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An American in Lima

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added on 10/11/2008 by: American in Lima
A blog about crossing cultures and experiencing a new way of life in Peru, South America. Follow along as I encounter 500-year-old mummies, insane traffic manuevers, melting glaciers, guinea pig festivals, 11-year-old bullfighters, and dancing bear-men.
 tags: expat experience, festivals, food, sports, travel

 Latest posts on An American in Lima

My Own Brush with a Violent Protest in Lima  Posted on 03/08/2011
After writing yesterday’s tongue-in-cheek post about the U.S. Embassy warning about foreigners getting swept up in political demonstrations in Peru, I realized that I had nearly been caught in a violent protest myself. (To...
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Expat Bloggers Agree: Don’t Drink Tap Water in Peru  Posted on 11/27/2010
Tony of HowToPeru has posted a useful survey piece on whether it’s safe to drink the tap water in Peru (Drinking Water in Peru: Safe or Unsound?). The opinions culled are those of expats (including me) currently living in...
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A Peruvian (non)Thanksgiving Epiphany  Posted on 11/27/2010
It’s Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States but which, in Peru, is just November 26. We don’t celebrate Turkey Day or Black Friday in this Andean nation of 30 million people. No pilgrims...
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Lima Day Trip: Birding at La Punta  Posted on 11/13/2010
Migrant Ruddy Turnstones at La Punta; photo c. Jorge Vera     First, a disclaimer:  I know next to nothing about birds, let alone birds in Lima.  I can identify cuculis – those fat, grey pigeons that...
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Conversations in the Gym  Posted on 10/10/2010
Yesterday I was chatted up by the manager of the gym where I (sometimes) work out. Cinco Pirouettas is a stout man in his forties who claims to have been a ballerino when he was young.  He spends most of his...
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The Hare Krishnas Cure My Allergies  Posted on 10/08/2010
Zowie! as Osgood says in Some Like It Hot. Just got back from Govinda’s vegetarian restaurant, in Miraflores, where after lunch El Fotografo and I had some hot ginger tea. It was real ginger, chunks of it, ground up with honey and...
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Show all posts (10) 


  • john 19 August 2012 08:55:06

    I am wondering what the job market is for a US trained registered nurse as I may have to move to Lima don't know much Spanish any travel nurse sites that specialize in Peru. Thanks

  • David 04 February 2012 22:26:49

    Hey there just started to read your blog :) I will be visiting Lima coming up at the end of this month. I will be in Mira Flores I have an old friend of 10 years I will be staying with. Thanks for the info

  • Grecia Luna-Patrón
    Grecia Luna-Patrón 26 August 2010 16:51:06

    Hello "Barbara", "Trey" and everyone else, your comments made me curious about the city of Lima, I'm Spanish but married to a Peruvian. I see you have doubts about this destination, so I'll give you a recommendation. Every time I go with my husband, the first thing we do is stay at the Hotel Libertador Lima, one because it is really well located and two, because of its excellent treatment given to us each time. Also its food is delicious, and the people in this place is very kind, they help us to organize some tours to different places in Lima. I think it's the best way to know a place, being well anchored and plan everything from your stay comfortable, so I share your its website if you want more information: http://www.libertador.com.pe/en/2/1/3/lima-hotel

  • Barbara 03 August 2009 16:52:37

    Gaston -- see my message to Trey re shipping companies.

  • Gaston Etchart 02 August 2009 20:51:06

    Hello, I am a chilean US citizen married to a peruvian wife form Lima. We are in the mood ot move there (Lima), I am an architect with knowledge and career in latin american country. Before I get into my busineess I would like to open a place there type of wine-sandwich place. none there. Other odea is to ship motrocycles touring adventure for gringos coming form US.
    d oyou know reliable shipping/forwarding companies in florida that have good connection wit hPeru on these matters?.
    Any suggestion would be apprecisted.

  • Barbara 15 July 2009 20:35:47

    Caitlin --
    How old are you and your friend? "Two young caucasian girls" could encompass ages 5 to 20.

  • Caitlin 01 July 2009 00:44:52

    Hola! I am going to Peru with my best friend in October. We bought a one way ticket because we don't want this experience to be rushed like past journeys have been. Every time someone new finds out that we are going to Peru for an extended period of time they have negative reactions and insist that as two young caucasian girls on our own, we will encounter lots of danger. what do you think?? One of my friends thinks I am crazy to go to a place like Peru and not die my hair brown (im a redhead) he thinks it will make me a major "target". He also thinks FARC is a major issue for Americans in South America. Please can i have some feedback from you because I am starting to get worried

  • Barbara 11 June 2009 19:44:04

    Thanks, Brandon, for the kind remarks. I hope that good fortune brings you to Lima.

