Got back to Panama late the other night from our trip to visit Peru.
It was a full-on 8 days of travelling and I only opened my laptop for a few min here and there to check on my clients and make sure I did not need to put out any fires, otherwise, I was off the grid.
My wife sets the itinerary for our trips and I always tease her. Normally in Panama, she is a homemaker, so it’s pretty relaxed. We have a nanny and a maid, plus my mother is here to assist with the kids, so not too much stress. So when we go away she wants to see and do as much as possible, basically cramming as much into every day as possible.
Map of Peru
On the other hand, I work full days in the office creating content and taking calls with my clients dealing with immigration, structuring and tax issues. When I go away I want to have a very relaxed itinerary and sleep in every morning.
Well sufficed to say I didn’t get what I want. We were up every morning by around 5 am starting our day doing hikes, tours, visiting Incan ruins, nature walks, learning about the local culture etc. and never finishing until late at night.
I came back to work on Friday having had a culturally rich trip, having learned a lot about a new country and the people, but pretty much just as tired as I was before I left.
Anyways, just thought that was ironic and a little funny.
So what did I learn about Peru?
Well, it’s one of the best countries I have ever seen for tourism. They have an amazing amount to see and do.
Uros Floating Islands in the peruvian Andes at Puno, Peru
Here is what we did:
- We did a boat tour out to the islands to look at the sea birds
- We took a low aerial flight to view the Nasca Lines from above
- We went out to the desert
- Visited Cusco and the old town and watched traditional dance and music
- Of course, we went to Machu Picchu a couple of days in a row doing different sections of the ruins
- Did half a dozen tours of the Catholic churches, monasteries, convents, crypts, catacombs, religious libraries, palaces, and other things from the Spanish when they formed the cities there
- We also ate a ridiculous amount of amazing food (who knew a simple potato could taste so good?), and
- We even went to a top-50 restaurant in the entire world to eat ceviche.
Sufficed to say, Peru is a traveller's dream of things to see, do, taste, and experience.
Corn, potatoes, okra and other vegetables
I would put the country at the absolute BOTTOM of places to move to as an expat.
Not in a thousand years would I consider myself moving to Peru as an expat and here is why…
- Traffic in the cities is insane
- It takes hours to go anywhere
- The pollution from the cars is disgusting. I think they must use diesel or the cheapest petrol ever, because you can literally taste the pollution everywhere. It’s caked on all the buildings and cars and benches and everything
- There is a continuous fog of pollution and the sky is this horrible greyish brown that matches the pollution on the buildings and roads. The only other place I have seen where pollution is this bad is in Nairobi Kenya 10 years ago when I was travelling in Africa.
I actually got so sick from the smell of the fumes that I thought I was going to throw up multiple times.
Next, socialism is rampant there. The local population is so confused about who is to blame for the state of affairs that they are literally begging for more socialism and control over their lives.You hear it every day when speaking to the locals, the pure disdain for private businesses and capitalism.
Restrictions… we were actually turned away at the grocery store at 9 o’clock at night when we went in to buy some bottled water for not wearing TWO masks. They would not accept us having only one mask, the government mandate is two masks. Everyone, at all times, inside or outside, even alone in their cars, is wearing masks. We even had to wear two masks when we took domestic flights inside the country on our journey to Cusco. This is now, like June 2022, when the world is opening up and people have a much better understanding of what is going on. In Peru, they are still forcing people to wear two masks. I am absolutely gobsmacked by this.
Humantay Lake, Cusco, Peru
The taxes are insane in Peru. The population is working so hard to get rid of the bone-crushing taxes there that they only half build houses and apartment buildings because the laws say that if the building is not completed you don’t have to pay taxes on it. So you drive all over the country and you see ugly (and dangerous) rebar sticking out of all the homes and buildings that are only half-finished, add this to the pollution and garbage everywhere and it does not make for idyllic living conditions.
When I look at a country as an option for expats I am looking at many things like livability, the strength of the laws, tax situation, community, safety, activities, opportunity, food, water and energy independence, and more…
It’s safe to say that we can cross Peru off the list of countries for expats to have a viable life in. For some, it might work, but after working with hundreds of clients (and travelling for over 20 years straight) I would say I have a very deep understanding of what my people want.