Peru journey: Andean and Amazonian knots of remembrance and mutual upbringing

Peru journey: Andean and Amazonian knots of remembrance and mutual upbringing
  1. Introduction
  2. What is an un/learning journey?
  3. Who is this for?
  4. Itinerary
    1. Day 1. Saturday, Aug 26. Arrivals.
    2. Day 2. Sunday, Aug 27. Sacred Valley of the Incas
    3. Day 3. Monday, August 28. Queromarca
    4. Day 4. Tuesday, August 29. Sicuani
    5. Day 5. Wednesday, August 30. Cusco
      1. Day 6. Thursday, Aug 31. Inca Trail (Cusco - km 82 - Llactapata - Wayllabamba)/ Or Sacred Valley of the Incas
    6. Day 7. Friday, Sep 1. Inca Trail (Wayllabamba - Warmiwañusca - Pacaymayu)
    7. Day 8. Saturday, Sep 2. Inca Trail (Pacaymayu - Wiñay Wayna) / Rest and regeneration at Kawsay T’ika
    8. Day 9. Sunday, Sep 3. Inca Trail (Wiñay Wayna - Inti Punku - Machu Picchu - Huayna Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco)
    9. Day 10. Monday, Sep 4. Cusco - Tarapoto - Lamas
    10. Day 11. Tuesday, Sep 5. Lamas
    11. Day 12. Wednesday, Sep 6. Lamas
    12. Day 13. Thursday, Sep 7. Integration/Celebration
    13. Day 14. Friday, Sep 8. Departures
  5. Ecopedagogy and travelling
    1. Cost
    2. What is included
    3. Testimonials of past participants
    4. Reasons to participate
    5. Ethics and economy
    6. A note about the Wilkamayu, the sacred river below and above
    7. Faculty and team:
    8. Learning Journey summary
    9. Covid safety and considerations


The Andes Mountains, created over 50 million years ago,  is a collection of various mountain chains interwoven in orographic knots, running for 7,200 kilometres (4,500 miles). The Peruvian Tropical Andes are home to more than 45,000 plants and 3,000 vertebrate species, half of them endemic. They also house 99% of all tropical glaciers in the world. Its lagoons and lakes -guarded by frailejones, gigantic silver-leafed plants specialized in collecting water from the clouds and siphoning it into the ground- are the source of astounding rivers such as the Orinoco and the Amazon.

The highlands remember the cosmic travel of the serpent-river, the Wilkamayu, bridging heavens and earth.  The deep memory of time is harbored by the stories, literally woven in knots of remembrance of quipus (an Andean device for recording information, consisting of variously colored threads knotted in different ways), roads, cities, temples, observatories, as well as rocks, seeds, and textiles.

The Andean and Amazonian ‘world’ is appreciated by the runa (indigenous people) like a person, composed of forms of life harmoniously sheltered in a conversation to recreate life. It is a world of mutual upbringing: “the same way we raise the alpacas, they raise us”. Reciprocity is the pleasure of give and raise with affection, engaging in complex, stained conversations that sustain creative tensions.

These worlds are facing very complex challenges.  On average, the glaciers in the Andean region – Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – have lost over 50 per cent of their coverage since the 1960s. Amazonian forest fires impact directly in the thinning and melting of glaciers in the Andes. Agriculture at the highest altitudes in the world is acutely threatened by the climate emergency with increasingly extreme droughts, hailstorms and frosts. The Andes hold the world’s largest mineral deposits of gold, copper, silver, lithium and molybdenum.

This is an invitation to tie ourselves in knots, with the mountains, with the stories, with the Andean and Amazonian worlds of mutual upbringing. It is an invitation to follow on the trail of the cosmic serpent in the sacred river.

What is an un/learning journey?

The raw material of an un/learning journey is time. With care, we curate, knead, craft and, sometimes, even co-create it.

They are an interruption, a slowing down, many openings.

