Community Volunteer Experience | Multi Day Trek & Machu Picchu
Language Immersion | Cultural & Historical Visits
Immerse yourself in the culture, environment, and language of Peru. During the two week adventure teens will visit archaeological and cultural sites throughout the Sacred Valley and Cusco; volunteer in a highland community; and embark on a multi-day trek through the Andes Mountains to Machu Picchu.
Eligibility: Grades 9 - 12
Air Travel: USA-Lima-Cusco. Although airfare is not included in the cost we will be coordinating and flying with the youth from the chosen NYC airport. It will likely be JFK.
Accommodations: Homestay near the volunteer community during service project, smaller hotels; campsite on trail, 1 overnight in a Highland Community (small lodge).
Summer Adventure Components:
Guided visit to Machu Picchu
3 Day Trek in the Andes Mountains
4 Day Community Volunteering with Peru Challenge NGO
Archaeological & Cultural visits in Sacred Valley and Cusco
Night stay in a Highland Community: Artisan Demonstration
Agricultural Outing and Activity (Planting and Harvesting in the Highlands)
Artisan & Cultural Demonstration
*See itinerary below.
Day 1: Departure and Arrival to Cusco, Peru: We will arrive as a group during the afternoon or evening of July 6th. After arriving to Cusco we will enjoy a restful remainder of the day. Depending on our time of arrival we may exchange money today, if not we will do this as a group the following morning.
Day 2: Cusco – Sacred Valley of the Incas: Morning City Tour of Cusco City, Sacsayhuaman and Pisac market & ruins
Early morning, visit the Imperial City, living example of the mixture of the Andean and Spanish cultures. You start your trip visiting the Santo Domingo Convent, built over the Koricancha Palace.
Later, you will stop at the Main Square, where you can find the Cathedral of Cusco. Going on with the tour, you will visit the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, which is the largest and most impressive of four archaeological ruins on the outskirts of Cusco. Built by the Incas, it served an important military function and was the site of a major battle with the Spanish in 1536. The complex was constructed out of massive stones, some weighing as much as 300 tons, cut to fit together without the use of mortar.
On your way to the Sacred Valley you will visit the nearby town of Pisac and its market, originally place where people from remote communities used to barter their products. Pisac has evolved to one of South America’s most famous souvenir markets. Make sure to sample some ‘empanadas’ baked in traditional clay ovens. Try your bargaining skills here always keeping in mind handmade artwork is worth it!
In the afternoon arrive to the hotel in the Sacred Valley
Day 3: Sacred Valley- Community of Amaru Cultural
This morning we head to a local community in the Highlands for an immersion into the heart of the Andean culture you will visit the charming Amaru community and its wonderful and amazing people. Straight from the hands of local craftspeople, you learn about textiles and the weaving process. The vivid colors of the Amaru villagers’ clothing are derived from natural dyes made from plants and other organic elements with which they decorate wool. Today you learn about “cochineal” red and the secret properties of some other medicinal plants in the area, as well as from other activities the community runs.
Later, we will take you on a journey to discover the mysteries of Andean Agriculture, the connection to the Pachamama (Mother-Earth), our different rituals for each part of the growing season, and the use of our traditional tools for the planting and harvest of native products.
In the afternoon, visit the Guinea-pig farm and take a look of the surrounding valley from the lookout view point of the community.
Day 4 - 7: Community Service Volunteer Project- Awamaki NGO (https://awamaki.org/)
After breakfast we drive to We drive to Awamaki to begin our four-‐day community service experience. Awamaki is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers rural Andean women with skills training, connects them to global market opportunities, and enables them to earn an income to transform their communities.
About Awakmi: Awamaki is a Peruvian non-‐profit and a U.S. non-‐profit with 501(c)(3) status. We work with rural Andean women to empower them with skills-‐based education, and then connect them to market access so they can earn an income, take care of their families, and transform their communities. We do this through women’s artisanal fair trade crafts cooperatives and sustainable tourism. We work with 130 women in five communities. Volunteer Work: Service groups work in the communities nearby Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Students will work building a center so that the women have a space from which to run their business. Currently, they store materials, equipment and inventory divided among the homes of all the women. They don’t have a dedicated space to work, meet or hold trainings. The center will give them this space. It will also give them a storefront so they can sell directly to tourists. The center will help launch them from a loose association of artisans to a successful business capable of engaging directly with global markets. Service Learning Goals At Awamaki, we organize service projects so that you can practice your Spanish, create relationships with people from a different culture, learn about life in Peru, and experience global issues in a way that changes how you think and act when you return home. The service project gives you a vehicle to do this, and allows you to give back to the community that hosts and teaches you.
Day 8: Cultural & Historical Visits in the Sacred Valley: Today we head to Maras, Moray and the the ruins of Ollantaytambo. We begin our day at the enormous and stunning Moray concentric agricultural zones located high above the town of Urubamba in the vast planes at 11,000ft. From there we wind our way towards the Valley below with a stop at the "Salineras" salt mines, still in use today. Today we'll enjoy a picnic lunch before our final visit at the ruins of Ollantaytambo. Our leisurely day of visits is a nice rest after volunteering before we begin our exciting trek!
Day 9 - 12: Multi-Day Trek & Machu Picchu: To the trails of the Andes Mountains we go! Today we begin the Ancasqocha Trek. We will cover 23 miles over three days, with a final visit on Day 12 to Machu Picchu and downtime to visit local shops in village of Aguas Calientes. All camping materials such as: tent, sleeping, bags, pillow, and more will be provided and carried by horses along with all other belongings. In the afternoon, on Day 12, we depart via train with transfer to our private transport to return to Cusco for the evening.
Day 13: Departure Day: Today we say our farewells after a fantastic adventure. Students will be transferred to the airport for their departures. All flights from Cusco stop in Lima for final connection to the USA.