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 106 - 120 of 121
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David
10/10

CUSCO, PERU MEDICAL VOLUNTEER

I participated in the medical volunteer program through Maximo Nivel in Cusco, Peru. It was an amazing experience, and I got hands on experience in the clinic. It was a total cultural immersion; I got to try so many different foods, and I was also able to practice a lot of spanish. Also, the Maximo Nivel staff was so supportive!

How can this program be improved?
The one thing I would change, is more concentration in what I wanted to do. Basically, it would have been nice to have participated more in my medical clinic. I admit, a large part was my limited spanish ability--so really, it was not the program's fault, but just my own limitations.
Yes, I recommend
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Christie
10/10

Good

We were placed in two houses. The first housing experience was great. In the second house, we were very concerned about our safety and hygiene and wished their housing was standard across the board. While the program says there is a vigorous housing application, it is obvious they let one slip by. All the staff are amazing and great except for one person who was very mean and rude despite our requests and needs. Overall, everything was great, but there will always be one or two things (or people) that slip through the cracks.

Yes, I recommend
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Rosanna
10/10

Exceeded my expectations

I didn't know what to expect from Maximo when I signed up online for their volunteer project and homestay with a family. I was quite comforted once I arrived by the capable and flexible staff who ensured I received all of the support I needed throughout my 11 week stay. When I had problems with my bank back home, they were there; when I wanted to change homestays, they were there; when I wanted advice, they were there...
The quality of teaching staff also exceeded my expectations. Although their classes are a bit more expensive, the value I received was worth every penny.

How can this program be improved?
I would recommend that Maximo staff do more regular visits to the homestays.
Yes, I recommend
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Nora
10/10

Would Re-Start Program Tomorrow!!

Maximo Nivel gave me more than I ever asked for. I had spent a fantastic 6 weeks in Cuzco participating in their Construction project. I chose this program because I wanted to build something, leave a little me in Peru. The project is in the morning, which means leaving home at 8:30am and start working at 9am. Sometimes people asked me if an afternoon project would be better? Honestly, it's a great feeling to enjoy your lunch break knowing that you already did something :) Good physical condition is not mandatory, but definitely helps to be in shape a little bit when you are mixing concrete on 3700 meters high up. But just take it easy, step by step and you will have a great time. I spent the afternoons by completing Spanish homework and taking classes. I did speak Spanish before I arrived, but still wanted to improve, to get more fluent and great to learn from a local Peruvian. If you have the possibility, definitely recommend taking classes, knowing the language, even a little bit gives you more confidence. About 3.5 weeks into my trip, my classes has ended and inquired about other options. Eventually I ended up volunteering in the zoo for about 2 weeks in the afternoons. It was a great way to explore another project and see other parts of the city. I know many volunteers actually changed their placements to try something different and Maximo is awesome on trying to assist any requests. I didn't want to miss any construction, therefore chose the afternoon addition.
Life in Cuzco!!! the volunteer house was awesome, food/accommodation absolutely outstanding. You will never be alone (unless you choose to). Project site/salsa night/ volunteer get together/ traveling - you always meet like minded individuals.
Go and do it!!

How can this program be improved?
From experience, I would suggest that everybody takes at least 1-2 Spanish classes, just to know the basic 20 sentences.
Sometimes I felt that we could actually work longer days. I know it's a little hard sometimes with logistics, but some long days felt even better.
Yes, I recommend
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Rose
9/10

Peru Service Trip

I really enjoyed my time with Maximo Nivel at their location in Cuzco. I got to volunteer in a clinic in the pediatric center which mainly involved taking vital signs. I think it would be great if they could make some sort of program that is more "impact" focused because it was great to be there, but I wanted to help more.

How can this program be improved?
The program could be improved by selecting more clinics so that there aren't 5 volunteers for 2 examination rooms.
Yes, I recommend
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Karen
9/10

Genuine & Caring

Maximo Nivel ensures your well-being is considered at all times from the beginning, middle and the end of your trip. The staff are all alike - they are approachable, genuinely caring and and you can tell they really are out there wanting to make a difference in the programs that they are implementing. My placement took place in a government sponsored kindergarten ages 3-5 years old for two weeks. I would take a 20 min bus ride to the site where I would assist the teacher in lesson plans, arts & crafts, lunch and playtime. The greatest highlight, no doubt, were the kids - how sweet and loving they were. They would help me sweep, walk me to the bus stop and give me kisses and hugs every morning to say hello. Although the greatest challenge was the language barrier (because my Spanish is little to none), it was not a problem for them, although I did wish I was able to respond as they were quite chatty.

