Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Peru

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About

With an extensive coastline, a vast area of Amazon rainforest and the Andes, Peru gives you the opportunity to visit South America and see much of its character in one country: wildlife, beaches, historical sites and mountains.

Join us in our Archaeology project to learn more about the Incan & Wari civilization, work in the heart of the Amazon in our Rainforest Conservation program, or help improve the lives of local children in a Care, Sports, or Teaching project. You can also intern in Medicine & Healthcare fields and boost up your resume!

Visit our website for more information!

Questions & Answers

During my stay in Peru, I didn't travel to the rainforest, but I would think it is best to dress in layers depending on the weather and time of year travelled there (nothing too heavy as it will probably get warm there). Also, definitely important to have bug spray/mosquito repellent or some kind of netting for protection from the different insects in the rainforest.
I did my volunteer abroad 7 years ago and at the Animal Conservation in Peru so my perspective may be a little different, but while I was there volunteers are supervised to an extent. However volunteers are left alone when not working which is quite often, and its hard for new volunteers who don't know much of the area. Doing more group activities not related with volunteering would help people...

Reviews

89%
based on 22 reviews
  • Impact 8
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.1
  • Value 8.6
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 22
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Shannon
8/10

Peru conservation

Over the spring break, I went to the Taricaya Ecological reserve in Peru, and I loved it! This was technically meant for university students, however Projects Abroad was super accommodating and still let me go even though I am in high school. I received lots of information and my contact was incredibly helpful, and answered all of my questions quickly and thoroughly. They offered to book flights for me and sent me an option, but I ended up finding a cheaper option and booking them myself. Once I arrived in Peru, there were always staff around who were very helpful and kind. I loved working Taricaya, doing research and conservation work, and I felt like I was genuinely being helpful, rather than just volunteering to make myself feel good. The only thing that I wish could be improved is the overall cost, as it was a little expensive. All in all, I had a fantastic time, and Projects Abroad was very helpful during my travels.

How can this program be improved?
Cheaper Cost
Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Shannon. Thanks for sharing! We are indeed very flexible in terms of dates and projects. It's great that you were able to join us in Peru over your Spring Break. This is such a unique project and volunteers' help is much needed and appreciated. The cost of the program does include a lot more than what may be at the sight, so not only does it include the arrangement of your project, housing, insurance and food, but also the support from our staff 24/7, the partnership with the reserve, materials, training and workshop, and so much more! You do get a discount as a member of our alumni community so hopefully you can join us again in another one of our projects soon!

Yes, I recommend
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Daniel
8/10

Great volunteer experience in Cusco, Peru

I was part of a group of volunteers from the company I work for, and we had the great opportunity to be in Cusco, Peru doing some volunteer activities.
Before the trip, Projects Abroad assistant was very helpfull, we got to know the weather, traditions, type of food, money system, among others, ahead of time; that gave us the chance to be prepared and bring the right clothes for the trip.
In our volunteer activities, we helped in basic level schools, doing some projects with the kids and helping teachers with their classes, it was a very satisfying experience. Kids were very happy and they always participated. As a part of our volunteer duties, we helped painting part of the wall schools and desks.
From day one, Projects Abroad staff was there to assist us, since we got off the plane, they were waiting for us with transportation ready, they took us to our host family homes with a quick tour of the city. They'd be ready everyday with our daily plan and activities, on the afternoons, we'd have a meeting and feedback of our journey. It's essential to know the places we'd go, and situation we'd experience, with their help we were definitevly be more safe and calm, knowing that they're proffesionals and are there for us.
I'd reccomend to know the wheather depending the time of year you're going, so you could be prepared with right clothing. June and July are the coldest months.
It's definitevly a one-life time experience, Peru's landscapes of rainforest, mountains and of course Machu Picchu, are the extra ingredient to have a great volunteer experience. Go for it!

How can this program be improved?
I'd suggest to calculate more accurate the transportation time, considering local traffic, roads conditions and distances in the city, so the activities in the schools could last longer.
Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Daniel.
Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Peru! We are always happy to hear that our staff is helpful and welcoming - they love having you on board and making your adjustment to your new environment as smooth as possible.
We understand that there are some external factors beyond our control, such as traffic and weather conditions, but we are always happy to offer additional ways to make the most out of your time abroad in your project.

Thanks for sharing!

Yes, I recommend
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Lindsay
10/10

I loved Peru!

