About Peru

Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to work on a range of projects in Peru. Volunteers can become involved in childcare, teaching, construction, healthcare, cultural, and conservation/wildlife projects.

Peru boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in South America and volunteers will primarily be based in the city of Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca Empire. In contrast to its stunning geography, which attracts growing numbers of international visitors to Peru, poverty and unemployment remain high throughout rural regions and more than half of the population live below the poverty line.

Please visit the Global Volunteer Network website for more information about the Peru Volunteer Program.

Recent Peru Journals:


Monday 11/10/14.  MACHU PICCHU!  :-)))))) Definitely a day I will remember for a long time to come!  I just spent 7 of the last 8 hours in the ruins of the ancient city, Machu Picchu (the name that the indigenous Quechua people later gave the site, meaning “Old Mountain”).  And it was super cool!  I woke up at 4 this morning, so I went ahead and got up to be at the bus by 5 (just a few minutes walk from the hotel), and even so, I was still in the 4th bus to leave for the site.  But it worked out great!  We were there by 6 when it opened, and I got to see the sun come up over the mountains in the nearly cloud-free sky.  Rolando, our trek guide had told us that UNESCO has mandated that only 2500 people be let into the site per day.  However the number of visitors who actually enter the site daily is actually about double that.  So anyways, there were many people there with me but the site is so big that it really didn’t feel crowded until about 10:00 in the morning. I kinda felt like I had the place to myself for a while this morning, and I very much enjoyed taking lots of photos without a ton of people in them. (I was later admonished by Romulo that photos should never be without people, that it’s bad karma and bodes unwell for the photographer.)   Oh well, I’m over it, and I’m tickled by how many photos I was able to take without a ton of people in them.  I started in the agricultural areas, and then made a circle through the sacred and urban sectors before returning to the entrance, where I was scheduled to meet [click here to read more]

Sun. 11/9/14. Trek to Machu Picchu, day 2

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 2:17 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Sun. 11/9/14. Trek to Machu Picchu, day 2
Nov 092014

Sunday morning, el Domingo  11/9/14.  Huchuy Q’osco I woke up at 4:15 to the sounds of the neighbors and the family and the farm waking up and getting busy;  mother and daughter’s voices just outside of my window were low and punctuated by the sound of whatever they were doing with their hands.  It sounded like they were hitting something, maybe mats or blankets.  I didn’t try to look because it was still so dark.  The cows moo-ed, roosters crowed, and sheep made their voices heard also.  Last night we walked up to the homestead with a horse and a couple of burrows, but I haven’t heard them yet this morning.  I hunkered down under the covers some more.  At 5:15, it was quite light and I got up to use the facilities.  I brushed my teeth at the little courtyard sink while a duck watched me, and the cow out back moo-ed loudly.  Another cow close by was still asleep on the ground. The Señor and Señora of the house looked like they had already been up for hours.  We’re supposed to be having breakfast this morning at 7, but judging from our “7:00” dinner last night, which actually occurred at 8:30, I’m not so sure that we’ll be out of here by our hoped for 8:00 and back to the ruins.  Then we are hiking the 4 Km down the hill to Lamay. Oh, there’s the conche shell wakening “bell” to signal time to get up, at 6:30.  I was given hot water to drink and am sitting again on the llama skins bench with Rolando and Patrick, 2 compadres from our trek.  Apparently we are the only residents at the homestay today, and we had a nice breakfast of banana filled “pankekes” with carmel drizzle, and bread.  And then began the questions regarding the [click here to read more]

Sat. 11/8/14. Trek to Machu Picchu, day 1

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 1:33 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Sat. 11/8/14. Trek to Machu Picchu, day 1
Nov 092014

Wow!  What an amazing day!  Saturday 11/8/14 So today was the start of the trek to Machu Picchu.  We are staying the night in Huchoy C’osqo (think I spelled that right), which means “Little Cusco”, in a primitive little settlement, right next to the Inca ruins of the same name, still pretty high up above the Sacred Valley (I guess, a 4 Km walk down some pretty steep trails).  I am currently sitting in my sleeping quarters being totally grateful for the backlighting of my iPad, as I am typing by the light of one candle.  And the bano, or Jisti’wana, in Quechua, is up some very uneven homemade stairs and across a little courtyard, right next to where they are raising the guinea pigs, or cuy (for dinner FYI). ????  and the bano on the trails?  The great outdoors!  ????   Or, as Rolando, our trail guide said this morning with his giant smile, “it’s back to nature!”  There are 5 of us total on the trip.  Kristina is the travel agent at Worldwide Exotic Travels that I booked the trip with, down in her office right across from Maximo Nivel, in the same building.  And she and her mother from Holland are on the trip, as well as another volunteer named Patrick, from Toronto, Canada.  Rolando, the guide make 5. Once again, it really was an amazing day!  Beautiful, sunny, warm, with crisp puffy white clouds, and not one single raindrop where we were at any time today.  I couldn’t have ordered better for our 9 hours of walking with 1.5 hours of siesta after lunch today.  We started in Chincherro, and I, of course, was the only one with 2 day packs, because all of my warm jammies, and food, and jackets, would not fit into one [click here to read more]


