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“Amazing trek”
Review of Enigma

Ranked #76 of 888 Tours in Cusco
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Amazing trek”
Reviewed June 12, 2013

Enigma was absolutely amazing and the Inca trail far exceed my expectations! Jaime, our guide, was extremely knowledgeable and paced us perfectly. Our group was only 4, and luckily we were all around the same speed. For our small group we had 11 support staff (1 guide, 1 cook, 1 assistant cook, 1 head porter, 7 other porters). I felt like the porters were treated well and didn't seem to be carrying an excessive amount of weight. Porter welfare was one of the reasons I chose Enigma.
The other main reason I picked Enigma was their itinerary. As mentioned here, Enigma takes your further the first day. It is challenging but I preferred it. It meant we had less climbing on day two, and barely saw anyone else on the trail. For the first 2 nights there was only one other group in our camping sites. I felt like we got the rare opportunity to enjoy the majestic serenity of this popular stretch of the Inca Trail. There were times when I was actually hiking alone (although my group was never more than 10-15 minutes away) on the trail with no one in sight in front or behind me! FOOD: The food was excellent! Our small group had a vegetarian, gluten free and lactose free. Our cook, Pable, was able to accommodate all of that with incredible fresh, tasty meals. EQUIPMENT: We rented sleeping bags and Thermarest sleeping pads because we didn't want to haul all our gear around our other stops in South America. They worked well and were in good shape. The tents were nice and spacious for 2 people. DETAILS: Enigma organized an unforgettable trek for us. I didn't have any problems with the office booking, confirming payment, arranging luggage storage, etc throughout the entire process. I loved the snack bag and snacks provided. We were spoiled by the "room service" of waking up with a hot drink brought to your tent, hot water for washing provided right outside the tent. Go with Enigma - you will love it!!

Visited May 2013
Thank NinjaScooter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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189 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Perfect - Just perfect”
Reviewed June 10, 2013

Having read the review below first, I thought that was someone from our trip, but it was written before we left! We also had Paul and Marco as our guides and we cant sign their praises enough.

My husband and I are not big hikers, so were nervous for the challenge..... but we loved ever minute of it. So much so that Machu Picchu was "nice" but for us it was all about the journey to get there. (Watch out for the "Inca" steep steps)

The group we shared our experience with was a real mix of characters, which made the trip even more special.

The food, the porters, the guides - we couldn't have wished for anything better!

And yes...... DEFINITELY hire the extra porter so you can enjoy the hike - its a once in a lifetime experience, make sure you can enjoy it.

Visited June 2013
Thank Helen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ithaca, New York
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Go with Enigma and ask for Paul as your guide!”
Reviewed May 23, 2013

OVERVIEW - Don't be fooled by the relatively slow and non-detailed email responses from some of the staff members at Enigma. This is a wonderful and EXTREMELY well organized trip. We finished the 4day/3night Inca Trail yesterday, led by lead guide Paul and assistant guide Marco. I would highly recommend asking for Paul - I cannot imagine a better guide for this challenging yet enjoyable trek. Our trip included experienced and novice hikers/campers ranging from ages 24-54 (we are 37 and 39) and fitness levels ranging from a marathon-running Nike employee to relatively out-of-shape techie types like me. Paul did an excellent job pacing the entire group and, most importantly, avoided the many other groups on the trail. As a result, we felt like 80% of the trail was "our own" with infrequent overlaps with other groups. Paul and the Enigma team typically hike a long first day (15km) resulting in a much more exclusive experience that avoids the other groups.

FOOD - The food far exceeded expectations for us, including the two vegetarians and two vegans on our trip. Enigma is very well prepared for vegetarian and vegan diets. I also suspect that they can also easily accommodate gluten-free (since they specifically asked about it). Our chef "Winder" (aka. "The Magician" or "El Mago") whipped up multi-course lunches and dinners every day and a hot breakfast every morning. There were no sandwiches and no packaged foods. The snacks that were provided were mostly healthy and more than adequate for the trek. I would not recommend bringing much extra food. Boiled filtered water was also in ample supply. No one on our trip became ill from food or water.

EQUIPMENT - We wanted to challenge ourselves so we hauled all of our own gear this time, including the Enigma-supplied sleeping bags. It would have been much more comfortable to hire an extra porter and only haul a day pack. Next time, we will do that. While the Enigma supplied sleeping bags and pads are sufficient, if you camp frequently, you will almost certainly have higher quality and (most importantly) less bulky gear. In particular, you may want to bring a higher quality sleeping bag pad. The Enigma-supplied tents were great and did not leak, even in moderate rain for several hours. We heard numerous other non-Enigma groups complaining about leaks when we finished the trek.

COST - The Enigma overview says "tipping is not required and is at your discretion" but on the trail it is pretty obvious that tipping is expected for the porters. For our group of 10 people, there were 16 total porters (including a cook and a couple of extra porters for some of the couples). We tipped the porters a total of S/250 for the trip for the two of us. This was in line with what the other couples tipped the porters. The porters were happy and took home about S/75 each. We also tipped the cook an extra S/100 as a group (the cook also gets a porter's share). I am not sure what everyone tipped the guides but as a couple we tipped US$60-US$80 per guide.

BOTTOM LINE - Bravo Paul! Bravo Enigma! We were extremely happy with the experience. Ask for Paul as your guide and you will not be disappointed. I plan on bringing my father back to Peru in September to hike the Inca trail and Salcantay with guide Paul. If you would like more information on this trek or pictures, please send me a private message.

