Apart from Lima's drivers, noise seems to be the thing that most foreigners find difficult to adapt to. I've lived in six different apartments in Peru and almost every time, there was a different problem, from the neighbour who left their yappy dog on the balcony all day, to the apartment on the corner with the honking traffic, then there was the problem with car alarms and worst of all the mid-week party animals with the karaoke machine. I've finally found a nice building with only two downside, general traffic noise, which double glazing could fix, and a neighbour who spends large chunks of the day marching up and down her (or his) wooden floors with high heels on.
For those of you who are sociable and get on with your neighbours, you can always try and make friends with the party house, get invited and meet new people. Or if your neighbour has a noisy dog, go and offer to walk it or even look after it - many dogs bark because they're lonely. However, for most of us who have to get up in the morning to go to work, or have children, or just like peace and quiet, these just aren't options. There are a few good ideas on this thread. I like the idea of the Sleepmate. I often use a fan to drown out street noise and it keeps me cool in summer as well. Double glazing would be great, but it's not common in Lima - although I've heard there's a place in Miraflores that sells secondary glazing. I certainly don't recommend poisoning dogs. You're bound to feel terrible afterwards and anyway, the owner will probably just buy another one. Someone once suggested throwing sleeping pills or diazepam crushed in food. I've never tried it, but surely doping a dog is better than killing it.
For what it's worth, here's my checklist for a quiet apartment. First, avoid apartments near traffic lights, where most of the honking traffic is, and choose somewhere in the middle of a long block.
Second, avoid buildings with balconies; although they can be beautiful, there's usually someone who leaves their dog out all day, or throws regular parties, also check the building next door doesn't have any.
Third, avoid apartments on lower floors to keep street noise to a minimum, especially if there's a lot of places for cars to park; for some reason Peruvian car alarms will go off for no reason with alarming regularity.
Fourth, El Comercio is a good place to find apartments, but viewing times are usually on a quiet Sunday afternoon when most people are away at the beach, so when looking for a new place, go and see the street at various times during the day and night to see how noisy it is; Friday and Saturdays are also a good time to see if you've got any party animals above you.
Fifth, avoid apartments where central patios mean that neighbours' bedrooms face each other, as you're quite likely to spend your nights listening to babies crying, couples making love, teenagers listening to music, or worse playing it, and also a lot of people like watching TV in bed especially in winter.
I think all the problems mentioned - persistent dog barking, noisy neighbours, constant car honking and all night parties with big sound systems - happen all around the world, but my experience is that it is worse in Lima and more difficult to find solutions or get redress. To get an idea of the differences, I once heard of someone who lived in a block in Switzerland where it was against the rules to flush your toilet after midnight in case it wakes the neighbours. Now, that's too extreme for most of us, but I actually know some foreigners and Peruvians who would love a building like that if it were available.
And although the vast majority of Peruvians seem to dislike excessive noise just as much as foreigners, many that I know just don't want to stick their noses into other people's business and will suffer in silence. It's true that the best buildings have a well-run junta and some even ban dogs, but that means nothing if the noise is coming from the building next door. Even complaining to Serenazgo or your building's junta often only gets temporary redress. The yappy dog goes inside for a week or two (like the problem with the rat poodles), or the music at late-parties is turned down, but within a few weeks, it's all back to as it was.
Last edited by Sergio Bernales
on Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.