Mind & Body

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Mind & Body

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  • Live on an organic farm high up in the mountains, learning about sustainable agricultural methods, traditional medicine, and the real story of the Incas.
  • Try some of the best Latin cuisine in South America while taking introductory Spanish classes in the cobblestone streets of Cusco.
  • Discover meditation, breathing techniques, basic yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living and learn about spiritual tourism in the Andes.
  • Participate on a challenging trek to the ruins of Wakra Pukara and visit the world-famous Machu Picchu.

Program Dates


May 22 – June 30
July 10 – August 18


Program Fee  + Community Contribution  

$3,180 + $750
$2,990 + $615

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Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.


**Please note that you must arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco and depart from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.

Orientation – Cusco

Our program starts in Cusco, the capital of the mighty Incan empire. Following pickups from the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, our group will have an in-country orientation: Spanish classes, a crash course in Peruvian culture and politics, and, of course, our first taste of Peruvian cuisine!


We will spend the first couple of days acclimatizing to the 3,400 m-/11,000 ft-high city and exploring the cobblestone streets of Cusco and villages in the surrounding Sacred Valley region. We will have the opportunity to learn meditation, breathing techniques, basic yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living. Planned meetings with the local community leaders and NGOs will help the team understand the complexity of Peru’s colonial history, the movement of spiritual tourism, and the patterns of development and aid in the country. We will also hit the streets learning how to bargain hard in local markets and how to navigate local transportation in the big city. And of course…learning the sheer delight of ponche and choclo con queso!


**Please note that you must arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco and depart from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.

Volunteer Projects and Community Connections – Maska 

The majority of our volunteer work will be with a family farm in the remote village of Maska. The farm, Kausay Punku, serves as a conservatory for ancient grains and seeds, a school of traditional and organic agricultural practices, and a place of practice for traditional Andean medicine. In previous years, our teams have helped the family build the physical infrastructure that will serve as a teaching space for the surrounding community and a place where endangered seed species are preserved and brought back to life. Our projects this year will, as always, depend on the needs of the Ccapa family. Our time at Kausay Punku will be full of learning as the Ccapa family is an invaluable resource for knowledge on sustainable agricultural methods, cuisine in the sierra, traditional medicine, and the real story on the Incas.


Beyond all this, we will spend one morning hiking up to the magical ruins of Pisac, an ancient Incan village nestled in the mountains at the mouth of the Valley. We will also take weekend trips and hike in other areas of the Andes. Sun salutations overlooking ancient Incan villages, anyone?

Cultural Immersion – Chahuay de la Union

Our group will travel by local transportation into the stunning yet seldom visited Four Lakes Region of Cusco. We will stay in the village of Chahuay as an introduction to and immersion in traditional agricultural life in the Andes. During the potato harvest season, we will get more than our fair share of this starchy native vegetable! We’ll meet the families there, enjoy the lake, and undertake a two-day hike to Wakra Pukara, Incan ruins which are this region’s best kept secret!

Machu Picchu

Our group will return to Cusco before embarking on a two-day journey to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu! Local transportation will take us over mountains, across rivers, and through the jungle to finally reach the city in the clouds! Need we say more?

Independent Travel Time 

Our crew will also have Independent Travel Time (ITT) – a staple of all Operation Groundswell programs. You can travel independently if you desire but we encourage everyone to travel in pairs or small groups. ITT is the ideal time for you to learn more about your specific interests, visiting our other partners in Peru, heading north to hike the glaciers outside Huarez, or hitting the beaches on the north coast! Be it volunteering, traveling, or just relaxing, there are options for all.


**Please note that you are not under the auspices of the organized program during ITT. Team members will be given the emergency contact number of program leaders during ITT for any advice.

Disorientation – Huacachina

Prior to flying home, our group will reconvene for a program debrief, known as ‘disorientation’. We will meet up in desert oasis called Huacachina. Disorientation is a time to share stories from ITT and enjoy our final days together. We will take dune buggies and give ourselves an adrenaline hit as we go sandboarding along dunes that stretch several hundred feet high! We will discuss our accomplishments, our wild and wonderful experiences, how we can stay in touch, and what future projects we can collaborate on in the future. Then it’s off to the Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima for some tearful goodbyes!

**Please note that you must arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco and depart from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.

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What’s Included?


A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region


Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day


All lodging and accommodations throughout the program


Three local meals a day


All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions


All group transportation on the ground


Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience


Support from OGHQ whenever you need it


Independent Travel Time is your opportunity to go out there and explore on your own terms!

  • Head north to hike the glaciers outside of Huaraz or south into the deepest canyon in the world.
  • Kick back on the beaches or catch a wave off the Pacific coast in Mancora.
  • Swim in the highest elevated lake in the world: Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian or Bolivian shore.


With OG, you live like the locals.

Traveling as much as we do on the Peru program, there will be a number of different styles of accommodation. In cities, we’ll usually be sleeping at clean, safe, and secure guesthouses that will feel like a second home in no time. When we’re trekking or in rural communities, we’ll generally be sleeping under the stars or in the community centre of the town we are staying in. Cold bucket showers are common while continuous electricity can’t always be guaranteed – so come prepared! Though Western comforts should not be assumed, you can expect to better connect with locals and their culture. 

Meet Your Program Leaders

Megan WycklendtMeg has been fascinated by different cultures since moving to Mexico at age 10. With a life motto, “Lo bailado, nadie te lo quita” (Nobody can take from you what you’ve danced), she collects memories and learns through experience. Meg has a Masters in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, is a science journalist for Fulfillment Daily, and teaches yoga, breathing and meditation as an Art of Living teacher.  She loves adventure and finding new challenges and is currently fulfilling her dream of traveling by bike from Alaska to Argentina!

Gordon DunlopDespite the numerous locations visited along the way, Gordon still considers his home town, in Scotland, one of the most beautiful places on earth!  He counts Spanish, Italian and French as his spoken languages and spent 2011 volunteering and travelling in Latin America.  This experience fuelled a desire for further Latin American immersion, an ambition that will be realised, in 2015, both with Operation Groundswell and when he embarks on a long-held dream to cycle the Americas.  A football (spherical not oval!) is never far from his feet and his hands are increasingly occupied by learning the guitar.

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