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Education and Housing in Lima

Living in Lima will give you a taste of life in South America. While you are experiencing life in this bustling city, you might need some guidance. Read on in this InterNations guide for information on what living in Lima is all about, including safety, currency, transportation, education, and housing.
Lima's skyline might not represent the name it was christened with — City of Kings — but its streets make up for it with high energy and vigorous culture.

With its extensive population, Lima is well equipped to serve expats in terms of education and housing. The city has just over 30 universities, both public and private. It also has various districts in which expats will feel at home and safe.

Education — How It Works

Children must attend primary school between the ages of six and eleven, and secondary school between the ages of twelve and fourteen. After having completed secondary school, they can then choose between an academic and a technical route. The first will result in certification that is the equivalent to the British A-Levels or the American high school diploma. The second will provide them with a certificate facilitating work in a technical field.

Lima has excellent international schools. There are several schools that follow the standards of English, American, French, and German curricula. The most popular ones are the Franklin D. Roosevelt American School and the Colegio Franco Peruano. The former teaches in English and the latter in French. Both are frequented by expat families and are known to yield high educational results.

Lima is home to the oldest educational institution in the Americas: the National University of San Marcos, founded in 1551. There is a real variety of other higher education options, including the engineering school Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, as well as the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (the second largest university in the country) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (the oldest private Peruvian university).

Finding the Ideal Living Area

As an expat, it is most likely that you find a suitable home in the city’s wealthier districts. Like in all cities this size, there is a great divide amongst the residents of Lima when it comes to wealth. In certain areas the rich and poor live side by side, but in the districts of Miraflores, San Isidro, La Molino, San Borja, and Santiago de Surco, you only find wealthier residences.

The city center — known as “El Centro”, and “Cercado de Lima” — offers cheap accommodation and dozens of hotels. Try to avoid this area and stay in areas which are slightly further out. The neighborhoods with parks and businesses feel safer than the densely developed city center.

Rising Prices for Living Spaces

Apartments or houses that you find for rent will generally be unfurnished, and the price might not include hot water, electricity, or internet. Prices for housing in the nicest districts in Lima can also be sky high.

But don’t give up. It is always possible to find a bargain in Lima. Try the real estate section of the Living in Peru site for options. Other sites (in Spanish) to check include Peru Inmobiliaria, and Craigslist. Otherwise, your best chances will come from reading the real estate listings in the local papers — though of course you will need to know some Spanish for this as well.

If you aren’t interested in renting, another option is to buy property. With the exception of buying property within 50 kilometers of the border, there are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Peru. The price of a home in the Lima Metropolitan Area will obviously depend on which areas you are courting and how close you want to be to the beach. The prices have been rising in recent years, a sign of the high demand for property in Lima’s capital and a strong housing market.

Before you are allowed to make a purchase, you first have to apply for a real estate transaction permit. The Department of Immigration issues these permits and they cost between 200 USD and 300 USD. In addition to the cost of the property, you have to pay deed registrations and notary fees (roughly 1500 USD) and include a title check.

Cities often reach a limit in terms of how much available land there is to develop and Lima is no exception. Therefore, in recent years property developers have begun to convert older houses and offices into apartments.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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Brandon Le Clerk

"During all my life as an expat (Lima is my fourth home abroad), I have been searching exactly for a networking platform like InterNations."

Maria Borges

"InterNations and the Lima Community helped me to learn a lot about Peru and the Peruvian culture -- not to mention Lima's nightlife. ;) "

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