Tour price from USD 2432 for 15. Plus a local payment of pp
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I particularly enjoyed climbing a mountain above Machu Pichu; I hiked up into the clouds, which then parted and revealed the most sensational views of the ruins. I had to sign my name in a book at the bottom of the mountain, and was the only person to make the ascent that day, so had the whole place to myself. It was magical.
What were the highlights of your trip, including anything that you did which was specific or unique to your tour
The Lares trek was fabulous, passing through a couple of really small highland villages and gorgeous mountain scenery.
My favourite part was probably the homestay on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca – the views out over the island and the lake were out of this world and the family that we were staying with were so welcoming and friendly, despite us having no language in common. Accommodation was really simple, but perfectly adequate. That night we had a full moon and it rose blood red over Lake Titacaca. Magical !
Lastly, the Amazon was stunning – we climbed to the top of a tree tower (basically a scaffold tower in the middle of the rainforest) and could see for miles over the jungle, which disappeared over the horizon in every direction. We hiked through the rainforest and gained a real insight into the local eco-system. And, best of all, at the end of the day we returned to our very plush Amazon lodge, to relax in a hammock and sip a local jungle cocktail. Also, we enjoyed being on local television in Lima (we were approached by a TV crew who were filming the Easter celebrations and who wanted to interview us!).
Do you feel your holiday benefited local people and/or was it responsible?
It was responsible. The trek may have benefitted local people insofar as the donkey handlers came from small local villages and this was providing them with income.
What was your accommodation like?
Our hotels were very good – they were centrally located, relatively atmospheric in some places, clean and had good facilities. Our hotel in Lima was the place where they invented the Pisco Sour – Peru’s cocktail of choice and a strange mixture of Pisco (a local alcohol) and egg white. Sounds strange, tastes sensational!
The Amazon lodge was fabulous; there was no electricity so it was lit by lamps, making it very atmospheric. Our room had no external wall, just the forest. There were hammocks that you could relax in, monkeys to listen to and bugs to avoid. All in all, a real Amazon experience.
What was the food like? What were the places you ate like?
When in Lima, make sure you try cerviches, the local speciality. This is very fresh, raw fish that is marinated in lime and chilli and is absolutely delicious. My mouth waters as I write this! The food on the trek was also sensational – the cook managed to cook apple pie and alpaca kebabs on the most basic equipment. It was exactly what you needed after a full day of trekking.
What was atmosphere of the country/the place(s) you visited like?
We were there in Easter week which was really good fun as there was quite a holiday atmosphere in the streets, and there were evening parades through the streets of religious icons.
What rating would you give the tour?
Do you feel the tour was value for money?
It was reasonable value for money.
What was it like travelling in a group?
It was fun.
What advice would you give to other travellers?
Try to learn a few words of Spanish before you go, to help interact with the local people. In particular it is worth knowing a few words for the local food, as otherwise the Spanish menus will be very difficult to decipher at the start of the tour, before you meet the tour leader.
Don’t bother bringing a sleeping bag for the trek – you can hire really good and very clean ones in Cusco for very little money and it saves you carting one around.
I would recommend trying to travel between May and October as the weather in the highlands is best during that time of year. We were there in April and when we first arrived at Machu Pichhu the entire site was shrouded in mist. Luckily it cleared and we had great views by the middle of the morning but this is not guaranteed at that time of year and it would have been awful to miss the views.
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