Day 1 – Travel to Lima, Peru
Today you'll start your Peru adventure to make unforgettable memories with your group. Lima in the late evening. Upon arrival in Lima, your Tour Manager will welcome you and you'll start your journey.
Day 2 – Lima
You are off to explore the historical center of Lima where you will have the chance to walk in the main square and visit churches such as the breathtaking main cathedral (the Basílica Catedral de Lima) and the convent of San Francisco with its ancient burial sites in the catacombs below. You will also spend time exploring the area around your hotel. In the late afternoon you will return to your hotel to rest, have dinner, and attend your orientation meeting discussing the exciting days ahead.
Day 3 – Lima, Flight to Cusco
This morning, you will then travel to the airport and begin your journey to Cusco. Upon arrival, your bus driver will welcome you and take you to your lodging in Cusco. The lodge is run by an organization that works with several development programs and provides lodging and education to indigenous girls who migrate to Cusco to work, usually as maids. Here, you will learn about this organization and their local initiatives to help children of indigenous background improve their quality of life.
Upon arrival to your lodging, you will have a delicious lunch. During your first day in Cusco, you will spend most of your time acclimating to the high altitude, 12,467 feet above sea level. Activities will involve resting and getting to know the girls who live at the lodge.
This evening you will have a delicious dinner at the lodge, followed by a meeting with your Program Leader about the town and communities where you will live and work. In addition to your education-related activities, you will discuss topics such as the economic and social realities in the community.
Day 4 – Cusco, Host Community
After breakfast, you will enjoy a leisurely visit to a local market, the Plaza de Armas, and the main Cathedral before driving to your host community, located an hour from Cusco. This area is considered one of the poorest of Peru. Here, the economy is based on potatoes and grains, and daily struggles relate to lack of infrastructure, education, and nutrition. You will be staying in the town center in group lodging provided by the same Cusco organization. Surrounding the town are multiple rural communities where you will spend your days visiting schools and interacting with community members.
Upon arrival, you will have a brief tour of the town center and continue your orientation discussion about the community. After a traditional lunch in the communal dining area of the community, you will visit the Cultural House, a space where children gather for extracurricular activities while their parents are working. Here, children learn the basics of hygiene and nutrition, work on school assignments, and are provided nutritious food. Your group could organize some structured games during this time to, perhaps, teach some basic English words, phrases, or songs to the children.
Day 5 – Host community
This day will be spent visiting a school in a nearby community and interacting with the students and teachers.
Day 6 – Host community - Cusco
You will visit another local school and assist the local teachers. You will return with the school children to the lodge to share lunch. In the early afternoon you will spend more time with the local students and later depart for Cusco to spend the night in the lodge there and have dinner.
Day 7 – Cusco, Aguas Calientes
In the morning you will depart from Cusco and travel towards one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. First, you will visit Moray. This site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several enormous terraced circular depressions. Speculation about the site has led to discussion about Moray as an Incan agricultural experiment station to study of domestication, acclimatization, and hybridization of wild vegetable species that were modified or adapted for human consumption.
Then you will travel to Ollantaytambo where you will enjoy a brief walk around town and a visit to more Incan ruins. You will have an early traditional lunch before catching the train to Machu Picchu.
For a few hours aboard the train, you will enjoy the scenic transition from mountain vegetation to cloud forest as you travel down the highlands to Machu Picchu City, or Aguas Calientes.
Day 8 – Machu Picchu, Cusco
After breakfast, you'll enter the tranquil and sacred city of Machu Picchu. You will have the entire morning to enjoy and explore this magnificent place with your Program Leader teaching you about the history and importance of this place.
Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city that was built between 1450 and 1470 A.D. Considered the former center of the Inca Empire, the site was built 8,000 feet above sea level and is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley. Approximately one hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest, Machu Picchu was abandoned. It was not until 1911, when local farmers led an American archeologist to the hidden city, that the rest of the world become aware of this magnificent city. Excavations soon began to reveal what existed beneath the dense forest that grew on top of the city. Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 when it was described as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to Incan civilization.” Today you can see the remnants of the ancient city including residences, temples, storage structures, fountains and aqueducts.
After exploring Machu Picchu, you will return to Aguas Calientes for lunch. In the afternoon you will visit the local souvenir market before you board the train to return to Ollantaytambo, then return to Cusco by bus. You will spend the night at the same lodge in Cusco and have the opportunity to spend more with the girls at the shelter.
Day 9 – Cusco, Lima
Today you will wake up early to enjoy a tasty breakfast before you travel to the airport for your domestic flight back to Lima. In the afternoon you will visit a local school in Lima where you will learn more about the educational system in Peru.
Day 10 – Departure
Today your Peru adventure will come to an end as your group journeys back home.
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