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2021 Mullen Peru Service Adventure

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2021 Mullen Peru Service Adventure!  To better inform yourself about this once in a lifetime opportunity, there are two webpages at your disposal. The first is the Pre-Enrollment page, the purpose of which is to share the itinerary, exciting highlights and important info that travelers will want to know before signing up.  Once enrolled, your family will begin using the Post-Enrollment page which offers a much greater level of detail.  Please take the time to review the information thoroughly and get excited for Peru!! And cheviche! 
Travel Dates: March 12, 2021 - March 22, 2021
Dates are tentative until flights are secured
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $3,290 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $750
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadline forthcoming

What to Expect

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

Itinerary

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. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
March 12USA - Lima, PeruToday the group will travel from the USA to Lima, Peru. After arrival, the group will settle into their hotel and rest ahead of our connecting flight the following morning.Hostal El Patio
March 13Lima, PeruThis morning we will hold an orientation meeting in the hotel gardens to discuss the upcoming trip in detail. We will then head out for a guided bike tour of two of Lima's coastal neighborhoods, Miraflores and Barranco. Along the way we will view the ancient adobe pyramids of Huacapucllana, ride along the malecón along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, and make a wish across the bridge of sighs! Later this afternoon we will make our way to the historic center to explore the plaza mayor and the catacombs underneath the convent of San Francisco.Hostal El Patio
March 14Lima - PunoThe group will fly onward to Juliaca, near the shores of Lake Titicaca . We will continue overland to Puno where the group will enjoy the unique Andean culture and rest at our new altitude. Tonight we will enjoy a lively demonstration of indigenous dances over dinner.Hotel Qalasaya
March 15Lake TiticacaAfter breakfast and watching the sunrise over the lake, we will depart on bicycle taxis for our boat. We will navigate the lake to Taquile, a remote island with stunning views and unique cultural traditions, then onward to the floating islands of the Uros people, who live on islands made of floating reeds. We will return to Puno for dinner and relaxation.Hotel Qalasaya
March 16CuscoToday we will leave Puno and travel over the beautiful high plains of Peru to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Quechua empire. Once in Cusco, we will take a guided walking tour and marvel at how Quechua, Spanish and modern influences have molded the current day Cusco.Pension Alemana
March 17Cusco - Pisac - Host CommunityToday we will head to the Sacred Valley, stopping at an Andean camelid farm to learn a bit about llamas and alpacas before continuing on to Pisac. We will spend the morning practicing our Spanish bartering skills and shopping in one of the biggest regional markets in the valley. We will eat lunch in town before setting out for the homestay community. Upon arrival, we will be met by our host families in the plaza before orienting ourselves around town. The service days here represent the heart and soul of our program. We will volunteer on meaningful service project(s) during the day while also enjoying sufficient free time to interact with our host families and fellow travelers, practice our language skills and explore the surrounding area.Homestay
March 18Homestay CommunityToday we will work on our service project(s) and spend time with our host families. Evening activities will vary.Homestay
March 19Host CommunityToday we will work on our service project(s) and spend time with our host families. Evening activities will vary.Homestay
March 20Machu PicchuToday we will wake early and make our way to the train station to take the beautiful two-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, the base town of Machu Picchu. We will then either hike or bus to the famous ruins in the afternoon. With our local guide, we will learn about the history and significance of this citadel set high in the Andes, and take time to reflect on our journey thus far. We will head back to our host community this evening.Homestay
March 21Cusco - Lima - USAThis morning we will say goodbye to our host families and begin our journey back to the USA. On our way back to Cusco, we will stop in Chinchero, a small town just above the Sacred Valley, where we will enjoy a weaving demonstration from the women famous for these local textiles. We will have some last minute shopping opportunities before continuing on to the airport. We will take an afternoon flight from Cusco to Lima. If time permits, we will leave the airport to enjoy a final meal overlooking the Pacific Ocean before catching our overnight flight from Lima to the USA.Airplane
March 22USAWe will arrive home!Your own bed, eventually!

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Accommodations

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. 
Hostal El Patio

This beautiful bed and breakfast provides the perfect escape in the heart of Lima’s trendy, coastal neighborhood of Miraflores. Flowery terraces and the friendly staff give personality and charm to this lush, green oasis in the middle of the city. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Hotel Qalasaya

The rooms in Hotel Qalasaya are comfortable, elegant, and well equipped with modern amenities. Rising above most of the surrounding buildings, the hotel also boasts some of the best views of Lake Titicaca. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and 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.

Homestay

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.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure City Departure Date and Time  Arrival City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
AM
659
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, USA
March 12, 2020 at 3:05PM
MEX – Mexico City International Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
March 12, 2020 at 6:55PM
Outbound
AM
48
MEX – Mexico City International Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
March 12, 2020 at 11:55PM
LIM – Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima, Peru
March 13, 2020 at 6:45AM
Inbound
AM
19
LIM – Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima, Peru
March 22, 2020 at 1:30AM
MEX – Mexico City International Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
March 22, 2020 at 6:35AM
Inbound
AM
658
MEX – Mexico City International Airport, Mexico City, Mexico
March 22, 2020 at 9:40AM
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, USA
March 22, 2020 at 1:40PM

Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here.

