For personal reasons, my husband, 2 adult children and I decided on very short notice to take a trip to Peru. My first contact with Kuoda was in late December, and we were on board a plane in late February. Despite the very tight timeline, our Kuoda Travel Designer, Celine, made every effort to plan a trip that would meet our specific desires and needs, as well as coming up with very helpful suggestions of her own. The planning stage was very smooth–Celine was always fabulously prompt, courteous and friendly–so right from the beginning I began to realize I had stumbled upon a uniquely caring and lovely team. Sure enough, things only got better. We received a detailed itinerary, as well as helpful tips and extremely useful answers to questions it would not have occurred to me to ask. Then the trip! We arrived in Lima in the evening and we were to spend our first night in a hotel at the airport because we were taking a plane to Arequipa the next morning. Nevertheless, we were still met at the airport by a lovely Kuoda representative who literally walked us across the street to our hotel! Throughout our two weeks in Peru, during which time we toured Arequipa & the Colca Canyon, Cusco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu, the Tambopata rainforest, and, finally a bit of Lima, we had the absolute joy of not only having expert, knowledgeable and friendly guides with skilled, punctual and safe drivers, but also of feeling that we were being welcomed into a wonderful family that we had never known we had. Two key points that illustrate that you can’t do better than Kuoda:
1) The whole Kuoda team makes every effort to discover exactly who you are and what your particular interests are. Our first guide, Roberto, incorporated as much extra hiking as possible into our very full sightseeing days, and those were the highlights of our time with him. Our second guide, Rosa, climbed Huayna Picchu with us, and knew all the best places to take family photos for us. On the train back from Aguas Calientes she and my daughter sat together comparing photos and chatting like sisters.
2) The true test of a company is when things go wrong. Our whole family got sick with a stomach bug–we had brought antibiotics (Cipro) with us just in case, but only enough for 3 people (dumb mistake).
Rosa took us to a pharmacy and made sure we got another course of antibiotics, and we knew that the team was standing by, ready to take us to hospital if our conditions did not respond to medication (they did). We were happy and carefree, and the guides walked the fine line of taking excellent care of us without being overbearing or controlling. On our drive to the Colca Canyon, Roberto made sure we had plenty of coca tea and plenty of stops on our way up to the highest mountain pass, and then when we got there, we blissfully hopped around taking photos while he and the driver (we found out later) stayed by the van on high alert, oxygen tank at the ready, just in case the altitude might prove too much for us! We had the trip of a lifetime, in no small part thanks to the Kuoda team. We feel so blessed to have met the owner, Mery, as well as our Travel Designer, Celine, and to have been welcomed into the Kuoda family.