Volunteer in Peru with Plan My Gap Year, an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of volunteer projects in Peru including Childcare, English Teaching and Medical opportunities.
“Volunteering was the best 6 weeks of my life! I was so happy to volunteer at the Colibri afterschool programme with children and visit Machu Picchu! My homestay mother, Delia, was the sweetest woman. At the start, we mostly communicated with Google Translate, but by the end, after my Spanish classes, we spoke for hours. She is amazing! I highly recommend volunteering with PMGY in Peru.” TIANNA WILLIANS | NEW ZEALAND
PMGY provide a sociable structured meaningful experience across need driven community projects in Africa, Asia and South America. Each year, we have thousands of volunteers working across a range of our projects from teaching and childcare to wildlife, medical and more. Our volunteer reviews are testament to the extensive pre-departure support and legacy our team provides to match the unbelievable in-country experience our volunteers engage in.
We are transparent and affordable with our fees, committed to long-term sustainable community development, all our local programmes are fully vetted and offer some great travelling and cultural opportunities to ensure that your time with us overseas is the best it can be.
A combination of all these reasons and more are why so many of our volunteers choose to come back to us and volunteer year after year with PMGY!
Book your flights as early as possible after confirming your place on the programme to ensure you get the lowest airfare possible.
You should book your flights to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco. The airport code CUZ.
PMGY work with various partners in the aviation industry to offer our volunteers competitively priced flights. If you would like any assistance in booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during the online application or feel free to call us or drop us an email.
PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Travel Insurance really is a travel essential. It is mandatory for all of our participants to have adequate travel insurance in place across all their trip dates incase anything goes wrong when overseas.
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional travel insurance policy specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you for any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada).
Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
If you’d like to purchase Plan My Gap Year Travel Insurance, you can add this option on during your online application.
Before you begin your programme, we provide extensive pre-departure support on the build up to your volunteer project with us whether it is a month or a year away. This all begins from an online chat or a telephone call that develops into a regular email chain of next step communications to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip with us.
Further to this we provide a forty page plus Volunteer Handbook that provides all you need to know once you confirm your place on the programme with us; from visa guidance and how to get a background check to what to pack and more information on the culture and preparing for your project.
For all our destinations we have Facebook groups made up of our local teams, past, present and future volunteers that provides a great forum for volunteers to network and to also share project updates and community updates across the year.
We have also generated a range of informative and action packed videos to bring some tangibility on what volunteers can expect when travel volunteering with us. This can be accessed on our PMGY Vimeo channel.
Our pre-departure and programme preparation webinars are not to be missed either. They run on selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip. The first webinar covers all the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.
For those looking to go one step further, we introduced a 60 hour online TEFL course to really strengthen volunteers project preparation. This really is the perfect introductory course to teaching English abroad and enable you to acquire some key skills along the way as well as an internationally accredited certificate.
Our projects are based in the south-eastern region of Peru in the city of Cusco. Cusco was once the capital of the Incan Empire. This UNESCO World Heritage site rests at an elevation of 3,400 metres above sea level. The city now hosts more than 2 million tourist each year on a journey to visit Machu Picchu and learn about the origins of the Quechua people of the ancient mountain-top city. While visiting Cusco you will feel an overwhelming presence of history and culture!
Although historical, the city has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals, nightlife and shops. There is also a train station to take you to the many different regions of beautiful Peru. The taxi system is very easily travelled and one-way trips to most areas in the city will cost as little as £1.00.
Cusco is a city that you can’t miss while making plans in South America. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere and people from all around the world travel to witness it’s beauty with their own eyes! The centre of the city is a combination of old and new, it is indigenous and foreign, which energizes the city and leaves everyone bussing to see more.
The best part about this city is that you can wake up early to the sun rising from behind the brown hills surrounding Cusco. You can lace up your hiking boots, grab a bottle of water and head out on a two-hour hike to the Temple of Moon. This is just one landmark that lies within a short distance waiting for you to visit! Cusco is an explorer’s paradise!
Our programmes in Cusco run from 1-12 weeks beginning on the first and third Sunday of each month.
PMGY’s programme in Peru is ran by our dedicated and experienced in-country local team who have been fully vetted by our UK team.
Such a committed local staff network provides the structure for your stay with us when working on our Peru project. The support structure includes providing accommodation, meals, airport pick up, evening activities, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support.
So, whether you are teaching in schools, working at the afterschool programmes or interning at the medical clinics with us, our local team will also allocate you to your project as well as providing a great framework for you to enjoy a unique cultural experience with us in Peru.
Your orientation will begin on Monday. 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, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. You will also learn about the Spanish school along with details about classes if you have signed up or wish to do so while volunteering! There are lots of activities like salsa dancing, cooking classes or even afternoons visiting nearby ancient ruins! If you wish to get involved feel free to ask about the weekly schedules.
