Summer High School Programs in Peru with Rustic Pathways

Video and Photos

Even if you don't speak Spanish, you will still form very close bonds with the children at the boarding school.
Even if you don't speak Spanish, you will still form very close bonds with the children at the boarding school.
The view in the Andes is gorgeous.
The view in the Andes is gorgeous.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
the Amazon
the Amazon
Ausangate
Ausangate
Locals by Lake Titicaca
Machu Picchu

About

Students who join us in Peru have the opportunity to scale glaciated Andean peaks, explore ancient Inca ruins, enter the depths of the Amazon Jungle, and work alongside villagers in rural communities. Students partner with local organizations to understand some of the area’s most significant challenges, which include access to clean water and education for girls. Outside of service, Peru offers students a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rafting, zip lining, mountain biking, and more.

Whether it’s the mountains, the beach, the rainforest, or valley towns, every view in Peru is breathtaking. Meet hardworking people in remote villages, contribute to service projects that make a tangible difference, and leave the country feeling refreshed and inspired. You’ll want to return as soon as you leave.

Popular Programs

Andes to Amazon

Travel to the foothills of the Andes and into the pristine Amazon rainforest on this unforgettable two-week service adventure. Start in the Lunahuana Valley where you will live and work at a rural school. Tourists rarely make it to this off-the-map location. From here, travel to a remote jungle lodge along the Tambopata River to discover the Amazon rainforest. Get up close and personal with animals as you help at an animal rehabilitation center and then explore indigenous communities.

Sacred Valley Service

Get ready for two weeks of eye-opening community service, cultural immersion, and adventure near Machu Picchu. Immerse yourself in off-the-beaten-track villages in the Sacred Valley and work alongside the friendly locals on important service projects. You will live in homestays and camp in rural villages, and assist on a potable water project under the guidance of community members.

Peru by Backpack

Gear up for one of our most independent programs. Become an experienced backpacker by planning your meals, housing, and travel arrangements, and trekking across the diverse Peruvian terrains. Explore cascading waterfalls and small mountain towns, and meet locals who will help you get to your next destination. Embark on two treks to discover the Andes, explore Machu Picchu, sleep under the stars, and gear up for the unknown.

Sacred Valley Service (Spring Break)

Trade-in a typical spring break at the beach for a meaningful service experience in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Contribute to a potable water project in a rural community while immersing yourself into life in the Andes. Round out your Peruvian adventures with an unforgettable trip to Machu Picchu. Camp in a rural community, create bonds with community members and have an incredible spring break among the mountains of the Peruvian Andes.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 27 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.8
  • Growth 9.8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 27
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Riley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Andes to Amazon And Sacred Valley Service

My time in Peru was amazing. I spent a total of four weeks there on the Andes to Amazon and Sacred Valley programs. Between the two programs, I got to see the diversity of different parts of the country as we travelled throughout the Andes, Lima, the Sacred Valley, and the Amazon. One of, if not the largest factors in having such a wonderful experience, was the people on my programs. I met some of the most interesting, unique, fun people that I made such strong connections within in the first day or two of each program. Not to mention, the group leaders were fantastic; they were extremely interesting people, who did so much more than just lead our group and make sure that we were safe. Through my experiences in Peru, I learned so much about this world as well as myself. We did so many incredible things between the two programs, and while not everything was not what I quite expected, I had an incredible time last summer.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Goodbyes are always hard on rustic trips. For me, transitioning into my second group from my first group was hard. I was really missing my friends from my first program at the start of the second program; but I kept an open mind for the kids on my new program, and in the end, made another group of really great friends.
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Hope
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Perfect Peru Adventure

My Summer in Peru with Rustic Pathways was incredible. I was able to experience so many aspects of the culture, environment and people. Living with Host families gave me the chance to really see and understand the way people live there and to see how kind and generous they are. Seeing the textile factory and the Market showed me how the people in Peru work and gave me insight into their economy. Hiking and camping to Machu Picchu was breathtaking. The key factor in all of these experiences was the fun time that I had during each activity. The Program Managers and the other kids made every day fun and interesting. I made life long friendships. I saw amazing mountains, rivers, sunsets and the most stars I have ever seen in a night sky. Rustic Pathways exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable. I cannot recommend this trip enough.

