Volunteering in Cusco, Peru
Making a difference to the communities & wildlife in Cusco
Why volunteer in Cusco, Peru?
Cusco is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and today is the heart and starting point for every traveller visiting South America! It’s not only one of the most beautiful cities in the continent but also the best hub to visit one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu.
Its cobblestone narrow streets, unique architecture, historical traditions and festivities, amazing food, the stunning views of the Sacred Valley and Inca ruins make it a must visit place for everyone!
And there’s so much more!
We came to Cusco not sure what to expect from the volunteer project. 3 months later and I am so thrilled that we had the opportunity to volunteer with this organization in Cusco. We spent the majority of our time teaching English. Our time teaching was such an incredible experience. The students were beautiful people and we were always well supported by the project staff. We then spent a week at the jungle project. This was an experience like no other, to be immersed in the Amazon jungle doing work that matters. The project staff are super passionate and very supportive.
Cusco Volunteer Projects
Building & construction
Get ready to make a difference in community development by helping to create infrastructures such as housing, schools, churches, and community centres.
Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
Andean Indigenous Communities Immersion
Get ready for an authentic immersion experience while living and working with an authentic Quechua Speaking community and gaining a unique insight into traditional social and organization structures. You´ll help by caring for animals and livestock, agricultural work, weaving, creating textiles, preparing traditional foods, construction projects, and working with children at the local school.
Location: Andes Mountains (30 – 60 min from Cusco)
Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
Cusco is the best hub not only to visit the historical city of Machu Picchu or start the Inca Trail but also to approach the Sacred Valley! Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay archaeological centres are just a few kilometres away from Cusco and can be easily reached by bus.
Cusco is one of the most interesting and appealing cities in Latin America and offers something unique for every tourist! History and culture are some of the main reasons why people come here and the Plaza de Armas, Cathedral and Qoricancha Temple (Temple of the Sun) are some of the most visited attractions.
But that’s not all!
Peru has made something unique out if its cuisine and it ́s recognized among the best ones in the world nowadays with particularities and special dishes in each region! There’s a lot to try in Cusco such as humita, tamales and chicharon, but even better is to visit the local markets and its products and vendors for a true Peruvian experience!
Volunteering in Cusco
For the adventurous ones, there’s a myriad of experiences waiting for you in and around Cusco! Rafting through the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, paragliding or even bungee jumping are available minutes away from this majestic city!
We also have an institute located right in the historical center, only 3 blocks from the Plaza de Armas that is opened for you 7 days a week and always teeming with international travelers and local students enjoying the large common areas, WiFi, and on-site snack bar.
By joining us you can also benefit from many free activities such as free salsa classes, Tandem Spanish Conversation Program, cooking classes, a free walking tour and more.
Cusco Highlights & Excursions
All year round, Cusco and its surrounding towns celebrate a mix of Inca and Catholic holidays, providing visitors with a variety of different cultural activities to experience. Cusco offers travellers a plethora of historical and archaeological sites both in and out of the city.
Volunteers most commonly like to explore the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca, and of course Machu Picchu. Our local staff also posts a monthly events calendar to let you know of the activities going on around for you to sign up.
Our team on the ground will be ready to help you organize and set up any trips around Peru
Take a guided tour to one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and discover a truly unique place.
Tour of the Sacred Valley
Visit Pisac and its famous artisanal market and ruins and experience the fortress town of Ollantaytambo.
Travel further to the highest navigable lake in the world and visit the the man-made Floating Uros Islands and its inhabitants there.
Half day City Tour of Cusco
Explore the centre of the Ancient Inca Empire while visiting Q’oricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, Cusco’s 15th century, cathedral and the ancient ruins of the city.
Maras & Moray
Be amazed by the archaeological site of Moray where you´ll see enormous natural depressions that cause micro-climates used as irrigated farming terraces, and explore the famous salt mines at Maras.
