Volunteer in Peru with Maximo Nivel - Best Rated Projects

Video and Photos

Volunteers and I
Volunteers and I
Ashley Doherty, Pre-Medical Volunteer
Ashley Doherty, Pre-Medical Volunteer
Jumping photo
Jumping photo
Cusco Salt Mines
Cusco Salt Mines
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Dog shelter
Dog shelter
Team work
Team work
Construction crew
Construction crew

About

Peru is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural resources. However, its social development has not kept pace with its commercial development, and Peruvians still wrestle with illiteracy and basic social justice. Peru works hard at self-improvement, making it an ideal place for international volunteers to get involved, contribute to sustainable programs, and provide help to vulnerable populations. There is no shortage of things to get done in Peru and international volunteers can truly learn to serve here.

Maximo Nivel provides volunteer abroad projects at our institute in Cusco, Peru, both in and outside of the city center. Projects are also available off-site in the Sacred Valley (mountains), the Amazon region (rainforest), and Quillabamba (rainforest), some of which are rural areas and offer a more “off-the-grid” experience than the city of Cusco. Volunteers always have the opportunity to serve in both urban and rural communities.

Highlights
  • New volunteer programs start every Monday year-round
  • All-inclusive—shared accommodations, meals, and many extras
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Academic credit available
  • All-inclusive program fees from $645

Travel Grants Available for a Limited Time!

Ready to work as an English teacher abroad? Register today for our award winning TEFL Certification in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru and apply for a special travel grant.

Popular Programs

Homelessness and poverty have left many children in Latin America without access to proper education and a loving environment. Maximo Nivel’s childcare projects aspire to change children’s lives by providing caring and nurturing volunteers to work, study, and play with them.

Speaking English is a life-changing skill for people in developing countries, because the language opens both academic and professional opportunities, and provides a path out of poverty.

Your work may be focused on reforestation, organic gardening, wildlife and animal monitoring, trail maintenance, and educational workshops for local communities.

Maximo Nivel’s construction programs focus on community development. Construction projects may include building or repairing homes, adding classrooms to schools, or making structural improvements to clinics.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 128 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.4
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 91 - 105 of 128
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Val
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Making a difference in an incredible city

I volunteered on the medical campaign with Maximo Nivel for one week and it was a phenomenal experience. The staff and my host mom made sure we were comfortable, safe, and getting the most out of Cusco with recommendations for where to eat, where to go, and what to see during our free time. The campaign itself was eye-opening. The program was set up very well and I feel that I made a difference even with no prior medical training or experience, and minimal Spanish ability. The patients we worked with were so kind and respectful and I am so thankful that Maximo Nivel has set up these programs to help people who really need it. I would highly recommend volunteering through Maximo Nivel.

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Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spring Break in Peru

Maximo Nivel is such a fantastic organization that is incredibly well organized. I volunteered with them for a week in Cusco, Peru for the Medical Campaign group and my accommodations were beautiful. Everything was well planned out so that we could actually help people and use our time wisely. I loved working with all of the families and seeing a new city. I would volunteer through them again in a heartbeat!

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Sheemap
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Adventure in Peru

Volunteering abroad was something I always hoped to accomplish on my bucket list. Im a social worker by profession and used to work for a county hospital. I love helping others but slowly began to realize just how burntout I had become. I realized I needed a change and something to bring that spark back into my life and bring back that compassion I once had for serving others. I began researching volunteer abroad programs. Once I had applied and got accepted with a volunteer agency, I bravely quit my job. The experience I had with IVHQ and Maximo Nivel was absolutely amazing. I cant pick one thing I liked most about volunteering with them in Cusco Peru because the whole experience was phenomenal. Loved getting to stay with our host family, meet the locals, meet other volunteers, explore the city, learn a new culture, volunteer and give back to the orphan children and all the other adventures we had in peru. It was a once and a lifetime opportunity and I was so grateful for our experience for bringing back that love for life and compassion I had for serving others.

