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Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

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Los Angeles...
posts: 1
reviews: 3
Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

I spent six weeks in Peru in September to October 2013, trekked with three different Cusco-based companies, and had a fabulous experience with Ayni Peru Expedition (http://www.ayni-peru.com/). I did an abbreviated version of Ayni’s alternative Salkantay trek in October and it was an amazing trip. Ayni offers the standard Salkantay trek as well as an alternative one that, as far as I could tell, is not offered by any other company. It is FANTASTIC – during my two days on the trek, I did not see a single other tourist and only a handful of locals, and the scenery is spectacular. If you are looking for a more wilderness experience, choose the alternative Salkantay trek. From all accounts, the standard Salkantay route is beautiful, too, but quite a bit more heavily trafficked. The equipment was top-notch – new tents and Thermarest sleeping pads. The other Cusco companies that I trekked with used foam mattresses and charged extra if you wanted a Thermarest. Foam mattresses are fine, but after trekking for 6 or 7 hours at altitude, a nice tent and Thermarest are really awesome, especially if you are feeling headachy or woozy from the altitude. The guide, Domingo, was fabulous and by far the best of the four guides I trekked with during my six weeks in Peru. He was funny and encouraging, spoke great English, and was super knowledgeable about the local area, customs, history, flora, and fauna, and also just clearly loved his job in a way that made the trip that much more fun. I was also really impressed by his and the company’s awareness of and commitment to environmental issues, to helping local communities in the area, and to fair treatment of muleteers, cooks, and other members of the team. It’s not nearly as common as you’d think - even among the more reputable, responsible trekking companies in Cusco. I had originally signed on to tour the Sacred Valley with another company, but changed my plans and went with Ayni instead, and had an experience that was every bit as fabulous as the trek. Highly recommended.

25 replies to this topic
New York
posts: 2
reviews: 2
1. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

I traveled with Anyi Peru Expedition's Domingo Atao Condori to the Lares Valley and Machu Picchu. Though the trip was taken several years ago, it remains one of the most vivid travel memories of my life. I felt as though we were trekking in the mountains of Tibet as we made our way through the beautiful valley. Domingo, who speaks fluent Quechua, is a highly recommended tour operator in the Cuzco region. I would not hesitate to travel with Domingo again, to any place in Peru or Bolivia. His positive attitude, combined with his knowledge of the terrain and local culture, make him one of the leading guides in the region.

San Diego...
posts: 4
2. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

I actually traveled with Ayni Peru Expedition this past summer (July 2013) but haven't seen an area to add my review on Trip Advisor until now. Ayni was truly amazing!!! They helped me plan a complicated itinerary for a group of us, and were always prompt and thorough with their responses. We ended up doing a combination trek/tour to Lima, the Cusco area and Machu Picchu, then on to Bolivia for La Paz and Uyuni. Our trek was the 9D/8N Choquequirao ruins to Machu Picchu, which was beautiful and remote. It is definitely a challenge and I would recommend training before you begin! ( ayni-peru.com/package/… ). They have a number of treks that we considered that are shorter.

We did several day hikes and tours in the Sacred Valley for acclimatization before the trek, which were very fun and quite a bit different than the regular tourist circuit. We participated in a community tourism project learning about traditional agriculture, and hiked through a remote and gorgeous area of the Sacred Valley. The transportation between Cusco, La Paz and Uyuni was flawless, and our guides were the best I have ever had on a trip. I would really recommend Ayni, especially if you are looking to do something a little different or would like a customized trip like we needed

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 2
3. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

Can anyone that has written a recommendation here comment on Ayni Expedition's tours in the Sacred Valley, especially for children? Did anyone travel to Arequipa/Colca Canyon with them..again, I am wondering if they have family travel options. Thanks in advance!!!

San Diego...
posts: 4
4. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

Hi Katrina, sorry for the slow reply, I just saw your questions. I didn’t go to Arequipa or the Colca Canyon, but I bet Ayni would be great for that area and I am sure they would work with you to customize an itinerary for kids. The Sacred Valley tours that we did were great! We went to Chincheros, Maras and Moray on one day by mountain bike, which was fun and relatively flat; I would think it would be a lot of fun for kids, depending on their age. We toured Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Sacsayhuaman on our way back to Cusco after our trek and it was a great tour as well. We all really enjoyed the tours, and our guide was truly wonderful.

Austin, Texas
posts: 1
5. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

My wife and I were lucky enough to book the Lares trek with Domingo, as opposed to the crowded Inca trail. We feel fortunate we were steered this direction because the hike had everything we wanted! Domingo was a wonderful guide, who laughed with us, joked with us, was playful and yet extremely informed of the geography, local culture and customs, and answered any questions we presented to him. He was a joy to be around and I still consider him my friend even though we only spend 3 or 4 days together (we still chat on FB from time to time to see what each other is up to). On this hike, we didn't see any other groups, but ran into the local shepherds and were granted entry into a stone pile dwelling to share potatoes with the farmer and his family. The scenery and views were beyond description and the service from the cook, guide, and horsemen were worth every penny spend (which was way less than I would have guessed for only being my wife and I).

Vilnius, Lithuania
posts: 4
6. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

We did Hucuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu in beginning of February 2014 with guide Domingo Atao from Ayni Peru Expeditions.

