We address the problem of defining Lyapunov exponents for an expansive homeomorphism f on a compact metric space (X, dist) using similar techniques as those developed in Barreira and Silva [Lyapunov exponents for continuous transformations and dimension theory, Discrete Contin. Dynam. Sys.13 (2005), 469–490]; Kifer [Characteristic exponents of dynamical systems in metric spaces, Ergod. Th. Dynam. Sys.3 (1983), 119–127]. Under certain conditions on the topology of the space X where f acts we obtain that there is a metric D defining the topology of X such that the Lyapunov exponents of f are different from zero with respect to D for every point x ∈ X. We give an example showing that this may not be true with respect to the original metric dist. But expansiveness of f ensures that Lyapunov exponents do not vanish on a Gδ subset of X with respect to any metric defining the topology of X. We define Lyapunov exponents on compact invariant sets of Peano spaces and prove that if the maximal exponent on the compact set is negative then the compact is an attractor.