Volunteer Abroad in Peru - United Planet: 1-12 Weeks
86% Rating
(11 Reviews)

Volunteer Abroad in Peru - United Planet: 1-12 Weeks

United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your group a life-changing opportunity to interact with local communities through customized work experiences, cultural activities, and home stays. United Planet Quests are offered in more than 25 countries from 1-52 weeks.

Volunteer in a variety of different locations while immersing yourself in the Peruvian culture. As the birthplace of many ancient empires, many beautiful monuments and traditions remain from those times. Volunteers will live in Cusco, the old Incan capital, enveloped by the Andes Mountains.

Weeks Min.
Weeks Max
Age Min.
Spring Break
Year Round
Small Group (1-15)
Medium Group (16-30)
Large Group (31+)
Host Family
Starting Price
Price Details
* Host family
* 3 Meals a day
* Devoted support from the United Planet team
* Travel insurance
* Pre-departure training
* 1-way transfer from airport to UP's partner office for briefing
* Orientation, mid-Quest check-in, final evaluation
* Language lessons
* Historical, cultural and recreational excursions
* Global Caring Award upon successful Quest completion
* United Planet t-shirt or hoodie sweatshirt

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 8.3
  • Support 7.8
  • Fun 8.2
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
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Wildlife help

I was posted in Pisac, Peru at Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. I had volunteered at a veterinary clinic at home in Houston, but I had no idea how to care for exotic animals. Thankfully, the staff were incredibly nice and showed me how to do everything. I already was fluent in Spanish coming into the program, but while I was in Peru I was able to solidify my language skills through complete immersion. I stayed with a host family in Cusco, who made me traditional Peruvian dishes. On the way home from work, I would often tour the city and try to eat new things or bargain with street vendors. I am so thankful that I did this program because it encouraged me to be independent and create my own sense of identity.

How can this program be improved?

more in-country activities

Response from United Planet

Lorraine, thank you for your feedback! We're so glad to hear that you had the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Peruvian culture, improve your Spanish language skills, and learn about yourself in the process. We would love for you to stay involved with United Planet in the future!

Yes, I recommend
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Peru is Such an Amazing Place

Peru is so beautiful. There are so many historical buildings and ruins, you could spend weeks there just exploring it all. Volunteering at the after school program was a lot of fun. The kids were so sweet and eager to learn. Also, my Spanish classes were very fun and my understanding of the language improved greatly. Machu Picchu is also a must and I recommend taking the train there because the scenery is breath taking. I enjoyed every single minute and would definitely return!

How can this program be improved?

Better communication with the staff located in Peru.

Response from United Planet

McKensie, we appreciate you sharing about your experience in Peru. We are glad that you enjoyed volunteering at an after school program and that you were able to improve your Spanish skills. Also, thank you for your feedback. We are always trying to improve our programs to provide the best experiences to our volunteers.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing

My experience with United Planet was marvelous. I arrived in Peru with no idea what to expect. Although the pre-departure sessions and all my back and forth with staff had been extensive and gratefully appreciated, nothing can prepare you for landing alone in a third world airport at the un-travelled age of 17. I will admit I was slightly panicky, and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I met my host family and started to feel a little more settled after having a home base at both my Spanish school and my home-stay. Once the shock wore off, my adventure really began. I have always been bothered by people who come back from life changing experiences and simply say "it can not be put into words", but I am beginning to understand where they are coming from. None the less, I am going to do my best and try to paint a picture of my time away from home.

I have made some of the best memories during my quest, and my stay in Peru was and always will be a monumental time in my life. I feel that I made a real difference in the lives of the children in my project, and I can say without a doubt that they had (and are continuing to have)a huge impact in mine. I felt immersed in the culture and lives of the Peruvian families. My excursion to Machupicchu was an amazing and spiritually enhancing experience. I will forever cherish the memories of my day at the monumental Inkan ruins. My overall experience on my United Planet quest to Peru was everything I had hoped for and more. I will have these memories for the rest of my life, and would recommend United Planet to anyone looking for life changing volunteer experience.

Response from United Planet

Thank you for telling about your life changing experiences during your Quest in Peru! It is great to hear about the impact volunteering had on you while at the same time it had a great impact on the Peruvian community. We are happy to have helped create these lifelong memories!

