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  • Locations: Anantapata Valley, Peru; Cusco, Peru; Lima, Peru; Llulluchapampa, Peru; Ollantaytambo, Peru; Patallacta, Peru; Phuyupatamarca, Peru
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Restrictions: Elon applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Fall
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:


This course will introduce students to the skills needed to successfully facilitate therapeutic wilderness and adventure experiences by exploring the concepts and practices underpinning these approaches. A broad spectrum of theory, research, and current applications for wilderness and adventure therapy will be discussed and investigated, including how outdoor experiences can reduce stress, restore attention, enhance self-concept, and promote personal meaning. The course will focus on the use of these therapies to restore, remediate, and/or rehabilitate individuals with various illnesses and/or disabilities. Students will be assigned a fictional case study, and will develop throughout the course a corresponding therapy plan incorporating studied techniques as the capstone project.

The course also has an embedded study abroad component to Peru, a society that has undergone a series of historical transformations enriched by Andean, Occidental, African and Amazonian traditions. These transformations will be discussed from a historical, anthropological, and sociological perspective. Students will draw from their lived Adventure Therapy experiences on the Inca Trail to further inform the development of the capstone project. 

This course will meet Monday evenings from 5:30 to 9:00 PM in the fall at Elon’s Challenge Course. The time will be split between the lodge and out at fire ring. Additionally, the course will include two high ropes course events, one low ropes course event, and a hiking excursion.

Spring meeting will take place at the Elon Challenge Course. Date and time is TBD. 

Student’s considering this course should be in good shape, own a reasonable pair of hiking boots and be able to hike in high altitudes. This course involves a high level of outdoor and group activity. To help insure a full and rich experience, the students will be asked to commit and adhere to healthy life choices for the duration of the course. Students should keep this in mind and consult with the course instructors if they have questions before signing up for this course. Application and acceptance required. Additional travel fee is required. Counts as an Elon Core Curriculum requirement and may satisfy one unit of experiential learning toward fulfillment of the Experiential Learning Requirement with additional work.

  • Grades count toward an Elon GPA.
  • Study abroad courses may not be taken on an audit or pass/fail basis.


Activity Level: Demanding

Activity levels are rated to fit into one of four categories: easy going, moderate, challenging and demanding. This program is rated as demanding, which means you should be prepared to push yourself and to keep a steady pace on rugged and steep terrain. You'll find that you are living outside your comfort zone with your program's intense outdoor activity.




Students are required to take the fall pre-departure course associated with this Winter Term course. All students will automatically be registered for the pre-departure course but must register themselves for the Winter Term course during registration for Winter Term.

Cancellation Policy


To cancel your participation in a program, complete the Winter Term Withdrawal questionnaire in your application.


The travel component takes place during Elon University's Thanksgiving Break. The tentative travel dates for the program are November 22 - December 2, 2020.
Note: This information is subject to change based on airline changes and cancellations.


About the Location 

Peru is the third largest country in South America. It is made up of a variety of landscapes, from mountains and beaches to deserts and rain forests. Most people live along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, where the capital, Lima, is located. The second highest mountain range in the world runs through Peru, the Andes Mountains. These peaks were worshipped and praised by the ancient Inca people as gods who oversaw their land. The Andes run from north to south and can be seen from Peru’s beaches 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the west. The highest peak, Mount Huascarán, is 22,205 feet (6,768 meters) high.



  • Lima – Cusco – Chinchero – Ollantaytambo
    Early morning arrival to Lima airport, awaiting the final connecting flight to the Cusco airport. Your trip leader will meet you at Cusco airport, where he will transport you to a local restaurant within the city of Cusco for an included lunch.

    After our first taste of the Peruvian cuisine, we will drive up to Chinchero one hour away, up to 12,000ft. above sea level for an interaction with local weavers. An expert weaver will introduce us to the world of weaving in the Andes, where you will can try many different methods such as the back-strap loom if the time and weather permits. After our interaction with the weavers will drive down to the sacred valley to Ollantaytambo to check in to the hotel, Hotel Tunupa.

