Monday, May 23, 2011

Peru is worth a second look

Peru , Cusco
Cusco, Peru
Photo by Ian Armstrong
The poll results suggested that I continue maintaining a focus on Europe and while I'll write more about lifestyle and opportunities (again, less so now that I have a baby), South America keeps fascinating the heck out of me. Today I've been reading about Peru.

Initially I read a poorly written piece claiming that you could gain permanent residency in Ecuador only showing a $800/month income — similar to how you can gain permanent residency in Uruguay — but the article cited no sources. In the process of trying to verify that claim (send me info if you have it), I got sidetracked onto Peru.

You'll probably want to speak Spanish or Quecha, but Peru is now liberalizing their immigration policies and foreigners can now apply for a residence permit while in Peru. This gives you the advantage of being able to travel there, stay there for several months (you can live quite comfortably on $500/US a month) and decide if you wish to stay.

It also turns out that Peru has a thriving expat community, and under President Alan García, appears to be doing much better economically, though there's still crushing poverty for much of the country. Teaching English is a viable option there, and despite the strong economic growth and the housing boom, the average house price in Lima, their capital, is still just over $100,000. Outside of the capital, I'm reading about nice houses around $40,000 and under.

Photo by Malojavio El Saucejo
I don't know (yet) about opportunities to work remotely from Peru, but some anecdotal comments suggest that remote work is possible and given the low cost of living, you may be able to live quite well there.

If you're like me, you hear "Peru" and immediately think Sendero Luminoso. While this terrorist organization is ceased to be much of a factor since the arrest of their leader in 1992, there have still been occasional problems such as the 2009 political crisis.

Peru, like much of South America, is truly an option for the adventurous, if you're willing to accept a bit of risk (probably not much, to be honest) in exchange for a an inexpensive and exotic lifestyle. South America appears to be having a bit of renaissance economically and those who are willing to take advantage of it may be very well off in the next couple of decades.


  1. Just to let you know, the first photo is Lima, the second is Cusco.

  2. I worked remotly from Lima for years. Peru is not affordable as it use to be.
    $500 cost of living is a myth. It is more like $1000.00 per month without extras.
    Out side of Lima is more affordable. If interested in more detail: You can buy beach front property in northern Peru, it is a steal and warmer all year around, the weather in Lima is overcast, foggy and damp most of the year except summer. As far as residence visa, not easy if you are not married to a Peruvian, many live in Peru on expired tourist visas since the fine is $1 per day, that beats an airline ticket to renew your tourist visa.
    I bought a beachfront property for $13k in 2007, now it is valued at $110k.
    The nice thing about Peru is that foreigners can buy property with no hassle, my wife is a Peruvian citizen, we now live in Phoenix AZ, it is more affordable.
    Peru is getting more expensive every day. We will rent our beach home in Peru and remain in AZ, only visiting Peru on vacation.

    My blog and my Peruvian home;

  3. Since you mentioned Uruguay in the post, I thought I'd give you some up-to-date information on the residency process here.

    I've been living in Montevideo for about ten months, and applied for residency nine months ago. I was told it would take about 8 to 10 months for residency to be completed, but went to the Immigration office the other day and found out that I was realistically 6 months away from getting permanent residency (assuming nothing else changes).

    Nowadays, they want you to be living here if you apply for residency and have started to ask for a copy of your lease. One couple I know said that they had an Immigration agent show up at their house to make sure they actually lived there.

    As for the cost of living, I've been living pretty nicely, but not regally, on around US$ 2000 a month. That's for a furnished apartment in Pocitos (a nice part of town), dining out for lunch most days, and no real extravagances.

    I decided that it's time for me to do a bit more traveling, and am headed to Paraguay in a couple of weeks.

  4. My kids are hoping to go to S. America after we are done here in Malawi in 2013. they just want to be able to say they have lived on all the continents except Antarctica. 4 down 2 to go! Sadly for their goals Mama wants to go back to Asia!

  5. I lived in Peru and got citizenship. Life there is hard. Costs of living are going up, salaries aren't. If you're a woman, it's even harder as you have to deal with lots of machismo!