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For Alumni Only! Travel throughout Latin America—Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Cuba—during this epic three week adventure. Hike to Machu Picchu, spend a night with a Peruvian family, rappel down a 150 foot waterfall to the jungle below, and sail on a catamaran through the turquoise waters of the Dominican Republic—just to name a few of the incredible experiences planned. Learn from the diversity of culture, landscape, and people present in Latin America while making memories you will never forget!

With our No Anxiety Escrow 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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2017 Departures

Departs (USA) Returns (USA) Availability
June 13 July 5 Very Limited

Program Profile


Connecting Programs

Schedule two or more programs in a row to create your ideal Rustic Pathways experience.

This program connects especially well with:

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Lima

    Board the group flight in Miami for Lima, the first stop on your Latin American adventures. Upon arrival, spend the night in a comfortable hotel in Miraflores and get a good night’s rest for the journey ahead.

  • Day 2

    Fly to Cusco

    Welcome to your first full day in Peru. After breakfast, return to the airport for a morning flight to Cusco, and then make your way down to Ollantaytambo, the Living Incan City.

  • Day 3

    Train to Aguas

    In the morning, explore the plaza de armas and the ruins scattered on the outskirts of the town, and then board the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. Enjoy the scenic train ride along the river and through the Sacred Valley, and take some time to explore Aguas Calientes upon arrival. Get a good night’s rest in preparation of tomorrow’s exploration of one of the Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu!

  • Day 4

    Machu Picchu

    Waking up early, experience the grandeur of Machu Picchu in the early morning mist. After a guided tour of the ruins, take some time to explore the intricate stonework or relax on cliff-top perched terraces. After the group is done exploring Machu Picchu, head back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and then board the train back to Ollanta.

  • Day 5

    Day Hike

    After breakfast, embark on a hike from Ollanta to the ancient Incan fortress of Pumamarka. Explore these ruins and see how they compare to Machu Picchu, and then take a bus to Patacancha where you will meet your homestay families and get a taste of local culture and traditions.

  • Day 6

    Weaving Workshop and Biking

    In the morning, learn more about traditional customs in Patacancha by participating in a weaving workshop, led by some of your host families. After lunch, bike down from Patacancha to Ollanta and then board a bus back to Cusco.

  • Day 7

    Cusco

    Today is dedicated to exploring the historic capital of the Incan empire, Cusco. A pre-Hispanic city, with beautiful colonial architectural influences, Cusco is where the past and present collide. Take the morning to make your own chocolate at the Choco Museo, and then spend the afternoon exploring the plaza and going shopping. At night, have a final dinner in Cusco and reflect on your Peruvian adventures before you embark on the next part in your journey through Latin America.

  • Day 8

    To Costa Rica!

    Wake up and head to the Cusco airport for a quick flight back to Lima, and then on to San Jose, Costa Rica. Team Peru hopes you had an incredible time in beautiful Peru. Buen Viaje! Spend your first night in the land of Pura Vida in the country’s capital of San Jose.

  • Day 9

    Tree of Life

    After your first breakfast of gallo pinto and eggs, pack your bags and travel to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Then take a three-hour hike through the lush rainforest rainforest. Once you reach the top, take a plunge off a small waterfall into a pool below where you can cool down and enjoy the surrounding environment.

    After a relaxing swim, hike back down part of the trail to a different waterfall. Harness up and rappel 100 feet off the side of the falls to reach your new home for the evening.** Spend the night in a fully equipped cave hidden behind the waterfall. It is rustic, but there are beds, bathrooms, and a kitchen. After dinner you may build a small campfire where you can play music, tell stories and wind down after an exciting day.

    **For those who do not wish to rappel, a Rustic Pathways Staff member can walk you down a separate trail that leads to the cave.

  • Day 10

    Nauyaca Waterfall Rappel

    Wake up to the sounds of the water, birds, and jungle around you. After breakfast take a morning hike to a hidden waterfall with the possibility of seeing toucans, monkeys, sloths, and other wildlife. If you’re feeling adventurous, you will have the chance to rappel 150 feet down the Nauyaca Waterfall.

