Write, Travel, Transform:

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of Peru

(with an optional trip to the Amazon)

This trip has yet to be rescheduled

If you're looking for an inspiring, creative vacation that blends writing and yoga with cultural immersion, join Laura Davis for a transformative journey to the Sacred Valley of Peru.

This could be you . . .

Imagine quiet. Imagine a quiet so serene that the busyness and scatter finally calms. You can hear your heartbeat and the still rise of your own breath.

Imagine entering that quiet. Imagine stepping into a staggering vastness that stops your momentum.

Imagine a stillness so profound that your deepest self finally has space to breathe and be known.

Imagine reveling in the joy of the deep creative again.

Imagine entering a world where the ancient world still lives alongside the modern. Where the sacred is a joyous part of everyday life. Your everyday life.

Imagine spectacular vistas that surprise and delight you. Beauty that enters you and speaks directly to your heart. Smells so new and fresh that they awaken your senses, touching deep rusty places inside.

Imagine time to write, to explore, to move, to connect, to discover.

Imagine this: Beauty surrounds you. Llamas graze across rocky ledges. Brilliant stars flood a night sky unlike any you have seen before.

Textures abound: rough, woven fabric; jaded rock of pre-Colombian structures; the soft fur of the ancient alpacas; the worn earth cushioning our feet below.

Machu Picchu, Peruvian Andes, Sacred Valley

You will have this and so much more during your sixteen days in the Sacred Valley of Peru.

Morning views of Machu Picchu as mist clears from the mountainside with terraces

Join me for a creative, mystical, life-changing journey to the land of Machu Picchu. Immerse yourself in the mystery and beauty of one of the stunning wonders of the world, Peru's Sacred Valley and the ancient Incan capital of Cusco.

There is no landscape or culture on earth like the one that will greet you deep in the Sacred Valley of Peru, the home of kings and priests for thousands of years. The brilliant artistry of the nature-centered Quechua people, buttressed by jagged Andean cliffs.

This trip is a rare opportunity to travel as a writer: your senses awake and alert, your eyes seeing the world anew, your pen racing across the page, words capturing all that you see, hear, smell and feel, your spirit on fire.

This trip is a rare opportunity to travel in community: to meet with a group of strangers who quickly become friends, to bond with other writers through shared words, experiences and stories. To know that whoever you sit with or eat with or hike with or share your writing with will welcome and cherish you, see you for the person you truly are.

This trip is a rare opportunity to blend writing, cultural exploration, yoga and adventure. To write in a sacred circle, to explore the outer world and your inner world every single day. To rest. To absorb. To say yes to discovery. To have your body, heart and spirit touched and awakened.

This trip is a rare opportunity to say yes to yourself. Yes to life. Yes to quiet. Yes to stillness. Yes to adventure.

This magical journey will blend daily writing workshops and yoga with deep rest; adventures in nature with relaxing strolls through local villages. Local guides will introduce you to this sacred land and its history, culture and people.

While exploring the ancient culture of the Quechua people, you will embark on your own physical, cultural and spiritual journey of transformation.

Join me in this place of stirring history and raw beauty for a journey that will touch you and change you forever. After sixteen days in the Sacred Valley of Peru, you will return home with spectacular memories and a rich body of written work, deeply in touch with yourself and a close-knit writing community.

Peruvian Girls and Alpacas at Sacsayhuaman, Cusco Peru
latin aymara little girl in the hat

Let me tell you more . . .

This 16-day-trip is perfect for writers who are looking for a culturally rich excursion that combines travel, adventure and daily opportunities to write with master teacher Laura Davis. This in-depth exploration of Peruvian culture will use writing practice and yoga as daily touchstones as we actively explore the cultural, spiritual and artistic treasures this magical country has to offer.

Join me in Peru for the trip of a lifetime.

Does This Trip Have Your Name on It? Would You Like To . . .

  • Study with a master teacher who will help you free your voice, find your deepest stories and create a moving record of your travels?

  • Immerse yourself in the historical, cultural, artistic and spiritual riches of Peru? 

  • Learn about Peruvian culture from insiders who will show you a side of Peru most tourists never see?

  • Participate in a despacho, an ancient indigenous ceremony of gratitude and letting go, led by a local shaman?

  • Climb smooth granite staircases, built by the Inca nearly a thousand years ago?

  • Feel the texture of textiles woven with alpaca fur on backstrap looms, in the tradition carried on by generations of Quechua women?

  • Stretch your body with yoga for a truly embodied experience?

  • Travel with a warm, fascinating group of creative people who share your passion for writing, culture, and adventure?

  • Enjoy writing, yoga, adventure and cultural exploration in the perfect balance day after day?
A typical old street in central part of Cusco, Peru. HDR image

Strengthen your voice, rediscover yourself and remember the joy and beauty of being alive.

little peruvian playing

Who This Trip is for: Although this is a retreat designed with writers in mind, this isn't a retreat where you hole up and write for most of the day. Rather, this trip is designed for people who are looking for something other than an intensive writing retreat. Our itinerary features excursions and daily opportunities to actively explore Peru's natural, spiritual, cultural and artistic treasures. Writing and yoga are the tools that will help you integrate this immersion experience.

Non-Writing Spouses and Friends are welcome to join our trip, if they'd like to use the hours of writing class for rest, relaxation, massage, shopping, exploration on their own, unexpected adventures, photography, painting or whatever else they enjoy doing while on vacation.

Size of Trip: This is an intimate tour, limited to 20 people, with a minimum of 10.

