Peru

Peru
PROGRAM DATES 
Jun 30 to Jul 24
$5650
Jul 29 to Aug 9
$3550
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION 

Building upon friendships almost two-decades strong, teen volunteers with VISIONS Peru will work on the construction of school facilities, environmental projects, and a continuously growing water irrigation system that serves farmers surrounding the home base of Urubamba. Participants will have the opportunity to strengthen their Spanish language skills with this study abroad experience, while working on community service projects and while visiting the Sacred Valley of the Inca, including a visit to Machu Picchu.

  • A teen volunteer works with a local in Peru on a VISIONS construction project
  • VISIONS teen volunteers learn about weaving and clothing production from a local in Peru
  • A VISIONS high school traveler prepares for a train trip in Peru
  • We explore the community around our home base, and take time to get out of town too!
  • VISIONS participants taking time after work to build friendships
  • One of our high school travelers poses with local kids in Peru
  • A high school volunteer in Peru poses with a local and her lamb in an open air market in Peru
  • A VISIONS participant poses with a resident llama while visiting Machu Picchu
  • A few of our high school volunteers pose at Machu Picchu in Peru
  • A glance at the agriculture and landscape of the Andes in Peru
  • A VISIONS high school volunteer poses with a staff member near our home base in Peru

Welcomed Service

Community service in Peru combines adobe and cinder block construction. You may even learn the adobe process from the beginning: making blocks by stomping mud together with straw, forming bricks and placing them to dry. One primary project involves constructing classroom additions and facilities for schools in the valley, also getting some time with local kids. VISIONS teen volunteers also play a pivotal role in a huge irrigation system in neighboring rural communities. The project was initiated in 2001 and its success in water conservation has led us to expand the system every year, always working with the farmers whose crops are served. 

Full Immersion

VISIONS teens have been welcomed by “Urubambinos” for fifteen summers. The deep connections mean you are taken in like family. In a way, you are an ambassador in a place that shares in service and cultural activities alike. Spanish immersion will push you to improve your language skills while you get to know our dynamic project manager and driver, Nico; prepare meals with our cook, Neyda; collaborate with maestros at the work sites; and participate in “day stays” with families. In a neighboring pueblo, you share time and play games with orphan children. Through regular workshops you learn traditional pottery, weaving and beekeeping. The tranquil streets of Urubamba become as familiar as home—you will meet food vendors while shopping for our meals, and neighbors who share their stories and lives with you.

"I made great connections and have unforgettable memories. The community taught me so much about Peruvian culture and about life in general."

Rie Seu – Yokohama, Japan
Our Home Base 
Urubamba
In the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Urubamba is the historic Inca capital and seems majestically placed between the mountains and Urubamba River. The area was favored by ancient Peruvians for its mild climate and fertile river lands. Urubamba is a charming community of 8,000 people whose roots are Inca, Hispanic and Quechua.
VISIONS began working in Peru in 1999. One of our first connections was with Nico Jara, a man always ready to laugh, play soccer, and work with us. Not only is he our professional driver of fifteen years, but also project coordinator and a close friend whose knowledge about the Sacred Valley runs deep. Work in our early years mostly focused on the construction of preschools in the Valley, and another important initiative of more recent summers has been in water conservation and irrigation systems.
Explore Peru

Travel to Peru would not be complete without visiting the heart of Inca civilization, Machu Picchu, where we spend a weekend and walk to the Sun Gate just as the sun’s first beams break over the majestic peaks. You also will explore the ruins of Ollantaytambo and tour the Maras salt mines. In Cuzco we visit Spanish cathedrals and the Plaza de Armas. Before summer adventures end, you go to Pisaq market, where merchants have been selling wares for more than four centuries.

Daily Life

Our home in Peru is a large rented home in one of Urubamba’s quaint neighborhoods. There are bathrooms and showers, a kitchen and communal areas, and a bunk bed awaiting each person.

We generally work place five days a week and end in mid-afternoon. You typically get to choose from three different worksites each day—most are focused on development of water canals and construction projects at schools. One day a week you will be on “homebase crew” with a few other participants and a leader. The crew makes breakfast for the group, goes to local markets to buy food for the next meals, delivers laundry to our laundress, cleans our space, and enjoys a “day in the life” of Urubamba.

Afternoons and weekends are for excursions and activities. Some full-day activities of the longer program are condensed into afternoon activities for the shorter program. Games with neighbor kids, scenic hikes, visits to ancient ruins and markets, and time practicing Spanish with neighbors are some of the ways we spend the non-work hours. Some evenings after dinner we have group meetings to talk through the summer experience.

Meals include vegetarian and meat options, and healthy snacks as also available through the day. A cook prepares our dinners, which are a terrific blend of American and Peruvian cuisine, and always with plenty of variety to serve everyone’s palette.

VISIONS is not a teen tour with a day-to-day travel itinerary. We settle into our home and are part of daily life and local happenings. The itineraries provide an overview of some of our main activities in Peru.

Itinerary

First Day
Last Day
First Day
Last Day
Arrivals to Lima
Leaders fly with participants to Cuzco; settle into home base in Urubamba
Worksite orientation
Fourth of July cookout
Day stays with local families
Afternoon trip to Pisac ruins & market
Machu Picchu & Aguas Calientes
Chincheros Ruins
Star Gazing near Maras
Saksaywaman ruins & Cuzco
Maras salt mines
Goodbye Dinner with community members
Leaders fly with participants to Lima, then evening departure flights
Arrivals back home
SESSION TWO
Arrivals to Lima
Leaders fly with participants to Cuzco; settle into home base in Urubamba
Full day worksites
Dinner stays with local families
Afternoon to Maras salt mines
Machu Picchu & Aguas Calientes
Afternoon trip to Pisac ruins & market
Morning tour of Cuzco, then leaders fly with participants to Lima for evening
Arrivals back home
  • We are surrounded by the local culture on our Peru program. Here a parade passes through the streets.
  • We mix real volunteer work with real adventure. A trip to Machu Picchu is part of every Peru program.
  • Some of our high school participants pose in the mountains in Peru
  • Each of our programs features local guest speakers who teach us about the culture and history of the area.
  • We dive deep into the local culture and landscape. Our long relationships with local partners makes this possible.
  • VISIONS participants and staff pose with locals during a festival in Peru
  • VISIONS teen travelers talk with local vendors in the high mountains of Peru
  • A look at the high mountain landscape in Peru

More Details

Summer leaders receive teen volunteers at the Lima airport and then fly with them to Cuzco before making the hour-long bus ride to our home base. Likewise, leaders fly from Cuzco to Lima to see kids off at the end of the program.
Parents receive a phone call or email once their child is met by VISIONS leaders at the airport. After that, phone calls home are generally limited to once a week.
We live together as a group in a rented house, and boys and girls sleep in separate areas. VISIONS provides bunk beds, and participants bring their own pillow and sleeping bag.
VISIONS has a 1 to 4 or 5 leader to student ratio, one of the best ratios among summer programs. The maximum group size is 25, and programs are gender-balanced. Most participants attend alone, and no more than two friends may attend a program together.
We emphasize an inclusive group dynamic. Things like age and grade become less important on a VISIONS program. We eat most meals and do most activities as a large group, and we break into small rotating groups for workdays.
Details such as a packing list, travel notes, and health forms are provided upon enrollment through login web pages. The process is straightforward and we are here to help. VISIONS travel agent books flights, which are not included with tuition.
Peru I: 80 community service hours; Peru II: 40 community service hours. Youth summer camp program for ages 14 - 18.
Program Director
Peru I & II

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