Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn't answered below, please reach out to us at contact@skipperu.org.

What is Trujillo like? The weather, nightlife, etc.?

Trujillo is known as “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera,” or “The City of Eternal Spring,” because of its very sunny and pleasant weather year-round.

How much previous experience do I need to have in order to volunteer?

We are always looking for professionals with experience; however, our work is also enriched by those with enthusiasm and willingness to learn. For more information, refer to specific volunteer positions available.

How much Spanish do I need to know? Do you offer classes?

Depending on what projects you would like to be involved in, you may need anywhere from beginning/basic Spanish to an advanced level. You will be able to have individual Spanish lessons here in Trujillo with a local teacher for about 20 soles per hour.

There is also the possibility to arrange “intercambios” with local people who wish to learn English - they will help you learn Spanish in exchange for help with their English.

What is the minimum or maximum amount of time I can volunteer?

We ask that you stay a minimum of a month. For obvious reasons, the longer you can stay, the better for the project it is, because it gives continuity for the children and enables you to really get to know the people we are working with. We tend to find that those who come only for a month leave wishing that they had been able to stay longer. The organisation is also enriched by people who can take time to learn our working processes and develop strategies to improve them.

What do I do for food and other shopping?

There is a supermarket on the same street as the volunteer house and restaurants nearby where you can buy cooked food, including the local “menu” which is a two course meal and costs about $2.50.

The contribution fee will only include accommodation and bills such as electricity. Therefore, you will be responsible for all other costs incurred while you are here, such as food, travel and so on. These things are relatively inexpensive here, so as a minimum budget, we would suggest that you can survive on around 500 soles per month. You will need more money if you want to take trips to see tourist attractions and partake in other activities, for example surfing or nights out.

What is the dress code for SKIP?

SKIP will provide you with a vest to identify you within the community. Dress is very casual, whether you are teaching in the schools or working in the SKIP office. For example, t-shirts, light-weight trousers or jeans, hiking boots or sneakers, and a hat are worn by many volunteers due to the fact that you will be walking around in the sand in El Porvenir. Even going out in the evenings, people dress very casually. Women must note that tight-fitting clothing may add to unwanted attention, especially in El Porvenir.

What should I bring?

You should bring a copy of all your important documents (and these should be kept separate from any original documents). It is also advisable to email a copy of this information to yourself as well.

You will be able to buy most things you need here in Trujillo. It is advisable to bring sunscreen with you, as it is expensive here and mosquito repellent with a high concentration of Deet may be hard to find.

In terms of clothing, in the winter and spring, you will need a jacket for the evenings, as it does get cooler at night. We would advise referring to a guide book or the internet for more information on temperatures and climate at different times of the year.

Is it safe?

This is a somewhat difficult question to answer emphatically. Trujillo is like any other city, there are certain areas where you would be advised to take caution during the day and avoid after dark. You can ask volunteers who have been in Trujillo for a while to find out about the places to avoid.

There are thieves and from time to time, people are robbed. We advise using purses with a long strap that you can wear over your body, so someone cannot just grab it and run away with it. Don’t draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive jewellery, carry only the money that you need, and leave your cash card and ID documents in the house unless you need them. This is particularly important in El Porvenir as it is a poor area and can be more dangerous than where the volunteer house and home stay house are located.

It would be sensible to think about the clothing you wear. Huanchaco is a tourist town, so you do not really need to think about what you are wearing. However, in El Porvenir in particular, it is not appropriate to wear skirts, so we would advise wearing trousers or long shorts.

As an extra precaution, we would advise that people try to make sure at least one other person knows where they are going and what they are up to. In this way, if you do not return at the specified time, someone will be aware and we can try and get in touch with you, or raise an alarm if you are very late back and we don't know where you are. We would ask that people remember this system is in place and contact the house, or let someone know if you are going to be late back, as to avoid unnecessary panic.

It is a good idea to stick to licensed taxis, particularly if you are travelling on your own.

Do I need health insurance?

Travel and health insurance is required (pay particular attention to cover for medical expenses, theft, and for sporting activities of your policy choice) for your stay with SKIP. Check online for some options, or inquire at your local travel agencies for policy quotes. Before travelling, it is recommended that you consult your travel doctor for a medical check-up. Prescriptions are not needed for many medications in Peru, but it’s advisable to bring any essential medications or vitamins with you.

SKIP has partnered with Endsleigh Insurance (UK), as they travel insurance specifically for volunteers. This means, importantly, that your work at SKIP will also be covered by your insurance policy. SKIP will also receive a donation of 10% from each insurance policy sold – please follow the instructions in this link carefully so that we are able to claim the money back – thanks!!

