Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

Peru: Reforestation & Cultural Exchange

Talara, Peru


Location: Talara, Peru

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 6 months

Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability

Cost: from $1180 USD for the first 2 weeks + from $423 for each week thereafter – see Costs tab for further details


  • Gain personal hands-on experience working with a growing Peruvian NGO.
  • Work alongside experienced & passionate professionals and local communities.
  • Live and work in a north Peru surfing hot-spot.
  • Reforestation work in an area badly in need of help.
  • Keywords: NGO management & administration, field research, sustainable development, community development, serious internship.
Costs Explained


During this internship, you will be working with a surfing-inspired sustainable development non-profit (NGO) driving the development of poor Peruvian coastal communities through a path of sustainability, improving the quality of life of their inhabitants. The NGO develops educational, infrastructure, environmental, social and economic productivity projects working hand in hand with local communities and with international volunteers/interns. They take a “shared value” approach, working with the private, public, academic sectors and other NGOs, to come up with relevant and lasting sustainable solutions. The approach towards sustainability consists of three pillars:

– Nature conservation;

– Social justice; and

– Economic wellbeing for all.

The NGO currently operates in a coastal northern town and surfing hotspot, which has seen an increase in uncontrolled tourism over the last 15 years. As a result of the town’s lack of infrastructure, lack of communication between stakeholders and lack of integrated development programmes, this tourism is giving rise to various environmental, social and economic risks to the town’s long-term sustainability and wellbeing. The NGO is working to change this through a variety of projects from distinct disciplines, but needs all the help they can get. The organisation runs many different initiatives and at times finds itself thinly stretched. This is an excellent opportunity for you to gain valuable international development experience on how to run an NGO in a developing region, turning you into an agent of change, in a time when you are very much needed.

Daily Life

The people of Lobitos remember that decades ago, their desertic landscape was once green. Without trees, and the shade they provide, the intense heat of Peru’s northern sun makes it difficult to enjoy public space. Our qualitative research, and the direct demands of the women and the elderly, has led us to acknowledge the importance of green, shady neighborhoods for community development and community building.

Greening is not easy in an arid land where lack of water is a main issue, and many public efforts to do so in the past have not been successful. This is why the “Green Lobitos” project, designed in early 2015 by our insightful intern Dave Smith, directly involves fishermen families, as well as public entities and private companies in a community initiative aiming to recover the peruvian dry forest sustainably through the application of permaculture principles.

By slowly building trust through sensitization at a household level, we have achieved the commitment of 32 leaders, mainly women, which have been empowered to raise environmental awareness in their neighborhoods by reforesting public space, utilizing in-house waste and water reuse methods. Together, they have planted and are consistently taking care of more than 70 seedlings, some of which have already grown into full-sized trees. During 2017, the number of families involved will scale up to 45, and the adopted trees will surpass 100.

We are looking for interns/volunteers to help out with the house-to-house visits, engaging new families, educating them on the reuse techniques, monitoring the project results and, of course, helping to plant new seedlings and protect them with reused material. An intermediate level of spanish would be preferable but is not a requirement, as there are many hands-on activities that also require support. Interns/volunteers will have the to chance to get involved in other projects/activities as well.

The project currently impacts the members of 32 families, raising their awareness on environmental issues and preparing them for climate change impact mitigation. It specially empowers women and children, as they are the ones who lead the greening efforts. The activities resulting from the project have reported as helpful for family self-esteem and in improving relationships between neighbors. In the long run, the trees will provide shade and protection from strong winds, increasing comfort inside their homes and in public spaces. The project is also complying with the calls to action of the United Nations Global Climate Change Agreement of 2016, which states that reforestation is one of only two main ways to fight climate change.

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accommodation

You will be met at the local airport in Talara and transferred directly to the project location.

Throughout your placement you will be living in comfortable accommodation at the NGO headquarters with access to an office workplace and resources, fully equipped kitchen, shared bathroom and shared bedrooms, access to clean water, electricity and Internet (99% of the time). The house also has a shared living room/chill-out space with a DVD-player.
All meals are included during your stay (excluding restaurant meals). Peruvian cuisine is considered as one of the best in the world and is also generally very healthy, incorporating lots of fruits and fresh produce.

Fundraising Help


  • Minimum age 18.
  • Minimum 2-week commitment.
  • Intermediate to fluent Spanish (proficiency is preferable but not required).
  • Experience working away from home.
  • Ability to be flexible.
  • Positive attitude (this one is critical!).
  • Willingness to learn and work as part of a team.
  • Genuine interest in sustainable development & NGO Management.
  • Relevant academic background.
  • Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment.
  • Travel & medical insurance.
  • Necessary vaccinations and visas.
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Accommodation with us is optional. You are also free to rent an apartment nearby if you do not wish to stay at our volunteer guesthouse. Enquire with us when applying.

Cost per week Total Project Fee
First 2 weeks $465 $1180
3 weeks $457 $1621
4 weeks $457 $2078
2 months $444 $3802
3 months $423 $5326

* Currency in USD
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** $250 admin fee included
**** 30% deposit required to confirm place.

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes food, accommodation, local transfers, 24-hour in-country support, orientation and integration into the project.

What’s not included:

Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate