Volunteering in Peru
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A specially designed 2 weeks program that offers a great blend of some meaningful volunteer work and exciting weekend trips. Witness a typical Peruvian lifestyle!
Looking for a great future in medical field, or already a certified doctor/nurse? Then, this program is tailor made for you. Join the Medical Program in Peru.
Many families in Cuzco struggle with economic challenges which contribute to a general inability to care adequately and provide optimal education for children.
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
Volunteer work in Peru
Peru - the 'heart of the Inca empire' - is known for its rich cultural history. Hiking up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a must on everyone’s bucket list! Peru’s lush nature offers exciting activities like rafting, hiking, and mountain biking. This is truly the perfect travel destination for adventurers and volunteers! The friendliness of the Peruvians will motivate you to volunteer for the many volunteer programs in Peru and support local rural communities. Grab this chance to be the meaningful explorer you've always wanted to be! Start your volunteer adventure abroad today!
If you ask volunteers about their volunteering experience in Peru, the answers are quite similar: Peru is a country that impresses everyone because of its natural diversity, vibrant colors, and wonderful people.
Discover the wonders of the Incas, the ancient city of Cusco, and assist other volunteers by joining one of the volunteer opportunities in Peru. If you plan on taking a career break and want to do something meaningful, consider volunteer work in Peru! Before we continue with the volunteer opportunities in Peru, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this tourist hotspot:
- Over three-quarters of the world’s Alpaca population lives in Peru.
- The national animal of Peru is not the Alpaca but the Vicuna. Its wool is considered the world’s most luxurious fabric.
- Roasted Guinea Pig, Cuy, is Peru’s national dish. It’s served whole including hands and feet!
- The Incan Empire was larger than the Roman empire at its peak. It had over 24855 miles of roads!
- The potato originated from Peru and there are now over 3000 varieties of this tuber.
🇵🇪 Why Volunteer in Peru?
Although Peru's economy has developed in recent years and is quite strong, the country’s poverty scale still reaches 25% and inequality is very common. There is still a lot of work to be done and volunteers play a crucial role.
Peru offers a variety of local social projects that suit the interests and abilities of each volunteer. Amongst the various social projects in Peru, you can choose between volunteer work in
- human rights
- community support
- medical mission trips
- child care volunteering
Nature lovers will be surprised by the Peru volunteer program in:
- Amazon Rainforest conservation
- Wildlife Conservation
- Animal Shelter volunteering
👩🏼🤝👩🏻 How to Volunteer for Community Service in Peru
Because poverty remains a major issue, it’s important for organizations in Peru to help with the development of rural communities. This is crucial to support local communities and also provide them with sustainable projects and opportunities. The local volunteering organizations offer help in the following areas:
💪🏽 How to Support Local NGOs in Peru
Peru is considered to be one of the world's fastest-growing economies. This is especially the case with travel hot spots such as Cusco. Although government policies have allowed Peru to enhance its economic conditions, there is still room for improvement.
8 million people still struggle to survive every day. Poverty is especially common among indigenous communities. Statistics show that national rural poverty is over 50%, and people living in remote regions are affected the most.
So, what can you do to help? Volunteers who want to help these communities and want international work experience can volunteer for local NGOs in Peru that need your knowledge and skills. Check out the following categories:
Amongst your tasks as a volunteer in Peru, you will help new social organizations expand their connections. With your skills and motivation, you can help NGO projects improve their marketing strategies, administration processes, and coordinate different tasks.
🩺 How to Volunteer for a Medical Mission in Peru
If you’re a medical professional or student, then take this opportunity to volunteer for one of the healthcare programs in Peru. A medical mission trip in Peru is a great way to gain practical work experience abroad.
