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“We made the right choice with Quechuas Expeditions!”

Quechuas Expeditions - Day Tours
Ranked #413 of 960 Tours in Cusco
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Attraction details
Owner description: The traditional walking tour of Cusco takes visitors past some of the most famous areas of Cusco, including the barrio of San Blas, the 12 sided stone, the Qorikancha, Palacio de Justicia and Plaza de Armas
Reviewed 16 October 2013

A great deal of homework, reading reviews and gut feeling went into choosing a company for our Inca trek. It was equally important to us that we have a good time as a company that takes good care of their porters. There's so much written about the good food on the trek, and how much the guide makes a difference. Well, we had it all. Juan our guide, a proud Quechua who spoke perfect English introduced us to more than just walking the trails. He first showed us the custom and tradition of paying respect to 'pachamama' for a safe journey through the trails. He took his time pointing out the history of each ruin we passed, and he has so much knowledge in the native plants along the way. Muna plant being our favorite since it helps with altitude sickness. Armando our cook is a great team leader for the porters and served us delicious meals 3X/day. There is always warm water and soap to wash our hands and a snack waiting whenever we stop for lunch or for the night. The sleeping and dining tents were set up by the time we dragged our legs into base camp at the end of the day. The trek was difficult on days two and three but the crew made us feel like family and made us feel good.
We had expected to join a large group, but apparently only the 2 of us signed up for that start day. Quechuas Expeditions will do the trek, as they advertise, no matter how many people they end up with on that particular day. So, for the two of us we had a guide, a cook, and 4 porters. A luxurious private tour!
We are considered senior citizens, in our 60's, and we did it! We are active and in relatively good shape, but at sea level. The Inca Trek was our main goal, but we prepared for it by getting into Cusco 5 days ahead of time to get acclimatized to the altitude. Wayra of Quechuas Expeditions helped us plan all the day trips while in Cusco which made it into a wonderful vacation, and successful preparation for the trek. I would recommend this company to anyone. Wayra is fast at responding to your emails and all questions you may have. Follow his instructions and you will succeed in securing your permits for the day that you want. Do it early, several months ahead of time.

1  Thank pico49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 13 of 13 reviews

Reviewed 2 June 2013

Sally and I researched large and small operators for the Classic Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu. Quechuas won hands down starting with responsive and knowledgible staff replying to our endless list of questions by email and phone! At the office we were given a comprehensive orientation, our equipment was first class down to the think sleeping pads, to of line sleeping bags and large tents. The cooking crew were amazing with 5 course meals and even 2 birthday cakes mid-hike. Percy, our guide, gave us hiking tips, Inca and Quechuan history, spiritual and cultural insights and a first hand tour of Machu Picchu. Looking for a local operator with professionalism this is the right place, and based right in Cusco. The best choice.

Thank Patrick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2012

Just back from a family holiday (me, my wife and two boys - 16 and 18) including the four days/three nights Inka Trail. Quechua Expeditions did a fantastic job, giving us one of our best ever experiences as a family.

While not a technically hard walk with the altitude it was demanding - at least for me and my wife as we head towards our 50th birthdays. For our 14 and 16 year old sons it did not present too many challenges and, indeed, the 14 year gave up on his walking sticks from day two as he felt they slowed him down.

We had booked this as a small group tour (with a maximum of 8 people - Quechua don't work with bigger groups, or mix their people with other agencies), but as it turned out no one else had booked with them for the same dates so we effectively had a private tour. This meant a guide, a cook, four porters for equipment and two extra porters to carry our limited luggage (7.5 kg limit (with mat and sleeping bag taking around 3 kg).

We had done some gym, cycling and walking in advance to prepare.... but doing that at sea-level in Belgium doesn't quite duplicate the effects of trekking about 3,500 metres!

That said, we more than managed. Not least because of the support of our guide Jawar (Wilbeth), who was superb throughout.

The trek comes in four parts. A first day with modest climbs mainly following the Urubamba river - to walk you in; a second tough day with six hours of climbing (+/-1200 m vertically), some of it on stairs, which eventually brings a great sense of victory as you read dead women's pass at 4,200 m and then gradually descend back to the came at 3,700 m; a third day with some limited climbing up and more visits to archeological sites and then a glorious two hour stretch of trekking at high altitude more or less on the level with spectacular valley views as the cloud forest opens periodically and feeling as if you are Indiana Jones; before the long and knee-jarring descent for about 3 hours down a 1000 m to that night's camp; and a final day (starting at 3.30) to do the last 6 km to Machu Picchu itself. MP is one of those world wonder's that more than lives up to your expectations, all the more so because of the four days it takes you to get there - half trek, half pilgrimage... reflecting the original purpose of MP as place of quiet sanctuary for the Inka Emperor.

Quechua Expeditions were fantastic. We felt safe and looked after at all times.

You always wonder when booking these things remotely from the web, whether they can really be as good as the website seems or the reviews on TA indicate. Well they were. The company's basic philosophy is to stay local and cut out the middle man; in the end this means that more of your cash is being spent on ensuring good service and equipment and a happy, helpful team of guides. Wayra runs the business and we could see from the moment we went into the office in Cusco - after e-mailing over several months - that this was a small company, where people had fun.

Wayra ran us through the trek, finalised the payment (in cash) of the balance and fixed up for an appointment the following day to pick up our bags for our luggage and meet Jawar (Wilbeth) - our guide.

Jawar, just 24, was an experience guide who was particularly switched in to the Quechuan culture and provided real insights into the Quechan way of viewing nature throughout the trip. He won us over by his first words. "I don't want to be your guide. For the next five days we are your family".