Physical Requirements: This trip is designed for anyone in reasonable physical health, capable of walking at a relaxed pace for one to two hours at a time, able to traverse uneven terrain without the kind of assistance we take for granted in the US, like hand railings or standard step heights.

To see Peru at ground-level requires walking, and we will walk on dirt roads, cobblestone streets or hiking trails nearly every day. The ruins at Machu Picchu and Pisac require an ability to walk on rough and uneven terrain, and to climb steep stone steps. The hike down from Lares Pass is 4.5 miles downhill from 14,000 feet with beautiful vistas. However, there is no need for speed. We will walk at a slow and relaxing pace, taking breaks as needed.

Plan to wear sturdy and supportive footwear: light hiking boots or sturdy hiking shoes. Tennis shoes are not appropriate.

You may want to bring a pair of hiking poles as these can really help with balance as you get used to the altitude. If you bring a pair, be sure to bring the rubber tips, as they are required at Machu Picchu to prevent damage to the stone.

sacha-munay-through-flowers-1714-peru-laura-davis

Altitude: We will start our trip in the Sacred Valley, at an elevation of 9,600'. Most people on our last trip to Peru adjusted to this altitude just fine, but a few members of our group found it more taxing.

Just about everybody will feel some shortness of breath with exertion at altitude. Some people also may experience symptoms of mountain sickness for the first few days, such as low appetite or nausea, sleeplessness, muscle fatigue and headaches. We have ideas for easing these discomforts and have structured our trip to help you gradually adjust to higher elevations. Before the trip we will send you suggestions to help you adapt to the altitude.

We'll spend most of our first nine days at an altitude 9,600' feet, with one short excursion to a higher area. Going to a high elevation for a few hours will not lead to mountain sickness; it can actually help with acclimatization. Our final excursion from Munay Sonqo will be an all-day trip to the Andean high country (up to 14,000 feet) to explore the Lares Pass. From here, you'll be walking downhill for four-and-a half miles to the village of Totora, at 12,000 feet.

After our nine days based at Munay Sonqo, we'll travel to Machu Picchu, at a lower elevation, and then for our final three days, to Cusco, at 11,000 feet, but by then you should be well-adjusted, the increase in altitude only slightly noticeable.

You may also find that altitude is not an issue for you at all. You may feel great the whole time.

If you have cardiovascular or lung issues, have had difficulty with altitude in the past, or are unsure about vacationing at these altitudes, we suggest that you talk to your doctor. There are also medications and natural remedies that can help with altitude adjustment. You can also speak with Laura Tyson of True Nature Journeys about the altitude or any of the other physical aspects of the trip. She can give you more information and make sure that this trip is a good fit for you.

Ceramic in local market in Peru, South America.
sacha-munay-through-flowers-1714-peru-laura-davis

Writing, Yoga, and Cultural Education

There will be a writing workshop almost every day, as determined by our tour schedule. Laura will help you sharpen your powers of observation and ability to write vivid description. You will learn to record your experiences and insights with clarity and depth, facilitating a richer travel experience. We will also use writing practice, developed by Natalie Goldberg, to discover our "wild mind" and tap our deep creativity.

Beginning and experienced writers are welcome, but since the material in the class builds progressively, this will not be a drop-in class.

Karyn Bristol, our Iyengar yoga instructor, will teach an Iyengar yoga class early each morning during our first nine days at Munay Sonqo. This class will be appropriate for those with an established yoga practice as well as for those new to yoga, who would like to explore the benefits yoga has to offer.

Most days, we'll have an hour-long yoga class and a 2-3 hour writing class, as well as time for adventures, exploration and rest.

peruvian-dancers-53318718-peru-laura-davis

The Place

Aerial view of Cuzco, Peru

Peru is a rich and fascinating country, with a wide diversity of landscapes and peoples. The region we will be visiting--the Sacred Valley--lies tucked in the Andes, between Cusco and Machu Picchu. A stretch of villages and ancient ruins ranging across broad fields and mountain slopes, the Sacred Valley is deeply steeped in Andean history, culture and beauty. Formed by the Urubamba River, this valley was the fertile and spiritual base of the Incan Empire. Corn, cocoa, and potatoes, grow in fields along terraced mountain slopes.

The mountain air is crisp and thin. Massive sky tumbles into tremendous landscapes. Farmers work the fields with methods unchanged since the ancient Incan era. Over 50% of the population is indigenous, carrying thousands of years of wisdom born from living closely with the land. While Spanish is the primary language, many other languages are spoken, including Quechua, the complex, unwritten language of the Incas.

Harmony and ayni, the concept of reciprocity, living in direct relationship with the earth are central aspects of the Quechua culture. The Quechua live a deeply spiritual life, blending Incan spirituality, the Catholic influence of the Spaniards and the earth-based rituals that are a result of living in direct relationship to the earth for thousands of years.

Although the Sacred Valley is deeply rooted in history, contemporary influences intertwine with tradition. The only thing more striking than the landscape is the cohesive, living blend of the ancient and the modern that you'll witness and delight in every single day.

Munay Sonqo Retreat and Yoga Center: Formerly known as Sach'a Munay, this magnificent retreat center will be our home base for the first nine days of our retreat. Karyn and I fell in love with this magical, sacred place when we launched our first trip to Peru in 2017. This remote hideaway is the perfect container for a deep dive into writing, yoga and Peruvian culture, and provides the perfect jumping off point for excursions throughout the Sacred Valley. Nestled in the Andes Mountains at 9500 feet, this rural gem is filled with charming rooms, stone pathways, and immense natural beauty. Munay Sonqo provides a bounty of native plants and fruits trees, which are fed by an elaborate permaculture system and the waters of a magnificent waterfall.

