When I lived in Peru, I worked in a hostel to finance my travels. I spent time organizing events, making friends with local staff and eating ceviche (Peruvian seafood dish).
For three months, I woke up to a white sand beach and blazing sunshine in the desert town of Máncora.
It’s no surprise travelers from all over the world flock to Peru! From the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the lush rainforest of the Amazon, Peru is one of the most exciting countries to visit as a tourist.
But maybe you want to be more than a tourist, just like I did.
Perhaps you want to meet some locals and improve your Spanish. Maybe you want to spend several months traveling the country but don’t have the funds to do so.
Whatever your predicament, Peru offers a wide range of opportunities to stay and experience the diverse country for as long as you wish… without breaking the bank. There are plenty of opportunities for foreigners to work in Peru!
One friend of mine spent time teaching English and hiking in mountainous Huaraz. Another worked as a tour guide in Cusco. No two experiences are the same!
What to know before working in Peru
You may struggle to find traditional paid job opportunities in Peru. The country has a fairly high unemployment rate, so precedence is (understandably) given to locals. It has also become increasingly difficult for foreigners to obtain working and living permits.
But if you’r in it for the experience and culture over the cash, then no fear. There are plenty of amazing opportunities all over the country.
You’ll have a leg up on fellow foreigners looking for jobs if you become conversational in Spanish.
Try FluentU free for 15 days to study Spanish by watching fun videos, like TV shows, music videos and game shows. Learning through authentic videos also teaches you about the culture, so you can impress potential employers with your knowledge!
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From Teaching to Banking: 5 Jobs If You Want to Work in Peru
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1. Teach English
Why teach English in Peru?
Teaching is one of the few jobs that’s easy to come by for English-speaking visitors to Peru. And you can actually earn a decent wage teaching!
Throw yourself into local culture with the teachers and students. Experiencing and contributing to the local community is a great way to explore the country!
Where can I teach English?
There’s a demand for native English teachers in schools all over Peru. They usually require you to have a degree and to be a native English speaker.
You may find some advertised positions on websites such as Living in Peru. However, people tend to have more luck handing out resumes once in the country, finding jobs through word of mouth or networking through the forums on sites like Expat Peru.
It’s helpful to have a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. Although not strictly necessary to land yourself a job in Peru, many schools will only accept candidates with this qualification.
Earning a TEFL certificate won’t do you any harm, and it could help those with little to no teaching experience stand out on resumes. Some courses even help you find a job at the end.
Check out a TEFL jobs board for new openings. There are also opportunities to get the TEFL qualification while in Peru.
You could also try advertising your tutoring services in private schools and universities.
You’ll find most opportunities for private lessons in the capital, Lima, where pay is higher. But you could try in other big cities, especially if you live near a college.
Try posting on Expat Peru’s job boards.
Why volunteer in Peru?
Maybe you’ve already researched opportunities to volunteer in South America. If so, you’ve probably noticed that Peru offers plenty of options!
Volunteering is a great opportunity to help a local community while also exploring a new country.
Volunteering is usually a good chance to interact with locals. That makes this option perfect for practicing your conversational Spanish!
Finally, many volunteer placements provide food and board in exchange for your help. If you have limitations on money but not on time, you should consider volunteering to elongate your stay.
Where can I volunteer in Peru?
There are volunteer opportunities all over Peru.
When it comes to finding a volunteer placement, you have a couple options. First, you can go through a volunteer company. Second, you can arrange something yourself through a platform like Workaway.
Volunteering in Peru through a company has its benefits.
If you’re nervous about going abroad alone, you know the program will be safe and secure. You’re likely to be in a group, so it’ll be easier to make friends.
On the flip side, many companies charge volunteers fees to work with them. They can sometimes be misleading about where that money goes, so always do your research!
Project Amazonas is a great example of a reliable volunteer company. It accepts volunteers who want to develop healthcare and education for the people of the Amazon rainforest.
The Santa Martha Foundation provides education and stability to disadvantaged children in Lima.
To browse other projects, check out job boards such as GoAbroad and Volunteer South America.
Workaway is a wonderful resource when it comes to finding volunteer positions abroad.
You pay a small fee to make an account on the website, but then you can access hundreds of listings from people seeking volunteers. Opportunities range from working in dog shelters, to teaching in schools, to building eco-hostels. Most positions offer food and accommodation in exchange for a certain number of work hours per week.
The down side is that the quality of listings isn’t consistent. Some people are misleading about the hours you’ll work or their expectations. Stick to listings with multiple reviews from past volunteers.
3. Work in a hostel
Why work in a hostel in Peru?
Hostel work is ideal for travelers with limited funds to extend their stay in the country. Although work is usually unpaid, most places offer room and board in exchange for some reception, bar or cleaning work each week.
If you’re good with a paint brush, many hostels look for people who can help update their decor by painting signs or murals.
Where can I work in a hostel in Peru?
There are backpacker hostels all over the country. If you have a flexible schedule and no time limitations, you can ask at hostels along the way and stick with any that need volunteers.
The Wild Rover and Loki Hostels chains are always taking volunteers. Loki asks for a minimum of two weeks bar work and has hostels in Lima, Cusco and Máncora.
If you prefer to have things organized in advance, many hostels advertise through Workaway. Or you can try emailing hostels directly to ask if they take volunteers or workers.
4. Work in tourism
Why work in tourism in Peru?
Tourism in Peru has more than tripled since the year 2000. It’s one of the few sectors that has significant paid opportunities for foreigners. Especially English speakers.
You might find work as a tour guide or events manager. You could run outdoor activities or work in hospitality.
Where can I work in tourism in Peru?
Because Peru is such a big tourist destination, it’s possible to find work all over the country. However, many of the opportunities are clustered around the Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley areas.
Hotels frequently need English speakers, and large tour companies such as G-Adventures often have openings. You can also find various eco-tourism projects around the Amazon rainforest.
5. Work for a multinational company
Why work for a multinational company in Peru?
It’s difficult to find work with Peruvian companies, so foreigners may be able to get a job in one of the many international companies that have branches in Lima.
Some people organize transfers from their preexisting jobs in their home country. Or you can try applying directly to companies’ offices in Peru.
Working for a multinational organization is a good option for those who want to keep developing their current careers. You could also get paid international rates, which can go a lot further in Peru.
Where can I work for a multinational company in Peru?
Most companies with international branches are based in Lima. Banking, finance and technology are sectors where you’ll find the most job opportunities.
Check out companies with offices in Lima, such as Deloitte and Hewlett Packard. Or try browsing vacancies at Jobs in Lima.
Moving abroad can be scary and difficult, especially if you’re going away alone for the first time. But it’s also one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make.
Peru has so much for you to discover. What better way to explore than to live and work there?
Hanna Greeman is a language lover and global traveler. After graduating in Spanish and Italian from the University of Bristol, she has lived in Colombia, Peru, Italy, Australia and Thailand, and traveled across four continents. When not working as a freelance writer, catch her salsa dancing, reading or seeing live music.
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