PERU’S SACRED VALLEY

Journey to the majestic land of the ancient Inca!

January 4 – 13, 2013

From charming and picturesque Cusco, to the lush Sacred Valley of the Incas, to mysterious Machu Picchu, the Crown Jewel of the Andes, Peru offers visually stimulating and exciting experiences! Plus Lima all part of an incredible holiday.

The Volunteer program includes visits to the village of Willoq a small village in the Peruvian Andes and a chance to experience and share with local residents the Andean tradition of reciprocity (Ayni). And meet the children of the unique village.  To the Samana Wasi Children’s Home in the Sacred Valley to participate  in Community Development programs such as renovating and refurbishing school equipment, painting a classroom/tables and/or chairs in the local school, harvesting vegetables (seasonal activity), providing general care and assistance in looking after the children, teaching them how to use a computer,help in building “adobe bricks” or other specific needs both communities need Plus visiting Chincha, and the Chincha Baja Project, an organization devoted to  persons with disabilities for families of all ages from children, the elderly and those with neurological and physical limitations. And a special visit in Lima to the Aniquem, a non-profit organization involved in the rehabilitation of burn survivors.

Tour Includes:            

  • Airfare to Peru
  • Inter-Peru Flights
  • Other tour-related transportation in Peru
  • Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, including luggage handling
  • Accommodations in First Class hotels
  • Hotel service charges and taxes
  • Daily breakfast
  • Other meals as per itinerary
  • All site entrance fees
  • Pre-paid Gratuities
  • Fully escorted and guided by local Peruvian Guides

Special Added Features

  • Visit to the unique Pisac market
  • Visit Ollantaytambo, the Sanctuary of the Wind
  • Explore enigmatic Machu Picchu
  • Dinner in Cusco with traditional Andean musicians and folklore dancers
  • Special farewell dinner in Lima

Volunteer Projects in Peru’s Sacred Valley include

  • The “Dream Project” pairs you with a local student and together discuss the student’s dreams for this art project. We have found it to be a valuable opportunity in teaching children the value of dreaming: how important it is to have dreams, to wish for things, to have goals in life…..and how visualizing ones dreams in this way and keeping them near you while you sleep helps your dreams come true.
  • Assist in rebuilding some of the many houses for families that lost everything to the devastating January rains. We will provide the man-power working with local supplies.
  • Visit Willoc, high in the Sacred Valley Mountains. Participate in various volunteer activities such as  “adobe brick” building for the school and home. Assist in renovating and refurbishing school equipment, painting a classroom/tables and/or chairs in the local school, harvesting vegetables (seasonal activity).
  • Join the fight for the future of the planet by cleaning the river or other clean-up project, the trout farm, etc.
  • There will be Gift-Giving to children of poverty.  They have very little and are genuinely appreciative of even the smallest presents:  pens, pencils, crayons, markers, storybooks or educational toys, etc. that are great motivators for the kids.
  • Visit the Samana Wasi (“House of Rest” in the indigenous Quechua language), a home for abandoned children and neglected elderly founded by local Urubamba residents Sr. Anton Ponce de Leon Paiva and his wife Regia Astete Ponce de Leon Samana. We will have an opportunity to visit some of the children & elders, ask questions and share stories.
  • Spend some time at the Chincha Baja Project, which is devoted to families that have children with disabilities and neurological disorders.  There, we will do the Dream Pillow program.
  • Working at the Aniquem, a non-profit organization involved in the rehabilitation of burn survivors.

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Friday, January 4:  Depart for Lima

Depart for Lima this evening.

Day 2: Saturday, January 5: Onwards  to Cusco & Sacred Valley – Urubamba (L/D)

Morning arrival in Lima where we connect at the International Airportfor our 1+ hour flight to Cusco over the spectacular Andes Mountain.  Arrive  in Cusco where we board our coach and depart to the lush Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop is Awanakancha, an exhibition center of textiles and South American Llamas, located at on the road to Pisac. It’s considered a living museum as we learn about the techniques to take their wool  to finely spin into garments. Continue to visit the Pisac market, consisting of dozens of stalls displaying and selling goods crafted by residents of the area. We can find textiles, carvings and replicas of ancient Inca pieces. It’s a town built as a partridge, hosting one of the most important archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley on the slopes of its hills.  Lunch at the local Tunupa restaurant before we check in at our hotel in Urubamba in the Sacred Valley. Dinner and overnight in the Sacred Valley.

