Interesting and Fun Facts about Peru

Population: 30, 741, 062

Capital City: Lima

Time Zone: UTC-05:00

Location: Peru is in western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile to the south and Ecuador to the north. It is also bordered in the north by Columbia, in the east by Brazil and in the southeast by Bolivia.

Climate:  Peru has a large diversity of climates because of its tropical latitude combined with mountain ranges, desserts and two important ocean currents, Humboldt and El Nino. It’s amazing that 30 of the 32 world climates exist in Peru.

The dry, dessert coastal region has moderate temperatures, low precipitations, and high humidity for the most part. Only the far northern Tumbes region that borders Ecuador has regular seasonal precipitation. The more northern parts of the coast are also warmer and have more year-round blue skies. As you head south, the Peruvian coastal winters tend to be characterized by overcast, cool and damp conditions.

Temperature in the Andes is proportional to altitude, varying from temperate (annual average 64 °F) in the low-lying valleys to frigid (annual average below 32 °F) in the highest elevations. The rainy season peaks between January and March, whereas the May–August part of the year is characterized by very dry conditions and cold nights and mornings.

The eastern lowlands are characterized by the equatorial climate that feeds the Amazon rainforest. The climate of this region is hot and rainy most of the year.

Financial Information: The currency in Peru is the Peruvian sol (PEN). $1=3.24 PEN (August 2017)

Major hotels, restaurants and large retailers accept credit cards. Small local restaurants, street vendors and shop owners only accept cash and often cannot change large bills. Be sure to carry around plenty of loose change and small bills.

If you plan to use your ATM card, be sure you know your PIN number. The fee to withdraw cash at most ATMs is around $4.

Language:  Spanish and Quechua are the two official languages in Peru. About 84% of Peru speaks Spanish and another 13% speak Quechua. Quechua is more widely spoken when you leave the coastal area of Peru and head into the mountains.

Telephone Country Code: 51

Emergency numbers: In case of an emergency, call 105 for police, 116 for fire brigade and 117 for medical assistance.

Popular Expats Regions: Peru has a small but growing expat population, mainly from the U.S. and Canada of about 15,000. Some of the more popular locations for expats are Arequipa, Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Trujillo.

Some Vital Facts on Peru

Residence: There are a several ways to become a resident of Peru. For retirees, the most popular visa is the Rentista Visa. This retirement visa is good for life and only requires an outside income source of $1000 per month plus $500 per month for each dependent. After three years, permanent residency or even citizenship is easily obtainable.

There are immigration offices located in various centers but all paperwork must ultimately go through the central immigration office in Lima. The process usually takes about two months to complete. All information regarding immigration and visas can be found on the main immigration website here.

Cost of Living: Peru is one of the least expensive countries in the world in which to live. Some expats in Peru state that it costs as much as 50% to 70% less to live in Peru when compared to a similar standard of living in North America.

Healthcare:  There is a good network of excellent public hospitals and clinics found throughout the country, particularly in the major centers. Here expats can find friendly well-trained staff, modern equipment and good care at a much lower cost than that in the U.S.

Real estate: Property in Peru can be legally purchased by both foreign residents and non-residents. It is a resource based economy and real-estate prices often reflect the state of the mining industry at any given time, depending on location.

Renting: In Peru, the best way to find rentals is to wait until you arrive and then “hit the pavement” looking for rental signs and cellphone numbers. In the larger centers, some real estate offices deal with rentals and have at least one bilingual staff member. Unfurnished accommodation can start as low as $150 per month in rural locations but $400 to $500 is more average for a large condo in a central location. 3-bedroom furnished condos can be found starting at $600.

Tipping: There is not much of a tipping culture in Peru. Generally speaking, Peruvians will leave whatever loose change they have in their pocket at the time, if they leave a tip at all. In larger, more upscale international restaurants, it is more common. Certainly there are no defined expectations as in the U.S.

Business Hours: It is not unusual for smaller shops to close in the middle of the day. The main meal of the day still occurs at noon for most people, usually after 1:00pm, so many restaurants close early in the evenings. Be sure to check ahead of time before planning a large dinner at that restaurant you saw earlier in the day. They may not be open after 6!  Coffee and dessert is a common evening “meal”.

Food and Water: The food in Peru is great! Fresh veggies and fruit can be found everywhere you go. Local cheeses are quite common and decent wine can be found at an affordable price. However, it is recommended to refrain from drinking the tap water. Large 20 liter refillable bottles of water are sold everywhere for $3, including delivery to your front door.

Religion: Roman Catholic is the predominant faith throughout Peru, accounting for 81.3% of the population. The other notable religion is the Evangelical faith at 12.5%. Other religions take up 3.3% of the population, while 3% of people do not follow a religion.

Life Expectancy at Birth: 73.7  An interesting fact is that less than 8% of the population is over 54 years of age and 40% are between the ages of 25 and 54.

Clothing: Temperatures vary drastically from one location to another so there is no general statement that can be made about clothing. Along the coast, except in the far north, a light jacket is often necessary at night. Casual attire is fine, except when doing business. Tight jeans are very popular with women of all ages and about the only type of jeans they can find in the country!