Shrouds of morning mist rise to reveal the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. Llamas and alpacas quietly graze on the altiplano, and condors soar past the snow-capped peaks and jagged cliffs of Colca Canyon. Local fishermen push off into the tranquil blue waters of Lake Titicaca. Young children happily giggle while herding sheep out to pasture, and brightly clothed women tend to cooking fires in dimly lit adobe homes. These are the sights and sounds that will greet you in Southern Peru.
Join us for a tour of Southern Peru’s highlights while immersing yourself in indigenous cultures and participating in meaningful and memorable community service in this remote region.
The tour starts in the Andes, where you will overnight in the town of Ollantaytambo. Stroll the streets of this ‘living city of the Incas,’ relax, and adjust to your new surroundings before heading to Machu Picchu, one of the true cultural treasures of Peru. An early morning climb through one of the seven man-made wonders of the world is the perfect way to acclimatize to the high-altitude Andes and prepare for the next two weeks of community service and adventure.
Cradled between the snow-capped mountains of Bolivia and the high altiplano of Peru, Lake Titicaca is one of Peru’s legendary highlights. Traditional villages that exist much as they did 100 years ago are scattered along its shores, and you’ll immerse yourself in the traditional way of life of the hardworking people who live here. You’ll participate in a variety of community projects developed by local people. These projects might include teaching English to eager students who have never had native speakers as instructors, refurbishing classrooms, and painting educational murals alongside local students.
After saying goodbye to your new friends on shore, it will be time to take a boat to visit Lake Titicaca’s island inhabitants. . Thousands of visitors come to these floating islands each year – islands which are constructed entirely of reeds – but we’ll take you to a few of them that rarely see tourists. The people living on these seldom-seen islands subsist much as they have for centuries, and we are honored to be invited to share in life here. A floating field will provide a unique setting for a rousing game of volleyball against local children – this is sure to be an experience you will never forget! After you have visited the villages on reeds, you will head off to more solid ground at the nearby community of Taquile.
This island of approximately 2,000 inhabitants is home to pre-Incan ruins, world-renowned textiles, and a truly egalitarian community that has maintained customs and traditions that date back hundreds of years. You will settle into the tranquil life of the Taquileños while you are here. Play games with and teach English to colorfully capped children before watching the sunset with these island dwellers – the perfect end to your day at the world’s highest navigable lake.
After leaving the high-alpine lakes, the altiplano slowly morphs into Peru’s canyon country. Colca Canyon plunges to twice the depth of the Grand Canyon and is home to soaring Andean condors, terraced valleys, and snow-capped peaks. After rising early for condor sighting and mountain biking, soak in local hot springs and reminisce about the past two weeks of travel and service in Southern Peru. This is a trip that you will surely remember forever!
Depart Houston for an easy 6 ½ hr to Lima, Peru’s capital. Upon your arrival you will be met by Rustic Pathways staff and transported to a comfortable hotel in one of Lima’s nicest neighborhoods. Those students coming from another Peru program will meet us in the hotel.
Welcome to your first day in Peru. After a continental breakfast it is off to the airport to catch a one hour flight to Cuzco, the old Incan capital located high in Andes Mountains.
Once we arrive in Cuzco, we will jump on a private bus and be transported to Ollantaytambo located in the heart of the famous Sacred Valley. One of the few remaining towns where locals still live in houses made by the Incas, Ollantaytambo is referred to as the “Living city of the Incas.” The town is also home to an important fortress and city built by the Incan Empire.
The group will wake early before taking the scenic train ride along to the Urubamba River. Arriving in the small town of Aguas Calientes, you will spend the remainder of the day hiking through the cloud forest, strolling through the local market or visiting the Machu Picchu museum.
You will wake up early in the morning and travel the windy road up the mountain to the world famous ruins of Machu Picchu. The group will be there in time to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu and long enough to explore the magnificent ruins.
In the afternoon, you will jump back on the train and return to Cuzco where they will spend the night. Upon arriving to Cuzco, students will check into the hotel and go on a walking tour of Cuzco. As part of the tour, you will explore the cobble stone streets of Cuzco and visit palaces and cathedrals that date back to the Inca and colonial period of Peru.
After a delicious breakfast and short a short morning tour of the local market, you will travel by bus to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Along the way the group will have the opportunity to stop and explore Incan ruins. Upon arriving in the early evening, students will have the opportunity to unpack and explore this beautiful town on the banks of the lake. Dinner will consist of local specialties and probably will include locally caught fresh lake trout. The group will spend the following three days here living and sharing experiences with the locals.
