If you’re looking for something special (as opposed to a set formulaic tour planned for what tour companies think an “average tourist” wants), try Kuoda Tours. I wanted to plan a trip to Peru for our 30th wedding anniversary. I had a response overnight, followed by several weeks of what I can only say was exceptional, very personalised service. My agent spent a lot of time getting to know what my wife and I liked to see, hear, eat, do etc., and then designed a package specially tailored to fit our “fantasies”. For example, as he knew I was interested in music, so he arranged a personal demonstration of Andean musical instruments by a local Cusco musician at a musical instrument museum (just us!).

We had indicated that we were not keen on international style hotels with bells and whistles but would prefer to pay a bit extra for quaint/unusual/quirky accommodation. So we got to experience everything from a very Spartan (but magnificent) ex monastery to a home stay with the indigenous people on Amantani island (on the other side from the tourists), to an eco-style hotel, to a very quirky/arty boutique hotel in Cusco. We had said we were interested in trying “new foods” so our agent organized a lunch with a local family in their home in the Sacred Valley (no other tourists) and another lunch to sample traditional Andean cuisine (the real thing).

Guides are also seemingly hand-picked. Our main guide (our week in the Cusco/Sacred Valley area) was without doubt the best travel guide we have ever experienced; a wealth of interesting knowledge and a good companion. Some of the guides seem to have been selected on compatibility grounds (had interests in common with ours or with our professions).

Definitely our best holiday experience so far, so, as you can gather, we have little hesitation recommending Kuoda Travel. (I should also mention that at the end of the holiday we were visited separately by both our agent and the owner of the agency herself for a “debriefing”).