My 4-week volunteer placement in Peru was the most enjoyable experience I have had abroad. Not only did I stay with an amazing family who welcomed me into their home with open arms, and make relationships with the greatest support staff in Urubamba/Cusco - but I spent my weekdays in a Kindergarten classroom with wonderful children. I spent time working alongside the teacher and she encouraged me to get involved by teaching games and basic lessons, in both English and Spanish. It was great to be involved and help out where I could. It is a placement I would do again and again, and an experience I will never forget!

Yes, I recommend
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Tessa
10/10

Best Four Weeks of my Life

Volunteering at Taricaya with Projects Abroad was one of the best months of my life. From the hands on activities to the supportive staff, I could not have asked for a better experience! It was amazing to be able to meet so many people from all over the world and to work with them to further the conservation of the rainforest.

All of the staff was so knowledgeable and ready to teach the volunteers everything they could. I learned so much not only about the Peruvian rainforest and animals that live there, but also about cultures and languages from all over the world. When we weren’t doing activities, the staff was more than happy to talk about their experience and what they have learned over the years and even sometimes gave lectures about their specialties.

The accommodations and food were great as well. Granted, they may have taken some getting used to, but the bungalows come to feel like home before long. I would recommend picking up some food in town if you are used to having snacks- but there is always a bowl of fruit and bread and jam to eat if you get hungry.

The weekends were a great time to go into town to get wifi and a change of pace. The staff is very helpful in getting you checked into a hotel and giving recommendations of things to do and places to eat. A few friends and I even took a weekend trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu and the staff was very helpful in the planning process and in giving recommendations for where to go and stay and the best ways to go about getting to Machu Picchu.

All in all, I would not trade my month at Taricaya with Projects Abroad for anything! It was absolutely an amazing month and I learned so much! If you’re interesting in the rainforest and are okay with not living in 5-star conditions and doing some manual labor this trip is definitely for you. I would recommend volunteering at Taricaya in a heartbeat! Oh, but don’t forget DEET because you can’t buy any good stuff there.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by having more prep for the accommodations- other than that it was pretty near perfect.
Yes, I recommend
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Amanda
10/10

Amazing Experience in Peru!

What an amazing experience it was travelling and volunteering in Peru through Projects Abroad! The staff members of the organization were truly wonderful and supportive before applying and during the placement, always ready to give advice and answer any questions. This past June, I travelled to Peru for four weeks on the teaching placement. I was both nervous and excited during my travels and once I arrived at my destination; however, the Projects Abroad staff, my host family and the volunteers all made the transition into this new and beautiful culture much easier! It was truly amazing to live with a host family during my stay in the town of Urubamba. They were so welcoming from the day I arrived. I loved learning and speaking a little bit of Spanish with them, while also learning more about the Peruvian culture.
My teaching placement took place in a secondary school in the town of Ollantaytambo. I will always remember the bus ride to the school, seeing the beautiful mountains surrounding the towns we passed through! It was a challenging, but rewarding experience having the opportunity to teach the students conversational English. The moments I will always cherish was seeing the growth in the students’ learning after a lesson and how grateful they were for my help. On my last day, the students in my classes sang songs in their native tongue as a thank you for the time I spent working with them. No matter the duration of your stay, you will always make a difference in the lives of the students you have the opportunity to teach! Having had the opportunity to live in Peru was very different from home, but is an opportunity I am so grateful to have experienced. I loved the feeling of learning about and adapting to a new culture and environment and meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world. During my weekends, I always enjoyed meeting with the other volunteers and travelling to Cusco, and the other towns seeing the many different ruins. The four weeks I was there definitely didn’t feel long enough to see and experience the beauty this country has to offer, so next time I would definitely go for a longer duration. Having had the opportunity to travel to a new country and be a part of a culture so unlike my own was a true blessing and continues to remind me of how lucky we are. I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity and am so happy I chose to experience it through Projects Abroad. Thank you Projects Abroad for the amazing memories!

Yes, I recommend
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Ross
6/10

VERY concerned parents

As parents, we were SHOCKED at how little adult supervision there was on the programs. Our child went on what we'd thought was a generally supervised program for 16-19 year olds. Instead, we discovered that the Projects Abroad teens were on their own almost every night, ending up drunk at the local bars and discos 3-4 nights per week! LOTS of drugs being offered to the tourists, and no Projects abroad adults anywhere around.

