Foodies: Hope You're Hungry!

What if we told you that Peru has a rep for being the foodie capital of the Americas, melding the flavors of Spanish, African, and Asian influences to create popular delicacies such as the refreshing citrus taste of ceviche, savory lomo saltado, and the very much acquired taste of cuy (roasted guinea pig) . How does that whet your appetite?

Because Peruvian dishes tend to err on the heavy side, there is nothing like a good hike to rev up that cardio, and we can’t think of a more challenging route than the paths that lead to the spellbinding ruins of Machu Picchu.

Choose from TEN (10) community-based projects in or near Cusco.

2-12 Week Volunteer Placements beginning the first and third Monday of each month.

Volunteer Placement Options Include:

Animal Care

These projects provide rehabilitative treatment, and medical and general care for animals. Some projects involve working with wildlife, while others work to help domesticated animals.

Projects involving work with domesticated animals include working with dogs and other pets. The canine shelter serves as a temporary home for dogs to receive medical treatment and to recover from abandonment and abuse until they are adopted.

At the veterinary center, pets receive medical treatment at reduced cost to assist low-income households with providing proper care for their pets.

Here are some general volunteer responsibilities:

Canine Shelter

  • Play with the dogs
  • Clean the dog houses
  • Train the dogs
  • Supprt spaying and neutering procedures
  • Develop pet adoption marketing campaigns


  • Rehabilitate the animals until they can be reintegrated into the wild
  • Build customized habitats for each animal
  • Keep habitats clean
  • Care for and feed the animals

Veterinary Center

  • Assist the veterinarian with medical procedures
  • Clean the animal cages
  • Feed and care for the animals
  • Develp a marketing plan to promote the veterinary services


Minimum 2-week commitment. Intermediate Spanish required for the wildlife and veterinary center projects. Basic Spanish level required for the canine shelter.

Drug Abuse Prevention

This is an organization that promotes inclusion and access to drug prevention services and treatment for populations in vulnerable situations, especially youth and adolescents, as well as adult men and women.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Organize awareness campaigns and informative talks to discourage drug sales and consumption
  • Conduct social outreach to attract youth and adolescents involved in gangs and drug addiction
  • Promote cultural activities, dance, music, sports for youth and adolescents as alternatives to gangs and drugs

Note: Minimum 2-week commitment. Basic Spanish level required.

Creative Arts

These projects allow aspiring musicians and thespians to sharpen their creative chops by working alongside members of the Philharmonic School of Music in Cusco or actors at the local cultural center.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:


  • Practice and learn with the city’s philharmonic
  • Teach music to adults and children
  • Audition to perform with the orchestra

Theater and Drama

  • Practice and learn with the members of the cultural center
  • Serve as a part of the staging or rehearsal crew
  • Teach theater to adults and young students
  • Audition to perform in one of the center’s productions

Note: Minimum 2-week commitment. Intermediate Spanish required.


There are a variety of education-based programs in Cusco for those interested in working in an educational setting. After school, special needs, pre-school, and privately funded intercultural and rural public schools are all in need of volunteers to help support the staff as they work to teach the children languages, etiquette, and hygiene; help the children with their homework; provide physical and language therapy services, and other developmental programming.

Children can range anywhere from 2 -17 years of age, with many falling between 2-6 years old. The majority of the older children are children with special needs.

The childrens' backgrounds are equally diverse. Some are migrant children who come from impoverished and illiterate families, and homes that are wrought with violence. Others of them are low-income and from rural areas, foreigners who live in the city; and as previously mentioned, have special needs: autism and Down Syndrome.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities (will vary by placement demographic):

  • Help children with their homework
  • Provide health and hygiene education and training
  • Organize and lead games, craft workshops, cooking, sports, or other activities
  • Help prepare and serve meals
  • Teach the children proper table etiquette and use of eating utensils
  • Help maintain the facilities,
  • Assist with organizing and preparing teaching and training materials
  • Assist teachers
  • Teach English, computers, music, and capoeira martial arts
  • Help with therapy sessions

Note: Minimum 2-week commitment. Spanish proficiency requirements vary by project site, ranging from basic to intermediate. Work with special needs populations requires an intermediate Spanish level.

Healthcare / Medicine

There is a host of healthcare/medical volunteer placement options, including burn treatment, dentistry, early intervention, obstetrics, oncology (children and adults), geriatrics, physical therapy, general medicine, and pediatric rehabilitation.

The facilities consist of private and public healthcare hospitals and clinics, and maternity and nursing homes.

