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Reviews

Your Words – We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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Reviews

PERU !

Wow where do I start ?! Having just returned from a 3-week Peru Explorer trip (APX230521) I suppose my first thoughts would be about the size and scale of Peru, the sheer variety, the colours, the smells. The landscape is one of extreme contrasts from arid desert flanked by the Pacific, to vast empty looking scrub in the highlands dotted with the occasional vicuña or alpaca (or volcano), to small fields of crops on the edge of towering mountains and plunging canyons, to steamy jungle with the snow-capped peaks of the Andes in the distance. The sweeping scenery changes steadily as you drive through it – just be prepared for a number of long days on the road.. Exodus list this trip as a 2 out of 7 – Leisurely/Moderate activity level. This is not the case. The distances, the roads, the “standard” early starts – the alarm was usually set for 5:00am – and the altitude made this considerably more arduous. (This rating should be reconsidered I suggest). As you might expect Peru’s cities are noisy bustling places – often choked by traffic – Lima being a case in point. Getting around takes time. This trip actually spends little time in the capital. If you can spare half a day (ie. on Day 2 before the city tour) I would urge you to devote an hour or two to the Museo Larco as we did. This houses a spectacular collection – www.museolarco.org/en/ Arequipa and Cusco were both fascinating, Cusco seemed especially vibrant as the locals prepared for the big festival with music and dancing from the young and not so young ! As one who did the Inca Trail, I actually had little time in Cusco (initially arrived late in the evening from Puno, then away at 5:00am the next morning ..) Whether the itinerary was changed a year or two back (so I was told ?) it might work better if the Day 17 tour of Cusco and Sacsayhuaman were brought forward to Day 12. I would also be tempted to drop one of two of the smaller Inca sites on this day to allow more time in Cusco itself. The actual Inca Trail was well organised and well run with a very experienced guide – but be warned. The cold at night (I found it odd that my “4-season” sleeping bag didn’t seem to keep the cold out), then the heat once the sun rises and the altitude can make this hard work .. but the scenery was again a complete delight. Those porters work really hard for what they get. Set in all this are the various historical and archaeological sites – these do not disappoint ! The view of Machu Picchu really is stupendous and the site visit fascinating – despite the crowds and the various limitations imposed on visitors, fixed itineraries for example. (Be aware that those who opt to do the Inca Trail have to follow a different route to those who do not trek. My wife and I were there on the same day – but had to visit separately). Wiñay Wayna and Sayajmarca (for those trekking) are also spectacular locations – again set on steep mountainsides. From start to finish our whole trip ran calmly and smoothly, controlled quietly by our experienced leader Raul – despite running into the odd problem with roadworks/traffic and with changes of drivers/vehicles. His attention to detail and to the personal needs of his group was excellent. My wide became quite ill – he did everything to help her. This made all the difference to her trip. Thank you Raul. One further comment, about money. Yes, ATM’s are readily available in the cities however – the withdrawal maximum can be rather limiting (400Sols so 85 quid give or take). Bear in mind also that the Peruvian bank charges a fee for using their hole in the wall, normally something like PENS 36.00. It can be less, but for a smaller withdrawal total.. People might want to consider taking some Sols into Peru from the start. Over 3 weeks our Peru Explorer trip involved many wonderful places and many amazing people – both guides and locals. Despite some of the news coming out of Peru this year and despite a 3-year delay (we had booked originally to go in 2020 ..) the dream finally came true, a dream since childhood for some of us.. PS: the Café Manos Unidas mentioned towards the end of the Trip Notes should be removed. When we asked about it, we were told this worthy training initiative had stopped during Covid ..

Most Inspirational Moment

See above

Thoughts on Group Leader

See above

Advice for Potential Travellers

See above

Suggestions

See above

Career in ruins

As with all Exodus trips that I have been on, prepare yourself for early starts and long days. It is not a holiday but more of an adventure so be prepared to immerse yourself in a feast of archaeology and  anthropology in order to gain some understanding of the cultures and history of one of the cradles of civilisation. You will explore the diverse geographical regions from coastal deserts, islands, high altitude lakes, the Altiplanos, the famous sacred valley from Cusco, the spectacular Machu Picchu and the depths of the Amazon rainforest. There are an endless numbers of churches, museums, archaeological sites to admire and inform your thirst for knowledge. The Incas, although significant, were not the only civilisation to occupy Peru.