How can this program be improved?
Longer program durations, it seems that most programs are 3-4 hours long, which made it feel like I didn´t do too much. I know that there were other programs offered in the afternoon if you wanted to take on two, but not many were available.
Yes, I recommend
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Pierre
9/10

Great fun working at the zoo!

Had a lot of fun working with the animals, its a little sad to see the poor conditions they are living in but great to be able to make a little difference in their everyday life, I was blown away by the variety of species they have and delighted to be able to interact with them. I wish I could have made a bigger difference by helping raising money but will do my best to raise awareness on the importance of wildlife conservation, would definalty recommend the program to any animal lovers!

How can this program be improved?
I wish the tasks werent as repetitive, everyday is the same thing except from the occasional animal escape which makes the program even more interesting! I feel like eventhough our help is very much appreciated, more could be done to help the zoo such as organising events to raise funds or for example educating nearby schools about the importance of wildlife for the ecosystems or even getting volunteers with internet access to help set up a facebook page and that sort of things to increase outside help to the project.
Yes, I recommend
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klj
9/10

Memoriable

Organization of the medical campaign was great. I felt useful and that I made a difference.

The early mornings made for an extra long day and also made it difficult to adjust to the altitude/environment/time change/flight/etc. Being able to meet a little later in the morning and maybe working later in the day could allow more time to adjust. Being ready by 7-8am is much more reasonable than 3-5am.

How can this program be improved?
The early morning start times. And machu picchu was too early.
Yes, I recommend
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Austin
10/10

Once in a lifetime trip!

My trip to Cusco, Peru became an adventure I will never forget. As we were building the community center, we became friends with many of the local children and we also were able to play soccer with a variety of locals. My group was able to accomplish a great deal while only being in Cusco for a week. Marco was a great construction manager and we had great support from the individuals at Maximo Nivel. It really surprised me how great of an organization Maximo Nivel really is and how great their employees are. However, I really thought Mark was a massive help on a day to day basis with our work and also outside of our work. Mark provided us with information and directions on the best places to go in Cusco, and numerous times fully answered our continuous list of questions. Without Mark, our Cusco trip would not have been the once in a lifetime trip it was.

How can this program be improved?
Create an end of the week meal to celebrate what has been accomplished.
Yes, I recommend
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Josiah
10/10

Maximo Nivel FTW

I had an absolutely incredible experience volunteering in Cusco, Peru with Maximo Nivel. Setting up a clinic in a remote village, volunteering in orphanages and a home for abandoned seniors, working in a medical lab doing HIV, TB, pregnancy, and blood testing, and hands-on volunteering in a zoo full of exotic primates, colorful birds, and a feisty Llama were some of the most incredible volunteering opportunities I have had. When we weren't volunteering, we were having just as much fun touring the historic capital city of the Inca empire, Cusco, or going on a 3-day trek to Machu Picchu, or enjoying the exciting night life in Plaza Del Armas. I highly recommend this affordable agency full of fantastic people like Mark, Josue, Catherine, Sylvia, and Heather who really care about the volunteers and the projects they work on. It doesn't get any better than Maximo Nivel!

Yes, I recommend
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Ashton
10/10

Te Extrano Maximo Nivel

Volunteering through Maximo Nivel in Cusco, Peru was an amazing experience. I taught English at an institution called Qosko Maki, which operates primarily as a shelter for homeless youth but also offers English classes to locals in the evenings. Students of all ages come in with varying degrees of English competence and choose the volunteer with whom they want to learn from. Attendance is not mandatory and on any given day I can have as few as one student or as many as 15. Classes are, therefore, quite informal and students usually dictate what is taught each night. I got lucky at my placement because my students were mostly adults and were already at an intermediate English level. Super convenient for me because I didn't know any Spanish. I was able to communicate with them outside of the classroom and most Friday nights we would go out to Temple or other nightclubs after classes. On Birthday's or when volunteers would leave, we'd always cut class short and have a mini party. I loved my students and miss them very much.

The beauty of Maximo Nivel is that they are SO flexible. I went on 3 major treks/trips during my 2 month tenure in Cusco without any issue. I went on the Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu, to Arequipa to hike Colca Canyon and finally to Tambopata to experience the Amazon Rainforest. Just let them know in advance and there shouldn't be an issue with you taking time off your placement.