Today you will begin work on a project that has been pre-approved by the local inhabitants and is designed to help improve their lives. These projects depend on the wishes of the local community members and range from working in local schools to building bathrooms and other community development projects. Most elders speak only Quechua, a language dating back to the Incas, but don’t worry, the younger generations also speak Spanish and have mastered the art of communicating with signs and expressions.
Continue Community Service Work
Today you will finish working on the community service project and join locals in a traditional inauguration ceremony. You will share and enjoy local food while participating in traditional dances and games. By the end of the evening, both the group and the local community will have shared an experienced that they will not easily forget.
After three hard days of work in the village, the group will head out for a truly memorable day. Far from the stream of tourists quickly passing through the frequently visited Uros islands, sit 5 floating Islands that see a limited amount of visitors each year. We are excited to have been invited to visit these islands and learn about life in this unique culture. Time will be spent with interacting with local families and students. There may even be the possibility of playing a game of volleyball on this floating island of reeds.
After visiting the floating islands, it is off to the solid land of Taquile Island. This picturesque island has remained untouched and true to its customs and traditions for hundreds of years. The island is covered with rows of agricultural terraces dating back to the time of the Incas. Locals wear traditional outfits and are known for their world famous textiles and handicrafts. Students will stay at a local guest house and live and work side by side with locals on several community service projects.
On this day, you will work with locals on several community service projects. Projects may include servicing and improving walkways, painting and fixing up local buildings and/or working in the town gardens. In the evening, you will have the opportunity to take a short hike to the highest point on the island where a set of ruins dating back before Incas can be found.
Today you will wake up and visit the local school. The group will have the opportunity to teach a short lesson of English while also participating in art and sports activities. After sharing lunch with the kids at the school, the group will have the opportunity to explore the island and its town center. The town center is home to a textile cooperative where you can purchase several different kinds of handicrafts including locally made textiles and clothing items.
Today the group will have the opportunity to wake up before the sun and witness the sunrise over Bolivia and the Andean mountains. After returning to bed and grabbing a warm local breakfast, the group will either put the finishing touches on their service project or walk down to the beach where they can go swimming and sailing. In the afternoon, you will depart Taquile and take a boat to Puno, the largest city on Lake Titicaca. The group will spend the night in a hotel near the plaza and be able to explore the towns many colonial churches and walking streets.
After breakfast, you will board a private bus and drive from Puno to Chivay. Along the way, you will have the chance to photograph a colony of flamingos in the altiplano region of Peru as well spot llamas, alpacas and vicuna. Before arriving to Chivay the group will mount mountain bikes and bike down over 3,000 ft from the high pass to the village of Chivay. Chivay is the hub city for exploring the Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world. You will overnight in Chivay and experience yet another town with its own unique customs and traditions.
The Colca Canyon is famous not only for being the second deepest canyon in the world but also for being home to large population of the Andean Condors. In order to watch them in the wild, you will wake up early in the morning and head to the “Condor Cross.” There students will have the best chance to photograph these magnificent birds as they soar on the thermal currents out of the canyon.
After viewing a few more of the valley’s sights, you will travel to Arequipa. Known as the “White City,” Arequipa is famous for its unique architecture and the use of white volcanic rock for it’s buildings The area is also famous for El Misti, the large volcano that towers outside the city limits .
On their final day in Peru, you will explore the city of Arequipa. After lunch at one of the traditional restaurants, and a trip to the famous Santa Catalina Monastery, you will travel to Lima. Upon arriving the group will check-in for their flight to Houston and then go eat their final group dinner.
After your overnight flight from Lima to Houston, you will say final goodbyes to friends and exchange email addresses before heading home.
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
Below you will find the packing list for the Lake Titicaca Service Adventure in Peru. This packing list provides a general guideline to make your packing easier, though please make sure to bring all essential items! Please see the packing lists for each program that you are participating in. If you have any questions about this list please contact us at email@example.com.
