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Animal Care Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Animal Care Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Purpose
Care for & rehome abandoned animals
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 $370 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
'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.

This program is ideal for:

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.

Project details

Love alpacas, 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, an alpaca farm, or a 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.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Animal Care volunteers in Cusco can assist either a local dog shelter, an alpaca farm, or a small zoo which operates as a rescue center. The amount of care these animals 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

The alpaca farm is run by a local family with the aim of carefully tending to and caring for alpacas and llamas. The farm also produces amazing traditional Peruvian textiles from alpaca and llama wool and the family uses traditional methods of shearing, worsting, dyeing, and weaving. The project’s secondary mission is to educate both tourists and local people about these unique camelid creatures (related to camels) that are native to Peru. Volunteer work closely with the animals, and may assist with the following tasks:

  • Cleaning and maintaining their pens and corrals
  • Feeding
  • Light construction work
  • Caring for sick animals
  • Helping with the weaving
  • Educating guests

It is important to understand alpacas and llamas are active and sometimes moody, so the work can be challenging at times.

The project is roughly a 45-minute bus ride from the city center in a community just outside of Cusco. Volunteers should budget around 2 soles each way.

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 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.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

EV
Erika Vargas
14 Mar 2024

The team was absolutely wonderful, and everything I needed support-wise was provided pre-departure! Everyone was so friendly and informative, making my experience all the more enjoyable.

...
CF
Cindy Fall
04 Mar 2024

I greatly appreciate the support that my IVHQ Program Manager provided prior to my trip and how quickly she responded to my questions. The online resources were also very helpful. I also found the local team to be gracious, supportive and just wonderful people to be around.

I received so many gifts from this trip. It was a complete disruption from my normal life. I was in a different country, speaking a different language, eating different foods, experiencing a different culture and geography, and doing volunteer work completely different from my work at home. The combination of all of these things left me with inspiration, creativity, and space in my body and soul to reaffirm what is important in life and how I want to proceed.

...
VR
Victoria Raftery
22 Jan 2024

Traveling to a new continent with a different currency and language was daunting, so it really made me feel comfortable having constant support from IVHQ! The local team was also amazing! Everyone was very kind and helpful.

I definitely gained a push out of my comfort zone and a better worldview. It can seem scary at first but I’d advise anyone who is contemplating it to give it a try.

...
CT
Chiara Teal
22 Dec 2023

Try not to have any expectations - things are very affordable, the food is incredible, and people are amazing. There are lots of eye opening things we take for granted at home.

...
TW
Tracy Warner
31 May 2023

My IVHQ Program Manager was there for me every step of the way and I felt very supported, and the members of the local team were very supportive and helpful. Along with volunteering, achieving my bucket list wish and seeing Macchu Pichu with my own eyes was such a life affirming moment.

...
SA
Sedi Aliabadi
17 Aug 2022

My experience with IVHQ and the support I received from them was outstanding. My favorite moment was when I arrived at Alpaca farm early in the morning, and all the alpacas looked at me, expecting the food and love! Learning about the new culture while living and interacting closely with locals is priceless and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

...

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 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 5 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 - 6:00 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 either a dorm-style volunteer house or a homestay with a local host family, depending on their age. Volunteers who are between the ages of 18 and 27 are accommodated in a larger, dorm-style volunteer house. Whereas, those over the age of 27 are accommodated in a local home-stay, hosted by a local family. If you are travelling as a family, or a solo volunteer under the age of 18, the local team will place you in a separate home-stay.

You will find living conditions are comfortable in both types of accommodation, and all host families have been approved by our local staff. Bedrooms have single and bunk beds with bedding provided. In the volunteer house you can expect to share a room with up to 8 other volunteers, whereas in a homestay you may share a room with up to four other volunteers. All bedrooms are separated by 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 $62 per week.

All accommodations have electricity, filtered water for drinking, 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 $3 (approximately $3) and $10 (approximately $10) 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

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately $329) 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 $370 Equivalent to $53/day
2 weeks $630 Equivalent to $45/day
3 weeks $822 Equivalent to $39/day
4 weeks $998 Equivalent to $36/day
5 weeks $1,193 Equivalent to $34/day
6 weeks $1,388 Equivalent to $33/day
8 weeks $1,778 Equivalent to $32/day
10 weeks $2,168 Equivalent to $31/day
12 weeks $2,558 Equivalent to $30/day
16 weeks $3,338 Equivalent to $30/day
20 weeks $4,118 Equivalent to $29/day
24 weeks $4,898 Equivalent to $29/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) 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
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized 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.

  • Lunch
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • 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!

$140
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.

$490
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!

$374

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 $89 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour a day - starting at $95 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours a day - starting at $190 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.

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