The Medical Program
The mission of this program is to provide medical care to those in need in Cusco, the gateway to the ‘Lost city of the Incas’ – Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, many of the people of Cusco are not benefiting from these tourism dollars, with around fifty percent of the population living in poverty. This is higher than in other areas of the country, where an estimated 22 percent of the population lives in poverty. The impoverished people of Cusco are largely unseen by the tourist, living on the outskirts of town or in the outlying rural areas and villages, trying to make a living as best they can. This program makes a real difference to the people of Cusco by supplying medical assistance to help those who need it most. Volunteers will work in medical facilities where the need is greatest at the time, supplying quality care and sharing their knowledge and skills as required.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide essential medical care to the most vulnerable people of Cusco
- Improve the health and wellbeing of some of the poorest people in the world
- Enable international volunteers to spend time working with those who need it most
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both locals and international volunteers alike.
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an essential role in providing medical care to the impoverished people of Cusco. Love Volunteers' local team places medical volunteers in local health care facilities to work where it is needed most. The facilities and equipment are often very basic and volunteers can make a huge difference to the everyday life of those who do not have regular access to medical attention. Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in different areas depending on their expertise and skills. Often this involves assisting the local staff, laboratory work and health campaigns, as well as undertaking routine hospital tasks such as making beds, cleaning and talking with patients, preparing medical materials and sterilizing equipment. Medical volunteers in Peru should understand that independence in medical projects will always be determined by their level of training and expertise, Spanish level, age, ability to take initiative and duration of the program. Cusco is a very welcoming tourist area, filled with many places to see and things to do on volunteer’s down time. The Plaza de Armas, the tourist heart of the city, is close to where volunteers will be based, and features a multitude of restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways on this program and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Provide essential medical care to locals, dependent on volunteer’s qualifications, skills and experience
- Undertake routine hospital tasks as required
- Work on health and education campaigns
This program offers an amazing opportunity for suitable applicants who are 18 years and over to work alongside qualified medical professionals and gain first-hand insight into the Peruvian healthcare system. It is open to those with experience and/or education in the field of medicine, as well as med-school and pre-med students. Volunteers on this project will need at least an intermediate understanding of Spanish in order to communicate effectively with patients and staff. Naturally, all applicants must also have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Volunteers should bring scrubs and, if possible, gloves and a stethoscope.
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
This program is hosted in Cusco, high in the Peruvian Andes. Once the capital of the ancient Inca Empire, Cusco is now known as the gateway to the world heritage site of Machu Picchu, for its archaeological remains and its stunning Spanish colonial architecture. Located in the heart of the 'old city' the central square of Plaza de Armas is the areas tourist hub and is filled with cafes, restaurants and dozens of trinket shops to explore, all set among the arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins, including the baroque Santo Domingo Convent which was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha). Cusco is a fascinating city to find yourself in and a wonderful place to experience the challenges and the joys of volunteering.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in Cusco, you will be collected at the airport and delivered to your accommodation, which also serves as the local project base. Here you will receive an orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. A walking tour of he local area is also provided at around 15:00 hrs every Sunday. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, Cusco, Peru (Code: CUZ)
Accommodation & Meals
As with all of our wonderful programs in Cusco, volunteers on this project are accommodated with one of our friendly local host families, where breakfast and dinner of traditional Peruvian cuisine are provided daily. All home-stay families have been fully vetted by out local team and are located within a short walk from each other, making hanging out with other volunteers easy. Plus, it is only a 10 minute taxi ride to the tourist heart of Cusco – Plaza de Armas – where a multitude of restaurants, cafes and bars are available. All host families have standard amenities available, including comfortable beds, hot showers and modern bathrooms (Peruvian Starndard). Wi-Fi is also available (additional charges may apply in some cases). All families have experience hosting international volunteers. Depending on the time of year it may be necessary to share a room with other volunteers. Living with a local family truly is the best way to throw oneself into the local culture and to meet people who will become lifelong friends!
Host families will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, however it is often easier to buy lunch at a nearby cafe during the week. Meals are also provided on the weekends if required. Peruvian food is delicious and, yes, different. It is based around rice, potatoes, fish and lots of locally-grown fruit, such as cherimoya, lucuma, citrus fruits and pineapple. Pollo a la Brasa, also known as Peruvian chicken, is one of the most consumed dishes in the country. Originally only seasoned with salt and cooked in charcoal today the chicken is marinated in a “secret” mixture mainly consisting of vinegar, spices, dark beer or soy sauce, and then grilled in specially fabricated Pollo a la brasa ovens. Salsas, sauces or dips are an essential part of the Peruvian cuisine and a must on every table.
For volunteers, staying in Peru means they gain something that mere travelers miss out on: a ‘live’ authentic glimpse into family life and the character of the people. By having the opportunity to stay with a host family and by working right alongside the local population volunteers can really experience all that Peru has to offer!
Extra nights and arranging your own accommodation are both possible. Details noted in the Additional Info. section.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Want to learn Spanish?
Why not use this opportunity to improve your knowledge of Spanish and really get immersed in the local culture during your volunteering placement? We can offer part time Spanish classes at very competitive rates for you, so simply let us know if you are interested!
Part-time Spanish Lessons (taken in conjunction with volunteer work):
- Group Classes (20 hours per week) = USD150
- One-on-one Classes (10 hours per week) = USD115
Fees for Spanish Classes must be paid directly to your volunteer coordinator on arrival in Peru.
Wanting to stay for additional nights or arrange your own accommodation in Cusco?
Additional nights accommodation with the host families, including 3 meals daily, is $26 per night.
Arranging your own accommodation whilst on placement is fine too and the program fee is adjusted to just $189 for all durations.
Tours and Excursions for Volunteers
During your time in Cusco, why not use the opportunity to explore! If you're looking for an authentic insight into the local culture, or an adventure that takes you ‘off-the-beaten-track’, you can book an excursion directly with our local partner organization. As a Love Volunteer, not only will you get a discounted price, but every time you take a trip with them, a portion of the fee is donated to one of our local development projects!
Here is some of the options available to volunteers in Cusco:
- Cusco City Half-Day Tour - US$15
- Sacred Valley Full-Day Hike - US$30
- Rainbow Mountain Full-Day Tour - US$35
- Lake Titicaca (2-day) Experience - US$65
- Machu Picchu Inca Trail Trek (4-Days) - US$540
- Machu Picchu Inca Trail Trek (2 Days) - US$440
- Machu Picchu by Train (1 Day) - US$280
- Machu Picchu by Train (2 Day) - US$315
- Package Deal (3 Days) - Cusco Half-Day Tour + Sacred Valley Tour + Machu Picchu by Train (1 Day) - US$330
*Discounts available to Love Volunteers alumni only. Bookings are made directly with the local team after a place on the program has been confirmed. Spaces subject to availability.