So my wife booked our “bucket list” trip with Kuoda based on a colleague’s recommendation from work.
Her colleague said “all you have to do is show up and enjoy your trip”. Kuoda will take you “by the hand, and deal with ground transportation, check in, and the minutia so that you can enjoy the sights and trip”.
Well that was true, but did not exactly capture the amazing job Meri and her wonderful team accomplished. Celine planned our trip. We saw everything that the tourist would see BUT we did it on our terms. When we were finished seeing a particular ruin, our personal guide would call our driver so that he would appear JUST as we exited this or that location.
The real magic is the disasters/unexpected. We had booked our Machu Picchu in January (4 day walk) for Monday Sept 12/16 to Thurs Sep 16/16. Only 100 people are allowed on the trail per day. On our orientation meeting on Sunday, the guide explained everything, with a catch: there was an anticipated municipal worker strike in Cusco that would LIKELY impede our bus Monday morning at 4 am from Cusco to the start of the Inca trail. Soooo, we were leaving at 10 pm from Cusco Sunday night. Our Kuoda guide in Cusco, took us from the orientation by car at 6:30 pm back to our hotel so that we could pack and grab a bite. Jason and the driver then collected us at 9:45 pm for delivery to the tour bus at 9:55 pm. Amazing customer service.
The tours around Cusco (including a semi-private cooking class) and later in the rain forest in Puerto Maldonado were amazing.
It is the unanticipated where you see the wonders of Kuoda shine. On our 4 day walk, camp to Machu Picchu, I contracted a bit (a lot) of traveller’s diarrhea. It was severe enough, that my wife and I decided to NOT do our scheduled activities on day following Machu Picchu when we arrived back in Cusco. Our handler (Jason) was concerned. When we called him to cancel our planned activities, he asked if I might want to see a doctor. I agreed and went to breakfast in the hotel. Exactly 41 minutes later, while at breakfast, Jason called to say he was in the hotel lobby. WITH the Dr. Julio! Dr. Julio did full examination, wrote prescriptions for both bacteria and parasites (4 in total) and advised to cease IMMODIUM (it is counter productive to ridding the body of the toxins) AND about 30-40 minutes later a nurse arrived with all the medication!!! Within 24 hours, I was 80% back to normal and 99% back to normal the following day.
The guides in each city (LIMA, CUSCO, Inca Trail and PUERTO MALDONADO) were excellent (Michael, Jason/Edward, Roger/Gary, Victor) as well as our drivers (mostly Augusto but 3 or 4 others) were all excellent.
Meri (the owner) took time to meet us on our 2nd to last day and gave us 2 wonderful hand made/painted coffee mugs. She was appreciative and listened for suggestions (the only one I had was to tell us that Kuoda offers free walking sticks for the Inca trail… We have our own but may have decided to avoid the expense and hassle of bringing them on the flight). VERY small suggestion.
One more thing: We were also invited into PRIVATE homes for lunches. NOT something big tours can offer. It was simply amazing. The vetting and quality that was conceived was also achieved every step of the way.
Another great story. On our last day (Monday), we awoke in the jungle, flew to LIMA via Cusco, and had about 8 hours layover before flying home to Toronto. My wife had booked a surprise dinner at MAIDO (#5 ranked in the world) for 7 pm. Turns out we arrived in rush hour in Lima. The airport was about 2 hours (in traffic) from the restaurant. Our driver and guide, got us there with ample extra time so that I could get a haircut and view some of the city before dinner and pick us up at 11 pm so as to easily get us back to the airport for our flight home today.
Would we use Kuoda again? You betcha.