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Lisa discovers Peru: Adventures in the Andes

 In Testimonial

“My tip for future participants is: Take the opportunity and make the trip! Even if it requires compromises – the experience is definitely worth it.”

Teilnehmerin Lisa mit
“My most beautiful moment was when I realized that I had found a new home at my place of work. When I walked along the street of my small village, met one friend after the other and was shouted at by all the motorcycles whizzing by. Unforgettable!
“My most beautiful moment was when I realized that I had found a new home at my place of work. When I walked along the street of my small village, met one friend after the other and was shouted at by all the motorcycles whizzing by. Unforgettable!

Lisa spent three adventurous months in Peru, visiting two volunteer projects. After a round trip through the south of Peru, she supported the Wildlife Sanctuary Project in Cusco and then worked at the Horse Ranch in the north of the country for one month each. During this time, she was able to get to know the many facets of this diverse country, and was particularly fascinated by the landscapes of the Andes.

Lisa’s programs:


My travel preparations began quite early, more than half a year before the start of the trip. One of the reasons was that I work full time and therefore had to coordinate my stay abroad with my employer. It was agreed that I would continue to work 15 hours a week for my employer in Germany during my three-month stay in Peru. Since I work in the IT industry, this was possible via “home” office. However, this also meant that I had to make sure that I had a sufficiently stable Internet connection and the possibility of online meetings early in the morning, for example, when selecting volunteer projects. WanderWorld also supported me well in this regard and, if necessary, asked the projects or hosts once again whether, for example, accommodation in a single room would be possible.

After the projects and time periods were clear, I was also able to take care of travel routes, excursions in Peru, vacation days needed for this, etc. in advance. All in all, the time in Peru was therefore quite well structured from the start. This meant that I was well prepared for what to expect and had a lot of anticipation months in advance!


I flew to Peru 2 weeks before the first project started. I was accompanied by my friend, who participated in another WanderWorld project after the 2 weeks of travel together. In our two weeks together, we made a round trip through the south of Peru and already visited a large part of the “Must Sees”. It was a great, intense time with so many new impressions! Lima in particular fascinated us, especially the colorful hustle and bustle of the markets and the sheer size of the city. At the beginning we were a bit afraid of being mugged or robbed and therefore we were very careful on the road. However, nothing happened, neither in Lima nor elsewhere. On our trip through the south we already came into contact with Peruvians, because we often stayed overnight with host families. So we could already test our Spanish skills, which were fortunately good enough to have simple conversations. When we traveled on to our respective projects after the 2 weeks, we felt as if we had been in Peru forever due to the many impressions of our round trip. Therefore, I had a smooth start to my first project in Cusco and felt right at home in the city.


My first project was the Wildlife Shelter in Cusco. I was allowed to take the afternoon shift from 1 to 5 pm. Considering the time difference, this was very convenient so that I had the morning to work with my colleagues in Germany. I always left the WG around 12 noon to take the Collectivo to the project site, which was about 30 minutes outside of Cusco. The first ride with the collectivo was very adventurous, because you had to get off halfway, which worked via shouting to the driver. Quite different from public transportation in Germany. With a few exceptions, however, the trip to the project went smoothly and we arrived at the sanctuary on time at 1 pm.

The first task was then mostly to prepare the afternoon food for the numerous animals. We cut fruit and vegetables and gave the animals hay and grass. When English or German speaking visitors came to the Sanctuary, we gave them tours of the grounds and shared background information about the animals. We also cleaned enclosures, moved the parrots from the outdoor area back into the heated enclosures in the evening, or searched for the turtles that had free range in the tall grass during the day. Most of the tasks were done by all 3 – 4 volunteers together, which allowed for a lot of chatting and planning weekend outings together. Overall, the work was very varied and always a lot of fun. I thought it was great to be able to work so closely with these exotic animals.

Lisa mit einer Schildkröte im Projekt
Papagei isst Bananen
weiße Alpakas


My second project was the Horse Ranch in the village of Pacora in northern Peru. Since it is very warm there all year round, the working time was divided between the morning and the late afternoon, so we had a long lunch break. In the mornings we mostly took care of the foals and practiced hoofing, lunging or ground work with them. Since only 1 – 2 volunteers could work with the foals at a time, the other 2 – 3 took care of cleaning the paddocks. In addition, we were also given other tasks, such as bathing the 8 dogs. In addition, the other volunteers accompanied the tourists on their rides every now and then. However, I myself did not want to ride, which was not a problem. At the beginning of the lunch break, we then picked up the food in the village and spent the rest of the three-hour lunch break mostly reading, running errands in the village or taking a siesta. 3:30pm we then started feeding the chickens and horses, which took about 2 hours. Sometimes we took advantage of the pleasant temperatures afterwards for a short walk with the horses.

