Peru Service and Adventure packs another 11 days of pinch-yourself moments and thrills on top of our already incredible Peru Service program. Start the journey performing meaningful service helping the local communities of Misminay and Urubamba. While there, your rewarding days of service will be spent on projects ranging from aiding in light construction and farming, to teaching English as a second language. Be welcomed into Peruvian families as you live like a local in our homestay program and experience the unique atmosphere of the Sacred Valley. Drink in the mountain atmosphere of Cusco as you see the mix of Incan and Colonial architecture around the Plaza de Armas and the temple of Coricancha. Peruse vibrant handicraft markets and of course, marvel at the mesmerizing Incan city of Machu Picchu.
From the Sacred Valley, we’ll continue exploring the most iconic sites of this South American country as we head to Lake Titicaca to explore the Uros Floating Islands, meeting the Uru people and learning firsthand what it’s like to live on the lake! Spend the rest of the trip adventuring as we spot condors in Colca Canyon (more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!), whitewater raft down the Rio Chili and learn how to cook authentic Peruvian meals in Arequipa. Service, culture, incredible sights and adventure: What more could you ask for in a Peruvian summer?
During this program, you will…
- Earn up to 20 hours of community service credits volunteering with local communities in Misminay and Urubamba
- Make lifelong bonds with the local schoolchildren as you interact with them, helping them learn English
- Relax in soothing volcanic hot springs surrounded by mountains
- Be mesmerized by Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
- Live like a local during our unique homestay program, as you are welcomed into Peruvian homes and communities
- Experience the Sacred Valley and its Incan past, exploring Coricancha, Ollantaytambo and Moray
- Hone your bargaining skills as you peruse the vibrant local markets for authentic handmade souvenirs
- Learn how the locals make, dye and weave natural alpaca wool into stunning patterns
- Hike to the highest mountain in Lake Titicaca and and enjoy spectacular views from 13,615 feet above
- Meet the inhabitants of the Uros Floating Islands and learn their centuries-old traditions
- Be inspired by the majestic condors flying above Colca Canyon
- Learn to cook the authentic Peruvian dishes Ceviche and Lomo Saltado
- Take a thrilling rafting adventure down the Rio Chili outside of Arequipa
DAY 1: DEPART FROM MIAMI (MIA)
DAYS 1-4: OLLANTAYTAMBO > URUBAMBA
We’ll kick off this incredible program in the Sacred Valley! Visit the amazing sites of the area, including the ruins in Ollantaytambo and Moray, where archaeologists theorize that the Inca conducted agricultural experiments. We’ll also begin our community service in Urubamba, helping an elementary school with and projects they may need and spending time with the children, instilling English as a second language and playing games.
DAY 5: MACHU PICCHU
Explore legendary Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World! This imposing Incan city perched in the clouds will take your breath away, it’s nothing short of incredible! Hike to the legendary Sun Gate for sweeping views of the ruins, and reward yourself with a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs to finish off a perfect day!
DAYS 6-8: MISMINAY
Balance your sightseeing experiences by immersing yourself in the small communities that define the diverse cultural identity of Peru! We will be welcomed in the warmest way you can imagine, with open arms and big smiles, into the village of Misminay. Our first project in the small community will include providing hands-on help in various projects like building houses, kitchen improvements (construction work) and farming. One of the nights we will help the community prepare the “pachamanca,” a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth. During our stay in Misminay, we will be sleeping in our own private rooms attached to some of the local family homes, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the local community.
DAYS 9-10: CUSCO
Cusco is one of the most important cities in the Sacred Valley, so wake up and get ready to explore the historic Incan empire! Wander through a beautiful mix of Incan and Colonial architecture, before checking out Coricancha, the most important temple in the Incan Empire, which is dedicated to the Sun God, Inti.
Enjoy a hands-on chocolate making class and make your own tasty creations. At the handicraft markets in Cusco, sharpen your bargaining skills to get unique souvenirs for your family and friends! You’ll even spend a day channeling your inner Indiana Jones as you roam through incredible Incan Ruins, getting off the beaten path to explore some of these ancient cities.
