equals 3.28 Peruvian sol.
From the ancient
Incan cities to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, from the miles of
sandy coastline to the jagged peaks of the Andes—Peru is a diverse, exciting,
and historic country.
also enjoy one of the lowest costs of living in Latin America—with property
prices to match.
Peru sits on
the western edge of South America, with Ecuador and Colombia to the north
and Chile to the south. Brazil and Bolivia are its neighbors to the east,
and it has more than 1,500 miles of Pacific shoreline, a couple of hundred
miles more than the western U.S. Peru is the third largest country in South
America, after Brazil and Argentina.
has three major regions.
coastal plane, which is an extension of the Atacames desert in Chile; the
Sierra, in the Andes region, home to some of Peru’s best-preserved colonial
cities; and the lower eastern Andean slopes and the Amazon basin, sometimes
called the Montaña.
city” in the Andes
Pizarro in 1540, Arequipa maintains its original colonial charm, even though
much of it was rebuilt following an 1868 earthquake. The central plaza
is clean, vibrant, and busy. Its lush lawns, neatly trimmed shrubs, and
tall trees are complemented by a sparkling fountain and the plaza maintains
a festive atmosphere. Most of the surrounding buildings are constructed
with portales (arches), which is a rare treat in these colonial plazas.
The cathedral on the square is the widest in South America, taking up an
entire city block.
known as the Ciudad Blanca (white city) because many of the buildings are
built using sillar, a white stone block made from volcanic rock found in
the area. The architecture has a strong Moorish influence. The construction
quality is good here compared to what I’ve seen in other colonial cities.
In the old buildings, this is due to the use of sillar instead of adobe
(which is made from earth), while in the newer buildings, it’s because
they’re built to withstand earthquakes.
Arequipa is in a valley at an altitude of 7,600 feet, the environment may
not be suitable for people with respiratory ailments; others will be acclimated
within a few days.
for property, you should concentrate on the areas in the historic center
that are outside of the blocks that form the square’s perimeter—or on one
of the nice residential areas outside the historic center, but within walking
properties from $45,000
I looked at
a new development on the edge of town, with a handful of new, two-story
homes overlooking a few acres planted in lettuce on the edge of Barrio
Cayma. These two-bedroom, two-bathroom models are just under 1,300 square
feet and have a laundry area and maid’s suite. It’s a 20-minute walk from
the square and they run from $60,000 to $64,000. On the same property,
there are apartments of about the same square footage and with similar
features. These start at $45,000. For more information contact Maria, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the site at Calle Cusco #300.
Bolognesi, we saw a magnificently built home of 3,225 square feet with
rich, dark cedar trim and floors throughout. It had four bedrooms and a
maid’s apartment on the third floor. The house is within easy walking distance
to the square. The asking price was $145,000. Contact Willy Rodriguez (details
below) for more information.
In Barrio Selva
Alegre, we toured a four-bedroom home of 4,500 square feet. It included
two servant’s suites. It could use some cosmetic upgrades. The asking price
house in the city was a huge white mansion just a few blocks from the square
on Avenida Parra that had been owned by the same family for more than 50
years. Built in 1917, it had high ceilings, a huge salon, and fine wood
trim, including handrails that were eight inches thick.
even had the original grain bins in the kitchen for storing your rice.
The asking price is $160,000.
The entry point
of the decent houses in town was a home in Barrio María Cabaña—2,000
square feet for $45,000. Not a bad price, but the high-end homes are not
much more—a better buy for my money.
realtor in Arequipa is Willy Rodriguez of Metropolis Inmobiliaria.
I cross-checked some of his prices with the sellers and found them to be
the same—a minor miracle in Latin America—so he gets my vote for honesty.
And he and his brother Milton were a pleasure to work with. Contact: Metropolis
Inmobiliaria (Willy Rodriguez), Oficina #107, Calle Moral 115, Arequipa;
tel. (51)542-02-534; e-mail: WillyMetropolis@hotmail.com.
If you’re into
Spanish colonial cities with a beautiful year-round climate, you’ll find
Arequipa to be one of the nicest in South America. It’s easy to get to
by car or by air, close to Cusco and Maccu Pichu, yet far enough off the
beaten trail so that it will likely never be a gringo expat haunt.
colonial city by the sea
in the Andes we flew across large expanses of barren desert as we made
our way by air to the Pacific Ocean, where we banked north along the shoreline.
Hundreds of miles of undeveloped coast and deep blue waters passed under
the aircraft as the desert sun warmed the clear, morning air. After landing,
it was a short hop by taxi to the center of the busy colonial town of Trujillo.
Known as “Ciudad
de la eterna primavera” (the city of eternal spring), this city of
800,000 people is the capital of the department of La Libertad in northwestern
Peru. Located three-and-a-half miles inland, it’s a good place for those
interested in archaeology and history—the nearby pre-Incan ruins of Chan
Chan as well as Huacas del Sol y de la Luna will provide a great opportunity
to learn about Peru’s ancient inhabitants.
But the main
draw for me in Trujillo (tru HEEL yo) was not the ruins; it was the low-priced
The best residential
zones are Primavera, El Golf, and California, according to the people who
colonial buildings can be expensive and I didn’t feel they were a good
I looked at
a nice apartment in the sought-after El Golf sector. It was a penthouse
of 1,500 square feet, which had an asking rental price of $250 per month.
This was at the high-end—the rents went lower from there.
for sale in Residencial Peruano-Americano in Barrio Médico were
small, but had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, starting at $26,000.
In a building
called Las Flores de Golf, the apartments ran from $43,000 to $45,000.
of 1,400 square feet with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, laundry room,
and maid’s quarter was selling for $44,000. A North American couple bought
an apartment in this building and they stay here part of the year while
renting it out for rest. My favorite, however, was a new apartment in Residencial
Venecia. The huge windows let the sun spill onto the shining parquet floors,
creating a bright, cheery feeling. They were about 1,200 square feet and
the asking price was $38,000.
If it’s a single
home you’re after, I saw a house in Santa María Quinta Etapa selling
for $45,000. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a maid’s suite, and
1,720 square feet of living space. The neighborhood was so-so, but this
home was a good example of where the market starts for a house of this
For more information
on these properties and other listings available in Trujillo, contact Inmobiliaria
Naldos Villanueva (Lucero Ruíz), D. Almagro 545, oficina 007, Trujillo;
tel. (51)44-291-987; e-mail: Naldosvillanueva@hotmail.com. I enjoyed working
with this professional, family-run operation. They also handle property
management if you choose to buy for the purpose of renting the property
out. Lucero doesn’t get much chance to practice English, so an e-mail will
be easier for her than a phone call.
the beach in Huanchaco (wahn CHAH koh), we enjoyed the salsa music coming
from the waterfront restaurants as we browsed the handicraft shops and
open-air markets. On the other side of the road, a modest crowd of beachgoers
enjoyed the afternoon, surfing, sunning, and swimming in the Pacific waters.
I had the feeling that Huanchaco couldn’t make up its mind whether it was
a beach resort or a fishing village, but I enjoyed the fusion. The small
one-man reed boats that were standing up on their ends along the beach
walk are probably the same craft that have been used here for a thousand
Back from the
beach, we enjoyed small quiet town squares and admired the clean, neat
rows of colorful homes. Property a few blocks from the beach is inexpensive.
For example, a building called Las Olas de Huanchaco was offering two-bedroom,
one-bathroom apartments starting at $17,500; three-bedroom, two-bathroom
models were $23,000.
On the beachfront
road, we saw a three-story house that was brightly painted and newly fixed
up. The asking price was $75,000.
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