Day 3, Sunday, January 6: In the Sacred Valley  — Willoq (B/L/D)

Today, we have two 2 important projects. In the morning, We start our day with a visit to a unique site, Willoq, a small village in the Peruvian Andes that is sustained by the sale of its colorful textiles by the native craftswomen. This tour offers the chance to experience and share with local residents the Andean tradition of reciprocity (Ayni). The goal is for the community itself to coordinate tourist activities in its territory, interacting with visitors and helping them understand the community’s rich historical and cultural legacy.  While the local women sell their wares in the market, the kids gather in wait for the treats they know will come from the market-goers. The local children wait patiently as you’d expect a crowd of kids looking to satisfy their sweet-tooths. This scene brings that entire village to life the bright colors, the sweetness of the kids, the ruggedness of the life high in the Andes. This morning participate in the Community Service programs that will include:

Community Development: Participating in renovating and refurbishing school equipment, painting a classroom/tables and/or chairs in the local school, harvesting vegetables (seasonal activity). Also providing general care and assistance in looking after the children, teaching them how to use the computer, etc.

Conservation: Join the fight for the future of the planet by cleaning the river or other clean-up project, the trout farm, etc.

Sports: Working with the children in their local school, we have the chance to pass on our passion for sport, arrange sport competitions and games with them.

Gift-giving to children: It’s wonderful because they have very little and are genuinely appreciative of even smallest presents. Pencils, crayons, colors, pens, story books or educational toys, etc. are great motivators for the kids. Materials for the different activities can be bought in Cusco and brought to Willoq. Activities will last between 2 to 4 hours,  depending on the ones selected and our specific interest No age restrictions.

Some of us will participate with some local younger children and do our “Dream Project”. Here we will be paired with a student and together discuss the student’s dreams for this art project. We have found it to be a valuable opportunity to teach the children the value of dreaming: how important is to have dreams, to wish for things, to have goals in life…..and how visualizing ones dreams in this way and keeping them near you while you sleep helps your dreams come true. Using fabric, non-toxic paints and markers (travelers will bring them), the children create designs and affirmations, as well as put their names on their pillowcases. Sayings such things as Sweet Dreams,  Dreams Come True, etc.  Each child will leave with a Dream Pillow.  We have found that this program gives these children an experience that can affect them very positively for years to come.  Then it onto lunch at the Pakaritampu hotel. This is followed by a ride through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, a small village that has been continuously occupied since Inca times. Our Guide will take us on a short walking tour through some of the streets, where we will see original Inca doorways and other construction absorbing it as part of his empire and it now exhibits some of the most remarkable archaeological sites of the empire. Return to our hotel for dinner and well-deserved rest.

Day 4, Monday, January 7: In the Sacred Valley  –  Visit to Samana Wasi Children’s Home (B/L/D)

We depart after breakfast we depart for a visit nearby Samana Wasi (“House of Rest” in the indigenous Quechua language), a home for abandoned children and neglected elderly founded by local Urubamba residents Sr. Anton Ponce de Leon Paiva and his wife Regia Astete Ponce de Leon. Samana, as it is known locally, was built on Anton’s family land, and has been in operation since the late 1980’s. Anton and Regia have brought together two of the most disenfranchised segments of the population; here they live with and learn from each other. There are approximately 25 children who live there; they range in age from 2 to 18 years. An elderly grandmother came to live there 5 years ago.  Children live at Samana and go to school in Urubamba. Volunteers at the Home teach them other subjects, such as music, weaving, ceramics, etc. These people are also surrogate aunties and uncles to the children, as well as cooks, laundry persons, groundskeepers, farmers, etc. The children take part in the daily chores and help to tend the vegetable gardens.  They are not adopted out, but live as a family unit, with Poppy Anton, Mama Regia, and their brothers and sisters, until they are 18. At this time they are able to attend a university or seek employment. Several of the children have left Samana, have graduated from a university, have jobs in various fields, are married with families of their own, and are now contributing members of society.  There is no government support for the Samana Wasi; it is funded solely through private donations  During our afternoon we will learn more about the history of Samana, as well as its present day operations and goals for the future in caring for the children and elders who live there. We will see the children at work on their afternoon chores, as well as in art or music classes, and have an opportunity to visit with some of them and ask them questions.  Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 5. Tuesday, January 8: To Machu Picchu & Cuzco (B/LD)

