I'm a single female wanting to do some volunteer work in Peru. I've never travelled alone before, so I would like some recommendations on Peru itself and of any good volunteer programs that are cheap and safe enough for a lonesome traveller.
I'm planning on going next year for a few months, learning Spanish in the meantime. I'm interested in volunteering teaching english or arts and crafts (artist by trade) and I have an interest in environment/conservation protection. So any help or useful knowledge of Peru and programs available would be very much appreciated.
I have not volunteered in Peru, but I have spent alot of time living in Huaraz and spent a bit of time in Lima. There are definately parts of Lima that you want to avoid or be very wary in as there is alot of theft in some areas. Basic precautions and travelling with other travellers you meet at a hostel are recommended and many people advise not to go out alone at night in the central region.
Saying this...once you are in the more rural non-touristy areas, the Peruvians are a very warm and hostpitable people. I have had complete strangers give me a floor to sleep on in their shop or home when I have been stuck in the middle of nowhere and most people are very willing to help out travellers. It is common practise to bring coloured pencils or candies (I prefer the former) to hand out to kids along the way and sharing your food or supplies with locals who help you out is a nice way to spend time with them and get to know each others cultures a little.
Learning Spanish will go a long way to helping you avoid scams when they pop up and negotiate fair rates for goods and services.
Sorry I don't have alot of info on specific volunteer programs, but if you are travelling to the Cordillera Blanca region drop me a line and I will give you the low down on what to do!
Best of luck in your travels!
yah there are for sure places you want to avoid in Lima, you can read more about it at:
Have you tried idealist.org?
I haven't volunteered in Peru either, but I had a vague idea that I might consider doing it... somewhere in South America. This website seems to provide a good list of volunteer opportunities for just about every country!
You should try www.goabroad.com it seems it has many options for volunteering in Peru and many other countries.
How to choose a good program? That's tricky, the big, well recognized organizations as CARE, are safe and very good options, but pricy too. It seems not very fair to pay a lot when you are giving your time and work, but the money is for your own support and to sponsor the project you will work on.
Local small organizations can be suspicious, some of them don't have the budget to do the projects they are offering so when you arrive is nothing to do or too little, and it can be very frustrating. So ask for references (previous volunteers) before accept. Also, avoid to pay in advance, tell them to pay upon arrival.
Where to go? Cusco is a great place, it are so many things to do, and it are many good Spanish schools for foreigners. Arequipa is also lovely.
A big Peruvian hug,