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Gap Year in Peru

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Machu Picchu may be the king of Peru's ancient sites, but it’s not the only gem in Peru's archaeological crown. Peru is home to a fine selection of fascinating ruins that lie scattered around the country. Beyond Peru’s mystical beauty, the country boasts unbeatable cuisine, which is rapidly making its mark on the global culinary map. Take your gap year in Peru and indulge in a wide variety of regional delights, including arguably the continent's finest ceviche (raw seafood in a lime marinade). Experience the country’s amazing coasts, highlands and jungles. Imagine, in just one 14-hour bus ride you can see both the desert coast, the chilly heights of the Andean range, and the vast Peruvian Amazon!

Photo Credit: Gabi Schiller

Volunteering

Peru’s diverse landscape presents you with more mountains to climb and cities to explore than you’ll know what to do with. Filled with volunteer opportunities, Peru is the perfect country to take your gap year. Many volunteer programs focus on local communities, trying to improve the quality of life for residents of the shantytowns that have developed in Lima. There’s also an array of other volunteer options including: caregiving, healthcare, and English teaching. With its enchanting contemporary culture, and unmatched scenery, Peru is simply a must see for any gapper. Many programs will give you the structure you need along with the freedom to immerse yourself in a vibrant, captivating locale. So what are you waiting for?

Adventure Travel

Peru is a land of many options. Peru is home to the three geographic regions of coast, highland and jungle. Even during a short visit, Peru's diversity is more than evident. Peru's distinct environmental regions provide excellent trekking options for both experienced hikers and casual trekkers alike. There are plenty of trails to choose from, mountains to climb, and caves to view, and rivers float across. In Peru you will have the unique of protecting a sacred environment while learning about a new culture. There are few places in the world where you can walk through ancient ruins and cross a majestic river in the same day.

Internships

Get an internship in Peru. Many internships last from 1-3 months, but some go for an entire year. Interns often stay with a host family for the duration of their stay, where they can learn traditional customs and practice their speaking skills. Interns have the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience while exploring Peru, one of the most popular Latin American countries.

While Lima is considered Peru's urban center and is home to over 8 million people. There are internships across the whole country. Most internships in Peru focus around serving a local community and aim to help relieve issues such as lack of healthcare, and access to public education. As an intern in Peru you will have the opportunity to use your skills and experience to assist local communities while gaining important experience that will help you stand out in this competitive job market.

Cost of Living in Peru

Since 1 PEN is only equivalent to .38 U.S. Dollars, the cost of living in Peru is quite cheap in comparison to the U.S. and Europe. Compared to other Latin American countries, Peru has an average costs of living. Peru is cheaper than Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia or Chile, but more expensive than Bolivia or Paraguay. Lima has the highest living costs in Peru, together with the city of Cusco. In general, services, food, transport, lodging and clothes are cheap. But technical and electronic products, as well as imported food can be expensive. Food costs vary according to the place where you buy. But, public transit and rent is far cheaper in Peru than it is in the U.S. or Europe. An all day bus ticket is only 40 cents and monthly rent is usually below $300!

Culture and Etiquette in Peru

The official language is Spanish so many Peruvian customs and traditions are influenced by European-descended cultures. But over the years, these European traditions have blended with the indigenous Amerindian traditions creating a distinct Peruvian culture. While much of Peruvian etiquette is similar to that of other Latin American countries, a few are totally unique to Peruvian and Amerindian cultures.

The Peruvian year is filled with colorful festivals. For example, during Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, religious processions block the streets with a fascinating blend of colonial and indigenous traditions. Cusco celebrates the great Inca festival of Inti Raymi on June 24, making it a popular time to visit Peru and Machu Picchu. In the jungle, the same day marks the Festival of San Juan, a day of wine and relaxation along the riverbanks followed by an epic night of dancing. 
An lastly, don't forget Peru's Independence Day on July 28, when raucous parties and endless fireworks ensure a long and lively night.

When meeting Peruvians, it is polite to have learned some simple Spanish phrases, this will enable you to make a good first impression. And don’t forget to smile! Peruvians tend to be formal and conservative, especially around the Andes region. It is bad etiquette to stare or make continual eye contact. You should respect the modesty and reserved nature of many Amerindian communities. Adhering to similar behavior and modest dress codes would be seen as an important sign of respect.

Traces of the Zika virus have been found in Peru. To learn more about Zika and how to avoid getting infected, read the Washington Post's article on Zika precautions.

In Peru there is a very high risk of contracting bacterial diseases and viruses Including hepatitis A, typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever. Make sure to get vaccinated before arrival. Drink only bottled water and carry health equipment with you as often as possible (especially on expeditions).

Showing 37 Programs

United States of America
Rustic Pathways

A gap year is not a one-kind-fits-all experience. That's why Rustic Pathways offers four unique types of gap semesters, rangi

17 reviews
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Cusco
GapForce

An 8 week South American adventure combining Spanish lessons, a Trek to Machu Picchu, volunteering at our jungle animal sanct

18 reviews
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Peru
Carpe Diem Education

Travel throughout Ecuador and Peru with 12 other students as you share meals, live among different peoples, and build meaning

2 reviews
Machu Picchu
Thinking Beyond Borders

Our gap year programs are exciting, supportive, and transformational. By combining daily language classes, homestays, working

19 reviews
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Peru
Pacific Discovery

Who do you want to be in the world? Join us for an insightful, overland journey thought the cultural heart of The Andes: Peru

7 reviews
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Lima
Cross-Cultural Solutions

Soak up the Latin American culture and learn the Spanish language. Our Spanish Immersion Gap Year is specifically designed fo

2 reviews
Peru
ARCC Programs

Adventure and education collide during our three-month journey through the lush jungles, dizzying heights and breathtaking co

16 reviews
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Peru
Camps International

Latin America is one of the most incredible places on Earth and makes the perfect location for gap year travel. Our Peru gap

1 reviews
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Peru
Pacific Discovery

Follow in the footprints of great explorers on this incredible 4-week journey immersing yourself in Peru’s spectacular cultur

7 reviews
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Peru
Otra Cosa Network

Fancy a career in teaching or as a social worker? We can offer you a variety of exciting opportunities for you to gain much n

11 reviews
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Rwanda
Kivu Gap Year

Benefits:

+ 900 hours of internship experience
+ 150 hours of reflective leadership training
+ 9 hours of general college cre

27 reviews
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Peru
Where There Be Dragons

The sparkling lights of La Paz below sacred 20,000-foot peaks. Three coca leaves pressed together for the Mother Earth. Fresh

2 reviews
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Lima
International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ offers highly affordable volunteer programs in Peru's capital, Lima. A wide variety of projects are available, including

8 reviews
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Cusco
UBELONG

UBELONG offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in Cusco, Peru.

Volunteer in one of these world-class projects:

48 reviews
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Ghana
Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad has designed an innovative gap year program designed for high school students taking a year off before enroll

1 reviews