Peru is a must see destination if you are thinking about venturing to South America. Rich in both geography and history it is a traveler’s awe inspiring dream of extremes. From the heady heights of the Andes where the mysterious Machu Picchu lies in the sacred valley, to the virgin Amazon rainforest, to the glimmering Lake Titicaca.
But Peru is much more than the sights, it’s about the remote communities whose crops are still planted by hand, where the Campesinos still wear tire truck sandals, where the women work in petticoats and bowler hats, and llamas are as tame as pets.
For us the real treat comes from having the opportunity to combine the sights with meeting these communities, who are trying to preserve their traditional way of life but are keen for development in its gentlest form. Several forward thinking communities have agreed to let Leapers step into their world to help with their crops and with teaching the young English and computer skills. It is an amazing and unique opportunity for positive cultural exchange – so don’t miss out.
Typically our programs are for 10 or 6 weeks long, taking in the unique mix of adventure and community projects.
Travel as part of a Leap team, maximum size of 12 per departure.
Arequipa: Week 1
You’ll start in the sun-drenched colonial Andean city of Arequipa where you will spend the mornings learning Spanish before heading out in the afternoons to explore the markets, meet the resident alpaca’s and white water rafting down the Chili River.
Colca Canyon – Coporaque Community Project: Weeks 2-3
Three hours north of Arequipa, in the Colca Canyon, you will live with the traditional Coporaque community who are keen for you to help with:
- Developing a plot of land at the secondary school to produce corn, vegetables and quinoa for healthy school lunches.
- Teaching English and IT skills to the secondary and primary school children.
- Caring for the youngest children at the daycare center.
- Helping maintain the aqueducts.
- Helping promote community-based tourism via the internet and developing the cultural center in the village.
In your free time the community will organize a days hike to visit some isolated Inca remains that have never been properly investigated.
Colca Canyon Trek: Week 4
Colca Canyon, is one the worlds deepest river canyons and is a sensation of green valleys, white water, traditional villages with terraced agriculture (that predates the Incas), llama’s, alpacas and of course the famous giant Andean condor.
You‘ll be led on a 3-day/2-night trek deep into this canyon to explore with a local guide.
Lake Titicaca – Karina Community Project: Weeks 5–6,
Next up is Lake Titicaca which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia. It is one of South America’s largest lakes and the Inca’s birthplace. Steeped in history the shores are a visual feast of crumbling cathedrals, desolate altiplano and checkerboard fields backed by rolling hills and high Andean peaks.
On route to the Karina community you’ll have the chance to see the incredible floating islands of Uros: islands constructed of native ‘totora’ reed that have been used for hundreds of years to home the Uros people – an amazing spectacle.
Karina is found on a peninsula that juts out into the lake. They are a traditional Aymara community who are keen to establish and develop community tourism to supplement their subsistence farming income.
You’ll help here with:
- Working alongside local families on their smallholdings.
- Teaching English and art in the local primary school, acting as a teaching assistant.
- Teaching English and IT skills in the secondary school.
- Teaching the host families English.
- Working on community infrastructure and maintenance projects.
In your free time, you’ll play football with the kids, swim in the Lake and explore the Chucuito Peninsula.
Titicaca to Cusco: Week 7
After Karina you will head to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Inca wall ruins.
Here you will explore this colonial city and visit another pre-Inca site at Sacsayhuaman and the famous Sillustani pre-Inca remains near Puno.
Tierra de los Yachaqs – Community Project: Week 8 – 9
The “Tierra de los Yachaqs” project involves a group of small indigenous communities tucked away in the Sacred Valley. They live largely by traditional agriculture and crafts production.
Keen to develop they need your help with:
- Their traditional agricultural processes.
- Teaching English and assisting in local schools.
- Teaching hosts English.
- Reforestation and environmental remediation projects
Trek to Machu Picchu: Week 10
Cusco is the gateway to the Sacred Valley – Andean countryside dotted with hamlets and ruins linked by trail and railway tracks leading to the continent’s biggest draw – Machu Picchu…it is truly beautiful.
Built in the 15th century above the Urubamba River valley, it’s renowned for dry-stone walls, buildings inline with astronomical alignments and stunning, I repeat stunning views. Its former use still remains a mystery.
The best way to see Machu Picchu is by trekking through the winding valleys and stunning scenery before ascending to the site of Machu Picchu itself in time for sunrise. Heaven. The trek takes 4 days and you’ll stay in basic hostels along the way. Meals provided.
We have limited spaces, per departure, so book online to reserve your place and the Leap will get back to you to confirm the details.