Peru –Land of the Incas Family Adventure – 15 Day Learning Community

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Private Message
Advert #5751

Sacred Valley, Peru

June 17th – July 1st, 2019


$2100 Adult 16 +
$1500 Child 3-15
$500 Under 3

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.

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.

After we leave our hilltop sanctuary, we pick up the pace a little. The adventure continues with trips into cloud forest also known as the high jungle. There, we’ll relax and rejuvenate in the natural mineral hot springs and explore an organic coffee farm. This is also the starting point for our day hike to the town Aguas Callientes (also known as “Machu Picchu Town”). After a good night’s rest, together we’ll explore Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel set high in the Andean Mountains, and marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views. Finally our last two nights we will be in Cusco for our final ceremony; an offering to mother earth (Pachamama) in a descpacho ceremony. 

schedule & itinerary
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 andinsects 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.

Puca Pucara
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

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