Peruvian Highlands!

Student Travel to Peru - Educational Travel Program to Peru
Beauty. History. Adventure!

Step back in time and witness the feats of architecture, the beauty of ancient art, and the awe-inspiring ecology of Peru.

Trek across this stunning country in planes and trains to discover a fascinating history that will leave a profound mark!

Get ready to discover the mysteries of the early Incan civilization as you explore Machu Picchu.

Sink your teeth into some new and surprising cuisine.

And get ready to immerse yourself in this rich and unique culture!

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Program Highlights

Smaller groups.

Bigger impact!

Program length: 8 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $4,295
Programs Depart:  week of July 4th, 2019

Minimum Group: 15 Paying Travelers

Program priced from Leader’s departure airport.

Program Highlights:
  • Lima: UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Colonial & Modern Architecture
  • Sun Temple, Red Fortress & Ancient Aqueducts
  • Cuzco & the Inca Empire
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Service Project
  • Maras & the Salt Fields
  • The Sacred Valley
  • Ride the Inca Express into the Highlands
  • Machu Picchu
  • Llamas!


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Full Program Itinerary

Day One – Welcome to Peru!
Today we board our flight to the beautiful coastal city of Lima, Peru.

  • Upon arrival, we’ll be met by our Travel Manager & local staff.
  • En route to our hotel, we will enjoy a welcome briefing with our Travel Manager who will prepare us for the amazing adventure we have in store.
  • Once checked-in and safety-oriented to the hotel, we’ll get a much-needed night’s rest so we are fully recharged for our first full day in Peru.
Day Two – Lima: Pizarro’s “City of Kings”
After breakfast, we won’t waste a moment starting our adventure in Lima!

Lima was founded by conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535. It has since grown into a huge city, accounting for one-fourth the total population of Peru. Today, because of its sprawling growth, the city is known to locals as El Pulpo (“the octopus”).

We’ll head straight to the city’s historic center, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

  • Our exploration begins in the stunning heart of the city: historic colonial Lima. Our expert-guided walking tour will introduce us to the greatest sites in this beautiful city.
  • You’ll marvel at the diverse architectural styles as we wander the main plaza and Plaza San Martin.
  • We’ll admire the opulent exteriors of the Government Palace and City Hall.
  • At the Cathedral of Lima, we’ll explore the numerous chapels and study the architecture that ranges from renaissance to neoclassical. We’ll also learn about the fascinating and complicated religious history of Peru.
  • Our explorations conclude with a visit to the historic San Francisco Convent, built in the 17thCentury, where we will descend into its catacombs– Lima’s ancient underground cemetery.
  • As we get to know this magnificent city, we’ll also gain a better understanding of historic and modern Peruvian culture.
  • After our busy day of exploration, we’ll have a little time to freshen up before our Welcome Dinner commences! This is the perfect time to reflect on all we’ve seen today, and to compare our expectations with the reality of this fascinating nation.

Everything we’ve observed today sets the stage for the rich, fascinating and mysterious encounters that lie ahead.

Day Three – Lima to Cuzco
Today, we’re up early & on the move. We’ll catch an early flight from the coast to Cuzco, high in the Peruvian Andes. We will immediately notice a distinct difference in the city’s architectural influences and cultural flavor.

  • This incredible city offers an astonishing array of remarkable and beautiful Incan architecture, including the Sun Temple and the Amphitheater of Kenko.
  • We’ll continue to explore among the ruins, including the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, a colossal structure of enormous stones, carved and fitted together with incredible precision.
  • We will see Qengo, the ancient religious center of this region.
  • This is followed by a visit to Puca Pucara, the strategically located ‘red fortress’ that dominates the entire area.
  • Next, we’ll visit Tambomachay, with its two distinctive and ancient aqueducts that, to this day, provide clean water to the entire area. Astonishing!
  • Afterward, we continue to the Imperial City, where we’ll stroll the Main Square, discover the Cathederal and admire its exquisite vestibules.
  • We will see the priceless paintings of “The Cusco School” of the 17thand 18thcenturies.
  • The day enjoys a dramatic finish as we come to one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco – the Qoricancha (the Golden Temple). This is a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were once covered in gold.

By day’s end, we will have developed a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural hallmarks that define Peru’s past.

Day Four– The Sacred Valley of the Incas
As beautiful and amazing as everything has been up to this point, Peru comes alive in an entirely new way today!

The Sacred Valley conjures up images of ancient practices, archaeological intrigue & cultural heritage. The Inca placed special significance on various points in the Valley, believing that these locations held spiritual and religious importance. That’s why the area is awash with some of the most intriguing and best-kept archaeological sites of the ancient world, many of which we’ll discover for ourselves today.

