Peru’s fascinating cultural history, the friendliness of its people, stunning scenery and outstanding trekking opportunities make it an extremely popular school trip destination. With such a diverse range of areas to discover, our Peru expedition options explore either the incredible pre-Inca ruins and Andes mountains of the north, or Colca Canyon, Machu Picchu and the many Inca sites of the south.
Featuring the largest indigenous population of all the South American countries, Peru boasts a fascinating cultural heritage. The Quechua and Aymara are the largest tribes and in more remote areas team members will have the chance to see how some communities have maintained their traditional customs and language.
Peruvians tend to be very warm-hearted and take pride in welcoming visitors into their communities so teams are encouraged to make the most of the opportunities for cultural exchange. Learning some Spanish will really help with this and more ambitious teams may even want to try their hand at learning Quechua! A Peru expedition will provide a challenging and varied experience for any team.
PERU EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Here are just some of the incredible experiences you can choose from for your Peru expedition:
Peru’s incredible landscapes offers fantastic acclimatisation options. This phase provides an opportunity to really immerse yourself in the rich local culture and get you used to the local trekking conditions.
In North Peru amongst the Andes, there are numerous treks in the Cordillera Blanca region around Huaraz, including day walks to hot springs or overnight trips along spectacular valleys to glacier fed lakes. These treks range from 3,090m to 4,625m above sea level and will enable you to prepare for the tougher challenges to come.
In South Peru, ruins, markets and villages abound in many of the day treks through the Sacred Valley near Cusco. These testing day walks will prepare you well for your main trek and give you an opportunity for adventure along routes once trekked by the mighty Incas themselves.
Making a Difference
Throughout Peru, the projects enable teams to experience the Peruvian way of life and culture first hand by working side-by-side with local communities. Depending on your community, you could be helping with building or renovating an orphanage, teaching English to local children, or working on environmental-awareness programmes. On the Andes and Amazon itinerary, there is also the opportunity to work on sustainable eco-tourism projects, such as edible gardens, beekeeping and small eco-friendly businesses.
Peru Project Case Study –
Recycling projects and rainwater storage-tank construction in San Roque
One World Challenge group worked with a local women’s grassroots organisation to help promote their horticulture work, ornamental plants and recycling projects in a tree nursery built by a previous World Challenge team. They also built a small demonstration iron and cement rainwater-storage tank. In an area that is the most deforested in Peru, this now protected area really benefits from your help.
Last year, World Challenge sent 19 teams to 11 different project sites across 7 different areas of Peru. These included 4 environmental projects and 4 renovation projects providing a profound and lasting impact on local communities.
Trekking in Peru is arguably one of the world’s greatest expedition experiences. Geographically Peru has three main environments. Down the centre of Peru runs a great chain of mountain peaks known as the Andes which in its entirety runs all the way from Colombia in the north down to the tip of Chile in the far south. The second region comprises the pristine jungles of the vast Amazonian lowlands, and the third a narrow strip of coastal plain which runs down the west of the country.
Options in the north include trekking up to a height of 4,750m to the Punta Unión Pass, or passing through a beautiful cloud forest and area known for its ancient ruins on the Belén Circuit. In the south of Peru teams can follow in the steps of the Incas on the Salkantay Trek, or explore the area around amazing Colca Canyon passing through rural villages and past towering volcanoes.
With such varied landscapes, there are a number of fantastic possible trekking options to choose from for your expedition.
North Peru – Santa Cruz
Approximately 40km of trekking takes you to the dizzying heights of 4,750m at the Punta Unión pass where you can marvel at some of the most stunning high-mountain scenery in Peru’s Andes. The trail winds through fertile alpine valleys, boasts views of spectacular glaciated peaks, waterfalls and lakes, and crosses from one Cordillera Blanca valley to another.
South Peru – The Alternative Inca Trail
Feel like the first to follow in the steps of the Incas on our Salkantay trek. From Cusco, you will pass through valleys, Amazonian cloud forest and reach the highest point of 4,650m where you can add your stone to a pile offered as gifts to the mountain spirits as thanks for protecting you. And what could be better than ending up at the perfect spot for visiting Machu Picchu?
Rest & Relaxation
Explore Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca or go white water rafting!
Peru contains many fascinating cultural sites including ancient ruins and colourful markets. Teams could spend time on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, visit the Paracas Peninsula and Ballestas Islands, explore the fascinating Machu Picchu ruins or explore the Amazon jungle, learning about the native flora and fauna from your local guide.
Adventurous teams could choose to take part in a white water rafting trip and those visiting the far North of Peru could spend some time relaxing on one of the area’s beautiful beaches.
- Peru, South America
- Population: 29.4 million
- Languages spoken: Spanish, plus main indigenous languages of Quechua and Aymara.
- Time zone: GMT -5-6
- Terrain: Mountains, beach, jungle, cloud forest, altiplano
- When can I travel there?: All year round.
- Climate: Peru’s climate varies considerably by region and altitude. The best time for trekking is Jun – Sep, when days are sunny but nights are cold. The Inca trail is often closed during the wettest months of Jan – Mar. The coast is quite hot and humid during those months, becoming cooler during the rest of the year. As one moves up into the mountains, night-time temperatures become colder. The eastern slope of the Andes, like the Amazon basin, experiences very heavy rainfall during the wet season, so best time to visit would be Apr – Oct.
- Expedition Physical Rating: Moderate to high
- Expedition Duration: 21 to 28 days
- Culture Shock: Medium to high
- Typical accommodation: Hostels and tents
- Ideal for: A challenging and varied experience
- The Peruvian Amazon is home to giant river turtles, caiman, manatees, jaguar, water lilies big enough to sleep on, and pink dolphins.
- Peruvians are very warmhearted and take pride in welcoming visitors into their communities.
- Learning some Spanish will really help with cultural exchange and enhance your experience of Peru.
- Peru has the largest indigenous population of all the South American countries and boasts a fascinating cultural heritage.
Maria Gracia is our In-Country Agent for Peru and is on hand to help out with anything you need on expedition. She has years of experience working with World Challenge groups and specialises in sustainable tourism.
NEW TO WORLD CHALLENGE?
Every World Challenge starts long before your students step on a plane. With our support, develop life skills and take ownership of:
- Destination and itinerary planning
- Fundraising ideas and events
- Budgeting and money management
- Preparation, fitness and nutrition
Get in touch with one of our consultants to start planning your overseas school expedition today!