The Project World School Peru Family Learning Adventure
Project World School’s Family Adventure retreat is a two week community gathering focused on discovery & experience, utilizing the world around us as a rich classroom for learning. This 15 day family retreat takes place in the heart of Peru’s Sacred Valley with an emphasis on cultural immersion, exploration and hands on local crafts and cooking. Learn and discover as a family and practice ways to connect deeper in a safe facilitated space. During our stay we’ll dive deep into the history through storytelling and archaeological exploration, practice traditional arts through music, weaving and jewelry making, examine agriculture practices through farming and cooking and experience Peruvian mysticism through ceremonies and rituals. No trip to Peru would be complete without a trip to the enigmatic site of Machu Picchu. This is a once in a lifetime worldschooling adventure for you and your whole family!
The Project World School Peru Family Adventure is a temporary learning-community designed for participants of all ages. Together, we immerse ourselves into the rich landscape of Peru as a means exploration and discovery. Our all-inclusive learning adventure is not your typical “family tour”, rather an experience designed for transformational learning and discovery in the form of “worldschooling”. Together we’ll harness the power of a learning-community to experience collaboration, social learning, contextual knowledge acquisition, personal development and changes in global perspectives.
June 17th – July 1st, 2019
In and around Cusco, the Sacred Valley and the Cloud Forrest in Peru
8 or more self-directed, unschoooling, homeschooling or worldschooling families
$2100 Adult 16 +
$1500 Child 3-15
$500 Under 3
Open & Accepting Applications
The nature of co-creating a “temporary” learning community is very intentional. It will only exist in a certain point in time, and will rely on all of its participants to come together and breathe life into it. We rely on our participants to come with the intention to participate as fully as possible. The magic created from this Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Learning Adventure will be unlike anything that has ever happened before nor can happen again, because it will involve a sacred element, you and your family.
Therefore we ask for a commitment of full participation in the entire itinerary. We are aware this retreat will only last 15 days, but we are sure, the effects remain for a lifetime.
As in life, we know we are dealing with lots of variables and endless possibilities. People sometime fall sick, adults and children can have bad days, conflicts can happen. We know that. As in life, we are flexible to handle these challenges and more. But we do ask that every family that comes to the Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Learning Adventure comes with a full commitment to participate to the best of their ability and to adapt an “all in” attitude which may include some out of your comfort zone moments. We ask this of every participant, large and small, young and old. We ask you to check in with your family before you submit your application for this retreat and make sure everyone also agrees.
What is worldschooling and why is it better experienced in community?
Worldschooling is the intentional act of viewing the world as one’s classroom. There is a distinct difference between traveling as a tourist and worldschooling. A learning-community is defined as a group of people who share common emotions, values or interests and are actively engaged in learning together and from each other. Why is learning in community important? Please take a moment to read this article called Inspiration, Osmosis and Empathy: What Can We Learn From Each Other? written by researcher and unschooling advocate
Knowing that it’s possible to learn as a family comes with practice. The experiences you have during the Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Learning Adventure will give you the confidence and skills needed to practice intentional learning as a family anywhere in the world.
Other added benefits you’ll experience during the Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Learning Adventure are the connections and friendships you’ll form on the retreat. Sharing value starts with the sharing of values, such as respect, integrity, kindness and the desire to learn from the world around you. These shared values ultimately create friendships through heart connections between people.
One of the cornerstones of worldschooling through community is Project World School’s practice of evening reflections. Every night after dinner the adults (and kids who wish to participate) will join together in circle and reflect on the day, what they’ve learned, examine our differing and similar worldviews and discuss difficult topics as they come up. Our “circles” are a time to practice listening and supporting one another, a practice that can create a strong family culture well after the retreat is over.
Several of our days will require trips taking more than one or two hours of driving each way. Some of the roads in Peru’s Sacred Valley are mountainous and curvy. All of our drivers are insured, licensed to work in tourism and have achieved the highest standards of recommendations and referrals. If you or a family member gets deathly car sick, perhaps this may not the trip for you. There are no other options to have an immersive experience of this kind.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Learning Adventure is not a luxury retreat. The accommodations are rustic in nature and we will not have wifi at our lodging for the majority of our trip. We will do our very best to make arrangements so that complete families can share one room, however in the case of large families, we may need to organize two rooms (depending on the size of your family).
