PMGY’s gap year Peru experience is a 21-day affordable volunteer travel trip across the highlights of Peru. Join us on an incredible 3 week volunteer, immersion and adventure experience in Peru. The land of the legendary Incas will be your oyster to explore. For the reason that the cultural capital city of Cusco will be your base for the trip.
Experience everything from taking in the seven colours of Rainbow Mountain to trekking the lost city of Machu Picchu. Similarly, embrace Peruvian culture as you expand your Spanish at the local markets. Your time in Peru is sure to fly by!
Home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and thousands of years of history, this experience enables you to discover the real Peru. The vibrant culture of this vast country is not to be missed. Moreover, Peru’s world-renowned cuisine is guaranteed to tickle your taste buds. Secret cities, Inca ruins, the Amazon jungle, soaring mountains and sacred valleys, Peru really does have it all!
This PMGY experience trip offers you the chance to take in some of these amazing experiences. In addition, you will have the opportunity to make a positive impact when volunteering at a local community project. Finally, the gap year program in Peru will see you improving your Spanish and embrace all aspects of Peruvian culture.
JOIN US IN 2022 – 3RD JULY, 24TH JULY, 14TH AUGUST
HIKING THROUGH THE ICONIC LOST CITY OF MACHU PICCHU
SPANISH LESSONS INCLUDED BUILDING YOUR CONVERSATION SKILLS WITH LOCALS
LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CUSCO DURING AN AFTERNOON CITY TOUR
TAKE IN THE SPECTACULAR VIEWS OF RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
VISITING THE HEART OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN INCA EMPIRE AT THE SACRED VALLEY
ENJOY CULTURAL EVENING ACTIVITIES WITH PISCO SOUR & SALSA CLASSES
RELAXING IN HOT SPRINGS AND REHYDRATING WITH A LOCAL COFFEE TOUR
ENJOYING SOME OF THE RENOWNED CUISINES THAT PERU HAS TO OFFER
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERING IN THE CITY OF CUSCO
SUMMARY OF THE REAL PERU EXPERIENCE
The Real Peru Experience offers ambitious individuals the opportunity to join together and embark on a thrilling adventure across Peru. Our local team provides a structured, face-paced and thrilling group itinerary across a number of amazing sites around the country. Your group will also dedicate time to volunteering projects to give back to local communities, developing and showcasing your skills.
On the gap year Peru experience, you will arrive in Peru on a set date, joining your group before travelling and volunteering across a 3 week period. This makes the PMGY Experience trips ideal for anyone who wishes to explore and engage in new experiences in the company of others.
Individuals on this experience trip have the unique chance to explore different aspects of this vibrant country, from exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu to cruising across Titicaca Lake. Your adventure will pan across the best sites in the entire country, before dedicating your time to meaningful volunteer projects. Across this 21-day itinerary, be prepared for breathtaking sites, friends for life and complete cultural immersion. The gap year Peru experience is perfect for anyone looking to travel within a safe, structured and social environment.
From one destination to the next, you won’t need to worry about a thing. All your in-country transport and accommodation will be arranged by our local teams on the gap year Peru experience. This helps to ensure that your experience abroad is as smooth as possible. Our team will arrange numerous activities for you to enjoy and engage in during your trip. For any spare time, our local experts will be able to help you discover the impressive range of activities you can get involved in during your trip to Peru. A portion of your time will also be dedicated to making a difference within a community in Peru. This will allow you to put your skills and enthusiasm into practice to make a meaningful difference to local communities overseas.
The trip’s group set-up makes the gap year Peru experience an exceptional social occasion. You have the chance to meet individuals from across the globe, forming friendships that will last a lifetime. You will stay together for your entire adventure, sharing moments and memories that will stay with you forever. You will also have the chance to immerse yourself with members of the local community, making your time in Peru even more special.
The ruins of Machu Picchu is often regarded as Peru’s main attraction that draws in thousands of travellers each year. This contributes to making Peru one of South America’s most visited countries. However, it is not just this famous site that sees the travellers flock to Peru. Additionally, the floating islands dotted around Lake Titicaca and the soaring mountains of the Andes are both big attractions. Furthermore, the ancient capital of Cusco and the history of the Sacred Valley represent just a few more reasons. Ultimately, Peru has many draws as to why people immerse themselves in this iconic South American country.
The real Peru lies within its warm, proud inhabitants and the thousands of years of history they leave behind them. Moreover, such history can be traced back to the Incas and the bloodshed that came with it. Peru was inhabited by various tribal people throughout most of its ancient history with the Inca Empire being the most notable.
