Note to students: As you read through this description of our tentative itinerary, here are some words we have not translated that we would like you to look up, and learn a bit about as you find them in the itinerary. They are all either places or words in Spanish/Quechua/English that will be important during our course:
Valle Sagrado de los Incas, Parque de la Papa, Indigenous, Quechua, Apu, Nevado, Machu Picchu
Over the past couple weeks, we have been working together to craft an exciting, immersive itinerary for our month together in Peru. While parts of this plan may change, we are excited about each step in the progression.
Departure: (June 28) We will all meet for the first time in the Miami Airport on the evening of June 28th (more specific information to come). Our flight to Peru will leave after midnight on the 29th. Once we are all together, we will pass through security, and get to know each other a bit before boarding our flight.
Orientation: (June 29 to July 2) After arriving to Cusco, we will travel to Urubamba in the Valle Sagrado de los Incas. During orientation, we will help you all prepare to travel in Peru safely and responsibly. We will be having conversations surrounding cultural norms and Peruvian history, while also beginning to learn about each other and our group. While we will primarily be working with each other during orientation, you all will also spend time in Urubamba and hiking around the valley as a group!
Parque de la Papa: (July 3 to July 7) Not to far from the Valle Sagrado, we will begin our Andean homestay with this incredible community project. While practicing Spanish (maybe a little Quechua?) and connecting with homestay families, we will learn from community members about local food production, indigenous identities, and spirituality. Here we will hike, cook, and work the fields with host families and community leaders, while learning about their projects.
Trek near Apu Ausangate: (July 8 to July 14) This will be our primary opportunity to travel by foot through the Andes. While we are still planning our exact route, but we will hike near the principle Apu of Cusco and Incan Empire, Nevado Ausangate. While on trek, we will learn about the spiritual importance of the passes and peaks surrounding us, while connecting with the communities we pass through.
Amazon Excursion and Homestay: (July 15 to July 20) After reaching passes as high as 5,000 meters (16,000 feet), we will plunge down into the Amazon Jungle. In the lowlands, we will travel by boat on Amazonian tributaries to communities along the river. We plan on coordinating another homestay for this time, with families who harvest most of what they need from the soils and rivers, and working with biologists who are learning about how climate change and deforestation are affecting this awe-inspiring ecosystem.
Machu Picchu: (July 21 to July 23) These few days will be the “expedition phase” of our course. After having learned how to navigate public transportation and travel efficiently in Peru, you all will be responsible for organizing the logistics to arrive to Machu Picchu. This will be an opportunity for you all to assume more independence with the support of us instructors while visiting this archeological site. During this time, we will learn about the history of Machu Picchu, while thinking critically about how tourism has affected the region.
Transference: (July 24 to July 26) We will spend these last few days together reflecting on our travels, talking about how we will incorporate what we have learned into our daily lives. At a site in between Machu Picchu and Cusco, we will take time to appreciate each other and our hosts in Peru.
Return Home: (July 27) We will leave from Cusco to Miami in the early evening. At least one instructor will stay with the group in the Miami airport to make sure students make their connections toward home.
Thank you all for reading and learning about some of the places we will be traveling to! We can’t wait to be out there with you all. More to come soon about our Focus of Inquiry for this course, and a pre-course assignment we would like you to dive into 🙂
P.S. You may have just read this and are thinking: But aren’t we gonna spend any time in Cusco? We will be spending a day or two in Cusco during transition times. Cusco is a beautiful and historically rich city. We will have time to spend there, learning about history, architecture, and the role tourism has played in everyday life.