Our Team

Based here in the U.S. or in Cusco, we are ready to take you on the journey of a lifetime.

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Marissa Gandelman, LMT & owner of Elm City Wellness

Marissa's love affair with Peru is something that even she has a hard time explaining. Invited to volunteer as a therapist in Cusco during the winter of 2010, she found herself immediately drawn to the culture and "magic" of the City in the Sky. Four months after her first visit, Marissa heard the call to return to the land she loved. She packed a single bag and left behind the life she knew to follow her heart back to Peru.

Marissa moved to Peru in 2010, where she lived, built a private practice and helped found Healing House Cusco, a non-profit organization dedicated to the healing arts. Marissa opened Elm City Wellness in New Haven, CT, in 2013 and she travels to Peru a few times a year to host trips and continue her work with the Healing House, the local community, and her own personal healing and growth.


Niki Coate, Reiki Master & founder of Healing House

Niki Coate, founder and director of Healing House in Cusco, Peru, is dedicated to "the joyful awakening of consciousness." To her, this means realizing unity through heart-based living, and choosing to actively co-create our experience of reality.

A certified yoga teacher and Reiki Master, Niki aims to inspire others to explore their creative energy and develop a fulfilling and authentic life for themselves. Since moving to Peru in 2009 from the United States, she has actively pursued an intense study of energy medicine and consciousness. At Healing House, she works to redefine the experience of "healing," through practices of conscious living and empowerment. Niki believes that Cusco's unique energy facilitates great transformation in the people who are drawn to visit -- a vision in line with the ancient wisdom keepers of the Andes.


Maria Gallo Prieto, assistant guide

Originally from the U.S., Maria first came to Cusco in 2010 and immediately knew that it was an extraordinary place. “I thought I would stay for a week and that turned into a year!” Since then, she divides her time between northern California and Peru.

Maria is fluent in Spanish and has spent a lot of time exploring and getting to know the area. She loves seeing the world and has lived and traveled in more than 20 countries. She is a U.S. certified massage therapist, Reiki Master from the Usui lineage and RYT 200 yoga instructor. Maria has been teaching yoga since 2011 and practicing for over 20 years. “My style of yoga is Vinyasa based but influenced by Anusara Yoga. I enjoy the flow of Vinyasa and I strongly believe in the principles of alignment of Anusara to avoid injury and truly make the practice personal.” 

Maria is also a passionate student of medicinal herbs and plants from around the world and loves to garden. 


Amy Larkin, archivist/photographer

Amy Larkin Gelbach is a museum junkie, idea factory and utopic contrarian who loves to look and believes fervently in the dictate "each one teach one." Amy runs a business to help individuals and businesses preserve and display their memories while taking too many photographs of her dog and soulmate, Bug.

She believes that the act of recording and cataloging memories makes meaning and is enthusiastic about teaching others how to hold the past with reverence while simultaneously acknowledging that we are constantly a part of the active making and writing of our own historical record. She serves as our trip archivist, developing an official historical record of the trip and will help trip-goers to slow their experience down by consciously acknowledging and honoring the making of memories through a workshop she has designed especially for our journey.  

More of an image hunter than a formal photographer, Amy is a self-taught capturer of images and moments. She will work with attendees to develop a photographic record that will be imbued with meaning and resonate with the larger purpose of our journey. Her focus will be on helping our voyagers to document AND experience their trip.  

Cheryl Wilson, massage therapist

A licensed massage therapist since 2006, Cheryl joined Elm City Wellness in 2014 and specializes in Deep Tissue and Injury Rehabilitation and is proficient in Pre- and Post-natal Massage, Reflexology, Accupressure, and Stone Therapy. 

As a result of a car accident, she's been deconstructed and reconstructed over the years, gaining deeper understanding about the body and its ability to heal. She's dedicated herself to paying forward the effort put into her care in order to care for others.