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Get to know the Lake Titicaca region of Peru on this two-week service program. Start your experience with a visit to the impressive ruins of Machu Picchu. After taking in the incredible view, explore the city of Cusco before heading to Lake Titicaca where you will stay with host families and work on service projects created by village leaders. Boat to the islands of Taquile and the floating islands of Uros, and admire the view along the way. End your adventure in Arequipa, the White City, and learn about its history and culture.

Dates listed reflect travel time departing from and returning to the USA. International clients click here.

You must enroll in a program at least 8 days prior to the scheduled departure date. For help choosing an alternate date or location, please contact us to speak with a program expert.

With our No-Stress Travel Policy, you cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.

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Program Profile

Community Service Component
Community Service Focus
Infrastructure, Economic Development
Get to Know
Adventure, The Sights, The People
Live Like a Local, Relax at Hotels
Community Service Component
On the Go!

  • Day 1

    USA to Lima

    Meet your fellow travelers in Miami and take an overnight flight to Peru, arriving in Lima the next morning.

  • Day 2

    Fly from Lima to Cusco and spend the night in Ollantaytambo

    Meet your guides in Lima and connect to your short flight to Cusco. Once in Cusco, jump on a private bus and be transported to Ollantaytambo, located in the heart of the famous Sacred Valley. One of the few remaining towns where locals still live in houses made by the Incas, Ollantaytambo is referred to as the “Living city of the Incas.” The town is also home to an important fortress built by the Incan Empire.

  • Day 3

    Train and Hike to Machu Picchu

    The group will wake early before taking the scenic train ride along the Urubamba River. Arriving in the small town of Aguas Calientes, you will spend the remainder of the day hiking through the cloud forest, strolling through the local market or visiting the Machu Picchu museum.

  • Day 4

    Explore Machu Picchu

    Wake up early and experience the world famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Explore the ancient ruins and soak in the living history of the Incas.

    In the afternoon, return to Aguas for lunch and then jump back on the train and return to Ollantaytambo where you will spend the night.

  • Day 5 - 6

    Ollantaytambo to Cusco

    After a delicious breakfast, gear up for mountain biking amid stunning scenery. Afterward, head to Cusco for a walking tour of the city. As part of the tour, you will explore the cobblestone streets of Cusco and visit palaces and cathedrals that date back to the Incan and colonial period of Peru.

    The following day is dedicated to further exploration of this unique city and enjoying all the food it has to offer.

  • Day 7

    Cusco to Lake Titicaca

    Travel by bus to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Along the way the group will have the opportunity to stop and explore Incan ruins. Watch as the scenery changes from bustling city to expansive countryside. Upon arriving in the evening, students will meet their host families and have a chance to settle in. Dinner will consist of local specialties and probably will include locally caught fresh lake trout. The group will spend the following three days here living and sharing experiences with this welcoming community.

  • Day 8 - 10

    Community Service Work

    The next two days will be dedicated to a service project that has been pre-approved by the local inhabitants and is designed to help improve their lives. These projects depend on the wishes of the local community members and range from working in local schools to building bathrooms and other community development projects. Most elders speak only Quechua, a language dating back to the Incas, but don’t worry, the younger generations also speak Spanish and have mastered the art of communicating with signs and expressions. Homestays are usually the highlight of the program so really take advantage of an experience few tourists get to have!

  • Day 11

    Taquile Island

    After three hard days of work in the village, head out to explore the lake and experience the wealth of culture and history that is has to offer. Take a boat to Taquile Island, a picturesque island has remained untouched and true to its customs and traditions for hundreds of years. The island is covered with rows of agricultural terraces dating back to the time of the Incas. Locals wear traditional outfits and are known for their world famous textiles and handicrafts.

    Spend the day with Alejandro, a master weaver, and learn about his craft and try your hand at weaving. Experience another side of life on the lake and take in the truly stunning scenery. Students will spend the night in Alejandro’s guest house.

  • Day 12

    Taquile to Puno

    Wake up before dawn and witness the sunrise over Bolivia and the Andean mountains. After a warm breakfast, the group will walk down to the dock and take a boat to Puno, the largest city on Lake Titicaca. On the way, we will visit the floating Uros islands, learn about their unique way of life and meet the friendly families that have lived there for generations. The group will spend the night in a hotel near the plaza of Puno and be able to explore the towns’ many colonial churches and walking streets.

