Peru is located on the west coast of South America. It is the third largest country in South America in area. Peru borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, Chile to the south and the entire west coast borders the Pacific Ocean. Geographically, we can divide Peru into three regions: a narrow strip of about 100 kilometers wide desert area along the coast, in the east the Andes Mountains, after the Himalayas, the second largest mountain range in the world, located between 3000 and 4000 meters altitude and finally the huge Amazon region with its rainforests.
Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Peru was the empire of the Incas, of which Cuzco was the capital. Between its conquest by the Spanish in 1572 and its independence in 1821, the country was governed by Spain.
The ancient Inca settlement of Machu Picchu is just one of the many highlights the country has to offer. The mix of ancient civilizations and archaeology, extraordinary landscapes, few destinations have as much to offer their visitors as Peru.
From mountain range to jungle, from beach to desert, from colonial city to cosmopolitan city, it is truly a beautiful place to visit.
The real draw of the country lies outside the capital. Contrasting beautifully with Lima is the ancient capital of Cusco, the center of the world in the time of the Incas, with its winding cobbled streets and over 1000 years of history. It is the gateway to Machu Picchu and also an ideal base for those wishing to explore the Inca trail.
Elsewhere in the country you will find the Nazca Lines, the beautifully excavated ruins of Chan Chan and the Chachapoya Fort. These extraordinary complexes are all located in the middle of beautiful landscapes.
The project is located in the San Martín region, which is therefore located in the north of Perú. San Martín has an area of 51.000 km2 and has about 900.000 inhabitants. San Martín borders Loreto to the north and east, Huánoco to the south and La Libertad and Amazonas to the west.
Volunteers get to work in Nueva Union about an hour's drive from Tarapoto, the largest town near Nueva Union.
Nueva Unión is 1 hour 15 minutes by car from Tarapoto. Except for the last stretch between the small town of Picota and Nueva Unión, the road is quite well maintained and almost parallels the Huallaga River. Nueva Unión is a small settlement with about 3 to 400 inhabitants.
As a volunteer you will work in the organization's own community center with 72 children between the ages of 3 and 19.
The volunteer resides in Nueva Unión, more specifically in the “library” of the center. Here are some luchtml mattresses provided.
During working days, all meals are included. It is the mothers from the parents' association who prepare the meals for the volunteers.
During the days off in Tarapoto it is easy to eat in one of the numerous restaurants. You can choose from small local restaurants, but you will also find many Western-oriented restaurants and even pizzerias.
You won't find a more typical meal in the Amazon region than the 'juane'. The juane is mainly eaten during the feast of San Juan. It usually consists of rice with pieces of chicken, olives and egg and all this wrapped in the leaf of the bijao in which everything is cooked. There are also many different banana dishes such as maduro frito (fried banana), patacón (crushed banana slices and then deep-fried) and tacacho (a ball in which meat has also been processed). If you get the chance, you should definitely try chonta too. That's heart of palm served as tagliatelli. You should definitely taste the local chorizo and cesina (dried pork) and can also be found in many preparations.
The people of Tarapoto have a good excuse to take it easy in life. Baking peacefully in the heat of the jungle sun, the city and its inhabitants go about their business with minimal crowds, buzzing around on motorbikes and mototaxis. You will find very few cars, motorcycles and mototaxis all the more.
The lack of in-your-face promotion for tourist attractions makes you wonder what to do. But dig a little deeper and you'll find a wonderful mix of cultural and natural attractions.
In any case, we will provide enough tourist information and you will not have enough time to even get bored. Some eye-catchers:
Tarapoto's small and somewhat quirky museum is located just on the main square on Jr. Maynas 177 (under the Universidad Nacional building).
A must-see destination for cigar lovers. The Tabacalera del Oriente is Tarapoto's most overlooked gem. Visit early in the morning to watch the approximately 30 female workers roll the cigars by hand.
The Polish Petroglyphs are located 5 km from Tarapoto.
In the hills around Tarapota there are also numerous waterfalls in the jungle where you can go for a refreshing swim. Especially the waterfall of Ahuashiyacu is very popular. They are about a 20 minute drive from Tarapoto.
The lagoon of Sauce or also called the blue lake is about 2,5 hours drive from Tarapoto and is more than worth a day visit. The lake has a beautiful blue-green appearance. You can take a motorboat trip or take beautiful walks.
Located half an hour's drive from Tarpoto, it is one of the oldest towns in the Peruvian rainforest. The local inhabitants usually still dress in the traditional way and very colorfully. The beautiful 'mirador de la Cruz' is certainly worth a visit. About 5 km north of Lamas is the Chapawanki waterfall.
Outside Machu Picchu & the Inca trail you will find the Nazca lines that you can fly over with small planes, the beautifully excavated ruins of Chan Chan and the Chachapoyas. Surfers can enjoy themselves in the sand dunes in Ica and in the dizzying landscapes of the Colca canyon you can admire the Condor up close. In Huaras you can make beautiful mountain walks and even put on the skis. So there is something for everyone and everything within a beautifully impressive frame of breathtaking landscapes.
Of course we also advise you to ask our coordinator for tips to really immerse yourself in the daily life of the Peruvians.
Volunteering abroad comes at a cost and it is not the intention that the community you will help have to pay for it. If there were sufficient budgets to cover these costs, we would spend it on a local employee who knows the local culture and daily customs. If you want to know more about our transparent system, take a look at the transparency page.
These costs, which you pay on site, are specific to your stay, such as your accommodation and meals. Through payable locally you are also sure that your contribution will go directly to the person who organizes it and will not be left behind at various “intermediate stations”.
Final report: these costs are only for individual volunteer work. For group projects, different prices apply depending on various factors
€ 40 per week
We want to ensure that there is sufficient influx of volunteers to keep each project viable. After all, many projects require continuity from volunteers in order for the project to succeed or to create sufficient impact. Unfortunately, marketing and raising volunteers costs a lot of money. The budgets that the participating organizations collect during recruitment campaigns are used to develop projects in the south for the benefit of the local population and we therefore do not want to address these funds for marketing campaigns.
The membership fee serves to cover the costs of our volunteer platform. We ask each participant for a one-time contribution of €130. This is only the first time volunteering and only after you have been accepted. After payment of this contribution, you can do unlimited volunteer work in the future at any project (if there is room and you meet the requirements of course).
As soon as you are a member, we will inform you as soon as new projects are added to our alliance.
What is your connection fee used for?
You can read all about the possible costs on our transparency page.
We will of course not let you leave without thorough preparation and guidance. With Volunteer Abroad Allliance we have developed a system that ensures that you can sleep soundly and leave with peace of mind for your volunteer work abroad. As soon as you have been accepted and everything has been arranged, you can count on the guidance of our experts.
Once you are registered and accepted for your project, your preparation can begin. You already get a lot to read on the website, but you can also prepare for your trip in other ways. Once you have arrived, you can also count on the guidance of our local team.
Volunteering will have an impact on you and on the local population. We think it is very important to create awareness for you as a volunteer, so that you can optimally prepare for what awaits you as a volunteer. That is why you will receive the login codes for the project page after acceptance as a volunteer. Here you will find information that is important to you as a volunteer for your preparation. You can read everything about your project, accommodation, instructions for a visa application, a packing list, cultural advice for your country and much more…
Our experienced mentor will contact you and will help you with advice and answers to the questions you have. Your mentor is a member of an organization that is part of our alliance and has been working with fundraising for the project you are traveling to for years, so you can speak of a real specialist. Our mentors are members of our alliance and have years of experience in the projects. This system ensures that you receive 100% expert guidance from VAA.