    After your rappelling adventure, you will hop back on the bus toward the mountain town of Turrialba. Get a good night’s sleep, tomorrow you will hit the river!

  • Day 11

    Pacuare

    Rise with the sun and head out to the world class Pacuare River for a three-day river rafting adventure. Nights will be spent in a river lodge in the rainforest near the soothing sounds of the river. Upon returning to San José, enjoy a group dinner and a final night’s sleep.

  • Day 12

    To the Caribbean!

    Leave the river, and head straight to the airport. It’s time to head to the Caribbean!

  • Day 13

    Vamos a la Playa

    Arrive into Santo Domingo and head to the beach towns of Punta Cana and Bavaro. You will spend the next three days with your feet in the water with your bathing suit as your uniform. Spend your first full day in the Dominican Republic visiting various beaches along the east coast of the DR, and visit the famous Punta Cana beach.

  • Day 14

    Cano Hondo

    Wake up and drive up to the coast toward the beach time of Sabana de la Mar. Arrive at the eco lodge known as Paraiso Cano Hondo and enjoy the cascading sets of natural pools. You will also take a boat tour of the nearby Los Haitises National Park before heading back for a good night sleep.

  • Day 15

    Isla Saona

    Wake up early, and head straight to the beach town of Bayahibe. As soon as you arrive you will hop on a catamaran, and set sail for Isla Saona. Spend the entire day riding on the catamaran, dancing, snorkeling, and enjoying the caribbean waters.

  • Day 16

    Transfer to Cuba

    Pack your bags one more time, and head to your final destination, Cuba!

  • Day 17

    Viñales

    Today you will head out on your first adventure to the Viñales Valley National Park in the Pinar del Rio region. Entering the park, you’ll witness unbelievable views of the area’s limestone outcrops called mogotes. You’ll then explore the valley below on horseback and discover the region where most of Cuba’s world-famous tobacco is grown. After lunch and some time to walk through town, you’ll take a boat tour of the Cueva del Indio, an underground ancient indigenous dwelling discovered in 1920.

  • Day 18

    La Terrazas

    Today you’ll head to Las Terrazas, an eco-community that was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1984. Explore the Sierra del Rosario preserve and learn how the people in the community strive to live sustainably. Learn about the successful terrace style reforestation efforts that were introduced in order to re-establish over 80% of the surrounding forest. You’ll visit with shop owner and restauranteurs and discuss sustainable sourcing and practices. After lunch, you’ll hike down to the breathtaking falls at the Baños del San Juan and then take to the sky as you explore the area by canopy tour.

  • Day 19

    Playas del Este

    As you culminate your trip one last dip in the Caribbean is due. Spend your day on the  world-class beaches with a beach day at Santa María del Mar, a local favorite among the Playas del Este, just east of Havana.

  • Day 20 - 21

    Havana

    Your last two days in Cuba will be dedicated to getting to know one of Latin America’s most iconic cities, La Habana. Upon arrival, you will check into your hotel and then head to dinner at a local paladar. You will then experience life along the city’s famous Malecón.

    Your second day in Havana will be spent getting to know Habana Vieja with visits to its main plazas and the Museo de la Revolución. At night, you will witness the firing of the cañonazo, a tradition dating back to the 18th century.

    Your last day will include a city tour in an antique American car, a visit to the local market, and a final dinner filled with lots of music and dancing.

  • Day 22

    Goodbye

    Sadly, it’s time to head home. We hope you enjoyed the ultimate adventure!

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

  • This program ends in Cuba and can be connected seamlessly to any program in Costa Rica, Peru, Cuba, or the Dominican Republic.

  • None of the travel countries visited require a visa application to be done pre-trip for U.S citizens. Citizens of other countries should contact the embassies of the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Peru, and Costa Rica in their home country to confirm any requirements.

    For Peru, students will be issued a tourist visa upon arrival free of charge.

    For Costa Rica. Students from the United States and Canada will be automatically issued a 90 day tourist visa upon entry into Costa Rica.

