Local Volunteer Projects in Peru

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About

Maximo Nivel provides great volunteer programs Cusco, Peru. Maximo is a locally-based organization and you work directly with local projects, get involved, and make an impact!

University credit is available for our service learning programs from our official School of Record: California State University, Monterey Bay.

Volunteer placements include:

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 121 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.4
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 121
Default avatar
Jay
10/10

2 Week Holiday Volunteer Project - Cusco

For my 2017 holiday plans, I made a personal decision to buck my traditional itinerary of going home for the holidays by signing up for a two-week volunteer project in Cusco, and I can honestly say it was a life-changing experience that I would highly recommend for anyone either interested in volunteer work or is interested in visiting Peru.

To give some background, I'm a 32 year old graduated & full-time employee and I was specifically looking for a holiday project to both coincide with my work schedule and because of personal desires to volunteer and give during the holidays. This was my second project I've done with Maximo Nivel, my previous project in the summer of 2017 which was teaching English for 2-5th grade students in Guatemala. Also, my project in Guatemala was my first truly legitimate volunteer project and my first time traveling to Latin America. I never took the opportunity to volunteer when I was younger, and was something I regretted and pursued to make up when I had the opportunity. I met someone that recommended me to Maximo from her experience, and that's what led me to Guatemala & I was so impressed with how well that project went that I decided to do another round with Maximo in Peru for the holidays.

From the moment I read the description of the "Cusco Holiday Experience Project," I was sold with it having a holiday theme and different projects every day. Overall, I really enjoyed the variety and exposure with my work and would get my strong recommendations. Everything Maximo promised was granted, as I got to volunteer on a new project every weekday (except Christmas & New Years Day), and did things such as supporting a christmas party for children, hands-on work with travelling to an Andean village to support a farm, a community center renovation project, and multiple medical campaigns for both human and veterinary work.

For those specifically interested in this project, I have a couple of caveats that you should be aware of. it is a bit challenging to do a different project every day in that you have to be prepared for new training and inherited challenges by doing volunteer work in this manner. Additionally, you should also be aware of the fact that you miss out on a stronger personal sense of impact of your work by having to do something new every day. With all that, Maximo did a fantastic job making me feel prepared every day for my new project, while being realistic with the work itself and allowing me to connect with the people I worked with and enjoy the variety of environments I was in at the same time. I do feel that I made an impact with my work and got a lot out of it on a personal level.

Outside of the volunteer work, I had an adequate amount of time to explore Peru and can't say enough how awesome of a country it is to visit. I had 2 free weekends, New Years & Christmas Day, and a third independent week without volunteer work to get to explore. While working, my shifts during the week were 4 hour shifts (not necessarily counting travel to/from the locations, which can add 1-2 hours), and I generally had good amounts of time in afternoons to explore. From my experience as well as other co-volunteers, I would recommend making efforts to have at least 1 week of your own time without volunteering, as the free afternoons can be shortened easily and you may miss out on activities that you thought you would have time for.

Activity wise, I did a lot with my time in Peru. I did day trips (Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain, Lake Humantay), afternoon activities (ATV's, Paragliding), and a 4-day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. One highly valuable aspect with signing up to Volunteer in Cusco with Maximo is that they are partnered with "American Inca Trail," a fantastic tourism outfitter right next door to Maximo that has tons of activities at reasonable prices. What's especially nice about AIT is their service, particularly with understanding our volunteer schedules at Maximo, and they make substantial efforts to accommodate your activities with your schedules (such as holding shuttles). Everything I signed up for was all under AIT and I highly recommend them across the board, as they really enhanced my volunteer project to become a vacation as well.

For my living situation in Cusco, I was living with around 10 total volunteers at an excellent host family that was very warm and accommodating. One noteworthy thing that made my holiday special was that I got to share a delicious christmas eve dinner and party with them that I will never forget. While there are some things I had to adjust to (sharing a cramped room with four other people, small breakfasts, water shortages), none of that tarnished my experience in Cusco and a lot of these things are inherited with doing volunteer work, which you should be mindful of what you're signing up for. I can even add my house with my previous project in Guatemala with Maximo had a larger private room & better food, but I definitely did not have the same connection with that host family that I did with this one in Cusco and would much prefer living with a warm host with these "sacrifices."

I again, strongly encourage you to consider volunteering with Maximo. I've done two different projects now at different locations, and can not emphasize how much both experiences have changed me. I've gained so much by living with a family and co-volunteers with these projects on a mental, social, and spiritual level. I love having the opportunity to use my volunteer & vacation hours in this way rather than sitting in a resort, and Maximo does a fantastic catering to my desires across the board.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Luzia
10/10

Construction Project Cusco

Volunteering through Maximo Nivel and IVHQ i spent 2 weeks in Cusco on the construction/renovation project. This experience was amazing! i learnt so much about construction in its simplest form from laying tiles to simple framework of a roof. We were working on a school for children who needed a second level for more space. I would have loved to stay longer to see more progress but we all stay in contact with the next person and maximo nivel staff !