  • We’ll begin with spellbinding views from Qorao and Taray, overlooking verdant plains and towering peaks, surrounding the Urubamba River.
  • The stepped agricultural terraces of Pisac provide an instantly recognizable example of an Incan terracing technique still adopted by farmers today.
  • We’ll glimpse centuries of scientific knowledge as we visit an ages-old astronomical observatory.

Next we’ll enter the unforgettable Pisaq Market in the Sacred Valley.

  • Long ago, this market is where people from remote communities bartered their products.
  • Today, Pisaq has evolved to one of South America’s most famous traditional craft, food and souvenir markets.
  • You’ll encounter craftsmanship here that you’ll see nowhere else on earth: ceramics, textiles and jewelry.
  • You’ll also encounter incredible traditional foods. In fact, you can sample dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, prepared according to family recipes handed down for centuries.
  • Pisaq Market is particularly famous for their delicious empanadas baked in traditional clay ovens.
  • This afternoon, we will revel in the stunning fortress grandeur of Ollantaytambo, with its stairways and terraces, a masterstroke of hillside engineering which served as both a fortress and residential area.
  • Here, you’ll be astounded by the six massive monoliths that comprise the ancient Temple of the Sun.
  • The Terrace of the Ten Niches will stand out in your memory for a lifetime.

Another fascinating highlight comes at Chinchero, a traditional Valley village that hosts many surrounding communities, where locals congregate, exchange goods and socialize.

Throughout the day, your expert local guide will be on hand to ensure that you make the most of the astonishing & ever-changing scenery that lines our route. You’ll learn first-hand from a local expert about the importance of each site we visit, so it’s fully understood in the context of one of Peru’s most important regions.

Day Five– The Train to Machu Picchu
The train from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu delivers one of the most famous and spectacularly scenic train rides on earth.

Sure, Machu Picchu is on nearly every human’s bucket list, but this train ride goes hand-in-hand with the experience.

  • You’ll observe farmers working their fields with the same patience and skill that their ancestors employed. They work the land surrounding the traditional stone homes, hand-built by their ancestors, and still in use along the steep hillsides.
  • We’ll emerge from memorable tunnels to discover beautiful views of agricultural terraces and the ruins of distinctive highland cities long abandoned.
  • We’ll encounter fertile microclimates fed by waterfalls, where giant hummingbirds zoom from bloom to bright bloom on hillsides littered with flowers that bloom year-round.
  • You’ll see countless varieties of orchids and bromeliads that thrive in the altitude of these high, green mountains.

After arriving at the village near Machu Picchu, our guide will illuminate all we encounter as we stroll to our hotel.

We’ll have time to freshen up (and process our anticipation) before a traditional highland dinner.

Day Six– Mystical Machu Picchu
This is a day you will recall with awe for a lifetime. Welcome to the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary.

  • We’ll begin by taking a small coach up the steep roads to the entrance of the Citadel.
  • As we climb, we’ll begin to comprehend why, for centuries, these Incan ruins remained undiscovered by the Spaniards. In fact, it was only found in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham.
  • Our expert guides will help us comprehend the uniqueness of this location, while illuminating the genius that went into Machu Picchu’s construction, making it one of the “seven wonders of the new world.”
  • Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas as you explore this magical citadel along with your local guide.
  • Perhaps you’ll take in the views, encounter creative inspiration, or examine possible reasons this location is considered such a mystical and spiritual destination.
  • We’ll have time to linger, pondering the magnificence of this extraordinary place. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures will take your breath away.
  • After visiting Machu Picchu, many people claim their time here was sacred, transformational, cosmologically significant, or the catalyst for dramatic self-discovery. What will you encounter?

This afternoon, after exhausting our curiosity and imagination among the ancient, mist-shrouded ruins, the distinctive views will continue as we return to Cuzco by scenic train.

Day Seven– Maras, Students and Service
Maras is a distinctive community in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the north of Cuzco.

  • Throughout Peru, Maras is known for their fascinating salt evaporation ponds, which have been in use since Inca times.
  • We’ll encounter the phenomenon employed here as we survey the network of terraces, and come to understand the industry and community supported by this practice.
  • We’ll engage with locals and learn about their colorful customs and culture.

School Visit: Local students will welcome us to their school as we see what life is like for our Peruvian peers.

This afternoon, we’ll give back to our local hosts as we participate in a meaningful and challenging service project in the region.

Tonight, back in Cusco, we will unwind and reflect with a memorable Farewell Dinner. We’ll celebrate our discoveries and pause to reminisce, recalling the monumental array of experiences that punctuated our week in Peru!

Day Eight – Adios, Peru!
We’ll awaken this morning to the captivating beauty of the Andes, and feel remorseful as we make our way to the airport for our journey home.

Despite our inevitable sadness at leaving this magical place and these warm, welcoming people, we’ll take comfort in the knowledge that our connection to Peru will endure for a lifetime.

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