Volunteer and Intern in Peru
- Location: Cusco; Puerto Maldonado
- Accommodation: Host families, Shared volunteer housing for the Conservation Project
- Local languages: Spanish, Quechua
Endemic poverty and high unemployment rates in Peru have created a great deal of need in disadvantaged communities. Volunteering with Projects Abroad in Peru is an opportunity for you to contribute to ongoing sustainable development and make an impact on people’s lives. Our projects are available for anyone interested in making a difference, and you can volunteer as part of a summer break, gap year, career break, or vacation.
Our projects make a significant difference in the communities where we work: although there is a strong middle class and some areas are highly developed, there are wide gaps in social equality. Nearly 50% of the population officially lives at the poverty level and many Peruvians, especially indigenous groups, survive on low incomes and with little human rights protection. Volunteers in Peru help address these issues through various projects, such as teaching English to children and helping local teachers improve their skills.
Projects Abroad runs volunteer and internship programs in the Amazon Rainforest and in Cusco, a city that was once the most important of the Inca Empire. The country is around two-thirds the size of Mexico and was shaped by the Incas and the Spanish. Both Spanish and Quechua are commonly spoken throughout the Sacred Valley of the Incas, as well as through the whole of Peru.
“Peru is a magical spot: a melting pot of different cultures and a country of dazzling scenery, yet to be discovered archaeological sites and lovable people. Our volunteers form an integral part of the communities they live in, whether in the Amazon Rainforest or high up in the Andes. They engage with the local people and really contribute to the development of the country. Come join us in this land of variety and adventure!”
Where You Will Live in Peru with Projects Abroad
The Projects Abroad office in Peru is located in Cusco. Volunteers work in many of the small towns within the region as well as in Cusco. You will find that Peruvians are eager to welcome volunteers into their communities and many of our volunteers often return saying that the families and individuals they met were the highlight of their experience abroad.
In Cusco, volunteers live with local host families. Our unique Incan & Wari Archaeology Project is based near the town of Lucre, which is a 40 minute journey from Cusco’s city center, and volunteers on this project also live with host families.
If you want to work in the Amazon Rainforest, our Conservation & Environment Project is an hour’s flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, followed by a two-hour boat trip up the Madre de Dios River. Once you arrive, you will live and work in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest at our own Taricaya Lodge. You might find yourself living alongside playful spider monkeys!
Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in Peru
With an extensive Pacific coastline, a vast area of Amazon rainforest, and the magnificent Andes, Peru provides a chance for you to experience much of what South America offers within just one country. Wildlife, beaches, historical sites, and the most beautiful mountains in the Andes range are found in abundance. There are also interesting cities full of colonial history, especially Cusco, which is an archaeological haven.
It is easy to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu. The mysterious lost city of Machu Picchu attracts tourists, archaeologists, and historians from all over the world. Incan ruins are everywhere and you will find they even form part of the structure for modern day buildings.
Did you know? Guinea pigs are an important source of food in Peru, as well as playing a large role in traditional Incan celebrations.
You can also go rafting on the Urubamba River or see traditional Andean theater and dance. If you’re an adrenaline seeker, venture into the Andes, which offer some of the best mountain-climbing and trekking opportunities on the planet. Take a weekend trip to explore the enigmatic Nazca Lines, or enjoy a boat ride on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest lake. Get to know the local Peruvians, their history, and traditions. You may even find yourself celebrating your birthday with cuy - guinea pig - as the main dish.
Puerto Maldonado is a dynamic young town, home to 25,000 people. On your days off from the Conservation Project, as well as taking the boat back to enjoy life in a frontier town, you might take a river trip to the Sandoval Lake where you can enjoy fishing or wildlife watching.
Although Peru is a gateway to the rest of South America, there are so many rich things to see within the country itself that you may not want to venture over its borders. It is a mosaic of different cultures, stunning scenery, and bio-diversity.