Frequently Asked QuestionsUrubamba Peru
June 16 - 30, 2007
Why volunteer overseas in Peru?There is a need for passionate and motivated volunteers in countries all over the world. Not only do overseas volunteers have the chance to interact with other culture's and people, and exchange and share ideas, but also get to contribute something meaningful to the world. Each pair of hands is creating a positive change one step at a time. With Karma Yoga and the path of selfless service, extending compassion and removing the borders that divide self from others is a life-changing experience for everyone involved. Giving of oneself is a path toward greater social engagement and leads to more connected and enriched global communities.
Many programs charge fees for international volunteering. For our Karma Yoga Journeys trip to Peru, the package includes all accommodations and vegetarian meals, daily yoga and meditation classes, several excursions to cultural and historical destinations, and all local transportation. Included in the package fee however is the additional cost encountered by the local program operators; these include all work supplies, local interpreters, and additional staff support. home
What kind of excursions will we be going on?Throughout our stay in Urubamaba and between days of volunteering we will be going to several Sacred Valley destinations. These excursions will include guided tours of:
Walk among one of the best examples of ancient Inca terraces, created in the form of a llama, up to the Temple of the Sun built exactly where the rising sun's rays fall on the solstices. From here, there is a clear view of a gigantic face, called 'Wirraccochan', carved into the opposite mountainside and a magnificent view of the surrounding Sacred Valley. We will then visit the still very traditional village of Ollantaytambo including a visit to the fascinating house of a villager.
Following a beautiful ride through many small, traditional community towns along the main Sacred valley road, we'll visit the mountain-top ruins and ceremonial centre of Pisac, hiking among the Inca look-out towers and the Temple of the Sun. We descend though agricultural terraces carved into the mountainside in the shape of a condor directly into the town and lively market of Pisac. Explore the town or go shopping in one of the best markets in the area for artisan goods.
Walk among the massive zig-zag structure of the ruins of Sacsayhuayman and to the astronomical tower beyond which is a stunning panorama over the mountains and city of Cusco. Then we can explore the tunnels and caves of the mysterious ruin of Qenko and walk up to the Temple of the Moon. Further along the road into the valley is the Inca fort of Puca Pucara, surrounded by local people and llamas. Finally at the ruins of Tambo Machay you can see a working Inca water system.
Cusco, meaning in Quechua 'navel of the world', is a hive of Andean culture and buzzing nightlife centered around the beautiful Inca and colonial style Plaza de Armas. You can choose to visit its unique cathedral and many churches, its various museums, explore the artistic barrio of San Blas or just take advantage of Cusco's great markets and shops.
We'll ride through the maize fields and villages of the valley of Chicon and then hike towards its snow-capped glacier lying right behind Urubamba. Crossing streams and exploring trails, we arrive at a meadow where cattle graze and wild horses roam where we'll rest and have lunch at the base of a towering waterfall. Here you can explore the forest of Peruvian ash trees and climb up the rivulets and rocks right to the waterfall for a closer look.
Moray, Salineras and Pichingoto
See the sunken, concentric Inca terraces of Moray. Then we hike through the patchwork fields of the valley to arrive at the Salineras of Maras. Step right through the narrow walkways between the multicolored salt pans layered into the mountainside. Dating from pre-Inca times they are still in use today. We then hike towards Pichingoto crossing and walking along the Urubamba River. There we will see the cliff dwelling houses of Pichingoto and take a tour with a local of one of the houses built into the cliff face.
Machu Picchu (optional)
Participants will also have the option of including a two day all-inclusive trip to Machu Picchu at the end of the program. Transportation will be provided on June 30th for a full day visit to Machu Picchu, including entrance fees, tour guide, meals and overnight accommodations in the neighboring town of Aguas Calientes. After the second full day to explore this ancient historical site, transportation will be provided to a Cusco hotel for the last night of the program. If the Machu Picchu program option is included, please plan travel back home from Velasco Astete Airport on Monday, July 2nd. The price for this all-inclusive two day excursion is $350. If you have any questions, please contact us for further details. home
How do I get there?For our Peru program, most international flights arrive in Lima where you will have to get a connecting flight to Cusco. A program representative will meet you at the airport in Cusco and take you to our accommodations in Urubamba. For those people who wish to be met by someone in Lima, we have a representative there who would be happy to meet you, take you to a hotel and bring you back for your connecting flight if necessary. For more information regarding this extra service please inquire with us. home
What about visa requirements for entering Peru?Passports are required for all of our program sites. Most, if not all, international airports will not allow you to leave your originating country with out a passport. You will also need to have proof of a return flight.
Please verify that your passport is not only current but will not expire for at least six months after your program is scheduled to end. If you do not currently have a passport, please consult with the appropriate agency to obtain your government's requirements for obtaining one. Processing time needed to obtain a passport varies but can take up to two months to receive.
Travelers from the USA, Canada, UK, and most European countries do not need a visa to enter Peru. Upon arrival in country you are issued a 30 to 90 day tourist visa. All travelers entering Peru need to carry a valid passport. If your program lasts longer than the visa provided upon entry to the country, an extension is easily obtained while in country. Visa extensions are allowed for up to 3 months in Peru. home
What is the time difference to the USA?Standard time zone: GMT -5. The time zone in Peru is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the US. home
How is the weather? What to wear and bring?The climate in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Peru is generally mild. Days are warm and sunny with an average high temperature of 66°F (19°C). Nights are cooler with an average low of 37°F (3°C) with temperatures generally 5° warmer in the Sacred Valley. The rainy season runs from November to March and the dry season runs from April to October. During the rainy season afternoon showers are common, but there is rarely rain during the dry season. The best times to visit are May and June since they are the mildest months.
Bring comfortable clothes and only necessary items. We recommend packing lightly and expect your clothing to be well used by the end of your program. Dressing in layers is also recommended. It can be cold in the mornings and evening, but hot during the middle of the day. The following items are suggested: money belt, camera and film, toiletries and personal hygiene, travel towel, sunscreen (the altitude means the sun is stronger), sunglasses, flashlight, sleeping bag, daypack, water bottle, watch, journal, Spanish dictionary, hiking/tennis shoes, sandals, set of long underwear, pants, jeans, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, fleece Jacket, swimsuit, fleece or wool hat, fleece or wool mittens, rain jacket/pants. home
What is the standard of the accommodation?Lodging is in double occupancy rooms at the Nina Sonqo guest house near the village of Urubamba. Full room and board is part of the program fee and the guesthouse also has direct access to telephone and internet services. Hiking, horseback riding, and biking are also optional at the lodging site. Single occupancy will be available for an additional fee of $250. home
Where is the closest Internet café?There are numerous Internet cafes throughout Urubamba and our guesthouse also provides direct internet access. home
What will the food be like?You can expect lots of substantial and traditionally prepared vegetarian meals. Peru is known for its excellent soups, protein rich grains only found in the Andes, corn, and potatoes. Meals are prepared by local cooks and served family style allowing for a generous amount of reflection on the day's challenges and successes. home
What experience is needed to join?The program is available for individuals over 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian) from any country with an adventurous spirit and a true desire to help others. In terms of yoga, practitioners of all levels are welcome. The asana class will be taught as a mixed level class. The actual karma yoga can usually be adapted to participant's abilities, skills and strengths. We encourage each and every one to share their interests and skills so bring along any musical instrument, games or tools needed to express and share your passion. We strongly suggest you have a genuine will to help and a liking toward children.
As we are very careful not to do more harm than good and to emphasize the need to protect the integrity of these children, we will make sure no participant has previously been registered with inappropriate behavior with children. We apologize for this and hope you can understand our caution in doing so. home
Will I have to be able to speak Spanish?No, a background in Spanish is not necessary for the trip. A project coordinator will be available throughout the volunteering projects and trip excursions as a cultural liaison providing both language translation as well as information on the culture and history of the area. home
Who is the yoga teacher and group leader for the trip?Victor Oppenheimer will be the group leader for the trip to Peru and the instructor for the daily Iyengar yoga classes. He has studied yoga directly with yoga master Sri BKS Iyengar in India over the past twenty years and was certified to teach in his style directly from Mr. Iyengar. Victor has been teaching group and private yoga classes and training yoga teachers in the US and abroad for more than twenty years. Each year he travels to Mexico to teach a month long teacher training course; he will also be teaching this upcoming February in St. Lucia. Beyond the mat, Victor is also the founder of Yoga.com and Karma Yoga Journeys. In his own words, "yoga has been a source of joy and added a level of depth and balance" to his life for many years. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to share this work with others. If you would like to learn more about Victor, you may visit his site here. home
What is the itinerary?click here for the itinerary home
What will the daily schedule look like?Be prepared to be flexible, time is fluid. This is our tentative daily schedule. home
Am I insured?Karma Yoga Journeys will pay for basic health insurance and medical emergency evacuation. We cover medical expenses over $100.It is recommended you take a flight cancellation insurance. home
What if I have to cancel?Please, study the registration form for information on cancellations and refund policies. home
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