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If you are travelling in the height of winter, consider booking your flight a day early. My flight was delayed and I missed the first 1.5 days of the trip.
Do not consider the Inca trail without walking poles. Everyone in our group used them. Those that did not bring them along ended up borrowing some. They WILL save your knees from the inevitable strain of hiking thousands of steps up and down the mountain trails.
Bring an aluminium water bottle as this can then double up as a hot water bottle, on those cold nights when camping high up in the Andes.
Make sure you bring waterproofs during the rainy season when hiking the Inca trail and two extra set of clothes. There is no means of drying anything on trek and you will always want a clean set of clothes for the night at Aguas Calientes. Take hand sanitiser and travla pro biotics to ward off the dreaded traveller bug.
Allow around £75 - £100 for tips. Bus drivers, tour guides, porters, cooks, boat crew, tour guide...they ALL need tipping. All hotels featured on this trip have a laundry service so no need to over pack.
This really is a great holiday if you want to see the highlights of Peru with a degree of comfort. The hotels were all of a high standard, I would say the equivalent of a UK four star. The accommodation actually exceeded my expectations and I would have to say that I was impressed with the uniqueness of each one. The best ones, in my opinion, were the Sacred Valley lodge, the Jungle lodge and the one at the Colca canyon. Exodus really should be commended for picking these. It should be noted that all hotels had a marvellously wide range of dishes at the breakfast buffet too.
Because this was a premium trip, we had the luxury of a spacious coach, equipped with its very own WC.
There was more walking than I expected which pleased me greatly. I am a hard core trekker but also like the comfort of upmarket hotels. This trip is rare in that it manages both. The tour leader on our trip had no qualms if any members had a desire to forge on ahead and did not expect us to stick together.
This a diverse trip, including a wide range of experiences. Obviously it would be difficult to have a group trip that was perfectly tailored to your own requirements but for the most part, this trip does quite well.
I have concentrated solely on the positive aspects and now I will make a few comments on what I perceive to be the negative.
There were rather too many guided tours for my liking and I wasn’t in favour of long bus journeys being punctuated by yet more guided tours. That said, I did not go on this trip specifically to learn about the history and architecture whereas others may well have done.
It did get a little tedious on the city tours and in particular, the Arequipa tour guide left the majority of use feeling as though we were a bunch of school kids being herded from place to place. He insisted on helping us to cross the road which did feel a little patronising at times.
You do need to be aware that quite often from dawn to dusk, you are travelling, eating and walking as a group. You may not gel with everyone on your group and therefore being on such a long group trip can get a little intense and at times, dare I say irksome! That said, I did meet some fantastic people on the trip and had many a laugh! It may not be the conventional thing to do, but you could always leave the group for a day or so, as I did.
In summary, the negative were unquestionably outweighed by the positive and I would not hesitate in recommending this trip to anyone who has a desire to visit Peru in comfort!