Affordable Volunteer Programs in Peru - Cusco from US$295
96% Rating
(36 Reviews)

Affordable Volunteer Programs in Peru - Cusco from US$295

IVHQ offers highly affordable volunteer programs in Cusco, Peru. A wide variety of projects are available, including childcare, teaching, conservation, medical work, as well as service learning opportunities. Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, breakfast and dinner during volunteer program period and in-country 24/7 volunteer support. During the weekends, volunteers enjoy trekking the Inca Trail to explore the tourist mecca of Machu Picchu together. Volunteers can choose to join the program for anywhere from 1 to 12 weeks with program fees starting at US$295 for 1 week.

Current IVHQ Volunteer Projects in Cusco:

  • Teaching English
  • Special Needs Care
  • Childcare
  • Medical
  • Jungle Conservation
  • Animal Care
  • Construction and Renovation
  • Andean Immersion
  • Spanish Service Learning Course

Highlights

  • Programs are available year-round at extremely affordable prices starting at US$295 for 1 week
  • The Cusco program starts every Monday and volunteers can join for 1 week up to 24 weeks
  • Projects are based in and around the city of Cusco and in rural areas in the Sacred Valley and the Amazon rainforest.
  • Cusco program fees includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation, breakfast and dinner during volunteer program period and in-country 24/7 volunteer support
  • IVHQ offers volunteers the opportunity to enjoy discounted Spanish language courses.
  • Read the great reviews IVHQ alumni have left about their experiences in Cusco, and visit the IVHQ website to start planning your trip!
Locations
South America » Peru » Cusco
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$295.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Peru Cusco Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation, breakfast and dinner during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    92%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    96%
  • Value
    95%
  • Safety
    95%

Program Reviews (36)

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Matthew
Male
21 years old
Canada
University of Saskatchewan

Construction and renovation in Cusco with maximo nivel

9/10

Overall, my time volunteering in the construction of a new children's hospital clinic in Cusco has been incredibly rewarding and memorable. Process can be slow at times, but it is a fulfilling experience to see every step taken towards the construction of a new building. The people I worked with were always enthusiastic, and the people at IVHQ were always helpful, especially Derek. Even coming here with an open mind, it's hard to imagine what day to day life would be like in Cusco. My advice to other volunteering is to be helpful, proactive, and cooperative on the worksite, as it's not going to be what it is like at home. The one thing I wish IVHQ did more of is be more open with their budgeting and what money is directly going towards. We pay an extra $65 USD per week exclusively for the construction and renovation project, yet we frequently could not afford materials such as windows and floor tiles. Consequently, this makes volunteering go even slower when you dont have the materials on hand. Regardless, I loved my time volunteering in Cusco and I recommend it to everybody.

How can this program be improved?

Be more open with budgeting

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Jessica
Female
28 years old
Canada
Other

Medical and childcare

10/10

Working with IVHQ made everything very simple. The entire trip went smoothly. Even planning the trip was super easy with the help of IVHQ. They were available to answer any questions I had and offered suggestions along the way. They have great connections in Peru which was reassuring. This was my first solo trip and I wouldn't have changed a thing! I just got back from Peru a few days ago and am already thinking about where to go next!

Tarah
Female

My IVHQ Trip to Cusco, Peru

10/10

My trip to Cusco was everything that I had wanted it to be. The IVHQ team prepared me with overview modules online, providing resources, and giving safety information. I felt safe and ready to go on my first international trip, which was really important for me.
My experience in Cusco was crazy from the start. I went to teach English as a second language but arrived when Cusco was in the middle of a teaching strike. The local team, Maximo Nivel, was extremely supportive and set me up working at night with adults. I got to spend every evening teaching English to firefighters! I had a co-teacher who I became really great friends with and the firefighters sang Happy Birthday to her on our last day, which was a fantastic way to end our two weeks there.
I wish I could describe to you just how wonderful all of the firefighters and the local staff made me feel. I cannot wait to go on my next adventure with IVHQ.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tarah, We are so happy to hear that your program in Cusco was everything that you wanted it to be! It sounds like your teaching placement was a very worthwhile alternative considering the strikes. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Meet Nicole Pochat!
Nicole
Female
19 years old
Mexico
Other

Unforgettable experience at Cusco, Peru.

10/10

It all started with a spontaneous decision to do volunteering abroad this summer and International Volunteer HQ made it all possible. Their guidance, accessibility, interactive training and full support in my process made me feel prepared enough to take a flight to Cusco.

