Peru: Cultural & Service Immersion
June 27- Jul 11, 2017

Day 1: Owning your Experience, Lima Area June 27, 2017
You will be challenged to take charge of your experience over the next 10 days in Peru, encouraged to engage in active learning and personal growth, and to have open minds to make the most of this incredible opportunity.

Welcome to Peru and to the experiential learning adventure of a lifetime. Your bilingual naturalist guides will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel to settle in. Your guides set the tone for students to
own their experience with active and engaged learning.

Important Themes:

  • Your guides will introduce the Story Approach and the teaching themes that will cohesively link together the incrediblewealth of information you will learn on the trip.
  • Your group will be introduced to the Expedition Mentality, our nuanced strategy for creating the strongest possible group culture.
  • Our first nightly circle and bandana ceremony will reinforce the Expedition Mentality and set the tone for the best possible experiential learning trip.

Overnight: Lima Area

Day 2: Exploring Cultural Traditions: Lima to Cusco June 28, 2017
Today we learn about religious beliefs in Peru that had important economic, historical, and cultural influences in this country.

After breakfast take a local flight for 1 hr/20 min up to Cusco. Upon arrival check in at the hotel to continue with a city tour. City Tour starts at the great temple of the sun, known as Qoricancha, (golden temple) not far from the Plaza de Armas where you see the statue of King Pachacutec, whose brilliant vision led to the design and building of Machu Picchu. Qoricancha Temple is considered a sacred and treasured Inca structure. It is said that the temple housed a large group of mummies, and Inca priests responsible for worshiping the moon and the sun gods. And at the time the conquistadors arrived, the walls were covered with laminated gold, and so many golden ornaments and gold jewelry that it took weeks to melt all the gold for shipment to Spain. We continue the tour stopping along the ancient Inca streets, to the divine Cathedral of Cusco, considered by many to be one of the most splendid in all of South America.

Important Themes:

  • Social and Economic Impact of religion in Peru
  • Syncretism: Catholic and Inca beliefs nowadays
  • Cusco: belly button of the Inca World

Overnight: Cusco Area

Day 3, 4 & 5: Community Service: Leaving a Positive Trace; Callipata. Home of Quechua Inca Trail Porters and their families who are descendants of the Incas  June 29, 30, July 1 2017
Today we have the chance to give back to the community of Callipata by participating in a service project, working hand in hand with the locals to make a positive impact in the community.

After early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up to begin 3.5 hour drive out of Cusco and across the Andes to the village of Callipata. Stop in a local bakery along the way to buy fresh, handmade “pan chuta,” known for its sweet anise flavor. After loading up a few extra loaves as gifts for the porters, you continue to the village where you set up 3-person tents in the community center which will be your basecamp during your stay. Rustic plumbing and portable shower makes for a primitive camp, but our trail chef will set up a kitchen to prepare hot meals three times a day. You will hike about 15-30 minutes to the
job site where you will be instructed how to handle the local materials for building mud-brick livestock shelters. Due to changes in global weather patterns, local farmers have found it necessary to shift from an agrarian lifestyle to animal husbandry in order
to maintain basic standards of living for their families. During these days we will have the opportunity to spend time with the community members, cook , construct side by side and at the end being able to connect with these humble human beings.

Important Themes:

  • Why community service? Who benefits?
  • What makes a successful service project?
  • Service in your home community

Overnight: Callipata Area

Day 6: Cultural Connections; Callipata to Cusco July 2, 2017
We have the opportunity to experience first-hand what school is like in a rural Peru town. What’s the same? What’s different?

This morningwe meet up with local students at the local School and participate in a cultural exchange.  We are greeted at the school with a cultural dance presentation and a tour of the school.  This day is also a wonderful opportunity for cultural engagement, sharing time and games together, learning our similarities are far greater than our differences. Afterwards we go  back to Cusco.

Important Themes:

  • Education in developing countries
  • Comparing educational opportunities and methods from home
  • How do other aspects of school-life compare: playing, reading, etc? 

Overnight: Cusco Area

Day 7: The World of the Incas; Cusco July 3, 2017
Today we have the chance to learn about the heights of Inca civilization, its social structures, and impact on other cultures in the region

After breakfast we will visit several sites in the outskirts of Cusco of importance for the Inca Empire. We start at the tranquil terraced rocks of Tambomachay ruins (meaning guest house), with aqueducts, waterfalls and canals. It is said that the Inca emperor came here to bathe and perform religious rites in the water. Begin an easy hike about 7 KM through local farms to the

mysterious Qenco temple ruins where sacrifices and mummification took place. Not far are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, first built by the Killke culture beginning 1100 A.D. and expanded by the Inca. It’s considered the largest structure built and one of the most significant archaeological legacies of the Incas. Due to the complexity of the layout of the massive blocks of stone, some bigger than a car, it is said that the construction of Sacsayhuaman lasted more than 50 years and employed over 20,000 men in the construction.