What would you improve about this program?
None :)
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Zaira
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Childcare in Cusco

Initially, I had planned to join a construction project in Peru after experiencing a similar project in Argentina. After a day at construction, I felt that my skills could add more value to childcare and after voicing my concerns to the Maximo staff on the same day, they immediately understood and found me a new project which was to begin the very next day.

I spent three weeks working at Kausakusun which was a 'casa' for single mothers that have suffered from domestic abuse. The mothers receive training on a variety of skills and assistance in looking for jobs and homes. Whilst the mothers were busy in the daytime, it was my responsibility to look after 6-8 children, aged between 2 and 14 years.

The staff at Maximo really took their time to explain to me what the project would be like and gave me lots of pointers on activities I could do with the kids. They also gave me access at all times of the day to their arts and crafts cupboard which was full of resources for my disposal. Coming up with different crafts projects each day was a challenge at times but Pinterest helped and the effort was worth it as the children and I had collectively managed to really brighten up the classroom with all of our crafts.

The staff at Maximo were constantly checking in on my experience and took their time to drop by the project at least once a week as well, which I appreciated.

I studied an hour of Spanish a day and cannot begin to express how happy I was with my progression from week 1 to week 3. My confidence in speaking really soared after just 15 hours!

I also really appreciated the fact that Maximo took their time to 'match me' with other students/volunteers that were of a similar age in my homestay. This meant that I could really enjoy my downtime with like-minded individuals that have most defiantly become life-long friends.

Overall, I found Maximo to be incredibly organised and support in all of my endeavours and I'm very excited about working them again on my next project in Costa Rica!

What would you improve about this program?
Encourage host families to interact with their guests more
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Jody
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English to adults in Cusco

What a rewarding experience! The students in my class, ages ranging from 12 to 60-something, have a desire to learn/improve their English. But they also are sincerely interested in "giving back." Among laughter and good times, they helped me with my Spanish (as well, of course, as my Spanish teacher from Maximo Nivel!) I'll remember this trip for the strong support of the MN staff and the warm-hearted people of Peru...

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Pauline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

amazing experience in a beautiful and culturally diverse country!

The locals were very appreciative of our help. I was there for a short while so I didn't feel like I contributed too much however I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering for the construction and the animal care program.

The volunteer organizers were very helpful and checked on you at your placements to make sure you were safe and treated well.

I highly recommend this type of trip to anyone interested in doing this as an option for travelling to a certain country.

Christina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience...

I had the pleasure of volunteering for two weeks during the holidays with Maximo Nivel in Cusco, Peru. I honestly did not know what to expect and to my surprise it exceedingly surpassed my expectations! We went to different orphanages to give out Christmas gift, painted bedrooms, played games, and engaged with the children. The children were so incredibly grateful and loving, it was truly humbling. The icing on the cake for me was the friendly and attentive staff at Maximo Nivel which was a huge relief since I was traveling alone and had never been to Peru. I always felt safe whenever traveling with Maximo Nivel which was very important to me.
I also had the opportunity of touring Cusco, Peru on my own which was absolutely beautiful. I really felt as though I was in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love as I explored the picturesque sights. For me this trip was life changing, I made friends from all over the world that I look forward to keeping in touch with, I saw some of the most breathtaking sights and I believe I have made a difference whether it was through a hug, a kiss, a brush or a smile my heart is still overflowing with joy.

Christina Rodriguez

Christmas & New Years 2015

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Abby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Another Great Experience With Máximo Nivel!

I just volunteered in the beautiful city of Cusco, Peru for my second time with Máximo Nivel! I decided to return to Cusco to visit and volunteer at the orphanage, Hogar de San Judas Chico, I worked at for two months last year. Cusco is an amazing city with so much to do and see; however, the experience would not have been the same had I not volunteered with Máximo again. It is extremely difficult to find an organization that not only caters to the needs of the volunteers, but also to the citizens of the country that the organization is based in, yet Máximo does exactly that. I was placed in an incredible home-stay, and felt completely comfortable and safe during my time in Cusco. While I loved the home-stay, Máximo makes it clear that if there are any problems or concerns, they are available to help. Having volunteers stay in home-stays allows for the Peruvian hosts to not only make needed extra money, but also creates an amazing immersion experience and gives the hosts a chance to practice their English. Additionally, volunteers are able to practice their Spanish and learn about Peruvian culture.

