This 22 day learning community retreat is centered in Peru’s Cusco & the Sacred Valley with an emphasis on exploring the culture of the Andes. Expect to experience the living history of the Incas, explore archaeology, traditional artisan disciplines, Andean mysticism, farming & sustainability. No trip would be complete without a hike to the enigmatic Machu Picchu.
The 2017 Cusco & Sacred Valley Retreat is a temporary learning-community, utilizing the landscape and culture of Cusco and the Sacred Valley as a means for immersive discovery in history, art, archaeology, mysticism, and science. This Project World School retreat is not a typical study abroad program as it will take advantage of the power of a learning-community to produce collaborative goals, knowledge acquisition, personal development, and changes in global perspectives.
June 12 – July 3, 2017
Cusco & the Sacred Valley, Peru, land of the Incas
8 or more participants (ages 13-25) self-directed learners, unschooolers, homeschoolers & worldschoolers
Full accommodation for the duration of the learning community retreat
• All airport transfers
• All ground transportation
• Breakfast, lunch, and dinners during the retreat
• Entrance fees to all the included attractions
• All workshops, talks, guided tours, and classes throughout the retreat.
• Filtered drinking water to refill your water bottles (water bottle not included).
• International airfare
• Other personal items
• Meals on travel days (arrival & departure)
• International flights from your home country to each retreat location are not included
All meals consist of the local flavors of Peru. Many of our meals will be prepared by our team in our hostel. Breakfasts will consist of fresh fruit, juice, eggs, and local “pan” (bread). Lunches will be a combination of local dishes, salads, fish and other local flavors. On the days we have all full-day outings, we’ll prepare and pack lunches for our trip, including sandwiches, fruit, chips and juice. Dinners will be a combination of self-prepared meals in our hostel and dinners in local restaurants. We will make every effort to accommodate everyone’s diet restrictions including having vegetarian and gluten-free options. Please indicate any special needs on your application.
During the Peru – Machu Picchu & The Sacred Valley – 22 Day Teen Learning Community , we will stay in several locations including one hostel in Lima, a hostel in Cusco which will serve as our base, a two night homestay with a family in a small farming village and a hostel stay near Machu Picchu. Generally, we always occupy dorm rooms that consist of bunk beds, so between 4-8 of our teen participants will be sharing a room at any given time.
What to Bring?
You’ll be gone for a month, and for those of you who haven’t traveled for long periods of time, we’ve prepared this list in case you might need some assistance with deciding what you should pack. So here it is, our packing list ‘suggestions‘! Our recommendation to you is not to over do it. You’ll have to haul everything you pack around initially, and there are weight restrictions through all airlines. Also, keep in mind you will be living in shared space. There will be laundry available, and you will be able to purchase replacement shampoos, lotions, etc. during the trip, so no need to haul around ‘family size’ bottles of anything.
NOTE: Remember the list below is a suggested list! Feel free to modify, based on your own needs.
The key here is ‘layers’!
2 thermals or cotton long sleeve shirts
2 pair of wool socks
4 pair of synthetic light fast drying socks
7 pairs of underwear
1 waterproof / breathable rain jacket
1 fleece, hoodie jacket or 1 cotton light hoodie jacket
1 long sleeve shirt or sweater
3 tank tops
1 pair of warm pants (remember jeans don’t dry fast and are bulky, but some love to travel with them)
1 or 2 light, cotton cargo pants
1 pair of water or walking sandals
1 pair of light hiking shoes or comfortable tennis shoes with good tread
1 bathing suit
1-2 pairs of shorts or skirts
2 pairs of leggings sleeping clothes (jammies)
1 hat with brim for the sun
1 beanie and neck scarf for the cold (could buy those there though)
rain gear (plastic poncho)
Personal items / Toiletries
tooth paste & tooth brush
soap, shampoo & conditioner
day pack/duffel bag for Machu Picchu trek
tiny first aid kit
Spanish dictionary/phrase book
copy of passport
small journal or notepad and pens
musical instrument costume
wigs, funky hats, etc. (if you are into that sort of thing)
anything else you will need to lead a session
Altitude sickness is the most common side effect of high altitude travel and can be minimized by taking it easy the first couple days you arrive. The Project World School team has taken this into account as we’ve planned for the first few days of the retreat.