What would you improve about this program?
I would recommend that there be more opportunities to shower and that there be more of a selection of food.
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Becca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sacred Valley Service

My time with Rustic Pathways in Peru was an experience I will never forget. It was my first time going on a trip with Rustic, and also my first time traveling alone. My sister went on the exact same trip the year before, and as soon as she came home I wanted to sign up immediately. The night before I left I was so nervous, I called my sister in tears crying about how I was terrified that I wasn’t going to make friends and didn’t want to go. Little did I know that I would have the experience of a lifetime that would change me in so many ways. I was greeted with big smiles at the airport and instantly made friends that I still talk to on a daily basis. We had a very small group, which I loved because we were very close from the start of the trip. There were 4 girls and 8 boys on my trip which is very rare, so the four of us girls got super close super fast. In Peru, I got to meet new people, experience a new culture, step way out of my comfort zone, and had the best time of my entire life! It was mentally and physically challenging at times, but I think that is why I grew so much as a result. If I could give one tip to someone traveling with Rustic, I would say go into it with a completely open mind, because you never know what you will experience—be open to new friendships, new cultures, and new adventures!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
By far the most unfamiliar food I ate was an alpaca burger. At first, I thought I would never try it, but it was surprisingly very delicious. I also tried guinea pig, or cuy as they call it in Peru, which was not my favorite. Everything the cooks made for us was delicious and I was never hungry the entire trip.
P.S. If you get the chance you have to try chicha Morada and mint chocolate casino cookies! (they taste like thin mints!)
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Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sacred Valley Service Summer Experience!

I absolutely loved this trip from the moment that it began! My group and group leaders were amazing and helped me learn so much about myself as a global citizen. The trip itself was the perfect mix of intense community service, adventurous excursions, delicious food, and cultural and historical experiences. I also loved how small the group was and how almost no one knew each other before the trip, making it easy to make deep and meaningful connections with the people around me. I am sure that my new friends and I will stay in touch! The most impactful part of the trip for me was our group's discussions of what meaningful community service is, which helped me redefine what my notion of helping others. I realized that rather than thinking that we ourselves were transforming the town, we instead were supporting the community and working as best we could alongside them.

What would you improve about this program?
The only part about this program that I would change would be learning more about how the project that we were working on would help the community.
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Max
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways Peru and Morocco

Rustic Pathways changed my life and the way I see travel. In 2018 I traveled to Peru on RP’s La Niña Andina: Andes Women’s Initiative. Being one of only two guys on the trip I had no idea what to expect. As soon as the plane landed I new it was going to be incredible. The landscape was absolutely breathtaking and the local culture so rich and thriving. We went to a rural village for homestays, an experience which brings you so close with local culture and takes you to places you wouldn’t normally. In Morrocco, the culture was so different it was shocking. We taught lessons in a language none of us knew and that sense of accomplishment was the best feeling ever. The local children were so kind and made the village we stayed in feel like a new home. Because of Rustic Pathways, I now have homes all around the globe and ties with more people and places than I could ever imagine.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment on both trips is meeting everyone at the airport. Once there, everyone is a stranger and you feel like you are on your own. Groups will start to form but don’t fear, this is not at all how it is going to be for the rest of the trips. You can overcome this feeling by talking to people! Distract yourself from your nerves and make new friends! Your trip will be awesome if you make it awesome
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sacred Valley Service Spring Break

Traveling to Peru was an amazing cultural experience. For our service, we helped bring potable water to a community in the Sacred Valley. We did manual labor to dig trenches and lay down the pipes, with the help of the homeowners and members of the community. Seeing the whole community work together to bring water to their neighbor’s house was so interesting to me, because even though I am friendly with my neighbors at home this was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The community brought us in and treated us like family, and seeing how grateful they were that we wanted to help them was a truly humbling experience. The food was probably the best food I’ve ever had, mainly chicken or beef with vegetables and soup. I also had the pleasure of trying alpaca, which was amazing, even though I was hesitant to eat it at first. Overall, the relationships I made with not only my group but also with Peruvian citizens is not something I could have ever experienced at home.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Alpaca! I was so hesitant to try it after seeing all the cute alpacas throughout Peru but it was worth it. It tasted like steak, and I was I could order it at home!
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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Andes to Amazon

I loved my trip with Rustic Pathways. They allowed me to enjoy so many life-changing moments. I was able to become friends with people that I would never have met without them. I still keep in touch with these people very often. The leaders were nice and made the trip so much fun. It's crazy to me to reflect on some of the amazing memories I made on my trip. From playing cards with friends in the Amazon rainforest to sitting on the roof of a school in the Andes, my experience was amazing. I am so happy that I went on this trip, and I cannot wait to go on another one with Rustic Pathways. I got to meet so many new people and learn about different cultures. I enjoyed playing with the little kids at the school while they taught us all the new words in Spanish.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
At first, I was very grossed out at the thought of trying guinea pig, but after learning about how special it is to Peruvian culture, I decided I had to try it. In Peru its called cuy.
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Greg
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Peru is Amazing!