Working at the orphanage last year was the most eye-opening experience (not to sound cliché) that I have ever had. I immediately knew I would want to return, but still had some nerves about the experience not being the same the second time around. While the experience was different than last time, it was just as incredible. The smiles on the girls faces when we saw each other again for the first time reminded me of exactly why I returned. I came back to Cusco with a purpose: to spend the rest of the donation money that I had previously raised the year before. When I received news of a family emergency back home, Máximo was there for me in more ways than I could have imagined. I thought I was going to have 2 whole weeks to plan out and spend all of the donation money, but I only had one because I had to go home 10 days early. With the help of Máximo, I was able to buy each of the girls shoes, underwear, bracelets, and lotion. Additionally, I was able to pay for two of the girls to take four months worth of English classes at Máximo. I also was able to buy glasses for the girls who needed them, and I was able to pay for the dentist for the girls who needed dental work done. There was no way I could have completed all of this without the help of the amazing organization.

I am extremely happy that organizations like Máximo Nivel exist because they truly take the time to ask the places that they help what tools and things they need, rather than simply implenting their own ideas. Máximo also checks up daily on the volunteers and their projects, and they are always open to advice on how change things to make the help more efficient. I am proud to say I have worked with this organization twice, and hopefully I will be able to work with them again. At least I know my girls at the orphanage, and everyone else that Máximo helps, are in good hands.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have monthly sit downs with the volunteers and the people who work at the site in order to make sure goals are being set for improvement.
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Beatriz
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aponderamiento de las ninas

It's has been 2 months that I've been in cusco, Peru. I was there for 3 weeks, in the Arcopaa family, with girls from 6 to 12 years old in "aponderamineti de las Nina's", a place 1h ago from cusco where they can go after school for suport, attention and education.

It was absolutely te best time of my life. I miss it like crazy! It's amazin how giving a bit of us can give us back soooo much! All the girls that I've met they're still so special to me... Thank tou maximo nivel for all the support and accommodation! I had so much fun and I met so many amazing people in my house.. Besides cusco!! I truly recommend this city.. Try the "green point" ;)

I think there's no words to describe what it is to be 3 weeks (too little time!) to be volunteering.. Especially with my girls. Definitely have to try it. There's so many people on the world that need just a little bit of our time... It can just be a hug or teach them how to make a cake... So simple. And I don't know how you'll get so much more in return.

Thank you for everything maximo nivel!

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Elena
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rewarding and well-organised experience

I did service work with my 13-year-old daughter at Kyuki-Do Wasi (the house for teen mothers and their babies in Cusco), mainly assisting the babies but also helping the mothers in different ways. I got involved with these mothers and babies in a special way and it was sad to leave them after two weeks. The stories these teenage mothers have already lived, at a very early age, are breath-taking but they shared them with me in the most natural way, with no special bitterness but rather a calm resignation. Given this, I was especially touched by the joy in the house, the friendly atmosphere, most of the time, among mothers, their babies and other volunteers and their kindness. And the generosity and good-heartedness of caretakers and psychologist Maruja, for me the real 'soul' of the house. A lesson for us to learn in our daily routine and comfortable lives in the Western world.
The house was well organised and we received perfect support from Máximo Nivel. In particular, Tanja's involvement was a great help and made our work there much easier and nicer. I liked her discrete and 'elegant' attitude.
The general introductions given by the local organisation (Máximo Nivel) were informative and useful; however there was some degree of repetition in the information in the safety and programme introductions. Also I noticed the information (about Peruvian culture, the programme, etc.) is mainly given from a US perspective, not considering other possible origins among volunteers (European, non-English native, etc.).
At the house I found that the volunteer planning could have been better organised. Depending on the day and week, at times, there were too many volunteers (among those who lived at the house and others, like us, who came from another organisation), outnumbering the babies (7). In my opinion, a better planning and knowing in advance the characteristics of the volunteers at the house would result in a more efficient help for the mothers and babies.
I would definitely recommend the international and local organisations (IVHQ and Máximo Nivel) and this programme as a reliable and well-organised one and guaranteeing a special and rewarding personal experience.

