Volunteer in the historically rich city of Cuzco, nestled deep in the Andes mountains, and get a feel for the local way of life surrounded by ancient Inca ruins. Work with children, teenagers and young adults, helping them to develop and strengthen skills during daily activities such as art, sports, music, science, reading, homework, learning English, theatre and games. Participate in an invaluable cultural exchange and take away unexpected insights and lessons learned. Embark on an unparalleled trek through the Andes mountains to reach breathtaking Machu Picchu. Finally, make an unforgettable journey to the Amazon Jungle from Puerto Maldonado where you can go on hikes and boat safaris to see wild animals and pristine nature.
Day 1: Cuzco Arrival and Airport Pick-up (Sunday)
Today you will be picked up upon arrival to the Cuzco airport and transferred to your accommodation. Get settled in and have a free day to enjoy the beautiful city of Cuzco. Get adjusted to the altitude with your first cup of coca-leaf tea and an easy walk around town. Overnight in Cuzco.
Cuzco Intro + Volunteering Project (Monday - Thursday) (4B)
On day 2 (Monday) you will have a short introduction to the city of Cuzco and then begin your exciting volunteering project with a briefing at the school with all of the important details on the program. Feel free to ask as many questions as you want so you can fully understand your responsibilities. This week, you will volunteer on a daily basis. Your schedule will vary depending on the program`s need for volunteers and this will be confirmed upon arrival. In your free time you can relax, practice your Spanish and enjoy the city of Cuzco on your own.
Volunteer Project Description: Work with school children to help them develop and strengthen skills during daily activities such as art, reading, computer skills, homework, tutoring, learning English, theatre and games. Your presence with the children will also help them to learn about other cultures and see that despite our different skills, strengths and weaknesses, we are all equal. The socio-cultural exchange is invaluable to the children’s learning and understanding of the world. You will participate in the activities based on your skill sets and experience. Everyone has something to contribute and the most important qualities required are patience, understanding and flexibility to work in a new atmosphere with an open mind to accept all possibilities.
Depending on the program`s need for volunteers, your schedule will vary. Your schedule will be confirmed upon arrival and you will be given detailed instructions on how to reach the school.
Please be advised that you need to present an up to date Background / Police Check before arrival in order to participate in this volunteering project!
Cuzco Volunteering Project + Afternoon Cuzco City Tour (Friday) (B)
Today you will work at the volunteer project in the morning and then take an exciting city tour around Cuzco in the afternoon to discover the magic and beauty of this former capital of the Incan Empire, once considered the navel of the world.
After being picked-up from your accommodation you will embark on your journey to discover the ancient city of Cuzco, once the glorious capital of the Inca Empire, and the centre of the world. Walk through the cobblestone streets of Cuzco built atop Inca pathways and search out the easily distinguished Inca architecture in the carefully pieced stone walls. Imagine yourself walking among the flawlessly built ancient Inca roads that once led to the modern-day Plaza de Armas from faraway lands. Your trip will take you outside the city to visit the impressive archaeological sites of Saqsayhuaman, Q`enqo amphitheater, Pucapucara Red Fortress and Tambomachay, the Inca bath. Learn about the importance of these intriguing sites from your professional guide and awe at the impressive engineering skills it took to build these giant fortresses so high in the Andes mountains. Enjoy the sites overlooking the city of Cuzco with panoramic views over the valley and fresh mountain air before returning to Cuzco and being dropped off at your accommodation. Overnight in Cuzco.
Maras & Moray Sacred Valley 4x4 Motorbike Adventure (Saturday) (B)
Today you will take an adventurous 4x4 motorbike tour to see some of the Sacred Valley’s most interesting sites. Feel the adrenaline of having total control of a 4x4 motorbike as you drive along dirt roads in the mountains, splashing through mud puddles, passing fields and villages and enjoying the fresh crisp Andean air.
You will be picked up from your accommodation and head to Cruz Pata, a tiny village where the quad-bike adventure will begin. After a safety briefing, you will rev your engines and start off through the countryside to Moray, our first stop of the day. Look out over ancient Inca circular crop terraces and be amazed at the engineering developments of the ancient Inca. Connect with Mother Earth, (La Pachamama) and learn how the Andean culture lives in harmony with the nature that surrounds them. Continue your ride to the “Salineras”, salt mines for a quick visit to see how local people make a living off of the salt that is produced here. Hop back on your 4x4 motorbike once again and make the return trip to Cruz Pata where you will return your motorbike and equipment and then take a return transfer to Cuzco. Overnight in Cuzco.