What you bring to Peru is important due to its varied climate. Students participating on these programs will experience wide temperature swings during a single day. It is important that you pack accordingly and be able to layer in order to adapt to this. While on these trips, expect it to get below freezing during night and up to 60 during the day. It is not necessary to pack a lot of clothes, but it is essential to pack correctly
PLEASE DO NOT OVER PACK OR FORGET TO BRING ITEMS THAT WE HAVE DEEMED TO BE ESSENTIAL! ALL STUDENTS MUST BE ABLE TO CARRY WHAT THEY BRING! PLEASE REMEMBER THAT MANY THINGS CAN BE BOUGHT WHILE OVERSEAS.
A small backpack is the best carry-on bag
Note: Make sure everything you pack in your carry-on complies with the new carry on regulations of the TSA: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm
A medium sized duffel bag or large back pack work best - wheeled bags are OK as long as they are medium sized and can easily be carried like a duffel over rough terrain.
*Note: See the following link for ideas on small, personal first aid kits:
Should you choose to bring donations, we would be happy to coordinate distributing these for you. Below are some suggestions of things to bring. Please know that it is possible to buy many of these donations in Peru should you choose
Debit Cards are wonderful to travel with though there are a few things to remember.
Peru is a fairly easy jump from the United States, with direct flights ranging from around 6 to 9 hrs depending on your city of departure. Please note that our group flight departs from Houston and total travel time will depend on your specific routing. From Houston the flight is approximately 6 ½ hrs.
Students from the United States will be issued a tourist visa on entry into Peru. Students from other countries should check with their consulate. Please know that it is the student’s responsibility to obtain any appropriate documentation before entering Peru.
Rustic Pathways highly recommends that you visit your family doctor or a travel doctor, before traveling. They can assist you with deciding which immunizations are most appropriate for you while traveling in Peru. We also recommend visiting the CDC or WHO websites for up to date advice and restrictions. Below, you will find the provinces that students will be traveling in to help you with this process.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON YELLOW FEVER: While as of September 2011 it is not required that students receive their yellow fever vaccination to travel to Peru from the United States, other countries such as Costa Rica, require that you do have proof of your yellow fever vaccination before entering their county. Please make sure you consider your full travel itinerary when speaking to a doctor and always carry all records of your vaccinations and inoculations on you while traveling. Please also remember to check for updates on U.S requirements before travel to Peru or other countries.
Students traveling on the Lake Titicaca Service Adventure program will be traveling mainly in the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon. The provinces for these areas are Cuzco and Urubamba in the Cuzco region, Puno in the Lake Titicaca region and Arequipa in Colca Canyon and Arequipa regions. Students will also be arriving and departing from the capital, Lima. While the regions are not overly diverse for this program the changes in weather can be fairly drastic so please make sure to read the program specific packing list prior to traveling.
Students will be eating mostly Peruvian food on their program, but may have a few chances to eat more international fare such as Italian, Chinese etc. Peru is well known for its cuisine, which varies from region to region. In fact, due to its Incan and pre-Incan heritage, followed by Spanish settlement and then African, Sino-Cantonese and Japanese immigration, Peru boasts one of the most diverse varieties of cuisine in the Americas.
Most of the meals will be centered on traditional Andean food, with a lot of potatoes and grains such as quinoa. In addition, vegetables, beans, and meat such a chicken or trout are found in most meals. For those that choose, there may be the chance to eat Cuy (Guinea Pig) and alpaca which are staples of rural Andean diet and culture. If you would like to know more about Peruvian diet Wikipedia has a nice summery at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_cuisine
Meals will mainly be eaten at local restaurants and in the dining rooms of the families that own the lodges where we will be staying.
Yes, students will drink bottled or purified water while traveling in Peru. It is not recommended that travelers drink the tap water in any part of Peru.
Accommodation on this program ranges from basic guest-houses to hostels and hotels. In Lake Titicaca students will be staying at family run guests-houses that are basic but clean and comfortable. During the travel portions of the program, student will be staying in 2 and 3 star hotels.
Students will have the chance to do laundry about once a week while on their program. Please make sure to have enough clothes to last least a week. It generally costs around $1 – $2 per Kilo for full laundry service
Peru has 3 very distinct climate regions; the desert coastal region, Andean Mountain regions and the Amazon Basin. Students will visit the desert coast in Lima, though most their time will be in the Andean Mountains and Altiplano. During the summer the weather in these parts of Peru is fairly dry, with the chance of rain increasing slightly during the month of August. The day time temperatures generally are between 45 and 65 degrees while nights can drop below freezing. While at Machu Picchu, students will be in the cloud forest which is considerably more humid and hot than Lake Titicaca or Colca Canyon. Students need to be prepared to adapt to the rapid temperature changes that occur in mountain environments. Please make sure to refer to the packing list when preparing for this program.