For the first 9 days, the Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Adventure will be centered in Amaru, a quaint community just above the bohemian citadel of Pisac. We’ll be staying at Inti Qhawarina, a locally owned family guesthouse and farm. While still very much a rustic place, the rooms are comfy and well-designed, warm blankets provided, hot showers and large communy areas will make you feel right at home.
There, we will interact and participate with hundreds of years of rich tradition and culture and have an immersive worldschooling experience. From an ethical standpoint, our visit helps the people from the hilltop community in two ways. First, all the cooks, workshop facilitators, and child care will come from the Amaru community, providing work and the chance to connect and interact through ethical cultural exchange. Second, our host Elojidio built his property with the agreement of the community and for every dollar spent at our retreat center, 10% will go directly to the townspeople of Amaru. Elojidio didn’t just build this place for himself, but for the community as a whole and you will feel the love and support of the community during our stay.
It can happen. 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.
Ginkgo • Reishi • Ginseng • Siberian Ginseng • Ginger
There are also pharmaceutical treatments like Diamox, but you need to consult with you physician in your home country for that. Finally, there’s a product sold in Lima and Cusco over the counter at any pharmacy called Sorojchi, which we’ve used over the years on our Project World School Teen Retreats. The ingredients are a combination of aspirin and caffeine pills which tend to help with altitude headaches.
Consult your physician and do your own research and please come prepared.
Today is the first day of the The Project World School Peru Family Adventure! All families are required to arrive in Cusco this day.
Some families will opt to arrive in Cusco a few days early in order to acclimatize. Other families will be arriving on this day from their home countries via Lima. All families will be met in Cusco, either at the airport or a prearranged pick up spot according to your arrival times. Project World School will transport all families to our retreat site in Amaru, a small community above Pisac.
Families will be arriving throughout the day, greeted by hot coca tea, delicious snacks and warm showers. As night falls, we all gather in the community dining room to meet, greet and enjoy a locally sourced welcome banquet dinner.
Today is a slower paced day, dedicated to getting settled, grounding ourselves, learning about our hosts and the surrounding Amaru community and learning about each other as we begin to co-create our worldschooling community.
The day is broken into a few local workshops. Before breakfast, we’ll offer a morning yoga sun session to get our bodies connected to the earth. After breakfast, we will explore the surrounding farm land known as “chakra” and learn about the local yields from quinoa, potatoes and corn crops. We’ll even try our hand at harvesting. Then we’ll make an earth stove called a huatia, a true collaborative effort, and cook our freshly harvested potatoes the traditional way.
Together, we’ll learn the traditional practice of making Chuño, dehydrated potatoes a process dating back before the Incas. (yes, it’s a ” shoes off activity”.)
After lunch we’ll take a medicinal plant walk and collect herbs and learn about the the plants healing properties and prepare teas for all of us try.
Throughout the day, we have plenty of time to sit in the garden, drink tea, rest and play.
We’ll enjoy dinner together in community, then participate in that day’s closing circle.
After breakfast, our private transportation will arrive to our group to explore the salt ponds known as Salinas de Maras. Cascading down a hillside valley like uneven steps, the salt ponds legend says they were first created sometime in the 1400s by the Incas. Salt is harvested from the patchwork of shallow pools via a process of evaporation. A natural spring feeds a salt-rich stream that flows down into the pools, then the water is allowed to evaporate and then the salt crystals are scraped off the ponds.
After Maras, we’ll head to Pisac for lunch. Pisac is a bustling and fast-growing colonial village at the base of a spectacular Inca fortress perched on a mountain spur. After lunch, you’ll have hours to shop and explore Pisac town from the numerous shops filled with handmade goods, weaving, jewelry to the vegan cafes, health food and shaman supply stores. If you like, you’ll have time to explore Jardin Botanico, the village’s botanical garden hosts a giant courtyard full of beautiful flora local to the area.
After a few hours, we’ll return to our hilltop community above Pisac, enjoy dinner together then participate in that day’s closing circle.
After breakfast, we’ll head to Cusco, to explore the sacred city of the Incas. We’ll explore the history through immersion, starting in the Plaza de Armas. We’ll examine the differnt building styles laden throughout the city and make a svanager hunt.
We’ll have lunch at the largest market, the San Pedro market and be able to sample the local foods. After lunch we have two workshops:
1. A flute making workshop where every member will make their own Andean pan flute and learn about the history of the region through music at Sabino’s workshop.
