Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed October 2018
    Susan Butler

    Awesome Adventure over the Andes

    My husband and I had a great time on this trip with a great group of people, including Tour guides, and support crew. Despite the high altitude conditions on the first four days everything went smoothly and according to plan. Superb professionallism and organisational skills by our guide Julio and Johnny made the trip achievable for all age groups (30's to early 60's) in the very supportive "family" environment. We would recommend this trip to other adventurous people who want a bit more than the other less physically and mentally challenging Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The food was great and special diets catered. The porters, both horsemen and foot porters were cheerful and friendly despite carrying heavy loads.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspiration for me came through stretching my mental and physical abilities to a higher level. Not giving up but be able to accept help when I was feeling unwell.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julio as a great leader which showed in the cohesiveness and supportive nature of the group. Johnny provided the necessary backup and lead by example.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure your physical training programme is started well in advance (at least 8 weeks) for this trip as it will make it more enjoyable and able to view the stunning scenery and wildlife. Be mentally prepared for a challenging but enjoyable time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fabulous trip well worth doing it.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Nigel Glenister

    The High Inca Trail - 7 day hike

    Overall the trip was fantastic and surpassed our expectations. During the acclimatization, we explored Cusco and found it a wonderful and vibrant place, full of culture and life. The hike was amazing! Each day presented breathtaking scenery, from glacial mountains and lakes and fertile forest valleys. The food was way above what we expected. As a group we sat down to 3 courses each mealtime. With vegetarian and gluten options being prepared by the chefs at each meal. There was never any complaints about the food. We could not have asked for a better group to travel with, they certainly helped make the trip as good as it was.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are many highlights for us during the trip. Including; the dominating views of Salcantay. The climb up to and the views from Chiriasqua Pass. Likewise with Dead Women's Pass, the views at the top were breathtaking and worth the effort. After passing over Runcuray Pass the walk through the Cloud Forrest was invigorating and magical, as was the final campsite at Phuyupatamarca. But the most inspiration moment was arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu. The culmination of completing the hike & the views down onto Machu Picchu was an emotional moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader for the trip was Julio Llancay, who we became more of a friend than a guide during the trip. His knowledge of the Inca history and sites was fantastic. He had an excellent handle of the English language and a great sense of humour. We would rate Julio as the best guide we have had on all our trips. I also have to mention our assistant guide during the walk, Jhonny, who helped make the trip memorable. He has such a lovely demeanour about him, so happy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice would be to ensure that you are prepared. Exodus grades this trip as Challenging, do not take this lightly. Combined with the effects of altitude and rate of ascent over the first couple of days. The trip notes are accurate but should read and considered.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus encourages eco-friendly travel, which was raised by Julio during the trip. This included the reduction of plastics such as straws etc. However, our hotel in Cusco, Kollher, supplied polystyrene cups and plastic spoons for tea and coffee, which did not support Exodus's position.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Peter Jefferies

    A truly incredible experience!

