Peru: The World Through Soccer

Global Experiential Service Learning Program in Peru

Join Crooked Trails and soccer coach Shawn McDonough on a trip of a lifetime that combines service work, the love of soccer, and the deep local connection of a homestay. At the end of our trip, you will have helped complete a community soccer field in the remote Andean village of Vicos, Peru!

Our adventure begins in the cosmopolitan seaside city of Lima, Peru, taking in the lively, historic city's churches, parks, and markets. Then it's off the beaten path to Vicos, a traditional Quechua village that sits at around 10,500 feet in the Cordillera Blanca.

There we will be welcomed by local families into their homes. The community sees very few tourists despite being surrounded by some of the best alpine views in the country, including the highest peak in Peru, Huascarán. After getting to know the village, we will work alongside community members (and fellow soccer lovers of all ages) to finalize the construction of the soccer field.

You will have daily interactions with coach Shawn McDonough who will share his passion for travel, service, and soccer. Shawn has been coaching full time for the last seven years. As a former college head coach, Shawn also has experience at the youth, high school, and semi-professional level. Shawn is a Massachusetts State Cup Champion and a two time National Finalist. Shawn will lead a soccer clinic and scrimmages with locals. To cap off the week, Shawn will coach you in your bid to win a friendly competition with local teams.

A separate optional extension can be added for those who would like to venture on to Machu Picchu along the Sacred Valley. You can also choose to continue on to visit the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Minimum group size: 10 participants
Maximum group size: 24 participants


Sample Itinerary

Our itineraries are designed to let the country and its people guide your experiences. Please be flexible and allow the program to unfold.

DAY 1 - Sunday, July 28, 2019


Upon arrival, you will be welcomed and brought to your guesthouse in the heart of the Miraflores neighborhood, near the ocean. Get checked in and relax. Then explore the evening life that Lima offers with so many restaurants, shops, and park events.

MEALS:  None

DAY 2 - Monday, July 29, 2019


Following breakfast at the hotel, we will have a range of options to explore nearby Lima and its parks in the morning. Lunch will be provided alongside a city tour that includes the main plaza of Lima and the district of Barranco. We will hold a few rooms to store our bags in and rest when we return. Dinner is on your own.

At 9:30pm we will transfer to the bus station. The bus departs at 10:30pm and arrives in Huaraz at 7:00am the next day. Pack a jacket, earplugs, a full bottle of water, a warm hat and eye cover for the bus ride. Seats are enormous and recline fully. Blankets are provided.


DAY 3 - Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Our bus will arrive in Huaraz early in the morning. Upon arrival, we will be met by Pablo, our community partner, and brought to the community of Vicos, where we can get checked in to our homestays and relax. In the afternoon, we will have a bread making class. Dinner is with your host family.

Our first day in the village will involve meeting the host families and getting set up in the local homestays. Each family involved in this community-based tourism program has built a small guest house next to their home. These are simple adobe buildings with composting toilets, running water (cold only) and a fireplace. We will stay in groups with guides assigned to each house. Participants will eat meals with their host families. Food here is simple, grown by the families, and consisting mainly of quinoa, corn and potatoes.


DAY 4 - Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Breakfast with host family. There will be a half-day of work on the field and a half-day for a soccer clinic. A previous group of travelers worked on the field but did not finish. We need to carve out a corner and build another, as the field is on the side of a mountain. We also need to plant more trees to stop balls from rolling down the hill. If we have enough funds from this group we will install a metal arc and donate a net.

Late afternoon is free to stroll, relax, and hang out with your family, perhaps helping in the kitchen. Dinner with host families.


DAY 5 - Thursday, August 1, 2019


Breakfast with your host family and then walk down to the pitch to continue work, followed by another short clinic. In the afternoon we will walk around the village meeting community members: honey makers, spoon carvers, work in the field etc. Dinner and evening with your host families.


DAY 6 - Friday, August 2, 2019


Today we will share in a special celebration experience: a traditional feast and dance called a Pachamanca, a tribute to Mother Earth. All the families will come out to celebrate with us. A Pachamanca is a traditional meal prepared in an earth oven, where various kinds of meats and potatoes are wrapped in leaves and cooked by hot rocks buried in the earth. There will be musicians playing traditional music and dancing to celebrate.

In the late afternoon, we will pack up and drive to Huaraz, where we'll get checked into the hotel for hot showers. The evening is free to explore and have dinner on your own.


