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On behalf of my wife (Mary Kay) and I, we wish to thank you for an incredible 8-day trip to Lima, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We were taken care of every step of the way, with all the details handled perfectly by you and your team. It was a life changing vacation for us. We fell in love with Peru and have ambitions to return soon with one or two sets of friends…you can look forward to that request from us shortly.
As a matter of fact, we’re having several friends over tonight to show our photos and talk about our entire month-long trip to South America. Your assistance in planning the last 8 days of our trip was more than appreciated. We were truly impressed with your attention to detail, responsiveness to the myriad of questions we had before and during the actual tour, your assurances that the trip would be truly amazing (it most certainly was) and the care you showed the two of us. It will long be appreciated.
At the start of our trip in Lima, the guide you provided for the Lima Gourmet Lunch Tour your recommended, Lourdes Montoya, was terrific. The experience was delightful, the various stops, the views and food we had in the course of the tour left us with a great appreciation of Peruvian cuisine. And Lourdes commentary in the course of the tour was most interesting and engaging.
I also want to tell you that the guide you provided us, Marco Ronda for our Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu portion of the trip was amazing! His command of the English language was obvious, but the narratives and ongoing commentary he provided on the history of the area in general and the Incan civilization in specific, the culture of Peru (ancient, transitional and modern), the historical impact of religion (Incan and Catholic) on the lives of the Peruvian people, the history and current state of Peru economically and politically meant for many, many hours of stimulating conversation on top of the stunning views and walks we took as we made our way through the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Marco treated both my wife and I with great respect (which I hope we returned), was sensitive to our needs and concerns and made every effort to provide expert commentary and thoughtful answers to our myriad of questions. We not only had the experience of a lifetime, but we made a new friend and we wish Marco well now and in the future.
Lastly our driver Llerzen (I’m sure I don’t have that spelled remotely right) was terrific. Pass along our thanks and gratitude to him as well. Traffic and roads being what they are in that area, his handling of the driving left us feeling most comfortable and thinking only of asking Marco another round of questions as we drove through some of the most stunning and beautiful scenery imaginable. We never felt rushed throughout the trip even though we had an extensive tour with many stops. Be sure to thank him for us as well.
The hotels you reserved for us were also stunning. The JW Marriott in Lima was fabulous, wonderfully located allowing us to accomplish a lot in our two days stay there at the start of the trip. The Sol y Luna in the Sacred Valley, the Inkaterra El Pueblo in Machu Picchu and the Inkaterra La Casona in Cuzco were amazing. We particularly enjoyed the upgraded rooms the hotels provided us at no cost!
Lastly our stop in Lima before departing for home was, as we came to expect, amazing as well. The only small glitch in the entire trip was our flight from Cuzco to Lima was slightly delayed (if only you could control the weather) but we were able to enjoy a personal tour of the Larco Museum and dinner there as well before departing for home.
Again, thank you and the entire SA team! This was truly the experience of a lifetime!
* Photographed at Machu Picchu
Dear Kim, We returned home early this morning from an absolutely fabulous trip to Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu that you prepared for my wife and me and our grandson Liam. From the time we exited the Lima airport last Wednesday night until we flew out of the Cusco airport last night, SA Expeditions expertly handled every aspect of our excursion. The guide who picked us up at the airport in Lima at midnight on the night of our arrival, gave us excellent pointers and recommendations about Peru and specifically Lima.
Every hotel that you selected for us in Lima, Cusco, and Aguas Calientes was superb. Every tour that you arranged for us in each of those areas was interesting to Liam, as well as Grandma and Popa. You made certain that interspersed with Inka history there were adequate activities that you knew would fascinate a 13-year old boy. A really big hit was the chocolate tour were we learned about the process of making chocolate, from the harvesting of the cocoa bean to making our own chocolate candy, which we were able to bring home with us.
Percy, our tour guide in Lima, was quite knowledgeable, and gave us a very good overview of the history of Lima in the short time we were there. The tour of the Museo Larco, where Percy was able to distill the 45,000 Inka artifacts into a visit that all 3 of us enjoyed, was the highlight of our Lima visit. Lima is definitely a city we wished we would have had more time to explore further.
Of course, the highlight of our trip was the visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu, and we could not have asked for a better guide than Johan Sueros and our very skillful driver, Abel. Shortly prior to leaving on our journey when you sent us our final itinerary, you told me that we were going to have the absolute best guide, Johan. You could not have been more accurate. He is bright, articulate, totally fluent in English, kind and just an altogether sweet person. On the drive from Cusco to Aguas Calientes we stopped by a small town, Maras, where we visited an acquaintance of Johan's, a 92-year old man who has been hand-making hats for more than 40 years. What an absolutely delightful man and very fun visit, where we tried on some of the typical hats of Maras.
