How to volunteer in Cusco, Peru. Many folks travel to Peru to not only visit the sites, but to spend time volunteering and Cusco is a favorite destination for both.
We spent two months in the city; it is lovely. Lovely to walk around in, lovely architecture to admire, lovely people… loved it. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Culture site.
I was hell bent on volunteering in South America at the time and as soon as we arrived started researching online for an orgranization I could work with.
I connected with a very cool guy who found volunteers for the Mother Teresa House, which cared for severely disabled adults and children. A write-up of the experience is here: Volunteering at Mother Teresa Charity in Cusco.
The best way to find a volunteer opportunity is to do the same; get online, find organizations to contact and email or call.
Some charge a fee, others do not. Some offer housing (with a local family usually), others do not… you just have to check what is available for the time you want to visit.
I did not pay to volunteer, as we were on a tight budget and I felt offering my time and energy was payment enough. If I had had more cash, I probably would have made a $100 USD or so donation; the kids had an old, barely functioning television, would have loved to have bought a new one for them to enjoy.
Some have you pay for your time volunteering, and I think that is ok as long as the amount is reasonable and you are assured it is going to a local family or charity. Many poor Peruvian families make income from hosting volunteers in their home.
Below are a few organizations that assist those wanting to visit Cusco and help out in some way. Working with children is very popular; tutoring in schools, working in a daycare, etc.
The easiest way to volunteer in Cusco is to plan a month or so of Spanish language courses, and then have the school place you as a volunteer for another month or so.
Placements include education, social work, working in an orphanage, marketing… whatever your skill set is most likely they can find you a suitable gig.
They have 8 and 16 week long programs, only a small fee required – you pay for your language course and then can volunteer.
Proyecto Peru – They offer free volunteer opportunities for a minimum of 4 weeks committment, and you need to also take Spanish language classes to participate (how they make their cash)
International Volunteer HQ – Don’t want to take any language courses but want to volunteer? This may be the organization for you and it is low cost; only $250 USD. You do not have to speak any Spanish to volunteer.