If you are as lucky as we were, Exodus managed to make the earth move for us (4.3 on the Richter scale at Arequipa} and a nearby volcano even elected a new Pope! Later on, they conversed with the gods to allow us to experience a 24-hour rainstorm in the forest- it easily beat the 5inch days I used to see in Wales.

Our driver, Alex, successfully managed the frenetic driving conditions in the cities, Pan American Highway and our ascent into the Andes- I could not work out whether a Highway Code actually exists. At the end of each day, he was also skilled in Acupressure and massage- enough to release any tensions.

Our guide had the unique knack of managing and leading our group to maximise their understanding of not only his proud identity as one of the ‘locals’ but also to find other passionate guides at different intervals to further our understanding of the history of his country. Despite the farmers’ protests towards the end, he still managed to get us to the pinnacle of the trip- Machu Picchu.

Truly an adventure in which you have to immerse yourself.

Most Inspirational Moment

Having suffered from Altitude sickness for a considerable length of time (11days), which did naturally affect my ability to participate in some activities and enjoy the fantastic Peruvian cuisine, I was glad that eventually, I managed to get to Machu Picchu. This had had been a childhood ambition, encouraged by my father who had bought encyclopaedias to stimulate my interest in other parts of the world that he was unable to travel to in his lifetime. The sights will stay with me. A flight over the Nasca Lines is the only way to appreciate the size and scale of these features in the desert, followed by a trip to the local planetarium to understand their significance (nothing to do with Von Daniken's theory) and to observe the rings of Saturn through the telescope.

Thoughts on Group Leader

What can be said about William? A multi-lingual Cusco lad proud of his heritage (although unwilling to sacrifice his own daughter- it is surprising how we can all be a bit selective about taking things from our past!). He was always available to facilitate not only the group’s needs but also each individuals needs as circumstances arose. I will be forever grateful that he managed to get me support when I had to turn back on the Inca Trail after 20k. How can he be so fit- although he was born at altitude!!!! His knowledge and enthusiasm for his chosen career was very evident. He also had an incredible network of local passionate guides that only enhanced our experiences.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Do not underestimate the Acute Mountain Sickness; while most will acclimatise within 2-3 days mine was prolonged and before this trip, I thought that I was reasonably fit. Whether Covid-19 had anything to do with this, as I had been ill with it for 3 weeks some 2years ago, I will never know. Just be prepared to consult with a doctor, I had been unable to do this in the current climate as was finding it hard to get a consultation prior to leaving.

Suggestions

It is a pity that a sewerage infrastructure is not in place at Puno as all the effluent just dumps into Lake Titicaca right where the reed islands are. Beyond the peninsular, the water is clear.

Fantastic three weeks exploring Peru

The trip starts with exploring the capital city Lima, then follows the coast seeing flocks of the sea birds and sea lions on the way before turning inland into the Andes, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and a brief visit to ‘the jungle’. You see magnificent landscapes along the way from the desert-like coastal plains to the fabulous snow-capped Andean mountain tops with an active volcano on the horizon. You visit manu Inca and pre-Inca settlements during the course of the three weeks. After the effort and camping along the Inca Trail there’s just enough time to visit the jungle for more wild-life viewing. This excursion has the lot!

Most Inspirational Moment

In terms of physical effort, going over Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail. However, seeing the condors gliding in and around the canyons and cliffs and viewing the Lines of Nazca from above were also pretty inspirational moments. The Inca sites were all phenomenal in terms of size and construction.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Group Leader Luis Gonzales was brilliant. Knowledgeable, attentive, always careful as to our health, particularly when we were at altitude and very keen to show us everything Peru offers, Luis was always professional and had a great sense of humour.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for all weathers. We had heat and humidity in the jungle and rain, wind, sleet, mist, cold as well as sun and heat in the Andes. Invest in a good poncho - the plastic ones for sale locally are not up to the job.

