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shothyme77 Apr 15th, 2008 04:31 PM

Percy Salas or David Choque
Hi! I am trying to book a trip in June and it turns out both Percy and David are available. Can people who have used either tell me more about their experiences with them? My concern is that in the past I have used more well known agencies and what if (I know - I'm a worrier) we get there and they are not there? or they get sick? or something happens - they don't have back up, do they? Would love to hear anyone's experiences - thank you.

althom1122 Apr 15th, 2008 04:46 PM

We used Percy - and thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. If you've read my trip report, you'll know we were very pleased. He met us at the airport in Cusco - our plane was late arriving and he had to wait awhile, but no problem, he was right there. He's easy to be with - pleasant personality, speaks good English. Was always right on time. He got our MP tickets for us at the train station - paid for them himself and we reimbursed him. He gave us a written itemized list of costs on our second day and we paid him (I think in US dollars) the next day. He arranged our hotels in Agua Caliente and Ollanta. His car is a Toyota (a Corolla?) in good condition. When we went to MP overnight, he let us leave some of our stuff in his trunk so we wouldn't have to carry it. He also arranged our bus tickets to Puno and picked us up our final morning in Cusco and drove us to the bus station. We really liked him a lot. He has a degree in tourism (all Peru tour guides have to go through a university program). And if you email him, keep in mind that his spoken English is better than his written English. If you want to see a picture of him, there are a couple of them in my Sacred Valley album:

Let me know if you have other questions. Oh, and regarding a backup, that's one thing I can't address with any certainty - but my impression was that he's very reliable and trustworthy. I feel certain he'd make every effort to make arrangements if something went wrong. (If you haven't seen my trip report, type Karen and Julie in the search box.)
Good luck. From what I've read, I suspect you'll be happy with either Percy or David.

yestravel Apr 15th, 2008 08:01 PM

We used David and he was great. Speaks perfect English and is very knowledgeable about Peru, its history, the people and culture and the sights you will see. He is soft spoken, very gracious and easy to be with. He was flexible in planning our schedule in advance and accommodated any changes we wanted as the trip proceeded. I think he was very in tune with what we liked and didnt. He seemed to sense this and adapted accordingly. He got our train tixs to MP, entrance tixs to MP and the museum pass. We did not pay him for any of this until we met up wtih him.

While we booked all of our hotels prior to contacting him, he was very good about checking with them to ensure everything was fine. At one hotel he knew that some of the rooms were near a music school and he requested that we be in a room that would be quieter. We had never used a private guide before and I was a bit apprehensive about spending that much time with one, but it was fine. It seemed there wasn't anything that he didnt want to help us with. Our camera battery died and he took it one day and tried to find a place to get a replacement. He drove a new, comfortable van.
Prior to the trip, he called us to assess our interests, skill level, how much we would likely be able to do each day etc. We made all of the plans over email and he gave prices as we modified the trip.

I dont know about the back up situation. You could ask. Someone else did drive us from Ollantaytambo to Cusco and David met us in Cusco. My sense was that David is reliable and trustworthy and I can't imagine if something happened that he would not provide you with back-up. I had emailed David a few days b4 we left for Peru which was about a week b4 we were meeting up with David. I didn't hear back at first and I started to get a bit worried. Then his son answered my email that his Dad was out touring but not to worry that he would meet us at the designated time and day at the Cusco airport which he did.

As u can see I can't speak highly enough about David. I was very glad to have used him and felt he greatly enriched our experience in Peru.

From what I've read on this board, I agree that you would likely be happy with either of them as your guide.

Elizabeth_S Apr 16th, 2008 05:24 AM

As yestravel said I think you'll be happy with either based on the reports here.

We loved David - he really brought a great deal to our trip. Re backup - his son is working with him (although his English isn't as good he is a driver backup) - and one day David wasn't able to guide us (we knew this in advance) and the fellow he sent in his place was terrific too.

shothyme77 Apr 17th, 2008 04:35 PM

Thank you all. I am corresponding with both of them right now, but would still be grateful for anyone else's comments or feedback.

How did you guys find them (percy or david)?

yestravel Apr 17th, 2008 05:02 PM

Found David thru this board

julies Apr 17th, 2008 05:32 PM

I'm also getting a proposal from David for a portion of our trip in May. I am primarily intending to think about his services in the Sacred Valley area. Can those of you who used him please tell me exactly what trips you did with him?

Here is one day he is proposing to us. Did anyone do anything like this?

2nd. Day Tour of Ollantaytambo and Huilloc( native weaving community) its elementary school is very interesting, it is a school way up among the mountains, the little students don’t wear uniforms but colorful ponchos and small hats, we can take some school material like: notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.

or this

Tour of the Southern Route: we visit some little villages: OROPESA(a fully bakery village which provides the city of Cusco with about 50% of bread we’ll see closely the process of baking by hand, Piñipampa(a tile making village where we have about 50 kilns and they provide tiles for making the roofs of the houses in the city of Cusco, we can participate in the process of making tiles, this area has beautiful landscape.

How much time did you actually spend with the man? Did you do the entire trip with him or just a few days out of your trip? Thanks.

