15 Sep 2012 - 25 Sep 2012
First of all, let me just say that Mandi, our tour manager, rocks! She was so helpful, fun, and nice. Truly, she made the trip an incredible experience for us.
Additionally, our tour guides, Louisa (in Arequeipa) and Jose Abel (Cusco/Macchu Picchu), were both fantastic. I felt that I truly got insight into the culture and history of all of the places we visited.
As for the tour overall, I left feeling like I really had seen most all I could ever want to see of Peru, with the one exception being the Nazca lines. If you want to see the latter, you have to do it on your own, because Contiki doesn't offer that option. Aside from that, I feel like I would have never seen half of the things I did or have even half of the experiences I did had I done this tour on my own or through another company.
Be informed about the level of activity on this one though. We were going dawn to dusk most days, so that we could make it everywhere on the itinerary. Also, be prepared for high altitudes and the effects it can have on your body. We did a LOT of walking most of the tour as well, so bring comfortable shoes that you can climb/hike/go up stairs in and that don't have slippery soles. The streets, sites and sidewalks can be very slick and depending on the time of year, rain compounds this affect. An additional caveat to those that get motion sickness, the first part of the trip you will spend a lot of time on the bus.
Also, this tour is most suited to those that are looking to have a truly unique experience and be a participant in another culture/history. While we went out, had a couple of really big nights, and a lot of fun "on the side." This tour isn't a "party" tour.
Overall, I would chalk up this trip as one of the best I have ever been on, and I have traveled a lot of places; Europe multiple times, Australia, Japan, China, S. Korea, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Costa Rica, Belize, and multiple islands. I would HIGHLY recommend this tour to anyone into adventure travel.
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3