Do I need a visa or immunisations?

For residents of most countries, you will be able to obtain a tourist visa for 6 months (183 days) when you get to the airport in Peru. However, it is best to check this information online to make sure that you get up to date information about requirements for passport holders from your country, and then follow guidance about how to apply if this is necessary. We are able to post written confirmation letters out to you if this proves necessary in obtaining the visa.

In terms of immunisations, you should seek medical advice from your travel doctor with regard to which they feel are necessary.

How do I get to Trujillo and then to SKIP?

If your flight arrives very late in the evening, book a hotel and spend the night in Lima. The easiest way is to book a hotel that offers an airport pick-up. Attempting to negotiate a reasonable price (45 soles) and negotiating the swarm of taxi drivers that will envelop you can be overwhelming after a long flight and change of time zones. We can offer some recommendations and/or refer to guide books.

Bus companies are next to one another on the same strip in Paseo de la Republica in El Cercado de Lima. To get to the bus companies from the Airport, take a taxi. If you have some time to pass before your bus leaves, hang out in Miraflores. Bus companies will let you store luggage with them, but the areas around the bus stations are not very safe. To Miraflores, by taxi from the bus lines, costs 15 Soles. Make sure to take a taxi from inside the bus stations. Some buses are quite comfortable with reclining seats to sleep and go directly to Trujillo. Most buses have very similar schedules for departures to Trujillo in the early morning beginning at 9 am until 1 pm. After this time, buses generally do not depart until the evening between 9 and 11 pm. We recommend taking a direct bus (bus directo) if you do not want to worry about your bags during the trip as much. Bus companies include: Linea, Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, Flores, Cial, and Turismo Dias. The bus ride to Trujillo from Lima takes approximately 8 hours and costs 45-90 soles (~$20-$40).

From the bus stations to SKIP, depending on what time your bus arrives, a member of the SKIP team can pick you up at the bus station, or you can get to the house on your own if preferred. Taxis should cost 3-5 soles, depending on what time you arrive.

Flying to Trujillo from Lima is another option; and the flight takes about an hour. If your international flight arrives early in the morning, you might connect with a domestic flight to Trujillo the same morning.

You can book your flight ticket online or buy it at the airport. There are three flights daily to Trujillo from Lima. There is also a departure tax payable for all domestic flights (check with the airport). Lan Peru is known for its delayed departures, so when you arrive at the airport, contact us if your arrival time changes. Costs are from $60 one-way and up. Check for current prices online or with travel agents.

Is there a phone at SKIP?

Phone calls can be made with a telephone cards from the house. Some volunteers also buy a Peruvian mobile while they are here for approx. 60 soles and up and can often get deals (e.g., 60 soles worth of credit with a mobile purchase). Of course, there are also the incredible benefits of Skype if you decide to bring a personal laptop during your stay in Trujillo. Incoming calls to cell phones and landlines are free to the receiver in Peru; you may have friends and family call the SKIP house.

Can my family and friends mail me packages?

Frequently, mail is delayed or may take a few weeks longer than systems in the US or EU. It is strongly advised to never send valuables through the postal service.

What do I do about money?

ATMs (cajeros) are available walking distance from the SKIP house and there are many Peruvian and international bank branches in the center (El Centro) of town. We do not recommend using travellers cheques as it does take a long time to change them at the bank.

Where will I live? Where do I work?

There are two accommodation options, and we are happy for you to stay in your preferred choice, so long as there is room. The main volunteer house is in a large, comfortable and secure house in Trujillo.

Close by, we are able to offer home stay options where you will live in the home of a local family. This housing option may be a preferred choice for those hoping to improve their Spanish skills (there is a bit of a tendency to defer to using English in the volunteer house).

In both these housing options, there is the possibility that you may need to share a room. If this is going to be a problem, we need to be informed prior to arrival, so we can make arrangements for a private room.

SKIP works in El Porvenir, the second largest impoverished district of Trujillo, Peru. We also work in Alto Trujillo, a large planned community above the city that continues to grow as poor families leave rural areas for the city.

Will I be able to travel?

Trujillo is located about a 36 hour bus journey from Cusco, so trips to Machu Picchu will not be possible in a weekend. That said, there are regular breaks during the year so that you are able to visit the sights in Peru. See our timeline for more information about our holidays, or feel free to ask the volunteer coordinators at volunteering@skipperu.org.

If you would like help booking trips in South America, we can recommend Fairtravel4u. The company has a great philosophy and offers a 5% discount to SKIP volunteers.