Retirement at 11,300 feet – in Peru

So let’s continue with the cost of living and discuss some of our bills here in Huarocondo. Retire in Peru, Machu PicchuOur property taxes are about $35 USD a year, our electric is about $55 USD a month, Water is a flat $3.28 USD per month no matter how much we use, and we spend about $100.00 USD per month on food (I like to eat meat). We cook and run our cloths dryer with propane, the propane bottles cost about $15 USD each and last us about 3 months. While there are a few things that cost the same, or close to the same as in US, like gas for a vehicle, internet service or satellite TV, most things here are much cheaper.

While I have listed the lack of North American amenities above as a negative, I actually found at least one to be a positive, the lack of fast food. Since moving to the Cusco region, I have lost about 30 lbs, which I attribute largely to the healthier diet. The lack of easily accessible fast food, as well as the fact that all of the food we eat here is much fresher, and free of preservatives should be a plus for anyone. We get most of our produce from the local markets. Because of our location, not only are our meats and vegetables fresh off the farm but we also get fresh fruits as they are brought up from tropical regions that are only 2 hours away.

Another thing we really enjoy is the region itself. If you enjoy nature and exploring, this is the place to be. Not only does the area provide many archaeological sites to explore, there are also many places to hike and enjoy nature.We are also within a day’s drive (or short flight) of several other interesting towns and locations like the Jungle, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and Colca Canyon.

There is one other benefit of being a resident of the Cusco region, and that is that residents get free access to the archaeological sites on Sundays, this even includes Machu Picchu. Just imagine spending the day hiking around a site like Pisac or Tipon, and having a nice picnic in the afternoon, looking up at Incan terraces and ruins, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Retire in Peru, Huarocondo ChurchWe really love it here and think it is a good location for retirement, or semi-retirement. I would definitely recommend that anyone considering retiring to the Cusco region, take an extended trip of at least a month, rent an apartment and see how you like it. This will allow for acclimation to the altitude, as well as give you time to explore a little and really get the feel for the local culture, cuisine and people.

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  1. Kathleen quinn

    June 2, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Thank you for your informative post. I am thinking of retiring in Peru and am looking for visa information as well. Are you able to stay because of your business?

  2. I’m from Seattle area and now working in Arequipa for the last 3 months with 15 more to go and I would like to explore the idea of an early retirement with my wife in Cusco after I finish this project.

    I’ve heard nothing but excellent reports from those that have been to Cusco and we plan to go there in April.

    My question is about how much as a percentage does it cost you to live in Cusco versus Vegas? I’m guessing in the range of 60-65%. Also, how confident are you in the health care there? Lastly, do you feel as safe in Cusco as Vegas?


  3. Hi
    Nowadays with the currency devaluation might be even cheaper.
    In particular I cant imagine huarocondo to be expensive, have been there one of my best friends run the biggest farm there.
    Harocondo 100% safe…little town usually don’t have crime or if it exists is small non violent.
    In cusco downtown, I would say is safe, but you have to know what streets you go on. Is not swistezerland; but even there there is always some bad street.
    cuzco, because of the amount of tourism might be a bit more expensive. but it all depends how much downtown you want to be.

  4. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer several years ago and was stationed in the Department of Cuzco, a small town called Checacupe and later was assigned to work in the City of Cuzco where I lived for almost two years. I loved living in the city so close to the center and I got to know the area quite well. Also 44 years ago I married my wife of 44 years. She was born in Yucay and lived in Cuzco for most of her life. thus we have quite a few relatives there for sure.
    > It would be awesome to spend part of our retirement there but I am not sure of access to the medical resources I need, especially for diabetes, i.e. insulin etc. If nothing else long term at least like three months or so yearly.
    > What would you suggest we consider?

  5. Sorry everyone, looks like I have not gotten all of the notices that there were comments, I know some of these are old but I will answer anyway for reader reference.

    @Kathleen – I am able to stay because my wife is Peruvian.

    @Ron – I hope you enjoyed your trip to Cusco. I have never really tried figuring out just how much cheaper it is to live here but here are a few figures for reference. My property taxes are about $35.00 a year, Water is $3.00 a month, Power about $60.00 a month, and a $13.00 bottle of propane lasts us about 3 months. While some things like Cars and Gas are about the same as in the US, everything else is so much cheaper so it is probably costing us at least 75% less to live here.

    While the government health care system may be marginal, there are clinics that offer excellent care at a very reasonable rate, the end of last year my wife broke her leg (both tibia and fibula), 3 days in the clinic and surgery (plate and screws for the leg) was only about $1,600.00 with no insurance.

    As for safety, I feel safer here than when I lived in Vegas.

    @Jaime – I haven’t been to Checacupe yet, but I know where it is. You shouldn’t have problems with medical care, there are several good clinics and the government is building a new hospital that looks like it will be very nice. I would consider an exploratory trip first, come for a few weeks or so, check out the medical services and find a doctor you like, if you find the medical services good then plan a longer visit after that.

  6. I was in the Peace Corps and stationed mostly in Cuzco. Prior to returning to the US I married una cusqueña from Yukay in the Urubamba Valley. We have lots of relatives there. Before I get too much older I want to return to Peru, Cuzco mostly for a span of several months. I am sure I will need to return to the US regularly to secure my stuff for managing diabetes which is Medicare and most likely not covered if available. I would definitely like to be there in December and June. Cuzco has changed big time since I lived there and now with the increase of tourists the change is getting bigger and more expensive. I also want to return to Checacupe but my padrinos are now dead and I don’t know who manages the land. There were movie theaters when i was there so why would there not be any now? I am not sure how I might feel with so many tourists but….It is so needed

  7. Have lived and grew up outside North America for 45 yrs in 62 countries and the Cuzco area would be great to get away from the present world.

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