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Peru - Open

Explore the Sacred Valley


Itinerary Options

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Discover Peru

Step into the Inca Empire

We are so excited to open Peru again for 2022. It is a must-see destination if you are thinking about venturing to South America. Rich in both geography and history it is a traveler’s awe-inspiring dream of extremes. From the heady heights of the Andes where the mysterious Machu Picchu lies in the Sacred Valley, to the virgin Amazon rainforest, to the glimmering Lake Titicaca.

But for us Peru is much more than the sights, it’s about the remote communities, living in the heart of the Scared Valley whose crops are still planted by hand, where the women work in bowler hats, and where llamas are as tame as pets.

These resilient communities are trying to preserve their traditional way of life but are keen for development in its gentlest form facilitated through our partners the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD).They are a non-profit NGO located in the Sacred Valley helping implement forward thinking, sustainable projects to enhance and preserve their livelihood.

This unique 4-week leap program provides a unique opportunity to combine an immersive cultural experience in the depths of the Sacred Valley.

Please note Peru is still on the UK red list. We will help with your return journey home.

Venture out to Peru for an epic journey of adventure and community development before reaching the breath taking Machu Picchu.

Program Itinerary

This is a journey to introduce you to the remote communities tucked away from the tourists eye who will welcome you into their family and will value your contribution to preserving their heritage.

Note: Though Peru is currently on the red list we will arrange to bring you back via a non red list destination for 11 nights to avoid the need to quarantine when arriving back in the UK.

The following is a sample itinerary.


Sacred Valley

You will arrive in Cusco and be transferred to Calca which will be your main base throughout this program.

Calca is a colourful little town, nestled amongst the mountains in the Sacred Valley, 9,600 ft above sea level, on the Urubamba River. It is known for its temperate climate, checkerboard fertile fields, tranquillity, and towering mountains.

It is very central which makes it a great location from which to explore and home to Mount Pitusiray – considered as one of the most important mountain gods in the region.


In Calca you will either be staying in a homestay or a hotel depending on the time of year. Homestays are an option outside of the month of January and June/July. There are about 6-7 families who will host, each family has up to 2 beds for hosting.

If homestays are not an option for certain program departures, then you will stay in a hotel that is close to the main plaza of Calca.


3 meals a day provided.

Wk 1

Community Project Farming + Exploration

Your first week will be a combination of acclimatizing, project work and exploration, starting off with an orientation day to familiarize yourself around the town.

Contributing at Ecohuella, the local organic farm

Since 2010, our pratners have been working with communities to improve their farming practices to address malnutrition via greenhouse construction and workshops at an organic demonstration farm called Ecohuella.

During the first few days you will work at the farm learning about their sustainable development and rolling up your sleeves to help with their daily jobs.

During this time, you’ll watch the documentary about the now famous potato farmer so you can further understand the challenges, resilience and resourcefulness required to make a living in this environmentally hostile environment.

Urco Ruins

And on another day, you will visit the Urco ruins, combining jewellery making and a football game with the local youth association.

3 meals a day provided.

Wk 2

Ancient Ruins Trekking + Exploration

Your second week will be focused on adventure - exploring different ruins and hiking through the mountains to get a feel for the remoteness and vastness of the spectacular sacred valley.

Huchuycosco Trek
To kick start this week you will venture off to reach the site of Huchuycosco, which is a stunning location overlooking the mountains. It is one of the most sacred sites in the whole of the Sacred Valley because it was a main water source. Very unknown and off the beaten track – a hidden gem.

This is a very well-known archaeological site and home to an epic market, famous within the region. The Quechua communities from the surrounding highlands flock to the market to sell their produce and gather their supplies for the week. Expect to find amazing ponchos, hats, Alpaca products, Andean instruments, paintings and many more souvenirs.

Moray and Salt Mines de Maras are located outside of Urubamba - another town in the Sacred Valley along the Vilcanota river. Some believe that it was used as an experimental agricultural site to help adjust crops to different micro climates while others consider Moray the womb of the Earth used for spiritual ceremonies, to an ancient amphitheatre.

Wk 3

Campesino Communities Cultural Exchange

This week you will fully acclimatised to head off into the depths of the Sacred Valley to find the high altitude Huamanchoque campesino (farming) community, who live in and around Lares.

Huamanchoque – means Golden Eagle in Quechua and is a beautiful campesino community with a view of their sacred snow-capped Apu (mountain god in Quechua).

