or 475-5630
  • Surco: 275-0017 or 279-0431

Recommended Drivers
These drivers can help you as a chauffeur would, or might be able to give you tours of Lima.
  • Juan Moron: 241-6752 or 99-857-4243
  • Jose Rojas: 998-959-482
  • Guillermo Llanos: 998-611-655
  • Luis Menacho Valverd:e 998-714-909 or 262-5024
  • Jorge Malca: 999-700-550 or
  • Peru Van: 574-5340 or 998-335-908

Rental Cars
Although you could drive in Peru, unless you’ve driven here before or have very good reflexes, I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll probably pay about $200 a week plus taxes. If you don’t want to drive, you could hire a driver.

Buying a Car
If you're looking to get a car, a good place to start is by buying El Comercio on Sunday. You can also try looking online. If you own a car, you will have to take it once a year to get a technical revision. You can find more info at this post.

Getting a Driver's License
Updated for 2012: how to get a license. For tips on how to pass, see this thread (Stuart has lots of good info). See Touring Peru for more info. The Touring and Automobile Club (MTC)is in Lince, Lima. You can find requirements in English at this post.

There's a lot of bureaucracy involved in getting a Peruvian driver's licenses. It's probably easier to maintain your foreign driver's license and renew or repurchase your international license each year. In the United States it only costs $15 for the international license from AAA.

You have three tries at the rules and three tries at the practical. If you fail all three then you have to wait another three months and try again.

You can do a mock driving test. It's a good way to see what they're looking for (They want you to use indicators going around a bend with no intersection and slow down at green lights.) And also to practise diagonal and parallel parks as the area you have is tiny and you are only allowed one shot at it in the official test. If you're doing it Saturday morning get there early. All your windows have to be down and sunshade up. If you do the driving exam and your car is not super small then you will HAVE TO rent one of their vehicles at Conchan in order to pass the parking portion of the circuit. Once you pass you will need to go to the MTC on the backside of the building shared by Touring.

You'll need
  • Original and copies of your passport or CE.
  • 2 carnet sized photos
  • Proof of high school education, (at least high school - certified copy or original and photocopy.
  • Pay the fee for the medical exam at Scotiabank
  • Pay the fee for the driving test at the Banco de la Nacion
  1. Pass the medical exam. Keep the receipt. (allow at least 2 hours - includes written psychological test, hearing/sight and general well-being (this can be done opposite Touring in Lince). You pay there).
  2. Pass the written exam (Licencias Peru and learn the list of 260 rules - click on "Balotario de Reglas". Sign in online and do the mock tests as many times as you like - click on "Simulacro Virtual".)
  3. Pass the Driving exam. (For expats you can get exonerated from the driving portion of the test if you have an international license. For the exoneration you need to legalize the copies of your International license and your Country driver's license. You can ONLY get a license this way if you have a certified official document from the location where your license was issued to prove your license is true and valid. You present this at Module 4 at Touring in the office that is second from the right. If you don't have the Foreign License exemption then you need to go to to the centre in Conchan - KM 21.5 Panamericana.)
  4. After you do the driving test you have to wait for the results - if you get called to the box you've failed, if you get called when the guy is standing up you've passed. You have to show all the documentation all over again (including photos) on a different day, go early. They open at 9am. The normal wait for foreign licenses is 2.5 hours.

Combis (Intracity Buses)
Combis are a bit difficult to get used to. Rutas Recomendables has fantastic combi maps. Combis stop where they want, so that means that they can stop five times on a block. Basically people flag them down and don't bother to use bus stops. Same goes for getting off the combis. But then won't stop when there are police or security guards. There are no meters either. There's a cobrador, who is someone who charges the bus fare. They also weave in and out of traffic, and honk constantly. They cram people in and tell you that there's plenty of room and that the bus is empty. In the little combis (which are like vans) 4 or 5 people will literally be doubled over and the cobrador will cram more people in. And I'm not even going to mention the horrible cumbia music that they constantly blash. They are cheap though. Try watching this video to find out more about what combis are like.

If you use combis, ask other passengers how much the fee is, because what people actually pay and the posted price is usually different. If you go a short distance, you can often pay 50 or 80 cents. Just be sure to ask before you get on. Other than that, most combis charge about 1 or 1.20 soles. Another problem is they charge what they want. One bus may charge 1 sol while another charges 1.20 for the same distance. A bit ago they tried to raise the bus fares, but people fought against it so much that they gave up. Combis take some getting used to, but once you learn where they go, you can get anywhere. Reading the side of the combi will tell you the main route. Complete routes can be found at GTU. While on combis, it's not uncommon for people selling things, such as candy to come on. Beggars often may also come on. It's your choice whether you give them something or not. If you do, please keep your small change separate from your wallet.