Full Day Rafting & Zip-line Experience (Sunday) (B)
Today you will head over to the Vilcanota River, home to exciting rafting opportunities. Prepare for an adrenaline filled day, as you splash through the Peruvian rapids and finish off with a thrilling zip-line ride!
After being picked-up from your accommodation in Cuzco and a half-hour drive you will arrive to Oropesa, a tiny Andean town famous for its homemade bread. Here we will get some fresh bread for lunch before driving to the rafting starting point, where the adventure begins. You will get geared up and receive a safety briefing from your professional rafting guide. Head out into the water on the Vilcanota River, one of Peru`s most important rivers for whitewater rafting. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes you will enjoy this super fun class III, III+ and IV rapids with new friends! After hours of thrilling adventure on the Vilcanota River, you will reach camp where you can change into dry clothes and have lunch. Then you will have the chance to go on an exciting zip-lining adventure. Relax on the drive back to Cuzco after an active day. You will be dropped off in the city centre or at your accommodation. Overnight in Cuzco.
Cuzco Volunteering Project (Monday - Tuesday) (2B)
Enjoy your last two days working with the children at the volunteer project and be prepared to say goodbye to the smiling faces that you have been working with over the past week. You will take away valuable lessons and insights from your time here. Overnight in Cuzco.
Machu Picchu Trek 4D/3N (Wednesday - Saturday) (3B/3L/3D)
On days 11-14. you will have the opportunity to participate in a trekking experience through the Andes mountains to reach Machu Picchu. The trek depends on preference and trekking permit availability (the traditional Inca Trail trek is limited to 400 people per day and often sells out up to 6 months in advance).
Inca Trail Trek Description: A spectacularly rich experience in the Andean Mountains awaits you! Immerse yourself in the Inca culture as you hike 50 kilometers through the heart of the beautiful Andes. This 4-day trek is the only one to take you along the original stone staircases of the Inca Trail, arriving early at Machu Picchu.
Lares Trek Description: A great alternative to the Inca Trail Trek is the Lares Trek. This high altitude trek will please hikers interested in interacting with the local Inca villages in the Andes and seeing their way of life in the countryside.
On day 14, the last day of your trek, you will explore Machu Picchu before returning to Cuzco. Get up early to appreciate this magnificent city in the early morning light as the mist dissipates. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide to take you through the most important sites and explain the history of Machu Picchu. After the tour, you can explore the mysterious city by yourself and take pictures. If you still have energy and if time allows, you can also climb the Huayna Picchu peak (2,720m / 2 hours). (Tickets for this trek must be purchased at least 2 weeks in advance, please contact us prior to your trip.)
You will then make your own way to Aguas Calientes by bus where you will have lunch and receive your train tickets for the return trip. If time allows, visit the local marketplace right next to the train tracks where you can shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus for the last section of highway to Cuzco arriving back around 20:00. (Day 14 lunch and dinner are not included, please bring extra cash for these.)
Cuzco Free Day (Sunday) (B)
Enjoy a free day in Cuzco today to walk around town on your own. Explore the surrounding neighborhood of San Blas with its winding narrow streets and bohemian vibe. Have lunch and dinner on your own and enjoy the day with friends. Overnight in Cuzco.
Cuzco Volunteer Project, Bus Station Drop-Off & Night bus to Puerto Maldonado (Monday) (B)
Today will be your last day at the Volunteer project. Say goodbye to the children and local coworkers. Prepare your belongings this afternoon for your big trip to the Amazon Jungle and get dropped off at the bus station to take a nightbus to Puerto Maldonado departing Cuzco this evening. (Note: There will be no tour leader to accompany you on the bus.)
Amazon Jungle Experience 3D/2N (Tuesday) (B/L/D)
Welcome and reception at the bus terminal around 7:00am. You will first be transferred to our local office, where you`ll be able to rest and use the wifi, restrooms with a shower, and free luggage storage. Just next door to our office you will enjoy a delicious California-style homemade breakfast at Belinda´s home around 9am. Our neighbour`s small shaded outdoor patio and gardens are the perfect spot for a breakfast surrounded by blooming orchids and tropical vegetation! Next enjoy a short orchid tour in the Phalaenopsis growing facility, the first and only facility of its kind in the southeastern Amazon. Afterwards, you can either relax at the office or walk on your own to explore Puerto Maldonado`s Plaza de Armas while you wait for the rest of the group to arrive.
Between 12pm and 2pm, once the whole group has arrived, you`ll transfer to the boat wharf to begin the 1-hour boat ride to your Eco-Lodge while enjoying the wonders of the rainforest. We set off down the Madre de Dios River through the heart of the jungle surrounded by flora, fauna and breathtaking scenery.
