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The Illescas Adventure

Date: May 13, 2021 | By: Brenda Lee | Category: Travel Blog

Dear advisor partners,

You know the phrase, getting off the beaten path? Well, I am writing this from Illescas Reserve in northern Peru, 300 km/186.4 miles from the Ecuador border, 900 km/559.2 miles from the Galapagos coast. Here, there is no path. There is no industry standard route, or Peru hotlist tourist spots attracting crowds of people. Here, at Illescas, there is an adventure not yet discovered full of raw nature, adrenaline rushes and welcoming locals. My trip has been full of surprises and left turns, and this is only day four.

When I set out on this adventure, I had our high school graduates on my mind, finishing up their final year in 2021, during interesting times. Whether they finish through virtual learning or in person learning, tomorrow’s leaders are about to embark on their next chapter. However, there is a gap between those chapters where most grads head off for a summer internship, a job, summer school, or in most cases, an ultimate ‘leaving the nest’ family vacation. Precious Journeys College Edition was born specifically for this gap, and where I am standing presents new opportunities for our grads.

Imagine heading to a reserve in Peru, where you can go kite surfing, hike to see endangered condors in the wild (the true wilderness), encounter migrant sea lions and birdlife that have arrived here from the Galapagos Islands, and even see species such as the Andean Cat and the desert fox just to top off the experience. There is only one hotel, with four rooms serving 76,000 hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 sq meters for fellow math nerds), and it’s a hidden gem. I can’t even call it a hotel because frankly, it does not feel like one. It’s so much more, it is a home away from home. Not to mention, getting here was an excursion in itself. A trip that saw us pushing a 4×4 to its limits, testing each facet of its abilities, crossing deep soft sand, rocks, mud, and compact beach sand. We even managed to get the 4×4 stuck a few times, including once with the rear axle bending in a way Toyota likely never intended. If you want more of that story, you can head over to my Facebook page.

There are no groups here, no cruise ships, no transit cars – just pure wilderness, amazing food, and warm smiles. Some 3000+ people visited Machu Picchu each day in 2019. Just 1100 people visited Illescas in TOTAL, in all of 2019. This is the perfect setting to take in the known history of Peru, featuring Machu Picchu, and merge that with the climbing adventure of Sky Lodge and Turawasi in the Sacred Valley, then top it off with the Illescas Reserve in northern Peru for the grand finale. The new Precious Journeys College Edition adventure to Peru is here.

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