Lima, Peru Report of what it's like to live there - 09/27/14

Personal Experiences from Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru 09/27/14

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

First expat experience with the Foreign Service.

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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?

About 10 hours to CA (connect in Houston), shorter to DC (connect in Miami).

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3. How long have you lived here?

3 years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

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.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Comparable to the U.S. Produce is cheap.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Organic peanut butter (anything organic). Coffee (expensive and not great). But you can get pretty much anything.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Almost every kind of food is available for all budgets. Haven't found Vietnamese.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No bugs in Lima.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Cheap. Between US$400-600/month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, lots of gyms. Not sure about costs.

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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?

No problem.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

A lot.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

No, I think it's generally pretty accessible.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes and yes.

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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?

Any automobile.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. Price similar to the U.S.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Unlocked.

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Pets:

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?

No, pets don't need to be quarantined and there seems to be plenty of vets.

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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?

Everyone I know who has wanted a job has found something.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes, plenty of volunteer opportunities.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes, but where we live we don't feel it too much.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health problems are terrible during the winter, when it is cold and humid. Medical care seems good.

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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?

Lima air quality is awful.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Climate stinks in Lima--grey, overcast, drizzly for at least 6 months of the year. Summer is lovely but very short.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Great schools--the American school Roosevelt has a good reputation.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I imagine most international schools have programs for special-needs kids, but I have no experience.

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3. 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?

Fabulous preschools, lots to choose from. Cost is around US$250-$450/month. People generally have nannies, so not much in the way of daycare.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Soccer, swimming, circus, ballet, etc.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Huge expat community. Morale is pretty good I think.

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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?

Explore Lima's amazing culinary tradition.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

OK.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Racial issues are a problem. Not sure about religious or gender.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Macchu Pichu, Cusco, amazing restaurants in Lima, great group of friends.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Everything is a good two-hour drive at least (Ica, Paracas). Huaraz for hiking is about 5 hours.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Alpaca blankets, pottery, some decent art.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

GREAT food, child-friendly, ocean views, fabulous travel.

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10. Can you save money?

We have not been able to.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I wish I had known about the humidity/mold problems in ocean-front apartments. I would have opted to live in San Isidro on a park instead of Miraflores on the ocean.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Umbrella.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sense of humor, patience and positive outlook.

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