They are brave passages to possibilities, invitations to go out of the familiar zone and expand our sensibilities to let ourselves be undone so that we can suspend the noise of the routine and be attuned to dreams, stories and practices that instigate a process of becoming guided by the calm whisper and the joyous dance of the Earth.

Unlike tourism, this is not about consuming experiences, places, or people.

It is about engaging with the land and her guardians (human, non-human, more-than-human).

It is about activating the memory that walks to the encounter of what is different -tastes, landscapes, textures, languages, rhythms, ways of knowing, modes of being- with curiosity and respect.

The journey is simultaneously a retreat, a ceremony and a ritual that embraces the unknown as a fertile soil for radicalizing imagination and a pathway to deepen the relations to self, life, consciousness and the many worlds that constitute the pluriverse.

Who is this for?

The journeys are for those willing to participate in the co-creation of different stories, dreams and practices, for those searching to expand their horizons and attune their sensibilities and desires, for those daring to entertain an open mind and heart, holding contradictions with authenticity and making space for questions rather than answers. They are for those willing to explore who they really are and how to become present for the Earth in a mutually enhancing way.

We strongly encourage to apply for the program to everyone who feels called to join, especially to people of all ages with a serious commitment to re-inventing their relationship to Earth and to self, activists, artists, scientists, students, unschoolers, therapists, educators, farmers, community organizers, magicians, dropouts, writers, workers, and everyone resonating with the invitation to be present with the other worlds that are possible and that are already here.


Dates: August 26th-September 8th, 2023

Day 1. Saturday, Aug 26. Arrivals.

Arrivals to Cusco. Transfer to our hotel. Meet your Learning Journey Team and fellow companions on the journey. Gather for a welcome talk, dinner and reception.

Day 2. Sunday, Aug 27. Sacred Valley of the Incas

We will travel to Kawsay Tika, a permaculture center in the Sacred Valle of the Incas. We will get grounded as a group of fellow co-travelers, opening the heart space and getting to know each other in a deeper manner. We will open the space with a ceremony and do a life-mapping session to share our life journeys and the questions that animate us in this moment.

Day 3. Monday, August 28. Queromarca

We will drive to Queromarca, a Quechua community in the South Valley of Cusco, where we will meet with the sages of the town, who will share about the work of revitalizing seeds, of dance and ceremony, of health and love. We will stay in the community overnight.

Day 4. Tuesday, August 29. Sicuani

We will get to know from the experience of children about the cultivation of ways of knowing and being that deeply care for every earth being belonging to the ayllu, the enmeshed weaving of life that sustains people and territory. Through the stories of children, women, men and elders we will engage with the politics of encariñamiento of these Quechua communities. In the evening, we will attend a ceremony for the Wilkamayu. We will stay for the night in Sicuani.

Day 5. Wednesday, August 30. Cusco

We will drive back to Cusco, the “navel of the world”, former capital city of the Incas. This complex city integrates beautiful, contrasting architecture and fantastic shopping for local handicraft and textiles. We will have free time to wander around the streets of Cusco, where we will spend the night.

Day 6. Thursday, Aug 31. Inca Trail (Cusco - km 82 - Llactapata - Wayllabamba)/ Or Sacred Valley of the Incas

The following 3 days travelers have two options: hiking the Inca Trail or visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the fourth day the group will meet again in Machu Picchu.

If doing the Inca Trail, we will start at km. 82. We’ll start the trail by hiking along the banks of the Wilkamayu River, also known as Vilcanota, passing by small local villages and ruins sites scattered along the length of the valley until we arrive at our first major archaeological site, Llactapata, an important Inca settlement with still-intact constructions. Afterwards, we’ll hike to our lunch spot to recover our energy. After a fortifying lunch, we’ll continue up the Wayllabamba Valley surrounded by the local flora and walking in a cool, pleasant climate until we reach our first campsite at the village of Wayllabamba (2950m – 9678feet).