The Empire originated in the small city-state of Cusco in the 12th century. Thereafter, the Incas went on to conquer the rest of Peru and parts of neighbouring countries. Therefore, Cusco represents a great base for your gap year Peru experience. For instance, you will get to learn all about ancient history and Inca influence.
Get ready for iconic sites, spectacular mountains, picturesque lakes and plenty of history! Your group will travel together across a mix of public and private transport. This will enable you to visit some of the best destinations and hidden gems that Peru has to offer.
You will spend your first two weeks as a volunteer in Peru. PMGY’s volunteer program in Cusco runs throughout the year, so you will be working alongside existing PMGY volunteers. You will have an opportunity to join one of our community-based childcare projects in Cusco. This will be in a kindergarten setting working with younger children of the Cusco community.
The majestic city of the Incas, whilst tourist-based and thriving, is a city of the poor. People will travel from hungry villages hoping to sell their crafts and clothes just to make enough to eat. In this indigenous culture, many children are subject to troubling home environments due to low income, addiction, violence and neglect. We work with local organisations to provide assistance to children that have great need.
The kindergarten projects and those for working children are essential in restoring families. Furthermore, they are essential in providing necessary assistance to ensure children are not abandoned. By completing volunteer work in Peru on these projects you are contributing so that children can be fed and educated. Ultimately, this will help children become positive citizens in their local communities.
The working hours for the volunteer project are typically morning based and lasting between 3-4 hours. As you volunteer with children in Peru, your role involves supporting local staff with daily chores. Examples include providing volunteer support at mealtimes and with cleaning tasks. This extends to more creative support in arts and crafts, teaching English and improving hygiene skills. Volunteers should also assist with homework tasks and support local staff with planned activities.
We highly recommend that as a volunteer in Peru, you use free time outside of the project to prepare activities in advance. Ultimately, the more proactive and enthusiastic you are will result in the most productive project experience.
Volunteer opportunities in Peru provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer projects in Peru, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare volunteer in Peru can bring. To volunteer with children in Peru, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.
Peru is one of twenty-one Spanish speaking countries in the world. This sacred country his home to nearly 32 million residents! It’s therefore important to ensure you know a few phrases to help you get by across your 3 weeks in Peru. During your first week on your Real Peru Experience, you will spend 3 hours of each afternoon enjoying informal Spanish lessons with the rest of the participants on the trip.
You will have a teacher that is personalised to your level of Spanish. This teacher will instruct you in a classroom setting and from time to time will also venture out into the city of Cusco to markets, museums and popular areas where locals hang out. This time in Cusco is to help you gain confidence in communicating with native speakers and also introduce you into a side of the country you may not see as a tourist.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Itinerary Schedule – The itineraries for our PMGY experience trips are subject to change, as a result of unforeseen circumstances. We will always do our best to notify participants of changes in advance of the program start date. However, activities day to day during time in-country also remain subject to unanticipated changes.
Spanish Classes – Located in Latin America, Peru is one of twenty-one Spanish speaking countries in the world. This sacred country his home to nearly 32 million residents! It’s therefore important to ensure you know a few phrases to help you get by. During your first week on your Real Peru Experience, you will spend 3 hours each afternoon enjoying informal Spanish lessons. This will be in conjunction with the rest of the participants on the trip.
You will have a teacher that is personalised to your Spanish level. This teacher will instruct you in a classroom setting. You will also venture out into the city of Cusco to markets, museums and popular areas where locals hang out. This time in Cusco is to help you gain confidence in communicating with native speakers. Furthermore, it will also introduce you to a side of the country you may not see as a tourist. This will enable you to be in the best place to learn Spanish in Peru
The one thing that every visitor to Peru never forgets is the exciting traditions and intriguing culture of the local community. Improving your Spanish and furthering your understanding of the local language will certainly contribute to this. Whether that be exchanging stories with your host family or conversing with the local staff at the kindergarten project. Consequently, the Spanish lessons will provide a great foundation for your gap year Peru experience.
Above all, by completing a Spanish immersion program as part of your Real Peru experience, you will surround yourself in the culture interacting with its people and traditions. PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The language course provides you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.
Project Donation – With each volunteer, there is a donation made directly to the volunteer project you join us in Peru. This donation fee is included in the Program Fee you pay PMGY.
With that donation, the project is provided with increased financial support to improve resources, infrastructure and project environment. Such beneficiaries being the patients at the medical clinics, students at the schools, children at the kindergartens or the dogs at the dog shelter project.
Please make sure you arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco (airport code CUZ) on the selected Sunday start date.
Day 1 (Sunday) Welcome to Peru
Welcome to Peru! You will be met at Cusco airport by your host family who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 15 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.
