Program & Schedule
Life for women and children in Perú is harsh and oftentimes they can barely afford daily expenses, so it is common for them to accept basic and or unhealthy living conditions such as open cooking fires, cold water showers or non, rubbish and living quarters left in bad condition for long periods of time. This is also reflected into the communal areas such as schools, churches, clinics and common facilities. Even though 60% of the houses are built in the traditional low cost adobe or tapial methods, maintenance budgets for these structures is rarely considered as a priority.
This is where we saw a way to help!
By providing materials and helping them to repair, renovate or build their traditional Tapial mud homes or communal facilities, and using the donated labour from our participants, we are able to assist the community to achieve this aim.
With renovated Tapial homes and training they’ll be able to offer accommodation to rural tourists, allowing them to generate an income. At the same time, we provide an opportunity for you to engage with the community and learn more about them firsthand, as you complete these construction tasks. It is a mutually beneficial exchange!!
In addition, our program aims to revive tradition of the mud homes and to spread awareness of its benefits. Besides it’s unique look and feel, mud houses preserve warmth and cooling much better than much of its modern counterpart (concrete buildings) and it is actually a much better fit for the Peruvian weather.
Adobe structures are generally self-made through simple construction practices that do not require as much work. Skilled technicians (e.g. engineers and architects) are not required, hence it is described as “non-engineered construction”. Your efforts will improve family homes, community halls and will help to create the first English as Second Language School for the community children.
May to October
Participants may be engaged in segments or the mud house construction process in its entirety, depending upon the length of program service.
Under the supervision of the “maestro de obra” and local workers you will be “hands on” helping in activities such as:
- Tracing the building lines in the property
- Helping setting up the foundations
- Digging on soil to mark fundations
- Setting up of the first wooden clamps/mold frames
- Mud filling and compacting of soil/mud into clamps/mold frames
- Uncovering/unmolding clamp/mold frames
Participants will also be taught the ancient techniques of wall finishing with no paint. Instead they will be shown the process of using mud fine granite.
November to April
This is the rainy season, which means that you’ll likely be taking part in activities to help this program through light restoration and indoor construction in the communal areas, such as schools, churches, health care facilities and community centers, as well.
Aims & Objectives
- Assist the locals with construction and renovation efforts in an organized team
- Create cultural exchange opportunities through our efforts with the locals
- Lend a hand to assist the local NGO in other areas including training delivery and marketing
- Develop your teamwork and skills through hands on activity
- If this is your first day, an orientation will take place in Cajamarca before program transfer
Monday to Friday
- Complete assigned daily construction tasks
- Lunch break
- Complete assigned daily construction tasks
- Free evening
Participant Criteria & Requirements
Minimum age: -
Maximum age: -
Minimum English level: Basic
CRB required: On Signup
Passport copy required: No
Resume copy required: No
Required qualification: None
There are no specific requirements.
Living & Location
You will be staying in a quaint town called Shaullo Grande, which is located in the district of Llacanora only 30-40 minutes away from Cajamarca (Capital and largest city of Peru’s Cajamarca Region, enriched in culture and history). You can also reach Banos del Inca in about 15 minutes where you will find their famous thermal hot springs, as well as, many of the amenities and conveniences found in Cajamarca. In Shaullo Grande you’ll see local villagers coming to the town to sell wares in the market, bringing traditional dress, crafts and livestock. Staying in this lovely town will give you an authentic Peruvian experience, that is often times lost in the busier big cities.
You will be staying in our accommodation center in rural Shaullo Grande. Bathrooms are modern, with hot water showers and separated by gender. The kitchen here, like in many local homes, uses wood for cooking and there is an additional area where you can prepare food on your own. There are areas for dining, socializing and relaxing, that will help you to feel comfortable during your stay.
There is a football field right across from the location, where participants are welcome to join locals for daily activities. WiFi will be available in public areas, but keep in mind that it may not be stable at times. We recommend purchasing a local SIM card, if staying connected is important for you.
All participants are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with restraint, especially water, paper and electricity. Although rooms will be cleaned daily by staff, you will be expected to clean up after yourself, keep your room tidy and to do your part to keep the accommodation neat and organized.
The food will be typically Peruvian meaning lots of corn, beans, rice, chili peppers, potatoes, wheat, and other grains, all very vegetarian friendly. Keep in mind that some local dishes may be spicy! Participants will have a fridge for perishable items they purchase, but space is very limited.
Although there are many restaurants around this small town, “Menu centers” are a cheaper popular local choice. Known as a “Menu”, here you are offered soup and entrees before digging into your main meal and are usually accompanied by a drink, usually made from barley or tropical fruit. Menus have a smaller range of food, but are cheaper and more convenient. They act as the ‘fast food’ for the locals, who tend to dislike western fast food outlets.
Local shops are within walking distance. 5 - 10 mins will bring you to a large market square. A 15 minute moto-taxi ride will bring you to the town square in Banos del Inca, which has supplies from all over Peru, for all your shopping needs.
Public transport is available, but being small, you will find yourself walking mostly to get around. “Moto-taxis” are also available for quick rides around town (up to 3 people round trip cost Banos del Inca 20 - 30 soles). Bikes will be available for anyone interested in exploring locally.
