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“Choquequirao to Machu Picchu”
Review of Amazonas Explorer

Amazonas Explorer
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Amazonas Explorer offers you fun new ways to see Machu Picchu and Peru. We use adventure to escape the crowds, show you special locations and create lifelong memories. We are a small owner operated company, who love what we do. Based in Cusco for over thirty years we offer you world class guides, superb safety and equipment, fully risk assessed itineraries, faultless logistics, great back up and sales staff who really know what they are talking about. Choose from Peru’s most comprehensive selection of fixed departures, with ten high quality small group tours each week. Or design the ideal custom made itinerary for each individual client with our honest advice, unrivalled local knowledge and fast response times. We operate the best Peru family trip available and count the Wanderlust World Guide of the Year amongst our staff. We support Travelers Against Plastic, are currently joint chair of ATLAS ( Active Travel Latin America Specialists) and have planted almost half a million native trees in the Lares valley since 2007 as our commitment to 1% for the Planet. There is a reason we are the choice of discerning agents and travellers across the world.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Juneau, AK
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Choquequirao to Machu Picchu”
Reviewed October 24, 2012

There is another comprehensive review of this trek from Sept. 2012 and I agree with all of the writer's points so no need to repeat them. I made this trek in October of 2012 and found the Amazonas staff to be outstanding. Our guides Nilda, Cris and Nilo were knowledgeable, experienced and gracious. Alex's food was outstanding and kept our energy up on the trek, and the muleteers were helpful and professional.

If you choose to do a trek around Machu Picchu, you'll be in good hands with Amazonas Explorer.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank arcticcajun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DougieStewart, General Manager at Amazonas Explorer, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Very nice comment, thanks for letting us know what you think! Here at Amazonas we work closely together as a team. From the office administrative staff, guides, cooks, porters and muleteers, we are all striving to make the experience enjoyable and without issue.

We thank you again for sharing your opinions with us and hope to see you again in the future.

All the best.
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“Honeymoon Hike through the Andes”
Reviewed October 23, 2012

This trip was partly inspired by Mark Adams book, "Turn Right at Machu Picchu." We both wanted a big adventure for our honeymoon, and wanted to be challenged. We got both of those wishes in spades...
Amazonas Explorers, the outfitting company, proved their mettle in an itinerary that continued to evolve as Mother Nature prevented us from doing the initial alternative to the original plan. We all affectionately called this Plan C. Dougie, Juan Carlos, and the porters and cook had never ever been on the trails we traversed. In fact, on Day 7 of our trekking, Dougie (who has been to Machu Picchu 300+ times) commented that he believed we were the first white people to ever walk the precarious, mountainside, treacherous trail we found ourselves on. The overall consensus by all Amazonas Explorers employees was that it had the most beautiful, spectacular views of the Andes they had ever seen.

Granted, we had spacious tents that were set up by the porters; Pedro the cook created wonderful, savory meals three times a day, providing us with 5,000+ calories per day; and we even had a toilet tent. But this was by far the most difficult thing Nina has ever done, and Jamie equates it to a marathon played out over eight days. It was grueling, 7+ hours of difficult trekking up and down most days, scaling summits that reached 14,500 feet and negotiating mud, loam and a healthy dose of horse poop. We bathed in a crisp mountain stream once.

After 8 days of hiking the Andes vertical wilderness, we arrived in Aguas Calientes, the town that is the launching pad to Machu Picchu. There we enjoyed our first dose of hot water trickling down upon our heads in over a week. We arose at 4:45am Tuesday the 8th to catch our half hour bus trip up the switchbacks to MP. And although we have all seen the photographs from many angles, nothing can prepare a mind for the reality of the experience. We now know why a particular author theorized that this and other Peruvian edifices were the work of aliens... Even though we were there to see and experience it, it boggles the mind, and does not seem quite real. It is a Disney fantasy world times 100. And then add the fact that it was built for a society to actually live in, and done so 500 years ago by a civilization that had not discovered the wheel, the arch or the written word.

Words fail, both written and in conversation, but know that we did exactly what we wanted to do, and we agree that the honeymoon brought us closer together. Peru holds such magic and mystery and we both want to return someday.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank Nina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DougieStewart, General Manager at Amazonas Explorer, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Wow! Thanks for the detail and the review. We are so glad that you were able to be flexible as sometimes weather in Peru creates situations that require a certain amount of malleability. Other companies might have packed it up, but if we can find a way, we will get it done.

The Choquequirao is not an easy endeavor, but one that is always rewarding in the end.

Thanks for putting you’re your honeymoon in our hands, so very nice to hear that an amazing trek has brought you closer together.
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Atlanta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“The Best Guided Tour We Have Ever Had”
Reviewed October 16, 2012

When we visited Peru, we wanted to book a guided tour to make sure we saw as much as we could of the various ruins sites. We crossed our fingers and hoped that Amazonas explorer would be less touristy-and did we ever get lucky! We have travelled all over the world and we still say this was the best money we've spent on a trip. It was just us, iur driver, and our guide for less than we would have paid to use Gap Adventures or another tour bus style guide. Our guide Fidel was amazing. He was patient and knowledgeable. He was willing to change up the tour a bit since I wanted to see llamas :). My husband decided to propose to me at Macchu Picchu so Fidel recommended we wake up early to climb Wayna Picchu knowing that the top would be a beautiful place to propose. He woke up at 3:00am to meet us in line to ensure we got tickets to climb it. I remember being a bit caught off guard when we were asked to wire funds for the entire cost of the tour. Since we were coming from out of country it concerned me to not be able to use credit card. However, they arrived at our hotel promptly and all concerns were quickly put to rest with the amazing tour that followed!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
Thank JessicaHowell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DougieStewart, General Manager at Amazonas Explorer, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
There are many ways to see Peru, but no one does it better. Thanks for your vote of confidence and sharing your experience. What a very cool place to get engaged!