Thursday 11/6/14 Had so much fun today in spanish class just talking to Julio and answering his questions.  He subbed for Nadher today cuz Nadher called off sick.  The orphanage was an adventure, as always.  And we took loads of vegetables to them from the San Jeronimo mercado.  So many vegetables and ourselves in a tiny little taxi that when the driver tried to go down a steep hill from the street above the orphanage (because he trying to avoid the road construction), the little car got high-centered and would not budge til Loretta and I got out.  Hmmmm, don’t know what that says about us, or maybe just about the dinky beat up little taxi car.  Or maybe about the loads of veggies, huh?  😉 Oh, today on the bus to San Jeronimo, there were two young girls who told me who the artist of a salsa song on the radio was when I asked.  And then, when I told them that I teach Zumba in the States, they wrote down the name of the song for me and the artist, and genre, and gave it to me to bring back. They were so sweet, and I was so tickled to be speaking Spanish and to be understood consistently without someone shaking their head at me!  Fun! I was a bit late for dinner after the briefing about our trip, because one of the guys on the tour is the type to ask dozens of questions, mostly about the information that we already had written down for us.  But, ok.  I also stopped and got some more minutes for the phone.  If I am gonna be cut off from email, I am definitely gonna have the phone and not feel quite so isolated from my peeps! And then, for [click here to read more]

Thurs. 11/6/14. To make up for no journal last Tuesday…

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 12:42 am  Peru  Comments Off on Thurs. 11/6/14. To make up for no journal last Tuesday…
Nov 062014

I am trying to write a bit of a guideline for the other volunteers to use when they get here because I felt so lost when I arrived:   Routine at Hogar de las Estrellas In general, go with a lot of enthusiasm and initiative, because you may or may not have guidance, depending on how many women are working each day.  Cezar is the wonderful young man, who was once a resident of the orphanage, and now is the official cook for the main meal of the day, lunch.  He is usually in the kitchen preparing lunch when we get there.  He cannot hear at all, but reads lips and uses sign and body language to communicate with the women and children. He’s super good with the kids and plays and jokes with them frequently.  Dani, Serena, and Tanira apparently do not attend school, and are home when we get there.  Tanira is the little “mother” for them all as she watches each of them closely and lets you know if something is not right.  The majority of the children come home at about 1:30 from school, and the routine goes something like this: 1.  CHANGE OUT OF SCHOOL CLOTHES:   Many of the girls in the downstairs bedroom (watch your head as you go in and out of doorways) need physical or at least verbal assistance with this task.  And so did I, because I never seemed to be able to figure out which clothes to put on whom.  Your best bet is to ask, but if you are not given guidance, find something that looks like it fits and try.  Socks and unders are in the little drawers outside the downstairs bedroom door. Katy and Candy can pretty much dress themselves, and will choose their own clothes, and will [click here to read more]

Wed. 11/5/14. A rainy day, but a good one!

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 11:27 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Wed. 11/5/14. A rainy day, but a good one!
Nov 052014

Wed. 11/5/14.  A rainy day, but a good day! Whoop-tee-do!  I found out this morning that Pilar’s house is not full of volunteers next week and that I can come back here when I get back from the Machu Picchu trip, and that I can also keep my big bag here and come back here after the lake Titicaca trip too.  That’s terrific news, not just that I have the place and don’t have to move my bags down the hill and then back up for those few days next week, but I just really like it here, and Pilar is so hospitable and sweet to all of us here.  We eat a lot of starch, but she is here and cooks dinner for us every night, and she makes sure that  I have some protein and vegetarian options every day.  She even packs me a little plastic box full of fruit each day.  I have a hot dinner here each night.  It’s my home in Cusco, and Tio Mario is a riot.  He’s a funny little Peruvian man, who has made it his goal in life to help me be “not so flaca”, or skinny, and is always encouraging me to eat more bread and pretty much everything else too.  He thinks I am nuts for seeking out additional steps to walk up and down at the beginning and end of my days.  He feels that there are enough steps in Cusco without seeking out more! So, I have figured out today that I am not getting all of your emails, and you may not be getting mine either with wacky WiFi at my homestay or at Maximo Nivel’s office either.  If that is the case, me disculpe, please forgive me.  I am answering every email that I receive [click here to read more]

Mon. 11/3/14. My last Monday at Maximo

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 4:34 am  Peru  Comments Off on Mon. 11/3/14. My last Monday at Maximo
Nov 042014

Mon. 11/3/14.  My last Monday at Maximo and at Hogar This is the beginning of my last week at the orphanage and in Spanish classes!  I can’t believe it!  It’s gone so quickly!  I’m really looking forward to Machu Picchu this Saturday, especially after my touring day yesterday.  That was so much fun getting a little taste of the ruins and other towns in Peru. It was all socked in and cloudy this morning when we got up.  My two roommates are feeling a bit better, I think.  All my emails from yesterday came in this morning;  WiFi here has some issues.  I struggled through some more spanish idioms in my homework, probably butchered more than I deciphered, but am learning a lot in class.  I could actually be doing more spanish classes as I have a bit of time in the mornings–one girl here is taking 8 hours of spanish a day! for 8 weeks!–but my brain is already challenged with the language classes and work, so I don’t feel too bad about it. My teacher is from Arequipa, but lived for 12 years in the States, so learned English very well too.  He probably speaks Quechua, the local native tongue, too.  These kids here usually can speak several languages.  Why don’t we do that in the States? Disculpeme por favor, Estoy muy cansada y no quiero esribir mas ahora.  Mas mañana.  Forgive me but I am tired and do not want to write anymore.  I am going to bed early tonight, like now, and will write more tomorrow.  Chao,  suenos bonitos!

