03 Apr 2015 - 10 Apr 2015
This was my third Contiki with my husband and was a wonderful experience. We had a fantastic group (a little more mature than past Contiki's) and a very charismatic, knowledgable tour manager, Kenneth, that did his best to share his culture, Peruvian history, and make us a part of his extended family.
This trip seemed a little more loosely scheduled than the past trips but we all just went with the flow. There were some extremely early wake-ups, and not as many late nights because it was more physically demanding. The Inca Trail Trek is a must if you are in shape. It is 11km, mostly up stone steps- Lord of the Rings style- through the mountains and jungle areas and some archeological stops. The Inca Trail Trek guides were very special to the trip. They poured their heart into what they do and also sharing their culture and some rituals with us along the way that made the Machu Picchu experience even more memorable. It is about 6 hours of hiking with a short time at Machu Picchu, but you have the next morning to do a tour of the Machu Picchu archeological site with more detail and of course to take amazing pics.
All of food was very good. Alpaca is delicious and the passion fruit pisco became one of my new favorite drinks.
We didn't do many of the optionals: an unmentioned one was a massage after the Inca Trail trek, which was such a great price and much needed. My husband did the Canopy climb and I'm glad I decided against it, as it was scaling a Brazil Nut tree in the jungle with two metal contraptions to hoist yourself up a rope and required a lot of strength.
The jungle lodge was a bit out of my comfort zone; open air, sleeping under mosquito nets with the possibility of anything coming in your room including opossums, lizards, frogs...and BUGS--- there are so many bugs in the jungle. It was incredibly hot and humid but I did my best to wear long sleeves and pants as there is a lot of hiking in jungle area and bugs everywhere- mosquitos, army ants, beetles, and bugs that sound and look as big as flying pterodactyls. The piranha fishing was very cool and worth the 4:00am wake up to get on the boat to the lagoon early. The jungle guides were very informative and friendly also.
Our stay in Puerto Maldonado was the lowlight of the trip- kinda shitty town, would have preferred to be tired and traveled to Lima to have 2 nights there and skipped this town. There isn't much to do or see at all and the hotel was dumpy. Otherwise, the rest of the hotels were decent. MamaSara hotel in Cusco was nice and about a 10-15 min walk from Plaza des Armas.
Overall, the few places we saw of Peru were very beautiful and special. The people were friendly, the souvenirs were great, and the culture is welcoming (especially in Cusco). Machu Picchu is breath-taking and truly a world wonder. Great experience.
Review written Apr 2015event 0.3
16 Nov 2014 - 23 Nov 2014
This was one of the most amazing experiences in my lifetime and I have traveled the globe. I made great friends on this trip that I consider family. From breathtaking Machu Picchu to tracking the Amazon jungle this is an amazing adventure of two trips in one. I loved every aspect of it and if you're lucky to have Monica as your tour guide she is a very caring knowledgeable and motherly figure that will keep you safe and look out for you at all times. I cannot recommend this trip any higher.I love my Egypt in the Nile tour but I love this tour even more which is hard to imagine.
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
27 Jul 2014 - 03 Aug 2014
This trip is amazing, and Clarisa is the best tour guide I could imagine. You start in Cuzco, and there are a couple things to be aware of: 1) you will be at an extremely high altitude, so get there a couple days in advance so you're not dying of altitude sickness during the tour 2) you'll be meeting with a group that's been traveling around S America together for weeks already. This was no problem for me, as the group was super inclusive, but a cliquish group would make it difficult. You'll get loads of knowledge about Cuzco from Clarisa, who grew up there, before moving on to the Sacred Valley, where you get a taste of the natural beauty of Peru. Plus you visit an alpaca farm! Try eating them later. This trip includes the optional Inca Trail hike. It is difficult, with about 8 million stairs, so fitness is required. However, if you want to test yourself, or if you love great views, it is entirely worth it. My legs may have killed the next day, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Machu Picchu feels so much more rewarding after the trail. Then it's on to the rainforest, with an insane special stay (no walls and jungle sounds all night!) and fun inclusions. Do the cayman spotting, no matter how tired you are! The stars are not to be missed. Try catching a piranha with a couple great local guides. At the end, be prepared for a really difficult 'good-bye' to Peru. Overall? Perfect restaurant selections, great optionals, swank hotels, unforgettable landscapes, unique shopping, and sweet people (both locals and fellow travelers.) DO THIS TOUR WHILE YOU'RE YOUNG AND FIT!
Review written Aug 2014event 0.3