Community Service Projects
In Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Inca, ancient ruins and tiny villages are scattered among the lush folds of the Andes, and the Quechua people carry on the colorful traditions of their ancestors. We’ll make our home nestled in a mountain village here and work alongside members of the community on an array of service projects. Get in tune with the rhythms of life in the heart of the ancient Inca Empire; explore Cusco and Machu Picchu; and capture your experience through photos, journals, and video.
The program begins in the Sacred Valley of the Inca with an introduction to the ancient city of Pisac. Explore the imposing Pisac ruins to familiarize yourself with the Inca, a people whose influence is still woven into the fabric of modern Peru, and visit Pisac’s renowned artisanal market for a taste of local life.
Community Service Village
From Pisac, head deeper into the valley to our community service village. Settle into the rhythm of rural life by immersing yourself in the local culture and working alongside community members on a range of service projects. Possible projects include building a classroom, painting a mural, constructing a community center, and helping young students improve their English. Get further involved in village life by volunteering at the village clinic, learning to cook a typical Andean meal, or practicing traditional agriculture with local farmers. In the afternoons, play soccer with village friends, hike remnants of ancient Inca footpaths into the surrounding mountains, or relax and play music with your Peruvian peers. Chronicle your experience in the village through an independent project of your choice: create a Quechua phrasebook, try your hand at weaving, or photograph local children and display their portraits at the school.
From your base in the village, take day trips to nearby towns, Inca ruins, and local markets. Spend a weekend in Cusco, the imperial capital of the Inca. Delve into Incan culture as we explore Sacsayhuaman, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Spanish conquest, and stunning colonial cathedrals built with stones from ancient Inca fortresses. At the end of your stay, join community members for a farewell celebration with local music and traditional dancing.
A scenic train ride brings us to one of the most magnificent spots in the world: the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. Abandoned by the Inca for centuries, the site was rediscovered in 1911 by explorer Hiram Bingham and excavated by a team from National Geographic. Venture through the ancient temples and dwellings to unlock their mysteries. Take an early morning hike up a nearby peak and watch the sun rise over the ruins. We’ll gather for a final evening of sharing the stories and skills we’ve picked up in Peru before our flight home.
AltitudeWe will be traveling at high elevations ranging from 8,000 to approximately 13,000 feet. Participants should be physically fit.
Accommodations in the village are simple. The group sleeps in sleeping bags on the floor of the community center. Boys and girls share a sleeping area and bathroom with other students of the same gender. In Cusco and Machu Picchu, we stay in small, family-run inns and hostels.