Tours and Trains

Coaches (Intercity buses)
Most flights land at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, LIM. Flights usually cost about 5 times as much as taking the bus. For example from Lima to Piura, 14 hours in bus costs about 60 soles, or about 20 dollars. Flying from Lima to Piura is about 2 hours and around 90 dollars. For flight information see Lima International Airport .

Vacations aren't cheap. Try taking a look at how to find cheap flights and the best travel hacking guide so that you can save money when you travel. For more tours and flights info check section getting ready and tourism.
Peruvian Airlines


Monday, September 8, 2008

Education in Peru

Updated 28 January 2015

If you're going to be moving to Peru with kids, you'll need to know about the educational options available. There are public and private schools in Peru and the majority of the private ones are religious. As expected, private schooling is more expensive and can range from $200 to $1000 a month, depending on the school. Most of the English speaking ones are in Lima, but you can also find some in the provinces.

Schools are broken into Primary (grades 1-6) and Secondary School (grades 1-5). There is also “Nido” which is Nursery school and usually starts around age 2. Since school is only 11 years, university is five years. A list of schools in Peru and International Schools (at the bottom) can be found in the LA Job List and this Guide to Peru. There's also, ExpoUniversidad which publishes a yearly guide for Peruvian schools. If you're considering homeschooling, you might want to look into virtual schools. You can also find helpful info at Moms help Moms.

Lima: Schools
International education can be very expensive in Lima. Some schools can cost more than $25,000 a year. Here's a list of the 10 most expensive schools. More schools can be found at the LA Job List and TEFL Tips.
Lima: Nursery Schools
Schools often have nursery schools that start at age two. However, if you're looking for places that just offer nursery school, try the places below.
  • Beginners: Los Pinos 308, Camacho 4376242
  • Donde Leslie: Alameda Corregidor 1310, La Molina 4953382
  • Garabatos: Los Laureles 447, San Isidro 4410040
  • Kids First Nursery School: Redon 134 San Borja 3461377
  • Little Villa: Jose del Llano Zapata 454, San Isidro 4405835
  • Medalla Milagrosa: Av Monte de los Olivos 145, surco 2791736
  • Nido John Arriman: Av Nicolas de Rivera 948, Surco 4221084
  • Nido Playschool: Islas Aleutianos 120, Planicie 4791058
Here are some English schools in the Provinces.
Special Education
Although there are only a few special education schools, they have high standards and will help make your transition to Peru easier.
Peru has one of the oldest universities in the Americas, San Marcos. It’s very difficult to get in, about 60,000 apply but only a couple thousand are actually admitted. University is considerably harder than in many English-speaking countries. The reason for this is that most grades are based on the midterm and final exams.

Some professors expect students to buy their books, memorise them and write their exact words on the exams. They may even take off points if they paraphrase, which is why many students think nothing of copying and pasting and then not giving any credit in the form of a bibliography. Here are some websites with statistics, such as the admission rate and number of students as well as other helpful information.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Household Help in Peru

Updated 14 April 2014

You have to be very careful who you let into your house. If you're looking for a maid or nanny, ask around for recommendations. Lock up valuables. Also, make a photocopy of their DNI. (This is their Peruvian ID card, it's blue.) This guide on how to hire a nanny is definitely worth a read.

If you have workers come in to install or fix somethings, watch them the entire time. I've had doors installed and they only used 1 screw in each of the door brackets, when they should have used 3. That means that they pocketed the other two and the door was easy to remove.

Maids and Nannies
There are new SUNAT requirements for domestic workers, please see this thread. Many families have maids or nannies. If you are considering hiring one, please ask for references. Salary depends on the workload, minimum salary is 550 soles. (As a general rule, it's better to pay them a little higher, after all they have access to all your things. And a happy maid/nanny is less tempted to steal.)

If you expect your nanny or maid to live with you, you will have to provide them with all their meals, uniform, towels and bedding and their salary will be a bit higher. Live in maids get 24 hours off per week. Public holidays are given as well. If you need them to help you during public holidays, then you can give either extra pay or days off. Annual Compensation (CTS) is two weeks pay per year of service when they finish their service with you. Vacation is two weeks per year. Termination bonus can be paid if you wish to let them go without two weeks notice. You must also pay state health insurance and pension. Health insurance is 9 percent of their monthly salary.

The majority of nannies are not certified as they would be in other countries. They are simply women who have experience with children or young, single women who are willing to work with children. Many times they are natives from provinces. Please remember that work in hard to find in Peru and salaries are low, so be fair to your household help. Employees should be given a uniform. Maids usually use a white one in the summer and blue in the winter.