There is Wi-Fi in public areas at your accommodation, but there is also an internet cafe in the main township, where you can gain access, when you are not at the center.
There are numerous ATMs in the town of Banos del Inca. A few banks can also be found here.
We will have a basic first aid kit on site, but there is a clinic available in Banos del Inca. A hospital and various clinics are in nearby Cajamarca for any emergencies or health issues that may arise.
Activities & Events
Guinea Pig Farm
An ancient Incan tradition, learn from the locals exactly why these animals are so important to Peruvian homes and assist in their feeding and raising.
Agriculture is a very important aspect of every Peruvian countryside home. Home gardens, or “Chakras” as they are called, still use ancient Incan irrigation systems for the upkeep of this vital source of nourishment. You’re more than welcome to join us in the evenings and help with the maintenance of this special part of Peruvian life.
Join your cook as they prepare meals for you and other participants. Take notes, learn new recipes, traditional food preservation techniques and more! Try not to spoil your dinner as you learn!
Daily: Mornings and Evenings
Watch the local farmers near your accommodation, as they tend to their animals in daily rituals like shearing and milking.
Sights & Surroundings
You can easily reach Chiclayo, Peru’s fourth biggest city, by public transport, which is cheap and frequent. Chiclayo offers shopping centers, a cinema and nightlife, but it is also a major traffic hub in northern Peru. This makes it easy to travel on the weekends or after your program.
There are plenty of small restaurants or shops around the area. There is an active surfing community and it is easy to make local friends, we can also point you to our Tandem Skydiving program and some other events.
While in the area you can visit Lambayeque where you can find: Museums such as Senor de Sipan, forests such as Bosque de Pomac and Chaparri, and pyramids such as Tucume.
Only 12 km outside Trujillo. Once a quiet fishing hamlet, the town is now one of the best places for surfing.
Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1534, Trujillo has 709,500 inhabitants. It is the home of the beautiful Plaza de Armas and its glamorous colonial. 4 hrs from our accommodation, this city by the ocean is referred to as the everlasting spring, where temperature is usually 32ºC, and where the very important Festival de la Marinera takes place.
Having said that, the main reason why most people pass through this coastal city is to visit one of Peru’s top-attractions: the Chimú adobe city of Chan Chan.
Built around AD 1300, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the largest adobe city in the world. You can visit it by taking a combi from C/España. The ticket (10 S) includes entrance to the Nik-An temple, the Chan Chan museum, the Huaca la Esmeralda and the Huaca Arco Iris.
A bit further from the city, the Huaca del Sol y la Luna is over 700 years older than Chan Chan and belongs to the Moche culture. The temple is filled with icons representing Ai-Apaec, the god of the mountains, feared for provoking phenomena like El Niño. To stop him from sending heavy rains, the Moches would offer him human sacrifices.
Translated to the “Condor House” in English, Kuntur Wasi is a religious complex of architectural structures located in Peru’s northern highlands, which is believed to have links to the Chavin culture.
Located 5 hours away is a northern Peru town, rich with history, politics, religion, culture and hometown of the international famous muralist Jose Sabogal. Here, you can also visit unspoiled archeology sites and old monuments.
Bambamarca and Chota
Located 3 and 4 hours away, respectively, these towns are known for their festive activities in the months of June/July.
Leymebamba and La Congona
Six hrs driving up north, with a little more than 4000 souls, Leymebamba is the perfect, quiet place. If you would like to visit La Congona, it can be reached on foot by hiking uphill from Leymebamba.
The Museum of Leymebamba is just half an hour walking from Leymebamba. Inaugurated in June 2000, the Museo Leymebamba displays more than 200 mummies and their burial offerings recovered in 1997 from the Laguna de los Cóndores by a salvage Project directed by Centro Mallqui. Once at risk from looters and vandals, today this valuable collection is housed in the Museo Leymebamba. An initiative of The Bioanthropology Foundation Peru-Centro Mallqui, construction of the Museo Leymebamba was made possible by a donation from a group of Austrian citizens, as well as by funds from other private donors.
Also known as the Warrior of the Clouds, the Chachapoyas were a pre-Incan civilisation who lived in the cloud forests of present-day Peru. Chachapoyas contains intriguing archeological sites to explore, however the drive is 12 hours away from our Center, so good planning will be required.
Kuelap: The second Machu Picchu
Famous fortress of the mystic “cloud warriors”. One of the very few places never conquered by the Incas. Visitors describing Kuelap indicate that it is “as impressive as Machu Picchu” while it is by far not as crowded or expensive.
The government just recently decided to invest heavily into tourist infrastructure around Kuelap. Be one of the last persons discovering it while it is still relatively unknown!
The waterfall of Gocta (771m) is amongst the highest in the world. Although methods of measurement are debatable, it got recognized as the world's third highest waterfall, right after Angel Falls (Venezuela) & Tugela Falls (South Africa). Combine your visit with Kuelap and pick Chachapoyas as your homebase to have an adventurous weekend!
