While many may have heard about Machu Picchu, there is much more to the land that leads to one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The Sacred Valley in Peru is a region that resides between Cusco and Machu Picchu and boasts a cultural richness that is beyond compare. It blends the ancient world with a modern one, where today’s influence has only brushed some of its deepest corners.
It was only natural that we became interested in launching a program in this incredible part of the country. The Sacred Valley is a vital part of Peruvian culture, dating back thousands of years, so we wanted to ensure that the program respected and celebrated that heritage.
Whether it’s your first time in South America or another trip, this unique location offers so much, and the program is just as exciting as the surrounding valley. Gain professional experience while immersing yourself in the Spanish language and Quechua culture that predates Spanish ever being spoken here.
An Introduction to the Sacred Valley
Nestled in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the Sacred Valley was originally formed by the Urubamba River (it’s also called the Urubamba Valley). It was first established by a variety of ethnic groups dating back to somewhere between 1000 C.E. and 1400 C.E. before the Inca took over it. Various Quechua communities still inhabit this area and speak the ancient Incan language, Spanish, and some English.
The Sacred Valley Today
The valley was originally valuable because of the lower elevation, warmer temperatures, and ideal location to allow for farmers to cultivate crops. Today, it still holds this value, and you’ll see the original remnants of the complex irrigation systems and built-in terraces used for growing corn, coca, and potatoes. The valley is abundant in Andean history, as are the virtually untouched villages that dot the vast mountain slopes.
The way of life here is one-of-a-kind. Nature and lifestyle seamlessly overlap in the communities of the Sacred Valley. Spending time outdoors isn’t a hobby as it is for people in other parts of the world; it’s a way of life for the locals.
Did you know that Peru is famous for its potatoes? The country is home to over 4,000 native varieties!
What Makes The Sacred Valley So Special?
Apart from the farming communities and impressive hiking, the Sacred Valley offers incredible vistas, salt ponds, outdoor adventures, and much more. It’s a short journey from Cusco and has many impressive sites throughout that are accessible year-round thanks to the temperate climate.
Notable Sites and Activities:
- Ollantaytambo – the gateway to Machu Picchu and a marvel of its own
- Outdoor adventures – white water rafting, mountain biking, ziplining – the works
- Pisac – a community in the Sacred Valley that is a spiritual epicenter filled with history and five times the size of Machu Picchu
- Chinchero Artistry – Peruvian indigenous cultures are scattered throughout the valley and make incredible textiles and cuisine from the surrounding materials
- Maras Salt Mines – 6,000 pink-colored salt mines that have been in operation for more than 500 years by the same family
About the Program in the Sacred Valley
AdventureEXP wants to offer a holistic health and wellness rotational internship program in the Sacred Valley where students can have the opportunity to experience a wildly diverse culture in a beautiful setting and take a broad stroke approach to learning about the operation of a world-class yoga and meditation retreat center.
Benefits of the Sacred Valley Program
The list is long when it comes to the perks of this program. It’s one of the reasons we were so excited to offer it, and it’s available year-round, thanks to the region’s temperate climate. Between the connection to nature, the low expense, and the cultural immersion you’ll discover, this program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take time ‘on’ through travel.
Lower Cost of Living
Affordability is one of the core principles of AdventureEXP, so it was natural for us to choose a program in South America, where the cost of living is generally low. The entire country of Peru offers affordable transportation, access to inexpensive markets thanks to its agricultural pride, and a favorable exchange rate when converting US dollars to the Peruvian Sol. As a U.S. traveler, you can go further with the money you already have.
Not only are you living in the heart of the Sacred Valley, but you’re also working at a local business that connects with the community on a daily basis. The yoga and meditation retreat center is located in Huycho, just alongside the Urubamba River. You’ll be in a more secluded part of the Sacred Valley, thus allowing for a deeper connection to the people in the town and nature.
Sustainability, Health & Wellness
The people of the Sacred Valley have a deep relationship with the mountains, water, and nature. There is a strong understanding of sustainability in the area because of the history and limited access to major cities like Lima and Arequipa. On the wellness side, you’ll experience food grown on-site at the yoga and meditation retreat center where you’re working while also seeing the local markets and more. Plus, the many wellness programs they offer bring in people from all over the world.
Accessible Nearby Travel
It goes without saying but the Sacred Valley is a stunning place to explore. There are endless beautiful attractions such as those mentioned above, but also views of the valley and Andes Mountains right outside your doorstep. Other nearby attractions, like Lake Titicaca, are accessible by affordable buses that run frequently. As opposed to Europe or Australia, for example, you’ll be able to see so much more in a shorter period.
Learn Spanish quickly by being completely immersed in the language. Not only that, but many of the local people also speak Quechua, so you’ll have the opportunity to hear an ancient language that has been spoken since before the arrival of the Spaniards in Latin America as a whole. English is also used at the resort, so you don’t have to fear not having the support of it to bolster your development in Spanish too.
Wide Range of Experience
The yoga and meditation retreat center offer a wide range of experiences to strengthen your skills as a professional. Because they’re a full-service center, there is more to be done than just one aspect of the business. The center offers the spiritual side of the business but also the core operations, food, and much more. It’s a holistic approach to working as an employee of the center because you’re not just doing a single task.
Ways in which you can support the center:
- Digital Marketing
- Social Media
- Culinary Arts
- Food and Beverage
- Guest Services
- Business Administration
Whether you’re looking to learn more Spanish, immerse yourself in historical culture, or simply get back to the great outdoors, this program provides all that and more. The program’s many benefits and location make it a fantastic opportunity for those interested in a meaningful travel experience.
You’ll find a way to connect with nature at a deeper level and understand how it can influence your way of thinking and be in harmony with the planet, just as the locals have done for thousands of years.
We’re so excited to bring people to the Sacred Valley so that the heritage of this incredible region can be cultivated and appreciated for years to come. This experience will be one that will change your perspective on the world and how we inhabit it.