Peru Travel Course

Professor and Students at Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca, PeruSpring 2023

March 9 - March 20

Dr. David Cupery


Course Description

Experience the rich cultures, storied history and natural beauty of Peru. The Peru travel course combines several weeks of interdisciplinary classroom study and assignments with 11 days in country. The course will help students understand Peru’s historical evolution, cultural diversity, and political landscape first through readings and discussion and, later, by visiting ruins, museums, indigenous villages and the capital city.

Learning / Course Objectives

  1. People dancing at Lake TiticacaStudents will familiarize themselves with unique cultures and be able to contrast their own values, opportunities and experiences with those of these groups.
  2. Students will be able to understand the evolution of the Peruvian region from one of the world’s most powerful precolonial societies to a fast-growing middle-income country.
  3. Students will be able to comprehend the tradeoffs inherent in balancing economic development with cultural and natural diversity.
  4. Students will be able to situate the value of their travel within their larger college experience.

Trip Particulars

Student and professor at Machu PicchuThis is a 3-credit hour course and prior to and after the trip, students meet weekly with Dr. David Cupery, the faculty leader of the trip, to study and discuss issues related to Peruvian culture, history and society. Students have required readings and complete written assignments and presentations. During the trip, students keep a journal, addressing their experiences and daily reflection questions. After returning to MCLA, students complete a project based on their knowledge of Peru and their experiences in the country.

The trip cost covers all transportation, lodging, insurance, guides, entrance fees, and tips, as well all but a few meals. The fees for the trip are paid in 4 installments between late September and late January.

** All payments are non-refundable, except in the case of MCLA's cancellation of the entire trip. Participation is by permission of instructor only.

A decent amount of physical mobility is necessary to participate in the trip. We will cover a lot of ground on foot, some of it on uneven terrain and/or at high altitude. 

Travel COurse Syllabus

Student in LimaDay 1

Travel from MCLA to Lima, Peru via New York City or Boston. Night in Lima. 

Day 2

Walking tour of historic Lima Peru, including to monuments, plazas, cathedrals, markets, and the presidential palace. Tour of the Museo Larco. LIght and Water show at Parque de la Reserva. Night in Lima.

Student and faculty above CuzcoDay 3

Fly from Lima to Cuzco. Check in to our hotel and get our bearings, but this is a low key day to adjust to the altitude and explore on your own. Night in Cuzco. 

Day 4

Day trip to the Sacred Valley, with stops at Saqsaywaman archeological site and Pisaq archeological site and town market (with an optional hike between them). Evening cultural music and art show at Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo. Night in Cuzco.

Students hiking at Sacred ValleyDay 5

Walking tour of Cuzco, including plazas, cathedrals, archeological sites, and museums. Some of this time will be open for you to choose your own activities. Night in Cuzco.

Day 6

Day trip through the Sacred Valley on the way to Machu Picchu. Stops include the Maras salt mines, Moray archeological site and village, and the Ollantaytambo archeological site and village. From Ollantaytambo we will take the train through the mountains to Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu. Night in Aguas Calientes.

Students and professor at Machu PucchuDay 7

Machu Picchu! One group will leave the hotel at 5am to hike up to the archeological site, arriving at sunrise. The other group will take the shuttle bus up the mountain. We will spend the morning on a lengthy tour of the site and you will then have time to explore on your own, including an optional hike to the top of the mountain Huayna Picchu, which overlooks Machu Picchu. You will have time in the afternoon to relax or visit the local hot springs before we board a train back to Cuzco. Night in Cuzco.

Day 8

Bus travel between Cuzco and Puno, the city at the edge of Lake Titicaca. After checking into the hotel, you will have a few hours to explore the city on your own. Night in Puno.

MCLA group and local people at TiticacaDay 9

Begin overnight tour of Lake Titicaca and its Peruvian islands. We will start by visiting the floating Uros Islands. We will continue to Amantani Island, for community activities and meals with your host families. There will be an optional sunset hike to a local sacred spot for one of the best views in Peru. Night on Amantani Island.

Day 10

Travel to Taquile Island to continue our tour of the local communities. Visit the local textile market for which the locals are best known. Optional swim in cold Lake Titicaca! Return to Puno for dinner and then shuttle to the nearby Juliaca airport for a flight back to Lima. Night in Lima.

MCLA student in a local classroomDay 11

Free day in Lima. We will be based in the seaside community of Miraflores, with access to the ocean, paragliding, museums, markets, great restaurants, and pleasant walks. Catch up on your rest and journaling and finish your souvenir shopping. Night in Lima.

Day 12

Travel back to MCLA via New York City or Boston. 

Additional Information

More info will be added to this itinerary as we get closer to the actual travel. Email Dr.
Cupery for a much more detailed itinerary. 

Dr. David Cupery at Machu PicchuContact information

Dr. David Cupery

History and Political Science
(413) 662-5493

Dr. David Cupery, Associate Professor of Political Science. Professor Cupery - shown here at Machu Picchu - has spent over 3.5 years in Latin America and has been to over 40 countries in all corners of the globe. He led a 2017 travel course to Peru and led travel courses to Cuba and Mexico in 2018 and 2019. He has visited all travel course destinations, is fluent in Spanish and teaches and researches on Latin American politics.

Eric Doucette standing in a phone boothDr. Eric Doucette

(413) 662-5329

Professor Doucette will join the Peru group for the travel portion of the course. He is a botanist and plant ecologist and teaches organismal courses such as Field Botany, Ecology, Entomology (insects), and Intro to Biology. He likes to hike, kayak, and explore natural areas. He also enjoys various forms of woodworking and green building. He is excited to travel to Peru to check out the unique natural areas there and also to interact with other cultures. As with many students, this will be the furthest from home that he's been!