Paint & Pottery Studios • Cultural Tours
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What travelers are saying
- During my time in Peru, we did Instagram photo tour and cooking classes. I had a great time pretending to be a professional model. We visited the most photogenic places in Arequipa. Cooking class was super fun because we prepared local drinks and meals. The chef loves his job which makes his picanteria really authentic. You can feel the soul of the Peruvian predecessors in this place! I can truly reccomend!Written March 5, 2020This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- We had a day with Carlos doing a San Pedro ceremony in Cusco. Probability one of the best days we had in Peru and as a couple traveling South America.
The whole experience was well performed and well maintained, with Carlos giving us more guidance, support and help than we expected.
We are grateful and thankful for the time with Carlos and Vissionar and strongly recommend booking your activities with them!Written May 17, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- Wow! Wow! Wow! Ronald is such a great person and tour company owner. Our family of six adults (ages 21-57) has traveled together to over 20 countries over the last 15 years. So when I praise Ronald, it’s from a well-traveled source.
Many of us speak second and sometimes third languages, so when we travel, we typically handle everything ourselves because we can. However, I knew we were only going to be in Peru for six days, and I wanted to make sure we got into all of the sites we wanted to visit. Because of Covid, I did not want to take a chance on planning something when we arrived over the holidays and finding out everything was booked. Even though I had heard we could save money by making arrangements upon arrival, I didn’t want to spend money to fly to Peru just to have a failed visit because we couldn’t go where we wanted to go, especially Machu Picchu. Ronald was the answer!!!
As I was searching for Airbnb‘s, I came across two homes, one in Cusco and one in the Sacred Valley, both of which had reviews praising Ronald, his company Cultura Viva Perú, and the services he had acquired for those Airbnb guests. I was nervous to hire an operator of a small company, but the reviews were so good, I decided to move forward with it.
Initially, I looked at tours offered by big companies in the area to see pricing and sites I might be interested in. I then contacted Ronald to let him know which things I wanted to do and which things I did not want to do. He put together some ideas of personalized tours to address our wishes/needs in the days we would be there. We went back-and-forth between my requests and his suggestions until we came up with a plan that worked. His pricing was fair. I’m sure we probably paid more than what I could have “bargained” for in Peru, but I wanted the surety of knowing everything was all set with a reputable company.
As you look at the list of what Ronald arranged for us, just know that in every single instance the drivers/guides were ready early. They were all so kind! Remarkable reliance. Ronald arranged the following for us:
1. An airport transfer early in the morning upon our Sunday arrival to his office
2. His office to store our bags and use a clean restroom while we hung out that day in Cusco
3. Transferred us to our final Airbnb in the Sacred Valley that afternoon
4. Had a driver and tour guide arrive early the next morning to take us to five sites in the Sacred Valley we had pre-selected. This tour was the only one where we had to purchase a ticket ourselves that covered those sites at the first site. Ronald could not prearrange it, but told us in advance this would be the case and to bring cash for payment at the first site. There was no COVID crowd limit at these sites, and it was easy to get the “punch” card. We were together all day and LOVED what we learned from Selio (our guide). (Travel tips: Stop by a little market upon arrival in Cusco to buy snacks to bring with you as you travel in the vans. Saves you time. It’s also nice if you share snacks with the driver and guide. They really appreciate it. We also learned after day one that the roads are very curvy and bumpy in the areas where you go to see many sites. We ended up needing to go to a local pharmacy to buy the equivalent of Dramamine. If you bring it with you, you can avoid queasiness on the first drive. On most drives, we were in the vans (very nice large vans) at least one hour to get to each location. Between the altitude, travel fatigue, curvy roads, and bumps, four of us got motion sickness each day who typically do not get that queasy. By day two, we just took the motion sickness pills preemptively. Lol. The motion sickness came from the actual roads/curves/bumps not the drivers. They were great.)
5. Prearranged an early morning driver (3:30 am), then train tickets, and then bus tickets to get us the three travel legs up to Machu Picchu (with a guide there) for a 7 AM entrance when there were fewer crowds. One note here about guides…At Machu Picchu, there are many, many guides. If you have a particular interest about Machu Picchu (i.e. religious practices, spirituality, daily life, Incan history throughout Peru, etc.), you should let Ronald know in advance so he can select a guide who has that expertise. There’s so much to learn about it that you might want input on what your guide covers in those 2.5 hours you are inside.)
