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Andean Immersion Volunteer Project in Peru - Cusco

Andean Immersion Volunteer Project in Peru - Cusco

Purpose
Improve quality of life for traditional communities
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Accommodation
Homestay
Program fees
From AU$722 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Enthusiastic volunteers who want an immersive cultural experience. Often the host families on this project speak little or no English so volunteers should come with at least a basic level of Spanish language ability, though this is not a requirement. You’ll also need to be comfortable staying in basic accommodation with few modern conveniences and willing to help with a variety of activities.

Project details

Excited to live with an ancient community as an Andean Immersion volunteer in Peru - Cusco? International Volunteer HQ’s Andean Immersion project is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to live with a Peruvian family in a Quechua-speaking community and help them with a wide range of tasks. Volunteers will eat traditional food and live day-to-day life the way the locals do while learning about their unique culture and lifestyle.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

High in the Peruvian Andes people live in small rural villages where the pace of life is slower and the standard of living is basic. These people often speak the local indigenous Quechua language and some Spanish, but little English.

As an Andean Immersion volunteer you’ll live with a local family and help them as they go about their daily tasks. Your help will make the family more efficient, both economically and around the house, while at the same time providing you with an immersive cultural experience. Volunteer duties can vary greatly but often include:

  • Farming and agricultural work, including animal husbandry
  • Construction
  • Domestic chores
  • Learning about traditional weaving and natural dyes
  • Helping make textiles for sale at a local market
  • Teaching English classes
  • Helping with educational activities
  • Taking part in local festivals and gatherings
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

As job losses escalate as a result of Covid-19, it is estimated that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods. We must improve access to jobs, decent work conditions and community services in order to achieve peace, sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for all.

Why do Andean Immersion volunteering in Cusco with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with an Andean community in Peru - Cusco you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Getting an authentic experience of life in the rural Andes
  • Helping a local family with a wide range of tasks
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Learning about the Quechuan language
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Immersing yourself in Peruvian culture
  • Exploring the stunning mountains of Peru

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16 or 17 on their program start date are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional document to the local team.
  • All volunteers aged 18+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 16 and 17 will need to provide 2 character reference letters to participate
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

AA
Alyssa Akhtar
05 Jun 2024

IVHQ is always responsive with any questions or concerns, and the pre-departure checklists and guides are extremely helpful. The local team was also AMAZING. The people, accommodations, transportation, and homestay were so welcoming and knowledgeable. I loved staying with other volunteers in Cusco. I learned a lot from living in the culture. I would recommend this program to anyone.

...
LL
Lailane Laguitao
21 May 2024

Volunteering allows you to learn more about yourself, while at the same time feeling very safe as a solo traveler. IVHQ and the local team were great in helping to guide me prior to and on my trip. It felt good to volunteer and I'm sure I will do it again in the future.

...
NS
Novica-Jozo Sesjak
20 Apr 2023

My favourite part of the program was spending time with such a wonderful family and experiencing their way of life, culture and tradition. Our children enjoyed playing with their little boy and helping him with homework, as well playing soccer together.

...
SS
Sandro Sesjak
19 Apr 2023

I really enjoyed feeding the cuys, taking the sheep out to the pasture, and playing soccer with the young son and the other kids in the community. It was a good experience to learn about a different county and its people.

...
JS
Jadran Sesjak
19 Apr 2023

This was a great opportunity to experience life in a different part of the world and grow as a person with a greater appreciation of the traditions and cultures of another country.

...
CM
Cheryl Martin
05 Feb 2021

Be prepared to get stuck in, even if you have no idea how to do something. The power of watch and learn is strong. The families are kind and always concerned for your welfare.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit

Location

Volunteer Abroad on the Andean Immersion Peru, Cusco with IVHQ

Location

As an Andean Immersion volunteer you’ll live with a local family in a remote village nestled in the valleys of the Andes mountains in Peru. You’ll be about a 90-minute drive away from the city of Cusco and even closer to the ancient Incan site of Machu Picchu.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Cusco on the Sunday before orientation. Orientation will be held within 24 hours of your arrival.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the local team’s main office and then to a homestay in Cusco where you will stay until you have completed orientation and are then taken to your placement homestay. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation. If you are travelling in Peru prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Cusco on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our local team at their offices in Cusco. Orientation begins on Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Cusco – introduction to Peru, Peruvian customs, language lesson details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Cusco, introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays

Due to the varied nature of this project, volunteer days may not follow a reliable schedule. Work times and daily routines will depend on the individual placement and host family. A typical schedule might be as follows:

7:00 AM Breakfast at your accommodation. This might be served earlier depending on the activities planned for the day.
8:00 AM Volunteer work begins. Depending on the season you may be helping with the potato harvest, cutting alfalfa, sorting harvested plants, helping with planting, preparing food or tending the sheep.
12:00 PM Lunch and break time.
2:00 PM Volunteer work continues. This may include: learning how to weave and dye traditional textiles, teaching English or feeding farm animals.
6:00 PM Dinner at your accommodation with other volunteers.

Weekends

Volunteers have spare time to relax in the village or venture back into Cusco at their own cost via bus to explore other parts of Cusco and Peru.

Sunday is a religious day of rest. But if you wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers stay onsite at the Andean Immersion farm with a local host family. Volunteers can expect to share a room with others of the same gender. Living is rustic but comfortable. There is cold running water, limited electricity and no internet.

Please note, homes in Peru are not typically heated but your hosts can provide you with additional blankets upon request. We also advise wearing layered clothing as the temperature tends to drop at night, due to the altitude.

Meals

Volunteers are provided breakfast, lunch and dinner at their homestay. You’ll eat traditional food and live day to day life the way locals do.

A typical Peruvian breakfast consists of bread, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied by tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat (often chicken), soups, pastas, starches and vegetables.

Please note any dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you. However, you’ll need to be somewhat flexible due to the limited resources in this location.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$511) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $465 Equivalent to $66/day
2 weeks $820 Equivalent to $59/day
3 weeks $1,107 Equivalent to $53/day
4 weeks $1,378 Equivalent to $49/day
5 weeks $1,668 Equivalent to $48/day
6 weeks $1,958 Equivalent to $47/day
8 weeks $2,538 Equivalent to $45/day
10 weeks $3,118 Equivalent to $45/day
12 weeks $3,698 Equivalent to $44/day
16 weeks $4,858 Equivalent to $43/day
20 weeks $6,018 Equivalent to $43/day
24 weeks $7,178 Equivalent to $43/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$511) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Cusco generally find US$100 - $150 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such lunches, public transportation, personal spending money, etc..
  • Breakfast and dinner while in Cusco when you first arrive
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner while at your project site
  • Airport pick-up
  • Round-trip transfer from Cusco to project site
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Cusco

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Cusco! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Cusco program.

Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)
Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)

Prepare to be in awe of this unique landscape and surroundings on this overnight tour!

AU$217
Machu Picchu Overnight Tour  - Upgrade (2 days, 1 night)
Machu Picchu Overnight Tour - Upgrade (2 days, 1 night)

Explore Machu Picchu on an exhilarating 2-day & 1-night tour.

AU$761
Machu Picchu Tour (Full Day)
Machu Picchu Tour (Full Day)

Experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Machu Picchu in just one day without stretching your budget!

AU$581

Affordable Spanish language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco program, however on certain projects volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local team in Cusco. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • Group Class: 2 hours a day - starting at AU$138 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour a day - starting at AU$147 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours a day - starting at AU$295 per week

How to book IVHQ’s language lessons: Once you’ve paid your registration fee, you will be able to select language lessons as an “Add-on” via your MyIVHQ profile.

Spanish language lessons are not available on the Andean Immersion, Eco-Agriculture or Amazon Jungle Conservation projects due to their remote nature. However volunteers will have plenty of opportunity to practice with locals.

Check what's required to visit Peru

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Lima
Population 32 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone UTC-05:00

Weather and climate: Peru, unlike other equatorial countries, does not have an exclusively tropical climate; the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current causes great climatic diversity within the country. In the mountains, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The jungle has heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

Apply to check if you're eligible!

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How to get started

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