All volunteers are encouraged to participate in excursions and adventure activities that highlight the beauty of the culture and landscapes of Peru. The ProPeru program includes weekly Cuzco-area cultural activities. Most other excursions require an additional fee.
Volunteers and groups will be based in Cuzco, Peru. Located at 11,000 feet in the Andes Mountains, Cuzco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the capital of the Inca Empire, and today is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Latin America. Navigate the city's narrow and cobbled streets and enrich your experience with visits to ruins, churches, museums, markets, shops, and cafes. Cuzco is also the base for excursions to the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon, and the Colca Canyon. It's Peru's most important destination and well equipped to handle the needs of international volunteers and students.
Few places in the world capture the imagination like Peru. With Inca ruins, colonial history, indigenous culture, and amazing scenery, Peru is a must-see destination for the adventurous traveler. Peru’s diverse landscapes include three geographic regions: the Pacific Coast, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon. Referred to as the “Land of the Incas,” the Peruvian Andes are home to approximately eight million Indigenous people who preserve many aspects of their traditional way of life. The environments of the Andes and the Amazon contain some of the most bio-diverse places on earth. Peru’s rapidly growing cities offer further insights into economic development, globalization, rapid social change, poverty, and inequality. Peru is an ideal place to learn about the challenges faced by the people and countries of the global south. ProPeru’s projects serve underrepresented communities and allow volunteers to get out of the tourist bubble and learn about critical global issues first-hand.
Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological site in the Americas. It is the iconic site of the Inca Empire, which stretched 2,500 miles along western South America. Built by Inca Pachacuti in the 15th century, Machu Picchu sits in the cloud forest on a ridge between snowcapped Andean Peaks and the Amazon basin. Visiting Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In addition to touring the ruins, there are options to visit the sun gate, hike nearby Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain; and with enough advanced planning, trek the Inca Trail.
The Cuzco area offers numerous day-trip activities. Most people visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas to see the famous Inca sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Other trip options include Sacsayhuaman, Moray and the salt ponds of Maras, Tipón, Lake Humantay, and 17,000-foot Rainbow Mountain. The Cuzco area also offers adventure activities such as trekking, zip-lining, bungee jumping, rafting, and mountain biking.
At 12,500 feet above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake, and the site of some of the most dramatic high elevation landscapes and communities on earth. Volunteers can visit Puno, the floating Uros Islands, and spend a night with indigenous families on Amantani Island.
The Amazon basin town of Puerto Maldonado is only a 40-minute flight from Cuzco. From there, you can arrange a stay at one of the many jungle lodges. Located in primary Amazon rainforest, you learn about ecotourism, rainforest ecology, biodiversity, and Amazon development issues. Previous volunteers have seen monkeys, parrots, giant river otters, and a jaguar. We suggest the internationally-recognized Posada Amazonas lodge. Another option is to take a road over the eastern flank of the Andes to Manu National Park, one of the jewels of biodiversity. If you have ever dreamed of visiting the Amazon, it’s right there!
Colca Canyon and Arequipa
The Colca Canyon is one the world's deepest canyons, deeper than the Grand Canyon of the U.S. It is famous for seeing giant Andean condors in flight, just a few meters above you. The canyon landscape comprises a green valley and remote traditional villages with terraced agriculture that predates the Incas. The Colca Canyon area is also popular for trekking and rafting. Trips usually include Arequipa, which is Peru’s second largest city. Framed by three volcanoes, Arequipa is known for its colonial-era baroque buildings made of white volcanic stone.