Why Involvement Volunteers International?
Volunteer in Peru
Cusco, Peru – easily one of the top 5 ancient civilization centers in the world, is also home to immense scenic beauty, bio-diversity and incredible culture. Bordering the Pacific Coast, Andes & Amazon, Peru is an ancient land with one of the richest collections of historic artifacts known to man. History is very evident and still pulsing with street side pageants booming brass bands, colors and smells of spices.
As a rich country in natural resources, there are many dimensions to Peru, and unfortunately the social development has not kept pace in all regions. Education, illiteracy and basic social justice among poorer communities continue to divide the rich and poor.
The people of Peru are generous and welcoming to foreigners and this makes it a safe travel destination for international volunteers. IVI’s work mainly focuses on vulnerable areas which can benefit from voluntary services.
Volunteer Projects in Cusco, Peru
The Andean Cultural Immersion Project is aimed at inter-cultural learning to help develop new ways of thinking and opportunities among rural Peruvian communities. Volunteers are placed within indigenous communities high in the Andes mountains approx 1 hour from Cusco. Volunteers interested in a proper off the beaten path experience including anthropology, ancient cultural civilization, indigenous education and the natural environment are encouraged to apply.
This unique project in Cusco, Peru with see you working in various dog shelters designed to help rehabilitate stray animals and integrate into caring homes. In this region, there are a large number of domestic animals abandoned by their owners due to various economic and social circumstances. The animals are not well cared for with major health issues. These shelters are inundated with animals and volunteers provide a vital service to the local centers.
Many families in Cusco struggle with economic challenges which contributing to a general inability to care adequately and provide optimal education for children. This project aims to provide inter-cultural learning opportunities and English teaching for children from 4 to 12 years of age. English language skills are essential for academic ability and community advancement in this area enabling opportunity in tourism and related business services.
Alpaca and Llama are related to the Camel species and are native to Peru. These cute and intriguing animals are mainly used for wool in the area which contributes to various economic opportunity for the local people. This project words directly with a local family run farm in a rural village approx 30 minutes from Cusco. The farm's objective is to traditional Peruvian textiles from the wool and care for the animals.
Various medical volunteer options exist for medical students, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors and specialist healthcare practitioners, seeking to gain first hand experience and/or help give back to the local people of Peru. Depending on your experience and level of study, you'll work alongside and shadow qualified medical staff in hospitals, health clinics and special needs facilities.
Help combat malnutrition & public health issues in Peru. Nutritionists, Naturopaths, Dietitians and Allied health professionals are needed to assist with healthcare services within specialized living facilities, community outreach campaigns and working with the physically or mentally disabled, HIV infected, child clinics and elderly support services.
Some of the most expansive rain forest jungles in the world exist in Peru. Home to an incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna, these forests are at severe risk to deforestation through the effects of commercial logging and cattle production operations. As international awareness has increased, reforestation efforts have only just begun to make an impact with work needed to maintain this trend. Volunteering services in this region include planting trees & shrubs, removing invasive species, monitoring & educational services for communities to help protect the Amazon Jungle.
For those seeking a hands on experienc and satisfaction of a before and after shot, the community construction projects is highly recommended! You'll be directed by a local construction foreman helping to maintain & reburbish community centers, shelters, clinics & schools. There is no better way to give back than to improve the standard of living to the local people. This development work benefits entire communities and is immensely appreciated as many of the locals do not have the resources and time necessary for this type of up-keep.
LEARN SPANISH IN CUSCO
Where better to learn Spanish than in the Spanish speaking destination of Cusco, Peru! Our local in-country organisation offers the top Spanish immersion programs in Latin America. With certified teachers and professional facilities, the Spanish teaching school is an incredible home base were you'll have the opportunity to connect with fellow international volunteers and students aiming to improve their Spanish speaking ability. Students from all ages and backgrounds can utilize this service for quality, accredited and affordable Spanish teaching services in Peru.
30 Years Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally. We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.
Affordable Volunteer Travel
Safe & Responsible Projects
Work Experience & University Credits
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia this South American country of 33 million is an incredible destination.
Peru has a fascinating 5000 year old history and unique cultural heritage that exists to this day! With world renowned historical sites like Machu Pichu, incredible natural wonders like the Amazon rain forest, the Andes mountain range and loads of adventures such as rafting, zip-lining, paragliding and mountain biking, Peru is seriously an amazing place to visit!
