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First Step Expeditions

Cusco, Peru
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About First Step Expeditions
First Step Expeditions is a small company with a big mission — to bring adventure seekers on authentic, guided tours through Peru and to provide an off-the-beaten-track experience that gives directly back to the local economy. This is not your standard big-bus tour group. Blaire, Javier, and Roger are a team of experienced travelers who have spent decades working in the tourism industry. They know what they’re doing, and they communicate with you every step of the way to ensure a fantastic trip. But more importantly, they truly love everything Peru has to offer and want visitors to leave with a sense of history, belonging, and wonder. They lead their company with curiosity, empathy, and through the lens that experiencing new perspectives through travel makes us all better citizens of the world.
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Sally L wrote a review Aug 2022
1 contribution
We just returned (as in literally, today) from Peru where we completed the six-day Ausangate, Rainbow Mountain, and Machu Picchu Trek. We were a group of six (a 59-year-old Mom and 5 young adults ranging in age from 17 to 25). And today, we are talking about nothing but how amazing this trip was and how it will forever change us. To enumerate the many ways this trip was amazing: 1) The organization was impeccable. From the first moment we arrived and met with Lucy, our amazing guide, until the end, every step was organized to the extreme. We just followed along like little puppy dogs behind Lucy to the train or the van or on a trail...and we trusted (and were constantly rewarded in that trust) that Lucy would just take care of everything. Lucy could part a crowd like the red sea to get her little group through and somehow always got us the best of everything: first in line, quiet spot in Machu Picchu for photos....anything. The entire staff was awe-inspiring and we were constantly speaking of the awe we felt at how hard everyone worked, from the porters who would pack up everything and rush it to the next spot to unpack it and set it all up again, to the chef/assistant chef who were always up before us and in bed long after us, preparing our meals. 2) The food!! Oh my god, the food was amazing. Here we were, a half vegetarian, half non-vegetarian group and the chef Carmello (not sure I spelled this correctly), served us all the most amazing and tasty and visually inspiring meals!  I will always remember our first lunch after a hike; we were literally expecting sandwiches and some fruit and instead there was hot soup and both vegetarian and regular ceviche, amazing stuffed avocados, chicken, rice and quinoa mix, and I'm sure more than I can remember. Each meal served to us was huge, gorgeous, delicious and perfectly balanced for both the vegetarian and non-veg side of the family so that no one felt shorted.  3) The places we were taken: how can I possibly share with anyone the beauty of everything we saw? From glaciers to snow covered peaks to vast lands that felt as if dinosaurs should be emerging it was all so pristine and perfect! Lucy ensured that we were literally the very first people on top of Rainbow Mountain, there before the thousands of tourists had gotten anywhere close....it was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. 4) The emotional support constantly offered: I won't pretend, this was a challenging trip. Our ages ranged from 17 to 59 and yet each of us struggled in different ways and at different times with the altitude. Those three days in the Ausangate range would end up being our very favorite part of the trip because of the sheer isolation, incredible beauty, bonding opportunities with each other, and that sense of being set down on another planet. And yet it was hard: each of us had our moments when the altitude affected us, whether it be headaches or nausea or difficulties breathing when hiking. Sleep was often impacted; we were incredibly cold on the last night; and probably each person had tears at some point because of how difficult things felt sometimes. Yet we also LOVED this section because this is when we were most challenged and faced the challenge. And we did it all with the support of Lucy, the staff, and even Ernesto, the horseman, and Dante, the horse/ambulance who would shoulder a daypack when necessary.  5) Finally, I have to end with Lucy, our fabulous guide, who earned our incredible respect and love by the end of this trip. She was instrumental to this entire trip and we all came to care so deeply for her by the end of this trip. We tried to encourage her to follow us to Florida and keep running our lives, but for some reason, she wouldn't. :)  She was a strong, bad-ass woman who could carry her massively heavy backpack wherever we went and produce from that backpack anything we needed. We came to laugh about Lucy and her "magic" potions she would produce, whether it was coca leaves or hard candies or her drops that she would rub into our hands to help us to cope with the altitude. She brought warmth and support when we faltered. My 25-year-old daughter really struggled with altitude sickness at the top of Rainbow Mountain and Lucy stood coaching her through her breathing, holding her hands, calming her fears, and got her through that frightening moment with strength and compassion. Lucy was literally the best guide we could possibly hope to ever have been assigned and we will forever speak of her with love and  awe. And will we quote her as a guide to life: "little by little, just go little by little." I can't imagine a better trip or a better week. We have all come from this trip facing personal and physical challenges, awed by the beauty of everything we saw (and even heard, such as an avalanche at night), and with a love for Peru that will stay with us. I'd recommend that anyone use First Step Expeditions for a trip to Peru. You will be so happy you did!
