lutxi wrote:- Is it really that complicated to get your kids admitted in an international school?
Admission is not complicated at all, you just fill out the application, pay the entrance fee (approximately $10,000 USD per child) and wait 6 months to a year or more hoping that a will spot open.
Waiting times can be less if you are working for an embassy that has an agreement with the school.
lutxi wrote:We are currently looking at Markham, Cambridge college or Newton College (any other suggestions are welcome)
You might also want to consider Colegio Roosevelt
. Similar prices and waiting times, though.
lutxi wrote:- We have the option of moving either around November 2014, or Jan 2015. In case we move in November, do you know if it is possible to place our kids in school, being that time so close to school year end?
This is totally dependent on the school. Kids come and go all the time from international schools due to family relocations that may or may not coincide with school terms. Check with the schools you are considering to see what they say about space.
lutxi wrote:- How long would it take to drive everyday to work, from La Molina, Miraflores, or Chorrillos to San Isidro? We are planning on living as close to our kids’ school as possible but also need to check it won’t mean spending hours on the road to work, as traffic seems to be horrible..
As others have said, more than an hour each way would not be unrealistic unless you are leaving your house at 5 AM and returning home at 9 PM or later. Many schools (though not Markham) offer bus services. Many families have drivers that take the kids to and from school. Unless you have some special reason (other than the normal parental anxiety) to want to be close to the school, I wouldn't make that the primary factor in your decision.
lutxi wrote:- Which area in Lima would you recommend with kids?
This is a personal decision for you and your family and will also depend on your budget and whether or not you have your own car. Generally speaking, for the same amount of money as a 3-bedroom apartment in Miraflores or San Isidro, you can get a house with a yard and maybe a small pool in La Molina. Compared to Miraflores or San Isidro, La Molina will be warmer and sunnier. Most families with children live in La Molina, so you will probably be going out there for a lot of birthday parties. But the downside is that the traffic will be terrible - both your commute and getting anywhere within La Molina. I would not recommend La Molina unless you have your own transportation and are OK with spending a lot of time inside said transportation.
There are a lot of parks in Miraflores and San Isidro, and you are close to the Malecon. You can walk to shops, restaurants, work, etc. It is more urban than suburban living, but there are lots of kids that live in these districts and they all seem to be OK. But it can be cold and foggy for half of the year. And unless you are renting a house, your own personal outdoor green space will be limited.
San Borja and Surco may be good alternatives. Less expensive houses and/or apartments, but without the La Molina traffic.
There are many other threads on here and other expat web sites about the advantages and disadvantages of the various neighborhoods. Assuming you are here on an expat assignment and you are not looking for the cheapest option, I would choose from one of the following: La Molina, Miraflores, San Isidro, San Borja, or Surco.
Also, be aware that there are differences among the various districts of Lima regarding the risk of earthquake damage, as shown in this map
lutxi wrote:Any information or lessons learned from someone who might have more knowledge or who arrived in our same situation would be of great help.
I would suggest a short term rental in the area where you think
you want to live. After a few months you will have a better sense of things and can then commit to a longer-term rental. The cost of a short-term rental will be higher, but you will have greater flexibility.