Volunteer and Learn Spanish in Peru

Opportunities are available to volunteer in Peru, in and outside the ancient city of Cusco. Volunteer in Peru and join the Animal Rescue project or Environmental Conservation project in Cusco, the Inca Archaeology project in Huyro or one the Community Environmental projects outside of Cusco. Volunteers also have the opportunity to enhance their Spanish skills with proper lessons while volunteering. 

You can join for 2 weeks up to 6 months. We have places available all throughout the year

Individuals and students are all welcome.

Cost for accommodation, airport pickup, training & supervision from £335

Spanish students and volunteers having a local dinner togetherGroup Spanish lesson is the most popular choice for studentsVolunteers in the beautiful surroundings of the dog shelterVolunteers at Inca archaeology projectCooking lessons is part of the extra free activities with volunteersVolunteers helping at excavation Volunteers assessing finds from ruins Make a weekend excursion to the beautiful Rainbow MountainFruit Tasting Night with students and volunteersVolunteer helping out at the dog shelterLearn from your local host family when volunteering in CuscoVolunteers at old Inca ruinsLearn Salsa in your spare time as part of the free activitiesPrivate Spanish lesson Working with locals at old ruins Locals observing volunteers at ruins

About the Project

Volunteers are currently able to participate in the following type of projects in and around the city of Cusco: 

  • Dog Shelter project
  • Environmental Conservation Project
  • Inca Archaeology Project
  • Community Environmental Conservation Project 

Not all of the projects run throughout the day, which means that you can do Spanish courses in the morning, or in some cases in the afternoon after you have been on the project. 


Dog Shelter Volunteer project in Cusco

Volunteers at dog shelter Peru

At the dog shelter in Cusco there are several activities you can do as a volunteer. Apart from feeding and playing with the dogs in the woods, they also need help with improving the shelter itself, going out on the streets to rescue sick/pregnant street dogs, going to the veterinarian and even assisting in medical campaigns in the communities around Cusco and helping to educate people about how to treat their pets. The work is never the same and they are always looking for help from dedicated volunteers. 

Volunteers work on this project only in the afternoon from 2 to 5 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. It is optional to join any medical campaigns on Saturdays/Sundays. No Spanish skills are required, but the minimum duration is 2 weeks. It is recommended that volunteers bring clothes that they do not mind getting dirty.


Environmental Conservation Volunteer project in Cusco

The aim of this project is to preserve the environment of Cusco with the goal of planting half a million trees. Its focus is to create a source of clean air for a city that is experiencing increased levels of pollution. Volunteers help with the preservation of wild flora and fauna by creating irrigation systems taking advantage of the rains in the area, creating a nursery of different plants, producing organic fruits and much more. Some of the volunteer tasks could be:

  • Collecting and planting wild plants in the area.
  • Research and revaluation of wild plants of the Cusco region.
  • Planting and maintenance of tree seeds.
  • Taking care of and cleaning the tree nursery.
  • Tree planting in the mountains of the San Sebastián district.

Volunteers have to min. 18 years old, speak basic Spanish and be able to join for min. 2 weeks. The project is from Monday to Friday and volunteers take a bus from the centre of Cusco to the project site, which is about a 30 min. drive followed by a 10 min walk.


Inca Archaeology Volunteer project in Huyro

Volunteers at old Inca ruins site

At the Inca Archaeology project, volunteers will assist with work in the centre of Huyro, district of Huayopata, which belongs to the buffer zone of the archaeological park of Machu Picchu. Here archaeological remains are still being investigated, and volunteers support the excavations in the area, help with the cleaning and conservation of parks, and assist in the enhancement of the parks in the area. It has proximity to Machu Picchu, but is in a relatively un-investigated state, which means that many places and ruins remain to be discovered.

Volunteers who join this project will be working together with archaeologists and staff from the Ministry of Culture. The project has an agreement with the municipality of Huayopata to support the projects of the Ministy of Culture in the excavations and enhancements of the archaeological remains of the sector. 

As the project is located in cloud forest and jungle environments, it can start raining at any time (in particular during rainy season). In such cases, volunteers assist with other activities that include working with ceramics found from the excavations, community work such as farming etc. They also do certain workshops. These are usually done in combination with archaelogy work, depending on the weather conditions.  