In an eye blink I was already in Peru. The city of Cusco is completely surprising every moment you spend at it; it’s such a vibrant, beautiful, magical little town from whom you fall in love with. Filled with so many polite and helpful people at every corner, delicious and exquisite cuisine, Incas history is so extraordinary and each day you experience something completely different from the one before.

I was the luckiest to be placed in orphanages with kids that are so sweet, bright, happy and grateful every minute of the day. We spend our time together playing, dancing, singing, laughing and letting me teach them English because they have the will to learn every moment. I gained so much sensitivity and closeness from this kids and they have the biggest affection for life that’s so inspiring.

Also, making new friends from all over the world everyday, spending my nights partying while getting to know the city at night and traveling the weekends to places like Machu Picchu, Sacred-Valley, Moray, Rainbow Mountain and Lake Humanity where pictures and words are not enough to explain what it's like to be there, will be memories that will last in my heart forever.

I can honestly say it was one of the best life changing experiences I have ever had. My time in Peru was full of all kind of emotions, amazing stories, close bonds with friends and unforgettable days and nights. This was my first IVHQ experience but I'm sure that after what I lived, it will not be the last one and I'm so excited to see what future volunteers abroad have for me.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nicole, Wow! What an awesome review! Thanks so much for taking the time to so eloquently share a little of your experience volunteering and exploring in Cusco, Peru. Is has been a pleasure to assist you in making this trip happen and we are excited to see where the journey takes you next!
Andrea - IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Ghardie
Female
20 years old
Miami, Fl
Florida International University

Best Experience

10/10

Spent two weeks working the medical project in Peru, and even though the first week was uneventful due to a Medical strike, the second week was changed to a Medical campaign and I loved it! This allowed us to work closely to the locals who needed medical aid. From admitting the patients, to taking their vitals and checking them for pain while working with the doctors. It was truly a one of a kind experience. I would absolutely participate in another IVHQ program.

How can this program be improved?

It was great.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ghardie, Thanks for sharing! It is awesome to hear about the Medical Campaign you were able to join during your second week volunteering in Cusco and we are glad this made up for the first disrupted week due to the strikes. It would be great to have you join us again!
Andrea - IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Rebecca
Other

Teaching English in Cusco

10/10

I had the most amazing time in Cusco teaching English to the Bomberos (Firefighters). I was fortunate enough to be one of the first people on this project, and could thus sort of shape it to be the best way for me to teach, which was super amazing. The people there were all incredibly nice and so, so, so excited and willing to learn. Our homestay was also incredible! The food was amazing and the location was somewhere not many tourists see! I love the city of Cusco - I was never bored. There was always a different placed to explore in the city. Besides that the day trips and excursions were 10/10! I cannot wait to go back!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Rebecca, We are so happy to hear that you had the most amazing time in Cusco, Peru! Thanks for being open to teaching in a new placement and for making the most of your time volunteering, getting to know the local people and exploring Cusco. We can’t wait to have you back!
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Lauren
Female
30 years old
United States
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Childcare in Cusco, Peru

9/10

I was lucky enough to volunteer in Cusco for two weeks working in childcare. I spent one week in a preschool setting and another in a local hospital (pediatric unit). My experience was so amazing. The children are so grateful for your help and love having the volunteers around. You can see the excitement in their faces every morning and really feel like you are making a difference in their lives. Even with a language barrier, I took so much away from my experience in Cusco and would definitely do it again. The city itself is amazing and has so much culture and history to learn about.

How can this program be improved?

Knowing your placement, or at least if you will be working morning or afternoon, would help with planning.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lauren, Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you experienced two diverse volunteer placements and we are glad that you also took the time to learn about the history and culture of Cusco, Peru. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Andrea - IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Sophie
Female

Teaching English in Cusco

10/10

I took part in the teaching English project in Cusco. The project was interesting I got to teach two classes English and plan my own lessons. I felt like I really got to experience what it is like to be a TFEL teacher. All my students were also really interested in learning English and were always asking me questions about the UK. I definitely feel like my lessons were having an impact on them even though I can only speak a little Spanish so do not worry if you cannot speak the language. I was put in amazing home stay where breakfast and dinner were including. I was lucky enough to meet other volunteers from all over the world as well as making friends with some of the local people in Cusco. I could also go to the volunteer office if I ever needed help with anything. I would definitely recommend this project to anyone. It's a great way of travelling and staying in home stay in Cusco was a great way of truly experiencing the culture.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sophie, Thanks for sharing! We are stoked to hear that you had a great experience Teaching English in Cusco, Peru! It is awesome that you were able to develop your own lessons plans and that you felt that your lessons were having a positive impact on your students – this sounds like quite an achievement. Thanks again for sharing and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Donna
Female
50 years old
Canada
University of Alberta

