“Couldn’t have asked for more!”
We chose Cusi after reading the reviews. We hadn’t appreciated that in a packed field of tour providers that Cusi is one of the few that is truly Peruvian, and we were so pleased we picked them. Our guide Jose was fantastic, great fun, good sense of humour and very knowledgeable, and rightly proud of the culture and history of the Quechuans as well as the history of Cusco and all the places we visited. His passion for the Quechuans, as well as his love of his country and it’s amazing history was very evident and we really enjoyed our time with him.
We did the Salkantay Trek and Jose worked with us to ensure we were going at the right pace and kept our spirits up. We went from being freezing cold, practically crying and thinking we’d be better off in the toilet for the night because it was probably warmer, to being in cloud jungle sweating like nobody’s business. We saw so much wildlife, and not so many people except at occasional lunch stops. Jose was great at pointing out the wildlife and shared with us his photographs of birds that he’s captured on film over the years.
The visit to the coffee plantation was a highlight, learning about the difficulties of being a plantation owner and knowing that our visit was helping them directly. After learning the coffee production and having a fresh brew, we bought a couple of bags and it tastes great. Food was good, the cake for our last night was a surprise, and it’s amazing what the guys can rustle up over a camping gas stove.
The trek was hard going at times for two unfit Brits but Jose encouraged us and we occasionally surprised ourselves with what we achieved! We were glad we had gone with Cusi rather than some ponced up wine and linen set up we saw at one camping site. We got to understand a lot of the realities of what being Quechuan was and is, and in one of these 5star set ups I would think you’d be more removed from being able to get an insight into life for the majority of Peruvians.
Our tour of Macchu Pichu seemed totally different to that everyone else experienced, and it made it all the more special. We had a couple of photos then we went to one side out of the melee of people and Jose shared with us the ideas and beliefs about Macchu Pichu and the history of its discovery etc. We had a final coffee and it was hard to believe we were going our separate way after 4 nights but we waved him off and went back in to climb Huayna Pichu – reaching the top as a storm rumbled in, I was down in record time! Thanks for believing we could do it Jose!!!
The train back to Cusco was HILARIOUS – fashion show and someone dressed up for fiesta were just 2 highlights. Not sure I’d want to experience that every again but still makes me chuckle.