2019 Elkhorn South Peru Adventure

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2019 Elkhorn South Peru Service Adventure! We have created two webpages dedicated to this once in a lifetime experience so that travelers are as informed as possible throughout the process. The first page, Pre-Enrollment, is meant to share exciting details, highlights, and pertinent info, that participants will want to know before enrolling. Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page is intended to prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead. We hope you will join us on the adventure of a lifetime in Peru!
Travel Dates: May 30, 2019 - June 7, 2019
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $3,150 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,002
Deadline(s): TBD

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.


We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

May 30USA - Lima, PeruToday the group will travel from the USA to Lima, Peru, arriving early the next morning. We will layover in the airport before our flight to Cusco a few hours later.Airport layover
May 31Lima - CuscoEarly this morning we will leave Lima and travel to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan empire. Once in Cusco, we will rest after our long journey. Later on, we will hold an orientation meeting to discuss the upcoming trip in detail. We will then take a guided walking tour and marvel how Incan, Spanish and modern influences mold the current day Cusco. Our walking tour will be highlighted by a visit to the famous Saqsayhuaman ruins.Pension Alemana
June 1Cusco - OllantaytamboAfter a leisurely morning, we will make our way to the historic center for a scavenger hunt! After lunch, we will take a latin styles dance lesson before departing Cusco for our homestay community. Upon arrival, we will settle in with our families and orient ourselves around town. Our options for the late afternoon could include a mix of group activities or an organized soccer game with the locals. Host Families
June 2Sacred ValleyToday we set out for some serious adventure. We will first head to Chinchero, a small town just above the Sacred Valley. We will enjoy a weaving demonstration from the women famous for this local craft, then set out for Salineras, where thousands of salt pools cascade down the mountains, and Moray, an ancient Incan agricultural laboratory. We will then descend the valley by bike (or van). After a full day, we will head back to our homestay families for a relaxing evening.Host Families
June 3Ollantaytambo - Machu PicchuAfter a relaxing morning with our homestay families, we will take the famous train that traces the Urubamba River, a tributary of the Amazon, to Aguas Calientes, at the base of the famous Machu Picchu ruins. After a quick lunch, we will take an afternoon tour of the ruins!Hatun Inti
June 4Machu Picchu - OllantaytamboThis morning we will return to the archeological site to admire the ruins at sunrise. We will have the option for a brief hike to the sun gate or Inca bridge nearby before we descend the mountain once again. In the afternoon, we will take the train back and spend our last night with families.Host Families
June 5Ollantaytambo - CuscoToday we will travel through the Sacred Valley to Pisac, a small community that is home to the largest indigenous market in the region. Students will marvel at the local fruits and vegetables, artisanal souvenirs and use their Spanish to shop for local specialties. After lunch we will have the option to hike around the ruins above town depending on the group's energy. Following this, we will stop by an Andean camelid farm and museum on our way back to Cusco to feed and learn about some of the region's most important animals- llamas and alpacas! Pension Alemana
June 6Cusco - USAWe will depart Cusco for Lima this morning. We will then spend the afternoon visiting Lima's coastal neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco. Of course, we will enjoy Lima's famous ceviche as our going away dinner! We will return to the airport this evening to catch our late flight back to the USA.Airplane
June 7USAWe will arrive home!Your own bed

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In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe. 

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Pension Alemana

Situated in the hills of the San Blas neighborhood, Pension Alemana is a beautiful bed and breakfast overlooking the historic center of Cusco. Representative of the city’s history and culture, this hotel blends Quechua and Spanish colonial styles to provide a stunning setting to relax at 11,000 feet. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.


This will be the best part of your trip! Staying with a host family immerses you in the language and culture of the destination, and can lead to deep and lasting relationships with your hosts. Initially intimidating but ultimately unforgettable, there’s no better way to begin to truly understand the place you’re visiting.

Hatun Inti

Hatun Inti is a modern, clean, and locally owned and operated hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes. The friendly staff, complimentary teas, delicious food, and modern amenities combine to make this hotel the perfect place to relax for travelers visiting Machu Picchu. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure City Departure Date and Time  Arrival City Arrival Date and Time 
OMA – Eppley Airfield, Omaha, USA
May 30, 2019 at 10:46AM
ORD – O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, USA
May 30, 2019 at 12:21PM
ORD – O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, USA
May 30, 2019 at 2:20PM
YYZ – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Canada
May 30, 2019 at 4:57PM
YYZ – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Canada
May 30, 2019 at 6:00PM
LIM – Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima, Peru
May 31, 2019 at 12:55AM
LIM – Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima, Peru
June 7, 2019 at 12:25AM
IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, USA
June 7, 2019 at 7:00AM
IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, USA
June 7, 2019 at 9:35AM
OMA – Eppley Airfield, Omaha, USA
June 7, 2019 at 11:48AM

Once your flight has been confirmed, the itinerary will appear here.

Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, and travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

Air travel can be unpredictable.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

Ollantaytambo is one of the few remaining towns laid out according to Inca design- a grid system of adobe houses and cobblestone streets with active irrigation canals surrounding a central square, or “plaza de armas.” It is situated alongside the Urubamba river at 9,160 feet along the floor of the Sacred Valley. Multiple ruins can be found in the hills surrounding this town and snowcapped peaks can be seen from several viewpoints. Many community members continue to speak with one another in Quechua, the language of the Incas, but almost all speak Spanish as well. While the town retains much of its distinctly Incan culture, as a gateway to Machu Picchu, the local residents are accustomed to travelers from all over the world passing through their town. Walking Tree has been working with Ollantaytambo for nine years and our host families are looking forward to receiving this year’s students.

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with.  We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES: (quantities depend on your trip length)

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • T-shirts, tank tops or work shirts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Light sweater/sweatshirt
  • Shorts
  • Jeans/pants
  • Swimsuit/s
  • Light rain jacket
  • Sturdy shoes (appropriate for lots of walking/athletic activity)
  • Sports sandals ie Chacos/Tevas etc. (optional)
  • Flip flops
  • Sun hat

TOILETRIES: (in addition to the basics)

  • Sunscreen – you will use a lot.
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Band Aids and Neosporin, anti-diarrhea meds, basic first aid kit.
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container (better to pack this in your carry on luggage)


  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book/s
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Universal adapter
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $100-$200, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle (optional personal water filtration system – Walking Tree will always provide drinking water)
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Soap for washing your own clothes during community time
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Batteries, if needed
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • Homestay gift
  • Student ID
  • Spanish/English Dictionary


Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Gabriel Duncan
Gabriel Duncan
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO

Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government

While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.

Tommy Tyson
Tommy Tyson
Country Director, Country Operations Manager - Peru

University of Denver – B.A. Spanish, Minors in History and Hebrew

Currently based in Minnesota, where he is originally from, Tommy works in the Country Operations department at Walking Tree Travel. His hobbies include camping, snowboarding, basketball and traveling. Fluent in Spanish, he first developed his love of languages and Latin American culture at the age of ten on a mission trip in Mexico. This experience and subsequent trips to follow inspired him to study Spanish and pursue development work in other areas of Latin America as well. Tommy gained valuable experience as a middle school Spanish teacher and coach after he graduated. His experience in education encouraged him to combine his two passions of travel and education and join our team full time. He had the pleasure of living in Cusco, Peru for three years as our Country Director and has enjoyed planning and guiding student trips ever since.

John White
John White
Program Leader

B.A. French and Education, University of Tulsa; M.A. Language Teaching in Spanish and French, University of Nebraska-Omaha

John is a native Texan currently teaching Spanish in Omaha, Nebraska. John has been fortunate enough to experience life in 50 plus countries and his passion lies in putting students in positions to grow as an individual and world citizen using languages and travel as means of mutual understanding. He studied languages at the University of Tulsa and along the way helped build homes in Guatemala, backpacked around Europe twice, and discovered a fondness for setting foot in a new country and gaining knowledge from new cultures. He spent a year and a half studying Spanish in Cochabamba, Bolivia and teaching English and coaching basketball in Chimbote, Perú with the Irish Christian Brothers. In addition to teaching in Omaha, he has taught Spanish and French in San Antonio, Texas and in the Cayman Islands. He has led eight service trips to Latin America and Europe. Between teaching stints in the US, he and his very intelligent wife, Nadine, circumnavigated the globe for a year traveling extensively through the Pacific region, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Fulbright selected John as one of fifteen educators to participate in the 2012 Uruguay Educator Exchange Program. He studied abroad in México, Canada, Argentina, and France.

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

  • 1 Ally Schilmoeller
  • 2 Avery Spyers
  • 3 Elizabeth Nicholas - Group Organizer
  • 4 Grace Barker
  • 5 Lydia Paulsen
  • 6 Madeline Campbell
  • 7 Olivia Fiore
  • 8 Paige Sutter
  • 9 Paige Vose
9 Travelers

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.


GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.


  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.


  1. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  2. Possessing weapons.
  3. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  4. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  5. Being out after curfew.
  6. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Peru website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.


While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.