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The Best of Peru: Voluntourism in the Amazon

Travelers Today       By    Derek Schroeder

Updated: Mar 03, 2014 06:39 PM EST

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Study and volunteer programs, including Spanish language programs, are often great ways to travel and experience a country in greater depth than simply sight-seeing can afford. Cultural immersion and integrating with locals leads to a richer and unique experience for the romantic traveler in all of us.

Volunteering in particular, often leads to greater cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural learning experiences. Especially in an impoverished country such as Peru, volunteers experience first hand the realities of life without running water or electricity, an absence of luxuries, and the simplicity of home-cooked foods. One simply cannot experience the local customs and traditions from the cold, clinical walls of a hotel room.

Most volunteer organizations are non-profit entities that charge participants to cover administrative and travel expenses, although the nominal fee may be worth a life changing experience. If you're concerned about cost ask for a breakdown of field and other expenses — any reputable organization will be more than willing to answer your questions. It's best to compare costs between a few groups and find something within your budget.

Some international relief organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders and CARE, accept volunteers to work in crises and relief efforts. The devastating earthquake in Peru 2001 was one such episode which brought hundreds of volunteers to Peru.

Cross-Cultural Solutions, with offices in New Rochelle, New York, and Brighton, U.K., offers weeklong volunteer programs in Peru, especially Lima, Ayachuco, and Trujillo. Their volunteer abroad section lists a number of opportunities for volunteering in Peru, including CARE, volunteer teaching, and environmental research.

Habitat for Humanity, with a base in Arequipa, and Volunteers for Peace also offer opportunities in Peru.

If you're more interested to work alongside scientists, Earthwatch Institute is the one for you. They have a unique mission — they send travelers to work in the field alongside scientists involved in archaelogy and environmental conservation. There are three Peru research and education trips: you can join a 13-day excavation of a pre-Inca site, assist with research of Peruvian macaws, or document the biology of Andean rivers. But the trips aren't all work; they're a great way to see a fascinating part of the country from a conservationists perspective.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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volunteer, Tourism, voluntourism, peru
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