Multiple Locations +2
  • Peru
    • Lima
    • Machu Picchu
  • Bolivia
4 - 12 weeks

Program Details

Mountain Biking Rafting Trekking
Host Family Hostel Hotel Lodge Tent
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Once in country, this is an all-included 3-month itinerary (activities, food, transport, Quest leader/guide, pre-departure assistance)- more details below.

Included in this cost is the project donation- the money that ensures that your impact is felt even when you aren't physically at the project.

We don't hide from the fact that this is a lot of money. We are 100% transparent on where your money goes. We help people apply for travel bursaries/grants as well as ideas for fundraising your way overseas.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Domestic Airfare Equipment Meals Park Fees Tour Guide Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Nov 19, 2021
Mar 28, 2017
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Quest Overseas is devoted to giving our participants amazing Gap Year opportunities. The Peru Gap Year surpasses all expectations. This 13-week program involves a number of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Participants contribute towards uplifting a deprived community in Lima, and adventure through several parts of South America!

4-6 weeks of volunteering and working with children in Villa Maria, a Peruvian shantytown.
6 weeks of trekking, sandboarding, rafting and visit the iconic Machu Picchu!

We take the time during our project to reflect on our impact and make any changes where necessary. A social project is fluid and has to adapt to the needs of the local groups. We encourage all our participants to think critically and positively about what it means to volunteer overseas.

Our expedition route is not for the faint-hearted! Non-stop adventure. There is no other way to describe it!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Learn, improve and practice Spanish
  • Take part in responsible social volunteering
  • Meet new people in love with travel and helping others
  • A whole host of adventure sports (kayaking, sandboarding, ice climbing, mountain biking, and more!)
  • This annual programme begins in January- sign up now to not miss out!

Related Programs

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.4
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 5
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 13 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

This winter I was a participant in the Villa Maria Gap Year Project. Upon arriving in Villa Maria, myself and the other volunteers were immediately welcomed into the community. Each day we went to different districts within Villa Maria and organized games for the children or brought them to the pool. In my opinion, this work is as vital to the health of the community as a food bank. By an act as simple as throwing a ball around we allowed these kids, many with unimaginable burdens, to be kids; a right that I took for granted before coming to Villa Maria. I will never forget the way the younger kids ran to us giggling and wrapping their arms around us the first day we went to play. We soon realized how much this project meant to so many people and how dedicated the Peruvian project staff were to giving these children unforgettable memories. In addition to playing with the kids, we lived with the incredibly warm Peruvian staff. From spontaneous water fights to late night barbeques to ping pong tournaments, I laughed harder and smiled wider than I have in a very long time. When the four weeks were up, my group and I could say that we had found a home both in Villa Maria and with each other, a rare gift. The four-week expedition that followed was equally as unforgettable; each day wilder and more fun than the last. From boating in the jungle to biking on the infamous death road to parading through not one but two Carnavals to trekking to Machu Picchu, there was never a dull moment. We had a fantastic leader who ensured we got to do and see the most possible with the allotted budget as well as ensuring our spirits were always high.

After completing four stress filled years focused on getting a college acceptance, this trip was exactly what I needed. Not only did I have more fun in two months than I previously knew possible but through all the amazing people I met and all the different ways of life that I experienced, I was forced to question my own values and think about the kind of adult that I want to be. One of the numerous values in cultural immersion.

28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 2 months of my life

I was on a gap year and looking for an organisation that would allow me to travel and do some kind of volunteering. I looked at many agencies but found that Quest Overseas really offered the right balance between these two aspects. I signed up however not really knowing what I was in for, just basing myself on a Skype interview and a few friendly emails exchanged between the team and I. I had no idea I was signing up for the best experience of my life.
Between the British staff who is incredibly involved, friendly and helpful and the Peruvian partners who have been working with the Villa Maria project for over 20 years and care about it like nothing else, I realised that this project isn't only about giving disadvantaged children the best summer of their childhood by providing them with the basic right to play, it's about carrying on 20 year long work and becoming part of a huge family.
When I first walked into the bedroom I was going to be living in for the next 5 weeks in Villa Maria, I, like many before me, got to read all the messages that previous volunteers had left on the walls - names, dates, inside jokes, advice - and immediately knew these 5 weeks would be unforgettable, and I was right. I made friends for life, with the other volunteers as well as with the Peruvians who worked with us, I discovered a new culture, I had the time of my life playing with children, I improved my Spanish skills, dancing skills (oh yes!), and everyday was a memory I will keep forever.
Up to the standards of the Villa Maria fun, the 4 week-long expedition that followed was as hectic and unforgettable. We had a great expedition leader who managed the whole thing and made sure all our money was being spent in the best way possible, not letting us worry about anything, all the while keeping our spirits up with a great personality and sense of humour. One small problem: you'll have to give up on sleeping for the next 4 weeks (it's all worth it though) ! Indeed, between sand boarding in the Peruvian desert, trekking in the Andes, kayaking on Lake Titicaca, climbing a mountain, parading in La Paz carnaval, mountain biking, crossing a border at 6am, and much much more, you quickly learn the importance of napping and knowing how to sleep on a bus.
All in all, I'm incredibly grateful for finding Quest Overseas and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something different and fun to do on their gap year (or later on!). I can't stress enough how much Quest and all it's staff is involved, trustworthy and friendly.

You should also visit the Quest Overseas / Quest4Change facebook page as there's lots of photos and videos on there !