  • Brandon 02 June 2009 23:04:06


    Hi Ralph Rico,

    I appreciate you sharing it's been a motivator knowing that you were ablbe to make it in lima. I'm here in miami, originally from San Francisco, Ca and have been really considering the move to Lima - however was just missing some info. Thanks for the clafification & look forward to maybe bumping into you in lima. Warm Regards. Brandon

  • Barbara 28 May 2009 20:34:27

    Serge, I am in no position to comment on whether this is a good job offer or not. Try contacting someone in the architectural field.

  • sergederbez 25 May 2009 05:07:38

    there is a company offering a job as resident in peru doing architectural work, they usually do work for the american government that help the peru. I would like to know if it is a good idea to follow with this idea since I am not sure what a good salary for this country is, there is no reason for me to move out if it is not rewarding, but on the other side I understand that I can live with much less money over there, though the idea is to make somo extra money over there and come back. Could you give me your oppinion. I would think that if they are asking for somebody being perfectly bilingual is because they are willing to pay an extra
    please try to contact me at my mail

  • American in Lima
    American in Lima 01 May 2009 18:59:18

    Ralph -- interesting insights. Thanks for giving people confidence to take the plunge.

    Jalegria: I have a couple of suggestions. (1) Take all the Spanish classes you can. One easy way to learn is to use the "Rosetta Stone" audio series or the Pimsler series; my library in Florida had them on the shelves and so I studied for free, listening on headphones while I exercised.

    (2) Getting work seems to be a priority for you. With three small children, how much can you really afford to work? Do you plan to have a nanny for the kids?

    A number of Americans work for the US Embassy; look on their website for job leads.

    You don't need a teaching certificate to teach English at language institutes in Peru, but being certified will earn you more $ and enable you to work at better institutes. You can get certified in ESOL in the States. Again, that is something you can do before you move here.

  • jalegria
    jalegria 30 April 2009 22:50:58

    Hello Barbara, thank you so much for your insight. Being scared is a word i used because this is all new for me like you said the move would probably be rougher on me than the children. the scary thing is going to a new country i have been there before but it has been over 8years. You recommended a website for teaching for me, and i have read through the site, however i believe it would be best to get there first and then start the search, what do you think? So as I am not as fluent as i would like to be in spanish, i am also not experienced in the teaching field. Thank you for the information about the school for the kids much appreciated. Josie

  • Ralph Rico 26 April 2009 07:18:19

    Very interesting, my wife is peruvian and we just moved from Miami, and there is one thing I can tell you all, "I WOULD NOT GO BACK FOR A SECOND!" Here you can find work, do not be scared. There are so many advantages about living in Peru, that I dont know where to start. Bottom line if you have the oppurtunity to come please do so you will not regret it. By the way if you need to ship anything here from the states please feel free to contact me at allpartsperu@gmail.com. I import and export cars and parts to Piata, Peru. As well have lots of friends in the states that can help you with your move.

  • Barbara 24 April 2009 16:27:46

    Exactly what are you scared of? (You use the word two times.) Crime? Being a stranger in a new land? Not having jobs or money?
    I don't know where Mirones is, but if it's in Lima then, yes, you can get work as an American in Lima. Language institutes hire native English speakers to teach classes. The pay is between $5 and $10 per hour. Check out The Ultimate Peru List (google online) for information on jobs.

    You can send your kids to the Roosevelt School, where I believe all the classes are in English, if you don't care about their becoming bilingual.

    Our son goes to a British Peruvian school where half of the classes are in English, the other half in Spanish. He had language support at the school for his first year and 3 months to learn Spanish; now he is fluent. It's not easy to get a 9- or 10-year-old to learn a new language at first, but somewhere between 6 months and 1 year, the new language kicks in, and you will be amazed at how rapidly your kids speak Spanish without an accent.

    Best of luck.

  • JOSIE 23 April 2009 23:25:39


  • geminiconquest
    geminiconquest 19 April 2009 14:12:03

    Hi everybdy. Can anyone recommend a good honest lawyer who can help me set up a company and obtain a residence permit in Peru?

    My email is: ahallak@live.com

    Thank you

  • Barbara 22 January 2009 02:12:53

    Trey -- I would not trust any scheme for obtaining Peruvian citizenship that involved depositing large sums of money in a Peruvian bank. That sounds completely fishy to me. What you first need to obtain is a carne extranjeria and a resident visa. There are forums on this and other Peru expat blogs that can explain how to do that. It takes more than a year and the requirements can be complicated but not impossible. I am married to a Peruvian so that enables me to obtain a carne extranjeria in one year and my citizenship in two years.

    Christi -- You can live on a lot less here than in the U.S. I know a guy who's an American psychologist who does therapy sessions by phone with his US clients. I guess they like him enough to have a shrink abroad. :)

    Property is not expensive but prices are rising. The question is: Can US citizens acquire and keep property in Peru? I don't have the answer to that and I wouldn't presume to guess; laws in Peru are quirky and you should find out for sure before thinking about buying. Again, the other Peru expat boards or maybe this one may have answers regarding property.

