Explore Peru’s Sacred Valley

Study History in Peru

Peru is a place full of history, mysticism and diverse landscapes. However, beyond its diversity lie issues related to discrimination against indigenous cultures and gender inequality. You can make an impact when you travel abroad by connecting with locals in rural areas and perhaps spending an afternoon teaching English to underprivileged kids.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Upon arriving in Cusco via Lima, you will meet your local guide at the Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport. Cusco sits at an altitude of approximately 3,400 meters above sea level. If you have never been at high altitude before, you will notice a difference. On that note, be sure to eat light, stay hydrated and take it easy for the first 24 hours of your trip. 

After arriving at your accommodation, your local guide will give you a briefing of the week’s upcoming activities in the Sacred Valley. Afterward, you will be connected with IPSL Peru to get an overview of the current state of human rights and indigenous cultures in the country. 

Take the morning to wake up at your own pace and adjust to the altitude. To kick off the morning, grab a light breakfast and coca tea before heading out to explore the city’s historic center. As you walk along the cobblestone streets, you will feel a unique energy flowing throughout the city. Around the historic center, you will encounter sites including the Plaza de Armas, Cusco Cathedral, San Pedro Market and more. 

After exploring the historic center, you will have the option to either hike up on foot (about 45 minutes) or take a car ride (about 10 minutes) to explore several archeological sites. In the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, there is plenty of history to be found here. Once you are at the top of the hill, you will be graced with stellar views of the city from the San Cristobal lookout. Continuing, you will come to the archaeological complex known as Saqsaywaman. This site covers 3,000 hectares, which you can explore on foot. Just make sure your camera is charged! 

Today in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, you will take a 1.5-hour drive to a town called Urubamba. This quaint town sits in a valley that is positioned slightly lower than Cusco (approximately 2,900 meters) and will be a relief if you are feeling the effects of altitude in Cusco. 

For the first half of the day, you will be partaking in rural tourism activities. Choose from activities like learning how to make chicha morada or participate in a pottery workshop. You can also learn about the art of textile weaving, how to make chocolate, beekeeping and more. 

Afterward, you will be heading to Natura Vive’s one-of-a-kind accommodation. Tonight you will be staying in a unique glass pod, known as the Skylodge, that is positioned on the side of a mountain. Not only that, in order to arrive at your pod, you will actually be rock-climbing up the cliff! To say the least, this is a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience boasting out of this world views. 

As you wake up to stunning views of the Sacred Valley in your glass pod, you will have the luxury of being able to eat breakfast overlooking the lush landscapes. At around noon you will make your descent via zip-line back to the bottom of the cliff. From that point, you will head to the neighboring township of Ollantaytambo. 

Walking through the streets of this ancient town is almost like walking through a labyrinth. The walls are high, and there seems to be a surprise around every corner. Take some time to explore the area before embarking on a short hike up one of the town’s archeological complexes known as Inka Watana. 

Just before sunset, you will head to the Peru Rail station and hop onboard a train en route to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. The train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is slightly under 2 hours and will take you through some stunning valleys in the region. 

Today you will rise early in order to hike up to the archeological wonder of Machu Picchu. Once you arrive, your guide will lead you to iconic locations throughout the expansive archeological site, including the Temple of the Moon, Temple of the Sun and more. After the tour, you will have the next few hours to roam around the site at your leisure. 

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is a must-see archaeological site in Peru. Renowned as one of the most impressive architectural creations throughout the Inca Empire, there are several places of ceremonial and astrological importance throughout more than 32,000 square meters of the site’s historic remains.

This morning, you will make your way back to Ollantaytambo via Peru Rail. From there, you will be shuttled back to the city of Cusco. Once you arrive, you will be able to check out an iconic market set in the charming San Blas neighborhood. One of the best decisions you can make here is to drink a juice made fresh by one of the women in the market. 

Afterward, stroll around the neighborhood and check out the various artisanal shops, cafes and more. To wrap up the afternoon, you will be checking out the historic ruins of Q’enco. Here you will be able to make your way through tunnels amidst the site and take in some great panoramic views of the city. 

On your final day in Cusco, wake up early and enjoy a quaint breakfast in Jack’s Cafe. Afterward, it’s off to the airport en route to Lima. Once in Lima, you will then be able to connect internationally or carry on your travels throughout the country. 

Although you have wrapped up your journey in the Sacred Valley, there are still many different landscapes left to explore in Peru. You’ve experienced the Andes Mountains, but there is still the coast, desert and Amazon jungle left to uncover. 

A country full of diversity in terms of landscapes, environment, culture and culinary delights, Peru is a must-visit for any adventurer. However, beyond the epic adventures it has to offer, Peru faces problems related to human rights and gender inequality. Travel abroad and get a deeper understanding of these issues by connecting with locals and reputable organizations in the communities you visit.


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