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Rashmi N wrote a review Jul 2022
Maui, Hawaii1 contribution
First Step Expedition was truly amazing and went above and beyond in making our unplanned and last minute trip perfect. They are patient and work with you for every little detail and make sure you are at home away from home. The food, the hotel stay, the treks, the support and Roger our guide was outstanding. Roger made sure we overcame two really hard hikes with patience and sense of humor. Our trip to Sacred Valley and the lunch with the local tribe was a pleasant surprise and absolute must do. I hope to engage with the First Step team again soon!
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Date of experience: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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crookshannon wrote a review Apr 2022
Fort St. John, Canada3 contributions
My son and I just finished an amazing trip with First Step Expeditions. We explored Cusco, visited the Palcoyo Mountains, completed the Savage Trek, and finished our trip with an incredible journey to Machu Picchu. Thank you to Blaire and Roger for making this trip possible for us. It was two years in the making, with many challenges along the way, but these individuals went over and above to ensure this trip was all that we dreamed of and more. We appreciated the spectacular scenery, great food and wonderful hospitality! Highly recommended. Gracias❤️
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Date of experience: April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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DellaRB wrote a review Apr 2022
La Canada Flintridge, California153 contributions17 helpful votes
+1
First Step Expeditions (FSE) took care of us 100%+ on our adventure. This trip was booked after our original trip during the pandemic was cancelled 2 years earlier. Trust and enjoyment doesn't begin to express our special experience. From the initial outreach and planning with co-owner Blaire, through to airline flight changes up to departure and everything in between, we couldn't have asked for more. FSE arranged a custom private itinerary for us taking care of all transportation: cars, trains, busses and regional flight from Cusco to Lima. All very affordable with first class service and attention to detail and personal comfort. The check-in with us mid trip was also a nice touch and so meaningful. Our guide Rafael was perfect for us - so experienced, knowledgeable, caring, and humble - we completely bonded with him which enhanced our adventure 1000 fold. The food, the little hotel in Ollantaytambo, El Albergue, my birthday celebration in Aquas Calentes after the Incan Trail climb (WOW), the driver and porters so competent and amazing, the landscapes, and strenuous breathtaking treks, the little moments to honor pachamama and learn of the Peruvian customs along the way, and what an accomplishment the incredibly diverse and challenging Waquapukara trek was, Palccoyo Rainbow mountain… OMG, worth every earned step! And did I mention the food? The porter chefs - are you kidding me! Their strength, creativity, talent and sheer joy of doing it, out in the remotest locations! They elevated food and service to an all new level for us. We were so well fed, pampered and are forever jaded. Being back has been a let down, especially having to catch up at work and with life, that's how wonderful our trip was and how much the little bit of Peru we experienced touched our hearts. I have been raving about First Step Expeditions and sharing photos on FB and Instagram, tagging First Step Expeditions. Rafi was extraordinary as a guide and tolerated us with patience, understanding and LOTs of humor. We so enjoyed getting to know Cusco and Peru through him, his eyes, life and style. And our guide, Vanessa in Lima, was simply lovely and incredible with her knowledge. We also connected with her personally and wonderfully which equated to an amazing day in Lima. We talked her into taking us to Parque de Amour on the beautiful cliffs of the Lima seaside where we left a love lock - she got into the spirit and took wonderful pictures for us. When in Lima the historic district is a must to learn about the history of Lima. Lunch at Larco Museum gardens is also a must before the museum. Thank you FSE! Vanessa’s guidance and narration through the museum perfectly summarized the Incans for us and left such a happy last impression of Peru. Can’t recommend FSE more!
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Date of experience: April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Monica wrote a review Jan 2022
Boston, Massachusetts73 contributions14 helpful votes
+1
We did the following itinerary with First Step Expeditions: - Day Tour to Paracas/Isla Ballestas (boat tour) and Huacachina (sandboarding and dune buggy) - Airport transfer in Cusco - Day Tour of Machu Picchu - Day Tour of Rainbow Mountain - Day Tour of Moray/Moras with airport drop off We had Roger as our guide that was with us the entire time. He was very attentive to our needs, took the time to get to know us and therefore was able to deliver the best service that met our expectations. He was very knowledgeable and took the extra steps in making sure we were comfortable at every point of the tour. Walter was our driver to Paracas and Huacachina. He was very nice and was an exceptional driver. Oscar was our driver while in Cusco. He was extremely kind and attentive. His driving skills were on point as some of the roads were extremely tricky! Prior to all our amazing adventures, Blair was beyond helpful in helping me plan an itinerary. We were able to come up with a plan that allowed us (my boyfriend and I) to see all our "must-sees" and yet fit in the time that we had. She was very responsive and knowledgeable. Thank you for an amazing experience in Peru!!!
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Date of experience: December 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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