Intro to Cusco and the Incas
In the first few days you’ll get lost in the sights and sounds of Peru, see the imperial capital of Cusco, and visit a wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. We offer a range of activities from visiting local markets and museums to a guided tour of the city.
Day One: International Travel from Home Country to Calca, Peru
AM – Settle into your lodging and catch your breath, literally. Be aware of how your body is responding to the altitude, rest, and stay hydrated.
PM – Take a guided tour around the ancient Incan capital city of Cusco, capped off by a visit to the fortress built to protect it, Saqsayhuaman, or stroll through the streets on your own (with a map and some pointers, of course).
AM – Brunch, Travel down the Sacred Valley to spend the day in Ollantaytambo, a living Incan city surrounded by terraces, temples, and other archaeological sites, as well as a vibrant market.
PM – In the afternoon, take the Peru Rail train through the narrow winding valley with stunning views to Aguas Calientes, a city at the base of Machu Picchu. We’ll eat dinner here as well as have the opportunity to check out the local market and/or hot springs.
AM – Today we visit the impressive citadel on a mountain and wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. This comes with a guided tour and free time to explore the ruins, as well as an optional extra trip to one of two overlooks: Machu Picchu Mountain and HuaynuPicchu
PM – In the afternoon you’ll return to the Sacred Valley and meet your host family with whom you’ll be spending the next couple nights.
A Closer Look at the Incas Today
Now that you’ve seen the rich Incan heritage of the region, we invite you into the communities where we work and live for a taste of how these communities live today. Stay with a local family, roll your sleeves up at the farm, see some community greenhouses in action, and learn how local women make, dye and weave beautiful traditional textiles.
AM – Get to know a bit more about the AASD, how we do what we do, the people we work with and rely on for success, and the communities where we work. Spend the day at the Eco Huella Farm and work side by side with three knowledgeable, hard-working, and passionate siblings working every day to improve their situation and that of the surrounding communities.
PM – If you’re feeling the Latin bug, in the evening try your hand at Salsa Lessons from founder and CEO Aaron Ebner
AM – In the morning we’ll wrap up our work and conversations with the Ninas, and share lunch with them.
PM – In the afternoon we will travel to Lares, the capital of the district where many of our projects are based. Along the way we’ll wind through breathtaking mountain passes over 14,000 feet high, and communities nestled just beneath them, like Maucau and Pampacorral where we have partnered on school and family greenhouses, and home to the famed “Potato King” of Peru. In the evening we can warm up and dip our toes in the natural hot springs just out of town.
AM – This morning we’ll drive over to the nearby farming community of Ccachin. We’ll speak with William and German, the school director and caretaker who we have partnered with on school greenhouse projects for over five years. In 2017, German organized ten neighbors who were interested in family greenhouses and we partner with them on construction and workshops.
PM – In the afternoon you have the option to take a 3-4 hour downhill hike back to Lares, or take the car and walk around town, relax in the plaza, or take one last dip in the hot springs before we all return to your host families in the Sacred Valley.
Decompress in the Sacred Valley
What would a vacation be without, well, vacation? Spend time unwinding in a beautiful river valley surrounded by breathtaking mountains, Incan ruins, and a nice easy-going pace of life.
AM – Sleep in, rest and relax following a few intense days of travel, work, and visits.
PM – In the afternoon at the hotel we’ll offer a weaving workshop with Manuela, a local artisan, teacher, and mother from the high altitude community of Poques, along with some of her fellow weavers. Learn from the masters and get hands-on in every step of the weaving process, from shearing to dying and ultimately weaving intricate patterns.
Day Nine and Ten: These final two days are a la carte. There are numerous possibilities to explore in the area, and we will help you decide what is right for you.
• Still fascinated by the textiles and art? Visit the Pisaq or Chinchero Markets, or spend the afternoon making jewelry with an after-school program.
• Both Pisaq and Chinchero also offer nearby hikes through beautiful landscapes and archaeological sites. There are a plethora of other hikes around the valley if that’s what you’re looking for.
• If you’re a history buff check out the salt mines of Maras, the ancient agricultural research center of Moray, or many other sites and museums in the area.
• If you’d rather slow down, read a book, and soak things in, there’s no better place to relax and enjoy nature than in the tranquil Sacred Valley.
Day Eleven: International Travel from Cusco home
- All meals as well as water and snacks throughout the day.
- International flight and all in-country transportation included.
All pre-programmed activities.
- Trained personnel, Medical kits, and other precautions taken.
- Not Included
Alcoholic beverages, desserts, personal extras
Any extra days in-country, or requested upgrades
From your house to the airport and back.
Some free-day activities may fall outside the fee.
- Insurance and costs incurred as a result of medical issues.
The full cost of this trip is only $3,900. That price includes all planned activities as well as your flights, meals, lodging, and in-country transportation, in just one easy payment. As a small organization dedicated to the communities where we work, the profits from your program are invested back into our community projects, leaving a lasting impact for generations.
“During our visit to the Peruvian Andes, we were able to see 100% of our donations being used to construct mud based greenhouses to help the Andean people grow new plants. We were amazed how resourceful Andean Alliance and the greenhouse material recipients are. As Americans, we can learn from those who have so little to work with. Yes, we donate to their knowledge and resource base; however, more importantly, we receive so much in return! They look at a problem with fresh eyes and a totally different perspective, where conservation and use of 100% of all materials is crucial for improved survival. We are proud to be part of such a successful effort.“