6. Also purchased separate entrance tickets (10-11 am) to Machu Picchu to go back in to climb Huayna Picchu per our request (no guide). If I recall correctly, having separate entrance tickets cost a little more but allowed us to go out to eat at the restaurant and use the restroom (no restrooms inside) before we did our longer hike. Ronald told us ahead of time to make sure we brought really good hiking shoes for this hike in case it was wet and slippery. Great tip because it was wet and slippery and rained most of our hike. Gorgeous though.
7. Arranged all three travel legs back, where our driver met us again promptly as we got off the train to take us home.
8. Arranged a driver to meet us the following day to bring us from the Sacred Valley an hour and a half back to Cusco.
9. Had a driver and guide meet us the following day for a tour to the more distant sight of Rainbow Mountain where there are fewer crowds and many rainbow mountains instead of the closer site with a much tougher hike at the 17,000 elevation and more crowds. Included breakfast and lunch for that longer drive.
10. Helped us with questions we had while in Cusco and arranged our transport back to the airport on Friday night, New Year’s Eve. Ronald even came personally to the office that night to make sure we made that transfer on time in the New Year’s Eve crowds.
All of these personal services, including drivers, guides, and tickets, cost us about $500 per person TOTAL over the six days (plus the punch card we had to buy ourselves). That is very reasonable. I’m sure prices will increase over time to the venues themselves and for Ronald’s guides/drivers as employment wages increase in Peru. So just use my number as a reference for 2021. But I felt the pricing and the services were very reasonable, well executed, and SO personable. I give Ronald and his company my highest recommendation. I have already told many of my friends in the United States who are considering a trip to Cusco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu to hire Ronald and his company.
A+++. Worth every dollar.
Last bit…service people in Peru do not “expect” tips, but they appreciate them so much!!! Whenever we tipped a driver, guide, waiter at a restaurant, or home caretaker, they were so grateful we acknowledged there tremendous service. If you have any questions about tipping, ask Ronald or your Airbnb host.
Also, as I mentioned above, we stayed in two Airbnb‘s where we first read about Ronald. I can recommend both of them. The one in Sacred Valley because the house is FANTASTIC, the caretaker Rosaira is wonderful and her personally cooked dinners ($15 US per person if you hire her for that) are DELICIOUS, and the view was stunning. The one in Cusco (older and charming) because Meizhu (caretaker) is so thoughtful and the house is very clean, spacious, and centrally located. It’s literally next door to Ronald’s office.)
I hope you enjoy your trip if you decide to go!Written January 11, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- Wow, this week long trip went waayyyy beyond over my expectations - A inspiring group of women, a week long of hands-on, authentic workshops and activities, PLUS beautiful hotels and delicious meals, I couldn't recommend a workshop or tour with Aula more.
From the beginning, Sonya and Steph were very careful to consider my travel plans and needs. They were so informative, kind and simply genuine people to spend the week with. Not to mention, their team of guides, drivers and hotel partners were amazing, too.
I've traveled quite a bit all over the world, and Peru, and there was no way I could find these sort of activities and artisan groups on my own. If you are looking for a off-the-grid, authentic and inspiring trip through the Sacred Valley all I can say is GO WITH AULA!!!
Thank you so so so much for this amazing experience, Aula!Written September 16, 2019This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- The tattoos we made with my girlfriend, 4 in total was exactly what we expected. Thanks to Anis for his professionalism. I recommand everyone to go to Malqui tattoo.Written February 1, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- Personal Travel Experience is a one-of-a-kind tourist agency in Cusco. Silvia Uscamaita, one of the founders, is a leader in the tourism sector of Cusco and the Sacred Valley and is all about upholding the social responsibility that tourism holds to giving back to the people of the local communities. She's the real deal!! I highly recommend a visit with her if you want a unique experience of the region. I was there with my two young sons in April and May 2019, and we had some experiences in upper Huilloc, a small village at 3,800m that were truly authentic and engaging. We met local people, shared a meal, danced, and learned about their natural weaving techniques. Sure, you can find this anywhere on a standard tour package from many Cusco agencies - they're a dime a doze - but they feel so contrived. This was an amazing travel experience that was really beneficial for all!Written February 20, 2020This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.