High altitudes can cause symptoms like headache, nausea, weakness and trouble sleeping. At higher altitudes the amount of oxygen mixed into the air is less. This drop in the amount of available oxygen can affect the heart, muscles, lungs and nervous system. It can affect anyone, even those in fantastic physical condition. After one to five days the body will begin to adjust and altitude sickness will subside naturally.
In the Andes, it is traditional to chew coca leaves and drink it as a tea. There will be coca tea available throughout the entire retreat as it definitely helps with overcoming issues surrounding the altitude. In addition, it is recommended that you consume a lot of water during the first few days upon arrival. We are prepared to move slower, and we will take this into consideration with the first few days of scheduling.
If you wish to explore an herbal route before you arrive in Peru for the retreat, the list below is a suggestion of herbs to explore and certainly not a prescription. Remember, the idea is to oxygenate the blood – so explore other supplements and means of getting more oxygen into the blood. The air is thinner at higher altitudes and supplements that can help the body oxygenate are beneficial. Consult your physician and do your own research.
Ginkgo helps improve circulation and therefore helps improve the body’s tolerance to low levels of oxygen. Scientific studies have confirmed these results in humans. Take 120 to 150 milligrams daily. These are usually in the form of capsules. Although not common, side effects are possible. These include headaches and upset stomach.
This is an ancient Chinese remedy that helps to improve oxygenation to the blood. Take up to 1,000 milligrams in capsule form each day or two teaspoons of tincture three times per day. Herbalists suggest you take the dosage while at a higher elevation and continue taking it for several days after.
Ginseng has been shown to help improve blood oxygenation and respiratory function. It is also used in treating asthma and bronchitis. Take up to four 500-milligram capsules daily while symptoms persist. Do not combine ginseng with caffeine, antidepressants or blood thinners, and do not use if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.
Well known as a tonic herb, Siberian ginseng helps improve overall health when taken long-term. Begin taking a few days before ascending for maximum effect. Take up to nine 500 milligram capsules per day or up to 20 drops of tincture up to three times per day.
Ginger is an old cure used for nausea. It can be used for altitude sickness as well as motion sickness. It comes in various forms such as tea, tincture, capsules or raw. Take up to eight 500 milligram capsules daily or ½ to 1 teaspoon of ground root per day or 10 to 20 drops of tincture per day. Dilute tincture in water to drink. Do not take ginger if you have gallbladder disease.
Day 1 – Arrive in Lima- Meet and greet
Day 2 – Ceviche & Ice Breakers through Improv
Day 3 – Downtown Lima
Day 4 – Fly to Cusco- get settled, Chocolate Making Class
Day 5 – Spanish Class, Cusco is our Classroom & Coca Museo
Day 6 – Energy Bar Class + Dispacho Class
Day 7 – Alien Baby, Urcos market & Sistine Chapel of the Americas
Day 8 – Home-stay at local Andean farm
Day 9 – Farm, prepare chicha
Day 10 – Local Andean cooking & history- Prepare Cuy
Day 11 – Return to Cusco
Day 12 – Explore History – Qoricancha
Day 13 – Day of Service
Day 14 – Chinchero Weaving
Day 15– Moray, Moras, Ollyantatambo
Day 16 – Peruvian Pan Flute Class, Planetarium
Day 17– Despacho Ceremony
Day 18 – Travel to Santa Teresa – Natural Hot Springs
Day 19 – Hike to Machu Picchu
Day 20 – Visit the enigmatic Machu Picchu
Day 21 – Closing Ceremony
Day 22 – Board national flight from Cusco to Lima, then return board flights back to your home country
*Schedule is subject to shift