A fantastic journey around Southern Peru

An amazing trip full of insight and excitement. 3 weeks seeing the Coast, the Desert, the mountains and the jungle. Lots of early starts but worth it to cram in as much as possible. So many highlights including the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca lines, Arequipa, Colca Canyon and its condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, local festivals, the Moonstone Trek, Machu Picchu, the jungle…

Most Inspirational Moment

Following the Moonstone Trek, high in the mountains, for 4 days and 3 nights, camping in the wilderness and waking up to snow one morning, meeting virtually no-one, supported by a great team. Visiting Machu Picchu which really is as amazing as the pictures suggest. Going to the Amazon jungle, which was fantastic, such a change from the rest of the trip, with lots of wildlife to see.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Bruce was fantastic. Friendly, committed, cheerful, and informative he kept us to time and schedule and was great company too, even giving up part of his day off to take us to another site.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Just be aware that although the trip is rated leisurely / moderate there are lots of early starts and lots of travel on the coach, with limited downtime, particularly until Cusco. But its a great trip and there's so much to see.

Suggestions

Go, its such an interesting country.

One of the two best trips of my life

Overall this was the trip of a lifetime. Spending three weeks in Peru was worth every minute, from the Anthropological and Archaeological museum in Lima, through the Ballestos islands, flying over the Nazca lines, the Altiplano with volcanoes and the most gorgeous flamingos, Colca Canyon and the condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, The Sacred Valley, the Maras saltworks and Moray Inca agricultural research station (if that is what it was) and Machu Picchu. The Peruvian people, their food, their cities. The Andes. The geology, the wildlife. It truly was a cornucopia of delights. We were very lucky with the weather, which was well nigh perfect.

The trip was very well planned and allowed plenty of time for acclimatisation, so that by the time we arrived at Cusco, we were quite at home with the altitude. We had chosen not to do one of the hikes to or near Machu Picchu and instead spent an extra three days in Cusco. We were largely left on our own but Exodus and our tour guide had arranged and advised us on the activities we wanted to do. It worked out very well and we didn’t exhaust all the extra museums, art galleries, restaurants nor do all the day trips etc. that were available. We were very happy with our choice and we had a lot to discuss with our more active tour companions when they returned to Cusco.

Most Inspirational Moment

Probably standing at 5,000m, with a 300 degree panorama round the rainbow hills at Hanchipacha. This wasn't part of the official itinerary and we did it on one of our free days (we did not do the Inca Trail). We lucked out with the weather and the resulting photo now dominates a complete wall in our house. Honourable mentions to: The condors which came out for us at Colca Canyon. They were breathtaking. Seeing a very large anaconda in Amazonia.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Reni was excellent. The depth of his experience was telling. He worked really hard to look after everyone and make sure we stayed safe and got the very best experiences possible. 10/10

Advice for Potential Travellers

The only negative was some of the bus driving. We had a long trip one day and we had a second, younger, bus driver who was doing insane things at night, on a winding road with oncoming fuel tankers. It was very scary and dangerous and our tour guide spoke to the driver in Spanish. Things improved but it should not have got to this point.

Suggestions

The local guides were great. Another of the positives for us was our fellow travellers. Two from the UK, two from Canada and two from Australia. They were interesting, diverse people with a big range of ages and experiences.

Peru Holiday

A superb holiday from start to finish, taking in many different facets of Peru as a country. From Pacific coast to historical sites, magnificent mountains, glorious wildlife and fascinating jungle. This trip had it all. Add in the variety of different modes of transport and there is something to appeal to anyone.

Most Inspirational Moment

The completion of the Inca trail trek, despite the dreadful weather, was a moment of true inspiration. Firstly for having completed the physically demanding trek and secondly for the panoramic view of the historic site of Macchupiccu, and realising the scale of it all.