This morning, transfer to the Ollantaytambo train station at Urubamba and board the train to Machu Picchu. Upon arriving at Aguas Calientes,  a small village at the base of Machu Picchu, we will embark on a 25-minute coach ride to “The Lost City of the Incas,” discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. We will enjoy a guided tour of the marvelous citadel, an awe-inspiring experience. Machu Picchu, which means “Old Mountain”, is considered a World Heritage by UNESCO and one of the new seven wonders of the world. Later, feel free to stroll around the archaeological site. Before lunch that will be served at the top of Machu Picchu before we return to the village and board our train for Cuzco. Dinner at our hotel this evening.

Day 6, Wednesday, January 9: In Cuzco (B/D)

We start our morning with a tour of Cuzco, beginning with a visit to the Coricancha, also known as “The Temple of the Sun” (or “Golden Enclosure”), which was built by Pachacuti Inca Here, homage was paid to the Sun (“Inti”) during the Inca era, a time when its walls were entirely covered with gold sheets and its courtyards planted with golden maize and life size llamas. Then visit the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the Plaza de Armas. Its construction began in 1560 and ended only in 1654, almost a full century later. In addition, thousands of stones were extracted and transported from the Sacsayhuaman Fortress under the command of the Ecclesiastical Council. Then wonder around this magnificent building, an emblematic work of the Incas that guarded the Sacred City. Thought and built by Inca Pachacutec in the fifteenth century, the Sacsayhuaman complex was erected with megalithic blocks whose transport and lift remain a fascinating mystery. Continue to nearby  Qenqo, an archaeological complex of mainly religious use where agricultural rituals were performed. Finally explore Puka Pucara or “Red Fortress”  It is believed the Incas occupied the site while the Lord rested at Tambomachay nearby. Return to our hotel for some time to rest before we depart for a  folklore show and dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 7, Thursday:  January 10: To Lima and onto Chincha (B/L/D)

An early flight to Lima where we are met at the airport and travel by coach for about 2 hours to Chincha, home of the Chincha Baja Project devoted to families and especially children with disabilities and neurological disorders. Lunch along the way. Time to relax before dinner and overnight in Chincha.

Day 8, Friday:  January 11: Back to Lima (B/L/D)

This morning, we will spend the time at the Chincha Baja Project.  The Chincha Project is a school for children with neurological disorders in the bordering town of Chincha Alta. It served students from ages 6 to 22. The program works with young children in need of early intervention (who previously were traveling as far as Lima (two and a half hours one way) for therapy services. The elderly and physically disabled had no local therapy available. Through generous donations, there is a now fully functioning clinic. Afterwards, depart Chincha as we drive along the Pacific Coast for Lima. Lunch will be along the way. Arrive late in Lima and check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 8, Saturday:  January 12: Lima and departure for New York(B/L/D)

In the morning, our tour begins in the center of the city where you will begin a sightseeing tour of Lima, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Arrive at the Plaza Mayor where we see the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of Lima, imposing buildings still in use. You will also discover the San Francisco Church, which stores an enviable collection of ancient books and has a network of catacombs open to the public, including churches and monuments. Back in Miraflores, lunch at our hotel. After lunch, we will  proceed to ANIQUEM,  a non-profit organization involved in the rehabilitation of burn survivors.  Services provided in ANIQUEM are free of charge to patients in poverty and extreme poverty that have suffered severe burns. Patients come from all the country, as they are the only specialized center in burn rehabilitation. ANIQUEM is the only center in the country that works in the support of patients with facial disfigurement.   Their work covers a broad spectrum of unmet needs of burn survivors and therefore they are always struggling to get enough funds to resource our programs.Return to our hotel to change and proceed with our luggage for our farewell dinner at the famous Nautica Restaurant. After dinner, we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight back to JFK.

Day 9,  Sunday: January 13: Arrival in JFK

Morning arrival in the USA