This program is not overly strenuous, but students should be in at least average physical condition. Activities include, hiking, mountain biking and sea-kayaking. The service work that is conducted can be fairly strenuous as well and student should be prepared to carry adobe bricks, dig trenches and do other physically active work.
The short answer in most cases is no. The degree to which students experience altitude symptoms though are very dependent on the individual and students should expect to experience some of the symptoms associated with mild altitude sickness during their first couple of days of acclimation. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and/or decreased sleep. We have structured the trip to not be strenuous during the first couple of days and ensure students drink a lot of water to help alleviate these common symptoms of altitude. We will also begin our program visiting the lower elevation areas of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley before heading to Lake Titicaca which is at about 12000 ft. Students will also have access to the local remedy of cocoa tea which is very effective in alleviating many of symptoms of altitude sickness. Severe altitude sickness is extremely rare at the elevations where we will be traveling and no Rustic Pathways participant has ever suffered from it. In the unlikely case that a student does show symptoms of severe altitude sickness, local medical care available and equipped to deal with these situations.
Yes! Students will be living in traditional communities in the Andean Mountains and will have ample time to practice their Spanish. Please know that a basic knowledge of Spanish is not required on this program, but students who take the time to learn some basic phases may find their time in Peru to be more rewarding. A small Spanish- English dictionary is recommended.
Phones and internet will be available occasionally throughout the trip. While in Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Aquas Calientes these services will be available on an almost daily basis. There will not be internet or phone access, while living in the villages of Lake Titicaca.
All meals, lodging and transportation are included in the price of the program. Costs that students should be prepared to cover are internet access, travel insurance, medical insurance, medical expenses, International Airfare, laundry, small donations to organizations, souvenirs and personal snacks (like candy bars and sodas). The Lake Titicaca Service Adventure does offer sea kayaking (about $25) as an optional activity. Other additional optional costs may include activities such as sailing on Lake Titicaca or visiting the Machu Picchu Museum. While all materials for our community service programs are included in the cost of the program, students have occasional decided to donate addition funds to supplement projects and materials beyond the projects we are working on. In the past this has included school supplies, gifts for local children and a project to provide electricity to a community.
Students should bring at least between $150 and $300 for their 2 week program. Spending habits can vary extensively from student to student, so please consider how much you normally spend when deciding how much money to bring. An average person may spend about $30 on food and snacks and $75 on souvenirs and miscellaneous items, though obviously this be much higher for certain people. Peru is not an overly expensive country, but it is known for its handicrafts and most students enjoy bringing something home for friends and family. If you are considering opening an allowance account with Rustic Pathways, please consider including an extra $150 or so for emergency situations. It is wise to ensure that students have these funds if needed, and please make sure that they are aware of how much has been allocated for spending money and how much for emergencies as students will have access to the full amount of their funds.
Peru has 220V outlets as opposed to the 110V outlets in the United States. The plug shape is usually the same, so be careful not to fry any of your electronics. These days, most common electronics like cameras, computers and mp3 chargers have built in adapters and can be plugged straight into the wall. For all other electronics, you will need to make sure to purchase a converter. Please make sure to check all electronics before plugging them in!
The national language in Peru is Spanish, or Castilian, however, there are a number of traditional languages such as Quechua and Aymara also spoken in Peru. If you don’t speak Spanish, you should not be concerned. There will be bi-lingual guides that can assist with translation when needed. Also, in the highly touristic areas such as Machu Picchu, many menus and other signs are in both English and Spanish. Of course, if you are able to get down a few phases before your arrival it will only help to interact with locals and make your experience more rewarding.
Contact Us: For more information about Lake Titicaca Service Adventure you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake Titicaca Service Adventure combines well with the following programs.
Ages: 14 to 18 years old
Length: 16 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 40 hours awarded
Cost: $3,395 + $465 Internal Airfare
International airfare is not included in the above cost. Please check our Travel Desk for airfare pricing and specifics.
|Departs Tue||Returns Wed||Availability|
|11 Jun||26 Jun||Sold Out|
|25 Jun||10 Jul||Very Limited|
|9 Jul||24 Jul||Sold Out|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States. Most Rustic Pathways trips interconnect, allowing you to design your own perfect summer program.Apply Now