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Everything you need to know about international volunteering in Oxapampa, Peru

Article by Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Posted: May 31, 2021

If you’re planning on taking part in international volunteering in Peru, then Oxapampa is the perfect place to settle in. Here’s why.

Situated on the slopes of the Andes mountain range, Oxapampa’s upper border runs along tall mountainous peaks, and its lower border dips into the Amazon Basin. 

So, by just stepping foot into Oxapampa, Peru, international volunteers will be taking their senses on a trip of their own. 

International volunteer programs set among this scenery bring together the best that nature has to offer with meaningful sustainable development work. 

Here’s a look at what you need to know about Oxapampa, Peru and why it offers some of the best volunteer opportunities in Peru. 

Where is Oxapampa located in Peru?

Oxapampa, Peru


International volunteers can travel to Oxapampa by flying to Lima airport and then travelling by bus to the town itself. You’ll travel inland from the coast into the heart of the rainforest to reach our base in this mountain-top town. 

It takes around eight hours to drive from Peru’s capital city, Lima, to the off-the-beaten-track town of Oxapampa. This area is home to some of Peru’s most well-known and obscure plants, animals and sightseeing attractions.

You’ll get to volunteer in Oxapampa, Peru in the heart of the country alongside a conservation hotspot known as Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park. 

Interestingly enough, even though Oxapampa is a more secluded town, it’s also a tourist hub. 

This may be due to the town being host to one of Peru’s biggest cultural festivals, or the coming together of natural environments that can’t be experienced in many other places in the world. 

What’s the weather like in Oxapampa, Peru?

Oxampapa’s climate is classified as tropical savannah, which means that it has wet and dry seasons but receives less rainfall than tropical monsoon climates.

Temperatures in the town range from lows of around 13 degrees celsius in the winter months to highs of around 28 degrees celsius in the summer months. 

Summer sets in from December and lasts until March, while winter stretches over June, July and August. The rainy season takes place from October to April.

If you’re wondering, “When is the best time to volunteer in Peru in Oxapampa?” May to early October is a good choice because the weather is not too warm and the rainy season hasn’t yet set in. 

On the other hand, Oxapampa has little fluctuation in the length of its days – meaning you can see lots of Peru in summer or winter – and even in the hottest months, the humidity helps to keep things cool. 

So, no matter when you decide to volunteer in Peru in Oxapampa, you’ll get to make the most of your time abroad. 

Why volunteer in Peru in Oxapampa?

Oxapampa’s location makes it one of the best places to experience Peru’s environments, culture and opportunities to make an impact as an international volunteer. 

1) Environment

Original image: Oxapampa, Peru by Heiner Amado Cadillo is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

In Oxapampa, Peru, you’ll see tons of different terrains colliding. Besides being surrounded by the Amazon rainforest, Oxapampa is also where cloud forests spread across the lofty mountain peaks. 

You can watch wisps of white clouds tumbling across rooftops as you gaze across the sleepy town in the early morning. 

Or, pull your eyes away from this lofty lookout and take in the rainforest foliage rambling out in every direction across the town of Oxapampa. 

Now, let your ears join in the fun and listen for the sounds echoing out of these different terrains. 

Hear the bark or cackle of a capybara breaking through the morning fog, or listen for longer and try to pick up the purring of a jaguar or puma on a quiet, sunny afternoon. 

While volunteering in Peru in Oxapampa you’ll also have plenty of opportunity to see all the wildlife that punctuates the scenery with their sounds. 


Spot the three-toed sloth when you volunteer abroad in Oxapampa, peru

Original image: Three-toed sloth in tree by Roy Luck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Your work will take you into the cloud forests and secluded rainforest terrain where you can feast your eyes on the biodiversity of animals found in Oxapampa, which includes:

  • Andean foxes
  • armadillos
  • brown woolly monkeys
  • capybaras
  • ocelots
  • pumas
  • jaguars
  • jaguarandis
  • spectacled bears
  • three-toed sloths.

This array of animals can be found among some of the world’s most biodiverse plant kingdoms. And Oxapampa is known to have some of the last undisturbed jungles in central Peru. 

So, it’s no wonder that the protected area in the Oxapampa province, known as the Oxapampa-Ashaninka-Yanesha Biosphere Reserve, is recognised as essential by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). 

This means that as an international volunteer in Oxapampa, you’ll get to make an impact in some of Peru’s most important ecosystems. 

2) Cultural immersion

Volunteer internationally in Oxapampa Peru

Original image: Oxapampa 2010 by Lorena Flores Agüero is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The best international volunteer opportunities in Peru offer a chance to be immersed in meaningful work as well as the culture of the country. 

As an international volunteer in Oxapampa, you’ll have the best of both worlds.

From eating local food on a daily basis and getting involved in the day-to-day activities of Oxapampans, to learning to speak a new language and seeing how local people interact with the environment; your time spent as an international volunteer in Peru will give you a much deeper insight into the country than you’d get as a regular tourist. 

And, even though this town is tucked away in dense terrains, you’ll still have the chance to experience one of Peru’s biggest cultural celebrations in Oxapampa.

Selvamonos is a music and cultural festival that brings together Western and traditional Peruvian dancing and singing. 

The festivities start off with a week of cultural activities including art displays, concerts, opera segments and outdoor theatrical performances. These activities set the scene – and the spirit – for the two-day Selvamonos festival. 

The festival takes place across a four-hectare stretch of Oxapampa’s rolling landscape. 

3) Opportunities to make an impact

Make an impact in Oxapampa, Peru with GVI


Our international volunteer programs in Oxapampa make it easy to live in rainforest terrain while contributing towards conservation in a meaningful way. 

The natural areas surrounding the town include the protected Peruvian Amazon rainforest and cloud forests, both of which are bursting with different native species of plants and animals.

Climate change and human activity have a significant negative impact on rainforests and cloud forests, and safeguarding these environments is key in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 15: Life on Land. 

You can make an impact as an international volunteer on our Amazon Rainforest Conservation Expedition in Peru. This international volunteer program will have you contributing to biodiversity surveys, camera-trapping activities, and data collection work in both the Amazon rainforest and Oxapampa’s cloud forests.

You could even focus in on your professional development by choosing our Amazon Rainforest Conservation Internship in Peru. This international volunteering program will allow you to add to wildlife conservation on the ground while gaining leadership skills and experience that’ll add to your employability.

So, international volunteering in Peru means that you can be part of work that adds to global conservation goals in a big way. 

It also means that you’ll get to see some of the world’s most-endangered ecosystems with your own eyes.

With this insight, you can travel back home and become an advocate for the conservation of Peru’s natural environments, as well as the well-being of global ecosystems. 

Browse our international volunteering opportunities in wildlife conservation in Peru and see how you can have a travel and volunteer experience to remember for a lifetime.

By Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is a travel writer living in South Africa. She has experience in public health nutrition and worked as a dietician before launching her writing career. She loves bringing her passion for public health and sustainable development to every article she writes. Her travels around South Africa as well as to India, Australia, and Saudi Arabia have fueled her passion for exploration.
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