SUNAT Registration
You must register your hired help with SUNAT You need the name of the employer, their ID and utlitiy bill. This will get you a RUC, which is a tax payer’s number. Then you need the name of the employee, DNI. Also their spouse (if they are not already covered by insurance), copy of their DNI and marriage cert. If they have a common law marriage, then they need a sworn statement to this effect. If they have kids, they'll need to give you the names and birth certificates of their children.

When you leave, you must take them off your health insurance and let SUNAT know within 30 days. Monthly payment of the health insurance and pension is made with Form 1076 and you can pay it at most banks. When your employee needs medical treatment they must show a copy of the registration and a copy of the most recent paid form 1076.

Lastly, if you decide to get a new person to help you out, I strongly suggest you change all the locks. Even if you let them go on good terms, they or a family member might get mad at you and decide to get revenge by robbing you. Even if you made them return the keys, they could have easily had copies made. While it doesn't happen to everyone I know a couple of people who have been robbed when they let their employees go. So it's better to be safe than sorry.

Employment Agencies
Agencia de Empleos Boliva
Bolivar 172, Of 9, Miraflores 4442377

Baby’s Service
Torre Ugarte 268 A, Miraflores
2227386 or 9487522

Centro Evangelico de Evaluacion, Capacitacion y Comp SRL
Jr. Mariscal Luzuriaga 582, Jesús Maria
3304528 or 3327938 or 2611556

La Casa de Panchita
Av Republica de Chile 566, Jesús Maria 4245282

Construction and Repairman
Pierre Marcel (in Lima) works in the construction business. He has experience in fixing things, building furniture, painting, dry wall, carpentry, etc. He speaks fluent English, is reliable, comes on time and charges fair prices. You can contact him at or 992204138 or 988843683.

Ronald, the husband of an American expat, has 14 years of experience working with drywall (finishing and painting) in Florida. He is now freelancing here in Lima and gives free estimates and fair prices. If you are interested in building or remodeling please consider giving him a call for a quote - he is a native Peruvian but is fluent in English. Cell: 988-032-522. Nextel: 136 * 2810


Saturday, September 6, 2008

English Church Services in Lima

Updated 20 January 2019

There are lots of churches of many denominations here in Lima. Most of them are in Spanish, however, the ones below are in English. Just because your friend likes a certain church, doesn't mean that you will. Here is some info on how to find the right church for you.

Calvary Chapel
    • Jesus Maria (Sundays at 10:30am and Wednesdays at 7pm)- Just 3 blocks from La Rambla on Brasil Avenida Horacio Urteaga No. 962.
    • San Juan de Lurigancho (Sundays at 6pm) - Av. Jorge Basadre #184 (Paradero 20 de Proceres)

    Camino de Vida
    • Calle El Buen Retiro 100, Monterrico-Surco, near the American Embassy. Phone 312-6048.
    It has several thousand people and is very contemporary. The worship and music is in Spanish but they have translation services for the 10am service every Sunday. Both senior pastors are from San Diego, and there's lots of expats there. It’s a great non-denominational Christian church.

    Church of the Good Shepherd
    • Av. Santa Cruz 491, Miraflores. Phone: 422-3936.
    • Anglican-Episcopal services in English every Sunday: 7:30 a.m., 8:00am, 9:30 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. 
    • Children's Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. in English. 
    • There is a women's group that meets every two weeks
    • There is a group that meets for Bible study every Wednesday evening.

    Church of the Latter Day Saints
    • Av. Javier Prado Este 6420, La Molina, Lima 12. 1-612-7200

    Jehovah Witness
    • AV. El Cortijo 329

    La Ciudad 
    • Ccori Wasi Cultural Center at Av. Arequipa 5198, Miraflores
    • Lead Pastor Sebastian Alencastre:
    • Services start at 10:30 am and 6pm.
    This is a bilingual family of faith with a heart for city-wide transformation for Lima and beyond. They strive to be Christ Centered, Bible and Spirit led, servant and diversity minded, and mission focused. In addition, a Children's Ministry is provided and all weekly messages are given by Lead Pastor Josh Foliart with audio translation into Spanish.

    Potential Church
    • Services: Miraflores Colon Hotel which is located at Jiron Colon 600, esquina con Juan Fanning in Miraflores.
    • Services are held at 11am on Sundays.
    • Office: Av. Grau 1127, Barranco. Phone: 469-2103
    • Email: or Leo Sierra, 
    Potential Church in Lima is a lively, contemporary Christian church in English and Spanish every Sunday morning that offers English Services. Potential Church Lima features a live band and contemporary worship music. There is also an exciting children`s and teenage ministry in English. Potential Church has been featured on CNN, Telemundo, Panorama, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and El Commercio.

