Join Page Lambert on this Cultural Immersion Into the Heart of Peru
~ the ancient, the sacred, the everyday world of women ~
This 13-day trip (April 24 – May 6, 2020), a partnership between Page Lambert and True Nature Journeys, offers a rare opportunity to travel with other creative women, explore Peru's Sacred Valley, and spend time with the Quechua women of the high Andes who have been crafting exquisite, hand-woven textiles for thousands of years. You may download a detailed itinerary here describing how we will spend each day, or scroll through the photos below for highlights of the adventure. Throughout the trip, Page will guide us with creative facilitation, enabling us to deepen our experiences by using written language and cultural narratives to expand our understanding and love of the Peruvian culture. Your True Nature Journeys guide will help us gracefully navigate our way through Peru. We have carefully selected charming accommodations, allowing enough time at each hotel to settle in for a few relaxing nights.
We will visit the small village of Patacancha, where women sit on the ground spinning yarn with their children at their side, and weave intricate traditional designs on backstrap looms. We will visit the weaving collective in Chinchero, founded by Nilda Callanaupa, where grandmothers are passing on knowledge of natural, traditional dyes and weaving techniques to the young weavers.
We will weave in visits to the long-standing Incan ruins of Pisac, Pumamarca, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Those curious or experienced with horses will have a chance to ride the sturdy mountain horses of Peru up the fertile valley of Patacancha on a steep, ancient Inca trail leading to the fortress of the Pumamarca while the rest of the group drives or hikes to this ancient ruin.
During our stay at the beautiful Paz y Luz Healing Center in Pisac (on Day 3), a Quechua shaman will lead us in a traditional Incan despacho ceremony of intentions and letting go. Despacho describes the Andean practice of making offerings to the mountains (apus), Mother Earth (Pachamama), and other spirits of nature in reciprocity, reverence, and thanksgiving, a reminder of the connections we share with all beings, elements, spirits, and sacred places.
We'll explore the cobblestone streets of several towns in the Sacred Valley, visiting local markets with colorful vegetables brought down from the high garden terraces, or the low-lying fertile valleys. We'll weave into the itinerary flexible time so that you can visit the cathedrals and museums of Cusco, the heart of the Incan empire, spend time journaling in the small cafe at the Chocolate Museum while sipping tea made from cocoa beans, or schedule a relaxing massage at one of the boutique hotels where we'll be staying.
Each day will also be threaded with time to gather as a group so that Page can help us focus our creative energy, teaching us ways to weave together memories of the land, the women, and our adventures in this ancient Incan culture.
Did We Mention the Markets and the Meals?
Peruvian cuisine is quickly gaining a reputation as one of top cuisines in the world. The terraced fields of the ancient Andeans still pattern the steep hillsides, and many are still farmed by the Quechua people as they have been for at least a thousand years. There are as many as 3000 species of potatoes, and over 150 types of maise, grown on these garden terraces. Our itinerary includes visits to the colorful markets of Pisac and Chinchero, where traditionally dressed women bring produce from their fields, bartering in the ancient tradition of trueco. We will enjoy this delicious cuisine in specially selected local restaurants where Peruvian waiters take great pride in gracious service. We will also have the unique experience of sharing a traditional meal of earth-cooked potatoes, meat, fava beans and corn with the weavers in Patacancha. Not for the faint of heart is roasted cuy (guinea pig), a traditional dish considered a great delicacy and, for hundreds of years, only served on special holidays. The sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and aromas of this country are a sensual delight!
Located half an hour from the airport, we'll enjoy a quick overnight stay here before flying to Cusco the next morning. Located half a block from the Malecon Cisneros (a main boulevard with a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean), Casa Bella is a small, cozy boutique hotel converted from a traditional Peruvian home. Each unique guest room preserves the essence of this local flavor. The location is perfect if you decide to arrive in Lima early to explore the city on your own, or with tours set up by the Casa Bella staff.
Paz y Luz means Peace and Light, a beautiful guest and conference center where people gather for workshops, to experience sacred healing sessions or simply to relax, while visiting the Pisac archeological site and famous market. The Mission at Paz y Luz is to provide a haven for travelers and seekers from around the world to rest in the refined energy of the Sacred Valley surrounded by powerful mountains and to offer opportunities for healing, balance, restoration and transformation.
Apu Lodge is a charming bed and breakfast with nine rooms located at the base of Apu Pinkuylluna, a sacred mountain in the town of Ollantaytambo. A five-minute walk from the town square, down a peaceful (pedestrian only) cobblestone street lined with a babbling aqueduct, brings you to gates of the lodge's private yard and gardens, where your luggage will be waiting for you. Breakfast is served in Apu Lodge's private dining room and hot coca tea is always available. You will savor walking the narrow streets of this ancient Incan town, touching stonewalls centuries old.
Casa San Blas Boutique is situated in the heart of the city's historic center, in an area known as the "artisans' quarter" (just two and a half blocks from the Plaza de Armas). Once a small, 17th century house, this quaint hotel has been tastefully restored using traditional materials (adobe, stone, wood and leather). We'll share breakfast buffets in the hotel's Tika Bistro. Casa San Blas also offers herbal teas (infusions) made from herbs grown and harvested in their private gardens, and using recipes from their grandparents. Spa services (relaxation massages, aromatherapy, hot stone massages, Shiatsu, and more) are available for a modest fee.
