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Peru

Cultural Immersion in the Heart of the Andes

June 21 — July 11
July 13 — August 2
$5,990 + airfare

Peru

Cultural Immersion in the Heart of the Andes

June 21 — July 11
July 13 — August 2
$5,990 + airfare

Immerse yourself in community life in Peru’s Sacred Valley on this high school service program. During your student travels in Peru, work alongside locals on meaningful construction, teaching, and farming projects, while you engage with the colorful and rich culture of the Peruvian Andes. Throughout the program, visit some of the most iconic sites of the Inca empire, including Machu Picchu.

• Work alongside local foremen in your host community
• Practice Spanish and play fútbol with new Peruvian friends
• Hike ancient Inca trails through the Andes mountains
• Explore Machu Picchu, a well-preserved mountaintop Inca city
“Working together and seeing the finished product brought a real sense of accomplishment and pride. Ellis spoke highly of his leaders. They were professional, yet fun and encouraging. They let the students help make some decisions on activities and included everyone.”
—Michele & Tyrone Gonzales, Houston, TX

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to Cusco, Peru. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Pisac — 2 days

Begin your program in the town of Pisac, nestled in Peru’s Sacred Valley in the towering South American Andes. Spend the first two days acclimating to the altitude while getting to know your group, leaders, and the spectacular Sacred Valley itself. Explore the imposing Pisac archaeological site to learn about the legacy of the Incas, a people whose influence is still woven into the fabric of modern Peru. Visit Pisac’s world-renowned artisanal market and learn about locally produced craft patterns and techniques.

Host Community — 10 days

Take a short bus ride from Pisac to your host community, tucked into a more remote part of the Andes. Live and work among local community members as you join in meaningful volunteer projects while getting to know the people, history, and culture of Andean Peru. In close partnership with local community organizations, specific volunteer projects are identified based on community need. Past projects have included building a classroom, painting a mural, constructing a community center, and creating and teaching language lessons for young students. In the afternoons after the workday is finished, spend time playing soccer with your new friends, hike remnants of ancient Inca footpaths in the surrounding mountains, or relax and play music with your Peruvian peers.

Excursions — 4 days

During excursions, further explore the Sacred Valley. Trek to dramatic high mountain passes, hot springs, or an Inca quarry used as a burial ground. Explore the cobblestoned lanes and working aqueducts of Ollantaytambo, a picturesque town that has been occupied continuously since the time of the Inca. Visit Salineras (Inca salt mines) and the world-famous Inca agricultural terraces at Moray. Try your hand at weaving during a workshop in Chinchero, Peru. Travel to Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Discover the city’s Spanish colonial center edged with Inca stonework, or stroll through the foundations of an ancient temple.

Machu Picchu & Cusco — 3 days

Say goodbye to your host community and head to Ollantaytambo for the night. Board an early morning train bound for Machu Picchu, the most famous archaeological site in the Americas. Descend from the train and prepare to hike the final eight miles of the Inca trail with the support of experienced guides. Wander the mountain sites of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna before entering Machu Picchu via Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. Explore this well-preserved Inca city and pilgrimage site, world-renowned for its remote, mountaintop location, and spend the night in Aguas Calientes before returning to Cusco. Spend your last day in Cusco and enjoy a final celebration dinner with your group before returning home.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from Cusco to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to Cusco, Peru. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Pisac — 2 days

Begin your program in the town of Pisac, nestled in Peru’s Sacred Valley in the towering South American Andes. Spend the first two days acclimating to the altitude while getting to know your group, leaders, and the spectacular Sacred Valley itself. Explore the imposing Pisac archaeological site to learn about the legacy of the Incas, a people whose influence is still woven into the fabric of modern Peru. Visit Pisac’s world-renowned artisanal market and learn about locally produced craft patterns and techniques.

Host Community — 10 days

Take a short bus ride from Pisac to your host community, tucked into a more remote part of the Andes. Live and work among local community members as you join in meaningful volunteer projects while getting to know the people, history, and culture of Andean Peru. In close partnership with local community organizations, specific volunteer projects are identified based on community need. Past projects have included building a classroom, painting a mural, constructing a community center, and creating and teaching language lessons for young students. In the afternoons after the workday is finished, spend time playing soccer with your new friends, hike remnants of ancient Inca footpaths in the surrounding mountains, or relax and play music with your Peruvian peers.

Excursions — 4 days

During excursions, further explore the Sacred Valley. Trek to dramatic high mountain passes, hot springs, or an Inca quarry used as a burial ground. Explore the cobblestoned lanes and working aqueducts of Ollantaytambo, a picturesque town that has been occupied continuously since the time of the Inca. Visit Salineras (Inca salt mines) and the world-famous Inca agricultural terraces at Moray. Try your hand at weaving during a workshop in Chinchero, Peru. Travel to Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Discover the city’s Spanish colonial center edged with Inca stonework, or stroll through the foundations of an ancient temple.

