volunteering in peru

Volunteer in Peru

What to Know Before Volunteering in Peru

Let’s see, Peru is a great country in many aspects, but it holds in its past and present a lot of diversity and inequality. Those two, mix together, normally lead us to social problems. You’ll find a huge capital city like Lima, and little towns in the middle of nowhere with no running water or electricity. So, the first thing you need, is to make up your mind into what kind of problem you want to get involve.

 

Second, you need to make sure if your country needs a visa. Peru asks some countries for visa, like Mexico and Venezuela. Most countries in the European Union and America do not require a Peruvian visa to travel; but they need a passport with at least six months left, and you can only stay for 183 days (which is a lot). In case you are from Latin America, citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile, are able to enter Peru with just their National ID.

 

 

Volunteering in Peru

There are many types of volunteering available in Peru, you can help in the capital city, or in the provinces where actually more people are needed.

In Lima these are some main issues:

  • Fighting child exploitation.
  • Poverty and Hunger
  • Abandon Elders

And there are a lot of towns and small cities in our provinces that actually need A LOT of help:

  • Child Malnutrition
  • Lack of Water supplies
  • Teaching Anything. From sports to history, anything.
  • Towns Infrastructure
  • Poverty and Hunger

There are many NGO you can apply to help, just like local churches or religious groups that normally take in travelers that are willing to help the community. In Lima, they actually need more people with careers such as psychology, or activist that want to fight social injustice.

Mine while, in the countryside, they just need people with any knowledge or skills… you don’t have to be an engineer to help people built a stable or house. You don’t have to be a professional teacher to teach basic math, history, sports or any ability you might have. They need knowledge and new skills… and maybe a nice pickup game with the kids. Or maybe teach them some English.

LANGUAGE

Officially, we speak Spanish. You’ll find some people in the big cities, in the capital and tourism industries that speak English. But if you want to help in the countryside, you’ll definitely need Spanish to move around.

 

Now, inside Peru’s towns and villages, there are still several people that don’t speak Spanish, they use Peru’s old languages like Quechua and Aymara. If you wish to approach one of this towns in order to teach something, you could use some lessons of our native language. In Lima there are several schools that teach these languages and a bit about their cultural beliefs. You can also find information on the web about some projects that are translating and bringing information into this villages in their native languages.

WEATHER

For people that actually experience snow minus 0 conditions, Lima is going to be like a full-time summer. We tend to have hot summers between December and April; by June we are in Winter. Weather in Lima is normally cloudy with a lot of humidity.

But this is not the case in other parts of our country. The mountains do experience cold and dry weather with sunny days. The desserts have absolutely cold nights; and the jungle is always hot and wet. Actually, for people from the capital, the jungle is boiling. You should prepare specifically for the place your going.

 

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Currency

Our official currency is called “Sol” or in plural: “Soles”. It has probe to be a really stable coin along the years. Obviously, the money exchange is changing a lot, but approximately; it is $1 = s/3.4 and €1 = s/4.1

 

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My recommendation is to look for some money exchange houses that are in Miraflores, the airport is probably not the best place to change your money.

Timings and weekends

Our time zone is GMT-5.

Normally, our working hours are from 9:00 – 18:00. But those are office hours, you can find any mall open until 22:00 or maybe 23:00

By the way, In Peru, we don’t call the time by a 24 hours method. Past midday, we say 1pm, 2pm, 3pm… And if you’re asking to see someone in the morning, you say 11am for example.

We do have a lot of holidays, most of them are religious ones.

 

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Religious Diversity

The vast majority here is Catholic (Christian Catholic). But outside the city you are going to find a lot of people that claim to be catholic, and still have many old traditions and beliefs according to the place. This is something you should ask on your way to your destination.

 

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FOOD

Peruvian food is the best one in the world according to the Tourism Awards, for the 8th time in a row. In every city you’ll find something amazing to try, but tray to take it easy because is really spicy for several people outside our country. Especially when they like it and start eating everything on their way.

 

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You can choose from Italian, traditional, fusion, sea food and almost everything. Try to read a couple of blogs about Peruvian Food and you’ll be absolutely sure this is the country you want to go.

Clothing

Your clothing should go according to the place and weather you’re preparing for. Make sure to know the location you’re going and in which part of Peru it is located. It will change a lot from one place to another. We have almost every possible weather condition.

 

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TRANSPORT

In the city we have many transportation methods; there are buses that cost at most s/2.50 the ride, taxis can be around s/15 – s/25 soles depending on the distance (there are many taxi cars like Uber and Cabify). Also, for some places there’s a train (yes, the one and only line) but it is actually full of people.

In the case of the countryside, there are some places which are easier to get to, and others that don’t. Some bus lines can go straight from the city to the town. Some places will require a taxi or a van to take you there. In the Jungle, some places can only be access by boat (Medium size and Small ones), but don’t worry because there are boat taxis.

If you’re going with a specific organization that works here, they are more likely to have someone hired to move people regardless of the method.

HEALTHCARE

Our healthcare system is actually pretty slow. As a foreigner, you should pay for a traveller’s insurance or contact here either Rimac or Pacífico Seguros to look for a private insurance while you’re here.

Safety precautions

First, our food is way too spiced for many foreigners, but is also the best one in the world for the 8th consecutive time. Just take it easy and don’t mixt everything, baby steps with our food for the first days until you get used to.

Second, be careful with drinking water from the sink. Ours is not purify and most houses, even in the big cities don’t have a water purifier in the sinks. Some people are okay with this, most people get sick. Better safe than sorry.

Third and last, in the big city, there are some districts that are not actually nice to walk through in the middle of the night. Like in any other city; be careful and thy to ask for this in your hotel or at the airport… just to get updated on the places with high criminality rate.

 

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Note: If you’re going to the jungle, remember to have a Yellow Fever Injection at least 10 days before you travel.

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