Yes, I recommend
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Horrible Staff

The day to day experiences were great. I had numerous spanish lessons where I learned a bunch. I also volunteered at a project where the kids were amazing and inspirational. My host family was very welcoming as well.

However, the organization itself is a mess. The volunteer coordinator parked his truck in the space where we held the kids, so every day we had to rearrange the tables to make room for his vehicle. In addition, the truck left oil leaks on the tile which the volunteers were expected to clean up. Numerous times we were locked out of the project and were unable to let the kids or ourselves into the actually classroom.

The organization also made numerous last minute changes and cancellations. My host family was changed just two days before I left my house in the US and we were only notified by email. Had I already bought gifts for the family, this would have been a problem, as the ages and genders of the children were very different. On multiple occasions the scheduled cultural activities were cancelled, usually only after the scheduled (and paid) teacher or mentor didn't show up.

Then there's the intern. Not only is she rude and rather snobby, but she is also extremely unprofessional. On numerous occasions she failed to keep confidentiality when other volunteers made mistakes or broke their contract. In addition, she showed underage volunteers the local clubs and bars, giving her personal opinion on which ones to go to. She failed to act as an authority figure unless her internship was on the line. Only when a higher authority figure stepped in would she properly assume her position.

Response from United Planet

Thank you for your comments and your important service in Cusco. We value all volunteer feedback and we are working with our staff in Peru to improve the program for future volunteers.

No, I don't recommend
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Volunteering in Cusco,Peru

Throughout my quest, I had an amazing experience. I was able to not only volunteer and strengthen my abilities in the healthcare field, but also grow culturally. I had the ability to cooperate in several cultural activities and learn much about the Peruvian culture. My coordinator was amazing. She gave me a full tour of Cusco, and explained safe places to be and some to stay away from. The amount of exploring I was able to do comfortably was great. I hiked up several places in Peru and got explanations on all sites. I also took cooking classes, salsa classes and many spanish classes ... Overall, this trip changed me a lot and has changed my perspective on many things. I had an amazing time.

How can this program be improved?

The price of the program would be the one thing I would change. It is a little too expensive, especially for us young students traveling and dedicating our time to help local communities. Although our money does get put to good use, some cut backs could save us a lot. I also am still a little unclear as to where all of my money went entirely. Otherwise, everything is great with this organization.

Response from United Planet

Thank for posting this review and for your incredible service in Peru! We are glad you had a good experience. More information about our program fees can be found here: http://www.unitedplanet.org/volunteer-abroad/why-pay

Yes, I recommend
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Incredible, Impactful Quest

I find it difficult to express in words the amazing experience I had volunteering with United Planet in Peru. I took a short, 10 day trip, and had the time of my life. Everything about the program met or exceeded my expectations, and I can confidently say that I made an impact in the local community there.

Working with the United Planet coordinators was easy and took all the stress out of planning my trip. They were responsive to my questions, and followed up with me in a timely manner. They also provided virtual trainings online for me before my trip that answered many questions that I didn't even know I had!

My host family in Cuzco was very sweet and they had two young daughters that were a joy to interact with and practice my Spanish with (and help them with their English). They provided me with three very good, authentic meals per day, but I did get the chance to experience the local restaurants and nightlife in the city as well.

Mafred, the United Planet coordinator in Peru is the owner of a Spanish school in Cuzco. Here, I got the chance to make friends with volunteers from all around the world. This was super interesting and not something I was expecting. Manfred and Niko, who worked with Manfred, were so much fun and helped me in so many ways during my time there. Oh, and the Spanish lessons were top notch too.

I had the chance to volunteer at an all girls orphanage that was just a short bus ride from my host family and the Spanish school. The conditions were pretty bad, but that's why they need volunteers, right? All of the kids were so sweet. United Planet advised us to bring along activities for them to do, so I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of school supplies, educational workbooks, and some games. We had a blast and I could really tell that the girls enjoyed having someone there to care about them and interact with them in a meaningful way.

Along with volunteering, United Planet provides excursions to sites around your destination. I got to see all of the Inca ruins around Cuzco, museums, churches, and...oh yeah...Machu Picchu!!! Riding the train through the Andes to Aguas Calientes at the base of MP was like something out of a movie. Actually exploring MP and climbing Huana Picchu was just indescribably incredible. Easily one of the best days of my life.

I would highly recommend United Planet for anyone who is looking to travel and make a difference in the world. I plan on taking another trip this year with United Planet.