We paid for the Projects Abroad meal plan, and learned that the first three dinners served were: (1) cake and hot chocolate, (2) plain bread, and (3) a slice of bread and spam. After the kids finally complained that they weren't getting enough food to live on, the meals improved a bit, but our child spent a significant amount of additional money just buying FOOD.

We liked that Projects Abroad promised that our child would stay with a local host family, to learn about the Peruvian culture and get a local experience, but most of the kids on the program were simply put up in a hotel. The Medical program was supposed to be shadowing doctors for two weeks, but there was only four total days of that - the rest was mostly busy work. Not quite the hands-on experience we were promised.

One P.A. student spent 1.5 of her two weeks sick in the hospital with a nasty stomach bug she picked up, possibly from the unfiltered brown tap water. Another kid ended up going to the hospital after getting into a bar fight with another Projects Abroad student.

We spent a LOT of money on two separate two-week Peru programs and felt that the P.A. overall supervision was seriously inadequate. I could go on and on about the two Peru programs, but, in summary, as a parent, I wouldn't recommend sending my teens on a Projects Abroad program. We're not especially nervous parents, but we don't feel that the program was NEARLY safe enough to send kids that far away.

Response from Projects Abroad

Thank you for highlighting your concerns. It is only through honest feedback that we can continue to improve the services that we provide for thousands of volunteers each year.

As we discussed with you privately, we have taken additional steps to ensure that our expectations for participant behaviour are better explained and more strictly enforced throughout the trip – including offering more optional social activities with our staff in the evening instead of spending time with local host families, and following stricter disciplinary procedures in the case of inappropriate behaviour by participants.

We are confident that these changes will ensure that High School Special volunteers experience a new culture in a safe, structured environment.

Claire Howlett

Operations Manager
(Tanzania, Kenya, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia)

No, I don't recommend
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Cassie
10/10

Projects Abroad Peru

I first heard about Projects Abroad through my university. I was looking to complete a Poverty Studies internship internationally and Projects Abroad was one of the recommended organizations. Peru was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life, and I have Projects Abroad to thank for organizing it and being with me every step of the way before I even boarded the plane. All the host families I met were so warm and loving and I was also very lucky because I immediately fell in love with my placements. I taught English to students in a secondary school and served as a volleyball coach and mentor to 10-11 year old girls. Both of these programs were fun and incredibly rewarding and Projects Abroad was always there if I needed help with anything. They even offered teaching workshops to help the teachers come up with activities for their lessons. Overall Peru was a great area to be located and I was lucky to meet great volunteers during my stay. My one complaint would be the price but I definitely think every penny was worth the experience.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would be the price of the program. Airfare was not included in the program and it makes it hard for young people to afford volunteering internationally. However, I really think it is the type of experience worth spending money on as long as you go into it with the understanding that traveling to a foreign country is expensive.
Yes, I recommend
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Laura
9/10

Inca Project - Peru

This past summer, I was in Peru for two weeks working with the Inca Project. The project was based in a small town called Huyro. I absolutely loved my time on the Inca Project. Living in a simple concrete house near the mountain where excavations and most of the work takes place, the community of volunteers and local archaeologists welcomed me into the fascinating project. Though only in Peru for two weeks, a lot of new experiences and friendships were made. The support of the staff was perfect. From the very first moment I was picked up at the airport to the last sad goodbyes at both the project and the airport, the right amount of independence and guidance was given to me. Excavations on the mountain were the most interesting part of the trip. Clearing around the structures and discovering bits and pieces of ceramics and pottery, the archaeologists lead the group in uncovering hidden parts of the past. Some days on the mountain had to be delayed because of raining or too much moisture on the excavation site. Even with a couple set-backs on the mountain, we always had other work to pursue. Exploring and maintaining the structures on the mountain as well as clearing the grounds with machetes also filled our day-time activities throughout those two weeks. Little bits of house work around 'El Establo' were spread throughout the days. On my weekend, we traveled to Aguas Calientes to hike around the majestic Machu Picchu which was beautiful and a nice break from some of the manual work back at El Establo. Our meals were prepared with typical Peruvian foods such as rice, soups, beans, and potatoes with the occasional western foods tossed in once in awhile. My experience was wonderful - I learned a surprisingly large amount of Spanish and had a memorable adventure learning more about archaeology and even myself. I would encourage anyone to go!

