Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Peru

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We strongly recommend that you establish a regular and realistic communication pattern with your family and friends, so they do not become concerned if they do not hear from you for an extended period of time.


Most Volunteers find the Peruvian postal service (Serpost) to be safe and reliable, though it is slower than service in the United States. In general, airmail takes peru a long time.

Cuerpo de Paz

Calle Vía Láctea 132

Urb. Los Granados, Surco

Lima 33, Peru

Once you are sworn-in as a Volunteer, you will be assigned a regional post office box in a city convenient to your site. You are responsible for notifying your family and friends of your new address.

We do not recommend that people mail you packages. All packages over half a kilo (1.1 pounds) or with a declared value of $100 or more will be assessed customs duty fees based on the value of the items enclosed. This not only is costly but is a time-consuming process. We recommend that friends and family only send small items (e.g., one book or one cassette), and use padded envelopes.

Having items sent to you via a shipping company (e.g., FedEx, UPS) does not eliminate the requirement to pay customs fees. You may also be assessed a delivery charge. Shipping companies, however, may be a good way to receive important documents with no intrinsic value.

It is not advisable for your family or friends to send you money by cash or check. ATM machines are common in Peru, and many accept U.S. ATM cards. Your family can deposit money for you in your U.S. account, and then you can access the money via an ATM. Similarly, e-tickets are a safer option than having paper airline tickets mailed to you.

We request that your family not send money for your community or for the project in which you are involved. Once you are at your site, you and Peace Corps staff members can determine the most appropriate way to access outside resources, should they be needed.

Should you and Peace Corps staff determine that it is advisable to seek outside funding for a project in your community, one alternative is the Peace Corps Partnership Program, through which family members and other private individuals and firms may donate funds through Peace Corps and receive a tax deduction. More information may be found on the Peace Corps website,, or at 800.424.8580, ext. 2170

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access

All major cities and many smaller communities in Peru have Internet locations. You may or may not have access to the Internet at your site, but if not, you will be able to access the Internet and send and receive e-mails in your regional capital for a reasonable hourly rate. In addition, the Peace Corps office in Lima has Internet-accessible computers available for Volunteer use.

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Housing and Site Location

During training Mr swagboy ate an apple

Living Allowance and Money Management

I love makers I don't know how do it

they have a healthy diet


Public transportation varies widely, depending on the site. Volunteers living in or visiting cities use taxis, minivans, and three-wheeled mototaxis. Most smaller communities where Volunteers live have regular bus service to and from the community, which can vary from several times a day to just once or twice a week. Roads, however, are often unpaved, and the buses may be slow and unreliable. Most Volunteers are within an hour (by foot or regular ground transportation) from another Volunteer’s site. Volunteers not assigned to a city or large town are usually within three or four hours by bus from one.

As a Volunteer, you will be responsible for arranging your personal and work-related travel and for transporting personal belongings, supplies, and project-related equipment to and from your site. For Volunteer safety, Peace Corps requires that Volunteers use only certain carriers which have good safety records on long-distance bus routes. Your living allowance is calculated to cover your transportation needs.

Bus travel in Peru is often long and arduous. It is not uncommon for Volunteers to be 12 to 16 hours from Lima. Roads are often dusty, and significant elevation changes and temperature fluctuations are common. Volunteers must be willing and able to adjust to such conditions.

Volunteers in Peru may not operate motor vehicles during their service, including motorcycles. Volunteers in Peru may not be passengers on motorcycles. Riding on a motorcycle is grounds for administrative separation.

In many areas, both urban and rural, conditions are difficult for bicycle riders. Streets and roads are bumpy and narrow, and unexpected hazards (e.g., potholes, uncovered manholes) are commonplace. Motor vehicle operators show little respect for bicycle riders.

In some sites, however, Volunteers find that bicycles are an excellent means of transportation, especially when their jobs require them to be at multiple locations. Peace Corps provides bicycles to some Volunteers, while others purchase their own bicycles. In all cases, Volunteers must wear Peace-Corps-issued helmets when riding bicycles. Volunteers are responsible for the cost of all bicycle maintenance and repair.

