Peru is one of the world's most exciting countries but it feels a world away from the UK. If you plan to move here then you are in for a great time, provided that you plan properly and take away some essentials.
Generally speaking, electronic gadgets are more expensive in Peru than in the UK. In fact, you could end up with something which is lower quality, fake, stolen, as well as more expensive. A laptop is one essential gadget you should take, as it is easy to get hooked up to a free Wi-Fi network in a hotel or café. One gadget you don’t need to bother taking is a mobile phone. These are cheap here and there is a huge selection to choose from, although the most modern smartphones will be cheaper back home. Most people find it easier to buy a phone locally instead of trying to get their British one to work here.
2. Camping and Travelling Gear
With such a huge and exciting country to explore you will want some travelling gear with you. This is something else which is far easier to buy before leaving home. Even in a big city like Lima or Arequipa the selection is generally pretty limited and more expensive than in British shops. If you love looking at inflatable mattresses, solar radios and mosquito nets as much as I do then you should take advantage of the big selection in Britain. Also, I don’t want to get too personal here but have you got big feet? If you do then you might find comfortable walking boots hard to find in your size here and in much of South America. Stock up on some really good ones before you leave home.
3. A Spanish Grammar Book
I arrived in Lima not knowing a lot of Spanish and planned to pick up a book on grammar to complement the rather basic dictionary I had bought for 50p in a second hand store in London. Once I started looking I realised that the only problem was that they were all, somewhat surpsingingly, in Spanish. Finding a Spanish grammar book that explains the rules in English is easy to do in the UK but not so easy once you are in Peru. An online Spanish test will let you work out what aspects of the language you most need to work on.
Like most of South America, Peru is filled with cheap chemist’s stores, called farmacias, where you can buy just about any sort of medication. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription either, which makes any purchase feel kind of thrilling and illicit at first. However, if there is any sort of medication you take on a regular basis it is best to take some with you until you work out the most suitable local alternative.
5. Some Books in English
You are probably keen to get started on learning Spanish but there will be times when you need a break from your new language. When my head began to throb from hearing too much Spanish I would often settle down and read something in English. With so many travellers passing through here English language book exchanges are common. Just take 2 or 3 books with you and you can change them in hotels and restaurants as you finish them.
This last item might seem a bit strange but I have included it due to a survey I carried out once under almost scientific conditions. I was with a group of Brits in Cusco and asked them all what food they most missed. The overwhelming majority plumped for a good old block of Cheddar. All across the country - and the continent – you will find that cheese just isn’t like it is back home. If you want something sort of like what you are familiar with you will probably have to pay out a good deal for it, so maybe you will want to take a little block away to get past those initial cravings. According to Peruvian customs you can bring in cheese as long as it has the original manufacturer’s sanitation details.
What other items would you recommend for someone moving to Peru?