2. A chocolate making workshop, learning about one of Peru’s largest crops and exports.
It will be a long day in Cusco, but we assure you, everyone will leave happy and satisfied. We’ll return to our hilltop community above Pisac, enjoy dinner together then participate in that day’s closing circle.
Every year Project World School volunteers with Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary for a day of service. This will be our 6th consecutive year to give back to our host community in the form of service.
Cochahuasi cares for and rehabilitates animals that have been rescued from poaching, illegal trading and outright abuse and focuses on the education of locals surrounding animal rights and conservation efforts.
Our service will be hands on, cleaning the animal’s habitats, preparing the food, picking up trash and in some cases feeding the animals. It’s a great day for service for all ages.
We will be involved with fundraising efforts to support the animal sanctuary before the retreat starts based on the needs of the organization. One year we raised money and built a habitat for the anteojo bear. Another year we raised money and help build winter shelters for the llamas, alpacas and vicunas. Each year a new project will be our focus and this year will not be an exception.
Our day will start early after an early breakfast. We’ll break for a packed lunch at the Sanctuary, then at 4:00 return back to our hilltop community above Pisac, to rest, enjoy dinner together then participate in that day’s closing circle.
After a busy day of service, we have a relaxing morning scheduled (with the option of early morning yoga before breakfast). We’ll leave around 11:00 am, making our way to Chinchero, a community known for weaving and textiles. We’ll spend the afternoon together with a family community Project World School has been visiting for 7 years to learn the traditions of weaving.
The family will prepare a delicious hearty traditional lunch for us, then we’ll begin our weaving workshop. We’ll learn everything about the weaving process, from washing the wool, spinning the sheeps wool into yarn to using natural tints from plants and insects to dye the wool. Then, we’ll have a chance to learn simple weaving techniques by making bracelets together.
In the evening, we’ll return to our hilltop community above Pisac, enjoy dinner together then participate in that day’s closing circle.
Today, we get an early morning start, our private transportation picks us up as we head back towards Cusco for a day of archeology, history and exploration. Our itinerary today includes visits to four archeological sites:
Visitors to this magnificent Inca fortress, which overlooks the city of Cusco, cannot fail to be impressed by the beauty and monumental scale of this important Inca construction. Sacsayhuaman can be variously translated as ‘speckled falcon’ or ‘speckled head’. The last interpretation refers to the belief that the city of Cusco was set out in the form of a puma whose head was the hill of Sacsayhuaman. The origins are uncertain but the fortress is generally attributed to the period of Inca Pachacuti, the man who essentially founded the Inca empire.
The main ramparts consist of three massive parallel walls zigzagging together for some 400m, designed to make any attacker expose his flanks. The massive blocks, the largest being 8.5m high and weighing nearly 300 tonnes, are fitted together with absolute perfection.
Sacsayhuaman played an important part in the final defeat of the Inca Empire by the Spanish. Pizarro’s party entered Cusco unopposed in 1533 and lived there securely for more than two years before finally being caught unprepared by the rebellion of Manco Inca in 1536.
This is one of the finest examples of a rock artfully carved insitu showing complex patterns of steps, seats, geometric reliefs and a puma design. The rock is an excellent example of the Inca ‘Rock Worship’. In Inca cosmological beliefs the Incas held large rocky outcrops in reverence, as if they possessed some hidden spiritual force. On top of the rock are zigzag channels which served to course chicha (local maize beer) or sacrificed llama blood for purposes of divination; the speed and route of the liquid, in conjunction with the patterns made in the rock, gave the answers to the priest’s invocations.
Inside the rock are large niches and a possible altar. This may have been a place where the mummies of lesser royalty were kept along with gold and precious objects.
Situated on a hill with superb views over the surrounding countryside Puca Pucara was more likely a tambo, or kind of post house than an actual fortress. Travelers may have lodged here with their goods and animals before entering or leaving Cusco. An alternative theory is that it served as a guard post controlling the flow of people and produce between Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Commonly referred to as the ‘Banos del Inca’ or Inca baths, Tambomachay was a site for ritual bathing. The excellent quality of the stonework suggests that its use was restricted to the higher nobility, who maybe only used the baths on ceremonial occasions. The ruins basically consist of 3 tired platforms. The top one holds four trapezoidal niches that perhaps were used as seats; on the next level an underground spring emerges directly from a hole at the base of the stonework and from here cascades down to the bottom platform, creating a cold shower just high enough for an Inca to stand under. On this platform the spring water splits into two channels, both pouring the last metre down to ground level.