Domingo Atao is an exceptional guide with a lot of knowledge about history, local people, traditions, flora, fauna, etc. He speaks Quechua language and can easily communicate with people living in the Andes and is respected by them. Domingo really cares about the local community and does everything to support them. During our trek we not only had a chance to admire wonderful local nature but also learned about different plants as Domingo is an expert of local flora. We also got to meet local people and the highlight of our trek was spending a night at a homestay with local family in village of Pucamarca. Next day after a hearty breakfast we continued our trek to Huchuy Qosqo admiring wonderful views as we descended to picturesque Sacred Valley town of Lamay. And on our last day we of course visited Machu Picchu. Domingo organized everything from train tickets, to hostel, entrance tickets and did himself a guided tour for us of this majestic place. Domingo showed us best spots for the great views, pictures and told us stories about the ancient city. I would really recommend Ayni Peru Expeditions and especially Domingo for anyone who wants to explore beautiful Peru.

Edited: 2:45 am, February 24, 2014
Minneapolis...
posts: 1
7. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

Domingo Atao is a wonderful human being. My friend and I came to visit Cusco and had reserved an Inca trek through another party. When we met Domingo we immediately wished he would be our guide however we had already had a down payment with the other company. So instead Domingo offered us a tour of Cusco and Tipon ( a small pueblo on the way to the Inca trail). Domingo is absolutely simpatico and hospitable, excited to engage you in Peruvian culture, history, and people. He speaks (in my experience) impeccable English while fluent in Spanish and Quechua.

The company's name, "Ayni" is Quechua for "Reciprocity," so his expeditions financially contribute to employing people of less economic status so they may build more income and work experience. Ayni also organizes secluded home-stays that enrich your cultural experience as well as provide income to the families in Andes mountains. Domingo is social and considerate, so there is no way you will leave your expeditions without new friends and the feeling of having a relationship in places you've visited.

My expeditions with Domingo:

The best local places in Cusco for a good meal, ANY time of the day. AND the Best juice/lunch in town for 5 soles.

A local restaurant that hosts international volunteer wait staff and contributes proceeds to a school in town. The restaurant is full of life, color, and compassion, and if upon meeting your reservation, you may find your seat saved by stuffed bears or penguins. -A magical place you feel good about eating and supporting a mission. (The food is affordable and top notch too!) Domingo has wonderful friends here.

Tipon: Trek to a small town at the foot of Andes in the morning, visit the restaurant to tell them you'll be by for Cuy at lunch time, make your way up into the foot hills to a beautiful Inca farm land with running aqueducts -unlike Machu Pichu. Spend time taking pictures, reflecting, or looking out from the terraces (the Inca really know how to pick a view). Domingo will educate you about culture, history, and architecture along the way, also botany of fruits and plats used for spices, remedies, and mate (tea).

Don't have any camping gear or forgot something? Domingo has a small inventory he is happy to lend you.

Domingo is genuine about wanting to offer you an experience beyond your expectations. He has spent a lot of time in the industry, is versatile in his activities, and knows the industry and network well. He has become a great friend I hope to see again in the future and maybe plan an extended expedition with. I still have the glaciers on my list! I'm not sure I would have as much connection to Cusco with out Domingo as our friend and guide. You will always feel cared for and safe.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 2
8. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

Ayni Peru Trip Report-Amazing!

I wanted to report back, because we just got back from Peru after a trip with Ayni and it was amazing! I found the company here on Tripadvisor, and I am so happy I followed everyone's advice. Our guide, Urbano, was so sweet and great with our kids, and every detail was perfectly planned. Amanda was very responsive throughout the time we were planning our trip, even when we had lots and lots of questions. There was a slight hiccup in our plans because of a strike/protests around the time we were vising Machu Picchu, but Ayni quickly reorganized out itinerary and everything went super smoothly. I would definitely recommend Ayni and especially Urbano for a guide to anyone planning a trip to Peru or Bolivia!

Brasilia, DF
posts: 4
reviews: 11
9. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

3rd week of March 2014) At first I was really concerned about this

company. It was very strange that a company would get so many amazing

reviews. I contacted a person who wrote one of the amazing reviews, to

make sure she had to ties with Ayni Peru. After a few messages I

decided to give it a try and booked the Huchuy Qosqo Trek (3days and 2

Nights long). I travelled by myself.

I felt secure booking a tour with Ayni Peru given their awesome

customer service and daily reply to any questions or concerns I had.

Before the trip, I received a comprehensive email from Ayni Peru with

tips and support in order for me to best prepare for this adventure.

This was an amazing experience! Domingos is a kindhearted,

well-prepared, skilful and very knowledgeable guide. He knew

everything about plants, hikes, security in the Andes, and he is an

amazing story teller! I highly recommend the company! You cant go

wrong choosing Ayni Peru Expeditions! During my Trek ( www.ayni-peru.com/package/huchuy-qosqo-trek/ ) I had a very rich local experience, spending one night with a lovely family at their hut at the top of the mountain! I life changing experience! The second day we started our hike around 6:30am, I cannot describe how wonderful it was to follow the inca trail into the heart of the mountain, in a mix of inca trail, clouds, flowers, and birds early in the morning! After we went to machu Picchu, which was incredible too (but we already have too many posts about it)

Please feel free to write if you would like to hear more about my trip.

Feeling Satisfied !

Mario

UK
posts: 9
reviews: 16
10. Re: Highly recommend Ayni Peru Expedition tour operator

These reviews helped me decide to choose Ayni Peru for my forthcoming trip. I'm doing their 9-day Choquequirao trek, which finishes in Machu Picchu on my (big) birthday on 20 May. So far, all arrangements with them - I've been dealing with Amanda - have gone smoothly and she's given me some good advice. Can't wait! Will post my trip report when I'm back in uk after 3 June. Thanks to everyone for your ideas and advice.

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