Remember that Walking Tree is not 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 but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure but for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer/s.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel is unpredictable. Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers.  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 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 advocate as best we can for a quick and effective resolution to the situation.

Host Community and Project Details

Our host community of Ollantaytambo is one of the few remaining towns laid out according to Inca design, with active irrigation canals running along most streets. Multiple ruins can be found in the hills surrounding this Sacred Valley town, and snowcapped peaks can be seen from several viewpoints. Many community members continue to speak with one another in Quechua, but almost all speak Spanish as well. Walking Tree has been working with Ollantaytambo for nine years, and our host families are looking forward to receiving this year’s students.

During our stay we will have the opportunity to work on a service project in the nearby town of Urubamba, where many residents of Ollantaytambo work and send their kids to school. Service projects are planned together with the SSA Country Director and community organizers. Walking Tree staff never decides what service project is done, rather projects are always proposed by local community leaders as they are most in tune with the needs of the community.

Service projects are intended to be both challenging and rewarding for participants and community members. This program’s project goal is to construct a recycling center at the Valle Sagrado secondary school in Urubamaba, as recycling demands in this area of Peru are not sufficiently supported by public funds. Having a designated space to accumulate recyclable materials will support the school’s sustainability initiatives as well as ensure a cleaner play space on the grounds for the students. This work will involve lots of physical labor- digging up and leveling the ground with shovels and pick axes, manually mixing concrete, laying bricks, etc. There will be opportunities to assist with other projects around the school involving painting and beautification efforts, as well as interact with the local students in the mornings.

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. 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 hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

CLOTHES:
Underwear
Socks
T-shirts, tank tops or work shirts
Long sleeve shirts
Sweatshirt/jacket
Shorts
Jeans/pants
Swimsuit
Rain jacket
Sturdy shoes (appropriate for lots of walking/athletic activity)
Sports sandals ie Chacos/Tevas etc. (optional)
Flip flops (optional)
Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Mosquito repellent
Band Aids and Neosporin, anti-diarrhea meds, basic first aid
Hand Sanitizer
Medication in properly marked original container (better to pack this in your carry on luggage)

MISCELLANEOUS:
Sunglasses
Journal and pen
Book/s
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Converter (Peru runs 220v, 60Hz AC electricity. Only necessary if electronic device doesn’t have built in converter)
Alarm Clock and watch
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $100-$200, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle with a personal water filtration system (optional- Walking Tree will always provide drinking water)
1 quick-dry towel
Soap for washing your own clothes while in the host community
Flashlight/headlamp
Batteries
Deck of cards or other portable games
Host family gift
Student ID
Spanish/English Dictionary

HOMESTAY GIFTS

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.

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.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Natalia Boquet
Natalia Boquet
Argentina Country Director


College Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)- Degree in Lettres, Technical degree in Film Directing

Natalia was born and has always lived in Buenos Aires, where she graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires with a degree in Lettres and from CIEVYC with a technical degree in Film Directing.

She co-founded a Spanish School when she was 24, just after her first solo travel, which started a long saga that took her to more than 20 countries in South America, Europe and Asia.

Natalia lives with a beautiful white cat that loves hunting doves to offer them up to her. She loves plants, red wine, sci-fi movies, thai food, live music, biking, cooking, reading and, of course, traveling.

Mauricio Hidalgo Chaves
Mauricio Hidalgo Chaves
Program Leader


Universidad Latina, Heredia, Costa Rica – Architecture

Mauricio, or “Mau” as his friends call him, grew up in a small Costa Rican town called Pejibaye surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers. Mauricio attended Costa Rica’s first environmental high school which instilled in him a mentality to help the environment. Ever since he was a kid Mauricio always found himself fixing up and remodeling spaces, which led him to study architecture in the University. His hunger for knowledge and desire to learn about different cultures guided him on various trips to countries such as Colombia, Nicaragua, Belize, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the United States. Mauricio currently lives in Denver, Colorado and has worked in various volunteer organizations in Costa Rica to help the environment and to help combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors. Mauricio is multifaceted person who sings, designs, decorates, constructs and dances, all while traveling down life’s path with a smile on his face in search of learning something new.

Group Roster

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

  • 1 Joshua Jeffers
  • 2 Timothy Ventura (Group Organizer)
2 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. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  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.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

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

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

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.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience has taught us that travel can come with risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider protecting their trip and travel investment by purchasing a travel protection plan with a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) provision.

To make this process as easy as possible, we have partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by taking a few minutes to get a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of the date your initial payment or your deposit for your trip is received. You must also insure 100% of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions and cancel 48 hours or more before your scheduled trip departure date. Please note that CFAR is not available to residents of New York.

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