DAYS 11-13: PUNO > LAKE TITICACA
Leaving the Sacred Valley behind, journey south to unique Puno; a breathtaking fusion of scenic mountain beauty, the birthplace of Andean culture and home to the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. Stop to savor the beautiful vistas of La Raya, the highest point on the road between Cusco and Puno, as well as a few other gems along the way! Once on the water, get to know the amazing Uros Islands, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. Visit Taquile Island, recognized by UNESCO for its textile “Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage of Humanity” and learn firsthand what it’s like to live like a local.
DAYS 14-15: CHIVAY > THE COLCA CANYON
Leave our home on the lake to head to Chivay, a quaint town perched on the edge of the Colca Canyon, where we relax for the evening, soaking in the atmosphere of the amazing hot springs. The canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States and the third most visited place in Peru. Wake up early to get to Cruz del Condor, the lookout point where we will hopefully spot the condor, the largest flying land bird in the world!
DAYS 16-17: AREQUIPA
Next up, it’s off to Arequipa, known as “The White City”, where we’ll explore the countryside and spend time in the city center to experience the local markets. Head to a local restaurant to learn how to make traditional Peruvian dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado. Finally, get the adrenaline pumping as we head out to the Rio Chili and raft down class 3 and 4 rapids!
DAYS 18-19: LIMA
No trip to Peru would be complete without exploring the beautiful capital city of Lima! We’ll see the colonial Spanish influence on the “City of Kings” as we peruse the districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, as well as the historical center. Learn about more than 5,000 years of Peruvian history at the Larco Museum, and even sample a pisco sour!
DAYS 19-20: PUERTO MALDONADO
Perhaps the most exciting part of our journey, we’ll spend some time exploring the spectacular Amazon rainforest in Puerto Maldonado! At the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve, you’ll find over 500 bird species and 100 mammal species. Cruise along the Madre de Dios River at night to spot nocturnal wildlife, like capybaras and white caymans. Walk among the treetops on the Canopy Walkway 100 feet above the ground–the perfect way to spot local birds! Hike along a rainforest trail to visit the Carachamayo Pool, take a boat ride out to River Island, and learn how local cultures are developing eco-sustainable farming techniques. Every night, you’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the rainforest around you.
DAY 21-22: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
On this trip, we stay in well-appointed 3-star hotels or homestays. Our homestays are in the Misminay community and Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca, where you will be in a private room of the villager’s home, with shared restrooms and communal meals held in the main center of the village.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like the most about this program?
Students love that they have the opportunity to explore one of the 7 Wonders of the World along with many other beautiful and mysterious Incan ruins! Being immersed in Peruvian culture, students connect with locals, become a part of their community and get a completely authentic view of the region. Top that off with amazing outdoor activities and students leave with nothing but amazing memories from an incredible time abroad.
What is unique about this program?
We have the amazing opportunity to live like a local in the Sacred Valley. The homestay programs give our students unrivaled access to the genuine lesser-known parts of Peru very few people get so see. Our local guides are extremely experienced and knowledgeable, providing us the chance to truly experience Peruvian culture.
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
The food in Peru is delicious! Expect to eat corn, potatoes (all different varieties!), quinoa, rice, meats (beef, pork, chicken, and even Alpaca), veggies and many other foods flavored with unique Peruvian seasonings!
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
All US citizens that enter Peru are automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we were awarded top youth travel organization in 2017.
"This was my second trip with TFT and it was so fun. I went on this trip because I loved the first trip I did, South Africa service. This trip was amazing because there were so many different experiences. My favorite part of this trip was the home stay we did, this was the part I was most nervous about because I had no idea what to expect. But it was amazing, the hosts were so welcoming and it was something I had never experienced before. It allowed me to see how differently people live. Overall this trip was amazing."
"I learned so many amazing things and met so many beautiful people on this trip. This was my first TFT trip, and I can say I was the not the same person when I returned home. The locals in Misminay were so welcoming and friendly, and the TFT staff always made sure everything was going smoothy."
"What a wonderful trip you are having! Those school children are adorable! Keep the pictures coming, we love following along at home."