Be it nomadic backpackers or budget conscious gappers, this South American nation has never failed to wow thrill seekers and history buffs, along with some mind tingling mysteries here and there! From lost civilizations dating back to the 15th century to intriguing mysteries of puzzling geoglyphs, no wonder Peru has remained a bucket list must for ages now. And with the rise of responsible tourism, Peru has also become a hearth for community-serving volunteers from all around the world who flock to this country every year with the hope of doing some good, spreading some love and experiencing ultimate Peru!
If you’ve been meaning to head out for a gap year in Peru in 2018 or even just for a volunteering journey on your summer break this year, these 4-weekend getaways should definitely be bang right at the top of it all. With most of our volunteering programs based out of the capital city of Cusco, which is known for holding the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is apparent that you have got your fair share of travel wows right under your noses!
Ready to explore? Let’s go!
1. The Amazon
For a country covered almost 60% with the Amazon, there’s bound to be some thrilling adventures and amazing wildlife in your Peruvian getaway. Home to the infamous Anacondas and distinctive wildlife and species of creepy crawlies, the Peruvian Amazon can be called as one of the most diverse areas on this God’s green Earth! From a rainforest cruise to living in a Treehouse Hotel, your weekend getaway to Amazon is going to be all about unique experiences.
Explore the floating villages and the native people, most of whom have spent their entire lives living on the water. A friendly bunch who are always open to incoming guests from all over the globe, these villages are perfect for experiencing the Amazonian living culture. A trip to Amazon is definitely incomplete without its wildlife highlights, and what could be a better way of experiencing it than a night boat ride or spotlight hunting to witness the magnificent nocturnal species in their most natural form.
Experiencing Amazon is just a 50 min flight away from the capital city of Cusco, where you’ll be holed up in volunteer houses. Thus, a weekend getaway to Amazon is well in the books on your volunteering adventure in Peru!
2. Machu Pichhu
This lost Incan citadel is a bucket list topper for any and every kind of traveler who set their sights on Peru. Considered one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, this site is one of the heavy hitters of Peru, travel-wise, and it certainly lives up to the mark. Set high in the Andes mountains and overlooking the ecstatic Urubamba River Valley, the views from this ancient city is simply incomparable.
Besides the breathtaking beauty, panoramic views and the stone-walled structures whose use still remains a mystery, the journey itself up to the sacred ruins is a high-point of the entire trip. One of the best ways to experience Machu Picchu is by making your way through deep Amazonian jungles and trekking up through the famous Inca trail.
From the dreaded Dead Woman’s Pass to the sublime views in Huayna Picchu and many other sites along the way, it is the perfect mix of challenges and thrilling adventures that ought to give you a lifetime worth of memories on this trail. You can also opt for a scenic railway ride on the Inca Rail which departs from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, and the splendid views along the way are sure to keep you captivated and revving. So, is it an adventurous getaway you’re seeking on the weekends or a breathtaking train ride through the Andes?
3. Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines in the high-desert of Southern Peru is yet another enigmatic mystery that has even gone to the length of connecting Peru’s past with the extra-terrestrials. Just about 400 Km South of Lima, the Nazca Lines comprising these vast, intricate drawings of objects and animals on the surface of this arid plateau is one of the most legendary sites of Peru.
The fact that their true purpose for the Nazca people still eludes the greatest of scientist and researchers further adds to the enigma. And we say, it would make one hell of a weekend getaway to experience these mysterious lines high up from the air. The vast stretch of land is believed to hold almost 700 of these massive geoglyphs and it is a must that you stick your head to the windows of the plane as it soars high above as the view is simply bombastic. Oh, and do keep your cameras at the ready to get some brag-worthy shots as well!
4. Rainbow Mountain
If you have been jonesing for some exciting adventures on your weekly off days from your volunteering programs in Peru, then a trek to the Rainbow Mountain is in order! But before we delve deeper into it, we would suggest avoiding trekking the Rainbow Mountains during the rainy season as the slopes tend to get really slippery and can even lead to unwanted mishaps.
This is a distinctive side of Andes in Peru that has been caused by sedimentary layers of mineral. Just 3 hours away from the city of Cusco, the start point of the trail is just a bus ride away. We are certain you lot have seen many Instagram feeds to be flooded with colorful shots of The Rainbow Mountain, but let us tell you ahead that it might appear to be somewhat different than those pictures and more realistic and furthermore naturally beautiful as you set your own 2 eyes on it.
Walking along the dirt path on the trail, you’ll be crossing beautiful villages and looming peaks and making your way high up to 14000 ft, and the journey to and fro is very easily a day-long affair. There are some alternatives to trekking, like riding on ponies, for which you’ll found yourself surrounded by touts as soon as you reach the start point of the trail. But we say, save that extra money and put it on hold for your next adventure fund and set out on foot towards this amazing hilltop.
You might be setting out for a volunteering journey, but these few weekend getaways are sure to turn it into a Voluntouring adventure along the way. The cities of Cusco and Lima have their fair shares of attractions that are sure to keep the explorer spirit in you excited, be it with the authentic flavors of Peruvian food or the iconic sites and architectural wonders- Peru will never cease to surprise you!
You’ve only got one life, live it and live it NOW. Book yourself a spot on our programs today and kick-start your Peruvian adventure with a slight dose of good-hearted volunteering!