Lima - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing ranges from smaller (or larger) modern apartments in Miraflores and San Isidro, to houses and some larger apartments in the La Molina and Surco districts closer to the US Embassy. Everything has to be up to earthquake (and fire) standards, so that limits the housing pool somewhat. What you get may depend on when you arrive, but that's normal. Have not heard of any truly major issues, usually things along the lines of hot water temporarily not being available to one of the bathrooms or the like. Some people have had mold problems in Miraflores. Commute times completely depend on the work schedule, due to fairly horrific traffic. Go in early, traffic flows and you can do it from Miraflores in 30 minutes or San Isidro in 20 minutes. Go in at a "normal" time and prepare to double or triple that. - Jul 2022

We have a nice, solid two story house with a small yard and small pool in the La Molina suburbs. We are in an older section of the city so our house is older and a bit dark, but it's well built and the neighborhood is safe with lots of green space and a park. There are newer homes with better natural light, although new house problems with plumbing, etc.

We're close to the large international schools, grocery stores, and a few good restaurants. The suburb is growing so there's always more going on. There is usually sun in the afternoons during winter and all day during the rest of the year. Although we occasionally envy our friends who live in Miraflores or San Isidro for the better walkability and restaurant/shopping variety there, we wouldn't trade our pool, yard, sunshine, great school, or short commute to school (and on the return home from the US Embassy) for the more urban life. Note the drive into the Embassy, although close-by, can still take a up to an hour some mornings because there's only one road for the most part out of La Molina into Surco, where the Embassy is located. - Oct 2018

We lived in a large home in a gated community in the La Molina area of Lima. The houses were spacious, and most included decent-sized yards, and pools. - Mar 2018

I live in an absolutely gorgeous apartment in Miraflores, right on the coast. I'm single but got a 3br, 2.5 bath with separate maid's quarters (which I use for storage, I could never make someone live in there!) Commute varies wildly, but is always pretty terrible. Despite only being 6 miles from the embassy, the commute has been taking 1hr-2hr on any given day, each way. This seems to have ramped up lately, for reasons that nobody quite understands. The commute from closer neighborhoods is honestly just as long (if not longer), so do NOT let that be a deciding factor in figuring out where to live. Traffic is terrible from pretty much everywhere. - Apr 2017

Large apartment in San Isidro. Most expats have fairly large places with locations (and desirability) varying greatly. San Isidro provides incredible access to restaurants, groceries etc., and most activities can be done on foot or - for the brave - bicycle. Many people long to be located along the maleconin Miraflores. For a couple of months per year the view is incredible, after that you are living in a giant damp cloud of fog. There are benefits to being inland. For embassies that permit it, Barranco is a great neighborhood to be located in. Many new bars and restaurants are opening.

Other unfortunate souls are sent off to houses in Surco, San Borja and La Molina. It is fine for kids going to school out there, but best to make friends in those areas, because anyone in Miraflores or San Isidro won't be visiting. - Jul 2016

Great housing, though much of it is poorly constructed. The Embassy is split between two worlds - those in Miraflores and San Isidro apartments (sometimes with a nice ocean view), and those closer to the schools and Embassy, in houses. Commutes depend wholly on the time of day from Miraflores. The seven mile drive can be up to 90 minutes if you leave after 7:30 a.m. If you leave before 6:30 a.m., it's 30 minutes. The traffic is terrible and the civil engineering here just makes it worse. Roads and intersections are terribly designed. - Sep 2015

There are several housing locations and types for the US Embassy community: - La Molina is 20 to 45 minutes from the embassy depending on traffic, east of the embassy, in the hills, so you get sunshine and warmer days in the winter, all houses, more suburban. - Camacho/Surco, within walking-distance of the embassy/American School (Colegio Roosevelt or FDR) is under 2 miles from the embassy in a busy area that's quite congested with apartments, houses, and townhouses. - Miraflores/San Isidro is 25 to 60 minutes west of the embassy, depending on traffic, and is on the ocean with very urban living, lots of nightlife, restaurants, shops, and malls, You don't need a car on weekends. It is mostly apartments, with some houses. - Sep 2015

Two primary types for embassy personnel. For those with families and small children, most live in houses with walled yards in La Molina or Camacho. For singles or couples, most live in apartments located in Miraflores or San Isidro. All housing is quite roomy and comfortable. The downside is the commute. Lima traffic can be TERRIBLE! You have to time your commute; if you leave Miraflores at 6:30am, the commute will take 20 minutes. If you leave at 7:00am, expect to triple or quadruple that time. Same thing for the evening commute, worst between 5:00 and 7:00pm. Saturday traffic isn't much better as most people are using it as a shopping day. Sundays are a relief and a nice time to get about. - May 2015

There are a few housing areas: La Molina, which is where most of the families live; Camacho, which is closest to the international school; and Miraflores and San Isidro, which are near the ocean and usually where singles and couples live. The housing options in La Molina and Camacho are mostly houses (there's one or two newer apartment buildings), and mostly apartments in Miraflores and San Isidro. - Apr 2015

In Miraflores and San Isidro mostly apartments (in Miraflores with ocean view, in San Isidro generally on or near a park). Houses with pools in La Molina. - Sep 2014

Nice apartments with fantastic views overlooking the Pacific for singles, couples and those with small children. The area is chock full of restaurants and is a lovely place to live (save for the months of clouds and fog when you can't see the ocean that you hear). The commute is 45 - 90 minutes, depending on nothing in particular except the whims of other drivers. Most families live further inland, near the Embassy and official school. Houses range from large and modern to smaller and "unique." Some have pools, some don't. Some have a nice yard, some don't. No two are the same. Commute times range from 10 - 40 minutes. On the whole, housing is good. - Apr 2014