From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):
- Pimentel (Chiclayo)
- Lambayeque (Chiclayo)
Name: Republic of Peru
Population: 31 million
Language: Spanish (Quechua, Aymara)
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone: PET (UTC -5)
Peru is the third largest country in South America; a country known for its incredible cultural heritage such as the renowned Machu Picchu and the remains of the Inca Empire. Although the Incas are the most famous ones, there are other manifestations of pre-Columbian cultures and unexplored archaeological sites which can be located in the North of Peru. This magnificent land composed of a variety of landscapes, climates and biodiversity, is visited by tourists from all over the world.
In Peru, it is possible to enjoy a range of activities from surfing in the Northern beaches to hiking in the Andes Cordillera, from trekking in the humid and hot Amazon rainforest to visiting cultural sites, excellent museums, and enjoying traditional dishes. Peruvian people are very friendly, warm, and ready to help or to introduce you to their customs. You will find in these regions a great diversity of ethnic groups, festivities, handcraft, and gastronomy.
Peru is a country of contrasts where the crazy traffic is surpassed by the majesty of mountain ranges. You will find cities peaking at altitudes of more than 6700 meters, infinite beaches with beautiful sunsets, the magically diverse landscape of the tropical rainforest and let’s not forget about the llamas.
Despite being near the Equator, the presence of different regions of the Andes Cordillera and the arid coast along with the effects of the cold Humboldt Stream induce highly distinct weather. The climate in Peru consists in three main regions: Costa, Sierra, Selva (the coast, the mountains and the jungle).
The coast of Peru represents 10% of the whole surface of the country. Within this part of the coast, the north has a semi-tropical climate. Because of the Humboldt Stream, the temperatures are not that hot for a desert. The temperature is around 24°C all year long. The Southern region, including the central coast and the south, has a subtropical climate. The temperatures range from 15°C during the winter to 26°C during the summer. Summer is from December to March.
Alongside the Andes Cordillera, the winter is dry and the summer rainy. The annual temperatures fluctuate from 11 to 16°C but with wide differences from one site to another because of the different altitudes. Therefore, it is better to come during the winter from May to September during the dry season and enjoy the Costa during the summer.
This is the Amazon region of Peru that represents 60% of the Peruvian surface. The climate is humid, hot, with rainfall all year long and especially during the rainy season from January to April. During the dry season, it usually rains once per week with temperatures fluctuating around 30°C.
In any case, it is preferable to have 3 kinds of outfits for cold, hot and rainy weather. This beautiful country has different climate zones since it has deserts, mountains and Amazon rainforest.
The Peruvian culture is widely known for its Inca Empire and the ruins of Machu Picchu. However, Peru includes a lot of other different cultures that are lesser known. Before being colonized in the 16th century by Spain, and before the Inca Empire, other cultures were already very organized, structured economically and politically. This is particularly the case of the Chavín and Mochica cultures which date from 1800-200 BC. Hidden archaeological treasures of these cultures are present in the north of Peru. The Lambayeque Region is the biggest hotspot of unexplored archaeological places in the world while the south of Peru is the most touristic region with Cusco, Machu Picchu and Arequipa.
The country recognizes the practice of other religions. Nevertheless, since its independence from Spain in 1821, Peru remains mainly catholic at 80%. Therefore a lot of churches are present in the country. Inspired from the colonial style, they often constitute the sights to see, along with buildings from the same era in big cities such as Chiclayo, Piura, Trujillo, Arequipa, and Lima. Even with Catholicism as the predominant religion, several events and festivities in Peru refer directly to Inca celebrations and ceremonies. Peru is a colourful country, as evidenced by the traditional fabric you can find in the handcraft markets.
The city of Cajamarca is renowned for its carnival where paint battles take place every year. If you are out and about on those days, expect to be targeted with paint and water during the celebration. Peru is also a country of dances. The national dance is the Marinera and it is frequently practiced along the coast, while traditional tribal dances can be found in jungle areas.
Nowadays, Peru is a multicultural country due in part to the colonialism period, but also because of the different migration phases. The indigenous population represents 45% of the population while the rest is a mixture of different ascendances. A third of the population is Metis and has Spanish origins. Then there is a melting pot of European, African and also Asiatic people. The indigenous are more present in the Selva while the rest of the country is mixed with the other ethnicities. Also, in the jungle and mountains, it is more frequent to see people wearing traditional clothes such as the poncho, the hat and the long skirt for women. While the Amazon represents 60% of the Peruvian surface, it is the least densely populated region of the country. Therefore, it holds lots of beautiful unseen areas and uninhabited parts, which remain untouched by humans.
Another important sector in Peru is the fruit production. Peru is a land of fruit trees, like Mango and Cherimoya, which are very tasty.
Peruvian gastronomy is award winning! Among its specialities are the Ceviche, which is made with raw fish, seasoned with lemon and spices, the Anticuchos made with beef heart, the Chicha Morada, a national drink made with purple corn, and the national alcohol: Pisco.
Peruvian gastronomy is considered to be one of the most diversified and famous in South America. Very often, dishes include rice; this may be in part because of the Chinese migration influence. Since then, “Chifa” in Peru has been used in reference to Chinese cooking.