This summer, I went on the Lake Titicaca Service Adventure trip with Rustic Pathways and I really enjoyed it. I decided on Peru because I always wanted to travel to South America. Throughout the trip, I was immersed in the unique and amazing culture of Peru. It was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life. Over my two weeks on the trip, we saw Machu Picchu, stayed in many different cities such as Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco. Along with this, we did service work in a small village on the beautiful Lake Titicaca. The trip was very fun, but my main reason for traveling was the service aspect. I love helping people out who really need it and Rustic Pathways really helps to connect you with the people who need it most. The village we stayed in was poor, but the people really enjoyed their lives there and were so happy to have us stay there because they knew they could trust Rustic Pathways students. Rustic Pathways, over the last few years, built a strong connection with this community and it was just amazing. Along with this, the leaders were awesome people. Both my leaders were people who I could easily go to for help. They seemed like less of authoritative figures to me, but more of friends. They really made sure that every student was enjoying the trip to the fullest. Also, I made many great friends with the other students on the trip. I found common interests with other students and actually hung out at home a few months after the trip. I enjoyed this trip to Peru so much and I wish I could go back. To anyone contemplating going on the trip, I would say to go for it. I was not very sure if this was the trip for me when I first signed up, but I stuck with it and it was one of the greatest times of my life. This trip opened my eyes to the world, gave me more independence, and overall helped me grow as a person

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Out of all the unfamiliar things I ate on the trip. Number one would definitely be alpaca meat. Never in my life would I think I would be eating meat from an alpaca. I was really glad I ate it and I actually ended up enjoying it. Experiences like this were why I really enjoyed this trip
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Camilla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Peru: Lake Titicaca Service Adventure

I took part in this program a couple of years ago, and it still is one of the best memories I have of my time in high school.

The program lasted two weeks, being a perfect combination of travel and hard volunteering work. The traveling part was absolutely stunning: Peru is an amazing country, and its people are amongst the most welcoming people I have ever met, always smiling and trying to make you feel at home. We had the opportunity to visit the city of Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Lake Titicaca and the city of Arequipa.

Our volunteering part of the program took place in locals' houses on the sides of the amazing Lake Titicaca. We were split into small groups (2-3 people), and each of these stayed for a week in the locals' houses, helping the community with their everyday activities, assisting them with the construction of modern-style toilets in the mornings, and teaching them english in the afternoon.
The warmth with which I have been welcomed in these guest houses is something I will never forget. They treated us as if we were part of their families, and I left the community feeling I received a lot more from them than what I gave them with my work.

During this experience I also made incredible friends with whom I'm still in touch, even though we live in the opposite sides of the earth!

Default avatar
Charlotte
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sacred Vally Service; Peru

My trip to Peru this summer was some of the best days of my life. My friend and I traveled to Peru for the first time and at first I was worried. My friend Lexi, has traveled with rustic before and this was my first time. As we landed from Toronto into Miami we were instantly greated by smiles and the kind airport staff that made both me and my parents less nervous about the upcoming travel. As my group and I landed in Peru, we were met by our program leaders who made the whole trip a great experiance. Every rustic staff that I had met during my experiance was kind, helpful and understanding. Throughout the whole trip the staff helped push us out of our comfort zones and helped to make the trip the best it could be. One of the things that I was most worried about the people, however the people that I have met have become some of my closest friends. As my group was small, we were able to become very close in the short amount of time which made it very hard to leave at the end of the trip. I am a picky eater and the food on the trip was not a challenge for me, where it most of the time is. Rustic made sure that the food provided had many options to choose from and the food always tasted great!! My rustic experiance this summer was by far the best travel experiance that I have had and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for adventure, service and new experiances.

What would you improve about this program?
The program sacred valley service that I participated in was designed well. I vertualy have no recommendations on ways to improve the program. The one thing that i would is the wait times between the experiances that we have. During travel days we would be waiting in our hotel for up to 2 hours when we could have been exploring our new surroundings.
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Ramsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sacred valley service Peru

Sacred Valley service is a life changing experience,
While in Peru our community service work was to dig trenches and lay piped that would soon be used to transport fresh water to local villages. Not only was it amazing to do physical work that would soon change live but it was awesome getting to stay with one of the families that would later be positively impacted by the work we were doing. Not only were we doing community service but we were hiking, camping, staying with host families, went zip lining and so many other out of this world experiences. I made so many long term connections in Peru and getting to meet and share experiences from people all over the world is amazing. I would 10 out of 10 recommend this life changing experience for anyone who is willing to go!

What would you improve about this program?
I WOULD NEVER CHANGE A THING!!
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Rhea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing service

The community service is fantastic. You feel like you are truly making an impact and the results are instant. The villages and children are so cute and it is a once in a lifetime experience that you gave to take. My favorite memory from this trip was definitely playing with the children in the town. All of them after school play soccer in the fields and in the street and are extremely welcoming. We played with them all day until dinner and they were so kind. Even though there was this language barrier, it disappeared once we started playing with them.

