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Medellín vs Lima, Peru: Which is the Better Place to Live? Medellin Guru
Medellín vs Lima, Peru. Both are rated as top foreign retirement locations for expats and we comprehensively compare the two cities in 20 categories.

Medellín vs Lima, Peru: Which is the Better Place to Live?

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12 thoughts on “Medellín vs Lima, Peru: Which is the Better Place to Live?”

    1. Having lived in both cities (currently in Medellín) I agree overall with the comparisons. Thanks for the post!
      I have also lived in Bogotá as well and I like Lima best for food: both for restaurants and daily grocery shopping.
      Being an American who has lived in Europe and other Latin American/Caribbean countries too, my main complaint for Medellín is the lack of quality textiles, in my opinion the clothing in Colombia in general is cheap/tacky, poorly made, and difficult to find “normal” brand items. The postal system in Colombia is worse than Perú too although there are ways to have mail delivered. Both places have plenty of friendly locals who are willing to answer questions about their hometowns and help you when they can. Either city will be an amazing experience whether you stay short term or live long term.

    2. Hi,
      Ive been in Lima for about 5 years and in Medellin for about a year..
      I must say I really hate Lima. Its a very dirty city, people are so uneducated
      and false.
      Lima is a very big city in a desert, No rain. So thats why it gets so dirty and dusty.
      Vinters are very humid, the air is always very pulluted from the traffic.
      The food is great though, but many reastaurants dont know how to maintain a
      restaurant and its food CLEAN. I have been sick so many times.
      Another thing: The city is VERY noisy, especialy traffic.
      And on top of that you can get sick if you drink the tap water!
      Safety is VERY low, I know so many who have been robbed mostly peruvians,
      I can go on complaining more…
      I was also robbed by the migration office at the airport.
      Had to go to the police and then they fired that bitch.
      Public transportation and infrastructure in Lima is a Joke really
      say no more, they really have some problems there. Its slower than slower than slow.
      Wifi connections is a bigger problem in Lima than in Medellin.
      Sorry but Im only telling the truth. Most corrupted place I’ve ever
      been to. I was most of the time in the center of Lima.
      There are better and welthier places but they have no soul.
      I would say that the city doesn’t take care of it’s history.
      There is a big lack of respect and ignorance to the citizens
      from the politicians, its so sad. I would never want my children to grow
      up there. They are also racists and very nationalistic. (Its true 🙁 most of them are)
      Sorry my english, im not from an english speaking country.
      Thanks for a great site! God bless you. Medellin is a Paradise, my Lima experience
      was very much a hell. Just telling MY story.

    3. Excelente comparison

    4. I lived in Lima for 10 and half months and have been here in Medellin for 9 months. My opinions are that most importantly at #1) Lima is much LESS SAFE than Medellin. It is similar to Bogota in the sense that it is a big capital with much more small-scale crime and robberies going on. Just for being a bigger city, there are more people (actually around 2 million living on the outskirts of Lima without electricity and running water) who take advantage of the wealth found inside the city to rob individuals. I myself was robbed twice and that was very normal. I heard horrible stories from friends much more often and I physically felt much more on my guard with the places I went. #2) Traffic is definitely NOT at a tie. From my experience, Lima’s traffic was probably 3-4x worse than Medellin’s. I was in a bus for 3-6 hours daily when I took the bus system (the combis). There are simply more people and therefore many many more cars. In comparing, to go from Poblado to the Medellin airport is a 45 minute drive at 30 km, and to go from Miraflores to the Lima airport it always takes at least one hour to go 20 km (despite what google maps might tell you because I’ve taken this trip myself about 8 times!) Overall, in the categories that Lima wins, it simply has to do with the size of the city (more shopping malls, more job opportunities, more places to party, etc.). When it comes to deciding where to actually live or retire and the things that matter the most, Medellin wins overall hands down and I think we will see that as the expat community continues to grow here post-internal conflict.

    5. Great report. A bit surprised you did not cover the counterfeit banknotes and coins that is a big problem in Peru.Best rated counterfeiters in the world! Add to that merchants are very leery of taking any torn bank notes.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/11/22/they-make-fake-money-worth-more-than-cocaine-the-u-s-just-recovered-30-million-of-it/?utm_term=.01a220631504

      https://howtoperu.com/fake-money-in-peru/

      I would say #11 is not a tie.

      • Hi John, thanks. I mentioned the counterfeit problem in Peru in an article about Colombia counterfeits, see: https://medellinguru.com/currency-counterfeits/. An estimated 60 percent of counterfeit U.S. bills reportedly now come from Peru. I’ll add something to the article to be careful in Peru and also Colombia.

        • Matt sipprell May 23, 2018

          Excellent, well-researched article. Knowing both cities well, I have to agree with you on every point. One category not mentioned: the women! Gotta give the edge to Medellin there. ; )

          • andrea July 30, 2019

            clínica international is not the best hospital in lima, first of all it is a clinic not a hospital, which is a private institution not a public one, and there are many better ones that the one you pictured here

    6. Brock Canner April 13, 2018

      Thanks Jeff, read it earlier, Then got busy. Great comparison post! Was in Lima many years back. Had some fun. Ate some great seafood at a place out on the water. Was one of the leaders of a climbing party. In the Cordillera Blanca. Stayed in small town where we made arrangements and got supplies. Climbed 3 peaks, Absolutely beautiful. Had to evacuate a friend who picked up a parasite. Back to Lima. With sick friend and another helping. Didn’t care for Lima. So we stayed at the Sheratan. Was tense to get a flight out. Had a Mt Doctor waiting in Utah. The upside, is we got him back on time. Having one day left to live. 50% percent of his red blood cells were gone. He lived to climb again!
      All in all never having been to Medellin that’s my pick for my next trip. Also plan to stay for a long time. Just a bad vibe in Lima. Didn’t care for it at all. Many changes since then, I’m sure. Yet don’t care. Happy for those who like it.

    7. David Williams April 13, 2018

      I agree with your comparison and I prefer Medellin. Also, I am glad you mentioned the food in Lima that is excellent.

    8. Richard April 13, 2018

      Nice comparison article. When I visited Lima it was overcast with no sun any of the days so it was pretty depressing. But there are countless good food options in Lima. No way I would want to live there due to the gloomy climate and earthquake risk but its a nice place to visit for foodies.

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