Sun. 11/2/14. El Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 4:48 am  Peru  Comments Off on Sun. 11/2/14. El Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead
Nov 032014

Sun. 11/2/14  El Dia de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) Unfortunately, I woke up this morning to Loretta still feeling very ill and throwing up.  She still apparently has that dreadful high altitude headache, but was also sick to her stomach.  Not sure if that is the altitude or all of the fried stuff that Pilar called our dinner last night.  That was the first time that my whole dinner was fried.  My tummy was not thrilled this morning either. Today was my quick day-trip tour of the Sacred Valley.  What fun!  It was an all day thing, beginning at the MN office at 7:15, when I was scheduled to be picked up by a tour bus.  Funny thing about these tour busses… Again.  As this one once again made the rounds just like yesterday’s bus, to pick up additional folks.  A bigger circle, and to different locations, and the truly funny thing is that at almost all the stops the same young woman (with the super fancy painted fingernails) was there with a different set of tourists.  She must’ve really run to get from The Avenida to Quoricancha, and then to the Plaza, and then we took her to another spot, where she was dropped off and we picked up a few more of her “clients?”.  And then how she got to the last stop is completely unknown to me, as it was right on the north edge of town at a series of Hostels and Hospedajes, and she was there again, right on the street, waiting with another couple of people when we got there.  Amazing!  So we finally left the greater Cusco are at about 10 after 8:00.  I guess that’s how it’s done here:  just keep adding tourists to the list as you find them, and [click here to read more]


Saturday, can it really be the 1st of November already?!!! And time to return to standard time in the states.  I was going to remember to turn my clocks back before I left and I’m pretty sure that I did not.  Oh well…. Woke up this morning to having a new roommate at about quarter to 7.  Fortunately I was up and journalling at the time.  Her name is Loretta, from Australia, and she had to take 4 different planes to get here!  Her first flight was from one side of Australia to the other and then she flew from LAX to Lima to Cusco.  Ugh!  I thought I was tired when I got here!  She is napping right now.  I will be exploring, and then back to Pilar’s to bring Loretta down the hill and to the Maximo Nivel office to get somewhat situated.  She doesn’t think that this is her permanent placement house yet, but that she needed a place to stay for the night tonight, and then she has orientation at MN on Monday morning.  So don’t know if she will be my roommate for a while or not.  Pilar had said two new volunteers on Sunday. She didn’t say anything about this morning until the phone rang this morning. Gonna go see a couple more cathedrals and explore a bit more today, maybe some more ruins here in town, and a bit of shopping the little tiendas.  I haven’t done much of that yet.  Loretta wants to go to the little supermercado too, so will save that for later.  Almost out of my little jar of peanut butter that I brought with me, so needing some more for the week.  It is super expensive here and not something that the folks here buy regularly, like s/.20 (20 [click here to read more]


Fri. 10/31/14 Happy Friday!  AND its Halloween, in Cusco, Peru! And it looks strangely similar to Halloween in the States, on a bit smaller scale.  But there were so many little tiny Spidermen, Ninja Turtles, Vampires, Witches, and blond princesses (yes, blonde, with ringlet curl wigs) in the central downtown areas going door to door to the merchants, including businesses and phone stores, not just the tourist souvenir merchants.  There were tons of people downtown as I walked back up this evening, and lots more in the Plaza, and even visiting the merchants up the smaller side-streets that I take to go back to Pilar’s.  I hurried because I was supposed to pick up clean laundry, and had forgotten that they are open til 8 (so I was rushing at 6:25).  Oh well, I needed some cardio before dinner anyways. There were lots of extra street venders tonight, selling snacks and cotton candy, just in case the kids and their young parents weren’t sugared up enough.  And I guess the person who controls the water around here must’ve had a kid out and about or something tonight, because the water was already off at 7:00 tonight.  Was really looking forward to my shower too.    Oh well, tomorrow is Saturday!  Yay! Not sure what I am going to do tomorrow besides rest.  Will work it out in the morning, probably depending on the weather too.  Oh wow, Mario just told me that the water is back on.  I’m gonna shower.  Woooo-hoooo!  You really learn to appreciate the little things!   So, I was so excited about getting to take a shower that I got more than halfway through before I realized that I still had my handy-dandy water resistant watch on.  We’ll get to see how it performs, I guess.  It’s [click here to read more]

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