Day 2 (Monday) Orientation & Spanish Classes
Your orientation will begin on Monday at the Spanish School which is also where our local team’s offices are based. Our local team will teach you about life in Peru, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system and general safety advice. Moreover, you will receive a briefing about your 2 week volunteer project with us in Cusco.
You will also learn about the history of the Spanish school. In the same vein, you will receive details about the upcoming week of Spanish lessons included in your program. Your first 3 hour group Spanish class will begin on Monday afternoon. The rest of the evening will be yours to rest and relax as a busy itinerary lies ahead!
Day 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering & Spanish Classes
You will start your volunteer work on Tuesday morning with an induction to your community kindergarten placement. Our local team will meet you in the morning and introduce you to the project staff. Likewise, they will explain the bus routes to get too and from the project from your homestay.
Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Peru coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School. In the same vein, the volunteer coordinator will pop in to visit at projects. The team are always happy to help. Your volunteering placement will take place for around 3 hours each morning.
Your lunch is provided to you by your host family. After lunch, you will continue your day with a 3 hour group Spanish class each afternoon. The teacher will instruct you in a classroom setting as well as out and about in the local community. For example, we will venture out into the local markets to practise Spanish. We will also visit a Wayna Cancha (Llama Zoo) with the teacher for a cultural afternoon. Not only will you practise your Spanish here, but you will learn about the history of the different types of llamas.
On Thursday night our local team will arrange a treasure hunt activity in Cusco city centre. Should you want to continue your Spanish lessons into a second week this can be discussed and arranged with the local team.
Day 7 (Saturday) Sacred Valley
It’s now time for some adventure travel as we explore beyond Cusco. The first stop will be Sacred Valley (known locally as Valle Sagrado)! The Sacred Valley, or Vilcamayo to the Incas, traces its astonishingly beautiful course originating in Pisac. This then extends down towards Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and eventually Machu Picchu.
Located about 30km from Cusco, it is a steep-sided river valley. Furthermore, the valley opens out into a very fertile but narrow alluvial plain. The river itself starts in the high Andes south of Cusco and is called the Vilcanota. To clarify, this is the same name as the mountain where the river emerges from. As the river flows down into the jungle, it becomes known as the ‘Río Urubamba’.
Many tours in Peru require a ‘Boleto Turistico’ (Tourist Ticket). The ticket costs 30 GBP and can only be purchased at the first tour location by each trip participant individually. Therefore, you will need to budget additionally for this. Our local team guide will be on hand to help with the logistics of this process on the day. Please keep this ticket receipt with you for the remainder of your time in Peru.
Day 8 (Sunday) Maras Moray
Your Sunday will be spent exploring the Maras Salt Mines and the Sacred Site of the Moray. You will be introduced to some of Cusco’s most interesting Inca sites. Your day will begin with a visit to the Colonial town of Maras and its infamous church. After that, we will continue on to the nearby Inca site of Moray. This site represents a magnificent series of terrace circles. More specifically, they are established in the ground that was once used by the Incas for experimentation with crops.
The last point of call for the day is the salt mines which have been in use since pre-Inca times. Water from a subterranean stream is channelled through pools where it evaporates. Subsequently, pure salt crystals are left behind and stunning views of stark white pools to match. You will return to your accommodation in the late afternoon. You will have some time to unwind before beginning the second-week community volunteering in Cusco.
Day 9-13 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Continues & Cultural Immersion
Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will complete volunteer work in Peru from Monday to Friday. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. Your afternoons will provide free time for you to relax. On the other hand, you can choose to explore the Peruvian history within Cusco further on your own accord. Similarly, you can choose to take up additional Spanish lessons. Just remember on Tuesday afternoon our local team will take you on a walking city tour of Cusco. As a result, you will learn more about the culture and traditions of the ancient capital of Peru.
On Thursday evening, our local team will introduce you to sample the local exotic cocktail of the Pisco sour. In addition, you will have the chance to put on your dancing shoes as you embark on a salsa class. On Friday evening, you will have a pre-trip briefing before you venture to your next trip base of Puno. On Friday night, we will take an overnight bus to Puno so be sure to pack your weekend bag!
Day 14 (Saturday) Lake Titicaca & Uros Islands
A trip to Peru is not complete without a visit to the impressive Lake Titicaca. We will take a boat trip from the port of Puno to the floating islands of Uros. Part of the Titicaca National Reserve, these floating islands are home to the Uros tribe. This tribe existed before the Incan civilization era.