Volunteers need to join for min. 2 weeks, speak basic Spanish and be min. 18 years old. Volunteers work in the mornings from Monday to Friday, and all volunteers also assist the local library twice a week in the afternoon. Work on this project requires good physical condition. Volunteers take the local bus from the centre of Cusco to Quillabamba. Please note that the location of the project is a 4 hour bus drive from Cusco to Huyro (about $10), and thus volunteers would be staying at the project site during the week.  


Community Environmental Conservation Volunteer Projects outside of Cusco

Local family at conservation project in Cusco region

At this project, volunteers assist families in different communities located outside of the city of Cusco. The focus is environmental conservation through tree planting in different districts of the Cusco region: Marcapata – Quispicanchis, Pitumarca – Canchis, Ccapi – Paruro, Omacha – Paruro, Pichihua – Espinar. Volunteers work in the field in coordination with the leaders of each community. They provide support to the farmers, who develop their own planting and reforestation projects. In the field, the team of coordinators and peasant experts will support and guide the volunteer.

These areas are located between 2-5 hours outside of the city of Cusco, and volunteers will be allocated the project to join upon arrival. On those projects that are located further away, it is possible to stay overnight in the community for free. Volunteers will be staying at the accommodation in Cusco during the weekends, and some days during the week when assessing data collected from the communities. It is therefore only when volunteers are collecting data in the communities that they will be staying overnight. Volunteers need to let us know beforehand, if they would prefer to stay closer to the city of Cusco, if not interested in staying in the communities overnight.

Volunteers has to be min. 18 years old and join for min. 4 weeks. Volunteers need to speak intermediate Spanish and English fluently.


Spanish Courses for Volunteers in Peru

Volunteers in Peru can add a Spanish course to their volunteering programme, either being taught privately or in a group. Group lessons of 20 hours per week will be a maximum of 4 people and are very suitable for beginners. The private lessons of 20 hours per week would be recommended for people with intermediate level, and if you already have a high-intermediate or advanced Spanish level, then the private lessons of 10 hours per week are recommended. 

Group lesson Spanish

Please note that your Spanish level will be tested with a Spanish placement test before starting classes. The placement test consists of 3 different components: an online (written) grammar test, a listening exam, and a personal interview. The last two are both held on the first morning of your programme in Cusco.

If you book a 20-hour per week group course and there aren't any other students starting that week, who have the same Spanish level (so we cannot form a group), you will have 15 hours of private lessons instead.

Special Spanish courses are also available for those who want to learn Spanish with a specific objective. This includes: Spanish for Tourism, Medical Spanish and Business Spanish. Please note that different fees apply for these courses. Please contact Charlotte@workingabroad.com for further details about this.

Dates & Costs 

Volunteers can join any of the projects in Peru for 2 weeks up to 6 months throughout the year.

5th November to 3rd December 2018
26th November to 24th December 2018
3rd December to 31st December 2018
17th December to 14th January 2019

2019

7th January to 4th February 2019
28th January to 25th February 2019
4th February to 4th March 2019
25th February to 25th March 2019
4th March to 1st April 2019
25th March to 22nd April 2019
1st April to 29th April 2019
15th April to 13th May 2019
29th April to 27th May 2019
6th May to 3rd June 2019
27th May to 24th June 2019
3rd June to 1st July 2019
24th June to 22nd July 2019
1st July to 29th July 2019
15th July to 12th August 2019
29th July to 26th August 2019
5th August to 2nd September 2019



Please note that the above dates are flexible, depending on whether you would like to join a Spanish course. If you join the Group Spanish course, you have to start the lessons on a Monday. The individual Spanish lessons can start any day of the week. You would need to arrive in Cusco at least 1 day before the starting date of your Spanish class, and arrange your own accommodation. 

For staying in a private bedroom with a homestay family in Cusco (including full board + WI-FI) while volunteering the costs are £411 (2 weeks), £567 (3 weeks), £615 (4 weeks), £820 (6 weeks), £1,025 (8 weeks), £1,430 (12 weeks). 

For staying in a shared apartment with private bedroom in Cusco (including only WIFI) the costs are £335 (2 weeks), £400 (3 weeks), £465 (4 weeks), £595 (6 weeks), £720 (8 weeks), £980 (12 weeks). 