Yes, I recommend
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Katya
10/10

AMAZING TRIP

This past april i went to Peru for 2 week to work on my Spanish skills abroad. This was a last minute decision and while signing up i was really nervous of how the trip would go but the staff was so helpful over the phone for the month prior to the trip. I spoke to destination staff who helped me by providing me with all the important information including emergency numbers, contacts and host family information. My travels went smoothly and i was picked up at the Cuzco airport by a Projects-Abroad staff who spoke English so i wouldnt have any problems communicating. Carlos was very helpful and showed me all the interesting places in Cuzco to visit on the weekends. The drive to the town i was staying in (Pisac) was beautiful and informational I found out lots of interesting information on the history and the future of the country. When i got to my host family's house, Carlos introduced me to everyone and left me with more information including when my classes start how to contact him , my teacher and the head of staff in Peru and gave me some ideas for activities to do on my first day. I felt very welcome and although I was alone in a new place i felt i had a lot of support from the Projects- Abroad staff which helped my trip run smoothly. Every day i would meet my spanish teacher at the chosen place and we would have our classes in the market or at a cafe so that i could use my spanish skills to interact better and have full on conversations. My teacher; professor Herman catered to my learning needs to the fullest and I greatly appreciated his teaching style. Overall, I would definetly recommend for others to travel abroad with Projects-Abroad they are my number one choice and i will travel with them again for sure!

How can this program be improved?
If i had to change one thing i would change the fact that i only went for 2 weeks because i wish i could've experienced more. I also with that you could book excursions through the actual Projects-Abroad company as opposed to outside companies, although they did help me to book with other companies i thought it might be easier.
Yes, I recommend
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Abby
10/10

Projects Abroad Care Program - Peru

I spent 4 months in Peru from September to December, 2012. I loved every minute of my stay in Peru. I was living with a host family in a village called Pisac. Pisac is about an hour away from Cusco and is a beautiful little town with a daily crafts market. From Pisac it was easy to travel other places and it was fun to just explore Pisac, which is beautiful. My host family was amazing! Although I did not speak any Spanish when I arrived and they did not speak any English, they made me feel welcomed and part of their family from the very first day. For the first two weeks of my stay, I took thirty hours of Spanish. These were intensive private Spanish classes with a teacher from Projects Abroad. She helped me gain a basic knowledge of Spanish so that I could speak with my family and, after the first two weeks, start working in a kindergarten in a town called San Salvador, which is ten minutes from Pisac. During my time teaching, I also took another 60 hours of private Spanish classes at the same time.
My time in the kindergarten was great! I worked with a classroom that had 18 five-year-olds in it. Although I didn't speak Spanish at the beginning, by the end I was able to lead the class in Spanish - teaching them how to add, write letters, and work on coloring. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to work with these children.
A typical day for me consisted of breakfast at 7:30 am, working at the kindergarten from about 8 am to 1 pm, family lunch at 1:30, Spanish class from 3 to 6, and dinner at 7, then I would watch TV with the family and go to bed. Sometimes, I would not have Spanish because I would go to workshops provided by Projects Abroad to share ideas and suggestions about how to best work in the kindergartens. These were great because the Projects Abroad staff is extremely supportive in every way. And other days there would be social events in different towns where I would be able to join with other Projects Abroad volunteers and staff members and hike, cook, or hangout.
I loved my experience with Projects Abroad because the program is set up really well - you are always supported by the wonderful staff and there are so many opportunities to really experience the culture. And Peru is an awesome place to be!

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing about the program I would want the Projects Abroad staff to check in on me at my host family once a week for my entire stay. They did this once a week for the first four weeks, which was very helpful because they were able to translate for me and answer questions, but they stopped coming after the first month. Although I wish they had come to my house throughout my whole stay, they did come to my kindergarten once a week, so I was still able to check in with them and ask them questions about work and home.
Yes, I recommend
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Britt
10/10

Volunteer near Cusco in the care program

I had a lot of fun during my voluntary work in Peru, I worked at a small school near Cusco in a small town called Calca. It was a quit town but in the neighbor cities there where many things to do and see. Such as Machu Picchu, Cusco city and all the beautiful ruines which where build by the inca's. During the week I worked at the school, I helped the teacher with all daily activities, I also teached english to the children and with lunch I was taking care of all the kids, not always easy since they do not have the same manors as we know most children have in western countries. Then during these weeks I set up a program with another american girl to improve the children behavior by rewarding them for doing things good and behaving like expected. This showed us that we can change a thing and we really helped the teacher with it, now her work is less stressful. During my time in Peru all the teachers in the Cusco region went on strike. So I also did one month of community work. This was fun we painted and cleaned an orphan house for abandoned children together with all the volunteers. We also had play days with the kids from the boys school and showed them a lot of fun things! It was a wonderful experience, I learned spanish, I learned about myself and about what an amazing culture Peru includes, I would advice anyone to go there!

