First and foremost, a most sincere thank you to our agent from this Peru travel company! Our agent responded to my special request for assistance in putting together a family trip to Peru over Christmas 2014. What made the trip bittersweet was the reason for making the trip. Our beautiful daughter Karri passed on January 2, 2014 after a brave 5 year battle with brain cancer. She accomplished many things during that time but she was unable to travel to South America. We wanted to make a special trek to Peru - making a trip she would have wanted to make. Our agent worked with us long and hard to make this a success. We were able to spread some of Karris' ashes at Machu Picchu - thanks to our very special guide.
There were a total of 11 people in our group - of which Scarlett our 11 month old grand-daughter was one! She did amazingly well and I do mean she was a trouper! Her parents had purchased a large baby backpack and she loved being able to see everything! Our agent had been able to make special arrangements with all our lodging for a crib or similar - we were not disappointed. She was the youngest ever to stay at the lodge in the rainforest and prior to that it had been an 18 month old!
To co-ordinate such a trip and to ensure that it is the best it can be - start several months in advance for the best prices, accommodations, etc. Our agent had suggested that we upgrade to 4-star hotels and we were so very glad we did - they were all wonderful and we were not disappointed. This is not a trip to short change yourself! I had personally read reviews on all of the Peruvian airlines and I have to admit one could become skeptical BUT we were 100% pleased with LAN air! They were on time, comfortable seats (more room than on most US airlines), we were served food which US airlines have forgotten how to do! Their staff was very, very nice.
Our agent also had coordinated our trip itinerary to take into consideration the drastic altitude changes - and they are indeed significant. FYI - half of our group is medically oriented - so I did a lot of research on this. I recommend taking Ginkgo Biloba starting 2 weeks before you leave and continue while on your trip. Also see if your physician will give you a script for Diamox (to be used if anyone develops altitude sickness). There is also coco leaf tea in the foyer of most hotels to drink (which also should help). I am glad to say that no one on our trip got sick! I believe the Ginkgo is responsible for helping with that fact. (look up the clinical trials that used Ginkgo to combat this issue).
Pack light - and I mean one small suitcase (carry on size) and a backpack! You will be glad you did - if you travel a lot then you will know what I mean! Forget the umbrella - take a rain poncho and a waterproof windbreaker. The weather was suppose to be rain everyday of our trip - we were blessed with almost perfect weather with just a little bit of rain here and there - couldn't complain at all! One pair of shoes is all you will need - very, very comfortable walking shoes with very good tread for all those steps and I mean hundreds and hundreds of steps BUT we would do it again without hesitation.
In case you might be wondering our ages were from 11 months to 75 years!
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I read several of your posted reviews which were very positive and gave me the confidence in working with the travel company I chose. When the owner of the company said that she read my email about our daughter and she felt a need to help us so that we would have a memorable experience - I knew she was the right person - compassionate and caring above and beyond! It became her mission - thank you so much!!!!!
Machu Picchu was absolutely without a doubt spectacular in every way! It should be at the top of everyone's Bucket List. There is a small town at the base called Agua Callientes and we spent the night there - which we all agreed was not only one of the smartest things we did but for sure everyone should consider when making this trek. Our guide was extra special - while we were atop of Machu Picchu - I had asked her privately about the possibility of being able to spread some of our daughter's ashes! She cried and we hugged each other - she too had lost a child almost 10 years ago. A son age 4 to pneumonia! She had spread his ashes at Machu Picchu - she so very graciously showed us two possible sites that we could use. Afterwards, I gave her a picture of our daughter Karri and she said that she comes to visit the site where she had spread her son's ashes and each and every time she would come - she would also visit Karri! Now I ask you - what are the chances and miracle that we should have a guide like her? In case you might be wondering if you can make the climb at Sacred Valley or Machu Picchu - my husband age 75 who has a bad knee skipped Sacred Valley climb so he could climb Machu Picchu. When we started out on this trek - we met an older lady with a walker and she said, "it is totally worth the climb". In addition to the climbs at Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu - there is a special climb that our agent asked if we were interested in doing. They only allow 200 people a day so you do need to reserve ahead of time - this climb is for the young and in shape ! Needless to say my husband and I stayed behind and watched our grand-daughter - smart decision on my part!!!!! Pretty much the climb from #@**** if you know what I mean but for those that made the climb - a tremendous sense of accomplishment!
Second to Machu Picchu was our wonderful and exciting experience in the rainforest jungle - we stayed at The Tambopata Lodge. An amazing adventure a 10 out of 10! Educational - did you know that Brazil nuts are not nuts? There was so much to do and see - if you are even somewhat adventurous put this side trip on your list. It was an unbelievable time - we all would have stayed longer there and without hesitation we would love to go back! The accommodations were unique and very comfortable. Food was very good but best of all our guide was totally awesome. He stays there 24/7 with his group! He has over 11 years of experience in the rainforest - he has a plethora of knowledge on anything having to do with the Tambopata Rainforest Reserve.
1. Rather than getting into Lima, Peru at 1130PM - we would prefer to arrive earlier and be able to avoid staying in Lima altogether. We would have rather stayed in Cusco! The hotel we stayed at in Lima was a 45 minute ride and we didn't get there until 2AM. We were picked up at 630AM to go to the airport to fly onto Cusco! In our opinion one could skip Lima altogether - just a very big city with a population of close to 10 million and a higher crime rate - which of course one would expect given the population.
I would like to note that - we personally purchased the airline tickets to and from Lima, Peru and we used United Airlines. Our agent made all the travel arrangements within Peru with which we were very happy - we flew on LAN Air and without hesitation we would choose them again!
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