Peru, Ecuador, & the Galapagos Islands

START Cuzco, Peru |
FINISH Quito, Ecuador |
DURATION 10 weeks |
AGES 17 - 22 |

Indigenous Immersion & Outdoor Expeditions

Gain insight into the lives of indigenous Andean and Amazon communities while significantly improving your conversational Spanish ability. Participate in worthwhile community-initiated volunteer projects, wander the ancient streets of Quito and Cuzco, and be astounded by Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and the Galapagos Islands. You will trek, kayak, cycle, and snorkel through a range of environments from Andean peaks and an Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos beaches.

You will also truly make a difference while you're here by volunteering with an indigenous community in the Andes, learning about sustainable living from social enterprises, and helping on issues of plastic pollution and reforestation of endemic plant species in the Galapagos Islands.


Go beyond the delicious world of chocolate to discover sustainable practices for growing cocoa beans and crafting this treat. From the women themselves, you'll learn how to cultivate healthy trees, harvest responsibly, and transform the beans into chocolate with minimal environmental impact. This unique experience promises to deepen your understanding of both chocolate and the importance of sustainable living.

Strap on your backpack and prepare for an adventure on the Inca Jungle Trail! This isn't your typical trek. You'll swap some hiking for a thrilling mountain bike ride down the slopes of Abra Malaga, soaking in the changing landscapes of the Andes. The journey continues on foot, weaving through verdant rainforests and past hidden Inca ruins.

Glide alongside sea turtles while vibrant fish dart around coral reefs, and playful sea lions zip past. With every kick of your fins, discover a dazzling array of marine life, all teeming in the unique ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. This unforgettable underwater experience will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the wonders of the ocean.


This is a guide to what you can expect to do on program. The order in which the activities occur might vary.

Click download to view the full 10 week sample itinerary.

Download Sample Itinerary

Volunteer & Trek with Llama Pack Project

On arrival in Lima, Peru, you’ll meet your Program Instructors at the airport and fly together to Cusco, the former capital and heart of the Incan Empire. From Cusco, we travel to Urubamba in the Sacred Valley for an introduction to Peruvian culture. We’ll start with an in-depth orientation where we focus on getting to know each other and creating a positive and reflective group culture.

We then dive into our first volunteer project based from the cozy Llama Pack Hostel with Alejandra and Jorge - the project founders - and the resident llamas. We will spend our time contributing to the Llama Pack Project’s mission to recover traditional uses and breeding of carrier llamas. They work with local communities in environmental education and sustainable rural development, and in the conservation of Andean mountain ecosystems in the Sacred Valley highlands. Our project focus will be helping with the construction of Llama Park – a social enterprise replicating a traditional Andean village for local and international visitors to learn about Andean ways of life. We will also do a fun day-trek with llamas to immerse ourselves in the environment and meet the communities that this project supports.

Inca Jungle Trail and Machu Picchu

We then embark on a 4-day journey towards Machu Picchu on the Inca Jungle Trail. With bike riding, zip-lining (optional), natural hot springs, and river traverses, this trail is a diverse and adventurous approach to Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu. Once in Aguas Calientes, we’ll hike up to Machu Picchu for sunrise and a breathtaking start to the day. After an informative tour of the sacred city, we’ll have plenty of time to explore independently, and climb Huayna Picchu for a birds-eye view of the ruins.

Spanish Immersion

Nestled in the Sacred Valley, Cusco has the feel of an enchanting European city with narrow cobbled streets, orange-tiled adobe homes, and a majestic cathedral.

In the mornings, we have fun and conversational Spanish lessons, in small groups at a level appropriate to your proficiency (beginner to advanced Spanish speakers are catered for). Afternoon excursions enable us to practice what we’ve learnt in the morning, and to develop our confidence communicating with native Spanish speakers while soaking in the ambience of this charming city.

Program Details

What's included?

✓ All in-program travel and transport

✓ All accommodation

✓ All meals (not including snacks)

✓ All expeditions, activities, excursions, volunteer projects and entry fees as described in the itinerary

✓ Experienced Program Instructors and local guides

✓ Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism

✓ Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves

✓ Certificate of Program Completion


Request Information Booklet

High Activity Level

Anyone with an average to advanced fitness level and an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences will have a great time on this gap semester! You will need to be prepared for a multi-day hike towards Machu Picchu and for some physical work during the volunteer projects on the program, like trail building or the removal of invasive plants.

Low Camping Level

You won't be camping on this program. You will spend your nights on this mini semester program in comfortable guesthouses and modern hotels.

High Service Learning Level

You will be able to make a big difference to the local community during your stay. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and do some hands-on learning about local issues.

Have you got any questions before applying?

Peru, Ecuador, & the Galapagos Islands