Oh, and if you do go to Peru, make sure to order Cuy. ;)

Response from United Planet

Thank you for your comments and your incredible service in Peru!

Yes, I recommend
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Spanish Study, Volunteering, and Sight Seeing

My friends and I were looking at combining our shared interests in travel, volunteering, and learning. Our recent trip to Cusco, Peru organized through United Planet was almost custom tailored to fit what we were looking for!

Ours was a party of four. My friends were travelling with their 3 year old son. Our trip happened to coincide with another family traveling with children, which turned out to have been a great bonus and a new friendship born from this experience.

A typical day consisted of a breakfast made by our host family who ran a guest house. We would walk to our Spanish language class at the San Blas Spanish school, followed lunch back at the guest house. This was our biggest meal of the day and was a great way to fuel for the energy required at the volunteer project. Our afternoon was spent at the Las Molinas Kids Club afterschool program in San Jeronimo. A 30 minute bus ride to this neighborhood brought us to the project where our short walk through the neighborhood where the kids lived. Our walk would be accompanied by kids shouting out greetings and following in tow.

Due to our participation during the school break, our time at the afterschool program was less structured than usual as this was designed to provide an alternative to just playing all day while on break. We would have an hour of instruction consisting of English review or craft projects, followed by an hour of play time.

On the weekend, United Planet had given us the option of booking a tour of Machu Picchu, which we went on with the other family we met. It was a fun and beautiful trip. At the beginning and end of our stay, we were treated to a nice dinner. Our final sight-seeing event was a short walking tour of Cusco and a drive to neighboring sights.

How can this program be improved?

Offer more information about the project site, maybe by putting us in direct contact with the in-country coordinator first by email or phone.

Response from United Planet

Dave, thank you for your comments. We were so happy to hear of your group's successful time in Cusco! And thank you for the constructive feedback - this is how we improve our information and programs for our volunteers and host communities.

Yes, I recommend
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My Summer in Peru

I went to Cusco, Peru through United Planet for eight weeks after I graduated college. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life. I think traveling will always be my favorite thing to do, but I also think a program can either hinder or enhance your experience. I am so glad I chose to go through United Planet, which is why I have decided to write a review. I feel so strongly about how well they planned and conducted the whole experience.
Upon arriving in Cusco, I was greeted at the airport by my host family. My host family was amazing!! I cannot say enough nice things about them. I thought I was so lucky, but other volunteers and I would tease that we had the best family, so it seemed like everyone felt the same as I did! My entire stay at their home I felt comfortable and cared for. We had three home cooked meals everyday. I am a vegetarian and United Planet made the effort to place me in a home where they were willing to provide those style meals for me. I was so grateful and it was never an issue.
I worked for 5 weeks at a womens shelter. Those girls challenged me everyday and although some days I felt discouraged or saddened by their situations, I learned SO much from them and feel they felt the same way about me. I made some great connections with the girls and it was through this program that I learned how much I enjoyed tutoring English, which is something I am currently pursuing at home. The last three weeks I spent volunteering at an Animal Sanctuary. This had not been my original plan but there were some openings for volunteers at the site and United Planet allowed me to switch over. I loved working here! We were outside all day. I gave tours to English tourists and helped the owners with their English. We painted, cleaned, cared for the animals and cleaned trash out of the river. It was a great experience.
I also took Spanish classes while I was there as part of the program. These classes far and above exceeded my expectations. The classes consisted of myself and one or two other students and the professor. This setup allowed for a great deal of personal attention and encouraged us to speak much more than a typical class at home. I could not believe how much my Spanish improved after only eight weeks!
There were also weekly cultural activities throughout my time. I loved these because I felt like it was a great way to learn about the culture and meet other volunteers. The cultural activities were also at the school which became a great hub for meeting other volunteers. We took cooking classes, a Quechua language class, origami, and salsa dancing. I loved it! We also went on three amazing excursions. We took a weekend trip to Macchu Picchu which was absolutely amazing. I still cannot believe that I was able to have that experience. We stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes and then hiked Macchu Picchu the next day. There was a group of about 8-10 of us which made it a really fun trip. We also went horseback riding for an excursion and white water rafting. White water rafting was one of the best days of my life! We spent the whole day out there and it was beautiful. We wore wet suits and jumped off a boulder into the river. After we finished for the day we were served a huge, delicious lunch and even got to go ziplining!
I can honestly say everything about my trip went smoothly and I would definitely travel through United Planet again. The only issue I encountered throughout my stay was that I got sick, which is obviously completely out of United Planets control. However, when this happened I called the in-country coordinator and she actually came and picked me up and personally took me to the doctor and waited the entire time with me. And then checked in on me for the next few days until I was better. I also received an email from the coordinators in the Boston offices checking in on me to see how I was feeling. I just thought this was above and beyond what anyone had to do for me and I don't think I would get that through another program. I am so grateful for my time in Peru. I met so many wonderful people and still keep in touch with my host family and several volunteers. I highly, highly recommend traveling and volunteering through United Planet.