Merida, Mexico

10/10

I worked at a summer camp in a small Mayan village outside of Merida. The local children really enjoyed the program and had a lot of fun with the volunteers. I really got to understand how people live there and there customs; makes you appreciate what you have and want to help them more. The kids were adorable and very friendly and grateful for the opportunity. I would definitely like to do something like this again.

How can this program be improved?

If the Spanish lessons were more affordable than more people might take them. Having conversational levels would definitely help but the children also make you understand somehow.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Donna, Thanks for sharing this lovely review of your time on our program in Merida, Mexico! We would love to have you join us again in the future.
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Hayan
Female
28 years old
California
Other

IVHQ Cusco Peru

10/10

I spent 2 weeks in Cusco , Peru I volunteered in the animal care project in the zoo of the university of San Antonio . I had the best experience working with all the animals I would definetly volunteer again with IVHQ it was affordable and everyone was very helpful . My homestay was very clean and the family I stayed with took very good care of me and everyone else in the home. The homestay was very comfortable. On the weekend I was able to travel outside of Cusco with other volunteers and explore and see all the other amzing sites like Machu Picchu IVHQ organized everything so perfect . I would definetly use IVHQ again I have so many great memories that I made in 2 weeks and a lifetime of new friends.

How can this program be improved?

Everything was perfect you guys are awesome!!!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Hayan, We are so happy to hear that you had a great experience on the Animal Care project in Cusco, Peru! It sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by also making friends with the other volunteers and exploring in your spare time. We would love to have you join us again in the future!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Sydney

Medical Volunteer Program in Cusco/Pisac

10/10

As someone who spent a long two months in Cusco I can say I enjoyed essentially every minute of my program and my time in Cusco. I was lucky enough to work in a relatively busy clinic in an incredible little town outside of Cusco called Pisac. Since I'm pre-med I shadowed doctors and took vitals (height, weight, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature). My Spanish level is intermediate, so I got to interact with patients by asking why they came to the clinic and begin exams while the doctors started the mountainous amount of paper work they need to do. However, I worked with other volunteers of all different Spanish levels and you almost never volunteer alone, so we helped each other out if there was something we missed or didn't understand. A lot of the doctors are able to understand English so you can communicate to a certain extent. The people I met on this trip have been the best part, not only at my placement but also at the house I was staying at. I was staying in a relatively large house with, at most, 13 other volunteers and they were all fantastic people who were always up for going on adventures or excursions like Rainbow Mountain, Moray Salt Mines+ATVing or Humantay Lake. I was lucky enough to volunteer in June when there are a ton of celebrations and parades for the entire month, it was beautiful!

The IVHQ organization was helpful and supportive the whole time, before and after my volunteering program. I was definitely sending them a bunch of emails beforehand and they checked in about a week or two after I had landed in Cusco. I would most definitely recommend this organization and am planning on using them to volunteer in Cusco again after my first or second year of medical school. The cost was affordable and the experience priceless. Thank you IVHQ!

How can this program be improved?

It can be hard to budget properly because the local organization does not tell you where you're placed in terms of housing and program site until you get into the country

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sydney, We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed every minute of your time in Cusco! Two months is a really decent amount of time to spend on a volunteer program and we thank you for your hard work, commitment and positive attitude. We are stoked to hear that other fantastic and adventurous individuals joined you in your homestay – we love our volunteers! Thanks again for being an awesome volunteer and we can’t wait to have you join us again!
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Jacob
Male
23 years old
Lafayette, IN
Purdue University

Construction in Cusco was Fantastic

9/10

I volunteered in the construction program in Cusco for 3 weeks from May 29, 2017 to June 16, 2017. Our Peruvian foreman Marco was a great teacher and he gave us a lot of valuable and interesting information about Peruvian culture. He also organized a football match every Friday where we as volunteers would get to play him and his Peruvian friends. My homestay was with an 80-year old retired couple. They made great food and it was a nice quiet place to live. I made a lot of friends through both my homestay and through volunteering and I had a blast exploring Cusco with them. The city of Cusco is fantastic. It has a fun night life and a wide variety of tourist attractions both within the city and in the surrounding Andes Mountains. On the weekends I toured Lake Titicaca, hiked the Rainbow Mountains, went surfing and to a football match in Lima, and backpacked to Macchu Picchu at the end of my program.