    This holiday really is a trip of a lifetime! It's the perfect mixture of outdoor adventure and history/culture. The trekking days are not mostly very long but the altitude, extreme weather changes, camping facilities (e.g. one toilet tent to share between the group at camp) and steep ups and downs (especially on steps) makes it quite challenging. The views - especially - on the Inca Trail section are amongst the finest I have ever seen and Machu Picchu is truly breathtaking. I also very much enjoyed exploring the history and culture of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Just book it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many - it's hard to choose! Obviously seeing Machu Picchu (though it's always packed with tourists), however, I do think the real highlight is the Inca Trail itself. The scenery and terrain is breathtaking! The Salkantay section of our trek was different - but equally amazing - and I loved how we hardly saw any other person for 3-4 days and the sheer wildness of the campsites. I'll never forget seeing the Milky Way and endless amounts of stars on a night.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both group leaders - William and Johnny - were highly capable, funny, sociable, supportive and very knowledgeable about Peru and its history and cultures. It was a real pleasure getting to know them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes! Read - and believe - the packing list in the trip notes. As soon as the sun goes down (almost the very instant) it becomes very cold and nights can fall below freezing. So DEFINITELY take thermals and a big down jacket. These are a MUST! Take lots of layers and a good set of hat and gloves which you can then wear after finishing walking and early on a morning (as well as to sleep in if you're like me.) We couldn't believe how cold it became and often I would be sleeping in several layers as well as socks, hat and sleeping bag liner + 4 season sleeping bag + hot water bottle and I was still cold. During the day it quickly heats up in the sun so layers are best as well as a high factor sun cream and DEET spray for all the mosquitos (they're everywhere!) I would advise people to take Diamox (the pill to aid with acclimatisation) as the Salkantay section goes very high (Cuzco itself is very high and most people feel some symptoms on arrival.) I didn't take any Diamox but got very bad AMS on the first two days of the trek (e.g. migraine, nausea, dizziness) and was given some by the group leader. Just get it and take it as soon as you land in Cuzco to aid acclimatisation. Some people didn't get AMS but I wouldn't take the risk. Travel light! There's a 10kg weight limit on the Inca Trail so just take the essentials in the packing list otherwise you'll have to get rid of items on day 4 and send them back with the horsemen (our sent items got lost - even more reason to pack light!) You can wear the same t-shirt/socks etc for several days in a row and as you won't be getting showered anyway, you really, really won't mind. Just don't get rid of any layers - it becomes super, super cold!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an incredible holiday! Peru is a beautiful country with beautiful people and the richness of the landscapes, history and culture, and the camping experience itself will stay with you forever. The Salkantay section of the trek (first 4 days) adds a completely different dimension and added toughness to the holiday so that by the time you reach Machu Picchu, you really feel as if you've earned it. Get booked up!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Elena Castaner