Important Themes:

  • Importance of Inca Sites for modern Peruvians
  • Construction Differences between the Inca and Pre- Inca sites
  • Inca daily life and social structures

Overnight: Cusco Area

Day 8: Sacred Valley of the Incas; Cusco To Ollantaytambo July 4, 2017
Today we explore some of the geologic wonders of this area and discuss their role in Inca history as well as impact upon biology and culture

Today’s journey starts at Chinchero, home to the famous backdrop for Quechua women & girls who demonstrate traditional dyeing and weaving. We learn first-hand about this fascinating tradition, the plants, insects and much more they use to make all the different colors to weave beautiful scarves, sweaters and so much more. Afterwards, we continue to the greenhouse ruins of Moray to learn about the sophisticated botanical practices of the Inca and how in this site, the plants were used for ceremonial

purposes. Then drive about 11 KM over dirt roads to Maras Terraced Salt Ponds. Here you learn how salt is harvested and the importance of salt for the economic exchange since Inca times. Lunch will be in a home of a Quechua family who prepares an “earth oven” to cook vegetables and meat with herbs and spices, for a communal meal. Each town offers its own unique view of life and traditions established long ago. Finally arrive in Ollantaytambo, the oldest still-occupied town in Peru where you visit the prominent ruins overlooking the Sacred Valley. These ruins are the last Inca stronghold where Emperor Manco defeated the Spanish in a famous battle in 1536.

Important Themes:

  • Cuisine and Culture: how the two are related and what determines a culture’s food traditions?
  • The unique cultural heritage involved in Inca food
  • Importance of Geology for the Sacred Valley area and Peru as a whole, culturally, historically, and as a tourism attraction today.

Overnight:Ollantaytambo Area

Day 9: Inca Trail to Machu Pichu; Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes July 5, 2017
Today we explore the Indigenous culture of the Incas and the importance of preserving culture throughout our world.

Today we begin by taking the train to Km 104 where the train stops and you jump off, then cross the bridge over the Urubamba River. You pass through the checkpoint to begin the 12 KM hike on one small section of one of the most famous network of trails in the world. For the next 5-6 hours you will tread in the footsteps of the ancient ones. Gradually hiking up the canyon on

Inca paths and short stone steps to the ruins of Winay Wayna. Unlike Europeans, the Incas used a road system that included steep stone steps instead of lengthy zigzag switchbacks. This reduced the amount of road building needed and was an efficient way to travel on foot with llamas who were adapted to higher altitudes in the Andes mountains. This was critical to the expansion of the empire. This system was a hindrance to Europeans and armies mounted on horses as they could not negotiate the steep steps as well as switchbacks. Pass by waterfalls and take in the lush landscape of the cloud forest as you make your way to Inti-Punku (Sun Gate) for your first glimpse of the famous Machu Picchu. Descend another 45 minute to one hour stopping for photos before exiting the national park.

Important Themes:

  • Inca civilization centers and their influence
  • Regional trade and conflicts among Pre-Columbian civilizations
  • Geologic processes

Overnight: Aguas Calientes Area

Day 10: Machu Picchu City; Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo July 6, 2017
Today we explore the city of Machu Picchu, one of UNESCO´s World Heritage Sites.

After an early breakfast, we start our journey back to Machu Picchu. Standing at 2 400 m above sea level surrounded by steep mountains, in the middle of a tropical forest Machu Picchu is probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire. We will have the chance to see and learn about the different parts that integrate the city: living areas, agricultural, temples and

more. Visit the guard house overlooking the agricultural terraces and then enter the main gate of the city to get up close to the temples, structures and fountains. Afterwards we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and then boar the train back to Ollantaytambo and driver back to Cusco.

Important Themes:

  • Importance of Machu Pichu for the Incas
  • Modern Peru versus Inca Empire
  • Cultural heritage preservation: the need is now

Overnight: Ollantaytambo Area

Day 11: Ollantaytambo- Pisac- Cusco July 7, 2017  
We learn about the importance of markets, economic, historical, and cultural influences on this small country

After breakfast drive to the village of Pisac home of the famous market as well as one of the lesser known archaeological gems of the Sacred Valley.

Continue past the village and up to the parking area past sweeping agricultural terraces. The van will park and you begin 2-3

hour hike starting with a short walk to the Inca cemetery where you see hundreds of holes in the mountain. Continue on the trail for another 20-30 minutes until you reach the first residential structure. Further down is the stunning temple complex constructed from exquisitely carved pink granite, featuring a sun temple, ceremonial altars, water channels and wells. After a guided tour and time to enjoy the setting, you can choose to hike down many stone steps (and we mean down) to the village or take the trail and loop back to the van and ride for 10 minutes to the village.