For anyone considering Cusco or Peru in general, I would highly, highly recommend it!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jacob, Thanks for your recommendation! It sounds like you had an action-packed time in Peru and we are delighted to hear that enjoyed your placement, homestay, and meeting other volunteers. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Lucy
Female
23 years old
California
Academy of Art University

Cusco!

10/10

I volunteered in child care, and it was an amazing experience. And I did not expect to meet new people. I didn't expect to make friends who I plan on seeing again. I thought it was just going to be me and my best friend, and it was so much more. Cusco is such a beautiful city, so rich in history and culture. And very high up, too! The coca leaf tea is great for altitude sickness. I only wish it were legal in he states, ha!

Overall, volunteering through IVHQ was incredible.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lucy, We are so happy to hear that you had an incredible volunteering experience with IVHQ! Thanks for taking the time to share and we would love to have you join us again in the future!
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Sophia
Female
19 years old
United States
State University of New York- Geneseo

Volunteering in Cusco

10/10

I spent 4 weeks volunteering in a dog shelter in Cusco, Peru. I have volunteered in the past for a month in Sri Lanka and my time in Peru easily beats that time. The shelter I was at was run by an amazing woman. I try to tell everyone I meet about her because she is such an inspirational woman. I met other volunteers who are now my lifelong friends from all over the world. My host family welcomed me instantly with opened arms, and Coca Tea for the altitude! They became my home away from home. The local team was always available and by the second week they knew my name and would say hi to me on the streets. Cusco itself is an amazing city. I just got home a few days ago and I am already planning my trip back next summer to visit my family and the dog shelter.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sophia, Thanks for sharing! We are thrilled to hear that you had an amazing time in Cusco at your animal shelter placement, were inspired by the placement founder, felt right at home, and made friends from all over the world. We can’t wait to have you back!
Andrea – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Gregor
Male
36 years old
Scotland
University of Edinburgh

Jungle conservation at Panthera

10/10

I spent 12 weeks at the Panthera Sanctuary in the Amazon with IVHQ AND Máximo Nivel.

Ok, dealing with the above the impact was not 10 because the jungle is so varied, the multiple projects are ongoing. Support is not 10 because we are so isolated, a 10 would be impossible. Social scene in the jungle is you and the trees-awesome. Value, spectacular. Safety can't be 10 because it's the jungle, crazy stuff happens.

Now comes the fun stuff, stumbling upon huge snakes, wading through swamps, macheteing new jungle paths, eating food straight from the trees, playing with monkeys, watching Amazon sunsets, colourful birds, the rain, the sun, the peace, the adventure. It never ends. Plus, you learn, you get involved, you make a difference with the plants and the animals and the future of the beautiful Madre De Dios region.

A lot of people stay for two or three weeks and everybody wants to stay longer when their time is up. If you choose this project, you won't regret it.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Gregor, We love your review! Thanks for encouraging other volunteers to experience “watching Amazon sunsets, colourful birds, the rain, the sun, the peace, the adventure” on the Jungle Conservation project. Your review makes us smile with glee and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Siobhan
Female
21 years old
Cork, Ireland
University College Cork

Medical Volunteering in Cusco

10/10

Hand on heart, my experience in Cusco was one of the best in my life and this couldn't have been possible without IVHQ. From the get go I felt supported, between the online workshops and coordination with the staff I could tell I had made the right decision. I was nervous when I landed in Cusco but I was immediately put at ease when I was greeted by a member of the team who brought us to our homestay. Our host family and accommodation were far more luxurious than I could have ever imagined and I felt at home at once. I liked how we shared accommodation with other volunteers and through this I ended up making lifelong friends from all over the world. The food was plentiful and delicious. Orientation was brilliant as it gave us a brief overview of our volunteering and also included a tour of the city. Everyone working for Maximo Nivel were beyond helpful, friendly and I felt completely part of the team. The volunteering itself was amazing. I spent 3weeks in a small clinic where I got to help with a vaccine campaign as well as carry out baby checks and STI testing. The fact that I only had basic Spanish didn't hold me back too much and by the end I could communicate effectively with the staff in the clinic. I would highly recommend to anyone thinking about volunteering, to go with IVHQ to Cusco because it is undeniably an unforgettable experience that is surprisingly affordable. Thanks again to everyone in Maximo Nivel Cusco :)

