Work and Travel in Peru
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN PERU FOR TRAVELLERS
Peru is one of the major travelling destinations of South America, with some of the foremost archaeological remains in the world. The former heart of the Inca Empire has a variety of volunteering opportunities for backpackers excited about work and travel in Peru. If you want to work in Peru, you’ll find that there is a wealth of positions even if you don’t have any experience.
Look at travel guides for Peru and they’ll show you a varied country. And that variation applies even to the volunteering opportunities on offer. Work in Peru and you’ll be able to practice your Spanish and have some amazing experiences in the process.
These are some of the volunteering opportunities in Peru you should look into.
1. Ply Your Trade Skills
Peru has experienced immense flooding in the last few years, leaving many families and businesses without a place to stay. Schools, in particular, are always welcoming visitors in both the highlands and the lowlands. You can help with something as simple as repainting classrooms or something as complex as building new roofs.
Depending on your specific skills, you may be able to get paid when you volunteer in Peru. Projects typically last for as long as it takes to complete the agreed upon work and no longer.
2. Join Archaeological Digs in Peru
Trained archaeologists have an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in Peru for periods of a few weeks at a time. Working alongside Peruvian archaeologists close to sites like the Pikillaqta National Monument, foreigners are able to uncover the secrets of the Inca.
These projects usually offer bed and food in compensation.
3. Jungle Conservation
The reason why the Inca Empire was so formidable was due to the vast jungles of Peru. Today the jungles are under threat and conservation organisations need foreigners with specific skills who’re able to help with conserving the jungles. That includes protecting the ecosystem from foreign bodies and planting new trees.
You don’t always need to be trained or experienced to pick up these positions. However, it does help.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR PERU
Peru is extremely open when it comes to visas. Citizens of the EU, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia are able to enter the country for 90 days without applying for a visa. But be aware that working in Peru or volunteering in Peru legally (if you come from a country where you need a visa for travel) involves a visa process like the rest of South America: it’s extremely bureaucratic and time-consuming. It’s wise to apply for your visa for at least a few months in advance.
Peru has different categories for volunteers and those receiving financial compensation for their efforts. There’s actually no such thing as a volunteer visa in Peru. Anyone who wants to work in Peru as a volunteer can do so on a tourist visa until their tourist visa expires.
With a work visa, you need something called the Foreign Resident ID Card via an application to the Embassy of Peru. This requires an initial fee of around $200 USD plus $20 per year. The benefit is that you can work and there’s no limit on how long you can stay.
Unfortunately, the Foreign Resident ID Card is notoriously difficult to get. A company must sponsor you and they (not you) must fill out an enormous amount of paperwork. You will also have to undergo an INTERPOL examination at your expense. It should come as no surprise that many foreigners simply work without the visa. However, we don’t recommend this.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN PERU
The traditional summer months are from December to February, except high in the Andes. Spring is stuck between the hottest months and the rainy season. Some small sand skiing lodges, in places like Oasis Huacachina, offer similar volunteering opportunities as the small ski lodges in the Andes. However, be aware that competition is fierce and it can be hard to secure these positions.
The rainy season provides few major seasonal opportunities for travellers who want to work in Peru.
Like the rest of Latin America, the younger part of the country is eager to learn English. Teach English in Peru and you could either find a volunteer position or a paid position. What you find tends to depend on the qualifications you have. You’ll put yourself in a far more competitive position if you have a university degree plus a TEFL qualification (or the equivalent of).
Work in Peru and you’ll discover a chance to teach both children and adults. Demand is high here, but Latin America usually doesn’t compensate its teachers as well as parts of Asia.
Schools prefer to hire English teachers for a few months to a full year during the autumn.
Peru has no major ski resorts, but it does have lodges based around the town of Huarez, to the north of the Peruvian capital Lima. This is close to the highest peak of the Andes, known as Huascaran. These small ski lodges sometimes have volunteering in Peru for backpackers in the country.
And you don’t need any skiing experience to apply for these positions.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN PERU
Peru is one of the safest countries in South America, so travellers have nothing to fear when they come to this country. Some of the rural areas are not used to meeting foreigners from Western countries. However, this doesn’t translate to anything but a healthy curiosity. Furthermore, Peru’s well-established volunteer programmes are known for steering backpackers in the right direction.
Peruvians, on the whole, are friendly towards foreigners. A basic knowledge of Spanish will get you much further with the locals, but even if you only know English you shouldn’t have any problems. Furthermore, the Peruvian government’s laissez-faire approach to volunteering means you won’t have any headaches when you come here.
Would you like to work in Peru as part of your next adventure?
- Edited on Jan 16 2018 by Yara