The Sacred Valley; Peru

The Sacred Valley in Peru’s southern Andes is one of the country’s most important historical and cultural regions. It is also home to the Inca capital, Cusco city. This is where we will begin our experience. The team will arrive in Cusco and travel south to the township of Andahuaylillas. The center of this small community of no more than 500 families is La Iglesia San Pedro de Apostol - The Church of Saint Peter the Apostle. Constructed in the early 16th century on the site of an Incan temple, this Church is known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. Our team will live amongst the people who call this place home - worshiping, working, gathering for communal meals, and playing. Structured as a retreat around intentional daily dialogue about the intersection between faith and a life dedicated to living in solidarity with the poor, our guides for this experience are 4 members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. The “JVs” are all recent college graduates who have chosen to spend two years living in this community and dedicated to following four basic values: simplicity, community, social justice, and spirituality. 

Students are asked to leave their comforts of home in Dallas, packing as lightly as possible, intentionally limiting their access to privilege and resources, so that we may eagerly receive the gifts offered to us by the generous people we will meet along the way. The days are long and difficult, but they are rich and filled with joy. Students will be challenged to reexamine their priorities and in particular what they understand is necessary for fulfillment in our daily lives. 

This experience offers students something new: a July winter, a new language (Quechuan), the beautiful Andean landscape, and the daily rural parish routine. They will be invited to see things with a new and simpler perspective. It is our hope that students will depart Dallas as an excited tourist soon to be dropped in an unfamiliar land where ancient cities are nestled in the clouds, where the exotic flavor of cua (guinea pig) mixes with the delicate aroma of the angel’s trumpet flower, and where men and women still dress in the bright colors of their ancestors. And upon their return, we have a greater hope that they have been changed: through worship with new friends, by reading to a group of anxious children or teaching a small boy how to brush his teeth, learning the Quechuan word for “laugh” from a seven year old girl, or by the blisters on their feet after hiking to the shrine atop the “Viva Andauhaylillas”. This trip is intended to push students to examine themselves honestly; expand their understanding of family beyond biology; deepen their commitment to justice for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized; and to renew their relationship with God.

The trip will conclude with a 3 day long tour of the Sacred Valley, including the historic and cultural centers of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu. 

Locations: Andahuaylillas, Urcos, Huaro, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu

Dates: July 3 - 15, 2020

Price: $3600


  • Work with and learn from the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Andahuaylillas, Cusco
  • Facilitate classes in local Jesuit elementary schools
  • Visit rural villages to learn about the daily challenges faced by impoverished communities
  • Host and participate in social programs through the parish center, such as art classes, sports & recreation and game time.
  • Assist with Catechism classes in rural communities
  • 3 day tour of the Sacred Valley, exploring Peru’s ancient Inca culture including a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu

Who Can Attend?

Rising seniors.

This experience is ideal for students who are: open to exploring the deep connections between spirituality, justice, community and simplicity; seeking to grow in their relationship with God and others; are team-oriented, flexible, and willing to try new things.

Important Information

While the trip is open to any rising senior, it is important to know the following information about our time in Peru so you may better determine if you are well-suited for a trip of this nature:

  • Every day is structured around intentional and meaningful dialog and reflection. It is important that you are open to having conversations and willing to share your own faith experiences, insights, and challenges.
  • A moderate to high level of fitness is expected of all trip participants. Each day will consist of several hours of athletic play in local schools, parish centers, and townships. Additionally, during our time in the Sacred Valley we will be exploring a number of ancient archaeological sites that require a significant amount of climbing and hiking. In addition we will walk/hike 10-15 miles a day at high altitude. 
  • The average elevation for our trip is above 10,500ft. We will spend at least one day above 14,000ft. If high altitude causes you moderate to severe physical complications, it is advised that you consider other trip opportunities.
  • Trip participants are asked to embrace a simple experience, packing in a single duffle bag or carry on, and therefore are limited in what they are permitted to bring. Trip participants are not allowed to bring the following items: technology of any kind (phones, cameras, music devices, gaming devices, watches, etc.), pillows, sleeping bags, certain toiletries, personal snacks, and entertainment items.
  • All participants are expected to fully participate in the pre-trip formation program (4 on-campus lunch time meetings, 3 off-campus Sunday evening meetings, completion of assigned readings, and attendance at the annual family dinner in late May).
  • Prior to leaving for Peru, the team will work to raise funds to support our travel and ministry. All trip participants are expected to actively participate in fundraising efforts.

Get More Information!

Program Contacts:

Mr. Joe Howard ‘06

Dr. Michael Riemer ’96