Sometimes we need an adventure…to gaze upon some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet…to push ourselves a bit and get out of our comfort zone. It helps us expand our horizons and recharge our batteries. For a travel advisor, the experience is invaluable. Traveling to a new destination helps us advise our clients of ways to navigate an unfamiliar place because we have been in their shoes. An adventure changes us forever and gives us memories to share for a lifetime. Experiencing exotic destinations is a good way to fuel our passion for travel!
I interviewed one of our affiliate agents, Dave, about his recent adventure to Peru. Dave escorted a small group of travelers seeking adventure in the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas. Here is a snippet of our conversation.
What was your favorite memory?
Drinking Pisco Sours. None of us had had them before and we all loved them. During the day, we all talked about having them with dinner. We also found a restaurant in Cusco that had the most amazing Guacamole with homemade tortilla chips – we went there twice. None of us expected to see Guacamole in Peru.
Was there anything that surprised you?
How inexpensive everything was from food, to local souvenirs to taxi rides. It was even less expensive once you were out of Lima.
What was the most difficult part of the trip? Was there anything you could have done to minimize the difficulty?
The amount of hiking and the difficulty of it. I thought I was in good shape, but I found the altitude and the steep slopes to be challenging. I didn’t realize how winded I would feel. I would advise any client to ensure they are in good cardio shape. I wish I had walking sticks with me…that would have made things much easier. I also wish I had done some more cardio workouts prior to prepare myself. It seemed like after Lima, the entire trip consisted of hiking and walking on difficult terrain.
What was surprisingly easy?
The money situation. US dollars were readily accepted virtually everywhere (but not all) and the local currency (Nuevo sol) was easy to understand and use.
What site/attraction got your group talking about the most after visiting?
Machu Picchu, the surrounding mountains like Wini Picchu and Aguas Calientes. We all thought it was more amazing than we had pictured in our minds. We all agreed we would visit again to do more hiking. Two in our group plan on going back and doing the 4 day hike up to Machu Picchu.
When you think about your trip, what image do you still see vividly in your mind?
Drinking Coca Tea virtually everywhere we went. It helps with altitude sickness and was very tasty with sugar in it.
You mentioned that Miraflores was a great place to stay because of its proximity to the ocean, restaurants and shopping. What types of things did you and your group buy at Miraflores?
We bought many local handmade Incan gifts from blankets to purses to shoes to handbags to passport holders to food. We just loved the variety of colors and items available for sale – and how inexpensive they were. We loved the liveliness of the neighborhood, the people and the close proximity to the ocean…it’s very beautiful.
How would you visit the area differently next time?
We would spend just one day in Lima, 2 days in Cusco and then 2 days in Aguas Calientes before heading up to Machu Picchu. Two in our group would do the 4 day hike up. We also wished we would have visited Lake Titicaca and possibly the Peruvian Amazaon. We just didn’t have the time…but would structure of second trip differently.
What three things would you tell your clients going to the area?
Make sure you can hike all day and you’re in good cardio shape. Wear very comfortable walking shoes, bring walking sticks, bring a rain coat and an umbrella.
You mentioned how much you enjoyed staying at the Eco Inn in Cusco. What did you like most about the hotel?
The hotel in Cusco was amazing! It had a 4 story atrium where everyone gathered in the morning and at night to share stories and drink Coco Tea. It has a restaurant on site with amazing food and the hotel concierge and staff went out of their way to assist travelers.I would recommend it without hesitation.
Dave’s Travel Tips:
- Drink Coco Tea and eat light to help avoid elevation sickness (Some hotels provide complimentary tea to their guests)
- Make sure you are in good hiking/walking shape
- Use a walking stick—it’s a great assistance while you are hiking