Alternative Spring Break

Peru (Scholars' Electives)

This experience is exclusive to Scholars' Elective Students. 

Your experience will start in Urubamba, a small town in the Andes of Cusco, where you will have an opportunity to see the sights, and acclimatize before ascending another 1200 meters to the small village of Cuncani. It is here - 4,000 meter above sea level – that you will call home for the next 8 days.

In Cuncani, you will live in a community school, and work alongside Nexos Comunitarios and local community members to learn what life is like in rural communities in the Andes. You will work closely with the community school as they use the culture of soccer to promote human development. You will assist in promoting health through educational workshops that use active learning tools.

You will take a day of rest, where you will travel to Lares and experience the impressive hot springs of the Andes. You will also have the opportunity to hike to Machu Picchu, and conclude your week back in Urubamba with some team reflection and community work.

UN Sustainable Development Goal - Quality EducationUN Sustainable Development Goal - Reduce inequalityUN Sustainable Development Goals - Sustainable Communities

Community Partners


Dates of Travel

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Participant Numbers

  • 9 Student Participants
  • 1 Student Team Leader
  • 2 Team Leaders


  • Immerse yourself in Peruvian history and culture, while living in the small mountainous community of Cuncani.
  • Learn about the school system in Cuncani
  • Experience the art of negotiation at the bustling and lively markets of Urubamba.
  • Explore the captivating views of the Andes through optional morning hikes in the mountains.
  • Visit the hot springs of Lares
  • Experience the breathtaking sites and history Machu Picchu holds.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the Alternative Spring Break 2018 program, students participating in this experience will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to explore ideas, issues, and global systems from viewpoints other than their own, through reflective practice, group discussions and program activities
  • Work under conditions of ambiguity or uncertainty by engaging with community partners, community members and working as a team
  • Demonstrate an understanding of intercultural competence, sensitivity and humility by completing pre-departure workshops, activities in OWL and the ASB Reflective Practice Workbook, and engaging in the 1-2 week community-based experience
  • Explain the potential impacts of different community development projects by working alongside community members and our partners Nexos Comunitarios
  • Practice communicating across cultures and languages through participation in local community events and projects

Ideal Participant

Your team will be exposed to a true local Peruvian experience. The ideal participant loves learning about new cultures, and has a well-rounded perception of healthy activities and a healthy lifestyle. This experiences does involve hiking and some physical activity. You will be living 4,000 meters above sea level and sleeping on mats on the floor of a community school.

Ideal participants are flexible, empathetic, adventurous, and committed to learning. During this experience, you will be challenged to lean into your discomfort, and go with the flow. You will also be hiking Machu Picchu; participants need to have a fitness level appropriate for this activity.


Total cost (subject to change) – $5,000 CAD

  • Flight
  • Registration and programs fees with Nexos Comunitarios
  • Contribution to the project and comprehensive on-site support
  • Insurance (health, flight cancellation, baggage)
  • Transportation to/from airport
  • Transportation in Peru
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Machu Picchu experience
  • Administrative Fee (t shirt, team leader contribution, journal)

Preliminary Itinerary

Day 1-2: Arrive in Urubamba, a small town in the Andes of Cusco, and spend the day/evening exploring the Scared Valley of the Incas.

Day 3: You will make the long, windy bus ride up the Andes to Cuncani.  Here, you will be welcomed by school children, who will become your cultural teachers over the next week. This day will be spent getting to know the community, and acclimatizing to the altitude (1200 meters above Urubamba).

Day 4-10: You will spend your days working with young children - playing games, and providing different workshops on various age-appropriate health topics. Each day will finish with a soccer match with the people of Cuncani!

Day 7: Your team will take a day away from service, and visit the hot springs in Lares, the closest town to Cuncani.

Day 11- You will experience all that Machu Picchu has to offer.

Day 12 – 13: You will wrap up your programming in Urubamba with some team reflection and some small town project work, in partnership with Nexos Comunitarios staff.

Day 14: Goodbyes and travel back to Toronto via Cusco, Lima, and San Salvador. 

*PLEASE NOTE: this itinerary is draft, and subject to change at any time.


In Urubamba, your accommodations will be chosen and vetted by our partners at Nexos Comunitarios.

In Cuncani, participants will sleep on mats on the floor of the school in Cuncani. You will be required to bring a sleeping bag and towels. 


Meals are prepared by community restaurants, and reflect a variety of local foods (e.g., quinoa, potatoes, chicken, rice, vegetables). Meals will take into account dietary restrictions.

All group meals on the program are included, and participants will be responsible for any meals during travel days and personal snacks throughout the week.

Need to Know

  • This experience does not involve travel through the USA.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that you have the required travel documents and travel visas necessary to participate in the experience.
  • If you require disability related accommodation, or have other special considerations, we encourage you to contact us before applying. We may require further information to determine how we can best meet your accommodation needs.