    The High Inca Trail

    A trip of a lifetime, the goal is Machu Picchu but soon you realise the trip itself, the journey that gets you there and everything you experience with it is what matters. Being able to get to know a part of this beautiful country, its history, the places, the food, the mountains, the people… it was a dream come true.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Contemplate the sun set on the last day of camping, realising you are arriving to Machu Picchu (and back to civilisation) the following day and that the trip itself is coming to an end. It has a mixture of sadness and excitement difficult to explain.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Holger (leader) and Johnny (assistant) were the perfect team with Holger on the paternal side and Johnny on the cheerful side. They both made sure we were drinking enough water, putting sun protection/mosquito repellent and coordinating the different hiking speeds of the group. Holger provided every evening a short briefing on what to expect the following day (i.e. terrain, hours hiking, conditions…) which was very helpful. They even taught the group how to play a cards game which was THE entertainment of every evening while on trek. Holger’s knowledge of the Inca culture and its history was just outstanding, also delivering tips on flora and fauna as we hiked along, a real treat for birdwatchers! Personally, getting to know both of them was a treat and was sad to say goodbye to both of them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1) Expect the unexpected. The trip started with a few bumps for us (flight cancelled from Heathrow arriving one day after to Cusco, the Salkantay being closed for snow and hiking on a extremely muddy path under the rain on the first day of the hike despite being the dry season) but it ended up being so magnificent (and sunny!) afterwards that I barely recall those bad moments :) If for whatever reason the Salkantay trek is closed due to snow (which is what happened to us) don’t despair, the alternative route provided up to camp #3 is beautiful and totally isolated (we were the only people on the mountains until we reached the start of the Inca Trail. The days might be shorter hiking-wise but you get the chance to explore the mountains around if you want once you arrive to camp and we even got as high as 4,600m with some snowy paths on our way to camp #3. 2) FOOD. This was without a doubt one of my top highlights of the trip. While on trek, Rolando (chef) and Alejo (assistant) delivered outstanding meals which were not only delicious and nutritious but beautifully presented. You get cooked meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, which are prepared in a portable kitchen in the middle of nowhere, appreciate what’s being presented to you, don't be fussy and enjoy! Snacks are offered in the morning to take with you (fresh fruit or cereal/chocolate bars) which in my opinion are sufficient for the whole day but you might want to consider bringing some extra snacks if you like to munch regularly or prefer your usual snacks. Boiled water to refill your bottles is provided in the morning before setting off and at lunch break (also in the evenings if you need) so you should be fine with a couple of 1lt bottles in your daypack. While in Cusco, there are good restaurants not far from the hotel - try the local food, you won’t be disappointed (we tried the alpaca, the aji de gallina, lomo saltado… everything delicious!). A little advice also while on trek, be considerate with your fellow hikers and if you are planning to have a few cups of tea/coffee/hot chocolate at every sitting you might want to consider bringing your own. Supplies are limited while on the trek and these are only replenished once when the porters join us on the Inca Trail so once they are gone, that’s it, no more. 3) HIGH ALTITUDE. This is a tricky one as each person is different so follow the advice given upon arriving to Cusco and drink lots of water. In my case, since it was my first time at high altitude (over 3,000m) I decided to take Diamox and I was perfectly fine for the two weeks of the trip (the only side effect I had was the slight tingling in my fingers/toes but to be honest I barely noticed). As far as I’m aware none of my fellow hikers took medication and just a couple suffered a very mild degree of AMS once we got over 4,000m with just another case where the person was feeling quite unwell. 4) CLOTHING. Layer up! Thermals and a warm beanie (while on the mountains) and t-shirts (while on the trail) + fleeces/softshell jacket and down jacket (mainly for the evenings). I did the trip in June, which is apparently the coldest month, and the first three nights of camping were pretty cold but nothing that you cannot cope if you are a regular hiker. Just layer up and you should be fine. When it comes to how many set of clothes you should take with you, I found that a change of trousers/mid-layers every three days is OK, however I did change thermals/t-shirt every day but being technical ones these tend to weight nothing plus you can send stuff back to Cusco when the horseman leave (after camp #3) so I managed to (just) keep the weight of the duffle bag on the 10kg mark. Also, I would recommend to have a clean set of clothes for when you reach Machu Picchu as you will want to put on clean clothes once you have a shower after 6 days of camping! :) 5) HYGIENE. Wet wipes! Baby wipes, toilet wipes, antibacterial wipes... You have the chance to take a shower on camp #4 once you reach the Inca Trail as there are communal showers nearby but bear on mind it’s cold water. I managed to wash my hair there using the bowl of warm water given to wash with after the hike for the final rinse and it was perfect. 6) OTHER. Take either a solar charger or a power bank that can last several charges with you to charge your mobile/camera as you don’t get electricity until you reach Machu Picchu (7 days later). Also there is no network signal while on trek right until camp #6 (the camp before arriving to Machu Picchu) so if you have family/friends that tend to worry if they don’t hear from you regularly tell them not to expect your call until you reach Machu Picchu or else they will worry sick (like mine did lol). The guides have a satellite phone in case of emergency so if anything happens they will be contacted.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well, if after this long review you are still reading, here is my last advice: If going to Machu Picchu is in your “bucket list” and you are a keen hiker, then this is the best way to do it - the three days in the Peruvian Andes prior to joining the Inca Trail and the trail itself are the perfect way to experience this so don’t hesitate and book it!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Helen Hamilton

    High Inca

    Really enjoyed the trip. I just found it hard to cope with the extreme cold. The views made up for that but it would definitely put me off going again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Sun gate was awesome. The high passes were stunning and it was very spiritual performing our wee ritual to mother earth. I was so cold on the High Inca that it was hard to camp again for the Rainbow mountains and I did hope that I wasn't disappointed. Bobby and I loved them and it was up there with the Sun gate.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rolando was excellent. I would highly recommend him to anyone. Willie the cook was the best I've ever had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of layers and a zinc bottle for the evenings.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think that the guides or the emergency horse should have carried some snacks as it was a long day having had breakfast at 6. We then sometimes didn't get lunch until 1.30/2pm. Also it would have been good to get them to carry some water for refills. 2 litres it a lot of weight to carry.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    John Arkle

    The High Inca Trail

    Excess snow made the Chiriasqa pass hazardous on the Higher Inca Trail and indeed an avalanche took out two mules at the base of Salcantay during the time we walked an alternative route. Only the muleteers could guide eleven of us us over Yomacalla and Collpa which was tricky but beautiful and chilly at night. Our guides were good fun - Johnny always smiled- Holger(Ollie) had authority and much knowledge of history and natural life generally. The food was simply amazing, tasty, varied and magically appeared in difficult cold venues. Luckily the group was cohesive supportive and gutsy under duress. Following a horrible first day ascent up a steep muddy path the views were stunning and the trail exhilarating. I enjoyed the birding and had great views of Condors close up.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the top of 'Dead Womans Pass', then seeing Machu Pichu at the Sungate

    What did you think of your group leader?

