Trip Details

Eco Building Volunteer Experience in Peru

Our Eco Building Volunteer project is a challenging but incredibly rewarding programme based in Peru. Here, you will learn lots of great new skills, working with our team – and all for the benefit of local people. Take part in this exciting project as you construct and renovate mud homes and facilities – and literally help build a community! What’s more, you’ll also be creating homes that can be used to accommodate rural tourists, bringing some much-needed income into the area.

Help build a Community – Brick by Brick!

It’s not every day that you get to learn traditional Peruvian building techniques. During your time in Peru as an Eco Building Volunteer, you will use Eco-friendly Tapial or Rammed Earth construction methods to build these adobe (mud-brick) structures. They are fairly simple to build, so no experience is needed – only a passion for helping local people. In fact, these are often women and children who typically live in unhealthy living conditions, due to poor socio-economic situations.

Explore the Ancient History and Incredible Culture of Peru

When you’ve finished your day as an Eco Building Volunteer, you’ll find so many places to explore! Visit the waterfall of Gocta (771m), which is amongst the highest in the world; or learn about the Chachapoyas who were a pre-Incan civilisation that lived in the cloud forests. Then there’s little Leymebamba with an exciting museum which houses over 200 mummies! However, if you’re tired after a long day, you can also just relax back at our accommodation with your new friends, and plan weekend adventures!

Why be an Eco Building Volunteer in Peru?

  • Help the locals to build better homes for their community
  • Learn unusual building skills as your work with a great local team
  • Explore Peruvian cuisine, and learn to prepare basic meals with our local cook
  • Make new friends as you share this amazing journey with other volunteers
  • Stay in our comfortable accommodation with all meals and beverages* included

*tea, coffee and drinking water

Get in touch to find out more or browse through our many other volunteer experiences.

Trip Itinerary

Eco Building Volunteer Programme

Be ready to get your hands dirty! This programme is heavy-going but incredibly rewarding and a lot of fun. Please take note of the following seasonal activities.

May to October

Volunteers 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 the soil to mark foundations
  • Setting up of the first wooden clamps/mould frames
  • Mud filling and compacting of soil/mud into clamps/mould frames
  • Uncovering/unmolding clamp/mould frames

Volunteers will also be taught the ancient techniques of wall finishing with no paint, which is a process using mud and 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 centres.

Mandatory Orientation Day

On the Monday of your first week as an Eco Building Volunteer in Peru, you will join our orientation day, to get familiar with the surroundings as well as local culture. Your project will continue as usual from Tuesday onward throughout the rest of the week.

Orientation Day Schedule

  • Introduction meeting, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
  • Peruvian Do’s and Don’ts, Peruvian Culture Lessons and Spanish Language Lessons.
  • Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary.
  • Lunch
  • Small hike to ‘white crosses hill’ where you can have Thermal Baths in Banos (Optional) and a massage session (Optional) .

Daily Schedule

Monday – Friday

  • Breakfast
  • Eco Building Volunteer programme 2-3 hours
  • Lunch
  • Eco Building Volunteer programme 2-3 hours
  • Dinner

Please note: This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

During the summer and winter holidays, there are no classes in Shaullio. Volunteers will instead supervise the children at the Banos Library where children create arts & crafts, play sports and engage in cultural activities.

Evenings and Weekends

Your evenings and weekends are yours to spend as you wish. Many volunteers will hang out at the volunteer accommodation with other volunteers, and travel further afield with their new-found friends at the weekends.

Transportation

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

Lambayeque (Chiclayo)
Huanchaco
Chiclayo

Places to Visit

Chiclayo

You can easily reach Chiclayo, Peru’s fourth biggest city, by public transport which is cheap and frequent. Chiclayo offers shopping centres, 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.

Huanchaco

Only 12 km outside Trujillo. Once a quiet fishing hamlet, the town is now one of the best places for surfing.

Trujillo

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 the 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.

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.

Kuntur Wasi

The ruins of a religious structure in Peru’s northern highlands only 2 hours from our accommodation.

Cajabamba, Huamachuco

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 archaeological 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. If you’re here during this time, don’t miss out!

Leymebamba and La congona

Six hrs driving up north, are these beautiful tiny villages. Leymebamba is quiet, but with an exciting museum with over 200 mummies! La Congona can be reached on foot by hiking uphill from Leymebamba.

Chachapoyas

Also known as the Warrior of the Clouds, the Chachapoyas were a pre-Incan civilisation that lived in the cloud forests of present-day Peru. Chachapoyas contains intriguing archaeological sites to explore, however, the drive is 12 hours away from our centre, 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!

Gocta

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 home base to have an adventurous weekend!

Trip Accommodation

You will be staying in the district of Puyllucana which is a small village found in the east-northern part of Cajamarca. It is a beautiful part of the country, with great weather – and friendly locals too!

Located only a short distance away from Cajamarca city, this quiet location provides a relaxing atmosphere after a day out. Further, your accommodation has a beautiful view of the Andes Mountain Range and is close to the Amazon Rainforest!

About the Accommodation

The house where you will be staying is made with traditional materials such as adobe (mudbrick) and stone, and also has large gardens to enjoy. Wi-Fi will be available only in common areas, so we recommend also using 3G data if staying connected is important to you.

All volunteers 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, and to play your part to keep accommodation neat and organised.

Food Arrangements

The food will be typically Peruvian meaning lots of corn, beans, rice, chilli peppers, potatoes, wheat, and other grain, all very vegetarian friendly. Keep in mind that some local dishes may be spicy!

Facilities

Eateries

Although there are many restaurants around this small town, “Menu centres” – locals’ version of fast food, and are a cheaper popular local choice. Known as a “Menu”, here you are offered soup, entrees and a drink before digging into your main meal.

Shops

There are good facilities within walking distance, and you’ll find a selection of shops for all your basic shopping needs.

Transportation

The accommodation is about 1.3 Km from the main square of Baños del Inca, and about 20-30 minutes away from the Cajamarca city centre by public transportation.

“Moto-taxis” are also available for quick rides around town (up to 3 people round trip cost Banos del Inca 2 – 3 soles).

Internet use

There is Wi-Fi in communal areas at your accommodations, but there is also an internet cafe in the main township where you can access wifi from when you are not at the centre.

Money

There are numerous shops and ATMs in the centre of town.

Medical

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

Cooking Lessons

Daily: Evenings
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!

Farm Animals

Daily: Mornings and Evenings
Watch the local farmers near your accommodation, as they tend to their animals in daily rituals like shearing and milking.

Trip Country Info

Peru

Capital: Lima
Language: Spanish (Quechua, Aymara)
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone: PET (UTC -5)

Country Information
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.

Climate
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).

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Travel Insurance
Under 18, Parental Consent

Additional Requirements

Recommended Vaccinations
Sturdy Boots/Shoes
Work Gloves

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Departures/ drop offs
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa