If you’re looking for your next meaningful travel opportunity, what could be better than living amidst one of the seven wonders of the world in a fifteenth century Inca city in the mountains of Peru! The ancient Machu Picchu, ironically known as the “Lost City of the Incas,” is one of the most iconic sites in all of South America. It features a magical atmosphere almost 8,000 feet above sea level, with welcoming locals, llamas, and views that make you feel like you’re in heaven. Experience life in the Peruvian Andes and make this land your home while you lend a hand at preserving history.
Popular Ways to Volunteer Abroad in Machu Picchu
Despite the beautiful surroundings you’ll find while volunteering abroad in Machu Picchu, nearly 15 percent of the population of the country lives in poverty. Racism still exists between locals and ancient cultures, and adequate health care is difficult to come by. Volunteers will be welcomed with open arms and generosity as they step in to bring relief that most tourists cannot provide.
Popular causes in Machu Picchu. With many present social issues existing throughout Peru, those who volunteer in Machu Picchu will have plenty of opportunities to make a difference. Community development is one of the most popular placement options, with opportunities to volunteer in clean water projects, orphanages, and women’s centers in rural areas. Those interested in health care can assist in disease control or preventative education. Others can teach English or lend a hand at environmental conservation as they preserve ancient ruins.
Summer and short-term programs in Machu Picchu. While it is always favorable for the communities when volunteers stay longer, short-term placements tend to be popular in Machu Picchu. Volunteers can stay for as short as one or two weeks. Spend a summer holiday or take a break from work with a short-term stint, combining volunteer work with adventure travel. After a hard day’s work, you’ll have time to hike and trek the Inca trails, and explore surrounding national parks.
Long-term volunteer stints in Machu Picchu. Those interested in staying longer in Machu Picchu have the option of staying up to six months in this magical land. Make the most of your trip, settle into the community, and become a lifeline for those living in the streets. Not only will you maximize your impact, but this wonder of the world will become a second home.
Life in Machu Picchu for International Volunteers
Although once left undiscovered, Machu Picchu is now one of the top tourist destinations in Peru, South America, and even the world. During high season from late May to early September, over 2,500 people arrive to Machu Picchu on a daily basis. But don’t let this deter you! Despite the tourist influx, Machu Picchu is somehow able to retain its mysterious splendor that will make you catch your breath. Volunteers can admire the classic Inca-style polished dry-stone walls, some of which have been reconstructed. Visit the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room with Three Windows. Trek through ancient Inca trails. And most importantly, experience traditional Andean culture.
One of the perks of volunteering abroad in Machu Picchu is that it is a very affordable destination, especially if you’re keen to immerse yourself in the Andean lifestyle. Live with a local family in a homestay and shop in the local markets for the best prices. Volunteers will be able to eat delicious Andean meals for only a few dollars. You may even develop a taste for cuy, a traditional meal consisting of guinea pig. If not, just wash it down with a Pisco Sour, Peru’s national drink.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for volunteers in Machu Picchu
While many volunteers will travel abroad without language experience, it is important to know English is not widely spoken in Peru. While strangers are typically patient and willing to slow down to speak with tourists, it is important to have some understanding of Spanish before volunteering abroad in Machu Picchu. Take a few classes and brush up on your soft skills before arrival. Once on the ground, you’ll find the Peruvian accent fairly easy to understand, so take the opportunity to learn. For bonus points, learn a few Quechua phrases, a dialect found in the highlands, and you may score an extra piece of fruit at the market!
While volunteering abroad in Machu Picchu, make sure you plan enough time to experience every aspect. Because it is a major tourist attraction, you’ll find cable cars and luxury hotels amongst the ancient architecture. To experience the ruins to the fullest, make sure you have time to hike, trek, raft, and get down and dirty with nature. Bring a camera, and don’t take the altitude for granted.
Machu Picchu may already be at the top of your travel list, so why not help the community while you visit! As a volunteer abroad in Machu Picchu, you will see a new side to the community, leaving the beaten tourist track behind. Even better, you can say you made a difference in preserving the land and culture of one of the biggest landmarks of the entire world.
Want to explore other cities? No Prob-Llama! Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Peru.