If doing the Sacred Valley of the Incas, we will drive for 2 hours to reach Chinchero, the center of weaving in Peru and home to the Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles, where we will meet with a women-led local cooperative of weavers with whom we will learn about this art and listen to the threaded stories of this ancient language. We will later drive to Urubabamba, where we will reach Kawsay T’ika, our hosting space for the following days.

Day 7. Friday, Sep 1. Inca Trail (Wayllabamba - Warmiwañusca - Pacaymayu)

Inca Trail: We’ll wake up to the singing celebration of birds and the whisper of the river. After breakfast, we will beginour hike to the highest point of the journey, Warmiwañuska Pass (4,215m – 13828Feet). This section will be a personal challenge for each hiker, but reaching the top is well worth the effort. If we are lucky, we’ll see condors circling above this pass, the ancient birds, guardians of the Peruvian Andes. Getting up to Warmiwañuska is an accomplishment that you will never forget.

We gently descend from there to our campsite in the Pacaymayu Ravine. At dinner we’ll share stories, resting in the embrace of the starry night sky and the surrounding mountains.

Sacred Valley: we will drive to Moray, the experimental agroecological site of the Incas. The design of the site creates different conditions at each level of the terraces, causing a difference of temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit) between the higher and the lower levels. The different microclimates were used as a research agricultural station. Samples of soils from different regions have been found, suggesting they were specifically brought to the Sacred Valley. In the evening, we will return to Kaysay T’ika for our small group plenary.

Day 8. Saturday, Sep 2. Inca Trail (Pacaymayu - Wiñay Wayna) / Rest and regeneration at Kawsay T’ika

Inca Trail: this is a long day where we will appreciate different forms of beauty, from archaeological centers, intact Inca trail, tunnels, a wide diversity of microclimates, inter-Andean valleys, and cloud forest full of birds and hundreds of kinds of orchids.

After breakfast, we’ll gradually climb up to Runkuracay, an archaeological site half way up the mountain with a strategic view towards the valley. After our visit here, we’ll finish the last climb to the second highest pass on the trail, the Runkuracay Pass (3,800m – 12467feet), where we’ll see how the cloud forest spreads like a green blanket between the valleys. From the pass, we’ll descend towards the valley until we arrive at the next archaeological site of Sayacmarca (3,600m – 11811feet), known as “The Dominant Town” due to its commanding position above the surrounding valleys. We continue descending to our lunch spot at Chakicocha, and afterwards hike through unimaginable scenery, with countless orchid species, tunnels and foundations as deep as 10 meters. This splendid trail takes us over the third pass of the route and down to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca (3,665m – 12024feet), from where you’ll see Machu Picchu Mountain and the Vilcanota River, valley and glaciated mountain range. If the weather cooperates, we’ll also see Salkantay (6,274m -20583 feet), the Apu of the region.

The trail zigzags down many staircases from Phuyupatamarca through thick vegetation towards Intipata and Wiñaywayna (2,650m – 8694 feet), two Inca sites near Machu Picchu with their own impressive architecture. We’ll spend our last night of camping in the pleasant, humid climate of Wiñaywayna. This is also our last night with the cooks and porters.

Sacred Valley: we will spend our day with free time to create convivial spaces, cooking together and learning about local food, meditating or engaging with the local community. This is an emergent, open space for the group to prepare for the visit to Machu Picchu the next day.

Day 9. Sunday, Sep 3. Inca Trail (Wiñay Wayna - Inti Punku - Machu Picchu - Huayna Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco)

Inca Trail: after breakfast, we hike to our first goal, the famous Intipunku (Sun Gate) at the entrance to Machu Picchu. The gate perfectly frames the majestic Inca city of Machu Picchu and affords excellent views of the valleys, rivers and sacred mountains that surround it.