You will be staying on in a traditional family-stay where you will be placed with a pre-approved middle-class Peruvian family. They ́ll have breakfast and dinner with you seven days a week so you will have the chance to share a true cultural exchange experience, learn from the local culture and even practice some Spanish with them! If you are in a shared room, you can expect to stay with 1-3 other people of the same sex.
Our host families live in Cusco and are approximately a 10-20 minute walk or a 5-15 minute bus/taxi ride away from the Plaza de Armas, so very centrally located.
If interested, additional housing and upgrades to private rooms or other types of accommodations are available at an extra fee.
If you choose to join our Andean Indigenous Communities Project you will be based 30 – 60 minutes away from the city of Cusco with a rural Indigenous Quechua Community high in the Andes. You will work and live with them and go through a real immersion into a longstanding, native, traditional way of life.
Know Before You Go to the Amazon Rainforest
Code of Conduct
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Peru safe to visit?
Peru is generally very safe, especially when you are on an organized trip, taking part in tourist activities.
We take our volunteer’s safety very seriously and we´ll give an in-depth induction upon arrival. Please check our Safety Tips as well.
What is the weather/climate in Peru?
Weather, as well as altitude, can change depending on your location since it’s not the same if you are based in the Amazon or Cusco.
Cusco is placed at 3,326 m (11,200 ft) so temperatures there range between a low of 1°C (34°F) at night to a high of 21°C (70°F) during the day, so bring layers! ‘Green season’ is from November to April, and ‘dry season’ is from May to October with June being the coldest month of the year.
If participating in the jungle conservation project you can expect a more humid and tropical climate with temperature and rainfall relatively constant throughout the year. Rainfalls increase slightly between March and May and decrease between June and August. Temperatures can be as high as of 32°C (91°F) during the day and as low as 22°C (71°F) at night.
What is the currency in Peru?
The Peruvian currency is the New Sol, but U.S. dollars are accepted in all places of business.
It is fairly easy to exchange other currencies and ATMs are also available throughout the country.
MasterCard & Visa are usually accepted.
Which Electrical Plugs are used in Peru?
There are two types of plugs in Peru
- Two flat parallel prongs, both prongs being the same shape and size. Note: in the USA, the Type A plug often has one prong slightly wider than the other, which will not work in Peru (you will need a basic adapter).
- Two round prongs (used in much of Europe, but not in the UK or Ireland)
The supply voltage in Peru is 220 volts at 60 hertz so before you plugging in any appliance make sure it can handle it.
What is the language in Peru?
The official languages are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. Please contact us if you wish to add some Spanish lessons during your volunteer programme to make the most of it!
What should stay in your hand luggage when travelling?
All valuables should be kept in your hand luggage, not left in your checked bags.
Is the tap water drinkable?
Tap water in Peru is not potable. Drinking water will be provided for you in your accommodations, and bottled water is easily purchased throughout Peru.
Hot water for showering is not available at the jungle project site.
Volunteering Safety Tips
- Petty theft is the most common problem in Peru.
- Be sure to keep track of your belongings at all times.
- Keep your belongings on your lap while riding the bus.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers.
- Use busy and well-lit streets when walking and never walk alone after dark.
- Only use official taxis and public buses.
- Keep small change in your pockets and hide large bills.
- Be vigilant when using an ATM.
- Never count your money on the street or in public.
- Take special care with your camera, laptop, jewellery, purse, and electronics.
- Save your project manager’s number on your phone and make sure to provide us with a copy of your emergency contact person at home.
We will review safety again in detail during your orientation.
Please consult with your private physician or doctor in regards to what immunizations or vaccinations are needed.
Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
Malaria: We advise you to bring an ample supply of anti-malarial tablets only if joining our Jungle Conservation Project in the Amazon. Cusco and the Andes are malaria-free areas,
Yellow Fever: Peru is NOT at risk to yellow fever.
Routine vaccinations including measles.