About Page Lambert
Author of the memoir In Search of Kinship,and the historical novel Shifting Stars, Page Lambert is an advisor for the Rocky Mountain Land Library and a member of the International League of Conservation Writers. She has been writing about the western landscape and leading creative retreats for twenty-two years.
A founding member of Women Writing the West, her work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Her writing can be found inside monumental sculptures at the Denver Art Museum, online at Huffington Post, and inside the pages of dozens of anthologies. Recently published works include the essay “Not for Sale” (Langscape Magazine, 2018), “The Rural West” (The Light Shines from the West, Fulcrum Books, 2018), and “Deerstalking” (Memoir Magazine, Guns and People Issue, 2018).
Forthcoming works include essays and poems in WAVES: A Confluence of Women's Voices (Room of Her Own Foundation, 2019). A recipient of two Literary Fellowships from the Wyoming Arts Council, Page designs and teaches graduate writing courses for the University of Denver’s Professional Creative Writing Master’s Program. She writes the popular blog All Things Literary/All Things Natural from her mountain home west of Denver, Colorado.
Page’s co-guide, Brenda Porter, holds a degree in Biology Education and an MA in Nonprofit Management and has been guiding outdoor and international trips since 1994. Her love of world travel and cultures began with a high school cultural exchange in India. She has lived in a rural village in Honduras, worked in women’s community development as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and trekked throughout Central America, to Machu Picchu, and to the top of Kilimanjaro. She is an avid backpacker, yoga instructor, watercolor artist, gardener, and naturalist.
About Laura Tyson and True Nature Journeys
True Nature Journeys is a small travel company dedicated to international travel and wilderness quests that explore the essence of being human. Its founder, Laura Tyson, has been leading wilderness groups, international trips, and personal retreats for over 25 years. Page and Laura first worked together when Laura was the executive director of The Women's Wilderness Institute and she invited Page to co-lead a five-day writing and canoeing adventure on the Green River in Utah. Putting the first Peru trip together with Page in 2012 was another perfect joint venture.
Laura's company offers custom trips throughout the world, exploring the people, cultures, and landscapes of our planet through creative expression, and supports transformational travel, a powerful way to shift the course of one's life by welcoming adventure and the unknown that comes with authentic, nonconventional travel. Conventional adventure travel and tourism is often approached as a way to collect experiences, in the same way that we collect material goods - checking off a list or "possessing" an experience in photographs or memories. To approach an experience from the viewpoint of transformational travel, however, is to be willing to be changed by the experience, to be willing to jump from the edge of known territory, giving one's self completely over to the experience so that whatever unfolds becomes a gift.
Laura holds a Master's degree in Psychology, and has held roles of psychotherapist, wilderness guide, poet, writer, and nonprofit consultant. She currently directs and leads CenterPoint Retreats, an outdoor recovery program for women veterans. Her international guiding work combines her passions for empowering women and men to live vibrant lives, move beyond their self-perceptions, and explore the landscapes and cultures of our beautiful planet.
Unlike Page's other adventures and workshops, all registration details for this Peru trip are handled by True Nature Journeys. The trip dates are April 24-May 6, 2020, and the cost for these 13 days is $4,200 (based on double occupancy). This includes all ground transportation, but does not include your airfare to Lima and Cusco. If you wish to have a single room, there is an additional supplement of $750. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due with registration. A second deposit of $1850 is due September 1, 2019, and the third and final deposit of $1850 is due January 15, 2020. Please read the registration form carefully so that you understand the cancellation policy. Because we want this to be a "small group" experience rather than a large group tour experience, we have limited the trip to a maximum of 12 women guests.
Please consider purchasing trip insurance. Consumer Advocate recommends these 10 travel insurance companies.
Graduate Level University Credit Option
The University of Denver (through their University College) is offering 4 hours of credit toward their "Master of Professional Creative Writing" MA degree. If you are interested in this educational opportunity, please contact Page directly. Read more about this master's degree program.
Contact Page here.
Everything that you'll need during your stay in Peru is included in the trip price, except for bottled drinking water. This includes three meals a day, lodging, all fees for the activities, ground transportation within the country, tour guides, and all creative facilitation. You will want to bring some extra money to purchase bottled drinking water, and in case you want special snacks, alcoholic drinks, gifts and souvenirs, or if you think you may get a wild idea to do something extra that's not in the plans. Optional spa treatments and the optional horseback ride to Pumamarca are not included (van transportation to Pumamarca is included). Please plan a little extra in your budget for optional activities. If you would like to arrive a few days early in Lima, Laura will be glad to help you make those arrangements (one night's lodging in Lima is included in the trip fee). Laura can also answer any questions regarding your flight reservations.
Please download and read the More Information form, which includes the trip overview, more about your trip leaders, levels of activity, food, weather, logistical details, and air transportation. Laura will provide a list of suggested clothing after you register, as well as more information regarding altitude, medical concerns, etc.