After taking in the splendid views we’ll descend along the trail into Machu Picchu itself, where we will have a tour inside the citadel, and where we will meet the other part of the group. After spending time on our own in the citadel, we will gather in Aguas Calientes, where we will take the train back to Cusco.

Sacred Valley: we will drive to Ollantaytambo, where we will take the train to Aguas Calientes, where we will board the bus that takes us to the entrance of Machu Picchu. We will then do a tour of the citadel and will meet the other part of the group. fter spending time on our own in the citadel, we will gather in Aguas Calientes, where we will take the train back to Cusco.

As an option for both groups, we can do the hike to the top of Wayna Picchu, the highest surrounding peak and site of sacred temples.

Day 10. Monday, Sep 4. Cusco - Tarapoto - Lamas

We will take a short domestic flight between Cusco and Tarapoto and then drive for 25 km to the neighboring town of Lamas.

Day 11. Tuesday, Sep 5. Lamas

We will have a day off with possibility to go to the thermal waters and waterfalls in the area.

Day 12. Wednesday, Sep 6. Lamas

We will meet with the former members of Waman Wasi, a cultural center dedicated for 17 years to the cultural affirmation, with emphasis on agrobiodiversity, health and intercultural education.

Day 13. Thursday, Sep 7. Integration/Celebration

This day will be dedicated to sharing reflections and questions raised during the journey and in the evening, we will host an integration session, a closing ceremony and a party.

Day 14. Friday, Sep 8. Departures

We will take a short domestic flight to Lima, where we will end our journey.

Ecopedagogy and travelling

Before, during and after the journey we exercise a cosmopolitical pedagogy of emergence (COPE). We understand cosmopolitics as an exercise of ‘slowing down reasoning’ (Stengers) that creates an opening for possible articulations between worlds. In this sense, it is a pedagogy of encounter, of sourcing inner wisdom, of dialogue between cultures and world-making practices, one that involves movement, story, dreams, inquiries, solidarities, boundaries and practices that allow for the uniqueness of the process of coming into being, of a becoming that invites a new relationship of the human within an entangled, endangered yet potent web of life.

Before the journey, registered participants will get access to a platform with resources on different topics of the journey, such as: Maya culture, the Chicxulub event, Deep Time perspective, anti-tourism and radical hospitality, marine life ecosystems, archeoastronomy and indigenous peoples resistance to extractivist models of development. These are materials and resources that learners can engage freely, at their own rhythm and with no expected outcome. Participants are invited to choose one topic of inquiry during their journey that is relevant and alive for them.

During the journey, we will have a combination of visits, group process sessions, lectures, practices and free time. Participants are invited to document their journey in the way that suits them better for their learning process.


As a cooperative, we are trying new approaches to make the journeys affordable for as many people as possible while covering the costs and paying our faculty and hosts. We are experimenting with a sliding scale in which you can choose the fee according to your life situation.

Consider contributing MORE on the scale if you:

  • have the ability to comfortably meet all of your basic needs
  • belong to a sponsoring organization or are employed full-time
  • have investments, retirement accounts, or inherited money
  • travel recreationally
  • have access to family money and resources in times of need
  • work part-time by choice
  • own the home you live in
  • have a relatively high degree of earning power due to level of education (or gender and racial privilege, class background, etc.)

Consider contributing LESS on the scale if you.

  • have difficulty covering basic expenses
  • are supporting children or have other dependents
  • have significant debt
  • have medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • are an elder with limited financial support
  • are an unpaid community organizer
  • have unstable housing and/or limited access to reliable transportation
  • have not taken a vacation or time off due to the financial burden
(This is based on the ‘Green Bottle’ sliding scale model by Alexis J. Cunningfolk

If you select an amount at the higher end of the scale, you will make possible future offerings and support the good work of the speakers, facilitators, and organizers who are generously contributing their gifts to this event.