What else can I tell you...I lived in a homestay which was great because it forced me to learn Spanish. I loved my house parents and their adorable grandkids (although I think they only liked me because I kept giving them candy). I took private Spanish lessons at Maximo Nivel every morning for 2 hours and also had the unique opportunity to learn from a tandem partner; a mutually beneficial arrangement with a local, where I speak to him in Spanish and he speaks to me in English. That was a neat experience. My tandem and I would go out for breakfast, go to historical sites and even went to the bar a couple of times. Really interesting way to learn more about the local culture and to practice what I learned in class.

I recommend this program without reservation to anyone interested in travelling abroad and learning a different culture while having some fun. I love the friends I made in Cusco (volunteers and students). I want to go back!

How can this program be improved?
Maximo Nivel needs to be a bit more strict with their volunteers. Part of the appeal is its flexibility but I noticed that some volunteers took advantage of that and rarely went to placement. That's about it. Really great program. Love the staff. Josue is a pretty sweet field manager.
Yes, I recommend
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Sjones
9/10

Hogar de las Estrellas Special Needs Orphanage

Great project! This was a fantastic cause and this experience opened my eyes to the vast needs of the special needs population in Peru. I am working on expanding my experience by collecting donations in the states to send to the orphanage.

How can this program be improved?
1) The volunteer program was fantastic!
2) The Spanish classes lacked organization and rigor.
3) I had issues with the recommened travel organization and would NOT USE WORLDWIDE EXOTIC ADVENTURES! Book your excursions on your own.
Yes, I recommend
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Kim
9/10

Cusco, Peru-Childcare and Jungle Programs

I loved both programs during my six weeks and the program staff was always great! I started in an after school program and loved working with the kids. Some spanish is necessary, basic is okay, we did a lot of math and reading. Consistency of volunteering hours from day to day was also a must for an effective relationship with both the teachers and kids.

The jungle was fantastic! The work was good, we did some reforestation, walked trails to document wildlife, and some construction projects. The food was great-all vegetarian. The bungalow we stayed in was open, but all beds had mosquito netting for the many many insects that occupy the jungle. There was no electricity, so people had time to read, play cards, etc. A small town was just a ten minute walk away (snacks, no internet), a larger town with internet was a 20 minute taxi ride away.

How can this program be improved?
To include at least one week of Spanish lessons in the program fee, and possibly make it specific to the program. My vocabulary was very different for the jungle than it was for childcare, but I found that in both, I used some phrases over and over again. For example, with the after school program, a fourth grade math lesson (how to say: add, subtract, multipy, divide, convert, fractions...) in spanish would have been very quick/easy and would allow a volunteer to jump right in on math homework from day one and build from there into other subjects.
Yes, I recommend
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LissVal
9/10

Cusco - Childcare Program

The overall program was great. I really liked my placement and the experiences that I got from it. Working the little girls and the teacher in a classroom seating made it easier in regards of the planning of activities for the day. Everybody at Maximo and the school placement was very kind and helpful, and happy to have us there to help them out. My host family was wonderful too. Always open to questions and very warm and kind. The food was delicious. I will totally recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing that I will suggest is to make future volunteers aware that knowing the basics of the native language in any program (in this case Spanish) will help them out big time. I think that those that didn't speak any Spanish and were just starting to learn it, wouldn't get as much out of the experience as those who did speak a little bit and were able to help out even more while interacting with the locals.
Yes, I recommend
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Rachael
9/10

Maximo Nivell - Cusco

This whole experience was incredible. The placement was challenging, working with kids from very different backgrounds, yet when you see them understand something or enjoy themselves it makes it worth it. Maximo staff were so supportive of any challenges I encountered. In the second half of my placement time, the project was taken over by a spanish only speaker, where my spanish is poor it was difficult to communicate. Maximo sent a member of their staff to all the meetings we had and they came regularly to placement to reduce the language barrier. It was very helpful and supportive of Maximo. Their facilities in the Maximo building were appropriate to the needs of the volunteers. The accommodation was amazing, It felt like being in a 5* hotel with the care and services offered to us.
Overall, the projects are very well organised in an amazing and beautiful city. I wish I could go back!

How can this program be improved?
I would make the Spanish lessons more relevant and accessible to beginners. I found them a little bit too difficult and it would be better to be taught things we would actually need, rather than random phrases.
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...