You will spend your Saturday taking a tour of the Uros Island and visiting the Uros community. As a result, you will learn about the history and traditions of this unique indigenous race. Be prepared to witness an extraordinary feat of engineering as to how the floating islands and houses are put together.
Overnight, you will have the unique experience of staying as a guest with a local family. You will spend the night taking in local music and dance rituals. Facilities will be basic and limited on the island for the night. However, staying overnight on a floating artificial island will be a memorable part of your gap year Peru experience! Please note that breakfast is not included on Saturday morning so please budget a small amount for this.
Day 15 (Sunday) Taquile Island & Free Time in Puno
We will take a morning boat ride from the Uros islands to the larger natural remote island of Taquile. This is located in the middle of Lake Titicaca. The island is inhabited by the indigenous Aymara people who have their own special traditions and customs. Moreover, the island will offer you a range of ancient sites and picturesque views to take in. We will visit the infamous plaza on the island and pop into textile workshops for traditional souvenirs.
We will then make our way back to the hub of Puno. You will have some free time to explore Puno before catching the overnight bus back to Cusco. You can take the time to visit the 18th-century Baroque cathedral. Conversely, you may choose to relax in Puno’s most central and attractive square of the Plaza de Armas. Please note dinner is not included on Sunday evening so please budget a small amount for this.
Day 16 (Monday) Free Day in Cusco
You will arrive back to your homestay accommodation in Cusco on Monday morning. Today is a free day so you can take time to rest and recuperate after a busy weekend and overnight bus. Alternatively, you are welcome to tick off anything you are yet to see or do in Cusco. Make sure you keep your evening free as you will have your Machu Picchu pre-trip briefing to attend.
Day 17-18 (Tuesday-Wednesday) Machu Picchu
It’s now the part of the trip where we make our way to visit Machu Picchu. This is certainly one of the main highlights on the trip! Firstly, we will begin with some gentle hiking around these spectacular lost ruins. Additionally, we will enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the hot springs located in Colcamayo. Finally, we will sample some famous Peruvian coffee during a coffee tour.
The stunning temples and views that Machu Picchu brings are sure to take your breath away. Machu Picchu is the most iconic symbol of the Incan Empire and the focal point of the infamous Inca Trail. Furthermore, it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. No trip to Peru could be complete would visiting Peru’s most visited tourist attraction! It’s mysterious nature, cultural attractions, rich history and spectacular views are just some of the things you will embrace during your time in the lost city of the Incas.
Day 19 (Thursday) Rainbow Mountain
Be sure for an early morning rise, as we will depart Cusco for Rainbow Mountain (also known as Vinicunca). An early start will give ourselves the best opportunity to take in some of the views. Located in the southern region of Cusco, Vinicunca will satisfy the most adventurous of hikers. The mountain will offer breath-taking panoramas of high mountains, formidable glaciers and crystalline rivers. In the same vein, peaceful pastoral scenes with herds of alpacas kept by Andean ranchers will be plentiful.
Rainbow Mountain provides real adventure through a preserved and wild natural landscape. Furthermore, you will get the chance to meet with small communities of Quechua-speaking descendants. We will return to Cusco for our final Thursday evening activity consisting of artisanal ice cream making.
Day 20 (Friday) Souvenir Shopping at San Pedro Market
After a few hectic long days, it’s now time to enjoy some downtime. You will get the chance to complete some last-minute shopping during your final full day in Peru. Luckily Cusco offers some of the best markets and shops for you to pick up some last-minute souvenirs! A trip to San Pedro Market can take up a whole morning or afternoon but is definitely worth the visit! Spend your time haggling with a local Mami for food and souvenirs. Tickle your tastebuds for one last time trying some local fruits and some traditional Cusco bread.
Day 21 (Saturday) Farewell Peru!
Unfortunately, your epic journey has come to an end. Saturday is your last day on the program. It’s time to say goodbyes with the host families who have served you so well over the last 3 weeks. Your return airport transfer is not included in the fees. A taxi back to the airport costs 3 GBP and our host family can help arrange this for you.
* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
What are the program start dates for the Real Peru Experience?
The program start dates for the gap year Peru experience trip are as follows –
3rd July 2022
24th July 2022
14th August 2022
Can people from outside of the UK or USA join PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers and travel lovers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries participants have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other travel organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time in Peru. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our participants really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to join the trip in Peru?
PMGY welcomes gap year Peru experience participants of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language.
For our programs in Peru, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.
All gap year Peru experience participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of joining us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Travelling and volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Real Peru Experience?
For your volunteer trip to Peru, you should book your flights to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco on the selected Sunday. The airport code is CUZ. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
Are there any age restrictions to be a participant in Peru?