Volunteer responsibilities are assigned at the project director’s discretion based on his or her assessment of the volunteer’s skill and knowledge, level of comfort and initiative, and ability to effectively communicate with staff and patients.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities (will vary by placement site and medical concentration):

  • Assist dctors and nurses with rendering treatment, care, and triage (at project director’s discretion)
  • Help nurses with administrative tasks
  • Help patients dress, eat, and receive treatment
  • Observe procedures (at the project director’s discretion)
  • Organize and conduct oral hygiene public health campaigns
  • Support therapists with therapy sessions: physical, occupational, language, and chemo
  • Help prepare meals and feed patients
  • Organize games and recreational activities
  • Collect and maintain patient documentation


Minimum 2-week commitment. Basic to advanced Spanish level, with most placements requiring intermediate or advanced Spanish proficiency.


The boys and girls orphanages support children, ages 6-17, who come from abusive home environments (physical and psychological). Children remain at the orphanages until the courts make a ruling concerning their care. If the courts rule that the children can’t return home, they remain at the orphanage until a responsible relative is found to care for them, they’re adopted, or when they age out of the system, at the age of 18.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

Boys Orphanage

  • Help the boys with their homework
  • Organize games and sports activities
  • Teach the boys skills such as cooking, painting, jewelry making, and other skills

Girls Orphanage

  • Help the girls with their homework
  • Organize creative activities such as painting, crafts, and origami
  • Assist the girls with cleaning and maintaining the orphanage, by organizing garden cleaning tasks, constructing pet enclosures/houses, and decorating.
  • Organize cultural and sports events
  • Organize cooking classes (voluntee supply the ingredients) and other activities


Minimum 2-week commitment. Intermediate Spanish level required.

Shelter for Girls

The shelter is a home for approximately 16 girls and adolescents (under age 18) who have suffered abuse and sexual exploitation.

The home exists to give girls and adolescents a safe space where they can receive the treatment necessary for their recovery. At the shelter, the girls receive basic services such as food, clothing, and medical and psychological care.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Help the girls with homework and learning English
  • Assist the girls with delveloping skills that will help them to become self-sufficient, productive members of society: dressmaking, crafts, and pastry workshops


Minimum 2-week commitment. Advanced Spanish required.

Shelter for Women

This project is a shelter for women over age 18 and their children, who have suffered physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. The shelter provides them with food, clothing, and medical and psychological support during their stay.

The women remain in the shelter during the time a maximum of three (3) months, to allow time for the court to grant protective measures.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Organize activities: cooking, weaving, crafts with women (volunteers provide materials)
  • Assist psychologists with therapy services for mothers and children
  • Help children with homework
  • Organize fun activities for children


Minimum 2-week commitment. Advanced Spanish required.

Youth Sports Programs

Youth basketball, soccer, and volleyball programs provide training and athletic development for young people ages 6-17. Through safe, fun, and positive recreational environments youth develop discipline, self-esteem, and leadership skills that equip them to lead productive lives, rather than falling into the trappings of drugs and gangs.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Propose and teach sports strategies
  • Train or play sports with the youth
  • Set up the field and lead the children through warm ups and drills
  • Participate in review meetings and analyze plays and strategies
  • Assist the coaches
  • Participate as a technical assistant coach in matches or championships


Minimum 2-week commitment. High beginner Spanish required for the soccer program. Basic Spanish level required for basketball and volleyball.

NOTE: Longer stays are possible for an additional fee.  

Alternate start dates can be accommodated.



You arrive at the airport in Lima, where you can purchase a ticket to Cusco. Our in-country partners meet you  at the airport in Cusco.


On the first day of classes, in-country staff provide you with an orientation that covers information about Spanish classes, activities, excursions, and general information about Peru. A separate orientation addresses safety tips.


Host family.  Information about other accommodations provided upon request.




Weekends and evenings are usually designated as free time for you to explore the country and to spend time with your host family. 



  • Registration/application fee

  • Airport pick-up/drop-off in Cusco

  • Orientation

  • Host family accommodations


  • 2 meals per day 

  • Spanish lessons (20-hours/wk

  • 24/7 emergency in-country support

  • Lima to Cusco transfer package, which includes airport transfer, one night hotel stay, transfer in and out of Lima, and ticket from Lima to Cusco (airfare from Lima to Cusco is subject to change) 



  • Must be at least 18 years of age.


  • Additionally, you must provide an official "Certificate of Good Conduct " or official proof of "Lack of a Criminal Record". This documentation (with an official seal and signature) can be obtained for a nominal fee from the local police department, county district clerk's office, or equivalent law enforcement or governmental body. Background checks conducted through online services are not be accepted.





























Medical Volunteer