If there’s one word that describes Peru, it’s fusion. The geography ranges from mountains, coastal beaches, rainforests, and desert landscapes. Our program is located in Lima, the vibrant mega capital of Peru, built on a coastal desert strip and home to over 9 million people. The city is filled with fascinating museums, stunning parks, and important historical sites. Lima also has many underserved populations. With more than 70% of the country living in cities and with 33% of the urban poor found in the capital of Lima, it is estimated that 1/3 of the population of Lima live in impoverished conditions. The influx of migrants over the last several decades has resulted in a serious strain on social resources, leaving children and the elderly especially vulnerable. Make and impact and explore Lima then venture out to explore Cuzco and Machu Picchu and you’ll see first-hand that Peru is literally the stuff of legend.
Our Lima Home-Base options include guest houses in the safe middle class neighborhoods of Surco, Barranco, and Chorillos. Each option is within walking distance from parks, banks, shops, restaurants, and Internet cafés. Each house is private for CCS volunteers and has a common room, the dining area, and kitchen. The open courtyards are great for writing in your journal, enjoying the morning coffee, and socializing. Each contains 5-9 bedrooms that sleep two to eight volunteers each. There are a combination of shared gender specific bathrooms connected to the rooms and hallways. Volunteer meals are provided by local cooks and include traditional Peruvian cuisine. The main meal is lunch, consisting of rice, meat, beans, lots of potatoes, and other dishes such as Peruvian barbeque or ceviche.
Cross-Cultural Solutions’ local staff designs and runs each program; the staff will make you feel at home acting like a second family during your stay and helping you better understand the culture. They help facilitate your placement and activities and are always available to handle any questions that may arise.
Each weekday afternoon our professional staff guide the group on Cultural & Learning Activities throughout the city. Discover Inca history by exploring archaeological ruins at Pachacamac. Here you’ll see the remains of pyramids, temples, grave sites, and other structures that formed the most significant religious center in pre-Hispanic times. Tour the bohemian artsy neighborhood of Barranco and stroll down the malecon alongside the beach. Visit historic downtown colonial Lima where you’ll climb deep down into the dark catacombs of The Church of San Francisco. Learn how to move to indigenous Peruvian rhythms in a dance lesson! At the traditional Inca market in Miraflores, you can purchase alpaca socks along with artisan goods from all over the country. Have fun practicing your Spanish skills while bargaining for a better price (don’t be shy: it’s expected!)
On the weekends your group may choose to explore other areas of the country through our guided overnight packages. Spend one or two nights exploring Huacahina desert oasis and the Islas Ballestas Islands from Lima or take an internal flight to Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.
The Islas Ballestas are a group of small islands in the Pacific Ocean a couple hours south of Lima. Take a boat tour to check the hundreds of super friendly and inquisitive sea lions that live there alongside Humboldt Penguins, dolphins, and dozens of sea bird species. From there the group will embark on an exciting overnight adventure to the picturesque desert oasis of Huacachina. Take a dune buggy excursion into the mesmerizing sand formations and experience the exhilaration of sand-boarding down the dunes! Return to the Huacachina Oasis to take pictures, tour the lagoon, and enjoy artisan good shopping before returning to Lima.
Choose a 3-5 day package to Cuzco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Take an internal flight from Lima to Cuzco where the group will spend the night and explore Cuzco. The next day journey through the heart of the Inca Empire with a Sacred Valley tour, visiting sites such as Qurikancha, the Temple of the Sun. Visit a llama farm to learn about their historically vital role in Peruvian culture. Journey to Machu Picchu, referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” or the “City in the Sky.” Take a train and a bus from Cuzco to reach this Seventh Wonder of the World. Spend the day on a guided tour of Machu Picchu and stay the night in Aguas Calientes, a town nestled down in a gorge below the ruins of Machu Picchu.