Volunteer Inca Archaeology and Community Development Overseas in Peru

Volunteer working on restoration of mural incas in Peru

Our Inca Project is a great choice if you are interested in archaeology and the history of the Inca civilisation, and don't mind getting your hands dirty! Whilst living the lifestyle of the local Peruvian people, you can gain hands-on experience in a range of archaeological and historically-related work and help with local community projects.

When the Spanish conquistadors discovered Peru in the 16th Century, the land had been ruled for roughly two centuries by the Inca people. During their rule the Incas gained control of an area about one million square kilometres in size, ranging from Colombia to central Chile. The vast Inca Empire had its administrative, political and military centre in the city of Cuzco.

The year 1533 saw an end to the Inca Empire when the Spanish captured Cuzco. Despite years of Spanish rule, Peru has managed to retain a rich Incan legacy which can be seen throughout the country; the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu and the Inca capital city of Cuzco are amongst the most fascinating Inca sites.

Archaeological Activities, Expeditions, and Community work in Peru with Projects Abroad

Inca Project in Peru

Projects Abroad work with several local organisations and archaeologists. The range and quality of the sites that our volunteers have worked on is impressive. They include Sacsayhuaman, Zurite, Ollantaytambo, the Historical Centre of Cuzco and some amazing new sites in the local cloud forest.

Since January 2007 we have been working near Huyro, at the site of some newly found ruins, discovered by the Director of Projects Abroad Peru, Tim DeWinter. Due to the site's proximity to Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba, we are sure that the site will become an important area for Inca historians.

Volunteering on the Inca Project in Peru with Projects Abroad

Inca Project volunteers are divided between our two bases in Huyro and Yucay, however, please note that Volunteers can only go to Yucay between the months of April and September. Huyro is in La Convencion province and is a 3 hour journey from our main office in the Sacred Valley. In contrast Yucay is a small town based in the Sacred Valley. The work in both areas is similar, focusing on archaeology, community work and agriculture.

Inca Project in Peru

Volunteers spend time working alongside Peruvian experts on archaeological activities. After hiking up to the ruins the work involves clearing and preserving ancient Inca walls and terracing systems in order to understand the Inca people more thoroughly.

Volunteers are also helping to map the ruins and there are opportunities to explore ruins that are well off the beaten track as well as remote communities. You may even discover some new ruins yourself. In Huyro you may find yourself clearing a section of the original Inca road whereas in Yucay you will spend time preserving the terraces.

Volunteer cleaning Inca terraces in Peru

Volunteers who work in Huyro live in a shared community house with other volunteers and the local Projects Abroad staff. We are aiming to become self-sufficient in the future at our volunteer house and all volunteers are expected to help out with activities like looking after crops, harvesting tomatoes, feeding the chickens and ducks, helping to maintain the out-buildings and taking turns with the washing up after dinner or lunch! In contrast the volunteers in Yucay live with a local host family, thus immersing themselves in the local way of life and getting the opportunity to practise Spanish on a daily basis.

Community meetings in Huyro have been held since August 2006 and have always been very well attended. They are promoted by Projects Abroad in order to discuss our work and the ways in which we can have a positive impact on the local community. The meetings have produced plenty of very useful information and, with the involvement of local leaders we have been given plenty of work for our volunteers to be involved in. In Yucay, the work is from April to September only, in coordination with the PDI Yucay.

During the rainy season, from roughly December to March, the outdoor archaeology related work can be disrupted due to the weather. We try and do as much archaeology related work as possible during this time and re-schedule work where practical.

We prefer that volunteers taking part in the Inca Project arrive in Cuzco anytime on a Saturday or on a Sunday morning.

All volunteers on Teaching, Care, Community, Medicine & Healthcare, Sports or Spanish placements in Peru now have the opportunity to add a 7-Day Peru Conservation Project to the end of their main placement. For more information please visit our 7-Day Peru Conservation Project page.