ANDEAN HIGHLANDS OF PERU
This Expedition includes:
- Community Service
- Intercultural Exchange
- Inca Trail Hike
- Lake Ecosystems & Environmental Practices
- Historical Monuments Visitation
- UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Visits
- Archaeological Site
DAY 1. OWNING YOUR EXPERIENCE, LIMA AREA
Your students will be challenged to take charge of their 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.
- Your guides will introduce the Story Approach and the teaching themes that will cohesively link together the incredible wealth 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
Today we learn about religious beliefs in Peru that had important economic, historical, and cultural influences in this country.
Early morning we fly to Cusco. Upon arrival meet our local guides and start a city tour at the great temple of the sun, known as the sacred and treasured Qoricancha (golden temple). It is said that the temple housed a large group of mummies and Inca priests responsible for worshiping the moon and the sun gods. At the time the conquistadors arrived, the walls were covered with laminated gold and contained so many golden ornaments and gold jewelry that it took weeks to melt all the gold for shipment to Spain. We continue our exploration, stopping along the ancient Inca streets. Visit the Plaza de Armas where you see the statue of King Pachacutec, whose brilliant vision led to the design and building of Machu Picchu.
- 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. THE WORLD OF THE INCAS; CUSCO
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. 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 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.
- Importance of this Inca Sites for modern Peruvians
- Construction Differences between the Inca and Pre- Inca sites
- Inca daily life and social structures
Overnight: Cusco Area
DAY 4. SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS; CUSCO TO OLLANTAYTAMBO
Today we explore some of the geologic wonders of this area and discuss their role in Inca history as well as the 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. Afterward, 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 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.
- 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 tourist attraction today.
DAY 5. INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICHU
Today we explore the Indigenous culture of the Incas and the importance of preserving culture throughout our world.
Today begins by taking a train ride to Km 104 where we are dropped off and cross the bridge over the Urubamba River. Begin to hike on one of the most famous networks 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.
- Inca civilization centers and their influence
- Regional trade and conflicts among Pre-Columbian civilizations
- Geologic processes
Overnight: Aguas Calientes Area
DAY 6. MACHU PICCHU CITY
Today we explore the city of Machu Picchu, one of UNESCO´s World Heritage Sites.
After an early breakfast, we start our journey 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. In the afternoon we head back to Cusco for our farewell dinner.
- Importance of Machu Picchu for the Incas
- Modern Peru, comparing with the Inca Empire
- Cultural heritage preservation: the need is now
DAY 7. SACRED LAKE OF THE INCAS; CUSCO TO PUNO
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.
- 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 8. SACRED LAKE OF THE INCAS; LAKE TITICACA
Today we experience cultural tourism at its best, taking part in an activity 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 Aymara 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 in the outdoor field!
Homestays 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.
- 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 9. CULTURAL CONNECTIONS;
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.
- Cultural differences
- Cultural interactions
- Using all forms of language for communication
Overnight: Puno Area
DAY 10. HOME WITH INSPIRATION; PUNO TO LIMA
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 Cultural & Service Immersion 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 make every day!
Why settle for less?
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Explore Ireland. Each day of our itinerary is highlighted by people, places, and themes that will be an important part of your trip. These unique stories about involvement with important ecological, social, cultural, and economic issues are told in context, allowing students to make meaningful connections and reach deeper levels of understanding.
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