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Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience

As a Graduate student, my experience with Maximo Nivel was not only enlightening but the value of the experience will be something I will treasure forever. Chelsey was an amazing Coordinator who actually used her day off to spend time with us!

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Liliana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Childcare in Cusco

Cusco is an amazing city. Full of life, colors, tastes; filled with wonderful people and amazing landscapes. I volunteered the past month with Maximo Nivel in Childcare. Got to stay in a volunteer house with 16 other people who live across the world (Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, France, etc.) and they became my family for the month I stayed. We traveled a lot, everything is really cheap and the is a lot to do, it is a very cultural city.
My program was in Saylla, a municipality an hour far from Cusco. I worked with Corazón de Dahlia, an organization that helps children improve their skills after school and learn more while their parents are still working. I worked with 27 girls aged from 7 to 11, we read, did homework, played and we had the opportunity to teach them english (colors, greetings, animals...) or do arts & crafts with them.

It was an amazing experience!

Read my full story
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Cathy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maximo Nivel: Outstanding Organization and Amazing Experience

The staff at Maximo Nivel provided consistent, professional support to our group throughout our two week experience in Cusco, Peru. We had the honor of working with girls in a local orphanage. With Maxomo's support, we were able to provide both the girls and the group with an amazing experience. In addition to our volunteer work, we were offered support from Maximo in exploring the city of Cusco, visiting Macchu Pichu, and enjoying the local cuisine. Our host family was very welcoming and we were made to feel at home from the moment we arrived in Cusco. Maximo is a very professional organization and we are indebted to the staff at Maximo for making our two week stay a truly transformative experience.

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peter
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

English teaching Maximo Nivel Cusco Peru

I have taught overseas in many countries before,and really enjoyed this placement.I taught with a Canadian girl,and had a lot of fun with my accent - the teenage girls we taught were extremely nice and polite and interactive - I was really pleased that they contributed so well - I think this shows how they liked the previous teachers and the contribution as a whole.
I don't speak Spanish,so the classes were all in english.,and we focussed on them speaking as much as possible.
Cusco is a stop off point for Machu Picchu which has minimum of 2,000 visitors per day!So a fair percentage of visitors would speak english and by helping these girls,I hope we help them with their success in a career where they can use the english.
I was well looked after by the staff,had Spanish lessons,and enjoyed the homestay.Overall it was great to be there and be involved with this project.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't think the programme can be improved,but maybe a different method to help the girls would be good - I suggested they form a choir and sing native Peruvian songs as well as english songs.-this would probably an exciting activity for them,but it has to be balanced with their needs which I don't know much about - ie education/living at the home etc.
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Nazmin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Policia de Familia - childcare in a police station

Volunteering in childcare programme in cusco was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. I was placed in the policia de familia which is a police station for children who have been arrested. Initially I was overwhelmed because my level of spanish was very weak and for that age group I felt it would be better if I could really communicate with the children. However I realised that even with a language barrier it is still possible to make a difference in a child's life esp to those who have had such terrible experiences and only need to realise that they can do better and that people are there for them.
Just a few hours a day playing with then can help to build a bond.

I would recommend this programme, often most people don't want to work in the cold dirty station with misbehaving children but there is a real need to help these children too. I would also strongly recommend you do brush up on your level of Spanish as it can be difficult to keep their attention if you are unable to speak and explain things to them.

Maximo NIvel were very helpful and available during my time with them and I would happily work with them again. Not only that but they also had events and outings for socialising too which was a good way to get to meet other volunteers.

The volunteers I met and shared my experiences with was what made my time in Cisco so amazing! I wish it didn't have to come to an end!

I

What would you improve about this program?
I would try to place more advanced or better spanish speaking volunteers in this placement. There is a real need to be able to communicate and talk to children, particularly of an older age group. What the children here really need is someone to talk to rather than to play games with. Not being able to understand the full situation of what happened and why a child is in a police station can be fustrating when you are trying to help. Also I would try to get some cleaners in or communicate with the police that the standards need improving.