Following the introduction, our local coordinator will take you to see some important spots in Cusco, including the local market, a couple cafes and restaurants, as well as the ATMs and places, change money.
Please arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) on Sunday.
Day 1 (Sunday) – Arrival
Welcome to Peru! You will be met at Cusco airport by your homestay parent who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 30 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in. If you wish to go to venture in the local area you can request to do that with your homestay member(s) or join fellow volunteers.
Day 2 (Monday) – Orientation
After a good first night rest in Cusco, it’s now time to begin your induction into life in Peru. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and visits to local points of interest.
Day 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) – Volunteering Begins
You will start your volunteer work on Tuesday morning. 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 the volunteer coordinator will pop in to visit at projects. The team is always happy to help.
Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend
Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities visiting Rainbow Mountain, a long weekend trekking the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu or a more cultural experience locally – Peru has it all. Why not check out our Something For The Weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!
The following weeks
Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.
Last day (Saturday)
Saturday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is NOT included in your Programme Fee so we ask that you speak to your homestay family about your departure time.
If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect and many volunteers (and their loved ones) are concerned for their safety and security.
Although we can never fully guarantee your safety, we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering programme is as careful, safe and secure as possible. Every programme that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director of Plan My Gap Year. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation, worked on the projects and built strong trusting relationships with our local staff.
In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support that they can go through (and people who will help them in the case of an accident).
1. In-Country Project Coordinators & Support Staff
2. Project Staff
3. PMGY UK Team
Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences and we are continually improving our placements and projects through this feedback. Security and safety of our programmes is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with the local staff at your orientation. During orientation, project staff will also provide guidance in the area of safety and security.
Listed below are some general safety tips.
• Be modest with the amount of jewellery you wear in public.
• Do not drink tap water.
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents of theft often occur when there are crowds and confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public.
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night.
• Use reputable taxi firms only. Our local staff will recommend some specific companies during orientation. If you are unsure – ask local staff who to use.
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets. If possible use transport from door to door after dark.
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high risk areas for pickpockets and thieves.
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town.
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road.
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers.
Peru is a mountainous country with different climates based on the geographic location you are visiting. The climate on the coast is arid with high temperatures and little rainfall. The Andes, where PMGY Peru is based, has a cool climate with rainy summers and dry winters. The lowlands are hot with rain throughout the year.
Temperatures you may encounter at different times of the year differ region to region. At the coast, the coldest month is in August at 18 degrees Celsius and the warmest month being February at 24 degrees. In the Andes, you will find the months May to September have a high of 20 degrees Celsius. The lowlands or Amazon region will reach temperatures as high as 33 degrees with an average of 15 days of rain each month.
Many travellers will go to Peru to visit Machu Picchu! It is important to know that the rainiest month is in February. During this period, the ruin will be closed for repairs. It is said the best time to visit Peru in general, but also to see this beautiful location is between the months of April and October, the Peruvian winter months. While these months are a bit chilly, they are dry and sunny!
Cusco is in the Andes Mountains. In this city, the weather can change quickly! The days are consecutively sunny with a pleasant temperature, but there are periods where the weather is a bit grey and rainy. If the rain comes, don’t worry. The rain may last a couple days, but it is more likely to be sunny and beautiful than rainy. Please plan for all ranges of temperature due to the placement of the city in the mountains. We suggest carrying a day bag packed with a jumper, rain coat or umbrella and maybe even a hat! Due to Peru being near to the equator the sun is quite strong so don’t think you won’t catch the sun.
During your time with PMGY in Peru you will live in our homestay(s). The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way as well as local families whom will guide you in Cusco and help to improve your knowledge of the Spanish Language!
The homestays are located just outside of central Cusco all within 30 minutes walk of your chosen project. 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 hot to ensure you keep warm in the chilly city of Cusco! The house has Wi-Fi and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled, but the families will prepare all meals (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.
Volunteers will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner every day during their time with PMGY. Breakfast and dinner are served at the Volunteer House, whereas for lunch we provide you with a packed lunch (upon request). Boiled and filtered water is also available at the Homestay(s) for volunteers.
Most meals are traditional Peruvian dishes. 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 nd that your breakfast and dinner meals are quite small and lunch is very big. Going to sleep with a very full stomach is hard on the body and at such a altitude it is dif cult 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.
Here is an example of the meals you can expect:
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.
Transport to project will be by local bus routes or walking. The local team will educate volunteers on the proper directions to walk to project in 30-40 minutes and provide schedules to get to their project if they wish to take the bus. One trip on the local bus costs roughly 30p.
PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 17 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does NOT need to be your first language.
For our programmes in Latin America, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. While the programmes only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish, we find that the ability to speak a good level of Spanish will greatly enhance your overall experience. 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 and thus may have a frustrating experience.
We require a clean background check from all our participants in advance of volunteering with us abroad.
In general no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation. Medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in country.
Registration Fees must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place and Programme Fees are due at least 60 days before the programme start date.