    Ollantaytambo, a well-known Inca fortress and the setting of a famous forbidden love. We will walk through the marvels of this superbly preserved Inka town named in honor of an Inka warrior called Ollantay, who was deeply in love with Kusi Qoyllur, the forbidden and “high maintenance” daughter of the king, Inka Pachacutec. This love affair gave the king a lot of headaches! The unique Sun Temple was under refurbishing with 50 tons of pink granite boulders on the top of the mountain, an exquisite example of Inka stonework that was almost finished when work was interrupted by the Spaniards’ incursion. During the years of the Spanish conquest, Manco Inka defeated the Spaniards several times in this town, which provides us with a fine example of how Inca towns were laid out for defense and safety.
    Overnight in Ollantaytambo at 9,200ft. We will return to the hotel where students may explore the local town. Dinner will be on your own.
  • Begin Inca Trail
    Early in the morning we will explore the Sun Temple and granaries. Before midday, we will take a 45-minute drive from Ollantaytambo to Inca trailhead at Pisc’acuchu village, 8,960ft. After lunch we check in to classic Inka trail and begin our journey. In the afternoon, we will follow the rugged Urubamba (wlikamayu) river almost all the way to the campsite. The Urubamba river was considered by the Inka inhabitants as a sacred river – the Inca people considering it to be the reminiscence of the Milky Way.  Along the trail we will see magnificent views including small villages in the valley and neighboring mountains which can top 19,000ft.
    Before we reach the campsite we will visit the archeological site of Wilkarak’ay, an Inka fortress with barracks for the troops, overlooking the Cusichaca valley. We will finally trek to our campsite which is located just below Wilkatak’ay where students can settle into their tents and prepare for dinner. Students may also explore the local archeological sides Llactapata and Pulpituyoc which are just across the river. If we do not have time to explore Llactapata and Pulpituyoc then we will do it next morning.
    Llactapata is the biggest archeological site after Machupicchu on the classic Inka trail; an Inka town on a hillside with the largest number of condominiums for the Inka farmers. Located on the
    transition area between the Inter-Andean valleys and the cloud forest, Llactapata was built as an entrance to the valley of Cusichaca Valley and features beautifully designed farming terraces. Pulpituyoc, a ritual site of Llactapata dedicated to show their gratitude to one of the most important deities, the water.
    Class and dinner will round up our first night on the Inca Trail. All meals and tents will be provided to us throughout the trek by porters. Students will then have the remaining night to get settled and turn in for the night.
  • Huayllabamba – Llulluchapata
    Today will have various options for additional trekking miles along with our regularly scheduled trek on the Inca Trail. Early morning birds can explore surrounding trails before breakfast. The scenic trail follows upstream the Cusichaca river, a tributary river to the Urubamba River. After regrouping in Huayllabamba will have an optional climb up to Paucarcancha. Once we return from Huayllabamba we will ascend to YunkaChimpana for lunch. After lunch we will zigzag up to Llulluchupata which tops 12,500ft. above sea level.
    Arriving to our campsite, students again will have some down time to soak in the views and prepare for dinner. Class and dinner will bring an end to our second night on the trail.
  • Dead Woman Pass – Pacaymayu – Runcuracay – Sayacmarca – Phuyupatamarca
    An early wake up greets us with breakfast beginning at 6:30. We will leave our site at 7:30 to begin ascending to Dead Woman’s Pass. From afar, the first pass resembles a sleeping woman, which is how the pass got its name. We will hike up to 13,800 ft. followed by a tricky descent to Pacaymayu at 11,800ft.
    After a well-earned break we will continue our ascent to the egg-shaped ruins of Runcuracay, halfway up to the second pass, and finally up to the 2nd pass at 13,000ft. While this is a challenging day of varying altitude, students will witness some of Peru’s most stunning scenery of the Andes. A marvelous descent to Sayacmarca, a fortress and way station for pilgrims traversing the trail to Machupicchu from the south. We will stop for lunch in Chaquicocha. The afternoon hike will be mostly along the crest of the majestic Salcantay mountain, all the way to our campsite at Phuyupatamarca at 12,000ft. We will arrive at our campsite. Class and dinner will close out day three on the trail, one day until the long awaited trek to Machu Picchu.
  • DIntipata – Winayhuayna – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu
    Our final day on the classic Inka trail consists of some of the most striking sites en route to Machu Picchu. Each archaeological site we visit along the way will unearth a different story as to why the Sacred Valley was so important to the Incas – from theories of spirituality to theories on its importance to agricultural research and advancement. The trail will lead us through breathtaking scenery of white granite cliffs cloaked by the cloud forest. We will pass through the farming terraces of Intipata followed by the exceptional ruins of Winay Huayna, through the Sun Gate Pass at 9,000ft. This is where we will catch our first glimpse of the final destination on the Inca Trail – Machu Picchu.
    Machu Picchu is the only major Inka site to escape 400 years of looting and destruction by the Spanish conquistadors. For sure, it was not an ordinary Inka settlement: it sat in an inaccessible location high above the Urubamba gorge and features exquisite engineering and architecture. The purpose of Machu Picchu is still debated to this day. Was it a spiritual and pilgrimage center located within the sacred valley? Or perhaps a royal retreat for the king, Inka Pachacutec? Or maybe the biggest or the first agricultural research center built by the Inkas? We will take a guided tour soon after we arrive. We will then take the evening train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Rainbow Mountains 
    We will depart our hotel at 5:30am by bus for a five-hour ride to Pampachiri, the trainhead for the Rainbow Mountains, at 14,300ft. above sea level. We will begin our climb to Anatapata Valley at 16,564ft. This pass is where we begin to see the Rainbow Mountains in its entirety – mountains striped with vivid colors from turquoise to maroon and gold. We begin a descent into the valley where we will climb to the Warmisaya pass. We then begin our final descent to the campsite at 15,250 ft. above sea level. Class and dinner will bring an end to our last night in the grand outdoors.
  • Asungate Cocha
    Our final day on the trail begins with a trek to Ausangate Cocha to enjoy the magnificent views of the colossal glacier. Ausangate is considered by locals to be a holy mountain and believed to be a deity protector of Cusco. It is a site of daily worship and offerings by local Andinos
    We will then ascend to Palomani pass, 16,870ft. will be a challenging height given the thin air. Additional climbing options may be possible depending on weather, followed by a hike to Uyuni. The bus will pick us up from this point and we will return to Cusco, about a 4-hour bus ride. We will check into our hotel, Hotel Anden Inka, followed by our last dinner. Students may then explore the city that night. This meal is included.
  • Cusco
    Students will have a free day in Cusco to rest, try some of the local restaurants, or souvenir shop until we begin our journey back home.

Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to availability of local facilities and scheduling issues.


Students will be housed in double occupancy accommodations where possible, including tent camping.


Costs for global study vary program to program and are in addition to the tuition for Winter Term (included in fall semester tuition/bill). 

Basic cost information is available on the Cost and Credit Chart.

Detailed cost information is available on the budget sheet.


Scholarships/Travel Grants

Students seeking need-based financial support are encouraged to apply for the GEC Access Scholarship.

For additional information on scholarships or other funding for global engagement, see the Financial Planning for Global Study page or the financial planning section of our FAQs.

If you qualify for a travel grant through any of the fellows or scholars programs, see the appropriate program director for more information on how to apply the grant to your program. 

Connect with us

Questions? See if they're answered in our Short-Term Programs FAQ section

Prefer to ask in person? Drop by the GEC in Global Commons 360 for Quick Questions, no appointment necessary:
Wednesdays 2-4 PM
Thursdays 9-11 AM
Learn from program alumniConnect with a Global Ambassador to learn from students that have studied on this program or others. Search the Global Ambassadors profiles to find students in your major(s), or organization(s), or with similar experiences.  

Get social: Connect with the GEC, alumni, and prospective students on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And keep in touch with us using #ElonGlobal! You can also read blog posts from students on this program in years past and access blogs for other programs on the Study Abroad Blog.


Program Leader 1: Dr. Rodney Parks
Department of Human Service Studies
2106 Campus Box, 102 Alamance

Program Leader 2: Dr. Carol Smith
Associate Professor of Wellness
Department of Education
2525 Campus Box, Koury Center (Athletics) 227

Isabella Cannon Global Education Center
CB 2375, Global 360
Elon, NC 27244
336.278.6700 (phone)
336.278.6692 (fax)

Ready to apply?

Click "apply now" from this brochure to get started, and complete your application by the deadline listed below.

If applications are not yet available, see the deadlines webpage for information on when this program will be accepting applications.

See the application instructions webpage for more information on the application requirements and process. 

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2019 05/02/2019
Rolling Admission 11/22/2019 12/01/2019
NOTE: Please view the deadlines page for full application, payment and cancellation deadlines.

The start date and end date listed reflect the dates students are expected to arrive in and depart from the host location and reflect the best information available to the Global Education Center. Please do not purchase plane tickets based on these dates. Individual programs will provide updates after your acceptance to the program.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applications will be reviewed on a space-available basis and applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of submission.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.