I have done multiple solo volunteer travels in the last year, and this has been my favorite by far. Peru is a beautiful country, full of rich culture, history, and amazing people.
I have a background in medicine and work at cancer hospital, and I really enjoyed my experience at my volunteer placement. I signed up for a week trip to visit Cusco for a childcare project. I was placed at a pediatric oncological unit, where kids are unfortunately not able to visit with their families daily for various reasons. They are in isolation given their conditions, so there is a need to have volunteers be their support system during that time. It was truly an amazing experience. These kids are so special.
Cusco is a very safe city, but basic common sense and precautions are needed for anyone traveling alone to any country. It was so fun exploring the different neighborhoods, Machu Picchu (will need 1 full day to visit), and other surrounding areas. There's so much to do.
I signed up with GVN (global volunteer network), but was primarily in contact with the local support staff of a sister company Maximo Nivel. The staff was wonderful and always available for support.
If planning a trip to Machu Picchu, I would highly recommend researching different companies to visit it with. The company I was referred to, World Wide Excursions, was ok but quite a bit more expensive compared to other companies. And my experience was not as great, considering the tour guide I paid for never showed up to give me a tour.
The price is also considerably less with GVN, compared to other organizations out there. They're organized, and I truly felt safe with Maximo Nivel as well. My homestay family was also wonderful and thoughtful. The homestay had internet and was in a safe area of Cusco.
Overall, I highly recommend volunteering with GVN and Maximo Nivel.
What would you improve about this program?
If possible, then it would be beneficial to know in advance the volunteer placement and homestay placement. Donations can be tailored to what that particular placement may need. That's if it is possible. It's definitely not absolutely necessary.
Also, there may need to be a little bit of clarification in advance regarding Spanish classes. I was under the impression that the Spanish classes are free, however during orientation with Maximo Nivel, I found out that there is a charge for classes per week.