Do I remember someone here who had gotten quotes from both say they thought David was more expensive?

shothyme77 Apr 17th, 2008 05:39 PM

Julies - I was excited to see the ideas David wrote for you and hope to incorporate some of those into mine when I hear back from him. I look fwd to the answers to your questions too. Are you coordinating the rest of your trip? Where are you going/staying? We're also planning last minute for June!

althom1122 Apr 17th, 2008 05:55 PM

I was the one who had observed that David seemed a bit more expensive than Percy. My daughter and I both were charmed by Percy's email. The English wasn't as good as David's (although in person, his English was just fine - very fluent and easy to understand), but his style in his emails seemed very sincere and straightforward - he sounded sweet. We found it appealing. David's response was more professional, more business-like. And crazy though it may sound, that was one of the reasons we chose Percy. I have a feeling you can't wrong with either - and I really do like those ideas David provided regarding the school and the bakery village. I'd love to have done something like that.

yestravel Apr 17th, 2008 07:40 PM

We spent less than a week with David which comprised a small portion of our trip to Peru.

We did the bakery town with David and 2 separate ruins that same morning, Tipon and one I can't recall the name of -- it was pre Inca. It was fascinating to compare the stonework with the Incas. Love Tipon also. We spent maybe an hour tops at Oropesa. Talked to the kids who were doing the baking and learned about how they do it. We were the only ones there and it was interesting, but not really a highlight--although the bread was delicious! I think the school would be a great place to visit. I learned about it after our trip to Peru and unfortunately David didn't suggest it to us.

Our time with David went like this:
Day 1 - he picked us up at the Cusco airport and drove us to Pisac. We could have taken a cab and it would have been less expensive. David gave us a brief overview of the Inca cutlure, talked about sights that we passed. It was a nice intorduction to David and the Incan culture. Got us settled into our hotel in Pisac and left us for the remainder of the day.
Day 2 He came back the next day and we went to Pisac ruins which should not be missed and then drove onto Ollantaytambo stopping in Uruamba for lunch and some sightseeing there. We were on our own in Ollantaytambo for a couple days. I thought the ruins there were just okay, but loved the village itself.
Day 3 - David had arranged for a guide to meet us at AC who went with us to MP for 1/2 the day and the rest we were on our own.
Day 4 - The next day someone other than David picked us up from Ollantaytambo and drove us to Cusco to meet David. We toured Cusco with David and I think the ruins right outisde town, Sacsayhuaman and Quenko. They are pretty much right next to each other. Of all the ruins we saw, we were probably least impressed with these, but they are 5 mintues outside Cusco and worth checking out. Also we saw them after MP which is just unreal, its so spectaculatr so perhaps any ruins would have paled in comparison.
Day 5 - Bakery town and other ruins outside Cusco.
After that we were on our own in Cusco until our last day when Dsvid picked us up and took us to the airport.

As with everything David added much to understanding the ruins and their history. We specifically left time on our own because as I said, this was my first time with a guide and I wasnt sure if I would like it or not. It was fine the way we set it up..a nice mix of being with a guide and being on our own.

David is very professional and working to build his business. At the same time he is very personal and friendly and has some great stories about his life and life in Peru in general. Learning about his family helped us to understand Peru today.

I did read on this board that Percy was a bit less expensive for one trip someone planned out.

glover Apr 17th, 2008 08:22 PM

Do any of you who used Percy or David know whether they have any interest in arranging hotel bookings if you're not hiring them as guide/driver? I see they've made such arrangements for folks they were driving, but don't know if it's something they do otherwise. I'm not finding any place available on line in Ollantaytambo for mid-July. But have no inroad to smaller more local B&B places that might not have presence or reviews on line.

jgovro Apr 17th, 2008 08:36 PM

We just returned from Peru, using Percy exclusively for the major portion of our 12 day trip. We used Julie's trip as a blue print for ours as well as her recommnedation on Percy. We thoroughly enjoyed him, his guiding, professionalism and thoroughness were all above reproach. Anything we asked of him - was done in a timely and professional manner. I wholeheartedly recommend him. We feel our wonderful experience could not have been duplicated if we had done the trip on our own.

Only drawback is to get a handle on the dropping US Dollar in Peru - he would rather be paid in Soles than dollars - just be prepared for that. We brought dollars and this created a problem in the exchange. His initial estimate was based on a 3/USD rate - upon arrival it was 2.64!

althom1122 Apr 18th, 2008 01:14 PM

That's interesting about Percy asking for soles. When we went in October, I asked him if he'd prefer dollars or soles and he said dollars. Guess that's changed with the dollar dropping like crazy. (I think you meant my blueprint - I'm Karen. Julie's my daughter - and she was just along for the ride - I never can get her to help much with the planning!) :-)

althom1122 Apr 18th, 2008 01:15 PM

Glad you enjoyed Percy, by the way!

barefootbeach May 1st, 2008 05:36 PM

Hi everyone,
I still don't know how to contact Percy and David! Could someone provide their email contact with their respective guides. They both sound great and I'd love to book one of them for our trip next May. Could you also provide an estimate of what they charge? Thanks alot!

Elizabeth_S May 1st, 2008 05:41 PM

Here's David Choque's email contact

[email protected]

We were very happy - thrilled in fact - with his guiding and tour arrangements.

barefootbeach May 1st, 2008 06:35 PM

Hi Elizabeth,
Could you give me an idea of what he charged? Thanks!

Elizabeth_S May 2nd, 2008 04:06 AM

barefootbeach - email me at

eseibertca AT yahoo DOT ca

Our trip was a couple of years ago and I don't know about current pricing so don't want to post something here that might be wrong and stay here forever

julies May 2nd, 2008 05:20 AM

I am in contact right now with David. Standard rate for a day of standard touring activities seems to be $50 a person (there are two of us). Transfers are $32 a person.

althom1122 May 2nd, 2008 01:35 PM

And if David doesn't work out, here's Percy's contact info:

[email protected]

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