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Christmas Holiday Experience Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Christmas Holiday Experience Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Want to spend Christmas making a difference in Peru - Cusco? International Volunteer HQ’s Christmas Holiday Experience project enables volunteers to participate in a variety of projects that benefit the local community during the festive season when other volunteer projects take a break. Volunteers can assist with activities like running holiday parties for disadvantaged children and the elderly, helping a rural village with cooking, weaving and farming, or renovating a local community centre and helping bring the Christmas spirit to Cusco.

Highlights:
  • Only available the weeks of Christmas and New Years
  • Affordable fees from AU$754 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help with festive activities for children, the elderly and others in need

  • Take part in Peru’s vibrant celebration of the holidays

  • Experience Christmas and New Year with a local family in Cusco

Key information

Support communities over the festive season
Based in and around Cusco
Homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Fully hosted experience from AU$754 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 2 weeks
Machu Picchu and other add-on tours available
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are available over the Christmas and New Year period and want to try a wide variety of volunteer activities that will have an impact on the local community and especially those in need at this time of year.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

The holiday period in Peru is vibrant, colourful, and exciting. This special project is designed to help volunteers enjoy the festive season while pitching in with valuable community initiatives in underprivileged areas of the city. Many projects are closed at this time of year, but this provides an inspiring way to still do something meaningful and contribute to the local community.

Please note, the order of this work may be subject to change based on local requirements. In 2024, this project is only available to volunteers who begin the weeks of the 23rd and 30th of December - volunteers should arrive in the morning the day before your project starts.

See the Christmas Holiday Experience Schedule for 2023 to learn more about what to expect.

The Christmas Holiday Experience project requires an extra cost of AU$154 per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project which will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Why do Christmas Holiday Experience volunteering in Cusco with IVHQ?

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

  • Helping disadvantaged communities celebrate the holidays
  • Volunteering while many community initiatives are closed
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining a wide range of volunteer experiences
  • Immersing yourself in Peruvian culture
  • Experiencing the vibrant festive season in 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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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

JO
Jide Oke
24 Jan 2024

I'm blown away by this experience. Every single detail was well thought out and I can tell so much effort went into preparing this experience. As a volunteer, I felt valued, safe and cared for. This program is a gold standard with so much positive energy each day!

...
HK
Hyunjung Kim
24 Jan 2024

This was the most wonderful experience I've ever had - from the first day to the last day it was perfect! I fully recommend this program.

...
SY
Saini Ye
24 Jan 2024

The project and program was well organized and everything went super smooth! I enjoyed working with other volunteers and the local team - everyone was so sweet. This was a great experience and I will do more programs in the future - thanks for everything!

...
JO
Jennifer ODonnell
24 Jan 2024

Everything was amazing! This was the best experience I've every had, and I would recommend the Christmas Holiday Experience project to anyone.

...
KB
Kathryn Burguin
17 Jan 2024

I was really impressed with everything pre-departure that IVHQ provided. The local team was very professional, efficient and genuinely friendly. They were always willing to help or answer any question I had.

This program is a great way to get outside of your comfort zone. I was outside of the usual age bracket for volunteers. However, if you are willing to do the job and you get on well with people, then you will adapt. We were very lucky as we had a great group of volunteers and we got on well together.

...
SJ
Sara Jenis
13 Sep 2023

I traveled to a cool place and met some amazing people, all while being able to help people in need. The accommodation was AWESOME. I couldn't have asked for a better host.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

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
Volunteer Abroad in Peru, Cusco with IVHQ

Location

Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and situated in the stunning Peruvian Andes. The city is close to famous Inca trails, ruins and temples, such as Machu Picchu. It’s a hive of culture, adventure and culinary delights - all of which makes it a prime destination for visitors to Peru.

The IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Cusco and surrounding valleys. Volunteers are important to Cusco because despite the thriving tourism industry and government investment in the region, many local people make little money and struggle to access food, water, shelter, healthcare and education. Volunteers can make a difference by supporting local initiatives that aim to help people improve their quality of life by making sure they have the basic necessities and opportunities to help them improve their futures.

Arrival and orientation

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco the Sunday prior to your start date. 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 your accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation. If you are traveling 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 occurs within 24 hours of your arrival, depending on your arrival time. For example, if you arrive in the morning on Sunday you will be able to complete orientation that day. Alternatively, if you arrive late at night on Sunday then orientation will take place Monday morning.