Pferd auf der Horse Ranch
Ein Hund wird gewaschen
Lisa arbeitet auf dem Feld


During my first project in Cusco, I spent many evenings with other volunteers from the project. We went out to dinner together several times a week, since there were many good (some even vegan!) restaurants in Cusco with very reasonable prices. Since we also worked on Saturdays in the project, only Sunday remained for larger excursions. I used this for hiking tours, which I booked spontaneously in one of the numerous travel agencies in the old town. So I got to see the Rainbow Mountains, Moray and Laguna Humantay – three well-known tourist destinations. I did the trip to Moray on a quad tour with other volunteers, which was great! However, Cusco itself and the surrounding area offer so much that I could have spent months more there without getting bored.

On the other hand, we used the weekends in the second project for longer excursions. Sometimes we were allowed to take Friday or Monday off to go on a longer weekend trip. The night bus took us from Chiclayo to many beautiful and scenically very different cities in the north of Peru. Together with 1 – 3 other volunteers I visited Cajamarca (Andes), Máncora (beach), Tarapoto (jungle) and Chachapoyas (high jungle). All of the excursions were very different from traveling in southern Peru, as these areas are much less touristy. Overnight stays and day trips/hiking tours were extremely cheap, but vegetarian restaurants or souvenirs, for example, were much harder to find than in the south. I found it great to visit these places as well. Thus, at the end of my 3 months in Peru, I had the impression to have gotten to know the country really well.

Teilnehmerin Lisa vor Obststand
Lisa in der Wüste Perus
Lisa bei einer Quad-Tour


Although my friend and I had booked the accommodations with the host families during our round trip in advance and therefore knew pretty much exactly what to expect, we were still surprised by the simple conditions under which our hosts lived. For example, there was no hot water or heating in any of the homestays, and that in sub-zero temperatures at night. Nevertheless (or just because of that) the hosts were always anxious to offer us the highest possible comfort – one got many thick blankets, warm bottles, tasty warm food etc.. One was sometimes almost ashamed of one’s own prosperity, which made such a trip possible for us. Nevertheless, we were always met with a lot of friendliness, curiosity and hospitality.


I remembered especially funny moments with the animals in the Wildlife Sanctuary. For example, I had never dealt with parrots before and was amazed at how clever these birds are! For example, they helped themselves to the food chamber or even stole the food from the volunteers’ lunch boxes. This resulted in many funny moments that I think back on very fondly!

In terms of landscape, I remember the Andes in particular. The climate in the high mountains was much more extreme than anything I had ever experienced in Europe. Warm and sunny during the day, icy cold and windy at night. This climate makes the Andes so diverse: barren plateaus, snow-capped peaks, azure lagoons. Especially the Rainbow Mountains impressed me, because I never would have thought that stones could create such a variety of colors.

I was also impressed by the markets in Lima, Cusco and Máncora. The selection of exotic fruits was incredible. In addition, the prices were low and all the fruit tasted so much more aromatic than in Germany.

Rainbowmountains im Süden Perus
Steinige Klippe mit Vögeln


During my project in Cusco, I lived in a shared apartment. Two of my three roommates lived permanently in the accommodation, so they knew their way around Cusco and Peru in general very well. The apartment was well equipped and clean and living together was very harmonious. Thanks to my single room, I could easily work from the home office and hold meetings with my colleagues in Germany.

I also had a single room in my second project. The other volunteers shared rooms in pairs in the volunteer house with their own kitchen. We always met there for meals and often sat together for a long time in the evening.

I felt very comfortable in both accommodations!


The projects in Peru have shown me how good it does me to work with or for animals. That’s why I will continue to volunteer in the field of animal welfare from Germany. In addition, the simpler living conditions in Peru have made me realize that you don’t need so many material things to live happily and contentedly. I have resolved to question my consumer behavior more and to live and consume as sustainably as possible.


Peru is an incredibly large and varied country with many different landscapes and climates. There are high mountains, desert, beaches, jungle – and Lima. Each of these places is a world unto itself. This made it feel like you saw much more than just one country. I am therefore glad I took 3 months to visit Peru. The distances are great and you also need some time to get used to the climate and altitude.

Holzhütte im Dschungel Perus
Berglandschaft in Peru


I deliberately took the time in Peru as time out from everyday life in Germany. The routine of working life tempts you to stop leaving your comfort zone at some point. Especially when more and more ties arise, such as a job, an apartment, possibly pets or at some point children. Then you hardly have the possibility to travel for a longer time or to far away countries.

I am therefore extremely glad to have made the trip to Peru, even if it involved some compromises. Especially because I was still working part-time for my employer in Germany during the projects and had to coordinate my everyday life, accommodation and leisure activities with this. Also, the itinerary and travel time were not as free and flexible as most other volunteers. Nevertheless, I had a great time and did not have the impression that I had missed anything on site. Thanks to my financial situation, I was even able to treat myself to some things that I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford right after graduating from high school or as a student.

So my tip for future participants is: Take the opportunity and make the trip! Even if it requires compromises – the experience is definitely worth it.

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