Nurse sick people back to health and support the local staff in hospitals and clinics. Learn what it’s like to work in less than ideal conditions and learn more than you ever could in school. Some of the tasks you will be involved in as a medical volunteer abroad:
- Assist with procedures such as suturing wounds, giving vaccinations
- Taking patients’ vitals
- Being involved in the daily activities of the medical center
- Observing or assisting doctors and nurses
- Shadow doctors on critical surgeries and operations
- Conduct hospital rounds with the doctors
- Maintaining files
- Routine patient check-ups
Whether you’re a nurse, dentist, nutritionist, or medical doctor, there are volunteer programs that are waiting for your help. Make the greatest difference in someone’s life. Because it’s all starts with good health!
👶🏽 How to Volunteer for Child Care in Peru
While parents go to work, there are plenty of children that need to be taken care of. Volunteer for one of the childcare programs in Peru and support the community. Take a load off parents knowing their children are in good hands.
Teach young Peruvian children fun games and engage them in ways that are good for their development. The most important lessons are taught at a young age, are you ready to impact lives forever?
Orphanages in Peru
Although we don’t advocate institutionalized childcare, you can volunteer in Peru at an orphanage. Please keep in mind that children at orphanages aren’t always orphans by definition. They have been given away due to poverty or other difficult circumstances. We only accept volunteers with relevant experience and a suitable background to volunteer in Peru orphanages.
Before volunteering at an orphanage in Peru, volunteers need to make sure they’re prepared. It is essential that volunteers have the appropriate skills. If not, you could be putting yourself and the children at risk. If you wish to work as a volunteer at an orphanage in Peru, you should meet at least one of the following requirements:
- experience in working with traumatized children
- trained or experience as a child caretaker
- trained as a psychologist
- trained as a social worker
👩🏽🏫 How to Volunteer and Teach in Peru
Although Peru has an established education system, it's not widely accessible in rural areas. Many children in these areas cannot attend school; either because they need to work to support their families or because they simply don't have access to education.
By choosing to volunteer in an educational social project in Peru, you are going to support under-resourced schools by teaching e.g. English or sports. This is also your chance to introduce students to new ideas and a new culture Besides teaching subjects, it's crucial to provide emotional support during the program. This can prove to be especially important for girls.
👨🏽🏫 How to Teach English in Peru
Volunteer teaching English in Peru and open the youth of the country up to more future opportunities. English skills can exponentially increase people’s chances in life. Especially since Peru relies on the tourism industry. Volunteer in Cusco, Lima, or more rural areas, and help local communities improve their English skills.
Your teaching volunteer work in Peru can be transformational in fighting inequality. This is an opportunity to introduce children to ethical principles from an early age which prevents intolerance.
As a teaching volunteer in Peru, you will not only be a teacher or coach but a person of trust who gives guidance and advice. Changes in society start with education. Take this opportunity to volunteer for one of the education projects in Peru.
🌳 How to Volunteer for Amazon Conservation in Peru
Peru’s landscape is varied. Besides the Andean mountains and coastal regions, you’ll also find the Amazon rainforest. Nature lovers who prefer working in remote circumstances will love their time as an Amazon conservation volunteer in Peru.
Help protect this precious habitat that is home to so many incredible species. Learn all about environmental conservation during your volunteer program as you spend most of your time out in the forest. Keep an eye on the wildlife and help rehabilitate and maintain the forest.
🦥 How to Volunteer in Peru with Animals
Peru is a country with rich natural resources and an abundance of animal species. It is home to the Amazon basin and several national parks. Unfortunately, threats such as deforestation, illegal hunting, and pet trade have put many species in danger. If you have a heart for animals, these are the top 3 ways to support animals as a volunteer in Peru:
- helping out at an animal shelter or sanctuary
- providing care for rescued animals
- supporting and training of horses
Volunteer with Street Animals in Peru
Peru struggles a lot with stray animals in major cities. There are many projects with street animals where you can volunteer with dogs or cats. Rescue dogs from the streets of Cusco or Lima and help find them a new home. Make their time at the shelter as pleasant as possible by taking good care of them and giving them the attention they need.