In Huamanchoque you will work side-by-side the farmers helping them in the fields with whatever is in season. It could be weeding, planting, pickaxing but will always be accompanied by chicha (a fermented corn beer) during breaks. After a morning of work, the community will come together at the community centre for lunch and finish the afternoon with a game of football - The Leapers vs. Local Community.

Lares: You will be going to communities around the Lares region to get a full local and cultural experience including trying local, organic cuisine cooked by the women in the community.

After your work in a local community, you will go back to the town of Lares to have a delicious dinner and head to the local hot springs for a nice soak.


Lares: You will stay in a local hospedaje (accommodation) in town, close to the hot springs.


3 meals a day provided.

Wk 4

Machu Picchu 4 day trek

A bucket list moment – time to immerse yourself in the ancient culture of Peru and venture off for a 4-day trek to the astonishing Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world.

Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century high in the Andes mountains above the Urubamba River Valley. It’s renowned for its dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, buildings in line with astronomical alignments and stunning panoramic views. Its exact former use still remains a mystery.

Now’s your chance to visit the breathtaking and iconic Inca site via the less touristy and more spectacular Salkantay Trek. You will trek for 4 days through the winding valleys and stunning scenery before ascending to the site of Machu Picchu in time for sunrise. You will have the day then to explore the site in all its glory before trekking back to Aguas Caliente for the night.

At the end of the program you will be transferred back to Cusco from Calca ready to get on your flight home or to continue your travels.


Tents and local homestays – depending on the route.


3 meals a day provided on the trek.

Program Details & Costs

New for 2022 - we are so excited about heading back into South America. We are starting in Feb after the rainy season and it includes a 4 day trek to the famous Machu Picchu.

Options and costs

Whats included?

Social Life

Guaranteed. You will be part of a tight team of like minded volunteers, who will be on your journey from start to finish.

Off the beaten track

Explore the depths of the Sacred Valley.

Cultural Exchange

Through living and working beside indigenous communities you will experience real life and make extraordinary friendships.

Physical Challenge

A journey across Peru which includes trekking, exploring, contributing and reaching the heady heights of Machu Pichu.

Working Hours and Time Out

Each phase will vary in terms of project hours. Rural communities tend to start work very early and finish in early-afternoon, giving you time to explore in the afternoons.

This is a new program for us and we are delighted to get it started for 2022. Flights have resumed and Peru is open for business.

"Thank you again so much for providing such a wonderful gap year experience - we shall keep on recommending you!"

Just to say Harry is back home now having had an absolutely wonderful time in Ecuador, full of enthusiastic anecdotes and stories of his experiences in the last 10 weeks. I'd just like to say thank you to you and the team for your immaculate organisation of the whole trip and for your phone calls and emails keeping us fully informed of progress along the way.

We have really appreciated this attention to detail and suffice to say it has been as fabulous an experience for Harry as it was for his sister, Lucy three years ago, who still remembers her own trip to Ecuador with equal fondness. They are having fun comparing notes!

- Jane and Bob Caton

"Very reassuring"

Hi Milly,

I just picked up your message about the negative antigen test and wanted to say thank you for calling. Very reassuring!

I’ve been so impressed with the support and guidance you’ve given us and Nancy, and with your accessibility throughout. I’m recommending you to lots of friends with children on gap years next year, so double thank you!

Have a lovely weekend

- Jo Cammell

"Thank you for making this possible despite Covid. "

Thank you for the update. As expected George has maintained radio silence so good to hear that they have arrived ok. Also wanted to say how useful your video updates have been. I’m so envious of them launching on their travel adventures. Seems like only yesterday that I was heading off with a backpack. No phones, only a weekly blue airmail letter home. Thanks to all at the leap for making this possible for them despite Covid.

- Romney Lewis

"You felt prepared"

The daily schedule was always written out at the start of the day, so you felt prepared for what was happening when.

- Mimi

"How on earth you have managed to pull this off I don't know!"

But you have all been absolutely incredible. I never could have imagined Charlie being able to take part in such a fantastic project in this, the strangest of years! I have huge admiration in your professionalism and ability to deliver in the toughest of times. Thank you so much, I'm sure the presence of the team will do wonders for the project and wonders for the Team Members..what a fantastic opportunity for them all!!

- Andrew Fairs

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With the covid travel experts

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