All the arrangements worked well. The equipment was in great condition. The tents were fine. Sleeping bags warm enough - particularly for the second night at 3,700 m. We at in a small dining tent, divided down the middle with the cooking going on on the other side.

There was masses of food - too much; we had fruit and pancakes for breakfast, we had starters, soups and main courses for lunch and dinner. They even provided afternoon tea. One morning they made a cake... yes, on two gas rings.

The weather was fine - sunny during the day and cold, beautiful open skies at night. On the last night it rained as we slept fitfully and we woke to cloudy skies, but by the time we walked through to MP the sun had burnt its way through.

Oh and yes the toilets were challenging (Quechuan advertise a tollet tent, but in practice for the Inka Trail the park discourages them from taking it). But frankly, if you do the Inka Trail and your biggest worry / problem was the toilet facilities then I think you have a had a pretty good trip.

On the last day we we toured MP with Jawar for a couple of hours, getting a real feel or this amazing site before bussing it down to Agua Calliente, where we had lunch, stable non-camping chairs and then took the MP (Vistadome) train back at around 16.15 to Ollayamtambo, where a car picked us up for the last stretch back to Cusco.

When we got back to the hotel, we popped into the office to let them know al went well and to confirm the arrangements for a rafting trip the next day. The door was half ajar. It was Saturday night. They had beers, were watching football and having a fiesta...Wayra was there, but so was our cook and Jaw, Jose-Luis - the trainee guide and others. We were immediately invited in, given a glass and, indeed, we felt part of their family.

Would I recommend Quechua and Jawar. Absolutely. Would I recommend MP as a challenging family holiday - absolutely! So make your booking asap....

3  Thank Eurofolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2012

I want to start by saying that I am not one to write reviews (although I read everyone else’s reviews to help me make my decisions), yet I was compelled to write my first review because of the outstanding experience my husband and I had with Quechuas Expeditions (whom we found out about through outstanding reviews on TripAdvisor). Our trip to Peru was one of THE best trips we have ever taken (and we have traveled extensively throughout Europe including France, Spain, Germany, and Italy, as well as Central & South America and the Carribean). The most impactful experience in Peru (of the 3 weeks we were there) was the 4 day trek/pilgrimage on the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu, and the underlying reason for this once in a lifetime experience was the locally run outfitter, Quechuas Expeditions. They were remarkable, from our contact with the owner Wayra via email prior to our arrival (including their willingness to accommodate for special diets, gluten-free in our case), our meeting with Wayra in person a few days prior to the trek where he explained everything in detail, to the positive experiences with and individual attention we received from our guide, cook and porters. When we met our Quechuan guide Wilberth (Jaguar), he referred to us all (himself, the cook, the 5 porters and ourselves) as a family. And that is exactly how they treated us. We felt so special on the hike because of this family. Jaguar was always with us; in fact 98% of the three main trail days, he was behind me (I was the slowest of our two person private group) taking breaks with me every time I stopped or stopping when he thought I should stop and might be over extending myself (which I appreciated so much). His mantra was "take your time, this is not a race". Anytime we passed a ruin (or construction as he referred to them) he would tell us all about it (he went to college to be a guide and also interned two years with a Peruvian park service as part of his degree), and we learned so much from him about Quechuan traditions (for example prayers to Apu) and Incan architecture, traditions and history. He was the best guide I have ever had, and he was the nicest guy as well. I later found out that in his own backpack he carried a small emergency oxygen tank (thankfully we never needed it) and an enormous binder full of educational photos to enhance his tours of each construction/ruin we passed along the way. All the 3 course meals prepared by Aurelio, our cook, were outstanding (for example stuffed avocado, grilled fresh trout, rice, potatoes and flan) - defying the idea that we were “roughing it.” Unbeknownst to Quechuas Expeditions (and Aurelio) prior to the trek, my 45th birthday would fall on the 2nd day of the hike. My husband had mentioned my birthday to Jaguar while we were already hiking on day 1, who told the cook and they secretly worked on a birthday cake (gluten free no less!) the night before (even my husband did not know). Right before breakfast everyone came out of the cooking tent with my cake and sang happy birthday to me, and each person took turns hugging me and dropping flower petals on my head. The cake was AMAZING, with orange zest in it, and Aurelio decorated it too. It will forever be my favorite birthday (and I celebrated my 40th in Paris). To give you an example of how the porters went out of their way to help us on the trail: on the 2nd day of hiking, we had to have lunch a little later than usual due to the logistics of the landscape, so as we proceeded downhill (after a 6 hour ascent), Roberto, one of our porters, met us (he had hiked down and then came back up again) to bring us food to hold us over (potatoes stuffed with cheese and tea) it was amazing. When we arrived at Machu Picchu, Jaguar took his time with us, first at the Sun Gate where my husband wanted to wait until the actual sun’s rays hit the ruins, and also walking throughout Machu Picchu giving us an interesting and thorough tour. We did book a hotel for the night so that we could explore Machu Picchu for an extra day, and on our own, and this was one of the best decisions we made, as after so many days of hiking to get there, it allowed us sufficient time to take it all in, and in our case, think about everything we learned about the site from Jaguar. Wayra planned all the return transportation around our extra day too! My final comment about Quechuas Expeditions is that I was truly moved when it came time to say goodbye to each member of this (our) Incan Trail family as each one of them had not only made this trek physically possible, but had also made it an experience we would never forget and always look back on fondly. I will always recommend them to family, friends and strangers who will be traveling to Peru.

1  Thank Elizabeth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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