Volunteer with Horses in Peru
Join a volunteer program with horses in Peru and help care for rehabilitating horses. Learn what it takes to run a horse farm while you gain insight into how to train them. Help out with daily chores as you take in surroundings and take a break from the daily grind.
Volunteer at a Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary in Peru
Volunteers who are drawn to the rainforest can volunteer in the Amazon rainforest and help at a wildlife sanctuary in Peru. Protect endangered species by maintaining their habitat and rescuing animals that have been harmed or injured. Discover some of the rarest species as you help out with daily chores at the sanctuary.
Volunteering in Peru with animals will prove to be a physical experience and a welcome change for those accustomed to sedentary work. It’s also a great time to connect with nature and take in the beauty of this versatile country.
💃🏽 How to Volunteer in Peru and Learn Spanish
Volunteering in Peru is a wonderful opportunity to brush up on your Spanish skills. Spanish is widely spoken in Peru. You may find that not everyone understands English in Peru but most people will speak Spanish. The exception will be some older indigenous people living in remote areas.
🌎 Best Places to Volunteer in Peru
Cusco and Lima are the largest cities in Peru with a high number of volunteer programs. Other programs are spread across the country in rural areas. Whatever your preferences are, whether it’s volunteering in the city or the country, you’ll find a program that will meet your expectations in Peru.
Volunteer in Cusco
Volunteer in Cusco to admire the lost city of Machu Picchu tucked away in the Andean mountains. Help with various volunteer opportunities in Cusco ranging from working with Andean communities to medical care or helping stray dogs. Volunteers who want to admire some amazing landscapes are in for a treat in Cusco.
Volunteer in Lima
Volunteers who prefer a more urban environment can volunteer in Lima where teaching opportunities are abundant. Discover Lima, the coastal capital of Peru, and join a social project!
Volunteer in the Amazon Rainforest
The amazon rainforest is an enchanting destination where volunteers can truly escape the daily realities. Volunteer for a rainforest conservation project. You will help with reforestation efforts and protect its precious wildlife. Get ready for an unforgettable once in a lifetime opportunity.
🤑 How Much Does it Cost to Volunteer in Peru?
The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in Peru is between US $21 and US $35. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the goods and services you may want to buy. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.
Additional costs you should consider will be:
- program fees
- flight tickets (find cheap flights to Peru)
- travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)
- fees for your visa
- personal expenses
An overview of living costs for your volunteer work Peru (in US $, for one person) is:
💲 Can I Volunteer in Peru for Free?
Most volunteer projects will require volunteers to pay a fee. This fee usually covers the volunteers’ accommodation and provides the volunteer organization in Peru with the necessary funds to support their cause.
There are quite a high number of volunteer programs in Peru that are free. This is great for those who are on a budget. The majority of free projects are located in Lima, the capital of Peru. This may require you to arrange your own accommodation so definitely keep this in mind when booking your volunteer adventure abroad. Be sure to check the program page to find out exactly what is included in the program.
💡 Good to Know Before Volunteering in Peru
When you volunteer and travel abroad, it is important to familiarise yourself with the culture. This will help you to settle in quickly and avoid misunderstandings. These are some tips you may find helpful when preparing for your volunteer work in Peru:
Culture & Religion
The people in Peru are generally very friendly. These are some of the most important things to know about Peru’s culture:
- Do not call a local indigenous person "Indio" or use this word at all. It is a derogatory term that is often used in Latin America as an insult.
- If you are an American and someone calls you "Gringo", don't take this as an insult. It is a commonly used word in Peru and Latin America to refer to US Americans, and is not meant to offend anyone!
- Pack light. Elevators are not very common in Peru.
- Peru is not known for its efficiency. Do not expect things to be on time, or exactly as they intend to be.
- Because English is uncommon outside of the bigger cities, people might give you the wrong advice trying to be friendly.
🦺 Is it Safe to Volunteer in Peru?
