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135 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Emlyn Jones

    Essential Peru

    We were on the same trip as Neil Thomas and agree with everything that Neil has written in his detailed review. One part of the trip that Neil didn't mention was the Nazca Lines. From ground level these look like very uninteresting scratches in the sand, if you can see them at all. From the air they are amazing. But to see them from the air you have to fly in a very small plane, which is not for everybody. If you are happy to fly in a 7 seater plane that banks steeply from side to side to show people sitting on both sides of the plane the "lines" below you then go for it, it is well worth it. If you don't fancy the flight, there is a tower that you can climb to get a good view of .a couple of the lines, and a new much taller tower was being built.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first sight of Machu Picchu. It really does exist!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano Gallesi was an excellent leader. He is very knowledgeable, but also knew when to stop talking and just let us soak up the view. He took extremely good care of everybody on the trip and was available from first thing in the morning to last thing at night.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Peru is a big country, so to see the Nazca Lines, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and see condors flying close up in just two weeks involves a lot of travelling. That combined with the altitude at Cusco and Lake Titicaca makes it an exhausting trip. It is well worth the exhaustion and I wouldn't want to have missed any of it.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Neil Thomas

    Llamas and Alpacas: Machu Picchu Dreaming

    It took me a while to love Peru. It didn't help that our flight from Gatwick was delayed nearly 24 hours, resulting in us missing the first part of the adventure, and then enduring two very long travel days. However, once we arrived in Cusco and dealt with the initial impact of the altitude, the magic started to work. Ignore the sprawling, traffic-filled suburbs: the historic centre of Cusco is a magnificent place to spend a couple of days. We enjoyed visiting the market, the Bohemian quarter of San Blas, people watching in the Plaza de Armas and even waiting to cheer a bride into her wedding. Our days in Cusco bracketed our visit to Machu Picchu, which is every bit as magnificent as the guidebooks lead you to believe. Our allocated afternoon time slot allowed us to walk to the Sun Gate before visiting the main site - a rewarding experience affording magnificent views. The downside of MP - the shuttle buses to and from Aguas Callientes. You will have to face lengthy queues in each direction. On our second morning in Aguas Callientes we resisted the urge to visit MP again and instead were taken on a walk along the railway line to Los Jardines de Mandor, a beautiful botanic garden in the cloud forest leading to a waterfall. I would urge all Exodus clients to make this three-hour excursion - it was a highlight for us. After Cusco, there was another sprinkling of magic on Amantani Island, an oasis of beauty on Lake Titicaca. Our visit coincided with an island fiesta, so we enjoyed the riot of flags, dancing and colour displayed by the locals. Our journey across Titicaca also involved a visit to one of the floating island communities. That too was wonderful in a weird way. Next was the trip through the altiplano to the charming town of Chivay, stopping to watch an erupting volcano and a couple of whirlwinds en route. I can also now tell my llamas from my alpacas, as well as vicunas - there are plenty of all three species to be seen en route. Chivay offered a trip to the thermal springs and a rare hour of leisurely self-indulgence. The next day it was an early start to see the Andean condors rising on the thermals in Colca Canyon - another memorable experience. Then it was Arequipa, our visit coinciding with another festival of music and dance, and finally Miraflores, and a belated meeting with Paddington Bear, before our flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu, Cusco, Amantani Island, Colca Canyon, the train trip from Ollentaytambo to Machu Picchu. There were more, but you get the drift.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have been on numerous Exodus trips, all with good leaders, but Giuliano Gallesi was on a higher level than all of them - not just because of the altitude. He dealt efficiently with our day-late arrival and then led the tour with authority and compassion throughout. He was quick to recognise the signs when group members were struggling with the altitude and twice called the doctor as a result. He has a very good command of English, a likeable personality, was happy to answer all our questions and, above all, was available to the group 24/7. A true professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the long distances involved in the itinerary. For most of the route, the bus had a toilet on board, but that is of little consolation if, like me, you are not happy travelling near the back of a coach. We bought Peruvian Soles in advance of the trip and these were easier to use than US dollars. Dollars are accepted, but you are subject to the vagaries of local exchange rates. Food was generally of a very high standard. Our tour leader took us to or recommended consistently good restaurants. Make sure you have a supply of toilet paper handy. Many public banos did not have any available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Essential Peru is a rewarding but tiring trip. And you cannot ignore the altitude. On first arrival in Cusco we wanted to go straight to bed to sleep. The advice to take a short walk for some fresh air and then to have something to eat helped us to acclimatise.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Linda Stephenson

    Amazing Peru!!