    Santa Maria Chapel
    • Ovalo Gutiérrez, Miraflores
    • Catholic Mass in English every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. 
    Santa Maria Chapel is a bit hard to find, go in the side entrance, turn right and then turn right again. It is a small chapel located behind the big football shaped church.

    Union Church of Lima
    • Av. Angamos Oeste 1155, Miraflores. Phone 441-1472,
    Adult Sunday School is held Sundays at 9:30am. Inter-denominational English language services are every Sunday at 10:30am and there are nursery and childrens' church during the service. There is a prayer meeting on Wednesdays at 7pm. There is a Bible Discussion Group on Thursdays at 7:30pm. You Group meets on Saturdays at 7pm during the school year. Marriage and Parenting classes are held regularly.


    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Pets in Peru

    Updated 15 April 2014

    Bringing your pet to Peru
    A good website to check out is Pet Travel. They have lots of information about country and airline requirements. If you're trying to bring your pet into Peru, check out this blog about bringing pets here.

    Taking your pet out of Peru
    You should read up on pet health requirements before you travel. Your pet might have to be in quarantine for a bit, usually six months, and will cost around 1200 pounds. There are other alternatives though. For example, in the UK, to enter or re-enter the UK from a non-EU listed country without quarantine a pet must (in this order) be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and blood tested. It must also be issued with an EU pet passport or a third country official veterinary certificate and treated against ticks and tapeworms. (thanks to rodd for the info)

    Here's info for the UK. There's also info from the Consulado Peru site as well if you're going to go to the US. A pet relocator might help you out. They do all the paperwork for you. Try Air Animal.

    If you have a dog, you will have to register your dog with the municipality where you live. You will need the following: your ID (a passport, DNI, or CE), a photo of your dog, a background about your dog's health that you should get from the vet, record of lal shots, including rabies, to pay a fee usually around 20 soles, a contact telephone number and a description of your pet. Make sure you have all this ready, including the description of your pet in Spanish. The place where you register your dog isn't at the actual municipality, it's usually in another building. But if you go to the municipality, they should be able to help you out and tell you where to go.

    Adopting a pet
    Here are some places that you can adopt pets from.


    Contact : Angie or Cecilia Degregori
    Phone. 9855-5536 or Phone. 950-83008

    Vida Digna
    Enrique Palacios 480, Miraflores
    Phone. 430-0981


    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Alcoholics Anonymous and Al Anon in Peru

    Updated 19 September 2018
    Most of these meetings are held in English. Here's AA's official website and here's information about meetings in Lima. You can also find contact information on their site.

    There are many stories out there from men and women who have recovered from alcoholism. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is by far the most famous. Here's a blog written by a recovering alcoholic called Essentials of Recovery.

    I found 2 Facebook pages for Cusco and have organized the information from them below. Please try all numbers and addresses until you find help. All the information that I found was in Spanish. I have not been able to find any meetings in English, however, still contact them as they might be able to put you in touch with someone who speaks English.

    "Grupo Solidaridad" (Al-Anon) El Triunfo Chapel located at 309 Calle El Triunfo. Meets Thursdays from 4:30pm a 5:45pm.
    Alcoholicos Anonimos Cusco
    They have 8 meetings listed on their Facebook page and I've kept the numbering system they used on their Facebook page so you can easily find it there as well.
    1. Grupo Compartir: Jr. Pumacahua N° 130 Urb Tahuantinsuyo. Meets Monday to Saturday from 8:30pm to 10pm.
    2. Grupo Illary: Calle Nueva N° 403 Oficina 206, Second Floor. Meets Monday to Saturday from 1pm to 8:30pm. 
    3. Grupo Lenguaje del Corazón: On the corner of Av. De de la Cultura and Av. Manchupicchu.  Urb. Manuel Prado. Meets Monday to Saturday from 7:30pm to 9pm.
    4. Grupo Puerta a la Vida: Av. Tullumayo 870-A (General Services is here). Meets Monday to Saturday from 7pm to 8:30pm. Their hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm. Phone 084 - 799-162. I also found that they had updated their info and said that they're not at Limacpampa Chico Nro 400, Interior, Second Floor. Phone is 974-753-115. Please contact both and see.
    5. Grupo Machupicchu. Calle Nueva N° 403 Oficina. 206. Meets Tuesday and Friday from 5pm to 6:30pm on the second floor.
    6. Grupo Vive y Deja Vivir: Los Angeles D-1 3er paradero - San Sebastian. Meets Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 7:30pm. 
    7. Grupo Solo por Hoy: Jr. Abancay N° 258 Quillabamba. Meets Monday to Saturday from 7pm to 8pm. 
    8. Vive Feliz: Calle Triunfo, Parroquia el Sagrario. Meets Monday to Friday from 3:30pm to 4:30pm. 
    Grupo Solidaridad: El Triunfo Chapel located at 309 Calle El Triunfo. Meets Thursdays from 4:30pm a 5:45pm.