In the evening, we’ll return to our hilltop community above Pisac, enjoy dinner together then participate in that day’s closing circle.
After a few busy days, we have a later wake up call. Before breakfast, we’ll offer a morning yoga sun session to get our bodies connected to the earth. After breakfast, we divide into groups depending on the adventure we choose. Choices are:
Inti Raymi -Festival of the Sun – for the culturally inquisitive, an excursion back to Cusco to witness the Inti Raymi festival. Each year on (the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) Cusco celebrates the Inca Festival of the Sun. Created by Inca Pachacutec, Inti Raymi was a tribute to the venerated Sun God Inti. Nowadays, the festival draws thousands of local and international visitors to the ancient Inca capital – Cusco – to celebrate one of the most important events of the calendar year.
Activities at the Lodge – these include traditional classes and demonstrations on Jewelry Making, Cuy Preparation, Breadmaking and Traditional Dye/Paint Making. Elojidio and members from the surrounding community will be present to share these traditional processes with all who are interested in learning.
Day Hike Above Pisac – for the physically adventurous. This is a full on hike to the archaeological ruins of Pisac, a full day which will sport breathtaking views and ancient, wondrous buildings.
After the days events, we’ll reassemble for a community dinner then participate in that day’s closing circle.
Self Directed Sessions – This is the time for the community to share their interests with each other. While it isn’t mandatory, each participant is encouraged to lead a session or workshop on something that they are passionate or knowledgeable about.
Kids Storytime, Crafts & Games– This will also be free time for the kids, but we’ll provide structure activities to keep for them to choose from, but free play is also an option. Participation is optional.
Free Time – This is a block of time for children and parents alike to do whatever they’d like. You might find yourself visiting Pisac, spending time in the local gardens, or organizing games with the other families.
Then, we’ll all come together to enjoy a community dinner then participate in that day’s closing circle.
Travel Day – Most of this day will be spent watching Peru from the window of a comfortable van. On our way, we’ll pass through many mountainous communities, roadside waterfalls and breathtaking sights. At one point, we’ll even drive through a glacier (snowball fights, anyone?).
Hotsprings in Santa Theresa – At the end of our journey, we’ll be rewarded with gorgeous, natural hot springs in the rural town of Santa Theresa. Here, we can relax and socialize while the rest of our worries melt away.
We’ll have dinner after the hotsprings, followed by circle, then sweet rest for the night.
Immersive Tour of Local Coffee Farm – After arriving in the morning and getting settled in, local farmers will give us a tour around the cloud forest coffee farm. We’ll receive an in-depth explanation as to the process of growing, harvesting, roasting and brewing coffee, and have the opportunity to share a mug with the local farmers who are passionate about their craft.
And if the kids aren’t interested, they are free to use the play-set while the rest of us are on the coffee walk!
We’ll have an early dinner followed by circle for an early night.
Our Trek to Machu Picchu Town – Departing from the coffee farm early in the morning, we’ll travel by car all the way to Hidroelectrica and begin our walk from there. It’s approximately a 4-hour walk to Machu Picchu Town (Aguas Calientes), but we’ll have the chance to stop at the river for a swim on the way.
**For families uninterested in walking, train tickets will be available for purchase at our jumping off point, but please note that they are not included in the PWS fee. Each ticket cost aprox $30USD per person.
On Arrival to Machu Picchu Town – On arrival, we will check into our hotel for the night and eat dinner at a local restaurant. Families are free to go off and shop, or explore the town if they wish. We will make preparations for visiting the incredible site of Machu Picchu the day after. But remember, we have an early morning and a long day tomorrow!
Visiting Machu Picchu – Leaving in the morning, we’ll head up the mountain for our guided tour through the ancient city of the Incas. There, families will have the opportunity to take in the site and take all the pictures they’ll ever need for their future holiday cards.
Returning to Cusco by Train – After having spent a few hours in Machu Picchu, our group will depart from Aguas Calientes and board the afternoon train back to Cusco.
We’ll have dinner this evening in a local Indian restaurant (in fact, it’s an all you can eat buffet!) We’ll do circle at the restaurant giving people the choice to head back to their rooms early for rest or explore Cusco or even enjoy a drink!
