Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 Peru Inspired Gift Guide

If you're looking for Peru inspired gifts, you've come to the right place! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Food and Drinks
Paneton and hot chocolate is a staple during the Christmas season. Don't forget a Peruvian mug. While some might snub their nose at fruitcake (paneton), Peruvians love it. Drinking hot chocolate during summer might seem odd, but hey, it's Christmas, so why not?

There are a number of Peruvian desserts you can try. Turrones are a sticky sweet treat topped with small candies. Alfajores are cookies with manjar blanco (caramel) in the middle and then either covered in powdered sugar or dipped in chocolate. King Kong is similar to an alfajor and has layers of cookies with manjar blanco (caramel).

Peruvian grains are becoming famous around the world. If you're looking to give a healthy gift then try kañiwa. Considered a modern super food, it was part of the Aztec and Incan diet. It's much better than rice and packed with nutrition as well as high in iron.

For the cook in your life, Peruvian cookbooks are the way to go. They'll find great recipes like ceviche, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, papa rellena, and much more.   

Wool socks are a game changer. Once you try them out you won't go back to cotton socks. They can last for years, are much better for your feet than cotton since they're anti-fungal, and many of them can be tossed in the dryer. Alpaca is superior to wool since it is softer, warmer, and has no lanolin which means it's hypoallergenic. Alpaca socks aren't as cheap as cotton socks, but you're paying for quality. Considering how much use you'll get out of them, they are a relatively inexpensive gift, so buy a pair or two for yourself as well.

Alpaca sweaters are warm and have gorgeous designs. They're super soft and people love wearing them. Traditional Peruvian hats, such as the chullo, will keep your loved ones warm through the cold winter months. Don't forget a warm shawl or even a poncho that they can wrap around themselves to protect them from windy days.

Alpaca can be used for more than clothing. It also makes great blankets and throws. It's great for cozying up on the couch and drinking hot cocoa, from a Peruvian mug, of course.

For the Home
If you know someone who could benefit from the gift of music, let the relaxing sounds of traditional Peruvian music take away the holiday stress. For the musician in your life, let them make their own music, you can get them a pan flute, rain stick, or if they're more adventurous, the cajon.

Ornaments make great gifts. There are a number of Peruvian ornaments out there, such as Machu Picchu, nativity scenes, llamas, and the Peruvian flag.

The new year brings resolutions and many people choose to learn a language, such as Spanish. Some popular programmes are Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and Madrigal's. For the non-linguists, there are a number of good books about Peruvian history, such as the New York Times Best Seller: Turn Right at Machu Picchu and The Last Day of the Incas.  

More Gifts
If you're looking for more ideas, here are other Peru inspired gift guides I've written.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Peru and the Hague Agreement

Image credit
Updated 26 March 2016

Apostillisation can take some time if you aren't able to go to the offices in person. Please plan ahead as it can take a couple months. Some people use a company to help them get documents apostillised. Fees vary widely so contact a few of them to get an idea of prices. Here are some popular companies people use.

Documents for Peru
The Hague Apostille Agreement took effect in Peru on September 30, 2010. You can read about it in Spanish at Apuntes Peruanos and Ministero de Relacciones Exteriores. You can see it in English at the Official Hague Agreement website. What this means is that using foreign documents in Peru or using Peruvian documents abroad has been made easier. This article is about using foreign documents abroad. If you want to use Peruvian documents abroad, please see, Using Peruvian Documents Abroad.

Before you had to have the document notarised, then legalised by the Peruvian consulate in your country, then legalised again at RREE (Ministerio de Relacciones Exteriores) in Lima. Now, all you have to do is get the apostillisation. NB: Apuntes Peruanos says that this is NOT true for Canadian, German, or Greek documents. Please check with the embassy in your home country before getting an apostillisation.

US State and Local Documents 
Examples of state and local documents are: birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce certicates, state background checks, or degrees. For federal documents, please see the following section. You can mail or take the documents in person. I mailed things. Total time is about one month.

