Last week, after nearly nine months living in Peru, I finally received my carnet de extranjera (residency card or “green card”) and I can guarantee it will make a big difference in benefits going forward.
My application was approved by Peruvian Immigration officials a month ago, but it took awhile to receive the actual card that grants me all kinds of benefits.
The first time I took advantage of it was to walk up the hill to visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman a couple of days ago for a drastically discounted price only to get a big surprise. It turns out that residents are allowed in all the major ruins in Cusco and the Sacred Valley for free!
To see all of the major sites and museums in the region, tourists must pay $40 and have ten days to visit each place once. Cusqueños get in everywhere free any day!
I’ve also been told that locals get into Machu Picchu free on Sundays, but the ticket office here in Cusco only said there was a discount. (I didn’t mention a Sunday ticket so perhaps she misunderstood.) Even if it’s only a discount, the cost for a ticket is only $30 compared to $70 for foreigners.
A trip to Machu Picchu — one of the most famous historical sites in the world — comes with one more advantage. The cheapest round trip train ticket purchased in the peak season will cost a tourist $126, but there’s a special train for locals that I can take for $3 each way!
I’ve heard of other benefits for local residents, but haven’t confirmed anything yet. The best part is really that I am permanently a resident of Peru and can come and go as I please now.
That means time to start doing more traveling!