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Siobhan, Thanks for your awesome review! We are so happy to hear that you were well supported by IVHQ and our local team and had an amazing volunteering experience in Cusco, Peru. It sounds like you were able to offer valuable assistance to your clinic placement and weren’t restricted by the language barrier. Thanks again for your great review and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Jennifer
Female
50 years old
CA - California
University of California- Santa Barbara

Amazing Experience

9/10

My visit to Cuzco could not have been more enriching and amazing! I loved staying with my host family and getting to know them. I made awesome new friends and had such a great experience at the orphanage where I worked. It was life changing, I highly recommend this destination, and I highly recommend IVHQ. I have traveled with the organization 3 times now, to Peru, and to South Africa twice before with my son. We just booked a 4th trip, to Kenya this time and we are so excited!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jennifer, We are so happy to have had you and your son join us in Peru! It is great to hear that you loved staying with a host family, enjoyed the volunteer work and that the entire experience was enriching. It is always interesting to hear from volunteers who have experienced multiple programs and we are stoked that you will join us again. Until next time!
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Tyler
Male
27 years old
Cusco
Other

Amazing Experience

10/10

IVHQ made volunteering easy! Everything was incredibly well organized and straight forward. Throughout the entire planning process they were quick to email, and even checked in during my project. I had the most amazing experience doing medical in Cusco and learnt a lot! The country is truely amazing and I would have not found this opportunity if it wasn't for IVHQ! I suggest everyone looking through any of their programs, they are extremely helpful!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tyler, It is awesome to hear that you had an amazing experience on the Medical project in Cusco, Peru! We are stoked that you found IVHQ to be helpful – that is what we are here for! Thanks for being an IVHQer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Lanjing Cathy
Female
22 years old
Chengdu, China

Great Experience!

9/10

I had a wonderful experience with IVHQ through the Holiday Program for two weeks in Cusco, Peru! Everything was planned out well before you got there and I never felt that I was lost in the country that I have never been before. I am especially thankful for the local staffs who were always there for us all the volunteers 24/7. During my two-week volunteer program, I was also able to sign up for some tours to places around where we were staying, the staffs were always willing to work with us to figure out the time if there were any conflicts. Everyone was super nice and helpful!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lanjing, Thanks for your review. We are happy to hear that you had a wonderful experience in Cusco, Peru and felt well supported by our local team. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Katie
Female
27 years old
Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Time of My Life in Cusco

10/10

I recently went through some major life changes (not by choice), and I needed to do something for myself. When I was in high school I read a story about a girl who overcame her own challenges, and then escaped on a volunteer trip to Peru. Since reading this book I've always wanted to go myself to see Machu Picchu, explore the jungle, and to help make a difference. IVHQ gave me that chance. This was my first major international trip and the first time I'd ever gone anywhere on my own. IVHQ prepared me well and gave me everything I needed to have the time of my life while also keeping me safe and connected to experts at every stage of my trip. In only 2 short weeks I became a jungle-dwelling adventurer complete with machete and monkey friends. I had such a blast and met so many cool people, and I didn't feel like I was really on my own at any point. I loved it so much I'm planning another trip for this summer! The jungle conservation project with IVHQ in Peru was truly life changing, and I'm so grateful for the experience and I can't wait to discover more places and people around the globe.

How can this program be improved?

I only wish I could have stayed longer!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Katie, What an awesome review! We couldn’t be happier to hear that the program turned you into a jungle-dwelling adventurer, complete with machete and monkey friends. It is our pleasure to ensure that you are prepared for the program and it sounds like you really made the most of your two weeks volunteering. We can’t wait to have you back!
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Christine
Female
48 years old
LOW

A perfect fit!

10/10

My Son and I decided to go volunteer in a dog shelter in Peru. The most difficult thing for me was that, my best friend Pinotte (my dog), passed away just a week before I left to Peru. Just before taking the plane my Father told me ''Christine, now; do not come back home with a dog!'' I responded ''No way, no one can replace my Pinotte and I am done attaching my self... It hurts to much''. And up we went my Son and I.

