Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu Volunteer Trip

Volunteers on our Machu Picchu trip participate in a variety of projects which help preserve Machu Picchu Sanctuary, one of the world’s most astounding archaeological treasures. Guided by a local Peruvian guide and experienced American trip leaders, working under the supervision of local park rangers, volunteers learn about the Inca culture and its impact while helping to preserve it. Conservation Volunteers International Program is pleased to offer this unique and exciting opportunity. Volunteer project sites vary in altitude from 8,000 to 11,000 feet, making this challenging for some, though past volunteers included a wide range of ages and abilities. The rewards far surpass any challenge from working at this elevation!

Click on the expandable links below for details.

Help protect Peru’s famous Machu Picchu Sanctuary and environs. Each trip varies, depending on the current needs of local authorities. Past trips included:
  • helping the National Institute of Culture
  • helping archaeologists restore cultural sites
  • helping the National Service for Protected Natural Areas, by
    • removing moss and plants from walls, windows, niches at Incan ruins
    • removing encroaching invasive species
    • planting native trees in areas prone to slides
    • collecting seeds for replanting
    • repairing Incan trails
    • interviewing travelers about their experiences in order to improve visitor management
You must be able to hike with a day pack, move soil or rock with a shovel, pull unwanted vegetation, or carry stones.
Introduction: Listed below you will find a general description of activities you can expect on the trip. Please note, however, that every trip is unique. Because local conditions and the Park’s needs continually evolve, detailed plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives and the trip leaders review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. As volunteers successfully complete conservation and restoration activities, new activities or areas can be targeted on subsequent departures, which may result in a modified itinerary.

Just prior to each trip, volunteers will be given updated information that includes details about where their specific group will be based, and an outline of the activities which are planned. Although we do our very best to adhere to that schedule, the itinerary is also subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather. A detailed discussion of specific daily activities will take place on the trip.

Day 1: We begin in Cusco, the capital of the New World’s “Roman Empire.” We meet at our hotel in the early afternoon for orientation. The afternoon includes a guided tour of the cathedral, as well as free time to explore on your own, while acclimatizing to the 11,200 foot elevation.

In the evening we enjoy the fine dining of a traditional Peruvian dinner while enjoying the camaraderie of the volunteer group.

Day 2: After a morning tour of the Machu Picchu Museum and the Qorikancha, we board a private bus to Sacsayhuaman, a hilltop stone fortress overlooking Cusco. The largest of the stones used in the construction of Sacsayhuaman weighs over 360 tons and stands more than 20 feet tall.

Day 3: We depart for the Machu Picchu Sanctuary and Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes) via train. On the way, we visit Chinchero, a village where local weavers demonstrate their skills and textiles. We pass by ancient agricultural terraces and remote villages along the Urubamba River. Once in Machu Picchu Pueblo, we check into our hotel and enjoy lunch. During our initial visit, we receive an orientation and safety instruction.

Days 4-8: Each day starts with breakfast at the hotel, and then on to work. Projects vary, depending on the tasks assigned to us by Peru’s National Institute of Culture and the National Service for Protected Area Management. On one of these days, volunteers will enjoy a full-day guided tour of Machu Picchu, followed by time to discover the ruins at their own pace.

Day 9: In the morning, volunteers will board the train for Ollantaytambo. Dating back over 500 years, the Inca city is complete with its narrow alleys, street water canals and trapezoidal doorways. The nearby temples are considered by many to be the best preserved and finest examples of Inca stone craftsmanship after Machu Picchu. Upon our return to Cusco, we will enjoy a farewell celebration dinner together, toasting newfound friends and our accomplishments during the past week. All meals included.

Day 10: The Machu Picchu Volunteer Trip ends with breakfast. You may transfer to the Cusco airport for homeward-bound flights (via Lima), or opt to extend your stay in Peru.
$2,995 for ten days (Note: Your trip expense may be tax-deductible. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page and consult your tax advisor for details.) Price includes:
  • Leadership and support staff for volunteer activities
  • guide leadership on tours
  • all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 10
  • hotel accommodations
  • all bus and train transportation as noted on the itinerary
  • group tools
  • all orientation and training excursions as noted on the itinerary
  • park entrance fees
Price does not include:
  • International airfare to/from Cusco, Peru
  • lunch on Day 1
  • medical immunizations
  • insurance (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory and can usually be purchased for $25 through REI Adventures)
  • excess baggage charges
  • airport taxes
  • alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
  • gratuities or personal items

Machu Picchu Volunteer Dates

June 6 – 15, 2017 (trip full)
Nov 1-10, 2017

or call 1-800-622-2236

Machu Picchu Trip Reviews


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Machu Picchu Impact

Expand the Trip Reports link below to see the difference past volunteers made to Machu Picchu!


About Machu Picchu

In 1911, Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham paid a Peruvian guide to lead him to a nearby ruin. The guide took him up a precipitous slope, straight into the city of Machu Picchu. Conservation Volunteers International Program is the first volunteer organization ever allowed to work within the Sacred City.

One of the Seven New Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. Towering 1500 feet above the raging Urubamba River in Peru’s Andean highlands, the royal retreat and sacred center of Machu Picchu is spectacular by any measure. The Inca ruler Pachacuti began the site in mid-1400 and the site was still under construction when abandoned after the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire circa 1530. For nearly 400 years the jungle reclaimed this mountain citadel and Machu Picchu slowly disappeared.