Join Quest’s longest running project in the shanty towns of Lima for 4 weeks in July, helping to build essential housing for families in the greatest need, as well as working with the youth groups in the district.
Followed by an optional 2 week mini expedition through the Andes.

Why Peru and the Villa Maria Project?

Quest has been working in the shantytown of Villa Maria on the outskirts of Lima since 1997. What started out as a simple programme of games and activities over the Peruvian summer holidays (Jan-Mar) has now grown into a year round project, with schools, house construction and community outreach all being supported by our teams and local project staff.

With a population of over 750,000, Villa Maria is a textbook example of rural urban migration. Communities from all over Peru have settled here, often without any support from the government, building their homes with anything they could get their hands on. With parents often both working long hours throughout the week, children are left to fend for themselves, and there is a great risk of the children falling into bad habits such as drugs, gangs and crime. Our aim here is simple, to help give the younger kids a better start in life, with better education, support out of school and improved housing.

Your role

July and August is the coldest time of year in Lima and is a particularly challenging time for those in makeshift housing. Cardboard and plywood homes are simply not enough to fend off the cold and damp in these months, and many children end up suffering from serious respiratory infections, with a small number simply not making it through the winter. Our aim is to build as many houses for the families in greatest need during this month. The constructions are simple wooden designs but are a huge improvement on the quality of shelter they had before. One house can be completed in just a matter of a few days and can transform a family’s life.

Alongside this work, your team will also be involved with the ongoing outreach work in the community, organising sports, games and perfoming in stage shows to help engage the children in positive activities. It’s an intense month of hammering, sawing and dressing up as goofy (!), but one which will leave a permanent mark on you and those you will work with.

Optional expedition

Following the month in Lima, team members have the option to join our two week mini expedition through the Andes. Mountain biking, kayaking, white water rafting and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu make for an unforgettable finale to a great summer.

Apply for this Expedition »

Time Location Activities
Weeks 1-4 Villa Maria in Lima, Peru Living in the heart of the community, organising a programme of games and activities for children from 5-13 years old. Also helping to construct houses for families in need.
Week 5 (optional) La Paz and Lake Titicaca Adventure in the heart of the Andes. Mountain biking, ice climbing and kayaking across Lake Titicaca.
Week 6 (optional) Cuzco and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu White water rafting down the Urubamba, followed by the iconic trek to Machu Picchu.
Dates and Costs


Team Name Start date End Date Quest Overseas Payment Quest4Change Contribution
Peru Summer 2022 (no exped) 13th July 2022 11th August 2022 £1,060 £850
Peru Summer 2022 (inc. mini-exped) 13th July 2022 25th August 2019 £2,210 £850


The dates below are the dates each expedition begins and ends in country. Do bear in mind you may need to begin your travels from home the day before the start date (and may arrive home the day after the end). We will give support and advice on recommended flights once your place is confirmed on the team.

What’s included

All food and accommodation
Activities throughout (and any specific technical equipment needed)
Transport in a combination of public and private transport

Project Contribution

You will see that there are two payments to make, one to Quest Overseas and one to our charity, Quest4Change. The payment to Quest Overseas covers all your costs on the ground – meals, accommodation, activities etc. The project contribution is kept separate to your trip payment because every penny of this goes directly to supporting the project you will be working on. This not only ensures we have the materials needed to get the work done, but also makes sure that the project can continue after the team moves on. For more information on this, please check our Costs Explained page.

Not included

International flights
Personal travel insurance
Personal equipment
Personal expenses (nights out, souvenirs, internet, laundry etc.)

Early Application Discount

For all places confirmed on a team 12 months before departure, we will give a 15% discount on your payment to Quest Overseas. Places confirmed 6 months before departure receive a 10% discount. Contact the office for more details.

Who is this trip for?

Team members who join our gap year teams are typically recent school leavers on a break before university, or taking a break during their higher education. We do accept applications from all ages, however the typical age is between 17-23. Applicants come from across the world, but are predominantly from the UK and USA.

On the project you will be working with children between 5-13 years old on the whole, so the more experience you have had working with this age group the better. We're always looking for new ideas of activities and things to do, so come armed with as many tricks up your sleeve as you can.

It is also important to have at least some grounding in Spanish to take part in this project. Whilst we have bilingual project staff to support you in country, you will be working with the kids on a daily basis and both you and they will get a lot more from the experience with a bit of language training.

The expedition route is a combination of trekking and time in cities. Whilst you don't need extensive wilderness skills to take part in these treks (again, our expedition staff are there to support you), it is important that team members are in good physical shape.