Peru: Women in the Sacred Valley

Day 1 We begin our time in the charming town of Urubamba. With a quiet eco lodge as our basecamp, we will take some time orienting ourselves to our group and our surroundings, as well as learning about the cultural and spiritual significance of this sacred landscape. A day hike takes us to little-known Incan ruins tucked away in the surrounding mountains for a starting ceremony and introduction to mindfulness practice.
Day 2 After a yoga practice and relaxed breakfast, we have a host of activities to choose from in crafting our day - a scavenger hunt to explore the town market and central square, a visit to the local school, an opportunity to make pottery with native artists, and an exploration of traditional cuisine, to name a few. There will also be an opportunity to sit in circle, share about our lives, and be witnessed as we navigate the events that have shaped who we are.
Day 3 We’ll travel an hour southeast to the town or Pisac, along the Vilcanota river. Pisac is known for its vibrant outdoor market and quaint cafes. There will be space to wander through the cobblestone maze of streets. We will spend the afternoon and evening at the Pisac Archaeological Complex, an elaborate fortress and burial site that once protected the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley. This lesser-known site offers sweeping views of the valley, intricate agricultural terraces and irrigation systems still in use today, and a window into the dramatic rise and fall of the Incan empire.
Day 4-7 In the morning we will have an opportunity to continue exploring the hills surrounding Pisac by foot. We'll also take some time to prepare for our rural homestay. In the mid-afternoon, we will drive 30 minutes to Parque de la Papa. Known for its intricate textiles and agricultural wisdom, we spend 3 days living with Quechua families in Parque de la Papa. This time offers insight into daily life and culture in a highland Quechua community, and exposure to the more than 3,000 varieties of potatoes that are carefully cultivated in the region. We hike to nearby alpine lakes and participate in the daily activities of the community, including harvesting potatoes, herding sheep, milking animals, weaving, visiting the local school and preparing traditional meals. Time within our homestay community will raise questions about complex community development issues such as education, sustainability, indigenous identity, cultural preservation, and globalization.
Day 8-10 En route to Cusco, we will stop by the village and home of Siwar Quente, a Q’eros spiritual leader and descendent of the Inca. We will share a meal with Siwar’s family, explore his village and witness a shamanic ceremony from his lineage. Returning to Cusco, we spend two days exploring this ancient colonial city, where past and present co-exist in a bewildering and captivating union. Our final days together will be spent navigating the city’s winding streets, enjoying the rich flavors of Peruvian cuisine, and visiting any points of interest. Accompanied by our friend Siwar Quente, we will have a final ceremony at the Temple of the Moon overlooking Cusco. We complete the program honoring this sacred landscape, reflecting upon our journey, and preparing for the transition home.
Day 11-12 For an additional cost, we will arrange your train tickets and a guide to explore the enchanting Incan fortress of Machu Picchu, the most visited archaeological site in the Western Hemisphere.