“This trip was one of the most eye-opening and humbling experiences of my entire life. I’ve never learned so much in one week. If you are determined to partake in an ISL trip the only recommendation I have is to keep an open mind, and be ready to have your perception of the world changed.” –Thomas K., Truman State University
The narrow desert belt of Peru’s Pacific coastline stretches the length of the country and harbors fishing villages, beautiful beaches, agricultural lands, and Peru’s major towns and cities, including the capital of Lima. The amazing Andes Mountains separate the arid coastline from the lush Amazon Basin. The ecologically rich tropical rain forests of the Amazon encompass some of the world’s most remote and least explored areas. The Amazon Basin is also home to millions of indigenous highland people, who speak the ancient Inca language of Quechua and live in traditional villages with steeply terraced agricultural fields and wandering herds of llamas and alpacas.
Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru. With a population approaching 9.5 million, Lima is the fourth largest city in all of the Americas. ISL teams work in developing communities in and around the city after taking seminars on tropical disease, vital signs, physical exams, public health surveys, and medical Spanish.
Communities We Serve
Communities of Coastal Route Teams: Líma – Pisco/ Paracas
Lima San Juan de Lurigancho community
San Juan de Lurigancho community of the ‘Cono Este’ slums on the east side of Lima, Peru (it is Lima’s largest barrio). Our volunteers aim to give support health to the families who live in this sandy mountain; and slowly turn it into a community. There are no roads up the hill to the communities we serve; access is via a series of long stairways. There are schools at the bottom of the hill, but many children are too poor; abandoned or at risk to attend, these are the children we are coming to help educate and provide medical support. Every day; our volunteers accompanied by the Peru ISL team, travel an hour from the housing to the communities; crossing the long way traffic of Lima Centre, just to see and play with their little buddies of the community.
After spending time working usually 5 days in Lima, our ISL teams travel by private transportation or a tour bus to areas in the south of Lima following the coast line arriving to Pisco city; located in the Ica Region of Peru. Every day, volunteers travel by bus usually 30 minutes from the hotel to the shanty towns in Pisco city to provide medical attention and visit houses of those people whom were affected by the earthquake in August of 2008; these people were relocated to areas where the poverty persists and lack of education. Peruvian government relied on its relocation but gradually were abandoned over the time. Our volunteers feel so proud helping people that receive us with a big smile every time arrive this community.
Communities of Machu Picchu route: Líma – Cusco
After giving health care to local communities of Lima; our teams of ISL take an hour flight from Lima to Cusco City. Then, our teams usually travel by bus from Cusco City to communities of Ancahuasi, Mahuaypampa, or Paucartambo; rural areas of Cusco city, where we visit communities which habitants rarely receive health attention. These provinces are located in the Cusco Region in the southern highlands of Peru live mainly indigenous citizens of Quechua descent and Quechua is the language which the majority of the population speaks. Most of the time our teams need a local translator of quechua to help us during our clinic days and house visits. The thing that the volunteers most enjoy about the communities is the people, all little cute children and beautiful landscape.
Be aware that the altitude in Cusco is extremely high so it is important for our volunteer’s to understand the potential for altitude sickness. If you have asthma or any sort of respiratory issues, make sure to bring all necessary medication or equipment.
Communities of The Amazon route: Líma – Iquitos
Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the fifth-largest city of Peru. It is also the capital city of the Loreto Region and Maynas Province. Located in the Amazon Basin. After that our ISL teams finish their health work in Lima; they fly approximately one hour and a half from Lima to Iquitos with the purpose to visit houses and provide health care in tribes or villages; such as Yahuas tribe or Santo Thomas located across the Nanay and Momon river. The kind of transportation we commonly use are motorcycles or moto taxis; then we take a bote locally named “Pequepeque”; a small public motorized boat, used to cross Nanay river and reach at the village. Volunteers love this adventure in the jungle o Peru especially when they play with kids.
Volunteers arrive in Peru via the Lima, Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM), which is Peru’s main international and domestic airport. It is located 7 miles from the historic center of Lima. After volunteers pass through customs, they will be met by one of our ISL staff members holding an ISL sign. They are then transported in an ISL van or bus approximately 9 miles (or 40 minutes) to their first housing location. Volunteers generally travel between 40 to 50 min every day from housing to work site. After two or three days of work in Lima, volunteers travel from Lima to their next work site, whose location depends on the program they have chosen. The team moves to a third housing site for Recreation Day, either to the mountains or to the coast.
After working in Lima, ISL teams may choose one of three additional locations in Peru: the Amazon, the Inca Trail, or the Coastal Route.
Amazon Teams: Teams spend time in the Iquitos area, including a night or two in the jungle at a lodge/camp. Work includes time in a precario (slum), an outback field clinic, and with an indigenous tribe within the jungle itself. A truly amazing experience!
Coastal Teams: During the Peruvian summer (December to March), we work and play at Pisco and Paracas, two beautiful cities on the Pacific Ocean. At the end of the work days, volunteers enjoy some beach time.
Machu Picchu Teams: Teams spend time exploring Inca ruins, enjoying recreational opportunities in the Cusco city, and many visit Machu Picchu (the Machu Picchu tour is included in the program cost).
ISL has strict housing standards for cleanliness, safety and comfort. Each volunteer shares a room and shower facilities, but has their own bed. Housing locations are selected according to proximity to program sites. ISL staff members stay with volunteers and are always available 24/7.
- Internet is available at most housing locations. Volunteers are transported by their Team Leaders to an internet location periodically if internet is not available at their hotel.
- Laundry services are provided at least once a week for a small charge.
- If food or drug stores aren’t nearby, Team Leaders make sure volunteers are transported to shopping areas periodically or as needed.
- ISL provides breakfast each day, unless otherwise specified in the team itinerary.