Thoughts on Group Leader

The group leader was excellent, dealing with every situation in a cool, efficient manner. His personality was very endearing and his knowledge of the various different places was inspirational. His frankness about the problems facing Peru as a country was refreshing to hear.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Do not be fooled by the Exodus rating of the trip. It is harder than they would have you believe. In fact probably one of the most physically challenging things I have ever undertaken. Despite significant preparation there is no way, living in Britain, can you prepare for the altitude effect which affected the majority of our group to some degree.

Suggestions

The standard of the hotels used, whilst on the whole was good, there was some variation which at times was slightly disappointing.

Excellent trip, do it!

Fantastic trip! Great itinerary, great leader and wonderful country. Everything was beyond expectations. A busy and well organised adventure that highlighted the diversity of Peru.

Most Inspirational Moment

Many wonderful moments. Flying over the Nasca lines was a highlight, having studied pre-Hispanic South American history decades ago and finally seeing them. The condors at Colca Canyon were amazing. On of our free days, we visited Rainbow Mountains; a surreal landscape that was breathtaking.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent leader. Knowledgable, passionate, very calm and relaxed. Very hard working and kept everything running smoothly, organising many activities for the diverse group. Amazing organisational skills. I've done a number of small group tours (Intrepid, Geckos) and Reynaldi is one the best tour leaders I've known. Outstanding.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Plenty of sunscreen. If hiking, take good equipment, although some can be hired before trekking. Take layers of clothing, as weather ranges from very cold to very hot.

Suggestions

If you wish to visit museums on the itinerary, check that they are open on the day that you visit. I was looking forward to visiting the Ica Museum, but it was closed on the day we were there. Unfortunately, that wasn't mentioned in the trip notes. I think it would be good if Exodus mentions museum closures in the trip notes.

A Great Adventure

As described, the itinerary encompasses a tremendous range of activities, venues and experiences which provided insights into the country’s culture, history and heritage. We met many interesting people along the way and had great fun with fellow travellers and guides. As usual with Exodus trips there were many early mornings and some long journeys, but these are necessary for the trip to achieve the stated aims! Hotels were comfortable and all had suitable amenities. Food – and drink – was plentiful and tasty and generally good quality. The route was well planned and enabled us to fully acclimatise before attempting the focal activity for us – the Inca Trail. It also put the trail and Machu Picchu into a broader context so that we appreciated it all even more. Support on the Inca Trail, from our guide and ‘porters’ was exceptional. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every minute.

Most Inspirational Moment

Walking the trail, arriving at and visiting Machu Picchu was the real culmination as that was our main objective, but was heightened as a result of what we had experienced on the trip beforehand. There was magnificent scenery in many places, but especially at sunset and sunrise on the trail. Condors soaring overhead in Colca Canyon were also awe inspiring.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Mike was exceptional. His knowledge enthusiasm and passion for his country and its cultural heritage added a whole extra and very special dimension to the trip. He ensured that everything was very well organized and he managed individual needs particularly well - especially on the Inca Trail. He also ensured that we got full benefit from other local guides and anyone else supporting the trip, such as porters and drivers. There was a real feeling of one team dedicated to helping us to get the most from the trip. He also engendered a real sense of 'family' for us trippers. All this with a 'wicked' sense of humour!

Advice for Potential Travellers

Money - we didn't have any need for US dollars. Credit cards were usable in most restaurants. Credit and debit cards gave a far better exchange rate than cash in the UK - especially if you have a fee free card. Climate / Weather - didn't really get a feel for the temperature range from the trip notes and most towns got colder earlier than anticipated. Inca Trail - the packing list for the trail possibly over complicated requirements. Also trip notes were not clear that you need stuff for six days allowing for the night in Ollantaytambo before (as well as the night in Aguas Calientes after) - but you can leave things in the lodge at Ollantaytambo and pick up on return. It is worth doing aerobic activity beforehand as the altitude on day 2 had experienced walkers puffing!

Suggestions

Other companies often have a different schedule for the 4 day Inca Trail. The Exodus model suited us perfectly and we often had the trail seemingly to ourselves. If you are thinking about doing it - just go for it!

