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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Peru

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Peru


More people visit Machu Picchu than anywhere else on the continent, some of which want to stay longer in Peru. We certainly did, stopping still in Cusco just nine days into our around the world trip in 2002.


Grassroots Volunteering in Peru

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:

South American Explorers

US based SAE offer trip planning advice and independent information to their members. SAE can also help with finding volunteer opportunities with other organisations across South America. Volunteers and interns are often required to help staff their clubhouses, providing information to travellers in South America. Other tasks include answering phones, social media marketing, guide research, cleaning rivers, parks and treks, event planning and organising projects. Spanish lessons or lunch are offered as recompense.

Where: SAE's Peruvian Clubhouses are in Cusco and Lima.
Accommodation & Costs: No fee is required. Volunteers need to arrange their own accommodation. We rented an apartment directly above SAE's old Clubhouse making for a lovely commute.

Volunteering in Peru


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AYNI focuses its initiatives in two major areas, sustainable development and dducation. The organisation works together with the community of Alto de los More to alleviate or address some of the major barriers of living in extreme poverty. What started out as an individual attempt at impacting positive change in one part of the planet, quickly turned into a grassroots group of dedicated volunteers from around the Globe. Margie Orsi, AYNI's founder intended to stay only six months but 14 years later she is continuing to work in this small isolated rural village of indigenous Peruvians, with a network of ambitious volunteers,  a handful of donators, and a lot of sacrifice. Volunteers take on many roles with Ayni, including teacher, social worker, community developer. The school semesters in Peru run from April to July and from August to December and it is prefered volunteers stay for at least a full semester, or a minimum of three months if this is not possible. Volunteers should have functional Spanish before they arrive.

Where: Piura, Nothern Peru.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers should be self funding and Ayni will help volunteers find accommodation locally. Volunteers are also expected to pay a $200 deposit, $100 of which is returned after volunteering.

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Esperanza Verde

A wildlife rescue and rainforest conservation project in the Amazon basin of Peru, Esperanza Verde's aim is to work closely with the local community to offer alternative sources of income so that the forest can be managed in a sustainable way. The project currently owns 140 hectares of rainforest and needs volunteers to help with ongoing construction, build enclosures and the quarantine and veterinary clinic. In addition you can help with mapping the area, and participating in our reforestation project by replanting, among other things, fruit trees that originate from the area. Caretaking of the animals is one of the most important daily tasks, making sure that they are all kept fed, the enclosures clean and healthy. A n intermediate knowledge of Spanish is handy but not a requirement. Minimum stay is four weeks.

Where: Near the town of Curimana.
Accommodation & Costs: Their volunteer house accommodate up to 12 volunteers, with shared rooms of 2 to 3 persons per room, for around £40 per week including food.

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Sharing Dreams

A non profit organisation founded in Huancayo to back up the region's poor populations, especially children, by means of alternative projects, to achieve an integral sustainable development with the help of volunteers. Volunteers either organise activities and workshops for children or help with a community agricultural project where tasks include building an ecological kitchen. Minimum stay is three weeks.

Where: Huancayo.
Accommodation & Costs: There is no fee. Accommodation and three meals a day in the volunteer house is provided for around $100 per week, or volunteers can make their own arrangements.

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VolunTeach Peru

VolunTeach Peru's volunteer requirements revolve, as their name would suggest, around teaching. They have two programmes of interest. The first is a paid teaching assistantship that does incur any programme fees but candidates must commit to at least six months, and up to nine. Applicants are paid $500 per month and should be a native level English speaking university graduate or undergraduate, aged 20 to 25, with a TEFL certificate. A second programme, Teaching Assistant Experience, comes with a one off fee but includes accommodation..

Where: Lima, Huaraz, Piura, Arequipa, Chiclayo, Iquitos and Huaraz.
Accommodation & Costs: Accommodation advice is offered for the paid programme. Food and accommodation are provided with Peruvian host families for those on the fee based Teaching Assistant Experience.


Hostel Work Exchanges

Many hostels use help exchange networks (see below) to find volunteer staff but the following either advertise on their websites or are particularly noted for taking on volunteers:

Bothy Hostels

Free accommodation and a meal is offered in either Arequipa or Puno in exchange for working four to six hours a day in the bar, on reception or the tour desk.


Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Peru

Jaime's Crazy Hostel has a volunteer programme with the goal is to shape and implement sustainable solutions for the needy people of Huarmey. In the past they had dedicated volunteer site but details are now given on this blog post. There is a minimum two week volunteer period and volunteers must stay at the hostel, but otherwise volunteering is free.


Help Exchange Networks in Peru

Workaway -
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HelpX -


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Peru

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

Volunteering at Quellomayo - Lucy Graham dropped in on an Anglo-Peruvian family living near Machu Picchu to help on their farm.
Volunteering at an Animal Orphanage in Iquitos, Peru: Saving the Red Faced Uakari - Corey Callahan pushes his body on 30km treks through the Amazon to help a fellow primate.
Life as a Volunteer in Peru - A sneak peek into Eartha’s life teaching English to kids and adults in Huaycan.


* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image courtesy Geraint Rowland