Don’t forget the Peruvian coastline which accounts for 10% of the whole surface of the country…Although the Incas are the most famous, there are other pre-Columbian cultures and unexplored archaeological sites which can be located in the North of Peru. A country of contrasts, crazy traffic, 6700 meter high cities, amazing beaches and sunsets, tropical rainforests and lamas!
While the Amazon represents 60% of the Peruvian surface, it is the least densely populated region of the country. Therefore, it holds a lot of uninhabited parts, untouched by humans and beautiful unseen areas.With all the madness of the cities, the countryside is never far and in our opinion, here is the place where you can experience something very unique and special. Here is where you will make a difference.
The climate varies depending on altitude and region, but for the most part the dry season is from May to November, and the ‘green’ season from December to April.
As Cusco is 3000 meters above sea level, the average temperatures in Cusco rarely reach above 25 degrees celcius. During the dry season expect sunny, warm days and cool nights. It’s generally warmer during the ‘green’ season with intermittent rain and sun during the day and mildy rainy nights.
Peru has over 10,000 years of history! It’s no surprise that Peru has an incredible wealth of culture and tradition that is one of the most varied countries in the world.
As the 3rd largest country in South America Peru is divided into 25 regions and 11 eco-regions. With an enormous range of landscapes, biodiversity and natural resources, you can boil this down to 3 main regions being 1) Coast, 2) Mountains 3) Jungle.
Spanish is the official language and spoken by 85% of the population with 47 other native languages present among the various regions. Music and dance play a vital role in Peruvian society. Hispanic influences combine with Spanish and ancient styles to create a flair that is unique to Peru.
Peruvian’s are proud people and very aware of the natural world and the value of the Andes, Amazon and historic civilizations in this region. The country has overcome difficult political and economic issues.
The people are welcoming and attentive to visitors with food and music being the central point for celebrations and of course colorful dress which is unmistakable. Peruvian’s love football (soccer) which is the national sport and you can often see families playing together. Most of Peru is quite religious with Catholicism very prominent.
In Peru, personal hygiene and style are very important and people tend to dress neatly and professionally. Be prepared to cover your shoulders and knees, and wear clothing that is not revealing or extravagant.
In Peru, we work in the ancient city of Cuzco, the undisputed archaeological capital of South America! Known as the gateway to Machu Picchu, Cuzco has a eclectic, artsy, natural modern yet cultured vibe that is unique and inspiring. Home to many interesting people from all walks of life, Cuzco has beautiful scenery, architecture, hiking and amazing food! Ceviche (cured fish in lime juice as one example!)
The volunteer center is located in central Cuzco. This is the home base, where all international volunteers congregate and disperse into teams travelling out into the communities and rural areas surrounding Cuzco to participate in various volunteer projects.
Simply put, Cuzco is just one of those unique places in the world that you’ll long to go back to. Highly recommended!
Click on the individual projects to see more detailed info including pictures of typical accommodations.
Our in-country partners are highly rated and very well equipped to cater to international volunteers from all over the globe. As an IVI volunteer you’ll have access to the volunteer learning center in central Cuzco which is complete with communal areas, WiFi, learning centers with computers, qualified teachers, local travel services and experienced coordinators who understand the local community and the issues present.
Your actual accommodation will be in home Stay’s with middle class Peruvian families and the location will depend on the project. For English teaching & Childcare, Special Needs, Animal Care, Medical or construction projects, you’re very likely to be placed centrally in Cuzco, about 10-15 minute walk from the central volunteer center. For all other projects, you’re likely to be placed just outside of Cuzco, or about a 10-20 minute bus ride from the volunteer center. This is to ensure you’re closer to the actual placement for less travel. The Indigenous Community Immersion home stays are located min 1 hour from Cuzco, and these accommodations are generally much more basic than the above mentioned home stays.
All host families are very experienced in hosting international volunteers and go through a rigorous process to ensure high quality standards are met. These homes have electricity, western style toilets, running water and basic amenities. Hot showers are less common however!
You can request to either share with other volunteers or have a private room in the home stay. For shared rooms, you’ll normally share with 1-3 over volunteers of the same gender and age group. You’ll be provided a key to the house and are free to come and go as you please while being respectful of the house rules of the family. Most families are happy to help with laundry, but you should expect to pay around US $2 per load if going to a local laundry service. WiFi is available at some home stay’s however most volunteers will purchase a data plan for cheap to be used with their own device as required.
The jungle conservation accommodations are more communal and rustic but still comfortable with bungalows or dorm style rooms sharing with other volunteers. For these projects, you’ll likely stay in Cuzco for a couple days for orientation before being transported to the project locations.