    Alcoholicos Anonimos de Peru, Lenguaje del Corazon
    • Av. Tullumayo 870-A Oficina de Servicios Generales
    • Av. De la cultura Nro. 1880, Oficina 205. Second Floor. Altura Paradero Manuel Prado. RPC 984-250-975, Cell 991-961-327, or RCP 979-711-253. Monday to Saturday 7:30pm to 9pm.


    Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
    Av Santa Cruz 491, Miraflores
    Bob D.
    Telephone: 4411947
    Tuesday and Thursday 7.00pm to 8.00 pm
    Here are directions

    Carmelitas Catholic Church
    7-8:30pm, every day. The meetings are not in the church itself but around the block believe it not in the Carmelitas Funeral Home facing Paseo de la Republica. Meeting's are in Spanish. The meeting is deep within the property but ask a security guard for directions and please respect ongoing funerals!

    Fatima Catholic Church
    7-8:30pm Monday to Friday. On Av. Armendariz (just past the KFC on the right. Walking distance from Larcomar Plaza & Marriott). Enter into the back courtyard facing the ocean. Meeting is in the 2nd floor classroom. Ask security guard if lost

    Maria Reina Catholic Church
    12-1:30pm. Monday to Friday. It's directly on the Ovalo Guitierrez. Meeting is behind the church in the school building, 2nd floor. You may have to wait for security to open the door, but there is a meeting there!

    Pardo Cinco
    12-1pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 537 Avenida Jose Pardo, Oficina 210. Near Parque Kennedy and Saga Fagabella. Here are directions.

    Union Church
    Av Angamos 1155, Miraflores, 4411472 or 4221665, Monday to Friday.


    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    Medical Care in Peru

    Updated 18 April 2014

    Medical care in Peru at private clinics is fine, you’ll have nothing to worry about if you need to go to the hospital. If you have kids, that often complicates things. Make sure to know the basics of taking care of your child. Clinics and hospitals are clean and have modern equipment. Often doctors have studied in foreign countries and have come back to Peru to work. 

    You can always check and see if your doctor is qualified by going to the Colegio Medico del Peru. Then on the left go to "Servicios" and "Conoce su medico". Doctors must be registered with the CMP in order to legally practise medicine in Peru. The US embassy has a list of recommended doctors.

    Wash food thoroughly before eating them. This includes foods with peeling, such as bananas. You can use a little bleach, vinegar or salt. Most grocery stores sell a special bleach for this purpose. If you're in a restaurant, avoid free salads or fruits unless you're certain they clean them well. Avoid street food. Carry toilet paper and a small container of liquid soap with you. Many places won't have these.

    You are not required to have any vaccinations for Peru. Yellow Fever is recommended if you're going to visit the jungle. However, some countries require you to have vaccinations to enter their country if you are coming from Peru, for example, Australia requires you to show proof of the Yellow Fever vaccine even if you haven’t visited the jungle.

    Medical Insurance
    Many medicines, including birth control, are cheaply available over-the-counter. Medical insurance is around 200 soles a month.
    Eye Doctors
    There are lots of eye doctors around blocks 19 and 20 of Arequipa where Jose Pardo de Zela crosses Arequipa. I was able to get 6 months of disposable contacts (Acuvue), glasses with frames, and an eye exam for 100 dollars.

    Anti-Conception Medicine
    Condoms are readily available here, so please use them. Good brands are Durex and Piel. As far as pills go, Yasmin (About 45 soles) is an international brand. AIDS, HIV and STDs are big problems here. Abortions are illegal, however, you can get them illegally, though I wouldn’t recommend it for safety reasons. The morning after pill is available at some pharmacies.

    Giving Birth
    Giving birth here can be a nightmare. The C-section rate is super high, at some places it's as high as 90%. You need to do your research ahead of time if you'd like to avoid tons of interventions and a C-section.  Many hospitals don't provide basic things such as diapers, hats, clothes, blankets, bottles, etc. For more information, please see the articles, babies born in Peru as well as doulas, midwives, and birthing centers in Peru.

    Clinics in Lima

    Alternative Medicine


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