    'Ollie' was ever helpful and a great birder

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a warm sleeping bag and puffa jacket for the evenings.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The overall experience was wonderful
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Shahina Ahmed

    Top of the world.

    This trek was a difficult one because of the high climbs in metres. Dealing with high altitude was to take it slow and easy. I was very satisfied when completed and the views were amazing. It was not a well trodden path so it felt like we were the only people around. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Even though it was my first time camping the food was really good and freshly prepared. Seeing Michu Pichu was the icing on the cake.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Inca architecture and thinking how it was all achieved. See Machu Pichu was a dream come true. Meeting the lovely people in the group and our group dynamics that developed made the difficult situations so much easier.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very knowledgeable and no job was to big or small for him. He was a caring individual and a great motivator when the mood was low. Looked after us all very well. Thank you Thomas.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a high altitude trek and not easy with the large height gains. No matter how fit you are it is best to take it easy and slowly. No rushing as the altitude can kick you in the teeth when you think you are ok. Stick with the group and do t go rushing off even though you are fast.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Have.a great time. I know I did.
  • Reviewed October 2017

    High Inca Trail with Amazon Extension

    This was my second trip with Exodus, my first being to Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, and it certainly didn't disappoint. The trip originally had 5 people on it, but due to last minute cancellations, presumably because of news of strike action in Peru, only 2 of us ended up travelling. Ultimately, we experienced hardly any disruption throughout the entire trip. As such, it made the trip much more bespoke. As the trip flew directly to Cusco, at 3400m, the first couple of days were designed to assist with acclimatizing and we soon got used to the altitude. There was plenty of free time to explore the city and take it easy. We also spent the first morning on an acclimatization hike exploring Tambomachay, Puca Pukara, Qenqo and Sachsayhuaman in the hills above Cusco. This hike was very gentle and downhill. On the first day of the hike, we set off early (0630 start) for Mollepata, stopping at Tarawasi to explore more ruins. As Mollepata is below 3000m, we immediately noticed the drop in altitude and this helped ease us into the hike gently. In addition to meeting our wonderful Quechua chef, Florentino, we were accompanied along this stretch of the hike by local horsemen (and a dog who we nicknamed Condor, who would provide no end of amusement along the way), who provided support for us. We found the first few days of the hike rather quiet, as this route is frequented by far fewer hikers than the main Inca Trail. The first day was a 4 hour hike with a gradual climb up to 3500m. The second day of the hike was quite tough as we had a 17km hike going from 3500m to 4400m. This involved a 0600 start, though was mostly on the level during the morning. The afternoon was shorter though quite a bit harder as it had several steep parts, as we ascended to the camp at Inchupata. An emergency horse was on hand along this stretch. The views of Salkantay were stunning, though the camp was quite cold at night. We even saw a couple of avalanches on Salkantay. On the third day of the hike, we climbed up to Incachiriaska pass, at 4950m, and were rewarded with stunning views in all directions. This was followed by a rapid descent to the Inca Canal to our camp site. Day four of the hike was quite leisurely and short as we descended to Huayllabamba. We said goodbye to the horsemen, and had several amusing attempts to part company with Condor, then met up with the porters who would carry our kit along the main Inca Trail. We also had an opportunity for a brief cold shower; our first proper wash since the hike began. Having ascended Incachiriaska pass earlier in the hike, the ascent to Dead Women's pass on day five of the hike was much more straightforward and we got to the top in far less time than we'd planned for. The descent down to Pacaymayo was quite steep, and we got a taste of the steps which would be a common feature of the latter part of the hike. As we'd joined the main Inca Trail, things became much busier at camp sites and on the trail. We timed our departures to avoid the early morning rushes, and soon found we had the trail mostly to ourselves. On day six of the hike, we climbed over a second pass and explored more Inca ruins at Runcurakay and Sayacmarca. We camped at Phuyupatamarca and marveled at the views of Machu Picchu mountain, far below us down the notorious Inca Steps. The next morning, we also had stunning views of the other side of Salkantay. On the last day of the hike, we descended to Winay Wayna, and then completed the trek to the sun gate and our first glimpse of Machu Picchu itself. After an hour or so snapping pictures of the classic views of the site, we took the bus down to Aguas Calientes and several much needed showers. The following day, we had a tour of Machu Picchu and then had a few hours spare to explore the site on our own. As it turned out, this was only sufficient time to visit the Inca Bridge and take more pictures close by the main site, though I certainly didn't feel I was missing out on any opportunity to ascend Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. We descended back to Aguas Calientes mid afternoon to get the Expedition train to