Since 2008, Rustic Pathways has been offering diverse experiences focusing on service and adventure throughout Peru. Students who join us have the opportunity to scale high glaciated Andean peaks, explore ancient Incan ruins, enter the depths of the Amazon Rainforest and work alongside locals in welcoming communities. We offer year-round programs for high schools and private groups. Our operations in Peru are headquartered atop the Andes in the old Incan capital city of Cusco.
We custom design our Journeys to meet your school’s requirements, so please contact us to discuss the type of experience you are looking for. As a general guide, here are some of the potential elements of your Journey through Peru:
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Rustic Pathways has developed various long-term partnerships with communities and local organisations in Peru.
Some of our service projects that you could support include:
Lake Titicaca: 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.
Uros Island: 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 interacting with local families and students. There may even be the possibility of playing a game of volleyball on this floating island of reeds.
Tequile Island: Work alongside locals on service projects in the villages of the beautiful Tequile Island. Also participate in activities in the local school by way of tutoring and extra-curricular activities.
Sacred Valley: Take a step back in time to get a glimpse of how Incans once lived while participating in service projects in the Sacred Valley. In previous years, student have built bathrooms and Guinea Pig hutches. All projects will have students working alongside the local families that will benefit from these projects. This year we are planning on continuing building Guinea Pig hutches to help spark local economic development and sustainability.
Urubamba Province School: Visit a local school and spend time with the children. At school you will have time to play games and teach English and math to the students.
Huayllampi Village: Rustic Pathways has developed a strong working relationship with an underfunded boarding school for students from rural communities. Students will work side by side with the local students on projects designed to improve their living conditions and educational quality. In the afternoons the group will tutor the local students in English and basic skills.
Animal Shelter: You will work alongside the shelter employees assisting with cage maintenance, animal feeding, and if you’re lucky, take a picture with a monkey or two. All the animals at the shelter are being rehabilitated so that they can be released into the wild and return to their natural habitat. This will be an awesome opportunity to get up close and personal with a range of exotic creatures!
Practice Spanish with locals, or pick up some words of the local indigenous dialects that are spoken throughout the country. Marvel at the sight of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu, and work with direct descendants of the Incan Empire on service projects. You may also like to incorporate some of the following experiences into your Journey:
Machu Picchu: Wake up early in the morning and travel the windy road up the mountain to the world famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Be there in time to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu and long enough to explore the magnificent ruins.
Inauguration Ceremonies: Join locals from the villages in a traditional inauguration ceremony. You will share and enjoy local food while participating in traditional dances and games. You might even have the opportunity to try a specialty from the Sacred Valley region – guinea pig!
Living city of the Incas: 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.
Tequile Island Crafts: Take part in a weaving and dye workshop led by a world class weaver and dye master. Using natural plants and seeds you will learn the art of dying alpaca wool the same manner it has been done for hundreds of years.
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.
Aguas Calientes: Activities up in this beautiful mountain pass town include shopping at the local market, visiting the Machu Picchu museum, or hiking to a nearby waterfall.
Interpretive Amazon Forest walks: Head into the forest in search of local fauna and learn about medical and other uses of the plants and insects of the forest. The local guides bring a wealth of knowledge and it is simply amazing how many uses they have for almost every plant and animal in the forest.
Visiting with local communities: The Amazon forest is home to amazing wildlife, but it is also home to people who make a meagre living off the land. Learn about how they live their daily lives and the challenges they face.
Adventure and challenge is inherent to every Journey, however, if you are looking to physically challenge your students through a specific activity, you may opt to include:
Mountain Biking: Jump on a mountain bike and bike down over 3,000 ft from the high pass to the village of Chivay in the altiplano region of Peru.
Colca Canyon: The Colca Canyon is famous not only for being the second deepest canyon in the world but also for being home to a 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.
White-water rafting: Embark on a 2-hour white water rafting adventure down the Urubamba River. The river is popular due to its non-technical nature and has several class 2 and 3 rapids.
Zip-lining, bungee, rappelling & slingshots: Take a leap of faith and try the exhilarating zip-lining and cliff repelling or head up to Cuzco to bungee jump or slingshot!
Hot Springs: Soak in the warm waters of the Santa Teresa hot springs in the La Convención province.
Hike to glacial lakes: Starting in the town of Pacchanta, hike to one of the glacial lakes at the base of Ausengate. At an elevation of over 12,000ft we will walk slowly, but have the chance to see turquoise lakes, towering glaciers and wildlife such as Andean Geese, deer and with luck an Andean Condor, the biggest flying bird in the world.
Tres Chimabadas Lake, Amazon: One of highlights of the area, this oxbow lake is home to a variety of animal rarely found in other locations. With luck there is the chance to see to star of the lake, the Giant River Otters, as well as abundant waterfowl and large Black Caiman. While searching for wildlife, have the chance to try your luck fishing for piranha!
Rafting down the Tambopata, Amazon: Constructing a raft and floating down the river as macaws fly overhead and the sun sets over the Amazon is the perfect way to end the day. There will always be a support boat with us as well for safety.
Colpe La Torre, Amazon: Rising before sunrise, head to the local clay lick, where parrot and macaws come to feed on the mineral rich clay to help counter act the toxins in the fruit they eat. Listening to the forest awaken as you sit in silence is truly an unforgettable experience.
There are various accommodation options that we can offer in Peru; it depends on how “rustic” you would like your Journey to be.
Guesthouses: A number of different guesthouses from ancient Incan buildings to quaint village inns.
Hotels: A variety of 3, 4 & 5 star hotels in cities and towns
Homestays: Students can homestay with local families in the villages we stay in.
Amazon Jungle Lodge: The Amazon lodge accommodations are basic but very comfortable and their excellent staff makes sure we are well fed with amazing buffet meals.
Adventure and service in the Amazon jungle and foothills of the Andes Mountains
Arrive in Lima, meet your Rustic Pathways Program Leaders, and take a private bus to the Miraflores neighborhood where, after a brief orientation, you’ll settle in for the night.
Rise from a good night’s sleep and head back to the airport for the final leg of your journey. Fly to Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire high in the Andes Mountains.
Hike to the rural communities where you’ll stay for the next couple of days. Visit with local families, explore Inca ruins, and witness majestic mountainscapes to better understand life and culture in Peru. Participate in a meaningful service project that in the past has included assisting on a potable water project and helping at a girl’s dormitory.
Start your day with a picturesque train ride to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of the Machu Picchu ruins. Explore the town and shop, gearing up for the adventure ahead.
Wake up early and experience the grandeur of Machu Picchu in the morning mist. Start with a guided tour of the site’s history before marveling at the intricate stonework or stealing a moment of relaxation with the breathtaking views from the perched terraces. Take the train back to Ollantaytambo later in the day to relax at the hotel.
Enjoy this mix of the past and present as you explore Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit 16th-century cathedrals, admire ancient Inca temples, and wander colonial streets. Visit the ChocoMuseo and make your own handmade chocolates from Peruvian cacao.
Visit the local San Pedro market, taste the fresh fruits and vegetables, and bargain for any last-minute gifts for family and friends during your final morning in Peru. Head to the airport for the flight to Lima and your connecting flight home.
Please chat to us if you have any special requests that you would like included in your Journey.
There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start designing your Journey!
We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the global education of your students.