How can this program be improved?
The only improvements i can think of is the progress would have been much faster with more people on site. Although this is obviously just a factor of luck and cant be improved by the company itself.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ryan
10/10

A Story to Tell

When I arrived on Jan 21, the pick up service was amazing, Carlos was telling us about the history, and unique places to visit while in Cusco.

Accommodation was very hospitable, Ronald and Yenny is accommodating and comforting to talk to, they guided me throughout my stay. Very loving and understandable couple! I will definitely stay again with them if I have a chance to come back to Cusco!

Volunteering with the support of Maximo is exceptional. From my start to end they took care of me, the projects they support are very well maintained especially the one in Qosqo Maki. I´ll definitely come back and volunteer again with Maximo Nivel!

Maximo Nivel staff are very welcoming, great staff and friendly services!

Thank you so much and see you all soon!

Yes, I recommend
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Maginnis
10/10

Kusi Wasi with Maximo Nivel

I volunteered here for 9 weeks, and loved every day of it. The Maximo staff were super friendly and supportive, and gave me the opportunity to take responsibility for how I ran the volunteering shift. I felt trusted, valued and respected throughout. The local staff at Kusi Wasi were very kind and grateful, and the kids were cheery and playful, and really enjoyed my being there. Most importantly, I enjoyed the time I spent with them, and build some invaluable relationships that are very meaningful to me.

Yes, I recommend
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Jinan
10/10

Kudos to Maximo Nivel-Peru

I LOVED my experience in Peru during this past winter break. From the moment Derek and Allison welcomed us to when we said our goodbyes, I truly felt cared for and appreciated by the staff at Máximo Nivel. I highly recommend going with this agency for your volunteering experience abroad. They not only helped us get to our clinics and show us around, they followed up with us throughout the week to make sure everything was going fine. Also, if you are looking to do some excursions while abroad, they have some great resources to point you to so that you have a fun and safe experience.

Yes, I recommend
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Ashley
10/10

Cusco!

I loved volunteering in Cusco, Peru! Not only did I shadow many healthcare professionals, but I gained valuable experience and insight into a different healthcare system. Seeing another part of the world provide medical assistance was incredibly eye-opening and the relationships I formed with my fellow volunteers also made this opportunity worthwhile. Volunteering provided me with life-long friendships with wonderful people!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ahna
10/10

Teaching English

I´ve been volunteering with Maximo for the past two months teaching English to adults. At first when I arrived to Cusco and started teaching I was incredibly nervous but Allison and the office staff were always around to make sure that I was comfortable and answer any questions. At first I thought that I´d want to switch projects so that I could work with kids, but after a week of teaching at Qosko Maki I loved it. Even after the two months I´ve been teaching I haven´t grown tired of it at all. Getting to see the students progress with their English is amazing and their commitment to learning is inspiring. Teaching isn´t without it´s up and downs but I´ve had the best time here and I think Maximo is a great program.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
marie
9/10

Thank you!

Hi,

My name is Marie Bedard and I am 25 years old. I volunteered in Cusco, Peru for 1 week and this was my second experience as a volunteer with IVHQ. During my time in Cusco, I volunteered at a house for moms that had kids when they were between the age of 13-18 that were typically abused by family members or victim of violence. Some of the moms either worked or went to school during the day so the volunteers (me!) and the other mothers spent our mornings feeding, cooking and playing with the babies while our afternoons were spent cleaning and selling Salchipapas (Peruvian poutine as I like to call it!) I seriously loved my time in Cusco and could go on and on about the program and volunteering opportunities but the best way to fully understand the extent of this program is to go ahead and jump! I can guarantee that you will not live anything similar anytime soon - hope you love it as much as I did!

Yes, I recommend
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Ellen
10/10

What a time in Cusco

What a wonderful time I had in Cusco! The staff at Maximo was very helpful and supportive. My homestay was so comforting and welcoming. I cannot believe my time here is done thank you for everything Maximo! I would HIGHLY reccomend this program to anyone is new to traveling and would like the support of an incredibly caring group of individuals. You won't find a group of individuals like this at any other organization.

Yes, I recommend
Maddie
10/10

Maximo Peru

I've been in Peru for the past 9 weeks. My first 6 weeks were spent in Cusco volunteering in childcare and taking Spanish class with my amazing teacher Yenny. Then I spent two weeks working on a jungle conservation project at the Tierra Linda Reservation, which was an amazing experience that I highly recommend. For my final week, separate from volunteering, I went on the Inca Jungle trek and loved it! This program is wonderful because it allows to to feel at home in Cusco with great local home stay families(shoutout Yuri), and it is still flexible with typical tourist travel on weekends. I´ve met so many wonderful people, and gained experience and memories that will stay with me forever. Thank you Maximo!