TIP: Get many copies apostillised. They're good for life and you won't have to go through this again. I had ten copies of my degree apostillised.

  1. Use the original document OR copy your document and get the copy notarised. Birth certificates are a perfect example of using originals. These are often already notarised by the emitting office, ex. the county clerk. If it is not already notarised, you will have to send it to the emitting office to get it notarised. It is often faster, cheaper, and better to copy your orginal. Photocopy the original. Take the original and the photocopy to a notary. The notary will examine both documents and the notarise the copy. In the US, it can often be done for free at your local library or bank. If you're not in the US and need something notarised, try Sign Now. It's accepted in all 50 states and much cheaper than going to the embassy.
  2. Put your original in a safe place. You won't have to mail it anywhere, BUT you might want to bring the original to Peru just in case.
  3. Get your documents apostillised. You will have to send your documents to the Secretary of State. Contact them and ask how much it is to get documents apostillised. It should be between $5 and $20. If you are using copies you do NOT send the original. Just send the notarised copies. If you are using orginals, you will have to send the original. This usually takes two weeks.

What You Will Have: You will have another document attached to your copy (or original). It should have a seal and special corner at the top. Mine have a gold sticker-seal and a blue paper at the top in the corner. Do NOT separate these documents or you will render them invalid.

US Federal Documents
An example of federal checks: FBI background checks. You will probably not need this, but it might help you in the future. See the next section for how to get an FBI check.

  1. Use the original document FBI background checks are a perfect example of using originals. These are often already notarised by the emitting office, ex. the FBI, IF you tell them that you will be using the documents abroad.
  2. Send it to the Department of State. It should cost less than $10 and take two to three weeks. You can also go in person if you live near Washington DC. You now need to have a notarised copy of your license or passport as well as a notarised request letter.  If you're not in the US and need something notarised, try Sign Now. It's accepted in all 50 states and much cheaper than going to the embassy.

What You Will Have: You will have another document attached to your original. It should have a seal and special corner at the top. Do NOT separate these documents or you will render them invalid.

How to Get an FBI Check
  • Plan ahead. The FBI website states that "processing times may take up to 12 weeks." See number 9 on the FAQs on the FBI website. Bad news is that many countries only accept FBI checks that are less than 6 months old, so planning is key!
  • Legible fingerprints are critical. You can use the forms from the FBI site or the ones at the police station. They recommend submitting multiple fingerprint cards.
You Need

Here's what you need to do. You can also find the steps and the checklist on the FBI website.
  1. Get fingerprinted.
  2. Send all docs to the FBI. Look at the checklist to make sure that you've included everything. Have it sent back to your parents or family or friends in the US. It's recommended to send it via certified mail so that you can track it. FBI CJIS Division – Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306
  3. Your family or friends in the US get the form, then send it to the US Dept of State in Washington DC, not the Sec of State in your state. It's a federal document, so has to go to the Dept of State in Washington. The FBI puts a seal on the crb at the request of applicants and tthen you can send it to the Department of State, not the Secretary of State. see: (FYI: If you want to send it to the Sec of State, then you could also do that, but it’s a hassle. First you need to get it notarized, then send it to the Secretary of State.)
  4. They get the FBI check and then mail it to you.

Canadian Documents
Please see the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website for more information.

British Documents
Please see the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website for more information.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Interview with Ken Jones at Maximo Nivel

About Maximo Nivel
Ken Jones started Maximo Nivel in Cusco in 2003 and since then they have expanded to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and the US. Teachers are able to work and travel around nearby countries in Latin America.

Many people take TEFL certificate to help them get into TEFL. There are a couple TEFL Training Institutes in Peru. One of them in Maximo Nivel in Cusco. Ken Jones, the owner, has provided The Ultimate Peru List with the following information.