Each guest room is a reflection of the Peruvian culture of the Sacred Valley and its state-of-the-art yoga facilities make it the perfect location to relax and connect with yourself and the native land. If you hike in one direction, you can climb to an amazing waterfall, and if you can meander out the front gate, you'll find yourself strolling down dirt paths through the local village.

Meals are served family style in a charming dining room with big picture windows and fireplaces. The food was always fresh, nourishing and delicious.

One of the things we love most about Munay Sonqo is the loving and generous staff, and the fact that Munay Sonqo is committed to serving the local community through employment, shared aquaculture resources, and by actively supporting the education of the local children.

Click here to view the Munay Sonqo website.

LD Munay Sonqo 1
LD Sacha Munay 2
ld-vv-peru-food-spring-salad
ld-vv-peru-food-african-curry

Food: Peruvian food is an eclectic blend of indigenous tradition and a strong Spanish influence.

In the Andean region, fresh, locally grown root vegetables, green vegetables and corn are the staples for most meals, supplemented with grilled local chicken and meats. The gastronomically adventurous can try cuy, the grilled guinea pig that the region is famous for.

For the first nine days of the retreat, we'll be eating most of our meals at our retreat center, Munay Sonqo. The food there is plentiful, delicious, and varied, and leans toward vegetarian. Chicken or fish will be served for dinner. Eggs will be available for breakfast, either as a main dish or in the form of supplementary hard-boiled eggs.

When you register, you can tell us about your food preferences or allergies, and we'll do our best to accommodate you, but if your diet is severely restricted, you may need to bring supplemental food.

Weather: Weather in the Andean highlands is similar to any mountain weather-hard to predict! April through October is considered the slightly colder but drier season in the Andean highlands. The average highs in Cusco in April and May are in the sixties, with the overnight lows in the forties, possibly dipping into upper thirties, but most of our trip will be 2000' below Cusco, so it will be warmer. If it's a typical April and May, most of our trip will likely be pleasantly warm during the day and cool at night. We will be taking one trip up to a pass at 14,000 feet and conditions there will likely be colder. We'll provide you with a suggested clothing list that will give you a good range of adaptability to the mountain climate.

Would You Like to Add an Adventure to the Amazon Rainforest?

Photo Credit: Inkaterra
Photo Credit: Inkaterra

The Place: Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a gracious rainforest lodge, adjacent to the lush Tambopata National Reserve, just a 35-minute flight from Cusco. This remote pristine area is called the "biodiversity capitol of Peru," offering an incredibly variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and trees. During your five-day stay, you will explore its 494 acres through a variety of land and river excursions that will introduce you to the magic of the rainforest.

This simple hospitable lodge, set on the steep banks of the Madre de Dios River, has been an ecotourism pioneer for 40 years, promoting sustainable use of the Southern Peruvian Rainforest.

Winner of both the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Award for Conservation and the 2012 Green Choice Sustainable Tourism Award and one hundred percent carbon neutral, Inkaterra is as committed to preservation as they are to guest comfort. By employing simple sustainable solutions-like using kerosene lantern illuminated pathways, responsible recycling practices, preservative-free, biodegradable toiletries, and complimentary canteens for guest drinking water-Reserva Amazonica maintains as light an environmental footprint as possible. This stance means limited electricity when it's really needed: a power generator works from 4 AM to 3:30 PM and 6 PM to 11 PM daily. There is no air conditioning, no cellular or Wi-Fi at the lodge; limited Internet access is only available upon request.

This is truly a journey into another world.

Thirty-five free-standing thatched roof cabanas, built on raised platforms in the indigenous style, surround a beautiful main building and dining room, built of native materials that blend almost seamlessly into the jungle. Luxurious furnishings: beds with billowing mosquito netting, fluffy robes and slippers, sumptuous towels, screened decks with comfy lounge chairs and hammocks--and delectable local food offer a lovely complement to the simplicity of lantern-light and the rich sounds of the rainforest.

Interconnecting the cabañas with the spa, eco-center and main lodge and balconies designed for bird watching and stargazing are meandering trails of raised wood and covered boardwalks, perfect for keeping feet high and dry. The freestanding cabañas are situated within shouting distance of one another, but lush gardens of flowering plants and bird-filled trees provide a natural screen and sense of privacy.

Cost: $1190
Single supplement: $200

Flight: The flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado is not included; the current rate is between $120 and $330 for a round trip flight.

NOTE: There is limited space at the award-winning eco-lodge where we'll be staying, as well as on the single daily flight to and from Cusco. If you want a spot on this remarkable Amazon journey, indicate your interest right away when you register for Peru.

Note from Karyn and Laura: We will not be traveling to the Amazon on this trip. We had a fantastic time when we went there on our first trip to Peru, but this time, we plan to explore a new part of Peru on our own instead. However, we highly recommend the Amazon extension, and will put you in the extremely capable hands of the Inkaterra Lodge, who took excellent care of everything from the moment we arrived.

Visit the tropical rain forest and enter another world.
Photo Credit: Inkaterra
Photo Credit: Inkaterra

Photo Credit: Inkaterra

Daily Itinerary

Our journey begins with a restful, rejuvenating 9-day stay at Munay Sonqo, a beautiful retreat center deep in Peru's Sacred Valley. Freed from the pressures and complications of modern life, you will relax deeply, breathing in pure mountain air, as you free your writing voice and bond as a valued member of our creative community.

