Friday, December 10, 2010

Expat Experiences: Peru - Tony Dunnell, Tarapoto

Who are you?

My name is Tony Dunnell, I’m an Englishman and full-time freelance writer living in Peru. I live in Tarapoto, a mid-sized town in the Peruvian jungle. This is my base of operations, from where I write primarily about travel and history while continuing to explore Peru.

I freelance for various websites and publications, and also have two blogs of my own. The first, TarapotoLife, is about this particular region of Peru and all the fun and frustrations of living here. The second,, is a site for backpackers in Peru, an honest travel advice blog written from experience.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

Well, the “why?” involved a girl, as is often the case. Before living here I had backpacked solo all over South America for about a year. During that trip, I met a girl in Tingo Maria, another Peruvian jungle town. We made our way up through Ecuador and Colombia together, before heading back to Peru. By this point I was out of cash, so I went back to the UK for seven months, scraped some money together and came back out (in May 2009).

We chose Tarapoto because it’s a very relaxed place, it’s not too far from her family (and not too close!) and it has decent connections with the rest of Peru (by air, land and river).

What challenges did you face during the move?

I came back out to Peru with my backpack, not much money and no real plans. It was all a bit sketchy, really. We travelled up the north coast from Lima, cut inland, and headed towards the jungle towns. We didn’t know where we were going to live at that point, but after a few days in Tarapoto we decided to stay put. We were travelling so light that any normal problems associated with relocating were not really an issue.

How did you find somewhere to live?

We stayed in a hostel for about a week, all the while looking for a place to rent. We wanted a cheap mini-apartment or something similar, but people here generally rent out small, single rooms, while the modern apartments were beyond our budget. Luckily, I stumbled across two rooms for rent on the top floor of a building. The stunning views...

You can read more about Tony's life in Peru at

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