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114,124 volunteers since 2007

Andean Immersion Volunteer Project in Cusco - Peru

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is May 10, 2021

This unique project is very different from the other projects offered on the Cusco program. You will be volunteering in a small rural village in the Andes Mountains 90 minutes from Cusco, assisting families with all aspects of daily life. These are families that get great personal benefit from having your assistance, and offer an immersive volunteer experience in return.

You’ll live with a Quechua-speaking family, where the pace of life is slower and the standard of living is very basic.​ Often these families will speak no English, but some Spanish, so you should come prepared with at least basic Spanish language.

Andean Immersion volunteer in Cusco, Peru with IVHQ

The type of work you’ll be doing varies greatly according to the needs of each family - it could be anything from helping with physical agricultural or construction work to more domestic chores and helping to weave fabrics to sell. Your help will make the family more efficient, both economically and around the house.

Immersion volunteers should come prepared for basic but comfortable living conditions. There is running water, though it’s not heated, limited electricity and no internet. You’ll eat traditional food and live day to day life the way locals do.

​Please note, the Andean Immersion project has an extra cost of US$75 (approximately £56) per week for extra supervision, materials and logistics. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

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Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from £249 for 1 week
  • Help locals with daily life in an Andean community, 90 minutes from Cusco

  • Assist families with physical work or domestic chores to help them to be more efficient

  • Suited to enthusiastic volunteers who want an immersive cultural experience

  • Additional surcharge of US$75 (approximately £56) per week for extra, supervision, materials and logistics

  • Basic Spanish recommended

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Peru at a glance
  • Based in Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, daily breakfast and dinner and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in homestays or dorms (project dependent)

  • Between 25 and 60 volunteers start in Cusco each month

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.

The IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Cusco and surrounding valleys. Volunteers are required to fly into Cusco Airport (CUZ), which is a 12 to 13 hour flight from most major airports in Britain. Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and situated in close proximity to the tourist mecca of Machu Picchu.

Volunteer programs begin on every Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for any duration from 1 week to 24 weeks.

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. British travellers do not require a visa to enter Peru for a duration of 90 days. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarised 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 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. On arrival you will be transported to your accommodation and introduced to your host, and the following day you will complete orientation.

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. A typical afternoon schedule would be as follows:

12.00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.

1.00 PM Leave the homestay and travel to your placement, where you will be given a structure sheet and a plan for your work. Volunteer roles and hours are dependent on your project and placement.

4.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to go sightseeing or do some shopping. If you are taking a Spanish language course, this will usually take place in the morning and will last 1 to 2 hours.

7.00 PM Dinner with the host family.

As the Cusco program has projects in different locations, your accommodation will depend on the project(s) that you have chosen to join. If you are volunteering on the Teaching English, Special Needs Care, Childcare, Medical, Animal Care or Construction and Renovation projects, you will be accommodated in Cusco. If you are volunteering on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion or Ego-Agriculture Conservation projects, you will be based further afield.

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 supplied bedding.

Accommodation on the Jungle Conservation project is located onsite at the conservation reserve where you will be based. Living is rustic and communal, but comfortable. Volunteers are accommodated in bungalows or dormitory-style rooms. On the Andean Immersion project, volunteers stay onsite at the Andean Immersion farm with a local host family (please note your host family will not speak any English). Volunteers can expect to share a room with others of the same gender. Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers are accommodated in dormitory style rooms, separated by gender. Living is rustic but comfortable. Accommodation upgrades are not available on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion, or Eco-Agriculture Conservation projects.

Transportation to these project sites takes place after arriving into Cusco and receiving the program orientation, so depending on when you arrive, you may spend a few nights in Cusco at a homestay before being transported to your project site.

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. These is no WiFi available on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion or Eco-Agriculture Conservation projects, due to their remote locations.

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 £2 and £7 per day to purchase lunch. Local staff will give recommendations on economical places to eat in Cusco.

Volunteers on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion and Eco-Agriculture projects will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Please note any dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.

“I was so impressed with my entire Peruvian experience, and feel like I really had the opportunity to immerse myself in Peruvian life and to help out in a small way. I am so grateful to the IVHQ team for making my adventure possible and giving the the most rewarding experience of my small lifetime. I look forward to volunteering with IVHQ in the very near future.” - Genevieve Rogan (Teaching English Volunteer in Peru - Cusco)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Peru here

Peru - Cusco

Duration Program Fee
1 week $330 £249
2 weeks $570 £431
3 weeks $775 £586
4 weeks $975 £737
5 weeks $1,145 £866
6 weeks $1,315 £995
8 weeks $1,655 £1,252
10 weeks $1,995 £1,509
12 weeks $2,335 £1,766
16 weeks $3,015 £2,281
20 weeks $3,695 £2,796
24 weeks $4,375 £3,310
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee from US$299 (approximately £226) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in GBP.
  • The Jungle Conservation, Eco-Agriculture Conservation, Construction and Renovation, Medical and Andean Immersion projects also have an extra cost of US$75 per week for supervision, materials, meals (if applicable) and the logistics involved in these projects. The Holiday Experience project also has an extra cost of US$75 per week for supervision, materials and logistics involved in the project.
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required.
  • Lunches while in-country
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spanish lessons (optional)
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Peru - Cusco generally find US$70 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Discounts on language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco program, however on certain projects; Medical in particular, 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 per day - starting at US$65 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour per day - starting at US$75 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours per day - starting at US$150 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.

During the weekend, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Cusco and Peru. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to visit destinations, such as Lima. 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 wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is unique and special experience for many volunteers.

See our Peru - Cusco Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Peru!

Capital Lima
Population 29.99 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 mountainous region, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The Jungle is characterised by heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Cusco. Additional requirements apply for Medical volunteers, please read the project description.

Volunteers who are under 18 years-old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. Please note that volunteers under the age of 18 are not eligible to join the Medical project or Eco-Agriculture Conservation project without a parent or guardian.

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching English, Medical, and the Andean Immersion project, 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. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local ​team once in Cusco. Please note that Spanish lessons are no​t​ available to volunteers on the Jungle Conservation and Andean Immersion projects.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!