How can this program be improved?
I wish I could have stayed longer
Yes, I recommend
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Anon
9/10

Volunteer near Cusco in the care program

I had a lot of fun during my voluntary work in Peru, I worked at a small school near Cusco in a small town called Calca. It was a quit town but in the neighbor cities there where many things to do and see. Such as Machu Picchu, Cusco city and all the beautiful ruines which where build by the inca's. During the week I worked at the school, I helped the teacher with all daily activities, I also teached english to the children and with lunch I was taking care of all the kids, not always easy since they do not have the same manors as we know most children have in western countries. Then during these weeks I set up a program with another american girl to improve the children behavior by rewarding them for doing things good and behaving like expected. This showed us that we can change a thing and we really helped the teacher with it, now her work is less stressful. During my time in Peru all the teachers in the Cusco region went on strike. So I also did one month of community work. This was fun we painted and cleaned an orphan house for abandoned children together with all the volunteers. We also had play days with the kids from the boys school and showed them a lot of fun things! It was a wonderful experience, I learned spanish, I learned about myself and about what an amazing culture Peru includes. I would advice anyone to go there!

How can this program be improved?
I wished for a spanish course before I went there just small things and sentences which could help me out more in the beginning fase of my period there.
Yes, I recommend
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Erin
8/10

Midwifery in Peru

Projects Abroad is an extremely well organized and supportive program. They offer a myriad of different hands-on volunteer opportunities in everything from teaching to dentistry. I signed up for the midwifery program in Cuzco, Peru, one of the very few midwifery abroad programs available to students like myself. Projects Abroad contacted me shortly after I signed up with my host family's information and work placement. When I arrived in Cuzco, I was picked up by a staff member, who gave me a quick tour of the city and introduced me to my host family. I spent the next three months working in a public health clinic in a small town about 30 minutes from Cuzco. I was paired up with an obstetrician, and assisted in everything from prenatal exams to live birth. Staff from Projects Abroad were always available to call and often stopped by my house or workplace to check in with me, which I found comforting. They also organized weekly events for volunteers to get together and participate in outings, such as tango lessons or hiking. It was a great way to meet fellow volunteers, and created community. Some of my closest friends in Peru I met through Projects Abroad too! Overall, if you want to travel abroad, be insured a place to stay, and guaranteed hands-on work in your field, I would strongly recommend contacting Projects Abroad.

How can this program be improved?
One negative experience I had with Projects Abroad occurred when a staff member called my host family to tell them I was being treated in a clinic, without asking my permission to do so first. It became a problem when my host family was very upset with me for not telling them I wasn't feeling well.
Yes, I recommend
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Djova
10/10

Viva el Peru Glorioso!

My trip to Peru was one of the most amazing experiences ever. I fell in love with the country and it's people, language, traditions,... My volunteer job, as an english teacher was wonderful and so rewarding. The kids were absolutely adorable, and deserve so much more. But I didn't approve of the Projects Abroad organisation, and was very disappointed in them. They cost a fortune, which is not necessary, so I really wonder where my money went. And they were trying to impose occidental views and ways of learning/living without taking much consideration of the locals point of view and problems. The other volunteers were too ethnocentric, and practically never tried to integrate the local communities or take part in local activities (eat a menu, ceviche, lomo saltado, drink chicha,...), they mainly just stayed together. On my own, I met the most incredible and caring cusqueños, and dream to go back and see them again, and do some volunteer work of my own, because I know there is plenty to do there, and way more to discover.

No, I don't recommend
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Raquel
9/10

Peru with projects abroad

My trip to peru to volunteer with projects abroad was amazing. The staff was very helpful from the time they picked me up in cusco untill I left. They showed me everything I needed to get to and from my placement and to get around town. If I needed anything I could call someone at all times. Living with a local host family was a huge highlight of my trip. I would definitely recommend this program.

Yes, I recommend

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About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is a global organization formed around the need for gap year programs abroad designed for students taking a break from studying. Since its inception, Projects Abroad has expanded to offer high school volunteer programs, and a vast...