As soon as we put my foot at the shelter, we knew that this program was the perfect fit for both of us. It was amazing! All the help we provided was appreciated.

Volunteers brings so much to this program it is unbelievable. Every minute was worthwhile.

Thank you IVHQ to have provided us this opportunity.

p.s.: We came back home, not with another dog but TWO! We call them Amour and Skyppy! They are both awesome dogs and they adapted immediately to the Canadian world!

Christine and Lorenzo

How can this program be improved?

This program wold really be improved if more funding would be put towards it. They need some much help: man power, financially, space, supplies, etc.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Christine, Thanks for sharing! Your story has made us so happy and we are thrilled to hear that the Animal Care program in Peru was the perfect fit for you and your son. We are so grateful to have had you both on the program and we wish Amour and Skyppy all the best with their Canadian life.
Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

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Jessica
Female
26 years old
Cincinnati
Northern Kentucky University

Mother Son Peruvian Adventure

10/10

I had recently finished graduate school and had a career break this summer. Traveling internationally and volunteering abroad is something that I have always been passionate about. My parents had instilled this in me from an early age and I thought now would be a good time to instill this in my own son. After talking with a representative from IVHQ they assured me that volunteering with my son was completely plausible (and encouraged) and that we would be safe at all times. My six year old son and I decided to travel to Cusco, Peru for three weeks where we worked at a local preschool, part of a childcare program. It was absolutely amazing. It was a great experience for my son to be able to interact with kids his own age from a different culture. I loved working with the children as well! On weekends we had time to explore, hike, and tour nearby cities. We stayed with a host family that was a perfect fit for us. They had a four year old son that my son enjoyed playing with. My son even picked up a lot of Spanish just talking and playing with the children there. The local staff team was always kind and ready to help us if we needed it, but the organization prepared everything so well for us that we rarely ever needed anything else. I encourage anyone (child or no child) to travel through IVHQ. I was thoroughly impressed with all of their services and their support.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jessica. Wow, what an incredible trip to share with your son. We are so glad to hear that you had an amazing experience. It sounds like you made the most of your time by interacting with the children at the placement, getting to know your host family and exploring in your free time. We hope to welcome you and your son back on another IVHQ program again in the future!

Pía
Female
23 years old
Quillota, Chile

The highlight of my summer

10/10

Traveling with IVHQ was a decision I decided to pursue because of a friend's recommendation. I had heard great things and found that the price was the perfect fit for me to make my desire to travel South America come true. It all happened very quickly but IVHQ's quick response to all the questions I had from travel insurance to homestay accommodations quickly eased my anxiety about committing to something so quickly. I followed all of their suggestions on how to prepare for the trip and it all really does make you feel like you're 100% ready to embark on a journey abroad.

Once in Peru everything worked out so smoothly, I had nothing to do but enjoy my experience there. From the moment I landed, I was meeting new people. I got a folder with all the information I needed to get ready for the two weeks I signed up for. My only regret is not signing up for longer because my time in Cusco, Peru was such a beautiful and surprising experience full of unforgettable moments with some of the most genuine people I have yet to meet. I was excited to travel abroad but what I experienced was far more than anything IVHQ could've prepared me for. It was full of adventure, love and most importantly volunteering.

My placement for teaching english allowed me to feel confident in my skills but also gave me so much room to grow and learn from the others surrounding me. I signed up for two weeks and felt like I had gained so much experience. I really cannot imagine what it would've been like if I had chosen to be there for a extended amount of time.

How can this program be improved?

I would love to get to know the in country staff a bit more before going. Maximo Nivel was absolutely incredible and I think IVHQ knew that but I wish I could've made connections a little bit earlier.

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Julie
Female
29 years old
New York, NY

Great way to get involved in the medical community

10/10

I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering in Cusco, Peru for the medical program. I worked at Centro del Salud en Chinchero for the month as a medical student and I learned so much about their healthcare including things that need to be improved on. The mentality of healthcare is very different than in the United States such as the importance of hygiene, sterility and preventive medicine. Many of the Quechuan speaking women live hours away from the clinic and wake up early morning to begin their walk. Many of them cannot afford medications. I remember I had donated some medications to this 78 year old Quechuan speaking woman and she was ever so grateful. It made me so glad that I decided to volunteer here because even though we did not understand one another, her smile resonated the room. In addition, watching the little toddlers walk around barefoot in the clinic broke my heart a little because providing shoes was not a priority to their families. There are so many diseases that could be prevented if they had the tools and resources to implement these changes. I am glad that I did this volunteering experience because I will cherish the memories and treat my patients with the top care necessary to prevent the illnesses I saw within my volunteering experience. I hope I can volunteer again because I want to continue impacting others as they have done for me. Thank you for the experience.