Drinking water is provided for you in your home stay. Bottled water is also easily purchased if desired. Tap water is safe to use for showers and brushing teeth but not recommended to drink for most international tourists.
Your program fee includes breakfast and dinner daily, 7 days a week as well as drinking water, coffee & tea.
Peruvian cuisine is amazing! Dishes combine elements of Africa, Italy, France, China, Japan, and Spain. Rice, beans, and corn are popular ingredients, and fresh root vegetables like cassava, taro, and sweet potato are extremely important – there are nearly 4000 different kinds of potatoes in Peru, including some that are bright purple! You can also expect lots of fruits and vegetables, such as avocados (palta) accompanied by spicy aji salsa.
The dishes most representative of Peruvian culture are Ceviche and Anticuchos. Ceviche consists of fish and/or other seafood marinated in citrus juices and tossed with sliced onion and Andean rocoto (a traditional hot pepper).
There are also some common local refreshments you should try while in Peru: Chicha Morad (non-alcoholic, made from purple corn) and Chicha Amarilla (alcoholic, made from yellow corn), and Pisco (alcoholic, a grape-based ingredient found in many delicious cocktails).
An in-depth orientation is included for all volunteers.
This orientation is designed as a 1 day overview to help ensure you are equipped with the necessary info to effectively work with the local people and community. This may include but is not limited to;
- Peru culture / history overview
- Spanish language lesson
- Customs / law’s / do’s & don’ts
- Volunteer expectations
- Home stay guidelines
- Travel opportunities during free time
- Overview of your placement
- Notes from previous placements to help maximize impact
Volunteers should aim to arrive into Cuzco on either Saturday or Sunday to ensure they can participate in the Orientation which starts every Monday.
Complimentary Arrival Transfer
You’ll arrive at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ). When clearing immigration it’s best to simply state ‘tourism’. When you arrive you will be greeted by a member of our local team and taken to the homestay or the volunteer center for orientation.
Most volunteers will use in-expensive bus transport to get around and to travel to the project placements. Our coordinators will assist you with all the details while in country.
A one-way trip rarely costs more than US $0.50 in Cusco or nearby neighborhoods and maybe US $2 for longer distances.
Taxis are also readily available in and around Cusco. Taxis cost approximately US $3 – $10 depending on duration. We recommend using formal taxis that use a meter to calculate the fare based on time and distance.
During your free time after hours and on weekends, there are many places to explore in the surrounding areas of Cuzco and Peru. Here is a very brief overview of some popular destinations:
- Machu Picchu – Built somewhere in the 1400’s, this is the site of massive significance spiritually & historically to the Incan people . Tourists from around the world travel to Peru just to see it, and Cuzco is the gateway to Machu Picchu. We can help you book your tour in advance or when you arrive in Cuzco. There are various options including train ride + hike or a 4 day hike. Book in advance to ensure you get a spot though!
- Cuzco City & Sights – The historic capital of the Inca Empire, rests at very high altitude in the Andes Mountains. It’s really one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. Besides just soaking up the atmosphere of Cuzco, some sights to visit include; Cristo Blanco monument offers amazing views of the city, the Planetarium provides Incan history, the ruins of Qorikancha, in the heart of the city or for the foodies, check out the Choco Museo for everything chocolate!
- The Amazon Jungle (Hello!) – Peru has managed to do a great job in protecting the Amazon, and has many well protected very large forest areas where you can explore with a guide. Take a boat down the Rio Tambopata river, experience jungle lodges from Peurto Maldonado and experience one of the most bio diverse regions in the entire world!
- Lake Titicaca – The largest lake in South America, is the birthplace of the sun according to Andean legend. The town of Puno is a great base with cool local culture and nightlife also with various ruins sights scattered around the islands.
- Moray, Maras & Salinas – These are incredible Incan ruins with many levels of concentric circles like an ancient amphitheater. This is located only a short bus ride from Cuzco with a nice 4km hike to get to the Maras village and a further 9km hike or taxi to the Moray ruins. A brilliant day out.
- Huacahina – An overnight bus from Cuzco will take approx 20 hours, alternatively you can fly to Lima and take a 5 hour bus. This area is best known for dune buggy rides, sandboarding and cool bars, cheap cocktails and heaps of fun!
Would you like to raise money in order to afford your trip abroad to volunteer? Or perhaps you would like to set up a funraiser to gain enough money to give as a donation to the local project? Crowd funding is a great way to do this. Read this article on Crowdfunding tips to find out how you can raise funds for your trip.