Most Inspirational Moment
Its difficult to choose just one as each day revealed some new place or aspect of Peruvian culture. Machu Pichu really is stunning and as magical as it looks in the photos. I personally found travelling through the Andes very inspirational. I hate long journeys by road (I suffer from motion sickness) and I was dreading the road journey but the scenery of the Andes really is breathtaking. So glad we traveled overland instead of flying straight to Cusco. Its inspired me to consider further overland journeys.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Giuliano was an excellent tour leader. He ensured all our transfers, arrivals, hotel check ins and local guided tours were well co-ordinated. He was knowledgeable on local places and history, he was also very responsive to requests from members of the group to do additional activities, vary the itinerary. As a tour leader who has previous experience of gourmet food tours he also gave us some great recommendations for eateries.
Advice for Potential Travellers
The pace of the trip is full on and everybody suffered a little with altitude. Some were very tired, others developed sinus problems, others had upset stomachs or felt nauseous. Only one encountered breathing problems and was immediately put on oxygen and handled expertly by our tour leader.
I personally opted to take Diamox for altitude and had no problems breathing at altitude but I did still experience slow digestion and on occasion had an upset stomach. Fortunately I had a big bag of medical remedies from home and my advice would be to bring these with you. I recommend bringing hydration salts and over the counter remedies for an upset tummy/indigestion.
I bought a ticket to hike Montana Machu Pichu 3 months in advance, for the morning of the 2nd day in Machu Pichu, . Since there are only 400 available a day, mountain hiking tickets sell out months in advance, if this is something you want to do email Exodus and they will advise you the date you need to purchase the ticket and details of timing. Be aware you have to be very fit and get up early (5am) and be back at the hotel by 2pm.
Practical suggestions of things you should bring for the trip - A stash of tissues, antibacterial wipes (essential), small overnight bag/daypack and a good supply of cash.
Opportunities to use credit cards are limited to the more expensive shops and restaurants. Also whilst ATMS are available, they are not always on the doorstep as you often stay in remoter locations.
The age demographic of the group took me by surprise. I was the only person there under 50, everyone else was at least over 60 and there were 17 of us. Whilst my travel companions were all good fun and young at heart I did, at times, feel like an outsider.
Useful info to have:
Luggage allowance on the internal flight to Lima is 23kg and you are permitted an 8kg bag in the cabin.
Tipping Kitty was $83, it would have been good to know if Exodus had advised us of this in advance. It is worth having the tipping kitty as there are a lot of places where carrying our own bags could become a chore. Fortunately the bell boys and drivers did this for us and were tipped from the kitty.
Shopping for artisan items is better when travelling in the Andes. If you see it and like it, grab it as you go, I found less unique items available and those that were ended up more expensive in Lima.