How can this program be improved?

Please donate more gloves, hand sanitizers and disposable bed pads because the clinic needs them desperately. The doctors need to protect themselves so that they can continue providing care to others.

Ryan
Male
24 years old
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan

Making big impact on community health with little to no training

10/10

I traveled with a group of 13 other friends from my university to volunteer with Maximo Nivel's medical campaign in Cusco, Peru. Only one of fourteen had formal medical training, and we were only going to have five days of volunteering ... so I wasn’t really sure how much of an impact we’d help make on the communities we’d work in.

Just in the first day of our medical campaign, however, that doubt was broken. Despite our group's lack of medical training and short time in country, our group took the initiative to learn from the doctor to provide screens of patients’ health statuses and support one another in running an efficient, educational, and impactful medical campaign.

We saw nearly 200 patients in just our first morning – many of whom would not otherwise visit the doctor due to lack of insurance and/or money to do so. By the week's end, we had seen around 1,000 patients. I had never imagined we'd be able to make such big impact, but we couldn't have done that without the awesome support and friendliness of the Maximo Nivel staff.

Especially if you'd be traveling with a group, the medical campaign is a great way to meet locals, practice your Spanish, get practice with basic medical screening, and make positive impact in lives of so many people. And the scenery, culture, adventures and people in and around Cusco are some of the best you'll ever meet.

How can this program be improved?

The campaign set-up runs very smoothly, but we found some rearrangement of the system makes it run most efficiently. We would recommend keeping one person at registration, one person at the hand washing station, two people at the dental hygiene station, another person at the height/weight measurement station, three people performing eye exams, two people monitoring heart and lungs, another two people taking blood pressure and oxygen saturation, and a final two people at the pharmacy following the doctor consult. The program could use one to two more doctors; as phenomenal as the doctor is that works the entire campaign, there's just no way to see the number of patients that arrive to the campaign for medical attention or check-ups.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ryan, it’s so nice to hear from you! We are so glad that you had another memorable experience volunteering with IVHQ on the medical campaign in Cusco. It sounds like you and your group had a very busy week! It’s great to hear you were able to work together to make the campaign as successful as possible. We love having you as an IVHQer and look forward to welcoming you on another program again soon.

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Lisa
Female
22 years old
Almonte, Ontario, Canada
University of Ottawa

Sick?

8/10

In Peru, I was very scared to eat a lot of the food, especially outside of the house. I had a fear of getting sick by eating something bad. Well just my luck, even trying to be safe i managed to get a bad case of food poisoning. I had a fever for three days, i couldn't keep any food in my system for longer than five minutes, and i mainly stayed in bed for those few days. But this story isn't about me being sick it is about the treatment i received while i was sick. My program director Chelsey was in contact with me the whole time, she was sending well wishes, and contacting the teacher of the daycare that i was at. But she also arranged for the doctor to come and see me. He gave me a prescription and said i needed antibiotics to clear this up. I wasn't going to die but in a foreign country being sick is so much harder, and scarier. I appreciate everything that was done for me, and i didn't feel so far from home with the care i received.

How can this program be improved?

There is no perfect program, and my only criticism would be for the staff to accompany the volunteers home too. They take you to the placement, and stay for a while, but it is really hard to go back when the buses take a different route and it's your first days in a new city and country.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lisa, it’s nice to hear from you. There is no doubt that when you are abroad being sick is more daunting than if you were at home. We are glad that you felt so looked after by the team in Cusco and they were able to ensure you got the care you needed. Thanks for being an IVHQ volunteer and it’s great to know that despite getting sick you were able to have a meaningful experience volunteering. We hope to see you on another program soon.

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Alvaro
Male
36 years old
Brazil
Other

Volunteering in Cusco, Peru

7/10

I volunteered with Maximo Nivel, IVHQ's local partner in Peru.

Accommodation: I stayed in one of the volunteer houses. It had a good location, it was very comfortable and the house staff was lovely. Wifi was a bit slow.