  • Partial grant fee: $2,050 in shared accommodation
  • Basic fee: $2,600 USD in shared accommodation and $2,800 in private accommodation.
  • Regular fee: $2,900 USD in shared accomodation and $3,100 in private accommodation.
  • Plus fee: $3,500 USD

We require a non-refundable deposit of $750 USD to book your spot. Please take into account that Inca Trail spots are limited and are often sold out months in advance. We cannot guarantee a spot in the Inca Trail and we encourage you to register as early as possible to have better chances of securing your permit.

What is included

Your journey includes:

  • A team of experts, professional tour leaders and educators and local community organizers.

  • City-to-hotel transfers in small groups upon arrival to the Cusco International Airport.

  • All food and beverages (except alcohol).

  • Accommodations in shared room with all amenities

  • Inca Trail fee, if applicable. Trains, buses, and entrances to Machu Picchu.

  • All logistics for tours and transportation as outlined in the itinerary.

  • All entrance fees for archaeological sites, nature preserves and other attractions except optional activities.

  • Complimentary WiFi access where available.

Your journey does not include:

  • flights to Cusco International Airport and from Lima International Airport

  • snacks

  • optional activities  and local tours in free time.

  • health and travel insurance

Testimonials of past participants

“Our journey together was the most inspiring, fulfilling, satisfying, and enlivening trip I’ve ever taken… well, with the exception of being alive and somewhat conscious at this particular time in the Universe. Thank you for this extraordinary co-creation of Imagination, Possibility and Beyond” Marianne

“Each person we met, each environment we engaged, was more astonishing than the last, making deep impressions on my consciousness about other ways of being. I carry these precious astonishments with me as I go”. Terri

Reasons to participate

You have an interest in:

Becoming present for the Earth in a mutually beneficial way.

Delving into localized wisdom and scientific breakthroughs, exercising presence and exploring old new ways of relating to the web of life, including but not limited to our selves.

Participating in, place-based, embodied, experiential learning that expands sensibilities and imagination.

Cultivating spaces for other ways of knowing and being -aside from mainstream, disembodied, fragmented knowledge- which are highly relevant for the current challenges of our time.

Unfolding a self and collective inquiry leading to the birth of new practices and stories.

Co-creating a space for deepening artistic explorations.

Meeting fellow travelers with similar interests and mutual inspiration .

Ethics and economy

As a cooperative, we believe in offering programs that help you, your community and the world be enlivened again. We strive to co-create regenerative livelihoods for our families and for the planet. We refuse to engage in deadlihoods and we engage in initiatives that support alivelihoods, regenerating ourselves, the earth’s natural systems and local healthy families and communities.

By participating in this journey, you support an effort to engage with equity and social and environmental justice, supporting localized circular economies, exploring more regenerative economic practices, helping a democratically run cooperative, and enhancing the practice of being a grateful guest of Earth.

A note about the Wilkamayu, the sacred river below and above

From the southern part of the planet there is a sky that cannot be seen from the north, and vice versa. Some say that the time has come for the peoples of the earth to focus for a moment on learning to look from the south. Perhaps this change of perspective serves to recompose the path of a humanity that has lost its north.

They tell that the history of human encounters consists of embraces and crossings. In that walk, the earth was populated with different languages, colors, songs, prayers and dances, each one inheriting their own way of weaving into the other.

But movement and life is older than that history. At the point where earth and sky almost seem to touch each other, there are ancestral beings that still remember the early times. There, in the Andes, are those who did not forget to read the sky and its nocturnal chiaroscuros. It is known that life below is a reflection of life above, and vice versa. To the attentive eye the darkness reveals the life that congregates around the mayu, the sacred river: llamas and their young, shepherds, toads, foxes, partridges and snakes form their ayllu, their community of life.