A wonderful way to see Peru's highlights

We went on this trip in July which is the Peruvian winter.
This tour lasts for around 3 weeks and for the majority is packed with a full itinerary. You start at Lima, known locally as ‘Donkey Belly’ because it is always cloudy due to the local topography and weather systems. To be honest Lima is OK but a typical capital city with usual buildings of interest and you really don’t need to spend much time there. We did however get our first sample of the local Peruvian alcoholic drink – Pisco Sour. A brandy based drink made from the skin of grapes. It is one of Peru’s best kept secrets. You must try it! Hotel clean and functional.
From Lima we were driven in a coach that had more room than needed for our party of 14 which would see us all the way through to Cuzco. We needed space as the trips can be long and some folks felt a bit nauseous. The two drivers were lovely chaps and couldn’t do enough for us. Exodus always provide large boxes of water for each leg of the journey and is always needed. From Lima you then head off down the coast on day 3 to visit Pachacamac Fortress an Inca coastal settlement. . Interesting enough and a good place to take photos of the settlement which is dry and dusty. This a good taste of the first of many Inca sites throughout the trip. Afterwards on to the coastal resort of Pucusana where we had lunch and a boat trip around the bay photographing the numerous pelicans. The food at the restaurants here and throughout the trip was of a high standard and most enjoyable. The hotel here was pretty basic and the rooms small.
The following day we headed for another harbour for a high speed boat ride to the Ballestas Islands, which we understand has more sea birds per square metre than anywhere else in the world. If you have a telephoto lens then take it as the variety of birds is fantastic, including penguins. You can’t get too close due to the rough sea and rocks but this excursion is truly spectacular. Can imagine folks could feel a bit nauseous if the sea is too rough, so keep looking at the horizon. Later we visit the Nazca lines from watch towers which is really needed to gauge the perspective of these unusual markings.
The next day is pretty arduous as we travel inland across dry and sometimes windy uneven roads to Arequipa. A number of our party felt or were ill due to travel sickness on this 10 hour drive. We have a few short stops along the way which are greatly needed. The following day we discover this old city and are rewarded with some great photos of the surrounding dormant volcanoes and one live one. The city is very interesting and gives visitors a much better insight in to local Peruvian life and culture. The trip to the convent is very interesting. The hotel was very quaint but lovely with a huge atrium. The city square is well worth a visit for supplies and at night is pretty lively.
On day 7 we visit the Colca Canyon, a spectacular drive along the edge of the valley. The famous Condors are the treat at the end! We leave fairly early after breakfast and are lucky as the thermals are starting just as we arrived. We saw these wonderful graceful birds in all their glory soaring time and time again. Use that telephoto if you have it. They are not the only birds as we also saw lots of other smaller varieties including the South American Large Hummingbird. This spectacular place was surreal, although if the weather is against you (as it was the day after) the Condors won’t come out to play. The drive here to Chivay climbs high through the mountains and very bendy but had spectacular views.

The hotel at Chivay was more basic but reasonable enough. Wifi here was poor and can be patchy at many of the hotels. Exploring the town here and the local market is relaxing way to spend the evening. Our guide as always will recommend places to eat. We didn’t sample the hot springs but many of our party did and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had been put off by previous reports of lack of cleanliness but our group didn’t notice anything untoward.
The additional local tour guides that are picked up at each stage along the way add immensely to the enjoyment with them imparting their specialist insight to the region we visit. We rated all of them, all of whom had an excellent command of English.
The next part of the trip was to travel to Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca. We are climbing it seems all the time but stop regularly at view points and to see the wild Vicuna and Alpacas roaming the high plains. Puno is a thriving bustling City we plenty of sights and local amenities. The hotel and food here was very good with the central plaza a very popular place to spend some time. The next day we visit the Lake and board a boat that takes us to the Reed People who literally spend their lives floating on the lake on the reeds. Full of local tradition and colour you will be invited to spend some time with these people with ample photography opportunities. You finish off by taking a trip around the reed village in their own boats which would look more at home on a pleasure park, but great fun nonetheless.

As you travel higher some travellers may start to feel the effects of altitude. We did take the recommended medication for this part of the journey and all the way through to Machu Picchu. We felt more fatigued than normal, so a more relaxed pace and plenty of fluids is the best solution.