Visited May 2013
4 Thank Timbermaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Love Enigma - Outstanding”
Reviewed May 20, 2013

Whatever I write cannot begin to describe the absolutely outstanding adventure my wife and I experienced with Enigma. Everything was perfect. I worked with Geraldine in the office to arrange two tours (one day Sacred Valley, and 4 day Classic Inca Trail). She answered all of my many email questions during the four months leading up to the trip. All of the information she provided was accurate and helpful. The one-day Sacred Valley tour was really fun and a great way to spend our first full day acclimating to the altitude. My wife and I did the private tour and could not have been more happy and relaxed. Highly recommended. We had a major problem with the hotel I booked on my own. It was so loud we had no choice but to change. Geraldine to the rescue. She immediately stopped whatever she was doing and found us two hotels to choose from. Thankfully we got some sleep and rest prior to our four days on the trail. Of course the highlight of our time was the the trek on the Inca Trail. Our guide, Edwin, was tremendous. His knowledge, communications skills, complete understanding of everything, exceeded my expectations. He made the trek fun, adventurous, and entertaining. His coaching and leadership made even the hard parts, and let me tell you there are "hard" parts, fun and enjoyable. He knew exactly how to motivate you to achieve each step. Now the food; Teo, our chef, is THE MAN. I still cannot believe how incredible the food was. Always delicious unbelievable presentation, exceeded all of my expectations. Homemade lasagna, spinach quinoa chicken soup, potato puree, pancakes with fresh mango sauce, etc. etc.etc..remarkable. The trek was an experience of a lifetime. Enigma takes a very different approach, the first day you will trek farther then the other companies. First of all, Enigma's groups are smaller and more nimble. They have a different itinerary then the other companies. Thus the first day is more challenging; but the great advantage is that you cut into the treachery of the second day when you head up to 13,700 ft. at "Dead Women's Pass". Trust me you will be thankful for the first day experience and you will be much better prepared for the second. Also, you won't be arriving late at your campsite on the second night. It really is a much better more enjoyable schedule. The views you will experience during your hike are simply breathtaking. Edwin knew exactly where to stop, where to rest, how to take the best pictures (in fact he took many of my wife and I). He knew exactly what time to wake up on the last morning to be one of the very first in line to access Machu Picchu. Additionally, his guided tour of Machu Picchu was remarkable. I cannot praise Enigma enough for providing us with superior service, superior organization, and a really incredible journey. I could go on and on. I am a very experienced traveler and have experienced the best and the worst of tour companies. Enigma is the best................ Thank you Geraldine, Edwin, and Teo

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Paul C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wokingham, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Great Trek AWFUL Admin”
Reviewed May 11, 2013 via mobile

A few days before our long planned trip to Peru I received a call from our English travel agent to inform us their ground agents in Peru had neglected to book us on the Inca Trail ... They managed to book us on the Salkantay trek which was actually far better, but that is not point! The other couples on trek each experienced major booking issues with Enigma. Anyway ... Now the positives ... Trek was fabulous & our guide Juan Carlos was exceptional. He motivated & always managed to identify which member of group was struggling at any one time to ensure we had his undivided attention. Juan Carlos knew everything about the habitat, history, in fact there was not a single question he couldn't answer! The team of horsemen & chefs were diligent. This trek, once underway, was the most incredible experience that I will treasure forever.

Visited May 2013
Thank JillyJef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
silviadeviaje, Managing Director at Enigma, responded to this review, May 15, 2013
Dear JillyJef,

Many thanks for your comments and really happy to hear you had a wonderful trek.

We are very sorry to hear about your Inca Trail space issue and were certainly aware of it, but as the Managing Director of Enigma, I have to say on behalf of all of our team, that your particular comment of an awful administration in Enigma is not fair to our company.

Your English travel agent informed you that their ground agents in Peru had neglected to book you on the Inca Trail. However, the ground agent in Peru of your English travel agent IS NOT Enigma, but an intermediate agent. We did not get your booking through any international travel agent based in the UK but rather, from a Lima-based agent.

Your booking came in at the end of last year but without any passenger data. When the Inca Trail spaces for 2013 started to be available for purchase in January 2013, we still had not received your data (full names, nationality, passport number and DOB) by our Lima-based client and so by the time we received them, spaces for your May departure date (May 8th if I'm not wrong), had already been sold out - that is, the government's spaces, not Enigma's group departure spaces.

So please, we'd really appreciate that you correct your very aggressive title, as from our side, we have done our best to include you in a close departure to an alternative trekking route, after confirming to our Lima-based client that it was not at all possible to obtain permits when these had been totally sold out. Now if the problem comes from our client in Peru or from your travel agent in the UK, this is something we don't know. But I can say it definitely does not come from us, as we are very clear in our policies regarding the data we need to book, and if a booking comes without guest data, it is not a valid booking - spaces for the Inca Trail cannot be blocked, they can only be purchased and for this, we need a name and personal data.

Enigma is extremely careful with the Inca Trail's space issue and we are happy to say we have not incurred in such problems for the past years that we may remember. As it happens to be a very delicate reason for most of the potential guests' disappointments at their booking phase, having clear policies regarding which data are needed for a booking and having deadlines clear for both our clients and visitors are a must for our successful sale and operation, and to have all clients satisfied. We certainly try to do our best and we may make mistakes at times, but this case of yours is just not our responsibility and so it is totally unfair that you put the blame on us.

I will be personally checking the rest of reports in your group departure to understand the major booking issues you mention. But what we can say from your case is that the Inca Trail issue has not been our direct problem please.

This said, again, we are very pleased you enjoyed the trek and again, thank you for your very positive feedback.

Warmest regards,

Managing Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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