    From start to finish this trip ticked all the boxes. Yes it's full on, Peru is a huge country and this holiday maximises your time to visit all the most interesting places and areas. The scenery whilst travelling around is amazing. Didn't even open the book I'd taken to read on the coach!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many - the reed islands on Lake Titicaca, standing at the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu at dawn - watching the transformation from atmospheric cloud and mist to bright sunshine, seeing the Andes in all their glory and experiencing the Amazon rainforest and it's amazing flora and fauna.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Daniel was fabulous. His friendly personality, pride in his country, knowledge of Peru's history and cultures, enthusiasm and organisational skills and excellent English made us feel very well looked after. Felt like we were travelling with a friend who was also a guide and leader!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it! You can sleep when you get home!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would definitely recommend the Amazon rainforest extension. Completely new experience and different to any other adventure we've been on.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Gary Cox

    A fantastic iconic adventure.

    Did i enjoy this trip,you bet.From the start to the end this trip was a revelation,everyday was an highlight.Back home after 3 days,and iam still buzzing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Peru is so much more than Machu Picchu,which of course is fantastic.For me,the homestay on Lake Titicaca,the local market next to San Pedro market in Cusco were truly memorable.I could go on,and on,everyday was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was probably my adventure of a lifetime,and Daniel,our group leader,made this happen.His organisation skills,his patience,his passion for Peru were exceptional.Through his leadership we experienced a magical Peruvian adventure, many, many thanks Daniel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of spending money(you will need it)and enjoy Peru.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't just read these reviews,go,go,go to Peru!!!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Georgina Shanks

    Good

    A fascinating country, exceeded expectations.S

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Condors in the Colca cannon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An experienced leader, who had lost his love of the job. Daniel was very wrapped up in his family’s, yes two of them. He kept information to himself, and only informed the tour at the last minute. He treated us like children, and obviously liked the men, he was very hostile to the women at times. He dumped the group as quickly and as often as he could. Very little information was given on long journeys, so I feel we did not learn as much about Peru as we could have. The specialist guides were much better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a lot of extras to pay for, not listed in the trip notes. museums, cathedrals etc. ,
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Christine Harrison

    Essential Peru

    This was an excellent tour. Lima, Cuzco and Arequipa were very interesting and lively cities to explore, each containing many palaces, cathedrals, convents, crypts and so much more. The Inka Museum and Sacsayhuaman site in Cuzco should not be missed nor the Planetarium and ancient burial grounds at Nazca. The flora and fauna were also amazing and plentiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most amazing sights were the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca Lines and, of course, Machu Picchu. The second visit to Machu Picchu gave me the chance to explore it all over again at my leisure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found the easiest way to cope with extremes of altitude (ie warmth and coldness) was to dress in layers. Also to have plenty of snacks handy for the long, long drives.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Richard Wightman

    This trip has everything

    This has to be the trip of a lifetime. Of course you visit Machu Picchu, but so much more. To start with the seabird colony at Ballestros island including penguinsand peleicans. Then the impressive Nasca Lines before heading to the hills and across the plateau to Cusco visiting other Inca sites on the way. Machu Picchu is amazing - everything I expected and more. We visited at 1200 noon and it wasn't too crowded, even better we had a free morning the second day so went again and saw more of it - went a further 950 feet up to the Sun gate ( the entrance to the site from the Inca trail) also the Inca bridge. Then back to Cusco and long drive to Lake Titticata and delightful home-stay with local people...an amazing insight into how the island communities live day to day. Then across the lake to see the floating islands, meet the people and have a trip on a reed boat. Next to Colka Canyon to see condors - I would not have missed this as one of the highlights of the trip - we saw 12 and got some great pics. Finally to Arequipa before return to Lima. It really feels like I have been on 3 holidays all rolled into one - I struggle to think how I can better this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    see above

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant - nothing was too much trouble and always looking after welfare of all the group. A local Peruvian leader employed by Intrepid who 'leads' for several different holiday 'brands'

