General Volunteering FAQ
Who operates the program?
The Peru’s Challenge program is operated by Ultimate Peru Travel in conjunction with our local charity, Reto Peru Cusco. We have found this is the easiest way for our volunteers to book our program. When booking you will book through Ultimate Peru Travel who will then split your program fee between the travel component and project fee component. The entirety of the project fee goes to Reto Peru Cusco and funds the project which you will be working on. The travel component is retained by Ultimate Peru Travel and covers your tours, accommodation, meals, transport etc.
Where does my money go?
Your money is split into two components to cover your travel and volunteer areas of your trip. The travel component is retained by Ultimate Peru Travel to cover all travel and logistical components of your trip such as tours, accommodation, meals, transport etc. The volunteer component goes directly to our local charity, Reto Peru Cusco who directly uses these funds to support the project you will be working on. Both Reto Peru Cusco and Ultimate Peru Travel retain a 7% admin fee to keep each business running.
is it possible to have a single room in the volunteer lodge?
Yes. Availability permitting, we can provide a single room for an additional cost. Please indicate during the booking process that you would like a single room, and we will confirm cost and availability.
what is the volunteer lodge like?
The volunteer lodge is very comfortable and safe. The lodge can accommodate up to 26 people. All the rooms have an ensuite, and there is a shared living room and dining room. There is ample space in the living room for meetings/work/relaxing as well as a large sunny garden and porch for relaxing. All meals are prepared by our chef, Ramiro. Ramiro is also available to assist with any queries you have while in the volunteer lodge.
what happens when i arrive in cusco?
There will be a Peru’s Challenge representative waiting outside the airport to transfer you to your accommodation.
do i have to organise my own travel/health insurance?
You must organise your own travel/medical health insurance. Coverage must include evacuation insurance for transport to adequate health care facilities. Some insurance companies charge a premium for volunteer work. Please check carefully that you are covered for volunteer work with your policy.
do i need a visa?
Most people entering Peru will automatically be given a tourist visa on arrival for free for a maximum of 183 days. Please check with the Peruvian Embassy as to whether residents from your country are automatically given a tourist visa on arrival or if you need to apply beforehand. If you would like to stay in Peru longer than 183 days, it may be possible to extend your visa validity at the Immigration Office in Cuzco. As visa requirements for any country can change, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa for Peru prior to your arrival.
what vaccinations should i get before travelling to peru?
When your placement application is confirmed, we will send you a Pre-Arrival Kit which will include information about what vaccinations are necessary for travel in Peru. Information provided in the Pre-Arrival Kit is a guide only. You should always consult your doctor for correct information.
what should i pack?
Information for what you should pack for yourself, the kids and the projects is included in the Pre-Arrival Kit. On confirmation of your volunteer placement, we will send you the complete Pre-Arrival Kit.
what is the health service like in cusco?
The medical system in Cusco is quite good. There is an international hospital close to the volunteer house with doctors who can speak English. The main street in Cusco has a number of pharmacies where you can buy most medicines.
what is the food and water quality like?
The food in Cusco is very good with excellent quality of organic fruit and vegetables which can be purchased cheaply from the local markets. Fresh fruit is also supplied at the volunteer house. All food cooked in the volunteer house is safe and healthy to consume. The water in Cusco is safe to shower and wash in, however it is not safe to consume. Bottled water should be used to drink and for teeth brushing. Bottled water is also supplied at the volunteer house.
what is the weather in cusco like?
Generally the weather in Cusco is clear and sunny during the mornings, partly cloudy in the afternoons, and always cold at night. During the winter months of April to August there is little rain and the sun shines most of the time. The days are very warm but layered clothing is necessary as it can turn cold very quickly when it becomes cloudy. The summer months are from November to February. It usually rains in the afternoons with quick but heavy showers during January, February and March.
what is the timezone for cusco?
GMT/UTC: -5 hours
are there atm's in cusco? and is it easy to withdraw money?
Yes there are a number of safe ATM’s in Cusco which dispense US dollars and the local currency: Nuevo Sol. Ensure you check with your own bank as to what you will be charged for international withdrawals.
will my mobile phone work in peru?
If you have a three-band phone it will work in Peru, but sometimes text messages cannot be sent or received. It depends on your carrier. You can also buy a SIM in Cusco for around S/.50.00 (US$15) that will work in your mobile phone.
Individual Program FAQ
can i extend or shorten my program?
Unfortunately not, our 10 day program is specifically designed to ensure both the volunteer and community get the most out of the program. You can however choose to do additional travel before or after the project through our travel agency, Ultimate Peru Travel.
can i come on a different date?
At this stage our program is only offered on the dates listed. However in the future we will be looking to add additional programs subject to volunteer interest.
can i choose which projects to work on?
For this program the projects are set according to what the community needs at the time of your projects. Specific projects are detailed on the volunteer page.
how long will my application take to be processed?
The usual application process time is 1-2 weeks. We need time to check your references and conduct police record checks if necessary. If you have not received an answer after two weeks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
how many people will i be volunteering with?
Our volunteer program requires a minimum of 10 volunteers to run, and we accept no more than 16. By keeping the groups small, we believe volunteers get more out of their experience while also allowing us to a better and more personalised service.
who will i be volunteering with and can i contact them beforehand?
Our volunteers come from all around the world and are all different ages. A month before your placement starts we will send you contact details for the group so you can talk about your placement together.
i am volunteering with a friend; can i be placed with him/her?
Yes, absolutely. When applying just let us know who you’re travelling with and we’ll make sure you’re placed together.
can i volunteer with a group of friends/family?
Peru’s Challenge welcomes family and group participants. We often have families with young children volunteering on our programs. We also run specialised programs for larger groups such as universities and school groups.