Johan is passionate about his Incan heritage, and he brought Machu Picchu and the Incan culture alive for us. He was totally flexible, and gave us options when he realized that perhaps the long climb up the nearly 1000 steps of the very steep mountain for the best view of Machu Picchu might be difficult for us. He wanted us to be happy and to enjoy our visit. I realize that he has been doing this for a number of years, but Johan has an uncanny ability to time things so perfectly, that there is very little down time, where you are waiting for a bus or a train. When he says you'll be at a restaurant at a specific time or back in Cusco at a specific time, you can count on it. He tried and succeeded in satisfying all of our needs.
As you know, on our last day in Cusco, Liam was ill, and we needed to cancel horseback riding that we had scheduled for that morning. Even though we had already said our good-byes to Johan the night before, I contacted him around 8:30AM to cancel the tour. He immediately got in touch with you, at 5:45AM PST. Within in minutes you had everything under control, inquiring if we needed a physician to see Liam. Fortunately, I think he was just exhausted, and by the afternoon he was back to himself. However, mid-morning I received a phone call from your local representative in Peru inquiring about Liam's health, again offering a physician if needed, and offering to contact the hotel in Cusco to extend our check-out time.
Kim, as you remember, we had some very specific issues that you had to address before we even left for our trip. You had to be certain that any provided meal, be it box lunch (which was excellent), or lunch on the road, or dinner in Aguas Calientes, had to be vegetarian. You had to make certain that we returned from zip lining by a specific time on Friday afternoon. Several days before we were scheduled to arrive, I changed our itinerary to add an additional day in Lima. You handled each and every request expertly.
I found SA Expeditions in July, 2016, just by searching the internet for companies that provided tours in Peru. I read the reviews on the company, and was impressed, but also a bit skeptical. After all, I was trusting a company in California that I didn't personally know to plan and execute a trip to Peru that wasn't going to take place until February, 2017. Well, now I am a believer! You, SA Expeditions, the guides, the drivers, the hotels, the tours, etc. have all exceeded our expectations. Thank you!
With sincere appreciation,
* Photographed at Machu Picchu
Jeanie: Our trip was absolutely magical thanks to all the great organization, preparation, wonderful suggestions and impeccable professional services we received from SA...starting and ending with you! The booking process was so easy, all questions along the way were addressed and SA (you) were responsive to all of our questions and concerns. In addition, some of the suggestions for out of the ordinary experiences made our trip unique. SA is one of the few tour groups that allows you to book your itinerary exactly as you want it...then Jeanie takes care of all the details. I only wish you were world wide!!!!!!
Our hotels were fantastic...our favorite was Inka del Tambo in Urubamba which is truly one of the nicest hotels in the world...what a great way to start our trip and unwind a luxury hotel in such a beautiful Sacred Valley setting.. Casal del Sol had a wonderful location in Aguas Client and though it was in need of some "polish" the staff compensated by their ever willing hospitality. I got sick 3/4 of the way up Wayna Picchu ( not the ideal location to contract intestinal illness) but made it back to hotel ...the staff went to the store to buy me gatorade, made me special tea a and looked in on me in my room for the day and a half I was in bed. The view of the river was a great distraction. Casa Cartegna was a jewel in the middle of lovely Cusco. Again the staff made me home made chicken noodle soup to get me well. Our room was so comfortable and the grounds are an oasis in the city. The spa was terrific as was the masseuse. Our Radisson in Miraflores was a perfect location for touring Lima and was most accommodating as well. In addition the food was fantastic....we ate such beautiful vegetables, potatoes and Peruvian dishes everywhere we went. Le Soleil (french food in Cusco and Cicciolina in Cusco were fabulous as was an extraordinary evening at La Barra Casa Moreyra. in Lima....wow!
Even though there were unforeseen circumstances such as a protest that shut down all tourist roads throughout the Sacred Valley, SA tours reacted with quick response. I cannot say enough about the drivers ( Louis especially) and all the guides who were with us . They were knowledgeable, gracious, always willing to go the extra distance and warm lovely friends. We loved them all. The horse back/hiking trip to Choquechaca was an experience we will never forget. It was Peter's 65th birthday in Cusco and SA even arranged to have the meal paid for by our thoughtful children.
In short, it was the best trip we have experienced and we look forward to many more! Thanks so much for creating a truly memorable experience...we only regret we did not get to meet you in Lima!
* Photographed at Machu Picchu