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of long drives 8-9 hours and early starts leaving hotel at 7.00am. Note that you need to be fairly fit and active and in good health - just about everyone was affected by altitude but only to the extent of breathlessness - nobody suffered AMS.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Helen Bouchami

    Wonderfully varied trip

    Loved Peru. Land of contrasts and dramatic scenery, from the soaring peaks of the Andes to the world's second deepest canyon and the highest navigable lake, from the simple lifestyle of the Titicaca islands to the sophistication of Miraflores in Lima. The surprise of a desert oasis with towering sandunes. Basking seals among rows of pelicans and boobies on the offshore islands, majestic condors in the canyon, and cute alpacas and even cuter vicunas. Impressive Incan structures - from Machu Pichu to terraced mountainsides, and the elegant colonial architecture of the Spanish. The trip notes mention the early starts and long hours on the bus - this is true, but the spectacular scenery provides an excellent distraction. The bus itself was large, and although it lacked a little of the camaraderie I've experienced on smaller mini-buses with Exodus in the past, the space to spread out and the on-board loo were appreciated. My attitude is that the hours of travel are the price you pay for seeing so much, and those are the memories that remain. I loved the variety of scenery and activities on this trip. I thought it was very well put together, including allowing for a gradual adjustment to altitude.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Pichu lived up to expectations, a highlight of not just this trip The condors were a wonder. Some came really close, but so quickly that I had no time to adjust my zoom. The home stay, whilst not the most comfortable experience, was fascinating - the weather there was cold and rainy, but our hosts, the mamatis, were a delight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano was an excellent organiser and very personable. So hard working, he was constantly checking ahead to ensure that everything ran smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes say no walking poles are allowed in Machu Pichu, so I had left mine at home. On our first, guided visit I found many people, even the young and fit, using them, so I bought one for the next day (c£10) and found it much easier to move around the site which has steep steps, uneven surfaces and few handrails. . It is definitely worth the second optional entry. RE. gifts for the homestay hosts, food from the San Pedro market in Cusco, fruit, cheese etc. was very acceptable if you can't fit anything from home into your case. Don't be overly concerned about altitude. Most people felt some effect, but a little breathlessness is not altitude sickness. Take the advice re. hydration and not overdoing it. It was curious - I climbed up to the Sun Gate with no problem, but found myself (as did others) gulping air occasionally when lying down, or bending to put on shoes - mainly on the Lake as this was our highest overnight stay. BTW I am in my seventies

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just wanted to add my appreciation of the drivers used on the trip. Mountain roads with their many bends, and lots of lorry traffic, don't make for easy driving. They waited patiently for a safe place to overtake, which allowed the group to relax and enjoy the scenery.
  • Reviewed May 2019

    Not Leisurely

    We chose to arrive in Lima a few days early which were glad about because there is a very early start on day after the scheduled arrival day. Also some people had connecting flight problems which meant they were late joining the group. I honestly it is misleading of Exodus to indicate that this holiday is leisurely. It may not be physically demanding, but long travelling days, early starts and a packed itinerary make this a full on tour. Don't be put off because great rewards await but do be aware of what is entailed. The same holiday over 3 weeks would be leisurely but 2 weeks is pretty crammed. We were a little concerned about the altitude before we went but only one person on the trip had any (minor) problems. So rest assured most people cope well and those that don't are usually put right with a little oxygen, which is carried on the tour bus and available in most hotels. Peru has a lot to offer and this trip gets to much of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The peace of Machu Picchu after the crowds had gone.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hardworking, well organised, very caring. You will be in good hands with Edwind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read a little about elongated skulls, Nazca lines and Inca stonework before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We did the flight over the Nazca lines in the afternoon and the flight was fairly bumpy. The main downside was trying to hold the camera steady to get any decent shots.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    steven cliffe

    superb introduction to everything Peru

    a whirlwind ride across some of the most spectacular and diverse scenery on the planet coupled with breathtaking archeological sites. The experience of this trip will last a lifetime

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    flight across Nazca lines one of the most mysterious places on earth Machu Picchu.....so wow of a spectacle it brought me to tears

    What did you think of your group leader?

    awesome facilitator and organizer making everything happen for a full on trip seamless

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    certainly a trip worthy to a top of the bucket list destination

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus are fantastic at their expertise You are in good hands for sure Can't wait for my next trip with them