Andes, Lake Titicaca and The Sacred Valley
Our homebase: The Q’ewar Project and homestay in Ollantaytambo
After arriving in Cusco, we journey to Andahuayillas and the legendary Q’ewar Project (link), a social work initiative that is home to a magical school and gardens. Q-ewar is an ideal spot to acclimate and begin our journey.
Gogi has worked with Julio and Lucy at the Q’ewar Project for six years via a dear Vermont friend in common. Q’ewar and Gogi have created a beautiful partnership and Gogi travelers are warmly welcomed by the smiling women at the project. Then they ask us to join them as they work with the wool, felt, knit, etc. We all work, learn, and laugh together!
Another unique partnership is with a local Shaman family in Ollantaytambo. Gogi is always invited into their home for a simple meal and a traditional Peruvian experience. Our Tribal Gap year students live and work with this family.
Beyond the homebase: Both Student and Adult trips take us off-the-beaten track to discover the Lost City of the Incas is the seventh wonder of the world! Customized trips can include the following:
Aguas Calientes: This ‘gateway to Machu Picchu’, is at the bottom of a magnificent valley and we will take a scenic train ride along the Urubamba River to get there, passing stunning Veronica peak. If energy permits, a trip to the hot springs, shopping at the local market, visiting the Machu Picchu museum, or hiking to a nearby waterfall can all be on the itinerary!
Machu Picchu: Marvel at the sight of these breathtaking ruins after a sunrise hike! Spend the day exploring and learning about this beautiful wonder of the world.
Pisac: This picturesque Andean Village is known for its Sunday market. The market retains much of its charm, as villagers from miles around gather to barter and sell their produce. Pisac is a good place to buy local ceramics and beads. Set high above a valley floor, patchworked by fields and terraces, the stonework and view at Pisac’s Inca citadel are amazing.
Ollantaytambo: Existing for more than 500 years, the vibrant village of Ollantaytambo is one of the best examples of Incan city planning. We will venture on its cobblestone streets and see the exceptional system of working aqueducts. Inca trails and ruins welcome us as we and begin our journey to the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Cusco: Often referred to as the “Archaeological Capital of the Americas,” Cusco is a beautiful city filled with contrasts between the indigenous styles and the modern western world. The juxtaposition of the Inca and Spanish colonial cultures, along with hints of the modern world, give Cusco its rare beauty. Visitors to Cusco first notice the Inca walls -- enormous granite blocks carved to fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar beds. Many of the walls were built during the construction of a new Spanish city.
Moray: On our way to Moray, we will pass by the beautiful snow-capped Chicon and Veronica mountains in the Cordillera Vilcanota. These breathtaking mountains are our backdrop as we journey to the Inca agricultural greenhouse or laboratory, a place to study the adaptation of plants to new ecosystems.
Salineras: This small village is 7 miles from Moray and is famous for its salt mines that were exploited since Inca times as a means of economic exchange and securities.
Lake Titicaca: With its expansive waters and more than 530 aquatic species, Lake Titicaca does not disappoint. It is believed to be the birthplace of the sun by the Incas, and has deep historical and cultural roots to be explored.
Gap Year in Peru
We will work with the indigenous community of the Sacred Valley and get to experience the Q’ero tribe. Living high up in the Andean mountains of Cusco, they are a small community of farmers, weavers and medicine people. The Q’ero looked for refuge in “villages in the clouds” following the invasion of Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors almost five hundred years ago and remain there to this day. They were “discovered” in 1949 by the anthropologist Oscar Nunez del Prado, who led the first expedition to the Q’ero villages in 1955.