While at Munay Sonqo, we will savor daily writing and yoga and the chance to relax in beauty. We will participate in two local rituals facilitated by a local shaman: a despacho ceremony and a traditional sweat lodge. We'll take excursions to the spectacular ruins of Pisac, Maras, and Moray, meet local school children, visit village markets and a local family farm. Our visit to Pisac will give us the chance to shop and visit the local markets. A day trip to Lares will take us high into the mountains, where tourists rarely go, to meet local weavers and take a majestic downhill hike. And there will be ample time for walking, writing, napping and learning about the ancient culture of the Incas.

After 9 days at Munay Sonqo, we will begin our journey to Machu Picchu, passing through the village of Ollantaytambo along the way. A picturesque train will take us toward Machu Picchu, and you'll be treated with spectacular scenery all along the way. We'll spend two nights in Aguas Calientes, exploring the town's cobblestone streets, shops and restaurants.

Our day at Machu Picchu will begin before dawn so we can watch the ruins light up with the early morning sun. Our local guide will help us understand the spiritual treasures of this sacred site.

The final three days of our trip will center of the thriving city of Cusco with its narrow, cobbled streets and plazas.

At the end of your 16 days in Peru, you will return home deeply connected to yourself, your voice, your body, and a remarkable new community of friends. You will leave, as most visitors do, pledging to come back, full of love for a land and people certain to touch your heart with beauty.

An optional exploration of the Amazon is available for those who wish to extend their stay and venture into a completely different jungle ecosystem.

Note: All activities on this tour are subject to change. There may be unique opportunities we can take advantage of in the moment. Participating in one of these opportunities may preclude doing something that's already on the itinerary or change the sequence of activities. Weather may also cause changes to our itinerary. In case any activity must be canceled, another similar activity will be substituted if possible. There will be no refunds for any activities participants do not attend, and anyone who leaves the tour itinerary at any time FOR ANY REASON will be responsible for their own costs and safety.

Dates listed in this itinerary will be adjusted once we set dates for the new retreat.

Teachers & Guides

Laura and Karyn and your True Nature Journeys guide will work together as a team of three leaders, each with a different role. Laura will teach the writing workshops; Karyn will teach the yoga. Your True Nature Journeys guide will take care of logistics and provide daily guidance and personal support. Additional local guides will provide knowledge and perspective unique to native Peruvians for specific tours and ceremonies. Altogether, your leaders will create a safe environment that welcomes each traveler and helps the group bond as a traveling community.

Laura Davis: Writing Workshop Teacher

The author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We'd Never Speak Again. Laura's groundbreaking books have sold more than 1.8 million copies around the world. Laura has also worked as a columnist, talk show host, radio reporter, radio producer, blogger, editor and speaker. Words have always been at the core of her work and her self-expression.

Laura's newest book, The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story, her first memoir, tells the story of her dramatic and tumultuous relationship with her mother from the time of Laura's birth until her mother's death.

Laura has been mentoring and supporting writers for the past 20 years. It is truly the work of her heart: "I love teaching. I love watching my students find their natural voice and their rhythm. I love it when they find their true stories and discover the courage to put them on the page. I feel like a midwife as my students birth their stories, and I feel honored to witness their bursts of creativity and pure life energy pouring out on the page. Our writing circles are safe places where skills are honed, tears and laughter are welcome, and each writer is seen, heard and deeply known."

Laura leads weekly writing groups and retreats in the Santa Cruz, CA region and online, as well as retreats internationally. She has taken writers to Bali and Scotland, Greece, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. She documents these trips to the delight of many readers in her blog, The Virtual Vacation. You can read a wonderful interview with Laura here.

Laura-suit-smiling

Praise for Laura

"Laura is a phenomenal, soul-based, sensitive, thoughtful, considerate teacher. She did a great job creating group safety and community."

—Si Steinberg, Boise, Idaho

"Laura is a master of her craft. Her prompts and introductory guidance really opened up my writing in a way that delighted me. I found Laura to be abundant with wisdom. Amazingly, she showed up for us fully when she wasn't well, and this is real leadership."

—Doug Wallace, Mill Valley, California

"I loved the writing circle—the prompts, the practice. Laura guides you and frees you to find your own voice. I learned some powerful new techniques I will take home with me. I feel energized personally and as a writer."

—Lucie Eggleston, Columbia, South Carolina

"Laura is my favorite writing teacher. She creates a safe environment and balances instruction with the freedom to be your own creative self."

—Joyce Bartlett, Marblehead, Massachusetts

"Laura is an incredibly gifted and talented writer and teacher. Her compassionate, no-nonsense approach provides a safe container for her students to explore their innermost landscapes. I loved the camaraderie and the encouragement I felt in her writers' group."

—Michelle Walters, Sacramento, California

"Laura enables me to tap into places that reveal things I didn't know about myself. Through her techniques, I have been able to transform and expand as a person and as a writer."

—Carol Foster, Santa Cruz, California

"Laura is an intelligent, compassionate teacher with the skill and resources to inspire a group of diverse people to write their truths and share them with each other."

—Annie Hampford, Connecticut

"Laura knows how to inspire the best writing. She taught me see with my writer's eye and to add more detail to what I notice when I travel. She taught me to jot down notes, guiding me to wonder and question. I will keep Laura's voice, her questions, poems and encouragement on my shoulder every time I sit down to write."