28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Villa Maria summer 2014

When my and my friend searched for a volunteer trip we were determined to find a trip where we could make a real difference. Quest Overseas stood out in that point and it felt very professional that we had to make an application. But even though we got a good first impression from Quest by just reading and talking with the staff it's still hard to know how it will be until you're there. And I was not disappointed. Quest have a close relationship with the local community which I think is very important since it's they who have the best knowledge of where help is needed. Our help felt needed and the experiences and memories I got were all worth the work I did.

Although it was quite overwhelming to arrive in VM (as a small town girl from Sweden who never travelled outside of Europe before) I adjusted very quickly and learned to love VM. Even the dogs who barked all night, the chilly damp weather (since I was there in their winter) and the endless stairs. The people in the Quest team were all amazing and the local staff and the children we met was the best! They made me (and the rest of the team) feel very welcomed.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to volunteer in South America. You will not regret it!

25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime experience

The only reason my housing rating was somewhat low was because this is not a "glamping" trip. I went on the Quest Overseas gap year program in Villa Maria, and it was one of the greatest experiences I feel I'll ever have. When else will you have the opportunity to mount a Bolivian peak, get to know some amazing Peruvians, and build your Spanish skills in a cloud forest? I was pushed to limits I didn't know I had, but it was one of the most fun and gratifying experiences I'll ever gain. GO QUEST!

24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the time of my life

After much deliberation I chose to taken part of my gap year with quest overseas. I did a lot of research and what clinched it was two things. The first was the fact it is part of fair trade volunteering the other was because it was recommendation by my schools careers advisor.

Of all the options with quest I chose their villa maria project. It gave me the opportunity to learn a bit of Spanish in Ecuador in addition to coming to terms with a very different cultures. That country really moves to salsa and football.

I then spent a month with my team volunteering my time in a shanty town we arranged lots of activities for street kidstores and assisted I the construction of basic but necessary accommodation for single parent families. It was very tough both physically and mentally but without a shadow of a doubt my favourite part.

We then went on a mental 6 week expedition. Nailed a few must sees like the Inka trail and salt pans but what I really enjoyed was the experiences we had a way from the gringo trail like the north side of titi kaka or Ice climbing in Bolivia.

It was amazing from start to finish. We started together at Heathrow as a team. We traveled together for three months with our leaders. We saw things you would not believe, met some increadible inspiring people and came home with some of the best mates.

What would you improve about this program?
Give the option of a longer expedition.
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Time of My Life

The Villa Maria programme has three distinct sections to the trip, Spanish lessons in Quito, volunteering in Peru and exploring South America. When starting the trip I was quite shy I wont lie, but I promised myself that I would throw myself into it from the outset.

As a team we completely clicked, we had a large group of 9, boys and girls. We were accepting university places while we were away, as well as sorting accommodation but we supported each other throughout the whole trip and still occasionally chat now 2 years later on! I made some of the closest friendships while travelling and we crossed sadness, stress, and the greatest joy I could have ever experienced! I miss them everyday!

Some of the situations I found myself in while travelling I didn’t expect I ever would in my life. From climbing one of the highest mountains in Bolivia, to swimming with wild dolphins, creating JESS across the salt flats posed a problems when it came to the S, and weirdly pushing a bus out of mud.

You celebrate the littlest thing and learn a lot about yourself, your own values and life at home. Who knew a clean pair of socks could bring so much joy! I cannot express to you through words the amazing things I saw and learnt. The experience has made me a more mature person, my time management and organization is now impeccable!

If someone were to offer me the experience again tomorrow I would not honestly think twice about it. The chance to gain a wider understanding of the world and the people within is a chance that you cannot miss!

What would you improve about this program?
More programmes to do with the children in villa maria, apart from swimming everyday.
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Quest Overseas Villa Maria Review

The Quest Overseas Villa Maria Project changed my life. It made me open my eyes to new experiences; a completely different culture and has given me friends for life. I honestly could not recommend it more highly to anyone! I had the best six weeks of my life!"

The Peruvian community opened their doors and their hearts to us as a group of people. We had so much fun doing dancing shows, kids fairs, building houses for the people who live there and immersing ourselves in their way of life. They were such wonderful people and Peru will always have a place in my heart as a result of this experience.

This trip was also coupled with a two week action-packed adventure which consisted of mountain biking down death road; white water rafting; canoeing across a lake; trekking up Maccu Piccu and challenging yourself. It has helped me build my confidence and I would trade anything to do it all over again! Thank you for listening!

What would you improve about this program?
Prior training/ information guide available as to the experience of the project.
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


The the trip to Peru&Bolivia with Quest was absolutely fantastic. Very well organised and full of amazing experiences!

Volunteering in Villa Maria- something I will never forget. It was extremely heart-warming and made me realise how fortunate I am. This experience was certainly made unforgettable due to the friendliness of all the staff involved. In Particular our guide/Project leader, Matty Sowinski-Brown.

Working with the other volunteers, was great.(we all had completely different backgrounds) We all got on really well and are still in touch on a regular basis!

Witnessing both the Touristic side of Peru and the harsh reality of the living conditions of the less fortunate Peruvians was really mind-blowing.

The mini-expedition was great fun! Being an aspiring wildlife & landscape photographer, the Inca trail was definitely a highlight. The views are simply breathtaking.

Overall the trip has left me with some wonderful memories that I will never forget and therefore I recommend Quest Overseas to absolutely anyone!

I hope to travel&volunteer with Quest again in the future.

20 people found this review helpful.

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