For staying in a shared dorm bedroom at the Inca Archaeology project in Huyro (including full board) while volunteering the costs are £535 (2 weeks), £695 (3 weeks), £855 (4 weeks), £1015 (5 weeks), £1170 (6 weeks).

The project costs include your accommodation, 3 meals a day (only for homestay option in Cusco and Inca Archaeology project in Huyro), airport pick-up in Cusco, training and supervision by project manager, WorkingAbroad Projects backup and placement support.  

Your airfare to Peru, airport drop-off, travel/medical insurance, Spanish course, local transport and personal expenses are not included within these costs. It is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project. If you decide to take part in activities considered more extreme/adventurous, please add this to your insurance policy, as you will be required to demonstrate your insurance coverage before participation.


Spanish Classes for Volunteers in Peru

Group lessons in SpanishIf you would like to combine your time volunteering in Cusco with a Spanish course, you would add the following fees to the above prices:

Group classes 20 hours/week:  £95 per week
Private classes 10 hours/week: £77 per week 
Private classes 20 hours/week: £154 per week

All materials for Spanish classes are included in the price, and you can also request a course certificate with your final level on it at the end of the course. Group classes always start on a Monday and have maximum 4 students in the class with one teacher. The private lessons can start on any day of the week.

There are no Spanish classes on the following public holidays: 24th June, 28th July, 25th December and 1st January. If you are planning to volunteer at one of the projects outside of Cusco, you can only do Spanish classes either before or after your time volunteering and not at the same time due to location. 


Volunteer and Learn Spanish Packages

The following combinations are the most popular among those who want to learn Spanish and do volunteer work during their stay. All of the Spanish classes below are group classes and start dates are on a Monday. 

Package on 4 weeks: 2 weeks of Spanish classes in the morning, while volunteering in the afternoon, followed by 2 weeks of volunteering (half day in afternoon). Includes pick up at Cusco airport and stay in shared apartment during the entire stay, costs £615

Package on 6 weeks: 2 weeks of Spanish classes in the morning, then 2 weeks of Spanish classes in the morning and volunteering in the afternoon, then finally 2 weeks of volunteering (half-day in afternoon). Includes pick up in Cusco airport and stay at shared apartment during the entire period, costs £915

Package on 8 weeks: 4 weeks of Spanish classes, followed by 4 weeks of volunteering (half or full day). Includes pick up at Cusco airport, home stay during the first four weeks, and then room in shared apartment during the 4 weeks of volunteering, costs £1,190

Some find it too time consuming to do both Spanish classes and volunteer work in the same day, however, if you have a preferred combination other than the ones above, please don't hesitate to contact charlotte@workingabroad.com. Please note that the above packages are only for volunteering projects in Cusco, and not for the projects located outside of the city, as these would need to include on-site project accommodation. 

Lodging & Travel

Lodging

Volunteers have two accommodation options when volunteering in Cusco. One is a homestay with a local family with private bedroom, WI-FI and full board. The other is a private bedroom in a shared apartment that includes only WI-FI and no meals. No smoking or pets are allowed inside any of the accommodation options.


Homestay with a local family in CuscoHost family Peru

A local guest family is the best option if you want to practice your Spanish and get a better understanding of Peruvian culture. The host families are middle class families. They can give you a good idea of everyday life in Peru in a nice and safe environment. You will have your own bedroom and you will share the rest of the house with the family. Mostly, the family do not speak English or only at a very basic level. So that way you will be ‘forced’ to practice your Spanish in this way. Normally you will eat three times a day with the family. However, you have the liberty to go wherever you want, and are not obliged to share every meal with the family. Please let us know if you have a preference (e.g. non-smoker, no pets, dietary requirements etc.), and we will try to arrange accordingly. Staying with a host family is the most popular accommodation option for short and medium term (2 weeks to about 2 months) stays in Cusco.
 

