Day 1 – Arrive in Lima, Peru
Today you'll start your Peru adventure to make unforgettable memories wtih your group. Upon arrival in Lima, your Program Leader will welcome you and begin your adventures.
Note: If we arrive to Lima with daylight to spare, you will visit a nearby viewpoint for an impressive 360-degree view of the city, or you will walk around the neighborhoods surrounding your lodging. In the event of a morning or afternoon arrival, additional costs for meals, activities, transportation, etc. will be added to the cost of the program.
Day 2 – Lima
After breakfast, you will have your orientation meeting discussing the exciting days ahead. Once orientation is complete, you will visit the local market and tour the Pachacamac Archaeological Site where you will learn about pre-Hispanic spirituality. Next, you will get a taste of Peruvian cuisine as you enjoy a traditional lunch at a local restaurant. Finally, you will visit an impressive regional cemetery where you will see how different cultures build burial sites according to economic status and the availability of local resources.
In the evening, you will have dinner near your lodging and spend some time reflecting on the day’s experiences.
Day 3 – Lima – Cusco
This morning, you will travel to the airport and begin your journey to Cusco. The domestic flight takes approximately two hours. Upon arrival, your bus driver will welcome you and take you to your lodging. This lodging belongs to a non-profit organization. This organization 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 yourselves to the high altitude, 12,467 feet above sea level. Activities will involve resting and spending time with the girls at the lodging and neighborhood children. If you are here during a weekday, and while school is in session, you will go to a local high school that is supported by your lodging organization. Here, you will present yourselves and meet the local students, interchanging information and learning about each other’s ways of life.
Day 4 – Cusco and Surroundings
Today you will wake up early to enjoy a tasty breakfast and a tour of nearby archaeological ruins. You will visit Puca Pucara, Sacsayhuaman and Quenko, all amazing archaeological sites built around the city. You will then return to the Historical Center of Cusco for lunch with time to explore a local market where you will participate in a scavenger hunt activity.
At the end of the day, you will return to your lodging, rest and relax. Before a delicious dinner, you will have a meeting with your Program Leader about the town and community where you will live and work. In addition to your service work, you will discuss topics such as the economic and social realities in the community.
Day 5 – Cusco – Host Town and Surrounding Communities
You will travel to your host town, located an hour from Cusco. This area is considered one of the poorest of Peru, so your help is greatly appreciated by all. 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 working on your service project and interacting with community members.
Upon arrival, you will have a tour of the town center and continue your orientation discussion about the service project. 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.
Day 6 – 8 – Host Community & Service Project
For the next few days, you will work on a much-needed service project in the community. Potential projects include improving community buildings and agricultural infrastructure, as well as reforestation. You will work between four to six hours per day depending on the project.
Additionally, you may have the opportunity to help at the Cultural House playing with the local kids, helping them with homework and learning a little of the Kechua language, which will help the children value their indigenous identity. If you work at the Cultural House, you will have a short training in the community before you begin.
In the afternoons and/or evenings, you will continue to participate in local cultural activities such as pick up soccer games with the local children, traditional dance lessons, agricultural activities and learning how to prepare “chuño,” a type of dehydrated potato. you also may have the opportunity to help in the community kitchen, make “adobe,” traditional local bricks used in construction in rural areas, and work with local textile makers to learn the process of wool preparation.
During your final afternoon in the community, you will wrap up your community service project. You will gather with the community members to celebrate the completion of the project.
After the celebration, you will say your heartfelt goodbyes to your new friends. You will then depart from your host community to your lodging in Cusco. There you will have a delicious dinner and rest for the exciting adventure ahead.
Day 9 - Host Community – Aguas Calientes
After a good breakfast, in your host community you will travel towards one of the most impressive ruins in the world, the ancient city of Machu Picchu. On the way you will stop at Moray, this is believed to be an experimental agricultural station that the Incas used to experiment and train new crops to be planted all over their kingdom. You will also stop at the salt mines of Maras, where the mines have been active since centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards and they still continue producing salt. When you reach Ollaytaytambo, the location of the train to Machu Picchu, you will walk around town and enjoy a view of nearby Inca ruins. You will also visit a local museum and learn about the diversity of food in Perú, followed by an early traditional lunch before taking the train to Machu Picchu.
For a few hours, you will enjoy the scenic transition from mountain vegetation to cloud forest as you travel down the highlands to Machu Picchu. You will arrive in Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the citadel of Machu Picchu. If time allows, you will go for a short walk to either a nearby waterfall or a viewpoint from which it is possible to see the local forest. You will spend the night in Aguas Calientes.
Day 10 – Machu Picchu – Cusco
This morning, you will rise very early and enter the tranquil and sacred city of Machu Picchu. You will have the entire morning to enjoy and explore this magnificent place.
Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city that was built between 1450-1470 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 an American archeologist was lead to the hidden city and the rest of the world become aware of this magnificent city. Excavations soon began to discover what existed beneath the dense forest that grew on top of the city, and still continues today. 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 Inca 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. If time allows, you will visit to the local handicraft market. Finally, you will board the train to return to Ollaytaytambo on your way to Cusco.
Day 11 – Cusco – Lima
This morning, you will travel to the airport for your domestic flight back to Lima. This afternoon, time permitting, you will explore the historical center of the city and a local handicraft market. Tonight you will have a farewell dinner to celebrate your time shared, and memories made, together in Peru.
Day 12 – Departure
Today your Peru program will come to a close as you board your international flight out of Lima. If your departure time allows, you will take advantage of your morning and visit an artisanal market.
Note: If the group has a late afternoon or evening departure from Lima, additional costs for meals, activities, transportation, etc. will be added to the cost of the program.
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