TEFL / TESOL Program
Their program is accredited with the Peruvian Ministry of Education and with Assentis in the UK. This is a 150 hour on-site program with 8+ hours of teaching and observations. Cost is $1600 for the 4 week course; plus housing and books. They are partnered with the following organizations for TEFL/TESOL: Bridge Linguatec, INTESOL, TEFL Institute, ITTO, EBC, and Global Crossroad. They also have two other options.
  1. A hybrid TEFL/TESOL Program, which is 2-4 weeks of self-study followed by 2 weeks on-site. 
  2. An online / distance learning TEFL Program, which is done via Skype and (unlike other online programs) includes 6 hours of practical teaching via Skype—these are 1-on-1 lessons with Peruvians and Guatemalans.

ESL Teaching
Their teachers must be TEFL / TESOL or CELTA certified via a course of at least 100 hours and which included a practical teaching component. Minimum contract is 6 months. Teachers must be native English speakers. There are a limited number of positions where TEFL/TESOL certified non-native English speakers can work as tutors. They generally hire 5-6 teachers per month. With respect to their contracts, they do not have a non-competition clause. There are various bits of mis-information on Dave’s.

They do not pay teachers hourly—they receive a fixed monthly salary. In Peru the salary is $450 - $600; in Costa Rica the salary is $690 - $800; and in Guatemala the salary is $450 - $600. Teachers teach six (6) 1-hour classes/day. Teachers can earn more if they choose to teach a 7th or 8th class, though this never required.

Their ESL program in Peru has 1200 learners and a staff of 20 teachers; their ESL program in Costa Rica is 150 learners and a staff of 6 teachers; their ESL program in Guatemala will begin in January 2011. Class size is strictly limited in Peru to 12 learners; in Costa Rica to 8 learners; and in Guatemala to 12 learners. They have a full in-house developed teachers’ guide and curriculum, books, and all quizzes and exams are standardized by the institute.They  have a 2 hour in-house teacher training each month.

In Peru, they have a large Teachers’ Lounge with dedicated computers, Internet and WiFi, satellite TV, lock-able cubbies, 2 refrigerators, bottled water, and teachers-only bathroom. In Costa Rica, they have a small Teachers’ Lounge with dedicated computers, Internet and WiFi and lock-able cubbies. In Guatemala, they have a small Teachers’ Lounge with dedicated computers, Internet and WiFi, cable TV, lock-able cubbies, refrigerator, and bottled water.

They offer volunteer and internship projects in all 3 countries. These last for as little as 1 week and as long as 1 year. Most people are with us for 2-4 weeks, and the average stay is 3.3 weeks. They are partnered with the following organizations: IVHQ, Global Crossroad, IFRE, RCDP, Bridge Volunteers, GVN, and Rustic Volunteer & Travel. They offer projects in the following areas:
  • Orphanage / Childcare
  • Medical / Healthcare
  • Conservation
  • Construction
  • Teaching English

Native Spanish Program
Their Native Spanish Program is accredited by the Ministries of Education in both Peru and Guatemala. As well, Brookhaven College in the U.S. and Universidad Rural in Guatemala provide university credit for our Spanish program. They are partnered with the following organizations: Tucan Travel, LanguageCourse.Net, and 121 Speech.

Classes are offered in small group (max 6 people) and 1-on-1. Teachers are all native Spanish speakers and are certified in teaching Spanish as a second language OR hold a Bachelors or Masters in Education.

They have a program called Adventure & Culture which combines 1-4 weeks of Spanish with various tourism programs that clients do on the weekends—to see the sites in Peru, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

Contact Information

Maximo Nivel
Del Antiguo Higueron 100m sur y 50m este
San Pedro Montes de Oca
San Jose
Telephone: +506 2253 9220

Maximo Nivel
6ta Avenida 16-16A
La Antigua
Telephone: +502 7932 1500

Maximo Nivel
Avenida El Sol 612-616
Telephone: +51 (84) 58 1800

Other Information
Maximo Nivel is no longer associated with Chris Larsen in Arequipa. Chris has his institute called Extreme Superior English Alliance. He began in Arequipa as a Maximo Nivel franchise. They parted ways amicably in early 2008. Their institutes are no longer related.


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