—Nancy Brown, Bonny Doon, California

"Laura is skilled at creating a safe environment in which to explore and discover your hidden stories. She helped me turn off my critic so I could more easily let my words flow."

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz, California

"Laura is solid and reliable. She believes in her own wisdom regarding the writing path and communicates her teaching in a way that brings others into the practice. I loved having the space and acceptance to be authentic in her writing circles."

—Kendra Dorfman, Santa Cruz, California

"Laura was born to teach her classes. She excels at it."

—Alaina Olson, Charlton, Massachusetts

"Laura sets up a stimulating framework for all writers. For me, it was her acceptance, even encouragement of deviations, of coloring outside the lines, that kept me juiced."

—Glen Brown, Santa Cruz, CA.

"I've done free writing before, but I've never felt so free. I was able to access content I usually avoid. Laura's class provided a phenomenal way to tap my inner resources and to gain access to deeper levels of myself. I loved reading to the group and being held by the group. What a magnificent way to grown through writing and as a writer!"

—Si Steinberg, Boise, Idaho

"Laura is a very gifted teacher, extremely skilled at creating a safe space for her students."

—Juliana Quinn, Columbia and California

"Laura is a seasoned skilled group facilitator, thoughtful and just flexible enough. I loved Laura's bag of writing tricks. I only wish I could have received more of them!"

—Kim Steinberg, Boise, Idaho

"Thank you, Laura, for all you do, all that you are and all that you help midwife into the world. I will carry memories of this trip with me always."

—Michelle Walters, Sacramento, California

"I find Laura gifted, creative, responsive, honest, real and dedicated. I appreciated her commitment to the group and to helping build a rich community."

—Brook Stone, Mill Valley, California

Karyn Bristol

Karyn Bristol: Iyengar Yoga Instructor

When Karyn Bristol took her first Iyengar Yoga class 25 years ago, she never dreamed that she would one day become a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. Like many of today's yoga students, Karyn took her first yoga class in midlife. She loved yoga from the beginning - the way it increased her strength and endurance. She was also immediately drawn to Iyengar's focus on alignment and posture.

In 2000, Karyn took part in the Advanced Studies and Teacher's Training Program at the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco and became a yoga teacher. After six years of teaching all levels of yoga and becoming a back-care specialist, Karyn became one of the few certified Iyengar teachers in Santa Cruz County. Becoming certified required years of practice, study and two rigorous examinations of skills. She has also studied extensively with the Iyengar family in Pune, India.

Praise for Karyn

"Karyn is a knowledgeable and thorough teacher. She cares about yoga as a healing path. It felt good getting up for her class every morning."

—Kendra Dorfman, Santa Cruz, California

"I was afraid to do yoga every day. But the very first day, Karyn helped me adapt a pose and set me up so I could join in while protecting my trick knee and my tight hips. I thoroughly trust Karyn as a guide, teaching me about my body and readying it for hikes, walks and bus rides."

—Nancy Brown, Bonny Doon, California

"Karyn has a deep understanding and passion for yoga-how it can create better health and comfort. She taught us a variety of poses and took us to new levels in a short time, with things we can take home and use."

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz, California

"Karyn is gifted in her Iyengar precision and works wonderfully well to build the class up from the foundation. She renewed and deepened my knowledge of the form."

—Doug Wallace, Mill Valley, California

"Karyn is the yoga teacher I wish I had at home. She is so precise and knowledgeable. I never hurt myself in her class-and each time, I have a wonderful yoga experience."

—Joyce Bartlett, Marblehead, Massachusetts

"Karyn is kind and patient. She gives great instructions. This was the first time I have every enjoyed yoga. I plan to continue when I get home."

—Elise Flowers, Columbia, South Carolina

"Karyn presented an appealing, accessible path of yoga as a life discipline, rather than as a set of discrete events. Her teaching was profound, deep, focused and clear. I wish she'd consider beaming herself up online so I could keep attending virtually."

—Si Steinberg, Boise, Idaho

"Karyn is an incredibly gifted and patient teacher. Her soft compassion and belief in her students was heartfelt and authentic. I loved yoga and Karyn's gentle guidance. My body did things I didn't know it could do. Karyn made a believer of me."

—Michelle Walters, Sacramento, California

"Karyn is an experienced and patient teacher with an open heart and a kind of gentle demeanor."

—Annie Hampford, Connecticut

"Karyn is a very thorough, proficient Iyengar yoga teacher."

—Juliana Quinn, Columbia and California

"Karyn's gentle knowledgeable teaching changed my opinion about yoga. I didn't think it could help my physical problems and now I know it can. The modifications Karyn suggested were perfect."

—Kim Steinberg, Boise, Idaho

"Karyn exudes and embodies what she teaches. She is kind and focuses on helping each student."

—Lucie Eggleston, Columbia, South Carolina

"I am a newcomer to yoga and have some physical limitations. Karyn was generous in adapting movements and poses to my needs."

—Glen Brown, Santa Cruz, CA.

Brenda Porter

Brenda Porter is a passionate world traveler. Just out of high school she traveled to India on a Girl Scout exchange and fell in love with experiencing other cultures. After college, she worked with women's groups and lived in rural Honduras as a Peace Corps Volunteer where she learned Spanish.

She has guided adventure travel trips across the world for more than 20 years from Everest Base Camp, to Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu, as well as on the Camino de Santiago.

Brenda is a watercolor artist and her secret goal on most trips is catching moments to sketch and encouraging others to do the same, while forging connections with nature. She lives with her wife, Jen, along with Kali, the golden retriever, in a co-housing community in Colorado.