Arrive at your Eco-Lodge to have lunch and settle into your private bungalow. Take a short rest before meeting with your guide followed by an introduction walk around the lodge and its trails. Winding past giant Kapok trees, walking palms and strangler figs while being dazzled by the sounds of native birds. Return to your bungalow for a rest. Before dinner you may choose to take a walk with your guide and experience the jungle as it transforms from day into night, making way for nocturnal animals and birds especially adapted for the dark. Return to the dining hall with your guide for your first dinner in the rainforest and enjoy a typical meal from this region. After dinner you may return to your bungalow or meet with other travellers and share your stories and experiences.
Amazon Jungle 3D/2N Experience (Wednesday) (B/L/D)
Breakfast is served between 7am and 8am. After breakfast begin your adventure walking thru the trails surrounded by trees of heights in excess of 45 meters and over 300 years old while we identify the flora and fauna by sight and sound. We will arrive at our first platforms located 15 and 25 meters high above a small collpa, in the branches of an old fig tree accessed by a suspension bridge while we explore the amazing structure of this tree and the wildlife that live in and around it. Continue your walk into the Taricaya reserve towards the Canopy platform, the highest tree platform in the Amazon rainforest. Located 45 meters high up in the crown of an ancient Kapok tree and connected by a 90-meter long suspension bridge. Catch a glimpse of flying Macaws, parrots Toucans or the infamous Harpy eagle; the views from this platform are truly unforgettable!
Continue into the reserve until we reach the animal rescue center where you will encounter many different wild animals including a jaguar, Puma, toucans, macaws, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, jaguarondi, bush dog, tapirs and more. These animals are in the process of rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. Stop off at the Butterfly house before returning to the lodge for lunch. Take a rest after lunch before venturing off on the 25-min walk to the Agroforestry farm and visit the reforestation projects of mahogany, cedar, cocoa, coffee and tropical flowers. Visit the Taricaya turtle project and its artificial beaches. Return to the lodge in your own inflatable boat with the opportunity to see turtles, monkeys, herons and other birds with a beautiful backdrop of the sunset over the river. Take a rest before we finish the day’s activities with a caiman search along the river`s edge in a motorboat under moonlight. Search for white caiman, black caiman and spectacled caiman as they lay along the river`s banks at night. End the day with a Farewell dinner. Overnight in jungle eco-lodge.
Puerto Maldonado Activities & Nightbus to Cuzco (Thursday) (B)
Enjoy an early breakfast at your lodge before your 8:00am departure and a scenic return boat trip on the Madre de Dios River bringing us back to Puerto Maldonado around 9:30am. You will be dropped off at the office where you can rest, refresh yourself and use the wi-fi until 11am, when you will depart for a visit of the nearby Snake House. Take a self-guided tour to visit the reptiles rescued by the owner, a biologist that shelters and works towards research and education with these animals.
Next you will visit the Puerto Maldonado city centre on your own and explore the city with a provided map and recommendations for lunch (not included). Take a stroll through the local markets where you will find everything from fish, meat and fruits to local arts and medicines or make your own way up to the Obelisk and admire the scenic view from above.
Make your way to our central meeting point at 3:00pm, where you will be picked up and transferred to the Pool House where you can take a refreshing swim and treat yourself to the snack bar (not included). At 6:00pm you will be returned to the office to get transferred to the bus terminal where you will catch your overnight bus back to Cuzco. (Note: There will be no tour leader to accompany you on the bus.)
Lunch in City Centre S/.30 approx.*
Mototaxi Plaza - Obelisco/Mirador S/.10 approx.* (round trip) or 8-block walk
Entrance to Obelisco/Mirador S/. 3 approx.*
Mototaxi Plaza - Marketplace S/.10 approx.* (round trip) or 12-block walk
*Prices subject to change without prior notice.
Day 20: Cuzco Free Day (Friday)
You will arrive back to Cuzco this morning and have a free day to buy last minute souvenirs, eat at your favorite restaurant and enjoy your last day in the magical city of Cuzco. Overnight in Cuzco.
Day 21: Cuzco Airport Drop-off (Saturday) (B)
Today you will have breakfast at the hostel and then be transferred to the airport in time to check in to your return flight home. We wish you safe travels for your onward journey!
* Please Note: During your volunteering you will likely be grouped with other volunteers, but the rest of the trip will be self-guided, joining with small groups for tours.
18 Nights Accommodation: 13N Hostel in Cuzco, 3N Camping on Trek & 2N Jungle Eco-Lodge + 2 Night Buses
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Trip Name: Peru Voluntour including Machu Picchu & Amazon Jungle
Duration: 21 Days
From Price: $4,089
Supplier Tour ID: CUZJUN/208743
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