Another long coach journey but with more stops and less bendy all the way to the Inca capital of Cusco. We spend more time at Cusco than anywhere else but the hotel is ok but fairly basic. Maybe Exodus should look at an upgrade. My friend didn’t do the Inca Trail and spent even more time there. If you are on the ground floor then there seems to be a lot of noise from staff and guests.

Cusco however is a lovely City full of history and tradition. As always the central plaza is the main focus of the locals and truly worth an evening visit. The restaurants were also very good and you can try local dishes such as Alpaca or Guinea Pig. We visited the spectacular Sacred Valley and the fortress at Ollantaytambo, and a vibrant local market was well worth a visit . Take care not to take photos of the locals unless they are happy for you to do so. Many will ask for a Soles or two.

The next part if the trip is the Inca Trail. Everyone will have wonderful memories of this but here is what we experienced. You start off early to get on the trial so the weather is chilly. You climb for most of the first 2 days then descend for the rest. We travelled in winter and at night it does get very cold and you are under canvas. We chose to take our own sleeping bags but I the ones you can get from Exodus are perfectly good with a warm liner. Unfortunately it did also rain for a couple of the days, which can drench you all the way through. Fortunately we had decent quality ponchos bought in the UK (you need them). The paths can get slippery so robust good quality hiking boots or shoes are a must. Walking Poles, I would thoroughly recommend for steadiness on uneven parts. The tents are waterproof enough although the ends did get wet and although the ground for the most part only had a slight incline you did slip down the tent during the night. Wear dry clothes at night (I wore thermals) especially if your day clothes are damp. You climb as high as 16,000 ft across Dead Woman’s Pass (another group photo).

The walk is a reasonable pace but due to the altitude a slow pace is best and the guides will keep this steady pace. The Porters and they were probably 25 of them just for our group, did an absolutely fabulous job, packing and unpacking each day, cooking really amazing food and just about seeing to everything. All the water is boiled and therefore clean, make sure you drink plenty. We took small bottles of concentrated juice from home as this helped mask the taste of boiled water. Just remember, you will get wet, you will get cold, you will get hot, so you need to pack for everything but the Porters will only carry 7kg of your kit. The rest is up to you and your day bag, so only take stuff absolutely necessary. All of your other luggage and suitcase will be waiting for you at hotel at the end of the trek. You get an enormous sense of achievement doing this walk but you will get out of breath especially on the way up. Along the way you visit some amazing Inca sites and you have regular stops for rest and refreshments. Exodus plan this very carefully. Although the trail is only about 26 miles, don’t forget it’s up and down all the time. The travel toilets are as you would expect basic, and only at camp. There are some loos along the way but not many. A trip to the bushes maybe called for but you must take you own paper and you cannot leave it in the bushes. Doggy poo bags probably good to take along.

The night before the final day you stay very high up overlooking the mountains that lead to Machu Picchu. We had a lot of mist and cloud but when it cleared the spectacular scenery is breathtaking. On the final morning you say goodbye to the Porters who earn every Soles you tip them. They carry around 25kg each on their back and speed past you as they go the next site, sometimes wearing just sandals in the rain.

As you cross the Sun Gate Machu Picchu comes into view in the distance. Nothing prepares you for this awe inspiring site. Forget the photos you’ve seen, this leaves you speechless. The group gather together for the usual group photo then proceed downhill to this famous Inca phenomenon. You spend quite a bit of time at the site taking photos but don’t go in to the main part which is the plan for the next day. As you leave the site weary, smelly but elated you go on a switch back coach ride to Machu Picchu town. After being fairly remote walking in the mountains you are faced with a loud and huge swarm of day trippers. You have to queue for the bus which took us about 20 minutes.

The hotel in Machu Picchu was fairly good although some in our group complained they had no hot water, which after 4 days under canvas would have been an extreme disappointment.

The following day our Exodus guide Renaldi (Renny) took us on amazing historic guide of the Machi Picchu site. You just can’t get enough photos of such an extraordinary and magical place. Nothing really prepares you for what you see.

