How To Choose The Best Volunteering Destination: Lima vs Cusco

When you volunteer abroad with MEDLIFE in Peru, you have the option between visiting Lima and Cusco. If you are unfamiliar with Peru as a whole and are having trouble deciding which city you should choose, here are some things to consider first.

1. Location and Culture

Lima, the capital city of Peru, offers a vibrant urban experience with a diverse population and modern amenities. It has a rich cultural scene, historical sites, and a bustling city life. On the other hand, Cusco is a smaller city located near the famous Machu Picchu. It is known for its rich Inca heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and a unique blend of indigenous and Spanish influences. Consider which atmosphere and cultural experience you prefer.

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2. Accessibility

Lima is the main international gateway to Peru, and it has a well-connected airport with flights from various parts of the world. If accessibility and transportation convenience are important to you, Lima might be a more suitable choice. Cusco, although it has its own airport, typically requires a connection through Lima or other major cities.

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3. Language Considerations

If you have a preference for learning or practicing Spanish, both Lima and Cusco offer opportunities to immerse yourself in the language. Lima being a larger city may have more English-speaking residents and businesses, while Cusco, being a popular tourist destination, might have more exposure to different languages.

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4. Budget

Consider your budget for volunteering. Accommodation, food, and travel fees can vary between Lima and Cusco. Lima may generally have a higher cost of living due to its capital city status, while Cusco, being more tourism-oriented, might have a range of affordable options.

lima cusco tourism

5. Personal Preferences

Think about your personal preferences and what you hope to gain from your SLT experience. Are you more drawn to urban environments, or do you prefer the charm of a smaller city surrounded by natural beauty? Consider your comfort level in different environments and the type of experience you are seeking.

It is important to note that while you are on your Service Learning Trip, a majority of your time will be spent in the field in our partner communities. The time you will be spending in the city is when you are off-duty and on your own personal time.

Ultimately, the choice between Lima and Cusco as a volunteering destination depends on your individual priorities and preferences. It may be helpful to read reviews from past volunteers as well as reach out to the MEDLIFE team to book an appointment and discuss your choice with them. You can also research the Service Learning Trip experience in Lima and Cusco on our website.


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.