In June 2017 we went on our first trip to South America and engaged Kuoda Travel for our 16 day custom journey. Kuoda exceeded our expectations by far! We have traveled extensively around the world and planned our own trips, however, with all of the logistics involved with this journey we felt it would be wise to hire a travel company and elected to choose one based in Peru. We were overwhelmed at the high level of attentive and excellent service that Kuoda provided for us throughout the entire trip.
We started our planning 9 months in advance as our trip itinerary was created around our main goal which was to be in Machu Picchu on the morning of the Winter Solstice June 21st to view sunrise at the Temple of the Sun and to witness the Cusco celebrations on June 24th welcoming the sun called Inti Raymi. Our personal Kuoda travel planner Urpi Herrera was fantastic: responsive, knowledgable, patient, service oriented and extremely pleasant to work with via email and phone. Urpi helped us plan the trip in detail according to our hotel style preferences, important sites to visit and timing, train travel, restaurant reservations, shopping preferences, cruise ship style and all airline flights throughout Ecuador and Peru. She made everything happen exactly as planned-we were amazed at how flawless the entire trip was from beginning to end! That is being said with much emphasis! We would hire Kuoda again in a heartbeat.
All of the guides assigned to us in Quito and Lima were friendly and knowledgable. Upon arrival in Cusco, and considering that we would be spending 7 days with one guide while in Peru’s Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco, we were thrilled with the guide that Kuoda Owner Mery Calderon assigned us: Luis Jussyf Velarde Mora. He has extensive knowledge in Peru’s history, archaeological sites, culture, flora and fauna, food, as well as photography, and he is very, very personable! Our experience every day with Luis was great. And he knew exactly where to take us shopping for the specific type of souvenirs that we wished to take home, namely textiles and ceramics. Luis was open to our desires to experience things important to us; one in particular being that although we had originally planned on climbing Huayna Picchu the usual way up and down when we mentioned going down a different route to see the Temple of the Moon Luis was genuinely excited. He proceeded to guide us to this fabulous site which, by the way, was more climbing than we ever could have imagined! Luis was key to our successful completion of that epic journey!
We went to the Galapagos Islands before Peru and Kuoda coordinated all of the flights to and from the La Pinta Yacht as well as planned guided sightseeing in Quito, Ecuador. The highlight in Quito was our visit to the Equatorial line outdoor ‘museum’ which was fun. The La Pinta Yacht expedition boat was fantastic as our journey through the Northern Islands was extremely well run and very organized with excellent Naturalists on board. We hiked, snorkeled, took panga boat trips, kayaked and saw incredible wildlife.
We packed one 20″ carry-on suitcase and one backpack each for the entire 16 day trip-a first for us. We took quick dry clothing, washed our clothes in hotels and dried them overnight. We brought lightweight hiking boots (ankle height), walking shoes, and water shoes for cruise. We wore layers as the temperatures change once the sun rises and then sets.
We highly recommend Kuoda Travel without any hesitation-they are truly service oriented and are interested in making sure that your entire trip meets all of your expectations and then some!