In a way everything is sort of an anti-climax after Machu Picchu but you still wonder at the marvelous scenery of this geographically varied country. The train back to Ollantaytambo through the deep valley was an excellent way to leave Machu Picchu. We then catch a minibus back to Cusco, a bit crampt as all the seats were taken up by the group. The next few days we ‘come down’ with a few more days in Cusco and visiting other Inca sites.

The final part of the tour is a short flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon. You stay in lodges built on stilts and sleep under mosquito nets with no hot water (cold shower), but of course you expect this. After the dryness of the west coast and the elevation of the trek, the Amazon seems to be out of place in Peru. Whilst there we enjoyed the high speed river journeys, the late night Cayman spotting, the night trek in search of wild like and the boat trip on the lake catching Piranhas. Great sunsets along the river and the trek to the lake was very enjoyable. Saw some monkeys and plenty of birds but I guess we were hoping to see more wildlife.

Just a final point of caution. On our flight back we landed in Cusco to pick up more passengers for onward to Lima. However at Cusco, the airline company Avianca in their wisdom, decide that the air conditions (too hot) would affect lift off and they offloaded some of the suitcases, some of which were from our party. It took some nearly 2 weeks to be reunited with their baggage with Avianca hopelessly not interested. It didn’t detract however from a wonderful and memorable holiday.

Most Inspirational Moment

Lots, but of course the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu itself. The Inca sites generally were breathtaking. Loved the boat trip to the Ballestas Islands. Colca Canyon and the Condors. The Reed People and the trip into the Amazon.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Renaldi (Renny) was a fantastic group leader, caring, considerate and compassionate. Everything worked like clockwork, with him on the phone at every point to ensure we would be met without hold-up. His knowledge was phenomenal especially concerning the Incas, Cusco and Machu Picchu. He had such a vast knowledge about everything Peru. He is a credit to his industry.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Weather: be prepared for everything from wet to hot to cold. Take layers for the trek that can be taken off. Wear good rainproof hiking shoes or boots. You need to grip. I slipped over a number of times on the descent even with good boots. Take a quality poncho. Walking poles a must. Take a good quality waterproof jacket to suit the season. It gets very cold at night on the hike. Cameras and phones can't be charged for 4 days on the hike, so take a spare battery or large battery charger. Caution, all batteries must be carried in hand luggage including from phones and cameras otherwise Avianca may offload your luggage. Headtorch a must for hike and Amazon Altitude sickness tablets Refillable water bottle Hat and sun screen - due to altitude very easy to get sun burn (I did) Sunglasses

Suggestions

The group we had ranged from 50-over 70 years of age. If you are reasonably fit with no health problems you can do the trek. You will get out of breath on the way up, but so did everybody. The Amazon part of the journey didn't add that much to the trip. Maybe suggest going deeper in to the amazon where we may see more wildlife.

A wonderful Peruvian adventure

Make no mistake, this is not a holiday as such but a full-on early morning to evening priceless adventure and experience. If you are doing the Inca trail you will probably find yourselves with only a couple of half days spare. Not one moment of this will you ever regret – we can honestly say that it was of the best experiences in 40 plus years of travel.
Every day was well organised and went as smoothly as any holiday as diverse as this one could do.
The hotels were of a good standard, particularly for a third World country.
As far as the Inca trail is concerned, we are in our mid sixties, reasonably fit and had no real problems completing it. The porters are just incredible and ran past us as we laboured up and down hills!
The food on the trek was amazingly good and we all ate well.

Most Inspirational Moment

Too many to list!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our group leader was Renaldi Chacca. After all our years of travelling we can honestly say that Rennie, as we called him, was the best we have ever known. This was a sentiment shared by everyone else in our group. His depth of knowledge about the history, culture, politics and all things Peruvian was truly amazing. He was by turns kind, sympathetic, humorous, efficient but firm when the situation required it. We felt that we were saying goodbye to a friend at the end of the trip.

Advice for Potential Travellers

In July it snowed on the Inca Trail so go prepared for all conditions.