Maximo Nivel > Volunteer Abroad > Indigenous Communities

Volunteer with Indigenous Communities

A unique, authentic, cultural immersion experience living and working in an indigenous community in the Andes Mountains, overlooking the breathtaking beauty of Peru’s Sacred Valley, and in a typical Mayan Kakchikel-speaking family in a rural Guatemalan farming community, outside Antigua.

The Andean culture runs deep in and around the city of Cusco, Peru. Maximo Nivel’s Andean Immersion program gives you the opportunity to experience first-hand an ancient, traditional way of life. Volunteers are placed in a Quechua-speaking community and participate in daily life within the village. This project helps promotes cross cultural understanding and exchange—it’s an amazing opportunity to expand your cultural horizons!

Our Mayan Cultural Immersion gives volunteers a chance to experience the culture of a typical Mayan Kakchikel-speaking family in a rural Guatemalan farming community. The village is about 30 minutes from Antigua by bus and is most well-known for their exquisite woven handicrafts. Volunteers will work side by side with the families working in the fields, learning how to cook traditional Guatemalan dishes from scratch, doing chores, and making textiles and other crafts from a type of reed that grows in a nearby lake. You will also have the opportunity to learn Kakchikel, which is the main Mayan language in the region.

What will you do as an Indigenous Community volunteer?

Volunteers live in a small mountain pueblo approximately 45 minutes from the city of Cusco. With a total population of no more than 100 families, this rural village offers complete immersion into the rural Andean way of life. You work and live with an indigenous family—caring for animals and livestock, helping with agricultural work, weaving, assisting with local construction projects, and working with children at the local school. Note that work varies based on seasonal needs and weather conditions.

It’s important to note that the Andean culture includes some division of labor by gender, so your assigned tasks may vary accordingly.

Countries Peru, Guatemala
Program Duration Minimum 1 week
Work Schedule 4-6 hours/day Monday-Friday
Volunteer Requirements – At least 17 years of age
– Flexible; Willing to do various tasks based on season and project needs
– Be healthy and physically prepared to do manual labor for most of your volunteer time.
– Hard working, ready to do anything!
– Spanish language skills are not required
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What our Indigenous Community Volunteers are saying…

“Two weeks out in a small farming community in the sacred valley near Cuzco, Peru was at times quite challenging but a great opportunity to be of service – making a real difference in the lives of the community for the long term – while at the same time being able to immerse myself in the language and culture of the locals. The host family and community were wonderful as were the staff at Maximo Nivel.”

“Three things went toward an amazing two week experience that was certainly too short. The support and hearts of all those at Maximo Nivel, the welcoming nature and constant humor of my host family and the countries beautiful landscape. Everything about my time there felt very pure. Volunteering in another country and on one’s own can sometimes feel daunting but both the Maximo team and my host family always made me feel like a part of their community. With them, there was always constant support. When it was time to choose a program I wanted to choose the one that would provide me with the most authentic Peruvian experience and I think the Andean Immersion Program is the perfect option for anyone who is looking for just that. Every morning in the Sacred Valley village known as Umasbamba, began with an early rise for family breakfast quickly followed by the daily chore of bringing the sheep to pasture. I did everything from cutting feed to weaving and even shoveling manure and I did each of them with one of the biggest smiles on my face. Yes, helping others is a sure way to make me happy but it was more than that. Waking up each day and feeling a part of the family was more than I could have asked for. Rafealla was truly my Peruvian mama, Zenobio my Peruvian papa and Ruby my playful little sister. The village is made up of hardworking, loving and peaceful people and it was difficult when the time came to leave. It was the perfect opportunity to decompress and make wonderful human connections.”
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