DAY 7 - Saturday, August 3, 2019


After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport for a flight back to Lima.

NOTE: For the flight back from Huaraz the weight limit on checked luggage is 15 kilograms or 33 pounds.

For those flying home, make sure to book your international flight to depart Lima on a late night flight on the 3rd or early AM on the 4th. You will be picked up at the airport and brought back to our hotel to clean up and explore on your own before being returned to the airport for your late flight. Participants will arrive home on August 4th.

If you are continuing on to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, you will stay at the airport for your early afternoon flight to Cusco.


DAY 7 (EXTENSION) - Saturday, August 3, 2019

Lima – Cusco – The Sacred Valley

Upon arrival in Cusco, your local guide and driver will meet you at the airport and transport you down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. They will give you all the tickets you need for your trip, including a boleto turistico which gives you access to many of the Inca sites around the valley you will be visiting.

We will travel down the Sacred Valley to the village of Ollantaytambo. This little town, which has been built on top of original Inca foundations, is the best surviving example of Inca town planning. The town is divided into canchas (blocks) which are almost entirely intact. Get checked in to the Apu Lodge and enjoy free time to explore this beautiful village.

Ollantaytambo is located at the foot of spectacular Inca ruins which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley. The temple area is at the top of steep terracing which helped to provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba River - an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. The complex was still under construction at the time of the conquest and was never completed.


DAY 8 (EXTENSION) - Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

After breakfast, walk down to the plaza and follow the main road down to the train station where you will meet your guide. Your train departs at 7:45am. You will disembark the train with your guide at KM 104 to begin your hike on the Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

This route is believed to be the ceremonial path that the Inca ruling caste used for ritual purification before entering the sacred citadel. The trail is a magnificent hike, starting from the Choquesuysuy ruins, and continuing through a cloud forest to Quetzal Falls, and then to the watchtower of Winayhuayna ruins. In the afternoon, you will climb to Intipunku (Gate of the Sun), the ancient entrance to the sanctuary, where you will see Machu Picchu for the first time. When all the crowds have cleared, descend by bus to the town of Aguas Calientes to enjoy an evening of soaking in the local hot springs and dinner with your guide. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.


DAY 9 (EXTENSION) - Monday, August 5, 2019

Full Day Exploration of Machu Picchu

Join your guide for an early morning bus ride back up the mountain and an orienting guided tour of Machu Picchu. In the afternoon, you will have free time to explore the ruins on your own before returning to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo, departing in the later afternoon. Overnight in Ollantaytambo.


DAY 10 (EXTENSION) - Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Ollantaytambo – Moray – Chinchero - Cusco

You will have a few hours in the morning free to explore Ollantaytambo and ruins on your own (you will need to use your boleto turístico). We recommend you get up early to enter the ruins before the tour buses arrive and then wander the village afterward.

Your guide will pick you up at noon to return to Cusco. On the way, a visit to the agricultural site of Moray, as well as Las Salinas Inca salt mines, will introduce you to other aspects of the Inca kingdom. Moray is a fascinating place believed to be an Incan agricultural laboratory, and the picturesque salt mines are still in use today.

Next, we’ll stop in the Quechua village of Chinchero to learn about traditional weaving and have lunch with a local family who are dear friends of ours. After a bit of time to explore, your driver and guide will take you back to Cusco where you will check-in at your hotel.


DAY 11 (EXTENSION) - Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Cusco - Lima - Departure

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, after which there will be a guided city exploration, which includes the ancient monuments of Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun), the fine Inca walls of the Calle Loreta, the Ajlla Wasi (House of the Virgins of the Sun), and the Plaza de Armas. Then take time to wander the narrow streets and find hidden gems in the small tiendas full of local handicrafts, musical instruments and fine jewelry. Peru’s sensory feast comes alive as you wander through the flowers, meat, fruit and shamans’ markets.

Your flight to Lima will depart at 7:35pm, arriving Lima at 11:10pm. You will remain at the Lima airport to catch your late-night flight back home that night, or otherwise leave very early AM on August 8th.



$1,995 based on a minimum of 10 people (optional extension $1,775 based on double occupancy)


7D / 6N


July 28 - August 3, 2019
(with optional extension from August 3 - 7)




Lima - Huaraz - Vicos - Huaraz - Lima


Village Experience


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