OG & Sargent College present…

Health(care) in Peru

Secrets of the Amazon

Scholarships are available. Apply before March 15 to secure your spot!

Program Description

Operation Groundswell’s Peru: Healthcare in Development program examines healthcare from multiple perspectives offering insight into the contrasts between the American and Peruvian health care systems as well as western and traditional Andean approaches to health and wellness. So, from the hustle and bustle of Lima to the cobblestone streets of the former Incan capital of Cusco and remote corners of the surrounding Sacred Valley, we’ll trace Peru’s long history of traditional medicine to their more recent transition to “modern” healthcare while exploring Andean ways of life old and new. We’ll visit local clinics, dig into sustainable agricultural, taste highland cuisine, interact with plant-based medicine, and examine holistic approaches to healthcare. We’ll work on innovative community initiatives and learn alongside local practitioners.

The immersive classroom will challenge students physically while pushing them to think critically about healthcare and service delivery in a unique cultural landscape.



Program Fee + Community Contribution with Carbon Offset

$2,310 USD*

$2,208 USD*

*Includes $50-$75 Community Contribution

Program Dates

May 23 – June 3, 2020

Program Highlights

  • Visit hospitals and health clinics in Lima and Cusco to see first-hand how healthcare works in Peru.
  • Talk with healthcare practitioners, NGO workers and community members to get a variety of perspectives on health and healthcare in the highlands.
  • Learn to make energy bars and essential oils, explore natural medicinal practices, and examine how age old traditions continue to serve marginalized populations in the Sacred Valley.
  • Trek through the Andes to see pre-Incan wall paintings and hidden lakes high up in the mountains!
  • Visit the Pisac ruins, one of the finest remaining Inca archeological sites in Peru with vast agricultural terraces and the largest known Incan cemetery.

Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experiences with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.

Orientation & Healthcare 101 in Lima

We’ll begin our Peruvian adventure in front of Jorge Chavez International Airport in the big, bustling city of Lima. We’ll then take our orientation to the posh suburb of Mira Flores where we’ll get settled and orient ourselves to the sights, sounds, and smells of the region. We’ll learn a little of local lingo, sample some traditional cuisine and then take a not so typical tour of Lima, its history and its many personalities.

The next day after a hearty breakfast, we’ll begin our foray into the Peruvian healthcare system by meeting and speaking with people working on its frontlines. We’ll visit hospitals and private, clinics, meet with healthcare professionals and NGO workers. and examine the differences between private and public healthcare. We’ll discuss access, some its social determinants and how it all compares to the American system.

Get ready, for jam packed orientation to Peru, it’s crazy capital and healthcare in development.

Riding the Waves of Change

After getting our feet firmly planted on the ground and our minds oriented in Lima, we’ll head down to the beach and meet Alto Peru, an inspiring organization of youth who are doing things just a little differently! These friends and partners are harnessing the power of sport to provide opportunities to local Peruvians. They’ll teach us to surf and show us how tourism and community-based development can go hand in hand.

Youth in Action in Pachacutec

Next stop: Pachacutec! Tourism rarely reaches this far-flung barrio of Ventanilla, but after only a short journey north from Lima, our group will be greeted by the awesome Asociación Casa Juvenil Pachacútec (ACJP). This incredible group of creative youth express themselves through dance and acrobatics, using their talents to empower and promote positive change in their community. For two days, we’ll camp and collaborate with ACJP, assisting in the delivery of workshops, playing reflective games, and hitting the beach for a bonfire.

Highland Culture in Cusco

After a quick flight to Cusco, the capital of a once mighty empire, our group will acclimatize to the highland culture (and altitude). We’ll wander the city’s cobblestone streets and learn about the city’s colonial, Incan and pre-Incan past. Then it’s back to our exploration of healthcare in the unique context of the Sacred Valley where identity, geography and inequality add to the complexities.

After a cup of coca tea, we’ll try to unpack some of the many perspectives here. We’ll visit Peru’s National University of Saint Anthony, tour local clinics, and talk with innovative practitioners, NGO workers and community members. We’ll taste traditional Andean food and learn hands-on about the health benefits of native grains and home-made energy bars. Still got room for dessert? To cap it all off, we’ll take a chocolate-making workshop and taste the healing powers of cacao.

Andean Traditions in Maska

Next, our journey will take us to a family farm in the remote village of Maska, about an hour and a half outside of Cusco. The project, known as Kausay Punku, serves as a conservatory for ancient grains and seeds, a school of traditional organic agricultural practices, and a place of practice for traditional Andean medicine. There, we’ll learn about herbal and homeopathic medicine, natural construction, and traditional farming. Our days will be spent getting our hands dirty harvesting eucalyptus, building with adobe and distilling medicinal plants into essential oils. Evenings will be full of traditional cuisine from the sierra and local stories of the Inca.

Off-the-Beaten-Path from Paru Paru to Pisac

Then, we’ll set off on a hike deep into the district of Pisac. The Kinsa Ccocha Trek is an off-the-beaten-path adventure that will take us past sites rarely seen by tourists, including pre-Incan wall paintings and secret lakes hidden high up in the mountains! We will be guided by our partners at Kausay Punku and our friend Silvestre, who will share with us the history of the region and the stories passed down from their ancestors. Along the way, we’ll spend a night in the town of Paru. This indigenous community sustains itself on potato’s, corn and quinoa so, we’ll enjoy a delicious traditional dinner and cozy up in this unique corner of the Andes.

Disorientation & Departures from Cusco

A staple of every OG program, disorientation is an opportunity to debrief as a group. So, we’ll find a quiet corner in Pisac, kickback, relax and reflect on our incredible journey. We’ll fill our bellies with ceviche and tell stories, we’ll sip Pisco sours and share lessons learned, we’ll sit under the stars and think about our impact and how we can do to bring it back home.
Finally, we’ll travel back to Cusco and the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport where we’ll say a fond farewell.

Scroll below for more program details

What’s Included?

A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region

Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day

All lodging and accommodations throughout the program

Three local meals a day

All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions

All group transportation on the ground

Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever you need it


With OG, you live like the locals.

While exploring the Sacred Valley, there will be a number of different styles of accommodation. While in cities or small towns, we will be sleeping and eating as a team in clean, safe, and secure hostels and guesthouses that reflect a backpacker’s ethos. When we are staying on the farm we will be living in small adobe huts, without electricity or warm showers. Creepy crawlies are common while comfy beds can’t always be guaranteed — so come prepared. Wherever we are, we’ll make it home in no time!

Meet Our Regional Director

Ana was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and has since travelled whenever possible in pursuit of her passion for education, development, and nature! She has worked as an English teacher in public and private schools in Costa Rica, and volunteered in Quijingue, Bahia (Brazil) on community development projects. After completing her Masters in Translation, she worked with Peace Corps, Costa Rica until returning to the world of NGOs as a Program Coordinator in Riobamba, Ecuador. Now, she’s super excited to be part of the OG family and looking forward to establishing new partnerships, working with and training awesome program leaders, and designing more amazing programs in South America!

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