Shared Apartment for Volunteers in Cusco

Shared Apartment in Cusco

It is also possible to stay in a shared apartment while volunteering. The apartments are located in Lucrepata and Limacpama, which are both safe neighbourhoods close to the centre, where the Spanish School is also located.The apartments are completely furnished. The living room has cable-TV, DVD and a dining area and a fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, stove with oven, microwave, etc.). You will share the apartment with some fellow students/volunteers, but you will have your own private bedroom. The volunteers would be responsible for their own meals. Staying in an apartment is the most popular accommodation option for mid and long-term stays.


Free Time when Volunteering in Cusco

Fruit tasting night with students

Activities are normally arranged for all students and volunteers every week. Sometimes you will learn something new, visit a new place or do a new activity, while meeting new people who are also studying and volunteering in Cusco. Some examples of the activities include; Salsa classes, Fruit sampling nights, Dinners, Cooking classes, Trivia nights, Workshops, introduction to Quechua (the original language of this part of the world), Walking tours or visits to any interesting events in Cusco, such as a football matches, a festival, a concert and so on.

The majority of volunteers opt to explore the beauty of Cusco and Peru in the weekends. You will have plenty of places to explore such as Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and the South Coast of Peru to name a few. These trips can be arranged directly with our project partner in Peru once you are confirmed on the programme, if you wish to do so. Please be aware that in some cases, like treks to Machu Picchu, the trip preferably needs to be booked well in advance to secure a spot.


Visa in Peru

Volunteers are able to arrive in Peru without a pre-arranged visa, and can obtain a free tourist visa on arrival which is valid for up 6 months (do ask for 6 months if you want it). Anyone staying longer than the stated visa expiry date granted on arrival in Peru will accumulate a daily penalty fine – this is not recommended. Please always check the latest visa requirements applicable for your nationality, as these might change without notice.


Health Information 

The altitude of Cusco can be an issue, as the city center of Cusco is located at 3400 meters. Most people don´t have any problems with the altitude, or just some minor symptoms. Few people get sick. If you have never been at higher altitudes, you don´t know if you will get altitude sickness. It doesn´t depend on your physical fitness, age or gender whether you will get altitude sickness. Most people have minor symptoms the first few days at height, like breathing faster, heart pumping faster and less energy. This goes away after a few days. If you get a headache, nausea or even vomiting you have altitude sickness. You can take pills for the altitude. You can get them in any pharmacy in Cusco. Best advice is to take it easy the first few days. Drink enough liquids as dehydration is an issue at high altitude, lots of water and coca tea can help as well. And if you remain sick, please let the local project coordinator know so they can help you.

Map & Background 

 


About Peru

Plaza de Armas in Cusco

Bordering Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile, Peru is an archaeological hotspot riddled with ancient sights, from the renowned Incan citadel of Machu Picchu situated thousands of meters up in the Andes Mountains near Cuzco, to the gigantic Nazca Lines featuring kilometre-wide images of animals and mythical creatures in the driest desert on earth. The country receives around 900,000 tourists each year, of which most come also to admire the breathtaking natural wonders of the country, such as Lake Titicaca, the Ausangate peak, the cloud forests of Manu, and of course the mighty Amazon river, its tributaries and evergreen rainforest


About Cusco

Cusco is located in the Southern Sierras and used to be the capital of the Inca Empire. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of Peru's most visited cities, as it is the largest city from which travellers can begin visits to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Inca sites in the region.

The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst.

Text and photo taken from Wikipedia. Read more at: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Cuzco

How to Join Group picture of students and volunteers in Peru

If you are interested in volunteering in Peru, you will need to fill out the online application form (you can also print it out and send it to us by post) – to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form and your application payment of £195. If for some reason, your application is not accepted, we will reimburse this payment fully. However, for those who are accepted, the full amount needs to be paid two months before departure. Once you have been accepted on the programme, you will receive an Information Package with all detailed information on your project, Peru, suggested items to bring etc.

Apply Now


Related Projects

Amazon Basin Research & Conservation Volunteer & Internship Project, Peru

Volunteer or intern in Peru and have the rare opportunity to work alongside and learn from expert biologists and conservationists in the deep Amazon rainforest.

Volunteer in Brazil

Volunteer in Brazil and experience Brazil from a whole different perspective. Gain an experience from the community through cultural exchange.

Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Programme, Costa Rica

Opportunities for volunteers and interns to work with rescued animals, whilst also having the opportunity to learn Spanish, and take yoga and surf lessons.