Lima, Peru Report of what it's like to live there - 06/29/13
Personal Experiences from Lima, Peru
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Moscow and Monterrey.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Houston, about a 6 1/2 hour straight flight with United.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Another diplomatic assignment.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Large houses with big backyards in La Molina, La Planicie, Camacho, and Surco, some of them are in really good condition, and some are very old. Commute time ranges from 15 minutes when there is no traffic to an hour when there is.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
You can find everything you need at the grocery stores, and you can even order online for delivery at ewong.com from the store WONG. There also is Vivanda, Vea and others. I had a car, and most of the time I was there I paid the delivery fee (15 soles) to get my groceries delivered at home.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Any kind of electronic items are very expensive.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
I lived in La Molina, and we had a huge problem with spiders -- all colors and sizes. I hired an exterminator every year but still had some spiders roaming around.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Cheap and easy to find. The hard part is finding someone honest.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes, the embassy has one, and there are Gold's Gyms located throughout the city.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
I had a bad experience with ATMs. You should be careful to go only to an ATM indoors.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
Movistar has a package. For 300 soles we got TV, cable, and phone.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Not much, they are used to dealing with tourists.
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
There are absolutely no accommodations made for people with disabilities.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
We had a 4x4 CRV. Prepare yourself for big bumps and broken streets with huge holes.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
They all work fine, but they are expensive. Dealing with any company to give you a cellphone is a huge pain. Nobody wants to take your diplomatic card. They all want to see the extranjeria card, and it will be hard to get a contact that can give your EFM a hand with a cellphone.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
We went to an upscale veterinary clinic, and it was okay as long as there was nothing serious. When things got complicated, they were useless.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
No, the pay is terrible.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Casual. People here dress up to go to the grocery store.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Yes, taxis will kidnap you and take you to the ATM. There are assaults and robberies. If you stay alert you can be safe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Yes, allergies are a huge problem. And medical care is mediocre, even if you go to the best clinics in town. Our daughter had allergy problems for months, and the fourth doctor she saw was finally able to deal with it. Doctors will often give you a wrong diagnosis.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Lima has the most polluted air in all of South America - I never got carsick before I went to Lima.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Foggy all year 'round with some sunny days. I felt that due to the lack of rain my skin was always dirty and my shoes and clothes would get dirty so fast.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
I didn't have to deal with this, but I did have two friends whose kids were having a terrible time being bullied.
2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
We had a great time with the day care.
3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Big- don't know the numbers.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Clubs, restaurants, beach parties, etc.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Yes! But not with gender. I was discriminated against several times. The whiter you are, the better you get treated.
6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
You can go to the beach at the Miraflores area and take a long walk with a view. Other things, like clubs and restaurants, are a big thing here.
7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Traveling around the country for tourism.
8. Can you save money?
Maybe, if you try hard.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. Do you have any other comments?
About the society in general: Any question you ask will be answered. People make up answers and then try to blame you or others for their mistakes. Verbal agreements are useless. If you pay for something and you lose the receipt, you have to pay for it again. Customer service is very poor.