Apartments on the coast and larger homes available as you move inland. From the coastal neighborhood of Miraflores it takes 30-60minutes to drive to the Embassy, depending on traffic. I drive my own car to work but beyond that I almost never drive. Taxis are very reasonable and there are many secure taxi services. Buses are available, but are less convenient and less safe. - Mar 2014

There are two places to live: 1.) On the oceanfront in Miraflores in a condo or 2.) Near the Embassy in a house in Surco, La Molina or Camacho. Perks of Miraflores: Close to all the restaurants, nightlife, oceanview housing, the magnificent Malecon outdoor space, most everything you want within walking distance or a short taxi ride. Downside of Miraflores: In winter you don't see the sun for 5 months. Humidity is also high, so leather belts and shoes grow mold and need to be cleaned regularly. Only condos available here. Few housing options for families with 3+ kids. Far from Roosevelt School (the most popular one), although I've heard great things about San Silvestre in Miraflores as well. Commute times vary from 30-60 minutes each way. Perks of La Molina, Surco & Camacho: Some sun during winter. Close to Roosevelt school. Short commute to the Embassy (10-30 min). Housing is primarily houses, most with backyards and pools. Downsides of La Molina, Surco & Camacho: Landscape is more desert-like and less beautiful than Miraflores. 30-60 minutes from the ocean and all the food/nightlife in Miraflores. Far fewer restaurant choices in this area, although some well-known restaurants are building second locations over in the area. Worse pollution. - Aug 2013

Families with school-age children tend to live in the eastern suburbs close to the international schools and the U.S. Embassy, about 15-25 mins away. Singles and couples with young or no children tend to live in Miraflores, a more hip, urban area about 30-50 mins from the embassy, depending on traffic. - Jul 2013

Housing near the ocean in Miraflores and San Isidro is mostly in apartments that range in quality. Many are very nice, but some are tiny and in need of renovation. Large homes near the U.S. Embassy are beautiful, but they keep you far away from the heart of town--1 hour away. Traffic is bad, so you will likely spend most of your time in the neighborhood where you live. - Jul 2013

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. - Jun 2013

Families are typically afforded homes in Chacarilla, La Molina and/or La Planicie. These homes are beautiful and come well furnished. For those who have to pay their own way, rents for these houses can be around US$3-5k per month. Apartments in Miraflores near Larcomar overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean and those in San Isidro overlooking the golf course are very spacious and run around $2k per month. Just two or three blocks from these TOP PRICED apartments, one can find ones significantly smaller and cheaper around $500-$700 per month. Of course if you are concerned about cost you can find places that cost much less, but the quality of life is severely compromised and you will be in an area that is not frequented by expatriates. - Jan 2012

Nice, large apartments-many of them are located on or near parks. Several apts. are located on the bluff above the Pacific and in nice weather, have great views. Large houses with small yards are in the housing pool and some with some pools. Depending on where the housing is, it can be quite loud. Lima is going thru a construction boom right now. Lots of older single family homes are being torn down and re-placed by multi-unit apartment buildings. This has and will add a lot of people and cars to an area already crowded. I would have liked to seen Lima 20-30 yrs ago before the boom. A lot of great older homes are gone and replaced with run of the mill apt buildings. The construction noise starts at 7:45am and goes until 6:00pm Monday thru Friday, with a half day on Saturday. Because the construction all concrete and block, the noise travels! Also, depending where you are located, the noise from the streets can be quite loud. Everyone uses the vehicle horn for everything! Taxi, bus, and combis will be non-stop with the horn. To drum up business, to let someone know they are passing (often on the wrong side), plowing thru an intersection (as if the horn is clearing the way). Commute time depends are where you live and where you are going. Traffic can be horrible! - Jan 2012

Lovely apartments in areas by the water (Miraflores) and in San Isidro. More often houses in neighborhoods by the Embassy (Camacho, Chacarilla) and in La Molina. Plenty of the houses have large yards and pools, but there is no guarantee. Commuting can be really bad. Lima traffic is terrible. Expect long commutesto the US Embassy if you live in Miraflores or San Isidro. If you are an expat in the private sector, or affiliated with another Embassy, you will be centrally located in those areas. If you're w/ the US Embassy, commuting time from La Molina is anywhere from 15/20 min to a max of 40 min, depending on the time of day. - Aug 2011

Beautiful large apartments for singles and couples with no (or with young) babies. Large houses for families. Apartments are mainly in Miraflores, San-Isidro or Chacarilla. In Miraflores all apartments are along the malecon with ocean view. Miraflores and San Isidro are about 40min drive to the embassy (up to an hour during rush hour). Chacarilla is much closer and is a quieter neighborhood. Houses are in Camcho (very close to the embassy), or La Molina (further out). La Molina has more sunny days than Miraflores does. Most good bars and restaurants are in Miraflores. - Jul 2010

Housing is generally nice. Lima is a big city that is getting bigger and the availability of houses versus apartments is diminishing. Don't count on always finding or getting a house with a big yard. - Jun 2010

Most embassy housing is very nice, some homes with pools, apartments are generally well appointed but smaller. - Jul 2008

The housing is generally excellent and more than adequate. Commutes can be long from San Isidro and Miraflores, but the neighborhoods are safe, close to shopping and restaurants and parks. They are also far from the schools and would not work for families with children in school. Also, the houses tend to be apartments. The neighborhoods closer to the schools have much larger, single family homes with yards and usually pools. - Apr 2008

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