Ollantaytambo. This was an enjoyable and relaxing slow train ride with great views, and included free drinks and snacks in the ticket price. The next morning we explored the ruins in Ollantaytambo and headed on through the Sacred Valley to Pisac. We arrived back in Cusco by early afternoon, where we planned excursions for the following day. The main trip on offer was to Moray Maras and the Salt mines in the Sacred valley. I opted for this trip and found it very relaxing. While other excursions included a (long) day trip to Rainbow Mountain, Exodus don't actively endorse this due to mixed reviews, though (discrete) arrangements can be made if you want to try it. The last morning of the main trip involved transfers to the airport, either for homeward flights or transfers to Puerto Maldonado to the jungle. As I'd opted for the Amazon extension, the jungle beckoned. The flight was short though the change in climate was huge. After transferring to the river launch, and a two hour journey up river, I arrived at Cayman Lodge. As the only traveler on this part of the trip, I had another personalized trip, and guide to myself. The pace of the jungle was quite leisurely and involved afternoon and night walks around the perimeter of the lodge, a 10km trek to Sachavacayoc Lake (an oxbow lake) in the jungle where we spent a couple of hours canoeing around looking for anacondas, an early morning river trip to Colpa Chuncho clay lick to view macaws feeding, a night safari along the river looking for caimans and quite a few hours chilling in hammocks out of the sun. Soon though, this part of the trip came to an end and I transferred back to Puerto Maldonado for my flight home. As Peru were attempting to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, we also sampled the local excitement of the regions enthusiasm for football. This could only have been matched by a papal visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pin down one single moment, though we had perfect weather (glorious sunshine and few clouds) every day of the trip so were rewarded with inspiring views every day. Among the highlights of the trip were seeing Salkantay from many angles, Incachiriaska pass, Dead Women's pass, the view from Phuyupatamarca down over Machu Picchu mountain, the classic views of Machu Picchu from the sun gate and gatehouse, the Sacred Valley, and travelling along the Tambopata river.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    William was very knowledgeable and keen to share his knowledge and experience of the Inca Trail. As the group size was small, we had a lot of attention though it never felt intrusive. Our chef, Florentino, the horsemen and the Quechua porters were great and always friendly. I even picked up several greetings in Quechua. My guide in the jungle was a freelance guide, called Empe. She was very knowledgeable and made the trip very enjoyable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Though we experienced perfect weather on our trip, which was almost unprecedented, you should plan for some rain along the way. I'd definitely recommend doing the jungle extension if your itinerary permits as it provides an additional and alternate view of the richness of Peru's geography. I almost wish Id opted for a pre-trip extension to Lake Titicaca, though that will have to be another trip. As the trek is at high altitude, travelers should come prepared with good sun screen and insect repellent, even on days when its not overly sunny. The Peruvian sun can be unforgiving. Pack economically. The bag weight limit on the Inca Trail is 10kg, so you carry the excess. Unless you prepare with extensive load bearing training, you should try to keep your day pack as light as possible as the altitude and sun soon consume your energy reserves. Though on Kili I'd regularly carry at least 2 litres of water, the frequency of campsites and top ups mean that you can carry a little less water, as long as you top up whenever you get the chance. As with any high altitude trekking, take things easy for the first few days to help acclimatize, stay hydrated and eat plenty. If you have any dietary requirements, such as low carb diets, then do review these carefully as several days of the hike are intensive and you will need as much energy as you can pack in. I found I needed extra carbs on several days though this was quickly burnt off. Security at camps during the first few days of the trek is fine, as you're almost the only people at the remote campsites, though as you reach the main trail the campsites get busier and you'll often find other trekkers walking through your camp. While this doesn't present any problem, vigilance should be exercised in accordance with common sense. Security in the jungle lodges was ok, though by the nature of its location you shouldn't have any major concerns. Though English, Spanish and Quechua were the main languages spoken on the trail, French was also seemingly quite widely spoken in the jungle. A warm sleeping bag will pay dividends especially at the higher campsites. A good pair of binoculars will come in handy in the jungle. On the night safaris, a good phone camera (e.g. OnePlus 5) proved better for impromptu close ups of insects than even a good bridge/SLR camera, so try both for best results.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having climbed Kilimanjaro, I found this trek challenging but very achievable. While the hardest days of the trek are comparable to regular/early days on Kili, nothing is quite on the same scale as summit night, though ascending and descending the Inca steps should be approached carefully as some of the flights of steps are extensive and mishaps could be costly. There are a few stages where additional caution is advised, such as walking along narrow ledges alongside sheer drops, but the William was very clear with highlighting these stretches.
  • Reviewed October 2017

