This was my first Contiki, and it was honestly the best traveling experience of my life! I met so many amazing people on my tour, some of which I know I will be lifelong friends with. Our tour manager, Gaby Puma, was excellent at her job – there is not a problem that she cannot solve! She was so organized and friendly and loved showing us her phenomenal country of Peru.
I will start with the things that I did not like about the tour because there were not very many of them. Firstly, the “Peru Uncovered” tour is actually a small section of a larger tour that includes other countries like the Galapagos, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil. I believe a lot of Contiki tours are sold this way. They have one huge month-long tour that they break up and sell in parts. I would recommend looking for the longer tours because you get more “bang for your buck” (if you have enough finances and vacay time). Secondly, the Amazon portion of the trip was kind of underwhelming. We barely saw any animals, and the accommodations and exclusions in the Amazon were just “okay”.
Back to the good stuff – basically everything else was awesome. I found that I enjoyed the social element of the tour much more than the tour itself. You make fast friends with people you spend 24/7 with, and experiencing a new culture with them is fantastic. Peru has so much to offer – food, different landscapes and climates, friendly people, and most importantly… ALPACAS! Touching a real alpaca was one of the highlights of my trip, lol. Soooo soft. I recommend buying a ton of alpaca wool scarves as souvenirs for people back home because there is not much else in terms of souvenirs in Peru.
Machu Picchu was also amazing, obviously. You’ve seen so many pictures of it that when you get there, it seems almost unreal, like you are still looking at a picture of it. You just gotta find a nice empty spot and sit and look at it for a while. I did NOT do the Inca Trail because of some confusion and misinformation from Contiki, and I somewhat regret it. It was nice having a chill day while most of the group was hiking up the trail (some mornings we have to get up at 4AM… that, combined with drinking the night before makes for some tiring days), but it sounded like an awesome experience from the rest of the group. If you are of a below-average fitness level, I’m pretty sure you could do the hike and not die. Good luck if you do, haha!
My favourite city of the tour (by far) was Cusco. It has such a cool vibe and is just overall a beautiful city with amazing food and culture. I wish I could have spent more time there. I also think that I liked Cusco the best because Gaby was from there and she was the one that showed us around. I found the other tour guides in Lima and Lake Titicaca somewhat impersonal and slightly boring.
I recommend trying EVERYTHING in terms of food and excursions (Me Times). Peru really does have diverse and amazing food, and you will most likely (99% chance) have stomach problems at some point, so you might as well live it up and eat everything ;)
Make sure you get a selfie with an alpaca, eat an alpaca steak (preferably not from the alpaca you got a selfie with), go to the cat park in Lima, and let loose and have fun. You will have #noregrets if you go on Peru Uncovered trip!