Immersion Service Community

Tech-Free: Disconnect So You Can Really Connect




VISIONS students arrive at the Lima airport, where VISIONS leaders meet participants and fly with them to Cuzco. Everyone  makes a quick call home, are greeted by our professional driver and project coordinator, Nico Jara, and we make the gorgeous hour-long drive into the Sacred Valley and our homebase in Urubamba. We settle in and begin our program orientation, including our first Circle meeting to start getting to know each other. 

We then come together for a Cena de Bienvenida with community members and an Andean folklorico band! Our dinner cook, Neyda, prepares a delicious Peruvian meal.



Get ready to embark on an immersive orientation and workshops that will set the stage for the journey ahead! You’ll connect with skilled maestros who will guide you in mastering the art of cement mixing, adobe work, bricklaying, and tool usage. These practical sessions will empower you with skills that transcend throughout the  program.

Our project lineup includes constructing an irrigation canal network in the scenic rural enclave of Yanahuara. It’s more than building; it’s about making a meaningful impact. You’ll also contribute to local preschool infrastructure projects and engage with the local children.

A highlight is the Pachamama ceremony during our initial day at the canales (water canals) project. This homage to Mother Earth, led by a spiritual leader, unites the community in expressing gratitude for the land, symbolizes unity and encapsulates the essence of our shared goals ahead.


DAYS 3 – 6

We jump fully into our projects and students get to choose their worksites most days. We also begin our “homebase crew” days with rotating groups that prepare breakfast and lunch, deliver laundry, clean our living space and shop at local markets to purchase fresh produce.

We begin our rotating workshops (“talleres”) that continue through the program on select days that include pottery, chocolate-making, jewelry-making and carpentry. Afternoons will also include options for short hikes, “Bamba time” to explore town, pickup soccer games and other activities with local friends.

One evening we will drive to the open area near the Moray ruins for stargazing, which will perhaps be the most stars you’ve ever seen in the night sky. 

Read more about daily life on VISIONS programs.



One of the cultural highlights of the program is our day stay with a local family. Paired with a fellow participant, you’ll experience indigenous Quechua life through the eyes of your host family, who welcomes you like an old friend. You’ll join your family after breakfast and stay into the dinner hour, sharing a full day. Don’t worry about your level ofSpanish, as the desire to make connections will be the drive to understand each other and share a memorable day. Host families continue to be part of other elements of the program and are often at worksites with us.

“The homestay was one of my favorite moments on the trip. I loved talking with my homestay family and learning what their lives are like. The kids in my homestay family were really fun to be around and I got to chat with them in Spanish.”



After a morning to sleep-in and have a hearty breakfast, we load the bus with our partner Nico and head out for an exciting destination at the Moray archeological ruins where concentric terraces carved into the earth form a natural amphitheater-like arrangement. These terraces are believed to have been an ancient Inca agricultural laboratory, where each terrace creates a unique microclimate, allowing the cultivation of diverse crops.

We then take a scenic hike to Salineras de Maras, where more than 3000 natural salt ponds that have been mined since the Incan Empire transform the landscape. Small vendor shops run by community members offer the chance to purchase a variety of types of salt while engaging with the kind people who carry on the Inca tradition. 


DAYS 9 – 12 (Projects)

Projects thrive and flourish as each day resonates with a sense of purpose and community. Community members join us at worksites and little ceremonies punctuate the construction process at the canales site whenever two canals come together. Worksites are a joint effort of the best kind, mixing in laughter, camaraderie and measurable accomplishments. 

Worksites are also your opportunity to build friendship with our local friends, who encourage you through your Spanish language skills. 


DAYS 9 – 12 (Activities)

We continue with rotations of artisan talleres and other recreation and cultural activities rooted in the Urubamba community. One afternoon is spent at the ruins of Ollantaytambo, where well-preserved terraced hillsides and intricate stone structures provide additional insights into how the Inca people thrived. 

You’ll also have “Bamba time” to check out the attractions, nooks, crannies, shops and Plaza Central of Urubamba. One evening we have a fun time contrasting what we’ve learned about ancient times in the Sacred Valley by hitting town for karaoke! 


DAYS 13 & 14

Another fun adventure awaits, as we drive an hour south to the mountainside village of Pisac. We begin at the Pisac archeological ruins and then make a downhill hike to town, passing other ruins and farms along the way. Once to town, we have lunch and take time to explore the large artisan market and shops, featuring traditional Peruvian textiles, crafts and jewelry.

Our next full-day excursion takes us to the Saqsaywaman ruins in the hills overlooking Cuzco, then down into the bustling colonial city to sightsee around the renowned Plaza de Armas. There are artisan markets, souvenir shops, winding steep neighborhoods and more to explore in this historic district. 

On the way home we stop at Cocha Wasi animal sanctuary for endangered and injured animals to learn more about unique species of the Andes and meet some of the people working to protect them.


DAYS 15 – 17

A packed few days of service projects with our community partners, who have become good friends. By our final week, you know how to mix cement, pass baldes down the line at the irrigation site, properly lay bricks, and how to understand and be understood by new friends who speak little or no English. We complete our projects and reflect on our successes together. 

In the afternoons and evenings, we practice salsa dancing, visit the studio and shop of a famous ceramicist, have a Talent Show, and make time for our favorite Urubamba activities. Part of an afternoon is carved out to reunite with our day stay families to help them on their farms and simply spend time together to relish the successes of the shared project goals and experiences. 

And a trip to the Sacred Valley wouldn’t be complete without visiting the impressive artisan market at Chinchero. One of the most traditional in all South American, with Quechua people adorned in their beautiful clothing, we have time to consider supporting these artisans with treasured gifts of alpaca sweaters, blankets and weavings.


DAYS 18 & 19

Get ready for our Machu Picchu excursion! After putting in a few hours of work in the morning, we head to the archeological site to hop on board the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. 

After a two-hour train ride through the stunning valley and along the Urubamba River, we settle into our hotel and have dinner, hitting the sack early to prepare for a big day! We wake early the next morning for a sunrise hike to the world-famous ruins. We then learn the history of the Incas with a guide before having time to walk around on our own in these world-famous ruins. 

After an exhilarating day, we return on an afternoon train and head to a local stone fired pizza place for dinner back in Urubamba.


DAYS 20 & 21

Pack up, clean our living space, and head to Cuzco for late afternoon flights to Lima, where departures begin late-night and continue through the next morning. Two leaders accompany the group in order to see everyone off safely from Lima. 

Day 21: Arrival home (if you’re in the U.S.), regardless of late-night flight or departure the following morning. 

In the embraces exchanged and in the stories shared, our paths have now converged and parted. We wish you well, our VISIONS participants, and hope that you take your new-found ability to serve with skill and passion into every community you encounter, a bringer of brighter days and deeper connection.

 Hasta la próxima! 

What kids and parents say about us is more telling than what we say about ourselves.

VISIONS in The New York Times