So, maybe you’re thinking about moving to Peru or you’re just curious about what apartments are like there. Well, welcome to Part 2 of Living Abroad: My Apartment in Peru. If you haven’t seen Part 1 yet but would like to, just click here. There you can check out the video tour as I walk-through my apartment giving a little commentary on each room. However, in Part 2, I’ve shared a new video slide show and a few pictures below that you can also view in more detail on Flickr. Plus, I’m going to share a little more information about apartments in Peru.
In Peru, 1-bedroom apartments are not always easy to find and are usually more costly than apartments with more than one room. In fact the apartment I was initially planning to rent was a 2-bedroom with 2 bathrooms which was cheaper than the 1-bedroom I decided to rent, and it included the internet, water and I believe electric bill already figured into the rent. Traditionally, most Peruvians live at home with their families until they marry, whenever that shall be. However, even if one moves away from home, most still opt to live with roommates instead of living alone. For that reason, you will mostly find apartments with two or more rooms. However, there are other types of housing to choose from besides apartments including hostels, homes and boarding houses (with private rooms and bathrooms but sharing other rooms, like the kitchen). As a matter of fact, when I first arrived in Peru, I stayed in two hostels (one in Lima when I made it there and another that my employer set us up in, paying for the first two nights) until I found my apartment. In both, I had a private bedroom and bathroom.
Now, let’s get back to apartments. Depending on who you rent from, you may have to pay for utilities as I did. I paid for electricity, water, trash, internet and phone, in addition to my rent. To alleviate some costs, I decided for my owner not to provide cable, as it would have been added to my rent, and I don’t really watch much television anyway.
The most expensive utility in Peru is electricity. Peruvians try to reduce this cost as much as possible. Most homes and buildings have solar-powered water heaters. Of course, you know with these, the hot water runs out eventually as it’s used for the day. Plus, you have those days where there’s no sunshine which translates to no hot water. Fortunately, for me, I didn’t have to worry about that because I had an electric water heater. So, all I had to do was turn it on at least an hour before I wanted to take a shower or wash my hair and turn it off afterwards. Usually, it would heat up several gallons of water, so this could last for a day or more without me turning it on again which can be seen as yet another money-saving action to reduce the use of electricity.
So, let me share a little about the interior. Most floors in homes are made with parquet (wooden panels) as my floor was in the living room and bedroom. This was beautiful but requires frequent upkeep by sweeping or dust-mopping and shining (on your hands and knees unless you have one of the broom-like instruments for it) with a paste or liquid designed for such floors, or it will get very dull. Let me tell you. That is hard work, too, if you have to do it by hand as I did like my landlord had her granddaughter show me.
Appliances Included and Purchased
As far as appliances, a lot of apartments will be unfurnished unless you’re renting from a private landlord, as I did, who will usually already have their apartment(s) furnished with appliances. I had a small refrigerator, tiny stove with an oven and a TV (which I didn’t use). Although the oven was very tiny, I was able to find cooking dishes to fit inside for baking. It was also a gas stove for which I had to buy maybe about 2 propane gas tanks to fuel it while I was there. I was able to buy a blender and other things for the kitchen from the supermarket just a few steps from where I lived.
I also purchased a brand new washing machine. Most Peruvians hand-wash and hang their clothes outside to air-dry or take their clothes to laundry shops that wash and dry for you. However, I didn’t have such good experiences the couple of times I took my clothes to the shops. At the first shop, most of all my dark clothes were returned to me faded, and at the second shop, I was charged a lot more for less clothes, and they completely pressed one of my dresses out of shape, stretching all of the elastic parts where it was designed to be fitting, making it look like an old granny dress. However, most expatriates do use the shops for cleaning their laundry. Although, I think it could help you save in the long run to buy a washer if you’re planning to stay for a long time, if you don’t mind hand-washing, that will be your best money-saver. They do have shops that sell used appliances; however, most of the used washers I found cost almost as much as, if not significantly higher than, some of the new ones.
Windows and Saving Energy
Also most apartments are built with lots and lots of large windows. In Peru, many apartments and homes do not have air-conditioners or heaters. When it’s hot, they just open the windows. It didn’t really get extremely hot or cold in Arequipa, although it was cold enough for me because I don’t like to be cold at all. You survive by dressing warm at home when the temperatures do drop, but they do sell small heaters if you’d like to buy one. Another reason for the many windows is to help save energy and cut down on electric costs. They usually have light-colored, transparent curtains on the windows allowing the natural light in during the daytime to light their homes instead of turning on the lights inside. While my apartment had windows in each room, it didn’t have as many as some of the other apartments I had seen which maybe some people would have considered it a bit dark since not as much light was able to come in as others.
Showers, No Bathtubs
One more thing, if you’re a fan of taking long, warm baths with scented candles or essential oils while listening to some relaxing music, then you probably won’t get to do that in Peru (and quite a few other countries either). Most apartments and homes only have showers, no bathtubs. Some of my Peruvian friends gave me some reasons as to why. One said that Peruvians only use the bathroom for getting clean, not relaxing, and want to do it quickly. Another said that because most homes have solar-powered water heaters, baths would use a lot of hot water, and it would be very uncomfortable in the winter months when there is no sun which means no hot water, to sit in a tub of cold water. However, funnily, I love my baths so much that I was going to buy a bathtub to have installed into my apartment. The only thing that stopped me was that they were all too large to fit in my bathroom. Bummer! When I asked my Peruvian friend why the tubs were so large, he said maybe because they’re considered a luxury there. However, they weren’t that expensive. The cheapest was just about a hundred U.S. dollars or less! I have some good news, though. Since I’ve been back home this year, I’ve found out about portable bathtubs. So, the next time I travel abroad to a place where I don’t have a bathtub, I’ll be ordering one of those bad boys because I need my baths! It’s a relaxation thing.
Well, that’s all I can think of when it comes to apartments in Peru. Oh, there is one thing I learned from my search that might be helpful. The best way to find an available apartment there is by meeting people and asking around. That’s how I found my place, as well as some other expats. The second best way would be to search through a local newspaper.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to drop me a message in the comments section below or you can get in touch with me through my contact form. I would love to hear from you! Plus, if you’d like to get upcoming posts delivered directly to your inbox, you can follow me by entering your email address and clicking the sign-up button in the left hand column of this page. Thanks for dropping in! :-)