My mom and I traveled to Peru just last week (Apr 8-15) and have nothing but good things to report about Kuoda. Tom helped us with our planning and he came up with a wonderful itinerary that we barely had to adjust, but any changes we proposed were easily and happily accommodated.
We flew into Lima late at night (we booked international flights) and took a midday flight to Cusco (booked by Kuoda). Liseth met us at the airport, helped us with baggage, and we jumped in a waiting car to start our visit to Cusco. She helped us check in to our hotel (the beautiful Casona Antigua San Blas) and made sure everything was set before leaving us the rest of the evening to get used to the altitude and explore.
The next day, we met our tour guide, Elliacin (hopefully we got the spelling correct!) who stayed with us the rest of the week. He was extremely knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. We learned many new facts (and were never bored!). All our tickets to sites were purchased ahead of time, so we never had to wait in lines nor worry about which tickets corresponded to which attraction. The included meals were fabulous and we learned a lot about Peruvian cuisine along the way.
Luis was our driver for the week and was very friendly and always made us feel safe. Our drive to the Sacred Valley was beautiful and we got to stop and pet some llamas (my mom’s dream come true). We were provided with the option to shop wherever we wanted and were given guidance on how to spot real vs fake merchandise — this was very helpful!
Our hotel in the Sacred Valley – Sonesta Posada – was absolutely beautiful and had lots of stuff to check out, including a great happy hour with live music. The only thing we might alter was to plan in advance some activities in the evenings while staying in Sacred Valley — we tried to book a spa appointment at a neighboring hotel one late afternoon, but there were not appointments by the time we got there. We ended up having dinner at Tres Keros one night, which was very tasty and only a short taxi cab ride away.
We opted for the day hike to Machu Picchu, which was absolutely amazing and Elliacin provided the perfect amount of guidance while letting us explore the sights on our own for a bit. Seeing MP for the first time was everything we expected and more. We did not explore MP that day, but instead headed down to Aguas Calientes to rest after our hike. The buses were very backed up that day (due to rain), so we opted to walk down. Warning – your knees must be in very good shape if you decide to do this because it involves going down steep steps for 45 min straight!
Aguas Calientes was quite a bustling and interesting town — we very much enjoyed the people watching and the energy of the place! After our long day hike, we booked (same day) an 80-min massage at our hotel, El Mapi, which was just what we needed! The next morning, we decided not to do the hike up the mountain and instead explore MP a little later in the day, which Elliacin easily accommodated.
Our last full day in Cusco consisted in touring some of the sites surrounding the city as well as a cooking class, which was so much fun! Recommend adding this to your itinerary so you learn some skills to impress your family with upon your return. Warning that you should not eat before this class as you will be provided with lots and lots and lots of snacks!
On our last day in Cusco, Liseth met us to take us to the airport and helped us figure out what to do during out layover in Lima. Then, as a pleasant surprise, Mery, the Director, met us at the airport and gave us a sweet gift upon departure. We had such a great time with all of our Kuoda guides and drivers – they truly treat you like family! We will be recommending the company (and already have) to all our friends and family.
personally at the airport and took me to my hotel. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. Mery and her team are the best. If you are going to Peru, look no further for the ultimate tour company – Kuoda Travel!