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PeruAndean Peaks, Inca Ruins, & the Sacred Valley

Immerse yourself in village 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.


June 23–July 13, 2023July 14–August 3, 2023
21 days
$ 5,690 + airfare
Departs from Miami
14–16 students, 2 leaders
Service40–60 hours


  • Work alongside local foremen in your host village 
  • 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

Meet featured leaders


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 or more 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 village 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 Village
  • 10 days

Take a short bus ride from Pisac to your host village, tucked into a more remote part of the Andes. Live and work among local villagers 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 village 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 Chachabamba ruins 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.

"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

A Day in the Life: Host Village

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

View Photo Gallery

What to Expect

  • 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 teaching English to 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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, horseback riding, 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 9,000 feet.

  • Altitude

This program visits high altitude destinations—our host villages (above 10,000 feet), Cusco (11,200 feet), Ollantaytambo (9,200 feet), and Machu Picchu (8,000 feet).

  • Accommodations

Our living accommodations in Peru are very simple. We sleep in a community center on cots with sleeping bags. There are simple bathrooms in an adjacent room. 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 village 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.

Explore the Destination

"Everyone was really wonderful. I especially liked being with a group of kids from all over the country—we loved discovering what we had in common and our differences."

— Lila B., Friends Seminary School, Brooklyn, NY

Next Steps

This program is directed by Julian Hartmann-Russell. If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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