Today’s pastors remember the serpent’s journey. One day, as a crosser of multiple worlds, the serpent came down to earth captivated by the world that was hinted here. They say that the entrance was so grand that the great lagoon that received the unusual celestial descent overflowed and flowed down the mountain, creating a sacred river that would eventually feed the land and its people for generations. That river became more and more wide, river and snake together in loving expansion, until it found the infinite water of the sea. Satisfied, the serpent climbed back to her ayllu to communicate what she had seen. Satisfied, the serpent stayed forever flourishing with the beings that gathered around her.

It is said that such are the origins of the rivers now known as Wikamayu (Urubamba) and Amazonas.

Immemorial moons have passed since those first trips. Around the great water snake, unparalleled biological diversity was generated, and successive peoples flourished in the same way that potatoes and corn flourished. The apus, unfading guardians, have been privy to the movement of time and its tribulations. Never, however, had they seen one of the earth’s creatures work so actively towards their own extinction. “Little by little they are extinguished, extinguishing,” they say with sorrow in the heart.

There are already many centuries of wars of different kinds that have led to contemporary calamities: global warming, proliferation of consumerism, loss of mother tongue and ayllu, monetarization of the economy, food shortages, pollution, the severing from the sense of sacred, poverty and repression towards the defenders of Mother Earth, are just some of the phenomena that threaten life in the Andes and on the planet.

Before this, the necessary evocation arises for human beings to enchant themselves with the life that they are and of which they form a part of; to cultivate humility and an open heart toward daily sacredness; to cultivate love for the one who came and for those to come; to observe with attention and without fear the fertile darkness that manifests its secrets, and to enable once again the encounter between embraces and crossings.

Faculty and team:

Ana Marica, Romanian community weaver, facilitator and learning designer exploring the rich tapestry of cultures around the world. On a mission to understand how communities can change for the better when self-directed learning principles are introduced in the educational process, she has spent the last 8 years researching and connecting with projects and communities from around the world who actively contribute to reimagining learning paradigms.

During this time, she has co-founded Digital Romads, a learning and organizational design consultancy whose purpose is to support communities and organizations explore transparent, open, self-managed, and co-created ways of collaborating and communicating. Currently based in Bucharest, Romania - her basecamp in between travels and explorations of various territories (both at surface and underwater).

Elena Pardo. Educator, cultural manager and promoter of intra and intercultural education in urban and rural areas in the Cusco Region, Peru. She is the director of CEPROSI and a speaker at conferences, forums and events at the regional, national and international levels. She promotes the Watunakuy (international seed event) that has been held for 15 years at the Raqchi Ceremonial Center, an international meeting for the exchange of collective healing and the exchange of seeds. She is a member of the Watunakuy Ayllu Network and the Ecoversities Network.

Gerardo López-Amaro, co-founder of the Enlivened Cooperative, is currently walking  the path of autonomous education with the task of imagining spaces of encounter for thinking-feeling together about ways to strengthen the defense of life, memory and territory. He sees this as part of a planetary struggle for cognitive, relational and ontological justice. He is purposefully becoming entangled in a great “we” of people enacting the pluriverse, that “world where many worlds fit.” Born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he’s a pilgrim of viable spaces informed by politics of love and consciousness regarding the healing of land and territory, love and intimacy, and labor and livelihood.

Learning Journey summary

  • We require a minimum of 10 people and will take a maximum of 15 people

  • Registration start date -​ October 25, 2022

  • Registration last date - March 30, 2023

  • Dates of the learning journey - August 26- September 8, 2023

  • No of days - 14 days

  • How will we be traveling - We​ ​will​ ​have​ ​pre-booked​ ​cars​ ​for​ ​the​ ​travel. Train and planes will also be used for some sections of the travel.

  • Total Kms - We​ ​will​ ​be​ ​traveling​ ​roughly​ ​1000​ ​kms (average 2h30min per day)

Covid safety and considerations

Peru requires at the moment a covid vaccination certificate or a PCR or antigen test to enter the country.  We encourage participants in the journey to make sure they comply with all requirements of in-transit countries and travel restrictions.

2021 - Copyleft, all wrongs reversed :).