The orientation 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 socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

The Peru - Cusco Christmas Holiday Experience project is held during the weeks of Christmas and New Years and provides the opportunity to participate in a variety of different projects and activities in the local community.

Start dates in 2024 are available on December 23rd (for 1 or 2 weeks) and December 30th (for 1 week). However, the schedule will not be finalized until later in the year. An example of the 2023 Christmas Holiday Experience project is as follows:

WEEK 1: December 17th - 23rd

Sunday, December 17th Arrival & Orientation - Arrival, pick-up, transportation to housing and orientation
Monday, December 18th Animal Care project - Spend the day grooming, feeding, playing with Alpacas, Llamas, and other cute, fluffy animals. Work in a community that depends on and cares for these animals.
Tuesday, December 19th Construction and Renovation project - Community Development - Paint, garden, work on light repairs or construction work. Work varies depending on community needs.
Wednesday, December 20th Childcare project - Children’s Holiday Party - Show the kids a great time for the holiday! Celebrate by bringing gifts and food to the project. Take part in games, songs, dancing and more!
Thursday, December 21st Eco-Agriculture Conservation project - Planting Trees & Beautification - Work to rehabilitate a part of Cusco with native foliage! Transplant, relocate, and plant organic and local vegetation in previously green areas.
Friday, December 22nd Elderly Care project - Local Nursing Home - Spread the Holiday Spirit at an elderly home by playing games, preparing a special holiday snack, dancing, and providing much needed company and conversation.
Saturday, December 23rd Departure

WEEK 2: December 24th - 30th

Sunday, December 24th Arrival & Orientation - Arrival, pick-up, transportation to housing and orientation
Monday, December 25th Christmas Day - No project work available due to the public holiday. However, there are lots of local holiday festivities to enjoy independently.
Tuesday, December 26th Animal Care project - Community Animal Campaign - Assist at a local dog shelter with general care, including bathing, grooming, exercise, and more.
Wednesday, December 27th Childcare project - Field Trip for Kids at a Local Park - Depending on weather, accompany children to a local park to get fresh air and have a little holiday fun.
Thursday, December 28th Childcare project - Celebrate the holidays with underprivileged kids by bringing them food and gifts that have been arranged by our local team!
Friday, December 29th Construction and Renovation project - Community Development - Paint, garden, work on light repairs or construction work. Work varies depending on community needs.
Saturday, December 30th Departure

The Christmas Holiday Experience project requires an extra cost of US$95 per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project which will be included in the program fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply. Volunteers who continue on the program beyond these weeks will resume on a standard volunteer project of their choice.

Please note, itineraries are subject to change based on field conditions.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Cusco based projects will be accommodated in either a dorm-style volunteer house or a homestay with a local host family.

You will find living conditions are comfortable in both types of accommodation, and all homestay families have been approved by our local staff. Bedrooms have single and bunk beds with bedding provided. You will share a room with up to four other volunteers of the same gender.

The volunteer house can accommodate up to 30 volunteers, whereas the homestays can host up to 6 volunteers at one time. If you prefer a private room, these are available in our homestays and you will need to arrange this through your Program Manager once you’ve secured your spot on the program. Private room upgrades cost AU$100 per person, per week.

You can expect the homestays to have electricity, drinkable running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers are common and the water is not always heated.

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.

WiFi is available in the majority of homestays and you will have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in Cusco.

Please note, volunteers under the age of 18 who are travelling solo will be accommodated separately from those over the age of 18, in a homestay. If there are other volunteers under the age of 18 participating at the same time, the local team will do their best to ensure they are accommodated together.

Meals

In Cusco, volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner at their accommodation.

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. We recommend budgeting between US$3 (approximately AU$4) and US$10 (approximately AU$16) per day to purchase lunch. Local staff will give recommendations on economical places to eat in Cusco.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.

Pricing

  • USD
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 AU$754 Equivalent to AU$108/day
2 weeks AU$1330 Equivalent to AU$95/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • 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.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$533) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Cusco generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches (except for Amazon Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion, and Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers), in-country tours, and Spanish language lessons.

Free-time experiences & tours in Peru

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Peru! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Peru 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$227
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$794
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$606

No experiences or tours for Lima, yet...

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$227
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$794
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$606

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$144 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour a day - starting at AU$154 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours a day - starting at AU$308 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 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

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.

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How to get started

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