Despacho Ceremony – After resting up from our trip to Machu Picchu, we’ll be guided by Cesar, a local shaman and mystic, into the hills above Cusco to perform the traditional Despacho Ceremony. The Despacho Ceremony is a blessing to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and is a way to give back to the mountains, the earth, and the vibrant culture that has hosted us during our stay in this magical land.
Our group will dine at a local restaurant and participate in our final circle ceremony!
Final Day – In the morning, we will have a final community breakfast together and then drop families who are departing by air off at the airport. Some participants may elect to stay, and others may choose to travel with the other families they shared this experience with. Every choice is valid and respected, and it is PWS’ priority to support you in your decision. Thank you for sharing this experience with us!
*Schedule is subject to shift
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
Many of our meals will be prepared in our hostel by our hosts. Breakfasts will consist of fresh fruit, juice, eggs, fresh yogurts, cheeses and local breads. Lunches will be a combination of local dishes, salads, fish and other Andean flavors. On the days we have full-day outings, we’ll have prepared packed lunches for our trip, including sandwiches, fruit, chips and juice etc.. Dinners will be a combination of local cooked meals anddinners 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.
For the first 9 days, the Project World School 15 Day Peru Family Adventure will be centered in Amaru, a community just above the bohemian citadel of Pisac. We’ll be staying at Inti Qhawarina, a locally owned family guesthouse and farm. While still very much a rustic place, the rooms are comfy and well-designed and will make you feel right at home.
For the final 5 days, we’ll be on the move. On our journey to the magical Machu Picchu, we’ll spend 1 night in Santa Theresa, a town famous for it’s hot springs, 1 night at a local coffee farm, and 1 night in Machu Picchu town itself. On the way back, we’ll spend 2 nights in Cusco as everybody gets geared up for their travels home.
Every family will be given their own room (or two, depending on family size).
You’ll be gone for two weeks, 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.
Layers are the key!
2 Long Sleeve Shirts
2 Warm Sweaters
2 Pairs of Long pants
2 Leggings or Long underwear
4 T-shirts (one should be a formal shirt)
1 bathing suit
1 raincoat or water proof jacket
1 heavy jacket
1 sunhat with a brim
1 hiking shoes
3 pairs of heavy socks
2 pairs of hiking socks
personal items / toiletries
tooth paste & toothbrush
shampoo & conditioner
copy of passport
tiny first aid kit
small journal or notepad and pens
All participants must fly in and out Cusco’s Airport. To save money, search for international round trip flights to and from Lima, Peru. Then you will need to book separate flights from Lima on a local airline, either Star Peru or Peruvian Air for best flight prices. After you register, we’ll provide more information.
Alice will be co-facilitater of The Project World School Peru Family Adventure. She has worked with Project World School helping organize two Bali retreats in the past, has organized two family worldschooling adventures in both Bali and Sri Lanka over the years. Alice is excited about working with other families in this upcoming retreat. To read more about her, click here.
Joan loves to support traveling families! Worldschooling began 23 years ago for her family when they moved to a tiny island in the Caribbean. The tiny island opened up a big world of wonder that ignited curiosity and trust in pursuing, what was then, an unconventional path of not sending her children off to school, and spending varied lengths of time living in different locales. Growing, encouraging and strengthening our collective global worldschooling family is important to her! Joan feels super privileged and excited to be sharing Peru and Incan magic with you!She has helped organize the Project World School Family Summits in the past. To read more about her, click here.
TRIP LOCATION MANAGER
Lainie has lived in the Andean Region of Peru for 2 years, and having formed some incredibly tight bonds and relationships to local communities, is a natural candidate for the role of Location Manager on this retreat. While she won’t be with the group the whole time, she will be available to help and clarify if need be. To read more about her, click here.
TRIP LOCATION INTERN
Wiley is a 3 time Project World School participant and will be working with the organization as Trip Location Intern. Since Wiley speaks over 6 languages (Spanish included), he will be helping with making arrangements prior to the retreat and making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
PISAC LOCATION COORDINATOR
Matt, a tour guide and trek coordinator, is the person who introduced us to Higidio and his lovely community members in Amaru. Matt will also be present to assist with anything related to location, logistics and language during the first 9 days of the trip. To read more about him, click here.
CO-OWNER OF FARM AND WORKSHOP FACILITATOR
Elojidio is the owner of the Inti Qhawarina guesthouse in Amaru. During our trip, he will act as a workshop facilitator and ambassador to the local community.