We met at the plaza at 7:30 am and then walked to the train station to begin our journey to Machu Picchu. From the train we could see the river, Incan trails and ruins, and snow capped mountains. We arrived in Aguas Calientes and took a bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu. Half of us hiked up to the Sun Temple and the others got a guided tour of Machu Picchu. It was quite beautiful. When we got back to the town, we had a few hours to shop before catching the train back to Ollantaytambo. We played cards, talked, and worked on our leadership stories.
- Gemma, Tess, Leo, Avery, and Ethan
We woke up to a cool morning and packed up our stuff. We had banana French toast and then hiked back to town and stopped along the way to hear Lita’s Leadership story (Lita is Adela’s daughter) and then wrote our own stories in our journals. Later in town, we gathered at a restaurant and ate fajitas. In the afternoon we returned to our home stays. Some of us helped with cooking, and others went to the Choquekillka festival to watch family members dance. There were all kinds of colorful costumes and festive music. Some of us went to a bull fight ( and luckily they didn’t kill the bull). It’s fun to be in Ollanta during the Choquekillka festival!
-Ethan, Claire, and Clea
We had another awesome day! In the morning we rode the buses to Patacancha, a small weaving village. We all wore native Incan clothing and danced, learned how to dye alpaca yarn, and how to weave bracelets. They served us a delicious lunch of soup, potatoes, rice, chicken, and tea which fueled us for our trek to the altiplano region high above the Sacred Valley. After dinner we gathered around a campfire to share stories and appreciations, and to roast marshmallows. Under a starry sky, we walked back to our tents. It was a memorable day!
Friday midday update: The group is departing for a short overnight trek and will be posting more updates when they return. As a reminder, here's the itinerary.
We started off the day meeting our homestay families. We all got situated at the homes and headed over to the Manco Inca School where we met the principal and had a tour of the school. We played a lot of games with the children at recess, made origami with them in the classrooms, and stacked wood. We ate lunch with our families and then spent the afternoon at a culturally religious ceremony. A shaman named Elder gave each of us four coca leaves which represented the different directions on a compass and the four elements of nature, we stuck it all together with llama fat. Afterwards, we gathered to review the day and prepared for our activities tomorrow. This experience has been amazing, and we couldn't be more grateful.
- Elle, Ben, Angel, and Sawyer
We began our day with a nutritious, traditional Peruvian breakfast, and then we walked to an ancient Incan site known as the Sun Temple. We hiked to the Sun Temple and stopped along the way to learn about the history of the Incans and their innovative skills and techniques for farming, building, and worshipping. In the afternoon we broke into five groups and went on a scavenger hunt around Ollantaytambo to help us become familiar with the town and practice speaking Spanish. We went to the Full Moon Hostel to play various community building games and leadership activities. One of the activities was called Circle, which helped build our confidence and trust within the group by sharing vulnerable stories and appreciating one another. Tomorrow we’ll embark on our homestay and service project journey.
- Lucas, Clea, Jared, and Taylor
We arrived in Lima at 5:30 a.m. and soon got on the plane to Cusco. After sitting on the runway for over an hour, we took off and headed to our almost-final destination...Cusco. We met our amazing WLS instructors, Calley, Adela, and Johan, and finally boarded the buses to Ollantaytambo. On the way, we stopped in Urumbaba for lunch at El Maizal. The food was delicious, but the goldenberry cheesecake was even better! After getting all fueled up, we hopped back on the bus and arrived in Ollantaytambo’s Peru Quechuas Lodge. After some down time, we went to dinner and ate cow’s heart, chicken, beef, and pasta, and drank the famous Inca Cola. We wrapped up the day by reflecting upon our day and looking forward to the rest of the trip.
Elle, Avery, and Peyton
Hello friends and family of the ACDS program in Peru,
The group made it to Ollantaytambo and are all happy, healthy, and in good spirits! They will continue posting updates once they have a reliable internet connection. Please don't hesitate to reach out to the WLS office at 303-679-3412 with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your continued trust and support,
The WLS team