When visiting a new country, it’s good to be informed about their laws and safety precautions. Generally speaking, Peru doesn’t call for severe safety measures but keep the following tips in mind:
- Pickpocketing is very common, so be sure to have your belongings with you at all times and keep a close eye on your bag or backpack.
- Leave your valuables, credit, and debit cards as well as travel documents in a hotel safe.
- Because a great part of the population lives below the poverty line, there are a lot of protests. These protests can turn violent so don't put yourself at risk!
- Make sure to only take licensed taxis or prearranged "rides" from the airport. Don't risk being robbed!
- A dirty old backpack with valuable content is safer than a fancy new one with old clothes in it.
- Driving in Peru can be chaotic. If you are planning to drive in Peru, make sure to always keep your eyes on the road.
When it comes to the law, it’s always good to remember:
- you can't take any archaeological artifacts out of the country without permission
- don’t take pictures of military actions or staff. You will be penalized!
- small quantities of drugs for personal use or possession are permitted by law, given that the user is in possession of only ONE type of drug. Buying, selling, or having more than 8g is considered illegal trafficking and can result in legal actions.
Traveling abroad always requires some precautions when it comes to your health. This is our health advice for volunteering abroad in Peru:
- Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations before every trip. These vaccinations include MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox, polio, and your yearly flu shot. Moreover, the US-based health protection agency CDC recommends hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations as you can get these diseases through contaminated food or water in Peru.
- Because of the different altitudes, be informed about what you can do to avoid mountain sickness. Be prepared! Test yourself to see if you can take it, and avoid going to high regions if you suffer from cardiac problems.
- Be careful with food from street vendors. Don't drink tap water - buy bottled water instead!
Please note: the Zika virus is a risk in Peru. This means that pregnant women should NOT travel to or join a volunteer project in Peru. All travelers should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during and after their trip such as using insect repellents, wearing long sleeves and trousers, and sleeping under a bug net.
You may be wondering what to pack for volunteering abroad in Peru. We’ve listed a few packing essentials for your time abroad:
- Rain poncho
- Long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Walking shoes
- Water-resistant shoes
- Lightweight jackets and sweaters
- Insect repellent!
This is an extensive blog post on the ultimate packing list which will come in handy when you start backing for your volunteer project.
🕵🏽♀️ Who Can Volunteer in Peru?
Each project requires different skills and abilities from their international volunteers. While you can find the specific requirements for each project on their profiles on Volunteer World, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Peru:
- Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old for most volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in touch with the local project manager because some projects accept volunteers under the age of 18.
- You should have a basic level of English; some projects may require advanced English or basic Spanish skills.
- Depending on the project, you might need to provide a criminal background check before volunteering.
- Certain projects will require you to stay for a minimum number of weeks. You can check out which projects correspond with the number of weeks you can volunteer by using the filter option.
🛂 Do I need a Visa to Volunteer in Peru?
Please take into account that the following information is based on a best practice approach, made in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should discuss your visa requirements with your contact person at Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Embassy or Consulate of Peru in your country.
General Entry Information
There are some general requirements all volunteers need to comply with upon arrival in Peru:
- Please check the current validity of your passport. Your passport should have at least 6-month validity from the date of arrival in Peru.
- Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages. Peru requires you to have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
- Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
- Make sure to have a valid return ticket.
Best Practice for Short-Term and Long-Term Volunteers
As a citizen of most American and Western European countries, you can enter Peru on a so-called tourist visa which is obtained when entering the country. With this visa, you can volunteer in Peru for up to 90 days continuously. Here is an overview of the countries that can enter without a visa.
Please keep in mind that this is the maximum amount of days and is not extendable once you have entered Peru. If you intend to stay longer than 90 days, you need to apply for another visa. You cannot reenter the country to get a new visa for 90 days. Another option is to pay a fee of $1 per exceeded day at your date of departure.
We hope you’re excited about volunteering abroad in Peru. This will be an incredible experience that is an opportunity for self-development and contributing to something greater.