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Animal Care Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Animal Care Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Aug 2, 2021

Love dogs, bears, monkeys and eagles and want to be an Animal Care volunteer in Peru - Cusco? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project empowers volunteers to assist in either a dog shelter or small zoo which operates as a rescue center. Volunteers gain experience looking after animals that have been abandoned, neglected or harmed by their former owners and need care, treatment and attention so they can regain full health and have the best chance of finding a new home.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from CA$436 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help at a local dog shelter or small zoo for rescued animals
  • Explore Peru's stunning natural environment
  • Experience life in Cusco by staying with a local family
Apply Now

Who is this program suited to?

Enthusiastic volunteers who love animals and are interested in animal welfare. You’ll be working closely with local staff so no prior experience of animal care is necessary.
Who is this program suited to?

Key information

Care for & rehome abandoned animals
Based in a dog shelter or small zoo
Homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day
Fully hosted experience from CA$436 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 24 weeks
Spanish language lessons available

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Animal Care volunteers in Cusco can assist either a local dog shelter or a small zoo which operates as a rescue center. The amount of care these animal refuges are able to provide increases with the number of people available to help out so volunteers are a vital source of support.

When you volunteer in Animal Care at the dog shelter, you will assist local staff to care for and entertain abandoned dogs, with the ultimate goal of finding them happy new homes. Most of these dogs have been rescued from the streets and all are vaccinated. Volunteer duties can vary but generally include helping with:

  • Playing and entertaining dogs
  • Feeding
  • Cleaning and grooming
  • Training and socializing
  • Grounds maintenance

The zoo placement is run by a biology faculty at the local university and accepts exotic animals that have been either harmed by humans or abandoned by people they’ve been dependent on. You’ll focus on all aspects of animal care and also help with assisting logistical tasks such as journal keeping. Animals can include:

  • Eagles
  • Monkeys
  • Cats and other felines
  • Bears
  • Llamas
  • Deer
  • Birds
  • Turtles

We ask that you state your placement preference when you apply to volunteer with animals in Cusco. However, as placements are allocated based on need, your preferred option cannot always be guaranteed.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Animal Care volunteering in Cusco with IVHQ?

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

  • Increasing care available for stray or abandoned animals
  • Helping animals back to full health
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining animal care experience and knowledge
  • Immersing yourself in Peruvian culture
  • Explore the stunning mountains and ancient ruins 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 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

”My favourite moment was when I started to feel like I was making significant contribution to my volunteer program.”

Read reviews from Animal Care volunteers in Cusco

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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

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 your homestay. 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 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 socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, typically Tuesday, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays

Volunteers will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift which will last about 3 to 4 hours. Volunteer roles and hours are dependent on your project and placement. A typical morning schedule might be as follows:

8:00 aM Breakfast with your host family.
9:00 AM Leave the homestay and travel to your placement, where you will be given a structure sheet and a plan for your work.
12:00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.
1:00 - 5:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, go sightseeing or take Spanish lessons.
7:00 PM Dinner with your host family.

Weekends

On weekends volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Cusco and Peru. Sunday is a religious day of rest and most stores and restaurants are closed on Sundays, as most Peruvians devote the day to spending time with their families. If you like, 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.

Cusco is a lively metropolitan city with a fascinating history and lots to see and do. There are places where you can learn about the Mayan and Incan culture and traditions, see ancient ruins, a beautiful central square bordered by restaurants and cafes, cooking classes, a chocolate museum offering all kinds of tasty delights or dance the night away in some of Peru’s best nightclubs. It is also an outdoor-lovers paradise with plenty of horseback riding, ziplining and hiking opportunities, including Rainbow Mountain.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to visit other parts of Peru, such as Lima.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Cusco-based projects will be accommodated in a homestay, hosted by a local family. Volunteers can expect to share a room with one or two other volunteers of the same gender. For individuals or couples who would like more privacy, private or matrimonial rooms are available as an accommodation upgrade for an additional cost. Living is comfortable and all central Cusco-based accommodation has electricity, running water and western-style bathrooms, however showers can be low pressure and unheated. Bedrooms have single beds or bunk beds with bedding supplied. Volunteers in Cusco will have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office, and there is WiFi available at some of the homestays in town.

