Travel Date: July 2012
If you are planning on travelling to Peru, then your absolute first and only contact needs to be Adios Adventure Travel. After exhaustive research of tour companies, Adios clearly came out on top. I found no negative reviews about the company at all, and in fact, the reviews I saw were absolutely glowing and I’m about to add another one.
The number one item on my bucket list was to see Machu Picchu, and while researching the location, it became even more specific…. Machu Picchu at sunrise and a climb up Waynapicchu.
FIRST CONTACT: Our first contact with Adios was one of the co-founders, Jacquie Whitt, the North American contact out of Virginia. In short, Jacquie was professional, personable and extremely knowledgeable. Jacquie responded promptly to every email and when we had specific questions that required more conversation, she welcomed our calls and continued to encourage us to contact her for any additional information. She tended to all the logistics in order to make the trip happen.
IN PERU: Waiting to pick us up at the Cusco Airport was Juan Jose, guide extraordinaire, who would co-ordinate our daily activities and chaperone us for the majority of our journey. Simply put, Juan made our trip stress free, but more importantly he brought our trip alive. He went way beyond just regurgitating facts. He added in depth knowledge, authenticity and passion with a quiet charisma that would transform our trip into a memorable journey. Simply, we were taken past the tourist Peru and spent time with the real Peru. I had some hesitations about having a private guide (yes, one guide for just my husband and I) with us for so much of the day each day of our trip, however, Juan had the ability to move in and out of our presence so that we never felt intruded upon. We enjoyed his company so much, it was like we were experiencing the trip with a friend, however he always maintained his professionalism and never missed a detail. At each location, you could see that he had fostered relationships with the people at the hotels, sites, etc. and he was always very warmly received by them, not a kickback reception, these were trusted friends. As a result, the people who accompanied him were also warmly greeted and treated well.
THE EXPERIENCE: With Juan’s passion the history and culture just came to life, so much so that when I caught my first glimpse of Machu Picchu, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Despite having been there many, many times before, Juan eagerly shared the experience with us and swept us up in the journey. Remember, Machu Picchu was number one on my bucket list including a trip up Waynapicchu and a sunrise. Only 400 people are allowed up Waynapicchu each day, and while Adios made that hike possible and secured us tickets for the 7:00 time slot, Juan got us there…..all the way to the top – he patiently waited as we stopped over and over and over again gasping and puffing for air and he endured the hour and fifty minutes it took us to accomplish the trek up to the top, a trip that he can easily do in a fraction of that time. As for the sunrise, Jacquie had warned us right from the beginning that seeing a sunrise at Machu Picchu was a real long shot. Well, a miracle happened. The sky was almost completely void of clouds the entire day, something that is unusual for Machu Picchu - I’m almost convinced that Juan had a connection and had a hand in arranging the beautiful sunrise we witnessed.
ACCOMODATIONS: We asked for 3 star accommodations and our expectations were easily met. Clean, comfortable, wonderful staff, beautiful locations/views and delicious breakfasts. One thing, though, to keep in mind. Nights can get cold and while plenty of blankets were provided in all hotels, the rooms had a tendency to get very damp. Juan informed us that we could ask for heaters and he even did that for us and that remedied the dampness issue.
THE DRIVERS: Thank you for taking on a task that I myself would not want to have to do. Driving in Peru is an adventure in itself. It makes driving in Rome look like a kiddie ride! Thank you for keeping us safe and on time.
THE DEPARTURE: Every detail up to the final hours before our departure was tended to by Adios. Vidal Jaquehua, one of the co-founders of the company, escorted us to the airport where he walked us through the check-in procedure and right up to the gate (Cusco airport is NOT even a little like JFK or Pearson). The brief time we had with him, only confirmed to us that we had indeed chosen the best company for the trip. His passion for his country and heritage also shined through. He also shared with us the ways in which the company gives back to the community and provides opportunities for “voluntourism” (traveller’s can volunteer some of their time to help the people of Peru). We got on our plane feeling content and stress free, having had an experience of a lifetime.
Thank you to all the “chicos” at Adios for a wonderful journey and a lifetime of memories. You are a well oiled team and have created a company that you should be extremely proud of.
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Travel Date: July 2012