Food: breakfast and dinner were provided. Delicious food!

Transportation to/from placement: I was lucky my placement was close to the volunteer house (20 min walk), but other volunteers had to take public buses to their placements.

Safety: I generally felt safe during the day in Cusco.

Volunteering: I taught English for a total of 10 weeks, for youngsters and adults. It was not what I had expected, since the students paid a fee to have classes, many of them were university students, had decent jobs, etc. The experience was good for me, whatsoever. Some volunteers were not happy with their placements as well (for example, teaching English at a private school).

How can this program be improved?

Cusco is a popular destination among volunteers, so my impression is that teaching at schools where students could afford paying is not something that I would like to do as a volunteer.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Alvaro, nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the comments on the program in Peru. I have passed on your feedback to the Program Manager. Great to have you as an IVHQer!

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Branden
Male
25 years old
Geneseo, Illinois
St. Ambrose University

IVHQ programs in Cusco Peru through Máximo Nivel

10/10

My first volunteering experience abroad was this August. I booked a month with a special needs program through IVHQ and their partner in Cusco, Máximo Nivel. IVHQ did a wonderful job of getting me ready for the trip. My program coordinator, Dallas, was in almost constant email contact; answering all of my questions and making sure I had everything ready to go. When I got there, the Máximo Nivel staff were just as helpful and gave me constant support. I was never on my own, I was never lost (except maybe once when I got off at the wrong bus stop), and I never felt in danger (except when I experienced a freak whitewater rafting accident). Every moment I spent in Cusco was an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life. Through IVHQ and Máximo Nivel, I made wonderful friends from all over the world and really made a difference at my volunteer placement. Volunteers should remember that they will not change the world at their placement, but they may change the world of a few people. This is what it is all about: helping as many people as you can and being a positive influence. IVHQ helps you do this. My only bad experiences were not IVHQ or Máximo Nivel's fault but merely happenstance. Dangerous, dirty, or surprising things can happen but that is all a part of the experience and I would not trade any of it for the world. I must say I left my heart in Perú with the people I helped and befriended. I highly recommend both IVHQ and their partner Máximo Nivel.

How can this program be improved?

I would only change IVHQ's partner organization in Cusco, Máximo Nivel's recommendation for the travel agency in their building. I booked my excursions prior to arriving with this company and discovered after arriving that they were far over priced. I should have waited to book after I got there with another agency.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Branden, Thanks for sharing a little from your volunteer abroad experience in Cusco. It's great to hear you felt well prepared for your trip by Dallas your IVHQ Program Manager and that the support continued while in country by our local team. We couldn't agree with you more - being a positive influence is a big part of IVHQ volunteer trips. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

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Mac
Female
Chicago, Illinois

Wonderful Summer

10/10

I am starting college in the fall, so I decided to do a program over the summer before I left for school. I was in Cusco for five weeks, working on a medical project. I had the opportunity to work at two different clinics, one in the city and one in a rural area. My time is Peru was so wonderful! I learned everything from basic medical procedures to how to get along with people who are difficult to get along with. I learned how to keep children calm and how to deliver bad news in the softest way possible. I learned that I really do enjoy working in medicine, and still want to pursue it as a career. I was nervous going into this program, but I loved it!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mac, thanks for the wonderful review! We are so happy that you learnt so much valuable expertise while on the IVHQ program in Peru. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Cathy
Female
57 years old
Antioch University, Keene, NH

Transformative Experience in Peru

10/10

Our group worked at an orphanage in Peru for two weeks. We received all of the support we needed (and more!) from the moment we arrived in Cusco until we were dropped back off at the airport two weeks later. The experience with the girls at the orphanage was truly transformative. Our group was so moved by their openness and joy. Our accommodations at a homestay were outstanding; our host, Eddy, was very friendly and went to great lengths to accommodate our groups many dietary needs. Chelsea, the volunteer coordinator, provided a very thorough orientation to Cusco and to the site, and answered every question that anyone in our group had throughout our trip. We were lucky enough to fit in a weekend trip to Macchu Picchu and a four hour horseback riding excursion in the mountains outside the city of Peru. Both excursions are HIGHLY recommended. IVHQ and the local team took care of all of the details so we could thoroughly enjoy our experience.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Cathy, thanks for the review. We are so pleased that you had outstanding support from the team and that you have thoroughly enjoyed your experience in Peru! Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope that you can join us on another adventure in the future!!

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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