    For the Dominican Republic students will be issued a 30 day tourist visa upon arrival.  Students must have USD $10 on hand to purchase this upon arrival.


    For Cuba, students will purchase a tourist visa when boarding their flight in Santo Domingo for Cuba. This will be USD $30.  

  • Yes. This program starts in Peru and ends Cuba. There will be a flight leader on the group flight from Miami to Lima and from Havana to Miami.  The internal flights will also be accompanied by the trip leaders.  

  • The flight from Miami to Lima is about 5 hours long.  The flight back from Havana to Miami is just over one hour long.  

  • Yes.

  • The program will visit four countries.

    In Peru, students will visit Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Sacred Valley.

    During the time in Costa Rica, students will pass through all 3 of Costa Rica’s provinces including San Jose, Alajuela, and Puntarenas provinces.

    While in the Dominican Republic, the program will travel through the Santo Domingo, Altagracia, Hato Mayor, and San Pedro de Macoris provinces.

    While in Cuba, students will visit Havana, Viñales, Las Terrazas, and Playas del Este.

  • In additional to your international flight to Peru, and back from Cuba, you will also fly:

    • Round trip from Lima, Peru to Cusco, Peru
    • Lima, Peru to San Jose, Costa Rica
    • San Jose, Costa Rica to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with a layover in Panama City, Panama
    • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to Havana, Cuba
  • 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 Lifeguards.

  • 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 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.

  • Outlets in Costa Rica, Peru, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic are 110 V, with standard US two prong plugs (or three prong if grounded). Students from Europe will need an adapter. (Adapters can be very difficult to find in abroad. Don’t forget yours at home!)

  • Since Peru is in the southern hemisphere, it will be winter during your visit. During the day it is very pleasant, usually with highs in the 60’s and 70’s F. Since you are at altitude, the temperature drops dramatically when the sun goes down, with lows in the 30’s and 40’s F. The key to Peru is bringing layers: t-shirts and long sleeve shirts during the day, hoodies and a puffy jacket at night.  
    In Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba students will visit a variety of different locations but most of the time, students should be prepared for hot, humid weather in the 80’s and 90’s F during the day with a daily afternoon rain shower.

  • Students will be staying in hotels and eco-lodges during their travels, and there is a small homestay portion on the Peru section of the program. The hotels are carefully chosen accordingly and are clean, comfortable, and safe. Students will also have one night in a fully equipped cave at the base of a waterfall and one night at base camp along the river during their rafting trip in Costa Rica.

     

  • Students will be eating at local restaurants as they travel throughout Costa Rica, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. The food will vary between traditional local food and occasional American and international selections.
    In Cuba, students will be eating at paladares (private restaurants) and state run restaurants. A typical Cuban meal consists of rice, beans (black), and pork/chicken/beef/fish. Vegetarian options are typically available.

  • In Peru, the families are carefully selected and screened and have usually been working with Rustic Pathways for multiple years. They are aware of our rules as well as our guidelines and hold the safety of our students in the highest regard.

  • All the places where we stay have bathroom facilities with running water, American style toilets and showers.
    In Cuba, public restroom facilities rarely have toilet seats or toilet paper.  It is advisable to carry your own.  In most cases you are expected to leave small change (coins) when using public restroom facilities.

  • Students will have limited access to internet during their program, However, there are times when students will be able to connect with family back home.

    In Peru students will have multiple opportunities to connect to wifi in hotels and restaurants, but while staying with their host families, they will be out of service.

    They will be able to purchase international phone cards in Costa Rica from the guides or at local convenience stores which can be used to call home from the public phones.

    In the Dominican Republic students will have access to WiFi at some of the hotels at night.

    In Cuba, students will have paid wifi access at hotels (2 cuc per hour).  Outside of Havana it is probable that students will not have the opportunity to connect.

    It is important to note that they will also be spending time in some more remote areas, where there will not be public phone or internet access. All of our guides have cell phones for emergency purposes.