Version 2

Trip Organizer:

True Nature Journeys is a small travel company dedicated to international travel and wilderness quests that explore the essence of being human. They offer custom trips throughout the world that integrate the exploration of the people, cultures and landscapes of our planet with the exploration and creative expression of our unique paths as individuals.

True Nature Journeys supports transformational travel: welcoming the sense of adventure and unknown that comes with authentic, un-canned travel. Conventional adventure travel and tourism is often approached as a way to collect experiences, in the same way that we collect material goods--something to check off a list or to capture as a possession in photographs or memories, or a diversion and distraction from our everyday reality. To approach an experience from the viewpoint of transformational travel, however, is to be willing to be changed by the experience, a willingness to jump from the edge of known territory, giving one's self completely to the experience so that whatever unfolds is taken as gift.

Transformational travel is a powerful way to shift the course of one's life. As humans, we tend to get stuck in patterns of identity, of self-beliefs and the external habits that reinforce those. To connect with our true nature, with the part of us that is deeper than our history, personality or current circumstance, the part that is undeniably compassionate, truthful and oriented to the greater good, we must interrupt our patterns, become unflinchingly present with ourselves and our environment, and open to the possibility of something greater than our small story of ourselves.

Giving Back

In addition to being a beautiful retreat center, Munay Sonqo is a part of the Peruvian Nonprofit Association Sach'a Munay, which is committed to serving the local community. They have partnered with local families, the Cooperativa and schools in the towns of Arin, Huaran and Sillacancha to provide much needed nutritional snacks to students in pre- and primary schools. During our stay, we will be blessed with the opportunity to spend a morning with these schoolchildren.

Sach'a Munay also runs Permaculture and Biodynamic agriculture workshops for local farmers and is developing research to improve organic farming methods for maize and quinoa.

Your tuition for this trip includes a donation to support this work- a tangible way we, as tourists, can give back to these very generous indigenous people for sharing their lives and traditions with us.

Tractor in the field, Peru

Inclusions

sacha-munay-cabin-portrait-1726-peru-laura-davis

What's Included:

  • All ground transportation, starting with your arrival in Cusco.

  • Three delicious meals a day, with the exception of 3 dinners and 2 lunches on your own.

  • Charming, clean, and comfortable accommodations throughout the trip.

  • All activities described in the itinerary.

  • The services of a True Nature's Journey guide, deeply familiar with the region of Peru where we will be traveling.

  • Local guides for many of the activities.

  • Writing workshops with Laura almost every day and yoga with Karyn every morning we are at Munay Sonqo.

  • Tips for restaurants and drivers on the itinerary.

  • Pre-tour information.

  • Donation on your behalf to the children's school we're visiting in Peru.

  • A wonderful experience of community and connection with a creative, adventurous group of fellow travelers.

  • Multiple opportunities for deep relaxation, personal insight, pleasure, intimacy, adventure and joy.

What's Not Included:

  • Round trip flight to and from Cusco. Overnight accommodations in Lima if necessary for your flight itinerary.

  • Activities and transportation not included in the itinerary, including optional activities on our last afternoon in Cusco.

  • Laundry.

  • Massage, body work and spa services.

  • Three dinners & two lunches (meals range from $6-$20 each).

  • Optional tips for local guides.

  • Personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance.

  • Souvenir shopping

  • Personal phone calls.

  • Bottled water, alcoholic drinks or extra snacks.

  • Extra taxis. This is mostly a walking trip, but you may choose to take a taxi to a destination instead of walking with the group. This could be $5-10 per taxi.
Old men knitting at taquile island in puno peru

Inclusions: Exploring the Amazon

Amazon river landscape in Brazil
Photo Credit: Inkaterra
Photo Credit: Inkaterra

What's Included:

  • Round trip transportation by land and river from Puerto Maldonado Airport to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

  • Daily buffet breakfast, and a la carte lunches and dinners

  • Bottled water in room

  • Tea time

  • Inkaterra Explorer Guide service

  • Entrance fees to Lake Sandoval

  • Guided boat and hiking excursions and 4.5 miles of hiking trails

  • Rainforest by Night tour

  • Inkaterra Canopy Walkway Tour

  • All other excursions listed in the itinerary

  • 10% service charge to hotel

What's Not Included:

  • Round trip flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado and back

  • Spa services

  • Bar

  • Binocular rental

  • Private tours not listed in the itinerary
Photo Credit: Inkaterra
Photo Credit: Inkaterra
South American Llamas
cusco-outskirts-53540109-peru-laura-davis
Tissus d'Amrique du Sud

Flights:

We will first meet as a group at approximately noon on Wednesday, April 21 at the Cusco airport. You should book your inbound travel accordingly.

Unless you book an overnight flight, most flights will arrive in Lima the night before, and you will depart for Cusco (a one-hour flight) the following morning. You can expect approximately $1000 for a roundtrip ticket from the United States to Cusco, although this may vary depending on when you book and your departure city.

More information about how and when to book your flights will be sent after you register. We'll also send suggestions for an overnight stay in Lima with some choices of hotels that have an airport shuttle service, after you register. Please note that airfare, and accommodation in Lima if necessary, is not included in the trip price.

Most return flights to the US leave in the afternoon or evening, meaning that it is easy to leave Cusco on the morning of May 5 (or four days later if you are doing the Amazon extension), and then connect to your return flight in Lima. Note that it is possible that you will need to take an overnight flight from Lima, arriving home on May 6.