We do a lot of set departures that have large groups but no more than 16 people. With some of the competition, you can feel like a number or a bus seat, at Amazonas we like to provide a more personal and intimate experience with personal attention from your guide.

We also take care of staff to make sure that they go the extra mile for you, whatever the case may be.

We do like to work with bank transfers as to not pass on the additional costs of using credit card onto the client. We have been in business for over 25 years and we are not going anywhere 

Congratulations on the marriage and the unforgettable engagement! Thanks again for choosing us.
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Pau, France
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best mountain bike company around”
Reviewed October 14, 2012

I spent two days doing downhill mountain biking in Cuzco with the Amazonas explorer crew.
The bikes are very good, probably the best ones in Cuzco. The experience of the team is the best around. We had a lot of fun, I highly recommend it,

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank pacuca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DougieStewart, General Manager at Amazonas Explorer, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
We have been exploring the trails and terrain in Cusco and Peru for over 25 years! Thanks for your review! We have a fleet of over 40 bikes that are well maintained and constantly updated. As always, safety first.

Thanks for taking the ride with us and the fun has just begun. If you ever get back to Peru, there are so many more trails to explore! Hope to see you again.
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Choquequirao Trek: excellent, demanding trip”
Reviewed October 1, 2012

This review is for the Amazonas trip "Choquequirao - Trek the Andes", which is also offered by KE Adventures as the "Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek" trip - KE contracts with Amazonas to run the trip. On my trip 5 clients came through Amazonas and the other 11 were from KE.

5 stars for the trip. This is a great trip. If you're up for it (and it is VERY physically demanding) you'll see amazing ruins, hike down and up a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon, see lots of ecosystems, and hike over high (15k+ ft / 4,600m) passes, with great views of the Andes around every corner.

The only caveat for the trekking route: a road is being built over the Totora pass into the Yanama river valley. This significantly detracts from the wilderness feel of the trek, as well as destroying the trail. I expect that Amazonas will reroute the trek to avoid this pass (there are a couple of alternative trails).

5 stars for the guides: Ruben and his team were great, highly knowledgeable about the area, took good care of everyone on the trip, were encouraging when we needed it, and did it all with a smile and charm.

4 stars for the agency: the trip was mostly well run, with excellent guides, a solid cook and team, and good horse / mule wranglers and camp staff. In the back office, Dougie seems solid and responsive, the rest of his staff less so. My one issue: if you arrive on your own the first day (I spent the previous days in the Sacred Valley hiking and acclimatizing to the altitude, which is recommended) it may be hard to coordinate joining the group for the walking tour of Cuzco.

Trip difficulty: this not a casual or even a moderate trek. Most days we hiked from early morning until mid or late afternoon - there were breaks, but these are long days on the trail. The terrain in the Andes is never flat - it's either up or down, often steeply so. In the 8 days of serious trekking, our group (according to GPS) traveled 60 miles, including a total ascent of 26,000 ft and a total descent of 25,000 ft. This is steep terrain, and the trails are often loose, rocky and dusty, making for challenging trekking.

In their detailed itenerary, Amazonas does a pretty good job explaining that this is a "tough trek", involving "high passes" and "steep descents", concluding clients should have "previous trekking experience" and "reasonable fitness". This is all accurate, though I might recommend a fitness level beyond just "reasonable": you really need to be in good shape to enjoy this trip.

KE Adventures rates this trip as Demanding, just over the line from Moderate. While this may be consistent with KE's ratings (check their Trip Grading page, remembering their origins as a guide service for K2), it proved misleading to several of our group who greatly underestimated the difficulty and frankly just weren't ready for it. Specifically, KE states that "the trekking is straightforward and not very sustained" - I strongly disagree with this. The trekking IS very sustained, involving and multiple hour uphill / downhill stretches that do not relent in grade.

As one reference point: a couple of us on the trip had previously climbed Kilimanjaro, and we agreed with this trip was at least as (if not more) physically demanding. Kili has one very hard day and higher altitude, while this trip has multiple sustained hard days.

Finally, a word about the bugs: you WILL be bitten many times on this trip, no matter how careful you are. There are biting bugs almost every day, not just limited to the Rio Blanco canyon. A strong DEET-based insect repellent helps but does not totally stop the nasties. The member of our team who fared best was dressed head to toe in ExOfficio BugsAway gear (I'm not affiliated with them in any way, except as a customer) which seemed to help a lot. I also recommend bringing at least one insect repellent in spray form, which is useful for the underside while doing your business. (Yes, we all got bitten in places that the sun doesn't shine.)

Having said all that, this is a well-run excellent adventure. You'll hike uncrowded wilderness and see remote places not reached by many. The guides are excellent, and te difficulty and bugs are manageable, made totally worthwhile by what you'll see and experience.

If you're up for it, I highly recommend this trip and this agency - I will definitely use them again if I return to the area.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Alan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DougieStewart, General Manager at Amazonas Explorer, responded to this review, October 4, 2013
Thanks for taking the time to write about your Choquequirao trek with us. We are pleased to hear that enjoyed this challenging trek. You mentioned in your review that a portion of the trek is being paved over, for this reason we are operating a 10 day package in 2014 instead of a 12 day package.

We hope that you get the chance to come back and take another trek with us. Hopefully not as much DEET will be required.

Thanks again and all the best.
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