PMGY’s Real South America Encounter takes you to Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. We seriously can’t think of a more sublime combination of mysterious, picturesque and charming countries to volunteer in, over a mind blowing 6-12 weeks. In South America, you will encounter countless views of the Sierra Madre and Andes mountains, wildlife species including leatherback sea turtles, 2-toed sloths and spider monkeys along with lasting tastes of the delicious Peruvian Ceviche or Costa Rican Dados de Queso! South America’s various climates and infinite sights will leave you wishing you never had to leave.
Your first stop will be in beautiful Costa Rica which has been an explorer’s dream for decades. In the ‘world’s happiest country’ you will be sure to feel those cheek muscles becoming sore from the infinite amount of smiles you receive and give! Its landscape is diverse with crystal blue waters, dense rainforest and over 60 volcanoes waiting for you to explore. Be sure to get comfortable with a bit of close interaction because each person you greet will be up for a kiss on the cheek. You will no doubt remember the blissful memories of Costa Rica after your time visiting this amazing country.
Combine adventure travel with community volunteering as well as ticking off all the ‘must-do’s’ on Costa Rica’s list. You will spend your first-week learning or enhancing the beautiful Spanish language with the remainder of your time in Costa Rica volunteering in either a childcare setting or teaching English to children of all ages. While Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, the use of English isn’t as often as one would think. Many of the local people are still unable to communicate properly in English and with your time interacting with them, we are sure they will improve!
Your next stop is Ecuador. Get ready for another adventure because your next 2-4 weeks will be spent in the mesmerising city of Quito. Considered the “middle of the world,” Quito, Ecuador, offers travellers a unique opportunity to walk the equatorial line and immerse themselves in amazing cultures while reaching staggering heights. The capital’s historic district, considered the largest and best preserved in South America, was declared a World Heritage site. Across the city, you’ll find spots such as La Compañía de Jesús, the Baroque masterpiece of America and La Plaza Grande, the centre of Quito’s historic achievements, which narrates the history of the city. From this well-cultured city, you will find yourself in the prime location to visit the Galapagos Islands to witness unique wildlife, Mindo for a bit of rafting, Salinas if you like surf or Otavalo home to one of the most colourful markets in the Andes.
Your volunteering choices are very varied. Contribute to the lives of children with learning difficulties; teach English to help children reach their full potential within an indigenous setting; gain practical medical experience and insight on elective programmes; provide encouragement and compassion to children whom suffered from domestic violence and abandonment.
Your last stop will be Peru – the home of Machu Picchu, the empire of the Incans. The ancient Inca ruins are considered to be some of the most beautiful and mysterious sites in the world and you won’t just encounter visiting this glorious city; they are all over Peru! The real gem of your time in this country will be the people. Peruvians are an interesting bunch of extremely polite, hardworking, peaceful and cultured. Be sure to ask of their Quechua roots, they may even teach you a phrase or two! Be ready for bright colours, warm smiles, stone streets, snow-capped mountains, unexplained Nazca symbols, temple ruins and meals that will leave your taste buds pleased.
You will spend time in the heart of Peru, meeting breath-taking views and delectable cuisine as well as make a positive difference volunteering at local projects. PMGY’s development work in Cusco runs throughout the year and you will have a choice at teaching indigenous children the English language, enhance your medical knowledge by being advise by clinical nurses & physicians and provide insight to the world at the feet of the less fortunate in the childcare programmes provided for the working street children, domestically abused and abandoned.
You can choose any standard volunteering programme during the online application process but please be advised they are subject to availability and there may be an additional cost associated with some project options.
All PMGY volunteers in Costa Rica will participate on the Language Immersion Programme for the first week of their experience. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons and a number of different social activities. The aim of this week it to try and improve your level of Spanish before you start volunteering in week 2.
PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. These are priced at $225 for 20-hours and this provides you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.
Itinerary (for 6 weeks)
Day 1 (Sunday) – Arrival
Day 2 (Monday) – Orientation
Day 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) – Language Immersion Week
Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend
Day 9-14 (Monday-Saturday) – Volunteering
Day 15 (Sunday) Goodbye Costa Rica – Hello Ecuador!
Day 16 (Monday) Orientation
Day 17-28 (Tuesday-Saturday) Volunteering
Day 29 (Sunday) Goodbye Ecuador – Hello Peru!
Day 30 (Monday) Orientation
Day 31-41 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins
Day 42 (Saturday) Your Last Day