Peru Mind and Body
MIND AND BODY
Due to high demand and interest, we run two Peru Mind and Body trips in the summer. Take your pick!
PROGRAM 1: MAY 10 – JUNE 22 (Applications Closed!)
PROGRAM 2: JULY 3 – AUGUST 15
- Practice and learn yoga from world-class instructors high in the Andes mountains.
- Get a taste of some of the best Latin cuisine in the world while taking introductory Spanish courses in the coastal capital
- Volunteer with local NGOs on health and wellness projects in the Sacred Valley.
- Participate on a challenging 4-day trekking, biking and zip-lining adventure to the world-famous Machu Picchu.
PROGRAM FEE: 2,650
THE WAY WE SEE IT
Peru isn’t really the country you might expect it to be. While everyone has heard of Machu Picchu and the Incan civilization, very few know that 60% of the country is the Amazon and much of the rest of the country is coastal desert. But that’s just the geography.
For adventure travelers, Peru’s canyons, mountain ranges, glaciers and beaches are a playground unlike anything they’ve ever seen. For history buffs, the Spanish colonial architecture sitting on top of traditional indigenous temples literally jumps out of the ground at you. But for true OGers, Peru is the place where we prove that “backpacking with a purpose” really works. While most travelers simply pass along the ‘Gringo Trail’, hopping from overpriced tourist trap to party hostel, that isn’t our style. To experience the real Peru, you need to get lost in the countryside, be invited into a random home while waiting out a storm over coca tea. Because in the end, it’s always about the people.
CHECK OUT LAST SUMMER’S PERU BLOG!!
Independent Travel Time is your opportunity to go out there and explore on your own terms.
- Relax or surf on the beaches of coastal Peru in Huanchaco
- Climb a glacier at Huaraz
- Swim in the highest elevated lake in the world at Lake Titicaca
WITH OG YOU LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS.
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 center of the town we are staying in. This gives us a chance to delve deep into local culture. Western comforts such as continuous electricity should not be assumed. However, cold-water bucket showers and cramped sleeping conditions should be embraced!
*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.
Just click on the headers to read more!
Our program starts in Lima, the capital of Peru and the gateway to the colonial Spanish empire of South America. Following pickups from Jorge Chavez Airport, the group will have an in-country orientation: a crash course in Peruvian culture and politics, four mornings of Spanish classes and of course, the cuisine. We will be staying at Casa del Mochilero (“House of Backpackers”) in the coastal district of Miraflores. This is our backpacker’s hostel whose hosts quickly make it everyone’s home away from home! Planned meetings with the local community leaders and NGOs, along with a bike tour, will help participants understand the complexity of Peru’s tragic colonial history. We will also hit the streets learning how to bargain hard in local markets and how to navigate local transportation, all while experiencing true Latino hospitality.
From Lima, the group will undertake an incredibly long, yet beautiful journey. We will take a 20-hour bus ride to Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire. We will spend the first couple of days acclimatizing to the 3,200m-high city and exploring the cobblestone streets of Cusco and villages in the surrounding Sacred Valley region. Our first introduction to life in the sierra will be visiting our friends’ eco-farm in the remote village of Maska. Here we will learn about sustainable agricultural methods, “cuy”-sine in the sierra, traditional medicine, and the REAL story on the Incas. From Maska we will spend the morning hiking up to the magical ruins of Pisac, an ancient Inca village nestled in the mountains at the mouth of the Valley.
The group will be working on community-requested projects both on the outskirts of the city and in the countryside. We will begin our work with Sembrando Semillas, an NGO that serves as both a yoga retreat and alternative education center. Last year we helped them with a massive greenhouse project, starting each morning with yoga and meditation and finishing each day working with local children. Next we will head high up into the mountains to work with Asociación Kallpa Cuzco, a non-profit organization that works to facilitate the building of healthy, sustainable communities in the incredibly beautiful “Four Lakes” region. Projects will focus around community health and wellness in the villages there. Last year we worked in the lakeside village of Chahuay, helping renovate and reopen an old, dilapidated playground using all local materials. Cutting hay in the mountains for rooftops, stripping bark from wood for posts, we spent the days baking in the hot mountain sun and our nights around the fireplace!
The group will embark on a 4-5 day journey to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu! The trek begins at 4,600m as the group hikes, bikes, and zip lines over mountains, across rivers, through the jungle to finally reach the city in the clouds!
Participants will also have Independent Travel Time (ITT) – a staple of all Operation Groundswell programs. You can travel independently if you desire but everyone is urged to travel in pairs or small groups. During this time, participants are not under the auspices of the organized program and are entirely responsible for themselves. Participants are given the emergency contact number of trip organizers during ITT for any advice or safety concerns. ITT is the ideal time for participants to learn more about their specific interest, visiting our other partners in Peru, hiking to Machu Picchu or into the second deepest canyon in the world, or hitting the beaches on the north coast! Be it volunteering, traveling, or just relaxing, there are options for all.
Prior to flying home, the group will reconvene for a trip debrief known as the ‘Disorientation’. This will likely take place in Paracas National Reserve, on the desert sand beaches of one of the beautiful spots in all of Peru. We will camp out under the stars, relaxing on the beach and enjoying our last couple of days in the country! We will discuss our accomplishments, how we can stay in touch, and what future projects we can collaborate on before everyone heads off to the airport for some tearful goodbyes.
MEET YOUR TRIP LEADERS
Get ready to spend six weeks with some of the raddest people on earth…we’re not even exaggerating! Just click on their name to read more about them.
“Life is meant to be spent, not saved.” Sure, she may have lifted this quote from the side of a Wicked Van depot in Australia, but Miami-born Lindsey has adapted it as her life mantra. After seven stifling years in corporate America, Lindsey escaped the cubicles of New York City and found herself nestled in the vines of Mendoza’s wine country as a harvest intern. Skipping her original ticket home, Lindsey toured Andean South America, allowing the breathtaking scenery and dramatic landscapes to alter her outlook. She scored another life-changing role at Peruvian disaster relief organization Pisco Sin Fronteras (an OG partner), where she spent six months as volunteer and Project Manager. It was this leadership experience that convinced Lindsey to not go back to her former lifestyle and to keep on trucking. More than two years after leaving NYC, she has not looked back and is psyched to lead other backpackers around the lands that changed her life.
All the way from down under, Matt grew up in Australia and always knew that come adulthood, he would be off to explore the world. After arriving in Buenos Aires in September 2010, on his 21st birthday, he just hasn’t stopped. While bushwhacking through South America, Matt stumbled across the disaster relief organization Pisco Sin Fronteras in Peru, where OG was also working. It was there that he took on the role as Environmental Coordinator and realized the impact a traveler could have on a local community simply though good communication and teamwork. Since then, he has continued his search for the next altruistic adventure and jumped at the opportunity to join the OG team in their quest for providing a sustainable and culturally significant experience for young travelers. When not getting pumped about his first OG trip to Peru, he is trying to find a patch of ground to get his fingers dirty in and cooking the food he grows!