Meet your guide in Ollantaytambo and discuss the supplies needed for the native tree planting project, and interested individuals can go with the guide to purchase the necessary items. Transfer to Cachiccata, home for the next four nights and meet a representative of the community who will take you to the project site where you will help plant new, native Queuna, Tara, Aliso, and Huaranguay trees, water existing trees, and providing other maintenance at the project facility. Travelers, alongside community members and the guide, will improve the irrigation system, construct fencing for the site and the water storage pool, and develop a windmill water pump. You will learn about the history of the project, its sustainability due to the inclusion of the local youth association, and get your hands dirty. Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant in Cachiccata that is located near the project site.
In the afternoon, we will walk to the community-owned, deluxe campground (with hot showers and bathrooms) that is located on the river, and there will be some time to explore the area. With your guide, plan the activities for the next day and enjoy dinner at the campsite.
After an early breakfast, hike to the local school located about 30 minutes downhill. With your guides and teachers, the group will do a needs assessment analysis of school supplies lacking in the classrooms and determine the amount of ingredients needed for our healthy school breakfast program. Breakfast is normally the first meal of the day, but it is vital for students at the Cachiccata school as many of them have to walk for over an hour to get to school. This is often after they have had to help their parents feed the animals and look after their younger siblings.
From the school, meet the truck that is coming from Cusco that is bringing the supplies for the house restoration project. After meeting the family you will work with over the next three days, we will proceed to carry all materials to the house that we will restore. This day we will start with the cleaning of the house and kitchen. Old items that will not be reused will be removed and furniture that is re-usable will be taken to an area to be safely stored.
After the group's lunch, three participants along with one of the guides will travel to Ollantaytambo with the list of needed school supplies and ingredients for the healthy school breakfast. At the market, purchase ingredients for a well-balanced breakfast: Fruits, oatmeal, sugar, milk, cheese, bread, and eggs. The estimated cost is $50 total for the whole breakfast and is purchased locally by the participants. The school supplies will also be purchased at this time, and the small group will return to Cachiccata to have dinner with everyone.
Walk to the Cachiccata School where you are met by the staff and begin preparing breakfast. The teachers will gather the appreciative students, and together you will serve the students. Take some time and relish in the smiles, laughter, and youthful energy! Distribute the school supplies to the classrooms and students as well.
After lunch, return to the house and work with the family to repair the walls, doors and windows of the house and kitchen. You will learn to work with adobe to strengthen and patch the walls. The roof will also be replaced to protect the house and kitchen from the Andean elements.
After breakfast, return to the work site and check to make sure yesterday's restored adobe has dried and settled well before proceeding to the next step. New electrical wiring will be added in the house, and new beds will be assembled and put into place in the house along with other pieces of furniture. After a final review and site clean-up, present their restored home to all family members.
As you have worked hard over the last three days alongside the family and helped the community, share in a traditional ceremony and offering to Pachama (Mother Earth). This is a time to reflect on your overall experiences in Peru and particularly your time in the Cachiccata community, and celebrate the accomplishment with a final dinner at the campsite.
Andean history comes alive in Cusco. Quechua-speaking descendents of the Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru's rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas. In the afternoon, you'll explore Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market. After tasting a few unique local foods, visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, you will visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.
This morning, journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. The Sacred Valley often becomes one of the highlights of your trip and you will soon see why! You'll test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may also hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo.
Follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu, Peru. Tour ancient canals that still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After your guided tour of Machu Picchu, you'll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.
Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu and to listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. Later, you can climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, hike to the Sun Gate which overlooks the ruins or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the late afternoon you'll return by train to Cusco with your guide.
Enjoy today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife where live folk music and excellent food abounds! Enjoy your last night of your Peru vacation.
Or with more time, extend your trip with a visit to the Amazon or to Lake Titicaca. Click here to see our Peru extensions!
$520 single supplement
Price based on 4 or more travelers
Additional US$500 per home fee for supplies required for restoration project. Paid in advance one month prior to trip. Other donations ($100/group and $40/person) paid locally. This trip requires a minimum of 4 participants.