What would you improve about this program?
The itinerary did not necessarily align to what we did everyday so it would be helpful if that was updated.
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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Andes to Amazon Service Trip

This trip changed my life and the way I see the people and things I surround myself with back home. The part that impacted me most was helping at the Huayllampi boarding school. The children there taught me so many life lessons that I will never learn in school or from my family. They are the kind of life lessons that you will only learn when you have an experience such as this; seeing the people who live such simple yet meaningful lives, and becoming a part of a community such as the one in Huayllampi. One memory that will stick with me forever is travelling to the small village of Tupe in the Andes Mountains. This is the most secluded place i have ever been to. The people there live without cars, phones, computers, or even bikes. They walk 8 hours down the mountain to get to the nearest town. This kind of isolation is something that most people will never experience, and it is something that most people probably consider impossible. But the people that I met in Tupe were happy without the cars, phones, computers, and bikes that we consider so essential to our daily lives. After visiting this village, I had a whole new perspective on what I feel is important to me. I don't need to drive a car to be happy, and I don't need constant connection with the outside world through social media to be "up to speed." If anyone is ever on the fence about traveling with Rustic Pathways, they should know that these experiences are worth every penny that they cost. The counselors are such stunning people, with incredible and inspiring life stories. These counselors will keep you safe wherever you go. You will make friends and memories that last a lifetime. Traveling with Rustic was the best decision i have ever made and I cannot wait to travel with them again next year.

What would you improve about this program?
The fact that you need to be completely covered (long sleeves, hats, long pants, and long socks) due to sand flies needs to be more emphasized. In the Andes, sand flies will bite any centimeter of skin that is exposed and bug spray DOES NOT WORK.
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Kiara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Off the Map: Peru 2017

This trip was my first trip with Rustic Pathways and it was an absolutely unforgettable experience!! It was definitely the highlight of my summer, and I can't stop looking at all the photos wishing I could go back. Two weeks were the perfect amount of time to become incredibly close with your group. We bonded very quickly and our leaders were helpful and always there if you had a question or a problem. This wasn't a community service oriented trip so it involved a lot of traveling and moving around, but there was no time wasted as you were always talking and laughing or playing cards during free time. The spectacular views and music playlists made the long car rides seem shorter. There were many favorite parts to this trip but one of them was mountain biking through incredible mist and scenery just on the third day, as well as playing a pick up soccer game with Peruvian mothers at a local school. Seeing Machu Picchu was breathtaking as well, but even better was staying at the small community at Ausangate and seeing the glacier at 12,000 feet. Following that we got to spend 3 days in the Amazon at a comfortable lodge. Waking up at 6 am and sitting on the dock gazing at the jungle and listening to the sounds of the animals were things that I will never forget. Besides exploring the glacier and the Amazon, we explored Cusco and Ollantaytambo and also zip-lined, rafted, hiked and had the opportunity to bungee jump. Every day there was a new adventure waiting for us or a new challenge to overcome and we all tried something new. This isn't to say the trip was perfect; our rafting trip was cut short due to a teacher strike that cut off all the exits and entrances to the city. Even so, this was a raw and real experience that we got to encounter about the struggles of civilian life. This trip is for anyone ready to power through early mornings and a lot of travel. Don't overpack since you will typically stay at hotels for only a single night. The food was very good, considering we moved around so much, but it was just a little repetitive. It was usually a meal of chicken, rice and soup (there were vegetarians on our trip that were easily provided for). I would suggest bringing Nature Valley bars or something else as a snack. Do not forget a travel journal as you will want to remember every little detail of your day! This trip was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I loved it all. Get ready to see a lot of llamas!

What would you improve about this program?
There is a LOT of travel involved. There is no other way to see all the incredible sites we did without traveling, but it is something to bear in mind. We had one 8 hour van ride, 2 short internal flights, two 2 hour boat rides, and an hour and a half train ride. We had shorter van rides (between half an hour and 4 hours) as well.
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Margarita
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lake Titicaca Service Adventure

AN AMAZING TRIP!!!!!!!! Got to see so many different parts of Peru -- from Maccu Piccu, to the homestays in Perka Norte, Taquile island, the floating villages, Colca canyon, Arequipe, and more --- loved every part of this program. Would reccommend to those doing their first rustic trip, or alumni. great for all types of travelers. Hotel accomadations were good, food was great, and friendships were amazing. Will never forget this amazing trip and the experiences it provided. Loved the service component of helping our homestay families at the lake. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.

What would you improve about this program?
maybe less hiking, but that is just a personal preference.