In order to join the gap year Peru experience, you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. Generally, the average age range of participants is 18-25.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome participants of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-25 age range.
When should I apply to join the Real Peru Experience?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.
Can I join the program abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and if relevant, volunteer at the same project. However, please note the majority of our accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our participants work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, participant safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our participants are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international travellers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist participants 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join the gap year Peru experience, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international participants to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my experience program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place on the gap year Peru experience, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use Real Peru Experience as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to use Real Peru Experience as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that the gap year Peru experience will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after gap year Peru experience participants have confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in Peru can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my Real Peru Experience trip?
With PMGY, the money our participants pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Peru program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY participants decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that participants on the gap year Peru experience set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for participants to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For gap year Peru experience participants looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide participants in Peru with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For individuals on the gap year Peru experience who have already confirmed their place on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my trip?
It is possible that as a gap year Peru experience participant, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your trip to Peru. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your program destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to Peru?
When you apply to join a trip with PMGY, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place on the gap year Peru experience has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To join the gap year Peru experience, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the participants we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check , then you will need to apply for one. UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place on the gap year Peru experience.
For gap year Peru experience participants from the US, you can apply for a background check through US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All participants in Peru will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare for your gap year Peru experience. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the Peru program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants on the Real Peru Experience.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed on the gap year Peru experience. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our participants to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide participants in Peru with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code on the Real Peru Experience?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our participants adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Peru.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our participants, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible if your program includes a volunteer placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you on the gap year Peru experience can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
Your gap year Peru experience involves travelling across Peru with your group. You will follow a set itinerary across your time on the trip. This means that there is no opportunity to take part in any independent travel across the trip dates.
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates either side of your trip. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to explore.
During your time in Peru, you will predominantly live in our homestay(s). Across the itinerary volunteers will also stay with a local host family on the Uros islands for one night, sleep on overnight secure buses for two nights and guest house accommodation provided for the overnight stay part of the Machu Picchu trip. The accommodation is basic but comfortable.
The main HQ accommodation for your three week Real Peru Experience will be our homestay format within Cusco. You’ll be living with local families who will guide you in Cusco and help to improve your knowledge of the Spanish Language! The homestay families usually have very limited English.
The homestays are located just outside of central Cusco all within 30 minutes bus of your community volunteer project and usually walking distance from the local team’s offices where you will complete your Spanish lessons. Each room has single beds, up to 3 people per room (same-sex rooms only). Volunteers are provided with bed linen and cupboard space to store clothes and accessories. All volunteers will have their own keys for the front of the building, apartment and their bedroom.
Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is usually warm (although can be a victim to power cuts) to ensure you keep warm in the chilly nights of Cusco! The house has Wi-Fi and a communal area for volunteers to hang out with their host families. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled; just ask the host family for some fridge space out of respect in advance, The host families will prepare all meals across your time on the project with us (including a packed lunch if you wish).
The families of the homestay normally have a separate area within the house for their family, but they love to interact with volunteers and hear about your days. This ensures you have round the clock support and security along with the chance to improve your Spanish language skills.
Your host family location is usually linked to your project location for ease of logistics to get to and from the project. You will be placed with other participants on the Real Peru Experience. Should you have requirements to be in the same accommodation as another PMGY application then be sure to highlight this on the special requirements of your online application.
Volunteers will be provided with three meals per day across most of the three weeks of the Real Experience. Volunteers will only need to budget a small amount for breakfast on day 14 and dinner on day 15 of the itinerary; all other meals are included in the fees. Most meals will either be provided at the homestay (lunch usually being provided in a packed lunch format) or included during the tour package when travelling further afield of Cusco.
Boiled and filtered water is also available at the homestay(s) for volunteers.
Most meals are traditional Peruvian dishes that can be carb-heavy traditionally. Peruvian cuisine consists of a lot of rice or quinoa and the meat is mainly chicken. Most meals will incorporate lots of carbs and vegetables compared to the UK so please be open-minded around this! Due to the altitude, you will notice that your breakfast and dinner meals are quite small and lunch is very big. Going to sleep with a full stomach is hard on the body and at such an altitude it is difficult to digest large quantities of food. It may take you a few days for your body to accustom to this as well.
The main meats are chicken, fish and alpaca. There are a number of western restaurants around a 10 minute drive from the accommodation should you fancy picking up some home comforts. There are also some Vegan and Indian restaurants in Cusco. Our local team will tell you all about the options available to you during your in-country orientation.
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.
If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME – 50 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Peru works as follows –
🇰🇪 Kenya – 60 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Peru and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India – 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don’t have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA – 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.