We encourage you to book your flights with our extraordinary and very wonderful travel planner, Linda, so arrival times, departure times, and ground transportation can be coordinated. Linda can also help you if you want to arrive sooner, leave later, or add other destinations into your itinerary.

Linda is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time:

Linda Schwedock
Pacific Harbor Travel
519 Seabright Ave #201
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
1-800-435-9463
831-427-5000
linda@pacificharbortravel.com
CST# 1014242-10

Travel Insurance: Because of requirements from our local vendors in Peru, travel insurance to cover any medical expenses incurred during this trip is required for this trip.

In addition to medical travel insurance, we highly recommend that you choose a travel insurance plan that covers trip cancellation in case illness or injury prevents you from going on the trip. Both SquareMouth.com and InsureMyTrip.com provide reviews and comparisons of a variety of companies and policies for you to choose from. Depending on your needs, most policies cost $250 to $550. If your needs are more complex, our travel agent can help you find a suitable policy.

More information about trip insurance will be sent after you register.

sacha-munay-meeting-space-1723-peru-laura-davis

Passports, Visa & Health: A passport is required, valid six months from date of entry. No special visas are required.

It is recommended that all travelers to the Lima/Cusco area be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid, and have had a tetanus shot within the last ten years. It is up to you whether you decide to do this, but plan ahead because the Hepatitis A vaccine must be given at least two weeks prior to departure, and preferably four weeks prior.

More information will be sent after you register about how to stay healthy in Peru.

sacha-munay-wall-plant-1829-peru-laura-davis-maybe

How Do I Sign Up For This Fantastic Retreat?

Write, Travel, Transform: Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of Peru

This trip has yet to be rescheduled.

To register your interest, please complete the form below.

sacha-munay-teepee-1831-peru-laura-davis

Your Investment:

Cost: $5975 for double occupancy accommodations in Peru, based on two persons sharing a double or twin-bedded room with private bath.

Single Rooms: Single room accommodations in Peru are available for an additional $985. We will try to accommodate your request for a single, but singles are limited and subject to availability.

Amazon Extension: The cost for the extension is $1190 for a double occupancy room and $1390 for a single room.

Small Group Supplement: We will take a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 travelers. If we end up with 13 or fewer people, you will be charged a small group supplement of $300 at the time of your final payment.

Roommates: If you're traveling alone and would like a roommate, we'll do our best to find you a compatible person. If we can't match you up with someone, you'll get your own room and pay the single supplement of $985.

Payment Schedule: A non-refundable deposit of $1000 is due with registration, plus a $200 non-refundable deposit if you intend on going to the Amazon. A second payment of $2500, plus a $400 payment if you are going to the Amazon, is due by August 14, 2020. The final balance of $2475 (as well as the single supplement and the remaining payment for the optional trip to the Amazon) will be due January 15, 2021. Please read the cancellation and refunds section carefully so that you understand the policy. Please read the cancellation and refunds section carefully so that you understand the policy.

Cancellations and Refunds: The initial $1000 non-refundable deposit (or $1200, if you signed up for the Amazon Extension) will be forfeited in all cases. A cancellation fee of $2225 (this includes your initial deposit) will be collected between August 15, 2020 and January 15, 2021; $2500 will be retained if you are going to the Amazon. After January 15, 2021, there will be no refunds. Exceptions to this cancellation policy cannot be made for any reason, including personal emergencies. After this point, travel insurance will provide your only option for recouping your investment in the trip.

We reserve the right to cancel the trip if it is not meeting the trip minimum. If we cancel, everything you've paid us will be refunded. You will need to purchase trip protection insurance in order to get a refund if you cancel for reasons such as illness, medical condition, caregiving or trip interruption.

Hotels: Accommodations are selected to be clean, comfortable, and congruent with the down-to-earth nature of the country. Our first nine days in the Sacred Valley will be spent at the Munay Sonqo Retreat Center. Our hotel near Machu Picchu will be Tierra Viva. In Cusco, the hotel will be the Casa San Blas.

Baggage: Luggage cannot exceed 62 inches. Each piece cannot exceed 50 lbs. for both international and in-country flights. We suggest you bring one large bag to check and one carry-on bag. If you bring two bags to check, you will be charged for the second.

If you will be traveling on to the Amazon, due to weight and space restrictions on the boat, passenger luggage is limited to 22 lbs. per person. Any excess baggage can be securely stowed at the Inkaterra headquarters near the Puerto Maldonado Airport and collected on your return trip.

peruvian-woman-125684013-peru-laura-davis

Endorsements for Laura's Write, Travel, Transform Retreats

"I was looking for adventure. I wanted to get off the beaten track and to visit the Amazon. I wanted to enrich my travel experience by refining my eyes and all my senses. And I wanted to be in the company of inquisitive, intelligent people. I found all of that and more on this trip."

—Doug Wallace, Mill Valley, California

"A chance to experience an amazing country and culture with a group of people who enrich the experience by sharing their own."

—Joyce Bartlett, Marblehead, Massachusetts

"This trip combines creative expressions, spiritual exploration and physical exertion-a great combination. I would definitely recommend this trip to a friend."

—Annie Hampford, Connecticut

"I love that the trip began at a nurturing yoga retreat center where we were able to get grounded and settled through daily writing and yoga, eating healthy food in a beautiful environment."

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz, California

"This is my third retreat with Laura. They get better and deeper and more adventurous each time, as I return to experience writing in another beautiful place with inspired people that become friends. Each return, I come not knowing what will happen, grateful that I did, and leave transformed."