Machu Picchu & Cusco — 3 days

Say goodbye to your host community and head to Ollantaytambo for the night. Board an early morning train bound for Machu Picchu, the most famous archaeological site in the Americas. Descend from the train and prepare to hike the final eight miles of the Inca trail with the support of experienced guides. Wander the mountain sites of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna before entering Machu Picchu via Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. Explore this well-preserved Inca city and pilgrimage site, world-renowned for its remote, mountaintop location, and spend the night in Aguas Calientes before returning to Cusco. Spend your last day in Cusco and enjoy a final celebration dinner with your group before returning home.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from Cusco to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_sthaia_dan-eden
Dan Eden
View Bio
2023_sprb_ec-rover_claire-dresselhaus
Claire Dresselhaus
View Bio
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Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_sthaia_dan-eden
Dan Eden
View Bio
2023_sprb_ec-rover_claire-dresselhaus
Claire Dresselhaus
View Bio
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About the Destination

Peru is known for its rich Incan history, awe-inspiring archaeological sites, and colorful music, arts, and crafts. Indigenous groups make up 45% of the country’s population. Peru is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, with landscapes ranging from coastal deserts to Amazon rainforest, lush valleys and, of course, the Andes mountain range. The country is home to 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the city of Cusco and the incredible Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. In addition to its rich cultural history, modern Peru is vibrant with cultural diversity, bustling urban centers, and world-renowned cuisine (featuring over 4,000 varieties of potatoes!).

Language

Peru is a multilingual nation. Though Spanish is an official language throughout the country, indigenous languages like Quechua and Aymara are widely spoken. Most residents of our host community are native Quechua speakers who also speak Spanish.

Climate

The climate throughout the Sacred Valley is temperate throughout the year with daytime lows ranging from 50–70ºF (10–21°C). Our host community as well as other places that we visit are at high elevation—10,000 ft or more (3,000 m)—so after dark, temperatures can dip sharply to 35–45ºF (2–7°C).

Cuisine

Peruvian cooking blends Spanish and other international influences with Indigenous ingredients, the most common of which are corn, potatoes, quinoa, and rice. These ingredients are combined with rice, chicken, fish, cheeses, grains, beans, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables to produce the complex sauces and stews that make up the delicious local cuisine.

About the Destination

Peru is known for its rich Incan history, awe-inspiring archaeological sites, and colorful music, arts, and crafts. Indigenous groups make up 45% of the country’s population. Peru is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, with landscapes ranging from coastal deserts to Amazon rainforest, lush valleys and, of course, the Andes mountain range. The country is home to 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the city of Cusco and the incredible Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. In addition to its rich cultural history, modern Peru is vibrant with cultural diversity, bustling urban centers, and world-renowned cuisine (featuring over 4,000 varieties of potatoes!).

Language

Peru is a multilingual nation. Though Spanish is an official language throughout the country, indigenous languages like Quechua and Aymara are widely spoken. Most residents of our host community are native Quechua speakers who also speak Spanish.

Climate

The climate throughout the Sacred Valley is temperate throughout the year with daytime lows ranging from 50–70ºF (10–21°C). Our host community as well as other places that we visit are at high elevation—10,000 ft or more (3,000 m)—so after dark, temperatures can dip sharply to 35–45ºF (2–7°C).

Cuisine

Peruvian cooking blends Spanish and other international influences with Indigenous ingredients, the most common of which are corn, potatoes, quinoa, and rice. These ingredients are combined with rice, chicken, fish, cheeses, grains, beans, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables to produce the complex sauces and stews that make up the delicious local cuisine.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your travels in Peru, you can expect to participate in several different service experiences—construction projects where you may learn to mix cement or paint a community building, environmental projects such as planting seedlings or shadowing local farmers, and educational projects such as leading workshops with local children. The focus of this summer program in Peru is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared community service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open mind, eager to participate in new experiences, and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. All students participate in each of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and everyone lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

In addition to group projects, pursue an independent project based on your own interests—create a Quechua phrasebook, lead English workshops in the local school, interview locals about village history, learn to cook a traditional meal, organize a sports game for local kids, or spend a day harvesting potatoes with a local farmer.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required; however, students who speak Spanish or study Spanish in school will have opportunities to practice while communicating with local people. Students who do not speak Spanish will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills. You will also have the opportunity to pick up and practice some Quechua, the local indigenous language of the Cusco region!

