A few days ago, Lonely Planet ran an opinion piece in which it describes Cusco as “ideal place for US retirees to live”. International Living, which is a magazine dedicated to retirees choosing to retire outside USA spoke to the TIME magazine, and recommended Peru and Cusco in particular as a destination of choice, citing affordable living, history, culture, and a peaceful lifestyle.
American retirees are known to purchase retirement visas that allows them to live indefinitely in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Carribbean, and elsewhere. Most of the times, they tend to migrate to places with warm climates and affordable medical care, considering the expenses one would have to foot if one fell sick in the USA, even with insurance.
Peru is being touted as an affordable retirement destination with a vast number of secondary benefits. Along with affordable living and housing, the Lonely Planet article also suggests that a couple could comfortably live comfortably in less than $1,700 a month. While this may be true, it is difficult to surmise the social effects of retirees moving to Peru, when medical care is often expensive for local people. Of course, the dollars that the retirees would bring would definitely help the local economy, but this should not be at the cost of overburdening local resources.
However, one needs to wonder if this is really a good idea, as Cusco accommodates a number of tourists already, and a further influx of permanent residents from the USA may cause social and cultural changes. Countries like Malaysia or Thailand or probably more equipped to handle cultural and social pressures arising from tourism than Peru, in which endangered tribal and indigenous people live. These same groups have also been historically oppressed, and any further burden on existing health and medical resources may only cause them more hardships. Nevertheless, of course Cusco is a great place to live by international standards.