    Machu Picchu combined with rugged peaks

    This tour spends a few days in the "big" mountains and then joins in to the Inca Trail, so you get a bit of everything. You also arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon, so you avoid all the groups who get there for sunrise. Instead, you have some time in the afternoon and then camp down by the river (instead of leaving right away like the other tours do), and then you go back up for the majority of the next day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping up near the glacier on Mt. Salkantay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She had amazing knowledge of history and culture in the region.
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Helen Stockham

    The High Inca Trail - snowy peaks and a fascinating history

    Two weeks in the Andes with spectacular scenery and a rich cultural history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to pick a favourite day or sight, as there was something special on each day. Personally I love snowy mountains so seeing Salcantay was special. Camping near the base of Salcantay was very memorable – a campsite in a spectacular setting, hearing and seeing avalanches, seeing the milky way and waking up with frost inside the tent!! On these first three to four days of the trek we had the trail pretty much to ourselves, and we were the only group at this particular campsite. I also particularly enjoyed reaching the end of the Inca Trail at the sun gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. The setting, scale and craftsmanship is most impressive.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rolando was a fabulous guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge about pretty much everything! He is very passionate about his country, its history and culture. He imparted his knowledge with great enthusiasm, had a great sense of humour and was very encouraging if anyone was struggling e.g. on a steep section of the trail. He was also very organised, including arranging our departure times each day on the trail when we joined the main Inca Trail so we had the trail mostly to ourselves, with just a few porters. This meant we avoided the crowds and only saw other groups at lunch stops and the campsites. It was also a pleasure to spend time with assistant guide Javier on the trail.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You really can and do experience four seasons in one day on this trip so be prepared for temperatures ranging from what felt like plus 30 degrees down to about minus 10 degrees Centigrade. Take a full set of thermals, including thermal socks. If you take a metal water bottle this can be filled with hot water after dinner creating a hot water bottle for the coldest nights. It's best to take a proper cover, or if not use a hiking sock! Take a toilet roll and antibac hand gel. Not all toilets in Peru supply such items! On the free day in Cusco on return from the trail we booked a private guide and transfer for Rainbow Mountain which was spectacular. It was also possible to arrange to trip to Moray, Moras and the nearby Incan quarry in the Sacred Valley. Before you book the Lake Titicaca extension I would recommend checking with Exodus whether they have booked the tours to see the Uro Indians and Sillustani with a private guide. The four of us that did the extension were put with mixed tour groups for the morning and afternoon. This worked okay for the Uros Indians as the group was small and all English speaking. However for Sillustani there was one guide for two buses covering both English and Spanish speaking groups – basically the group was far too large meaning this afternoon was my least enjoyable of the full trip, the rest of which was very good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The chefs, horsemen and porters were excellent. The chefs Billy and Juan impressed us all with the food they prepared on their camping stoves in the mountains. I am vegetarian and was expecting relatively simple, similar food each day – I was very surprised at how tasty the food they prepared for me was each day – it was delicious. I am still in awe at how they made a two tier sponge birthday cake, fully iced with three different flavours of piped icing on our last day of camping for one of our group!
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