18 Jul 2015 - 28 Jul 2015
Firstly, my trip manager, Monica, was wonderful. Knowledgeable and energetic, she was also very attentive. I began my first night in Lima violently ill with food poisoning (from an American airport - I hadn't even eaten anything/had anything to drink in Peru yet) and remained sick for four days. Monica, the local guides, and the hotel professionals were so incredibly on point making sure I was taken care of. I'd never before been so grateful to be in a tour group instead of traveling solo!
Secondly, I'd wanted to visit Peru for half of my life, and this trip was so inclusive and thorough that I feel I really saw a bit of everything. Peru is a truly beautiful country, and from Lima to remote areas such as Chivay I was constantly in awe. The locals were extremely friendly and accommodating (seriously, I didn't know people could be so kind), and happy to share their culture with us. The food was delicious, the hotels were extremely clean and comfortable, and our Coach drivers were kind, patient, and skilled. The trip was also run in a very efficient and timely manner, which I greatly appreciated.
Some of my favorite parts of this trip include sitting in natural hot springs in Colca Valley, learning about how alpaca wool is dyed and woven, watching the sun rise over the peaks of Machu Picchu, and eating empanadas in various hole-in-the-wall shops in Cuzco and Pukara. This trip was an excellent combination of cultural education and adventure! I also must say that I truly had an amazing group - getting to know other young people from around the world, and bonding of new experiences and long bus rides was one of the best parts! I really could go on for hours about how great this entire experience was, but I'll spare you :-)
Just a few words of caution: this is a really busy trip! You rarely stay in the same hotel/town for more than one night, many mornings you'll leave at/before dawn and the days are jam-packed. It's totally, 100% worth it, but if you're looking for a relaxing vacation this isn't exactly that. Also, a few of us struggled with digestive issues (as is common when traveling anywhere), and some members of my group certainly felt the effects of the altitude. I went in July and temperatures ranged from about 20-75 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you pack layers and wear comfortable shoes - there's a lot of walking involved! Lastly, you're responsible for getting yourself from the Lima airport to your hotel approximately 45 minutes away - I recommend being aware of your surroundings, researching cab companies ahead of time, and brushing up on some Spanish to help yourself out!
This is truly the trip of a lifetime. I'd go again in a heartbeat!
Review written Apr 2016event 0.3
04 Apr 2015 - 14 Apr 2015
Went for Machu Picchu and fell in love with this country along the way. Amazing guide (Jonathan) that was the perfect mix of culture and fun. Would definitely recommend staying the extra few days for the Amazon part. We didn't and were super bummed. Even if you don't do the inca trail (we didn't the permits were sold out by the time we booked ) this trip is still worth it. Go!
Review written Nov 2015event 0.3
12 Sep 2015 - 22 Sep 2015
This was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone wanting to get a taste of Peru or South America. The Inca Trail option is a must do if you are heading to Peru and is suitable for all levels of fitness! All of the optional activities are worth doing and not overly expensive. I found that everyone on our tour did basically every optional and definitely did not regret it. The food is incredible all around Peru, in the included meals, optionals and just normal street food that you find along the way. Definitely try both the Alpaca and Guinea Pig (Cuy) when you have the chance to. Peru can be quite cold at times especially on this tour when you travel through different altitudes, make sure you have an appropriate selection of clothing for all weather conditions. I cannot recommend this tour and Peru enough!
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
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