  • Day 13

    Puno to Arequipa

    After breakfast, you will board a private bus and drive from Puno to Arequipa. Along the way, you will have the chance to photograph a colony of flamingos in the altiplano region of Peru as well spot llamas, alpacas and vicuna. Relax and enjoy the incredible scenery.

  • Day 14

    Arequipa and then Home

    Spend your last full day in Peru exploring the ‘White City’. Arequipa is famous for its unique architecture and the use of white volcanic rock for it’s buildings. The area is also famous for El Misti, the large volcano that towers outside the city limits. Check out the famous Santa Catalina Monastery and the lively plaza, and make any last minute souvenir purchases. Enjoy a final group dinner and reflect on your last two weeks during a closing ceremony.

    Head to the airport for your flight to Lima and then board your overnight flight to Miami. We hope you had an incredible time exploring this amazing country and that you have fond memories of your adventures for years to come. Buen viaje!

  • Day 15

    Domestic Flights home

    Wake up from your overnight flight in Miami and make your connecting flight home.

An Important Note About Schedule Changes

Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.

The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.

“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.

“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.

For more information, email peru@rusticpathways.com

Program-Specific FAQs

  • Depending on session availability, this program can easily be connected to our other programs in Peru. This program can also connect to programs in Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic, as long as Peru is done first (for logistic purposes).

  • No pre-trip visa necessary for students from the United States.

    Students from other countries should check with their consulate. Please know that it is the student’s responsibility to obtain any appropriate documentation before entering Peru.

  • Yes. Escorted flights depart from Miami and fly direct to Lima.

  • The flight from Miami is approximately 6 hours.

  • Yes.

  • Students traveling on the Lake Titicaca Service Adventure program will be traveling mainly in the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon. The provinces for these areas are Cuzco and Urubamba, Puno in the Lake Titicaca region, and Arequipa. Students will also be arriving and departing from the capital, Lima.

  • At the beginning of the trip, students will fly from Lima to Cusco. On the way back, students will fly from Arequipa to Lima and then depart on their international flight home.

  • Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.

  • Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 students. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.

  • Rustic Pathways either purchases bottled water or uses sterilization techniques to ensure that all drinking water for students is potable and safe to drink. We ask students to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.

  • Students are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Students will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If students are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.

  • These days, most common electronics like cameras, phone chargers, computers, and mp3 chargers have built in adapters and can be plugged straight into the wall.

    For all other electronics, please make sure to check if they can be used with a 220V outlet.

  • Peru has 3 very distinct climate regions; the desert coastal region, Andean Mountain regions and the Amazon Basin; on this program, students will mostly spend time in the mountains. Days are usually sunny, ranging from 50 to 75 degrees F. During the nights, temperatures can drop below freezing.

    Please make sure to refer to the packing list when preparing for this program.

  • Accommodation on this program ranges from basic guest-houses/homestays to hotels. In Lake Titicaca students will be staying with families in guests-houses that are basic, clean, and comfortable. During the travel portions of the program, student will be staying in 2 and 3 star hotels.

  • Students will be eating mostly Peruvian food on their program, but may have a few chances to eat more international fare such as Italian, Chinese, etc. Peru has been called the “Culinary Capital of the Americas”, so prepare for some delicious meals!

  • Yes, however please know that while we are happy to accommodate alternative diets, many of the special diets common in the United States are not common in other parts of the world and travelers must be patient and understanding in having these needs met.

    Vegetarians and other travelers with limiting diets should consider bringing energy bars or other snacks to ensure they have a well-rounded diet if their needs are unable to be met on certain occasions.

    Please contact us at Peru@rusticpathways.com with any questions regarding special diets or allergies.

  • Rustic Pathways has carefully screened the families we use for our homestays at Lake Titicaca and we have been working with the same families for a number of years on this program.

  • Students will have access to Western-style toilets on this trip.

    Note: The plumbing in Peru cannot handle flushing toilet paper, so remember to throw all paper away as to not clog the toilets.

  • Cell service and wifi are generally available throughout Peru. The exception is while we are staying in the villages of the Sacred Valley. The exception is while living in the villages of Lake Titicaca.

  • Students should plan to pack enough clothes to last the duration of their trip. Please make sure to have enough clothes to last least a week. It generally costs around $1 – $2 per Kilo for full laundry service

  • As this trip covers a lot of territory in Peru, there will be times when we are quite close to healthcare, and other times when access to healthcare will be over an hour away-mostly when we are at Lake Titicaca. For any safety questions or concerns, please visit International SOS or email peru@rusticpathways.com.

  • Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit theInternational SOS and Centers for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.