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous, and you can expect to spend most of each day outside, hiking, biking, and walking. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. There is an eight-mile hike to Machu Picchu near the end of the program that will reach a maximum altitude of 8,000 ft (2440m).

Altitude

This program visits high altitude destinations—our host community (above 10,000 ft or 3,000 m); Cusco (11,200 ft or 3,415m); Pisac (9,750 ft or 2,970 m); and Ollantaytambo (9,200 ft or 2,800 m).

Accommodations

Our living accommodations in Peru are very simple. We sleep in a community center on cots with sleeping bags. There are simple bathrooms just outside. While we have access to electricity, it can be sporadic. On excursions, we stay in small, family-run hostels and inns. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

In the host community, we eat delicious, home-cooked meals prepared by locals. Each day, several students from the group organize cooking and cleaning crews and help the cooks prepare meals. During excursions, we eat most meals in restaurants and occasionally visit local markets to shop for picnic lunches.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your travels in Peru, you can expect to participate in several different service experiences—construction projects where you may learn to mix cement or paint a community building, environmental projects such as planting seedlings or shadowing local farmers, and educational projects such as leading workshops with local children. The focus of this summer program in Peru is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared community service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open mind, eager to participate in new experiences, and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. All students participate in each of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and everyone lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

In addition to group projects, pursue an independent project based on your own interests—create a Quechua phrasebook, lead English workshops in the local school, interview locals about village history, learn to cook a traditional meal, organize a sports game for local kids, or spend a day harvesting potatoes with a local farmer.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required; however, students who speak Spanish or study Spanish in school will have opportunities to practice while communicating with local people. Students who do not speak Spanish will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills. You will also have the opportunity to pick up and practice some Quechua, the local indigenous language of the Cusco region!

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous, and you can expect to spend most of each day outside, hiking, biking, and walking. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. There is an eight-mile hike to Machu Picchu near the end of the program that will reach a maximum altitude of 8,000 ft (2440m).

Altitude

This program visits high altitude destinations—our host community (above 10,000 ft or 3,000 m); Cusco (11,200 ft or 3,415m); Pisac (9,750 ft or 2,970 m); and Ollantaytambo (9,200 ft or 2,800 m).

Accommodations

Our living accommodations in Peru are very simple. We sleep in a community center on cots with sleeping bags. There are simple bathrooms just outside. While we have access to electricity, it can be sporadic. On excursions, we stay in small, family-run hostels and inns. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

In the host community, we eat delicious, home-cooked meals prepared by locals. Each day, several students from the group organize cooking and cleaning crews and help the cooks prepare meals. During excursions, we eat most meals in restaurants and occasionally visit local markets to shop for picnic lunches.

A Day in the Life: Host Community

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in our host community.
7:00am
Enjoy breakfast with your group
8:00am
Break into work groups and head to the construction site, school, or farm
12:00pm
Reconvene at your residence for lunch
2:00pm
Continue service work, or work on an independent project of your choice
4:00pm
Kick the soccer ball with Peruvian peers, go for a hike around the town, or enjoy downtime
6:00pm
Convene a cooking crew to prepare for dinner with the help of local cooks
7:00pm
Share dinner at your residence
8:00pm
Participate in an evening activity, such as a bonfire with community members
9:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

A Day in the Life:
Host Community

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in our host community.
7:00am
Enjoy breakfast with your group
8:00am
Break into work groups and head to the construction site, school, or farm
12:00pm
Reconvene at your residence for lunch
2:00pm
Continue service work, or work on an independent project of your choice
4:00pm
Kick the soccer ball with Peruvian peers, go for a hike around the town, or enjoy downtime
6:00pm
Convene a cooking crew to prepare for dinner with the help of local cooks
7:00pm
Share dinner at your residence
8:00pm
Participate in an evening activity, such as a bonfire with community members
9:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule
“Expectations for program: safety and challenge; exposure to culture, people, place; positive group dynamics and fun. All expectations were met and surpassed!”
—Jennifer & Robert Knowles, Wenham, MA
sylvie-littledale

This Program is Directed by

Sylvie Littledale

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

sylvie-littledale

This Program is Directed by

Sylvie Littledale

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

Enroll in two programs & save $1,000!

$800 tuition discount + no application fee

Peru
Cultural Immersion in the Heart of the Andes

2024 Dates
June 21 — July 11
July 13 — August 2

Duration
21 days

Tuition
$5,990 + airfare

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Miami

Service Hours
50–70 

Additional Info

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

 

2024 Dates
June 21 — July 11
July 13 — August 2

Duration
21 days

Tuition
$5,990 + airfare

Service Hours
50–70 

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Miami

 

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

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