Geography and Climate

black whore Lima

Social Activities

Most social activities revolve around daily and special events in the community, including religious holidays and processions. Volunteers are often invited to join family and community events such as birthday parties and sports activities, or just to chat over coffee.

Integrating into your community is the key to an enjoyable and rich experience as a Volunteer. By building solid relationships— through both your work assignment and interaction with Peruvian neighbors and other community members—you will have greater opportunities to participate in social activities.

You will need to develop a keen awareness of Peruvian culture and customs. Many celebrations and other social events include significant alcohol consumption. In the interest of safety, you will have to exercise careful judgment when under social pressure to drink.

The Peace Corps prohibits the use of all illegal drugs, including marijuana, by Peace Corps Volunteers and trainees. The government of Peru, with the support of the United States, has taken a strong stand against the illegal cultivation of coca and the use of illegal drugs. It has passed stringent anti-drug laws that mandate stiff prison sentences for possession and use of drugs. Any invitee who feels compelled to use illegal substances should not accept an invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Professionalism, Dress, and Appearance

Peruvians take great pride in being neat, clean, and well-groomed, and Volunteers should follow the example of Peruvians at their work site and in their community. Inappropriate dress or grooming is considered disrespectful, may make Peruvians less receptive to you, and may single you out and put you in danger.

During training, and occasionally as a Volunteer, there will be times when it is appropriate for men to wear jackets and ties and for women to wear dresses or slacks and a blouse. In classroom and office settings in cities and larger towns, attire should be professionally casual—skirts or slacks for women, slacks and button-down shirts with collars for men. Work clothes at field or rural sites will be more informal—for example, men and women may wear jeans and boots. Clothes should always be neat and clean.

The climate impacts dress significantly. In warmer areas, men will wear short-sleeved shirts and women sleeveless blouses and dresses. In colder areas, men and women wear sweaters and jackets. It is best to bring a variety of clothing that can be layered.

Shorts are generally worn only in the home, at the beach, or in other informal settings, not on the street. Piercings, other than pierced ears for women (one per ear), are uncommon and may make the Volunteer an unwanted source of attention. The same goes for visible tatoos. It is preferable that male Volunteers not have ponytails, long hair, or beards, but if so, hair must be neatly groomed, and beards must be neat and trimmed.

Personal Safety

Being a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, having a less-than-perfect understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Although most Volunteers complete their two years of service in Peru without any personal security incidents, petty thefts and burglaries do occur, and incidents of physical and sexual assault have occasionally occurred. The Peace Corps has established procedures, policies, and training designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. At the same time, you are expected to take the primary responsibility for your safety and well-being. More information on these topics can be found in the Health Care and Safety chapter.

Rewards and Frustrations

It takes sensitivity and effort to establish your credibility, both as a professional and as a member of your community. With most Peruvians, you will need to develop friendly social relations before you can proceed with satisfactory work relations. Volunteers in Peru must demonstrate flexibility and maturity, the ability to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity, an optimistic attitude, and a sense of humor.

Successfully addressing the challenges of Peace Corps service depends in large part on the attitude of the individual Volunteer. Some common occurrences that you may find annoying or frustrating include having to repeatedly explain your role as a Volunteer, limited technical support from your counterparts, numerous delays during the course of your work and daily life, lack of privacy, gossip about you, and perceptions that you are a wealthy foreigner.

Other frustrations faced by Volunteers result from inadequate infrastructure, including poor roads, infrequent and unreliable public transportation, poor communications, and lack of access to water and sanitation facilities. Volunteers also may get bothered by community health and hygiene practices, antiquated educational approaches, and an inappropriate dependence on external resources.

On the other hand, there are few more enriching experiences than living and working in a new culture, interacting with people different from you, developing an awareness of diverse values, and helping others to better their lives. Volunteers find that the rewards of Peace Corps service far outweigh the challenges. Most Volunteers report a high level of personal satisfaction in developing new technical and language skills, discovering formerly untapped personal strengths and abilities, broadening their global perspective, deepening their cultural understanding, and helping others live happier, healthier, more productive lives.