    IMPORTANT NOTE ON YELLOW FEVER: While as of September 2011 it is not required that students receive their yellow fever vaccination to travel to Peru from the United States, other countries such as Costa Rica, require that you do have proof of your yellow fever vaccination before entering their county. Please make sure you consider your full travel itinerary when speaking to a doctor and always carry all records of your vaccinations and inoculations on you while traveling. Please also remember to check for updates on U.S requirements before travel to Peru or other countries.

  • International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access toInternational SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.

    As a member you will have access toInternational SOS’ extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our International SOS.

  • As this trip covers a lot of territory in Peru, there will be times when we are quite close to healthcare, and other times when access to healthcare will be over an hour away-mostly when we are at Lake Titicaca.

  • Due to the altitude, most bugs are not an issue, but it is still advised to bring bug spray.

  • Personal gifts, internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.

  • Between $200-$300USD is a good amount of spending money for this trip.

  • Yes, on this trip up to 40 service hours are awarded to students who successfully complete their service. Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage for more information on how service hours are awarded.

  • Our service work will focus on a community project while we are at Lake Titicaca. Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organizations to identify and prioritize the needs of each community.

  • Yes, however it is not required! Students will be living in traditional communities in the Andean Mountains and will have ample time to practice their Spanish.

  • This program is not overly strenuous, but students should be in at least average physical condition. The service work that is conducted can be fairly strenuous as well and student should be prepared to carry adobe bricks, dig trenches and do other physically active work.

  • The short answer in most cases is no.

    Students may experience some of the symptoms associated with mild altitude sickness during their first few days such as headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and/or decreased sleep. We have structured the trip to not be strenuous during the first couple of days and ensure students drink a lot of water to help alleviate these common symptoms of altitude and help them acclimatize.

    Severe altitude sickness is extremely rare at the elevations where we will be traveling and no Rustic Pathways participant has ever suffered from it. In the unlikely case that a student does show symptoms of severe altitude sickness, local medical care available and equipped to deal with these situations.

  • If you don’t speak Spanish, you should not be concerned. There will be bi-lingual guides that can assist with translation when needed. Of course, if you are able to get down a few phases before your arrival it will only help to interact with locals and make your experience more rewarding.

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Below is your packing list, and for those of you looking for some extra guidance on what to bring, check out the packing guide for this program.

Rustic Gear. Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.


A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Ear buds
  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Medication
  • Additional community service forms
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts

Checked Luggage

A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.


  • Socks (14)
  • Underwear (14)
  • Thermal base layer (1 set)
  • Pants/capris/leggings (2)
  • Athletic shorts (1-2)
  • Jeans (1)
  • T-shirt (3-5)
  • Long-sleeved shirt (5-7)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Soft shell jacket
  • Micro puff jacket
  • Fleece/hoodie
  • Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
  • Sneakers
  • Hiking boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Quick dry towel


(travel sized in ziplock bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Foam earplugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Razor/shaving cream


  • light sleeping bag or sleeping bag liner
  1. a

    Welcome to Lima, the capital and largest city with 10 million people.

  2. b

    A picturesque city nestled high in the heart of the Andes mountains. This UNESCO world heritage site is the former capital of the Incan empire, and where RP bases its Peru operations. Students will fly into Cusco on the second day of their program and fly back to Lima from here on the last day.

  3. c

    A quaint and beautiful town in the Urubamba Valley, dominated by two massive Incan ruins. You will spend a total of two nights here on your way to and way back from Machu Picchu.

  4. d
    Aguas Calientes

    Located a two hour train ride from Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes is a small town at the base of Machu Picchu. It is well equipped for tourists, with many different restaurants, shops, and hotels. We will spend the night here before visiting the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

  5. e
    Perka Norte

    A small and charming rural community located about 1.5 hrs from Puno. Here you will stay with host families, work on the service project, and experience life on the lake.

  6. f
    Taquile Island

    Explore this small island in the Lake and learn from a master dyer on how to make natural dyes from the nature around you.

  7. g

    A city on the shores of Lake Titicaca, we will explore the towns’ many colonial churches and walking streets, and stay overnight in a hotel in the central plaza after visiting the island communities of Perka Norte and Taquile.

  8. h

    A town in the colorful Andean Colca Valley, located 12,00ft above sea level. We we will spend the night here after a day of exploring in the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

  9. i

    This colonial city is nicknamed ‘the white city’ because many of the buildings are built of white stone. We will explore the streets and visit the famous Santa Catalina Monastery on our last day, before departing to Lima.