South American Experience

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Coordinator | Mareen
Coordinator | Mareen
Volunteer in an Animal Rescue Center, learn Spanish in Cusco, trek the Machu Pichu, support a local community project and - if you want to - go to the Galapagos! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
This tour brings you to Peru and Ecuador in South America! You start your first week with some Spanish lessons in Cusco to improve or start your individual level of knowledge so you can directly apply it on the way! With some lessons in your backpack we then head off the famous Machu Pichu which we will explore within the upcoming week then - breath taking all along the way and worth every step going. After coming back from this trek we relax some days on the beaches where you might want to try some surfing, snorkeling or scuba diving. Next stop on our way then is the first volunteer project in the Amazon in Ecuador and an Animal Rescue Center where you can help harmed animals to recover. An experience all our volunteers appreciate a lot as it provides direct and immediate support where it is needed. We stay here for almost 2 weeks before we then move on to an indigenous tribe who lets us participate and experience their life in the jungle also making sure to support here. Next part of the tour then is a volunteering project in Quito where participants in the past have taught, painted classrooms, designed murals and floor games, fixed up walls or windows or built entire playgrounds in schools from rubble. There’s also plenty of time for playing with the kids and teaching English. With this last project in South America ends - should you be interested in getting to know the Galapagos Island too you have the option to also go there with us for one more weeks!

Typical day

A typical day in the Animal Rescue Center starts with a basic breakfast at around 7:30 am. Ca. one hour later you start your day! This is very likely to prepare the food for the animals or doing other support that is needed and can change daily. After that the supervisors take you to the rainforest to look for injured animals which need help in the Rescue Center. At lunchtime which is around 1 pm you will get e.g. a soup or Quinoa before you continue your work one hour later. Then you get directly to work with the animals - this might be measuring them, keeping track of their weight and other data the staff needs for keeping informed about the conditions of them. Around 5 pm your day ends and you might want to take relax in the pool, take a walk in this amazing area or take care of the animals. At 6 pm you have a talk with someone of the staff who will give more insight to his work and you end the day with dinner!

Free-time activities

You have time to explore Cusco, can try a variety of water activities like surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving or even might try some ziplining, paragliding or a canopy tour. There are a lot of options - just ask our experienced Expedition Leader what he has in mind for you during your free time as options.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Required Documents
CRB Check, Medical Form and Travel Health Insurance
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Open-minded to other cultures, enthusiastic about hiking the Machu Pichu, empathy and interest in animals and young people during the project phases, enjoying backpacking kind of travel
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Gapforce

Included is:

• Pre-departure briefing and support
• Airport pick-up
• Expedition leader
• Local support staff
• All accommodation for the duration of the trip
• Three meals a day 
• Project donation 
• Program transfers 
• 24/7 UK emergency backup 
• Social activities
• Return airport transfer 
• Spanish lessons 
• Salkantay Machu Pichu Trek (incl. entrance fee and guided tour)

Airport Pickup at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport

The arrival airport is Cusco (CUZ) in Peru and after either 4 or 7 weeks participation the departure airport is Quito (UIO) in Ecuador.
 If you are doing the optional Galapagos extension you need to book flights to and from Baltra. Our expedition will end on the Galapagos so we recommend you book a return flight which connects from Baltra all the way through to your final destination.

During your trip you stay in a variety of accommodation types. Besides the above-mentioned ones you will stay in traditional stilted huts in the Amazon and homestays. 
Guesthouse Hotel Camping
Food & Beverages
The meals will vary throughout the program - we will eat in restaurants, other times a food allowance is given so you can choose freely what to eat. During the Machu Pichu Trek cooks will provide hearty meals and during the animal rescue project all volunteers together will go grocery shopping to prepare evening meals. The typical food you can expect in South America includes lots of rice, meat, beans, vegetables and fruit, regional dishes vary and local specialties will always be made available! 
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cuzco. We assist you to find cheap flights to Peru.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Peru provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Peru you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Peru.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Our programs usually start on a Friday and end after the chosen duration of weeks again on a Friday.
January, April, July and September are the months we can offer this program at the moment - so four times a year.

If you plan to do the Galapagos-Extention (which is 5 days) you can either add it after 4 weeks or 7 weeks so the prices for the 5 and 8 weeks you find here are including Galapagos. It starts on the Saturday then and ends on the following Wednesday. 

Our Expedition Leader will come to your arrival airport (we will let you know which one to come to and fly back from) and also bring you back there after your tour has ended.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$ 3,750
7 weeks
$ 5,100
8 weeks (max. stay)
$ 6,038
Average fees
$ 846 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Gapforce will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Gapforce during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or cash at arrival at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Gapforce cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Gapforce.

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South American Experience

Volunteer in an Animal Rescue Center, learn Spanish in Cusco, trek the Machu Pichu, support a local community project and - if you want to - go to the Galapagos!


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