I was born and grew up in Donetsk, Ukraine. I have always loved the feeling of being surrounded by new cultures and languages. As a student, during my summer holidays, I traveled to India and Brazil as a volunteer.
As soon as I graduated from university, I moved to Beijing where I spent 2 ½ years learning Chinese, working and traveling. This is where I met my future husband and together we decided to move to Peru, my husband’s home country.
I have dreamed about visiting Machu Picchu ever since I was little but I could’ve never imagined that one day I would move to Peru.
Embracing the Passion and Culture of Peru
Because I went from China to Peru the culture shock was more like going from Asia to Peru than it was from going straight from my home country of Ukraine.
Peruvians are so different from the Chinese people. They are deeply passionate and expressive. They love to socialize and they certainly love a good party with a lot of dancing and pisco involved.
The people of Peru are also very warm-hearted and friendly. Wherever you go, a restaurant, a bank, a shop – you will always be greeted with a smile and politeness.
After some time living here, you start taking such treatment for granted. Until the moment you travel somewhere else and realize that some people seem cold and rude. Maybe they are not rude, but they are just not Peruvians.
Peruvians tend to greet each other by kissing each other on the cheek. Even if it’s a party of 50 people, they would just go from person to person hugging and kissing. But don’t try to be on time. Punctuality is not something that Peruvians can be proud of.
Food, football, family and religion are those aspects of life that Peruvians value the most. Sunday is “family day” here when the whole family spends the day together.
My Favourite Experiences and Attractions of Peru
I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity of visiting different parts of Peru. I’ve explored the desert, the Andes, some of the beautiful beaches in the north of Peru and also the jungles. All these places are incredibly beautiful and diverse.
Indeed, Peru is such a diverse country. From the surreal Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, to the Amazon Rainforest, to the breathtaking Pacific coast – Peru has so much to offer travelers and people thinking of moving abroad as an expat.
Nearly all existing ecosystems can be found here in Peru. It’s very hard to decide which part of Peru is my favorite. I love Cusco. I have visited this amazing city several times and it’s incredibly charming.
I also absolutely love the jungles. The time I spent there surrounded by nature is probably one of the best experiences so far. If I had to choose 3 experiences in Peru that I would recommend for travelers and people moving abroad as an expat they would be:
1) The Amazon: I know I might seem a little bit obsessed with jungles but they are amazing! You can have unique experiences here such as visiting cacao plantations and learning about the production of chocolate. Don’t forget that you can also visit indigneous tribes.
2) Chachapoyas: Famous for its amazing archeological sites such as Kuelap Fortress and Sarcophagi of Karajia, as well as the beautiful Gocta waterfall. I highly recommend visiting this town in northern Peru.
3) Trekking: If you are into trekking then Peru is the perfect country to visit. Some of the treks are still relatively unknown and don’t have tons of tourists. For example: Choquequirao hike that leads to Choquequirao Inca ruins. This destination is known as “Machu Picchu’s little sister.”
Of course, you also have to experience the Cusco region. Machu Picchu is one of my absolute favourites. No words can describe it. The energy you feel there is incredible. Other Inca sites that you shouldn’t miss are the salt ponds of Maras and agricultural laboratory of Moray.
Expat Life in the Gastronomic Hub Lima, Peru
Lima is a city of contrasts. It’s a huge city with over 9 million inhabitants and terrible traffic. Lima is also the city with some amazing gastronomy and breathtaking views. The best thing about being an expat in Lima, Peru is the opportunity to eat, eat and eat!
Peruvian cuisine is a reflection of Peru’s main geographical zones – the coast, the Andes, the jungles and a mix of influences from immigrant cultures. Some of the best dishes are ceviche, aji de gallina, causa, rocoto relleno, and, of course, you can’t leave without trying pisco sour.
Some other great things to do in Lima are visiting Parque del Amor and enjoying ocean views, exploring the Historic Center of Lima with its colonial architecture, visiting Catacombs of the San Francisco Monastery and Larco Museum.
Of course part of the benefit of living in Peru is being close to so many other countries in South America. I have also been lucky enough to visit Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia. Each of these countries is beautiful but Colombia is my favourite so far.
My husband and I visited Cartagena and some Caribbean beaches last December and we absolutely loved it! It’s an incredibly romantic destination. While Colombia was amazing, I still hope to explore more of Peru this year such as Puno and to return back to the Amazon jungle!