Important Themes:

  • The role of markets in sustainable local economies
  • The importance of markets to Peruvians, and other cultures around the world
  • What items are in the markets and why? How do these items dictate important components of Peruvian culture?

Overnight: Cusco Area

Day 12: Open Day to Explore, Cusco July 8, 2017

Free day to explore Cusco on your own.  Visit museums, markets, cafes, or just soak up the vibe of the exotic high-altitude metropolis.  

Overnight: Cusco Area

Day 13: Sacred Lake of the Incas; Cusco to Puno July 9, 2017
Today we have the chance to see the highlands of Peru rural areas

After breakfast we drive over paved roads through the highlands of Peru to Lake Titicaca. Stops at “Sistine Chapel of the Andes,” a baroque church dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle. The humble exterior is the perfect disguise for the stunning core that includes gold leaf from the amazon, exquisite paintings, dazzling murals and a majestic piano. Built after the conquest, in 1631, the embellished interior was designed to impress and convert the pre-Spanish inhabitants of Peru. Continue to Raqchi complex, believed to be a primary control point on the road system that originated in Cusco and expanded as the empire grew. Continue to Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca, where you check in to your hotel for the night.

Important Themes:

  • Cultural tourism and economic support for communities
  • Impact of Spaniards in the Inca Empire
  • Social, Environmental, and Economic Impact of Tourism in Peru

Overnight: Puno Area

Day 14: Different Cultures & Islands; Lake Titicaca July 10, 2017
Today we experience cultural tourism at its best, taking part in an activities that helps protect fragile ecosystems and cultural heritage while providing jobs for locals and enjoyment and learning for participants

After breakfast board a motorized double decker boat to travel to the Floating Reed Islands (Los Uros) where you’ll learn how the Aymayra people, determined to avoid conflict over land rights, used renewable totora reed to build liveable space and canoes. Continue by boat to Takile Island, a place that time forgot and where the men are renowned knitters. After a divine homemade luncheon and a walking tour, you navigate a short distance to the Luqina peninsula, where we will meet our

homestay families. In the evening we might have a chance to participate in a soccer game at the outdoor field!
Home stays are stepping stones to learning about the country and culture you are visiting. Students and individuals stay with rural families in their homes for several days or more. This unique experience not only exposes the student to a different lifestyle and culture, it allows individuals to practice and enhance their language skills and make new friends.

Important Themes:

  • Life in a rural Peruvian Village: what to expect
  • Comparison with students’ home communities
  • Cultural Values and traditions in Luqina

Overnight: Homestay, Luqina Area

Day 15: Cultural Connections; Luquina to Puno July 11, 2017
Today we get to know the community of Luqina by participating in the local daily activities

Wake up and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal by your homestay family. Today is full day of cultural immersion partnered with the local families. We will join them to participate and assist with their daily activities. Work in the fields, wash the dishes, do the laundry or take a hike around the peninsula. We will be learning about the livelihood and family traditions of our homestay families and experiencing what it is like to live in small-town Peru.The boat arrives after lunch to take you back to Puno and to your hotel.

Important Themes:

  • Cultural differences
  • Cultural interactions
  • Using all forms of language for communication

Overnight: Puno Area

Day 16: Sillustani,  Puno July 12, 2017

After breakfast, drive about 40 minutes to pre-Incan site called Sillustani. Stone burial towers built for nobility by the Colla people dot the landscape overlooking Lake Umayo. The Colla tombs were built using uniform shaped rectangles of

almost equal size. Whereas Inca carved stones in various shapes. We will learn more on the Inca cosmovision. On your way back to Puno visit a local house, try some cheese and potatoes, check the way the descendants of Incas live nowadays.

Important Themes:

  • Burial rituals in the Inca Empire
  • Three Levels of Inca Universe:
  • Importance of these sites for the world

Overnight: Puno Area

Day 17: Home with Inspiration; Cusco to Lima July 13, 2017

On our final day together we’ll enjoy a last group breakfast, head to the local airport in Cusco to take our flight towards Lima City where our international flight will depart. Bid our guides a fond farewell and return home with memories of our Peruvian Summer Service  that will last a lifetime!  We hope to inspire all those who travel with us to gain a greater appreciation for the many natural & cultural treasures Peru has to offer, and reflect upon the choices we all make at home to help preserve this precious culture and environment.

Program Cost: $4995 per person, all inclusive land cost* :

  • Includes all lodging, meals, activities, in-country transportation, local bi-lingual guides.
  • Does not include international flight, gratuities, incidentals, activities not listed in itinerary
  • * Minimum of 5 participants required for program to run