My husband found Alpaca Expeditions here on Trip Advisor while we were planning our trip to Peru. The many excellent reviews convinced us to choose this company to arrange our visit to Machu Picchu, and we can't speak highly enough about our experience.
We did a 2-day, 1-night trek since we did not have time to do the full 4-day Inca trail. Bonnie was very helpful and responsive by email, and we felt that AE's prices were very fair considering they took care of everything (permits, transportation, etc.) and we didn't have to worry about a thing. Due the great interactions we had before our arrival, we decided to also book a full day Sacred Valley tour through this company.
Our wonderful tour guide, Ruben Covarrubias Andrade, met us at our hotel right on time, and proceeded to walk us through our itinerary for the MP trek. He spoke very good English, which was helpful since we did not speak a lot of Spanish. Another person from the AE office also came by before and after our trip to ensure everything was in order. Throughout out travels, we also had our own "private car" and lovely Quechua driver, Jose. Everyone was very professional and nice!
Ruben was fabulous every step of the way. He was kind, helpful, enthusiastic, funny, and knowledgeable. It was very special having a native Quechua guide who is from the Sacred Valley and so passionate about the area, the history, and the culture of this incredible part of the world. It was just the 3 of us during our MP and SV tours, so we could go at our own pace and spend a lot of time learning about various plants, animals and history. There was so much to see but we had plenty of time to do everything and take many photos. When we finally reached the Sun Gate in the late afternoon of Day 1, the sun was shining over MP (not bad for rainy season!!) and hardly any other tourists were around... it was incredible. Our arranged hotel and dinner in Aguas Calientes were very basic, but sufficient for the purpose of showering and getting a good night's rest. The next morning, we reached MP early and again there were few other visitors at that time - a great opportunity to have the place to ourselves before it got more crowded. We also hiked Wayna Picchu, and Ruben offered to take one of our bags so we wouldn't have to carry everything up for that short but physically demanding hike. Overall, we loved the 2D-1N trek as it allowed us to see many of the important Inca ruins (plus some that aren't on the classic trail) in a short time frame.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas tour was also a wonderful experience. It seems a lot of people get to MP, but not everyone visits this beautiful region along the Urubamba River. We are very happy we chose a private guide rather than sitting on large tour bus where we wouldn't get to ask so many questions and interact with the guide. Ruben was phenomenal - he is a wealth of information and also plays the flute! He takes his job very seriously and personally, and was very respectful to all of the local people we encountered. We stopped at a market for a little shopping, saw the ruins at Pisac and Ollantaytambo, visited the church and textile center in Chinchero,etc. There were plenty of bathroom stops along the way and opportunities to purchase drinks and snacks. We also stopped for a buffet lunch (not included in tour fee) which was delicious. The majority of all produce and meat served in Cusco comes from the Valley and we got to try many fresh beans, veggies, and fruits. We got lucky again with great weather and were able to appreciate the incredible landscape of this region. One of our favorite parts of the trip was getting to sample some homebrewed chi-cha, a fermented corn beverage (Inca beer). When in Rome, right?!
If we are able to return to Peru again someday, we would certainly work with AE again and we highly recommend them to others who are looking for a hassle-free, educational and super fun Peruvian adventure! Thank you Bonnie, Raul, and Ruben for making our trip so memorable.
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