Peru Service is one of our most spectacular trips, offering the opportunity to perform meaningful service helping the local communities of Misminay and Urubamba while exploring the most iconic sites of this South American gem! Your rewarding days of service will be spent on projects ranging from aiding in construction projects and farming, to teaching English as a second language. During the service portion of the trip you will be welcomed into Peruvian families and live like a local during your homestay. The rest of your time will be nothing short of transformative as you experience the unique atmosphere of the Sacred Valley. Drink in the mountain culture of Lima and Cusco as you see the mix of Inca and Colonial architecture around the Plaza de Armas and the temple of Coricancha. You will also peruse vibrant handicraft markets and marvel at the mesmerizing Inca city of Machu Picchu. Service, culture, incredible sights and adventure: What more could you ask for in a Peruvian summer?
During this program, you will…
- Earn up to 40 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
After a thrilling 11 days in Peru, many participants choose to continue their trip on our 22-Day Peru Service & Adventure program, or cross another country off their bucket list by joining our Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos Service program!
DAY 1: FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM MIAMI
Upon our arrival in Lima, we’ll board the next flight to Cusco. Next, we’ll head straight to Ollantaytambo, where we’ll rest and start getting used to the Andean altitude.
DAYS 1-4: OLLANTAYTAMBO AND 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 6-9: 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 9-11: 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.
DAY 11: RETURN FLIGHT HOME
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
This program is only for students who are currently in 9th through 12th grade 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 and a homestay. Our homestay is in the Misminay community, 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 leave with a completely authentic view of the region.
What is unique about this program?
We have the amazing opportunity to live like a local in the Sacred Valley. The homestay portion of our program gives 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!
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
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.
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.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
U.S. citizen visitors to Peru do not need a visa if they are traveling as a tourist with a valid U.S. passport. You will be issued a tourist card upon entry, which is valid for up to 90 days. Students arriving from countries other than the U.S. should check their 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.
"I can not tell you how much she truly loved it!! I can not tell you how much you and your staff to say thank you for keeping my baby safe and allowing her to experience once in a life time event in her life. Marissa is so emotional, expressing how much she will miss everyone. To think before she hopped on the plane she was so nervous that she will not make any friends. I am truly amazed the beautiful things you guys accomplished. Marissa is hooked and she is already saving and planning for next year. We thank you again for the experience."
"Just wanted you to know that we greatly appreciate your updates! The details are fantastic and it's so much fun to keep pace with you all."