  • Since you are on the move so much during this program, you will have very limited time to do laundry. A few hotels along the way offer laundry services, however be sure to pack everything you need in order to not run out of clothes too often.

  • There are typically more girls than boys however the exact numbers vary from week to week.

  • You can not flush the toilet paper in any of these countries.  In Cuba, you are expected to leave small change/coins when using public restroom facilities.

  • Students will be traveling through a variety of different locations. Bus rides will vary between a one hour drive to a 5 hour drive.  Students will also take multiple flights between countries, and within countries.  

  • Rustic Pathways hires private buses/vans/4×4 SUV to transport our students to different program locations.

  • Rustic Pathways puts safety first on all of our programs. Generally, access to healthcare is no longer than 30 minutes away from any location we visit. We have a safety protocol for every area on our trips, and every activity we participate in.

    We are not in an area where the malaria is present on this program.

    We do a lot of adventure activities, but we frequently check our vendors to make sure that they follow our safety protocols.

  • Students traveling on this trip must have a yellow fever vaccination as is a requirement for anyone flying from Peru directly to Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Make sure to bring along proof of immunization, or you will not be allowed to board your plane from Lima, Peru to San Jose, Costa Rica.   

    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 the HX Global and Center for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.

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

    As a member you will have access to HX Global’s 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 HX Global webpage.

  • High quality healthcare can be accessed in Lima, Cusco, and smaller clinics located in Urubamba and Aguas Calientes. During the Peru portion of the program, students are generally 30 minutes to 2 hours away from healthcare.

    The only time we will be further from Healthcare is when we are Rafting the Pacuare River. It would take us 3 hours approximately, however if it is an emergency, we will have helicopter support.
    In Cuba, our best and closest facility will be the International Cira Garcia Clinic in Miramar, Havana.

  • Rustic Pathways can cater to most dietary needs on this program, though please notify us in advance about restrictions and requirements. There will be ample access to fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, and grains for those who are vegetarian. Vegan diets can be accommodated, but with a little more foresight and planning as this is not a diet commonly encountered in Latin America. 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 be met. Please inform you PTA prior to the trip for special accommodations.

  • Yes, there are bugs, but they shouldn’t be a problem. We do require students to wear bug spray, preferably containing DEET, and to bring light layers to cover up during dawn and dusk.

  • 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.

  • None.

  • The recommended allowance is $600 for the duration of the trip. This is about $200 a week, and students should only exchange about a $100 USD at at time in each country so as to not be leftover with currencies from multiple countries at the end of the trip. Our staff with facilitate the exchange of currency in each country.

    It is advisable to bring a working debit card in case of emergency or if you run out of money for souvenirs.

  • There is no service component on this program.

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.

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.

Carry-On

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
  • Travel Documentation

Checked Luggage

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

Clothes

  • Socks (14)
  • Underwear (14)
  • Thermal base layer (1 set)
  • Pants/capris (2)
  • Jeans (1-2)
  • 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

Toiletries

(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

Miscellaneous

  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Sleeping bag (15 degree)
  1. a
    Lima

    Here is where your ultimate latin adventure will begin!

  2. b
    Cusco

    A pre-Hispanic city, with beautiful colonial architectural influences, Cusco is where the past and present collide.

  3. c
    Machu Picchu

    Explore the famous ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

  4. d
    Patacancha

    Get a taste of local culture and traditions in this village town. You will stay with host families during your time here.

  5. e
    San José

    Spend your first night in the land of Pura Vida in the country´s capital of San José.

  6. f
    Pacuare River

    Enjoy a three-day river rafting adventure on the Pacuare River.

  7. g
    Santo Domingo

    Spend your first full day in the Dominican Republic visiting various beaches along the east coast of the DR, and visit the famous Punta Cana beach.

  8. h
    Paraiso Cano Hondo

    Spend time at this eco lodge on the coast.

  9. i
    Viñales Valley National Park

    Explore this beautiful national park by horseback.

  10. j
    Las Terrazas

    Las Terrazas is an eco-community that was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1984.

  11. k
    Havana

    Spent time in one of Latin America’s most iconic cities.