    Peru does have stresses. The traffic in Lima is horrific and the climate is odd (months without sun). There are a bunch of expats in Cusco who love it there, if you like living in the mountains. I think the people in Lima need therapy more than those in Cusco, though. :)

    Ummm, one thing that many expats love is being able to afford help in the home: maids, nannies, in-home nurses for the sick and elderly. I know of a very sick elderly woman in my husband's family who requires round the clock nursing care in her house, and she has two full-time nurses. The cost for both is $600 a month. I am not saying that you need nurses at your age, but this is to give an idea of the kind of personal attention your money buys here. A maid costs below $200 a month; you can pay more if your conscience dictates (we know a German couple who does that). What having a maid enables you to do is focus on your own work and use your time for what matters. You need to check their backgrounds and references carefully, though. We had one who was a great cook but ended up stealing from us. Ugh! Adios, four-course meals. We've been maidless for nine months now, and Limenos think that's weird.

  • Barbara 14 January 2009 03:12:32

    Hi, Trey. Glad you had a good time in Peru and that you're investigating what it would take to move there. Note that you can find some very good info about the details of such a move on the expatperu.com and livinginperu.com forums.

    Here's what I know from our move: We used M&M Courier company in Miami to ship our goods via sea crate from Jacksonville, FL, to Callao, Peru, which is the closest port to Lima. To get our goods out of customs in Lima we used UZI, which is the "sister" company of M&M in Lima. It took us only 2 weeks to get our stuff out of customs in Peru, which is very good considering that some people wait months (up to 3 1/2 in one couple's case)to clear customs in Peru.

    Banks in Peru insure deposits only up to $20,000 US dollars. Many Limenos who have more money than that spread their money among several accounts. We like ScotiaBank, a Canadian bank that has been in Peru for a while. Note that you can keep your money in your US bank account and access ATMs in Lima, and make wire transfers to your Peru bank account periodically. You do not have to move all of your money with you.

    Check the expat sites I mentioned for info about becomin a citizen. The first thing you need to do is obtain your carne extranjeria, which is a bit of an ordeal. I am married to a Peruvian so it was easier. I don't know anything about depositing $25,000 in a bank. That sounds fishy to me. Beware of Peruvians telling you that you need to pay large sums to banks and lawyers, etc. They are probably scamming you because they presume you're a naive gringo with cash.

  • Trey Sturgis 13 January 2009 20:56:55

    Hi! My name is Trey and I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am also interested in moving to Peru. I spent 3 weeks there in October and I loved it. Everyone was so nice and the food is incredible. Can you give me some suggestions regarding a good moving/shipping company, a good safe bank, what is the best way to become a citizen, (i was told a $25,000 deposit for 2 years was one way) and any suggestions you may have. I look forward to hearing back from you.


  • Barbara 07 January 2009 18:34:59

    Sylvester and Francesca,
    Where do you live in the US? That will determine from which port you will ship your household contents, which will, in turn, influence what moving / forwarding company you use.

    I can tell you who we used in Florida, to ship a container from Jacksonville, FL, to Lima, Peru. That company also ships from Miami. I don't think that company operates anywhere else in the US, though.

    We didn't go with a big US moving company. We went with our "Peruvian Connection" -- a company owned by Peruvians living in the US whom my husband's family knows and trusts.

  • Sylvester & Francesca 07 January 2009 04:27:08

    Hello Barbara! we are Polish - Peruvian couple , living in USA. We are planning to move to Peru on March this year.We would like to take our household with us.There are many moving companies, it's hard to decide which one to trust, which one is good.Can you tell us which company did you use to send your stuff and if you've had any problems?

    thank you!!

    Sylwester & Francesca

  • Barbara 22 November 2008 02:08:00

    Claudia, I understand your husband's resistence. Ten years ago, I told my husband I never wanted to live in Lima (now I'm eating my words). The move is a big adjustment for an American; you give up many comforts and conveniences, which can be hard if you are over 30. I believe that for an American to be happy in Peru, he or she must have a compelling reason to be in the country and must be flexible to an extent. I love spending time with my husband's family and friends, and I'm very interested in Peruvian culture and issues connected with climate change. So for me, it's worth it. We also wanted to expose our son to Peruvian culture and to learn Spanish, so that has been another plus for us too.

    Visit my blog and go through the archives to find stories about my ups and downs of adapting to my new country. I have written a lot about it, and maybe your husband will see Peru from another perspective. Many Peruvians living in the US visit my blog as well. They have become a welcome support system as they often cheer me on and explain some of the peculiarities of Peruvian life (traffic, bureaucracy) that have frustrated me and other expats.

    Glad to hear from a Peruvian who's engaged in cross-cultural understanding (ie, who's married to an American!).

  • Claudia 21 November 2008 05:24:36

    Hello, I am interested to know how do you like life in Lima? I am peruvian married to a US citizen and living in the US and I would like to convince my husband (he resists) to move to Lima but I need opinions of americans experiencing life there. You can email me at: clamariel_1971@yahoo.com. Thank you. Claudia

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