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 CA$3) and US$10 (approximately CA$13) 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

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.
1 week CA$436 Equivalent to CA$63/day
2 weeks CA$753 Equivalent to CA$54/day
3 weeks CA$1024 Equivalent to CA$49/day
4 weeks CA$1289 Equivalent to CA$47/day
5 weeks CA$1513 Equivalent to CA$44/day
6 weeks CA$1738 Equivalent to CA$42/day
8 weeks CA$2188 Equivalent to CA$40/day
10 weeks CA$2637 Equivalent to CA$38/day
12 weeks CA$3087 Equivalent to CA$37/day
16 weeks CA$3986 Equivalent to CA$36/day
20 weeks CA$4885 Equivalent to CA$35/day
24 weeks CA$5784 Equivalent to CA$35/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteering

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

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of CA$395 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 CAD.
  • 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 Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion, and Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers), in-country tours, and Spanish language lessons.

We believe that no volunteer adventure would be complete without experiencing the natural wonders of your host country. That’s why we offer Machu Picchu tours, Rainbow Mountain treks and a popular Mini Adventure, exclusively available to IVHQ volunteers in Cusco as affordable add-ons.

Please contact us or your IVHQ Program Manager to book or get more information about any of the following activities and tours.

Be sure to see all the sites in Peru while you are in-country - the Mini Adventure combines the major hot spots of Peru into a 1-week excursion that can be added at the beginning or end of your volunteer program. You will be accompanied by a certified, bilingual tour guide for each trip, using Cusco as your home base between tours. The 6-day program compliments your volunteer experience, without the stress of trip planning. If you would like to add a Mini Adventure to your trip, you can arrange this directly with your Program Manager once you are registered for the program.

The Mini Adventure includes:

  • Cusco city tour
  • 1-day Sacred Valley + Moras/Moray tour
  • Machu Picchu overnight trip with Vistadome Train
  • 2-day Lake Titicaca tour

Visit the illustrious Machu Picchu in just one day! This tour includes a round-trip basic “backpacker” train from Ollantaytambo station, bus tickets up/down from Aguas Calientes to Machupicchu, and guided tour of Machu Picchu. Meals are not included.

The 2 days/1 night Machu Picchu tour includes round-trip via upgraded “vistadome” train from either Poroy or Ollantaytambo station, a private room in a 2-star hotel, bus tickets up/down from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, and guided tour of the incredible Machu Picchu site. Meals are not included.

Enjoy a challenging, high altitude trek to the top of Rainbow Mountain, part of Ausangate Mountain in the Peruvian Andes. Also known as “Vinicunca,” “Winikunka,” “Painted Mountain,” and “Mountain of Seven Colors” due to its multi-colored mineral deposits, participants may elect a horse-riding option, instead of hiking. Breakfast and lunch is included.

Enjoy a leisurely half-day horseback riding tour with an expert guide. No previous horseback riding experience is required, and you will spend 2-3 hours riding through the Cusco region in the Andes mountains and visit several lesser-known Inca sites.

How to book IVHQ’s recommended add-ons: When you apply for your IVHQ volunteer program, make a note in your application of the add-ons you’re interested in.

Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your IVHQ Program Manager will be able to book your place on the tour(s) you have chosen and help you organize your trip. Volunteers on the Eco-Agriculture, Jungle Conservation and Andean Immersion projects need to book these trips for before or after their program due to the remote locations they will be volunteering in.

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 partner staff in Cusco. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the IVHQ Program Manager prior to departure. 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: 1 hour a day - starting at CA$85 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour a day - starting at CA$99 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours a day - starting at CA$198 per week

How to book IVHQ’s language lessons: When you apply for your IVHQ volunteer program, make a note in your application of the language classes you’re interested in.

Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your IVHQ Program Manager will be able to book your place on the classes you have chosen.

Spanish language lessons are not available on the Andean Immersion, Eco-Agriculture or 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

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Peru, based on your country of residence.

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.
Safety and support with IVHQ

Protecting against COVID-19:

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Greater physical distance between volunteers

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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