—Marie Hansen, Reno, Nevada

"The week we spent at our first location, Sach'a Munay, felt like home. The food, the comfort, the daily yoga practice and writing were exactly what I needed. The people we met there were so kind, so interested in us and our comfort. I loved all our young guides, so skillfully sharing stories, weaving today's Peru in with a rich past. They helped push us into new situations and experiences-the village, the walk, the hikes-just perfect. They taught me so much about Peru: the rise of its civilization, its roots, and the struggles and identity of Peruvians today. The Sacred Valley is a magical, spiritual place, a land revered for centuries. All of that-ancient and deep-we brought to the page."

—Nancy Brown, Bonny Doon, California

"I loved the warmth and hospitality of the Peruvian people."

—Michelle Walters, Sacramento, California

"I was looking for an immersion experience in South America. I've wanted to come to Peru for a long time. This retreat combined two of my passions: writing and travel. I like dropping myself into a group of strangers who get to know my writing and not just me. I wanted help with writing about travel experiences. I got everything I wanted and more. I loved the travel-the sights, the people, the food, the famous and the ordinary-all extraordinary. My head, heart and spirit are overflowing."

—Lucie Eggleston, Columbia, South Carolina

"I was delighted by the indigenous people of the Sacred Valley and their culture-its root in the past and its cautious embrace of the future."

—Glen Brown, Santa Cruz, CA

"Peru surprised me. I thought it would be like Mexico and Central America, but the people in this part of Peru were so welcoming, consistently assisting us, smiling, greeting us. The school children hugged each of us as we visited the school. And I was delighted by our group, a diverse group of individuals who voices and hearts will stay with me for years to come."

—Nancy Brown, Bonny Doon, California

"I gained a deep appreciation for the culture of Peru-the people, so warm and open, the children at the school, the music at dinner, the connection to Mother Earth, my time with the shaman. Your trip rekindled the joy I feel traveling in community and helped me connect more deeply to what I want in my life."

—Joyce Bartlett, Marblehead, Massachusetts

"I was surprised by the cohesion of the group, at how quickly we connected and how the disparate personalities blended and melded into a whole. I was delighted by this sense of community and the supportive vibe from everyone."

—Annie Hampford, Connecticut

"Laura's Write, Travel, Transform trip to Peru was fantastic. A high point of my life in so many ways!"

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz, California

"I learned that I can be far away from home and feel safe, that I can share my heart and read it aloud to people I barely know, and that I can fit into a group."

—Michelle Walters, Sacramento, California

"A chance to capture the beauty, surprises and richness of Peru, not only with your senses and your camera, but also through writing."

—Joyce Bartlett, Marblehead, Massachusetts

"I am looking forward to going home tomorrow. I attribute that feeling of completion to the fact that this trip was so amazing in its depth. The opportunities I had on this tour to experience Peru were vast and deep. I feel filled up and full of appreciation for the group leaders."

—Kendra Dorfman, Santa Cruz, California

"I'd definitely recommend this trip. My friends would thoroughly enjoy it whether or not they are writers. The Sacred Valley was fertile with stories, the people were wonderful and our team was always ready for us, able to adapt and accommodate to whatever arose."

—Nancy Brown, Bonny Doon, California

"Machu Picchu was way more beautiful than I imagined. It was magical. And the Peruvian cuisine was exceptional. I loved the writing and the yoga. And each and every person on our trip was a delight to get to know. In fact, I was delighted most of the time!"

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz, California

"I wanted to learn about Peru first-hand by being immersed in the culture and I wanted to see the Andes. I loved the diversity of the trip-out in the country, in small towns and Incan ruins, exploring Cusco, and of course Machu Picchu. The local guides were some of the best I've ever seen. I was surprised and delighted by all the wonderful people of Peru."

—Elise Flowers, Columbia, South Carolina

"I was touched by the beauty of Sach'a Munay: the grounds, the food, and the staff-their warmth and the apparent absence of tourist burn-out among all the Peruvians we met. The weather was perfect and I loved the sublime climate of the highlands. I was also touched by the depth and vulnerability of my fellow travelers and their eloquence in their describing their lives."

—Doug Wallace, Mill Valley, California

"The perfect combination of writing, yoga and sight-seeing-a chance to connect with other writers, an intimate experience producing unexpected results, so much more than I expected."

—Kim Steinberg, Boise, Idaho

"This trip is an inspiring journey into the Sacred Valley of Peru and into your own writer's heart. You will be inspired to write, share support, and honor each other's voices. You will see the magnificence of the Andes-up close while hiking in Machu Picchu and the other Incan sites. You will eat great food, hear delightful music, fall in love with the land and its people."

—Annie Hampford, Connecticut

"In this trip, community is at the forefront. You'll have a variety of experiences that enable you to learn about Incan history and get close to Peruvian culture."

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz, California

"Don't think about it. Just go. Drop the fears. Drop the financial constraints, drop the excuses, get the pet/do/spouse/partner sitters and just go. Laura's trip to Peru is a miraculous journey and you will be in good hands."

—Michelle Walters, Sacramento, California

"Very well run and well-organized. A rich menu of travel and self-exploration."

—Brook Stone, Mill Valley, California

elya-headshot-9-30-16

'I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You created an experience that touched my soul and opened deep levels of creativity and inspiration. Your trip is a gift that will keep on giving for my entire life.'

—Elya Braden, Santa Monica. Former Write, Travel, Transform participant.

Have a Question for Laura?

Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice

A Gift to Inspire Your Writing

Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice.

Scroll to Top