Response from United Planet

We appreciate you sharing about your experience in Cusco, Alison! And we thank you for your hard work and openness to the local culture and experience!

Yes, I recommend
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children's clinic in cusco

I volunteered for 12 weeks at Clínica San Juan de Dios in Cusco, Peru. It was the experience of a lifetime. This is a clinic that provides housing/care for children with mental and/or physical disabilities, as well as serves the poorer outskirts of Cusco as an outpatient clinic with several specialty doctors. During my time in the clinic I was able to move between the different areas of the clinic and participate in multiple different aspects. I did everything from filing to playing with children to triaging patients (being a RN in the US). I felt so welcome at the clinic and could tell my work was making a difference even if it was something as simple as making a child smile.

During my entire 12 weeks in Cusco I was lucky enough to live in a homestay, where I quickly became part of the family. We all ate breakfast lunch and dinner together in the house and the family was there to help with anything I needed; as well as just to talk and hang out with. I was lucky enough to live in a family with a daughter my same age, we became fast friends, and I went on to meet and hang out with all her friends from the city. Being that Cusco is a necessary stop for all travelers heading to Machu Picchu, there are also many tourists and a very big nightlife scene.

During the week I did my volunteer work as well as took Spanish classes that were included with the program. Through the spanish school there were weekly activities that were offered to get to know the other volunteers, such as bar-tending classes, cooking classes, game nights, and movie nights. Which were a great way to spend free time as well as meet other volunteers. On the weekends I had free time to do whatever I wanted. The program provided me with trips white water rafting, a tour of the sacred valley, and a visit to Machu Picchu. In addition to that I had time to do extra activities that interested me such as taking a trip into the amazon rainforest and salsa dancing classes.

Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime, it was an experience I will never forget. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and can't wait to go back and visit all the friends I made.

Yes, I recommend
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Daily life

I would wake up everyday and eat breakfast with my host father before walking to school. After classes I would hang around and talk with other volunteers and students at the Spanish school. Then I would return home for lunch before walking to Policlinico Belen where I volunteered for a few hours each day.

I really enjoyed the city of Cusco and my excursion to Machu Picchu was amazing! My hardest experience was navigating the city the first week, but this passed without a problem.

Yes, I recommend
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Volunteering Cusco

Overall, the experience was enjoyable. I absolutely loved Cusco, and the local people were friendly and welcoming. I enjoyed getting to know the city and seeing all the cultural gems like Macchu Picchu. The city itself was beautiful.

I was not terribly impressed with United Planet's support staff in Cusco, however. The gentleman in charge was almost impossible to catch in the office, and when I raised a question about a safety concern (walking to the bus stop and riding the bus alone at night for half an hour), I was basically brushed off. I thought they could've done a better job of communicating in general.

For the first five weeks, I worked in an abused women's shelter, caring for the children and teaching some English on the side. For the next five weeks, I worked in a town called Cai Cay a bit outside of Cusco, running an after-school program for the kids. Both of these experiences were fun, and I did feel like I was contributing. The women's shelter was definitely more well-run. There was a lot more free time than I was expecting, though, so I wished that they had done a better job of explaining that beforehand (especially in regards to the Cai Cay portion of the trip). I was also responsible for buying my own meals over the weekends that I was in Cai Cay, which I had been assured would be paid for by United Planet.

Overall, I thought the experience was pretty good, but I don't think it was made particularly better by anything that United Planet did specifically. If you were comfortable with it, you probably could save some money and have more control over your experience by going independently.

No, I don't recommend

About United Planet

United Planet is an international non-profit organization based in Boston, MA with a mission to enhance cross-cultural understanding while addressing shared challenges to create a community beyond borders, one relationship at a time. We connect...