How can this program be improved?
More funding
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Alexis
9/10

Maximo Peru

I could not have been placed in a better project. Chris, the physical therapist and I really hit it off. We actually plan to keep in contact with one another. I have grown more from this experience than I could have ever imagined. The only thing I would say is a Maximo member promised my project she would bring in books for the kids and as far as I know never did. If someone could make sure they receive that offering would be wonderful, the kids were very excited about that. Otherwise I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my experience here.

How can this program be improved?
The kids have lots of toys, but no battery's for them to work. As well as all of the coloring books have been written on. So new supplies would be wonderful. Also from talking to Chris I have learned that volunteers have given maximo money specifically to fund Chris for physical therapy equipment for the children and Chris never received the money. I am not sure about all the technicalities but this concerned me. These kids have very very little, and their disabilities will only get worse if they continue to not have the equipment they need to improve their quality of life. So if we could make sure the donations go where they were intended would be wonderful, again I acknowledge I am unaware of how the process works. Just letting you know about my conversations with Chris.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Matthew
10/10

Cusco Constuction

I really enjoyed my time in Cusco volunteering with Maximo Nivel in a construction project where I helped build a new children's hospital clinic for 8 weeks. I came to Cusco with an open mind because I knew it was going to be a different lifestyle than what I'm used to in Canada. I loved every moment and the people I met. The staff at Maximo nivel was always helpful. Advice I have for new volunteers is to be patient because there's a lot of hand tools and the progress of work can be slow, but it makes it more rewarding because you really can see the physical results of your hard work. Also be proactive and positive on the worksite. The hospitality at my homestay was amazing and my host mom was a great cook. Thanks again to maximo for setting up an unforgettable experience in Cusco for me.

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps to be more open about the budgeting for certain programs and exactly where the money we pay is going. We pay an extra $65 USD per week solely for the construction and renovation project, yet they couldn't afford to supply materials on a few occasions (windows, tiles, etc.)
Yes, I recommend
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Cecille
10/10

Childcare in Peru

My daughter and I just finished a 1 week project where we helped in daycare/pre4-school in oropesa run by a group of Philippine nuns. It was a great experience where we helped with their day to day tasks. The trip there by bus was quite and adventure daily and the kids were fun, full of energy, adorable and way ahead of their expected learning landmarks. Although we were the first people on this particular location I think it will do well.

Yes, I recommend
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J.R
8/10

Cusco Construction

Huge shout-out to Maximo Nivel for providing me the opportunity to have such a memorable experience in Cusco. The team was always willing to help...whether it was first-day orientation, on-site visits, or just being there if I had a question...I knew I could count on them for any support I needed. My time in Cusco is drawing to a close, but the memories will last a lifetime. Thank you Maximo Nivel!

How can this program be improved?
More emphasis on different/new skills for most people (rather than mostly painting, sanding, and plastering, in the four weeks I was here)
Yes, I recommend
Holly
10/10

Loved My Experience Teaching English in Cusco for 3 Months!

I have been volunteering with Maximo Nivel in Cusco, Peru, for the past three months and have absolutely loved my time here! I just graduated college and wanted to take a gap year before going back to school. I have several friends who took a similar break but spent it backpacking through South America instead of staying in one location for a length of time. Although there are definitely benefits to both, I seriously recommend spending time in one place volunteering through an organization like Maximo! In these past few weeks I have gotten to know the culture and people of Cusco in a way that is not possible if you spend your time quickly traveling through places or staying in hostels.
First, my volunteer projects have been an incredible way to meet locals and make a difference. My project is teaching English and it has been really cool to watch people who initially knew no English improve to speaking full sentences. Maximo Nivel comes by and checks on the projects every week or so to make sure it is going smoothly and is willing to work with you if there is ever a problem with the project.
About a month ago I approached the Maximo staff with an idea to start a new project in the area that is more directly related to my academic interests. Instead of dismissing this because it would be a difficult project to start, they went out of their way to make this new project possible and I am currently working with them to help start it! I have met many other people who are here on a gap year between schools as well and Maximo wants to make sure that your experience with them best prepares you for whatever job or school you are hoping to gain entrance to upon your return home. I had to take the Law School Admission Test while I was here and they were willing to work with my schedule so I had plenty of time to study and volunteer!
Additionally, I have loved living with a host family here in Cusco. My house mother is incredible and cooks great meals. I was a little worried about living with a family after living on my own in college but my house mom is always willing to help me with things while also giving us freedom to come and go. Maximo also offers Spanish classes to volunteers and can pair you up with a local so that you can meet up with them on your own time to practice speaking Spanish and English. My Spanish has improved a lot because of this!
If you are trying to figure out how to spend time abroad or where to spend it, I highly recommend coming to Maximo Nivel in Cusco. Whether you plan to be here for one week or six months, Cusco offers incredible sights to visit in your free time. I became really good friends with my house mates and was able to travel to various places with them on the weekends and during the day when I was not volunteering. The people of Peru are very welcoming and I guarantee you will have an incredible time getting to know both the people and city of Cusco!

Yes, I recommend

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About Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America

Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross...