Volunteer in Peru
Discover South America through the layers of civilisation which have left their mark on this amazing country - from the ancient city of Machu Picchu right up to the vibrant cities of today. With wide ranging rewarding project choices make your time abroad count in Peru!
Best Volunteer Programs in Peru
Find structured, low cost and free volunteer opportunities in Peru.
How to Volunteer in Peru
Volunteering is a unique and special experience where you can be far more than just a tourist and give back to help communities, the environment and animals. Local people will be very friendly and welcoming to you especially in rural areas.
Spending time in this country will be the time of your life and an experience which will stay with you forever. It doesn’t really matter which program you choose to join, just apply that is the main time.
Tourism in Peru is booming with thousands of international tourists visiting every year. But Peru is still a developing nation where around 30% of the population live in poverty. By applying you will be able to get to do something challenging and rewarding helping people, communities, wildlife and conversation.
You will get to adapt to a new culture which is probably unlike anywhere you have ever visited before will be a facsinating experience whilst you will also form strong bonds with other participants who will become friends for life. You will really get to know the local Peruvian people and see how they live their daily lives - this is a get way to be more than your average tourist.
Where You Can Help
Volunteering programs can be joined throughout the country in places like:
- La Libertad
- San Martín
There are a range of different projects you can join, these are the main areas you can help:
Peru has diverse wildlife and you can apply to help rescue, rehabilitate and release exotic animals. Wildlife conservation placements can be joined in the jungle or at wildlife centres.
There are specific placements for skilled workers e.g. vets or you can just in a general assistant capacity. Tasks include If you have these skills would be especially helpful. However whatever your experience, it's most important that you simply want to give vital help to this particularly rewarding project.
Llamas, Alpaca vicunas and Huanacos are the four animals that make up the family of auquenidos - the South American camels, don`t worry we didn’t know that either, which are native to the Andes Mountains. The ancient Andean textile industry is dependent on wool from these animals, mainly the Alpaca, and it is with your help that this ancient tradition can carry on as you help look after the cameloids high in rural areas.
You will be looking after all four types of camels as you work on this project, not only that but you will be learning how to weave the wool of the Alpaca as well as being located in the stunning town of Cusco high up on the Andes.
Project have been set up to work with rural communities in preserving both the animals and the ancient tradition of weaving and also by spreading the word about the crafts that are made. The rural communities rely on the wool from these animals to make their crafts that they can then sell to make a living.
You will be helping the project look after these animals as you prepare food and feed the animals, dying, spinning, weaving the wool to make textiles and crafts, learning more about these Andean animals, helping the local community with their English which will help with their communication with foreign tourists and having a chance to learn some Quecha – the local language!
Community Development Projects
There are a range of community placements available in Peru where you can help people and infrastructure. On educational programs you could teach, tasks can include creating and leading daily activities like English lessons, or instruct music or sports lessons.
You will be able to see the difference you make to their lives and everyday will be a new exciting experience. There are also outreach, building and construction trips which are popular during summer and really help improve local villages like Limatambo. As a volunteer in Peru you will be able to make a difference and feel a sense of achievement.
Female Empowerment Programs
Women is Peru face many difficulties in life, Peru like many countries in Latin America have very sexist attitudes, domestic abuse and also difficulties in gaining a good career can be an issue.
Gender inequality is strife in Peru and unemployment is a real problem in society especially with females but there are projects which are helping women with training and assistance in improving home / career life. You can join programs working to empower women and providing them with a better future.
Uncover a piece of history on a real archaeological site! Dating back to the 5th century the ceremonial site of Huaca Pucllana, is one of Peru’s ancient and cultural wonders and is bursting with new finds! Constructed between the years of 200AD and 700AD, Huaca Pucllana is a real life ancient marvel. Archaeologists have been working since 1981 to uncover its secrets and the work still goes on.
You will be working between the hours of 8am and 2pm, Monday to Friday, getting stuck in with excavation, cleaning, registering and cataloguing archaeological material as well as teaching English to guides on an informal basis. Activities such as sieving, classifying collections, making bricks, cleaning archaeological artefacts occur year round, while digs are not possible between February and mid May due to the summer heat.
Peru has a wealth of cultural sights but the country is very poor and lacks basic facilities including water sanitation and healthcare.
If you are currently in the healthcare profession your skills will really be put to good use in Peru, but don’t worry if you have never done anything like this before you can before a general assistant.
Illness, disease and HIV and Aids are a problem in Peru whilst in remote areas of the country people are unable to gain treatment. Local people will really appreciate you helping and you can make a huge impact in the lives of others on these types of projects.
How to Apply
Programs are open to all nationalities but most organisations require you to be aged over 18 and be able to enter Peru on a tourist visa. There are some trips for younger participants including summer taster volunteer trips for 16 - 17 year olds. No previous skills or experience is required to volunteer in Peru, only specialist roles require specific skills for example medical and healthcare programs.
Most projects are English speaking but you will find that you will need to practise your Spanish skills with the locals so you will have a true immersion into the Peruvian way of life! Basic Spanish will come in helpful (view Spanish courses in Peru).
Some programs will require you to pay a fee or donation to participate, this is very common but you can also find local low cost NGO's, non-profits and free volunteering opportunities. If you apply through an international sending organisation you will need to pay a joining fee, this forms part of a structured package including transfers, meals, accommodation, training, orientation and in–country support.
Peru is a very safe destination to experience but by applying with a recognised organisation you will get a good support and advice system to help with any problems or issues. For more options view our South America volunteer directory or if you need any help arranging a volunteer placement in Peru please get in touch.
Accommodation & What to Bring
Some cultural exchange programs including living with a host family which can be a great experience, you will really get to know the family and be able to learn Spanish from them, whilst helping them with their English. Other accommodation is generally provided in the form of a hostel, hotel, or shared house, most of the time this is included in the placement fee but you can also arrange this independently.
It is recommended to bring and/or purchase the following items:
- Long sleeved clothing for cool nights
- Repellent especially for the Amazon region
- Good flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries (if you are staying at the center it might be helpful but not necessary)
- Reading material, playing cards, travel games, or other forms of entertainment as you will have some down time
Volunteer in Peru for Free
Some NGOs and organisations offer free and low cost volunteer projects in Peru. You might be required to pay for accommodation, food and also give a donation.
“Within only three months we visited a huge amount of country and did some incredibly amazing things. The people I met on the trip were absolutely brilliant and our leaders were highly motivated, resourceful, friendly and exciting to be around.” - Jacob, Peru Project with Quest Overseas
The following feedback has been submitted from past participants from Tinkuy Peru...
"I recently completed an awesome month of volunteer work with Tinkuy Peru which gave me the opportunity to work with amazing children who were excited to learn and eager to shower the volunteers with affection. I also got a feel for Huancayo and the life of a Peruvian family. Living with Tino & Mary was a great experience; I felt like part of the family. Everyone was willing to help me with whatever I might need and patiently heard me out despite the shortcomings of my Spanish. Tinkuy Peru is a great grassroots program for any volunteer looking to have a memorable and rewarding experience." - Claire Wright
"Tinkuy Peru offers volunteers a fantastic opportunity to work in the heart of an authentic Andean community. The Tinoco family is incredibly loving and welcoming. I have never felt so at home away from my own family! I have been working in a girls orphanage in the mornings, receiving constant cuddles and having a great deal of fun playing games with the younger ones. In the evenings I'm teaching an intensive English course to adults, it's great to see how quick they're learning. On top of the voluntary work I've been learning to weave (not sure how I'm going to fit the rugs in my rucksack...) and have seen a lot of the local area on the weekends. I'm so glad I chose to come to Tinkuy Peru, it has truly been an unforgettable experience." - Lisa Barker
"Well I can't believe my three weeks are already up at Tinkuy Peru its flown by, I arrived here not knowing what to expect, I had no Spanish under my belt and had never volunteered before. It been such a great experience Tino and his family are wonderful so welcoming and caring, the stay with the has been a joy, teaching at the mountain school has been one of the best things I have ever done, the kids are so happy to see you when you arrive each morning and just really want to learn." - Matthew Norton