“Cusi is the best!”
My wife and I booked the 8 day package (including the 4 day Inca Trek) with Cusi Travel for September 9th to 16th, 2013. We had a fantastic experience and highly recommend Cusi Travel to anyone considering a trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Expertise of our guides, and the equipment provided (tent, sleeping bag and pad/pillow) were all top notch. Also, our chef on the trek, Donato, provided delicious food whilst accommodating a significant food allergy.
Some good reasons to book with Cusi Travel:
1. All of the arrangements worked out smoothly from the time we were met at the airport on arrival to our departure on the last morning. English speaking guides were provided at all times.
2. The cost of the package is a good value. Cusi Travel is a small company and you will get plenty of individual attention. The standard package was adapted to meet our scheduling needs.
3. Cusi tents are new, top quality, and don’t leak (trekkers with other companies got wet the last night on the trail).
4. Cusi Travel is a local company. What we paid goes entirely into the Peruvian economy. Larger, international companies take their profits out of Peru. This became more meaningful after our visit to a rural, farming community.
Jose Cusi Camero is the owner of Cusi Travel. He leads some of the treks. Jose guided us around Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo, and on a Community Visit (more below). Our guide for the Inca Trek was Javier Yupayccana Juarez . My wife and I are 65 and 67 years old, and, although we are seasoned hikers near sea level, we were very concerned about the difficulty of hiking at high altitude. Jose promptly answered our many emails and thoroughly prepared us for the trek. The briefing with Javier the night before the trek only reinforced our sense of preparedness. We are glad we spent 3 days in Cusco (11,000 feet elevation) prior to the trek and used Diamox – we had no symptoms of altitude sickness.
Jose personally guided us the 3 days we were initially in Cusco. His knowledge of Peruvian history (pre- and post-Spanish), architecture of the Inca buildings and temples, and especially his concern for the indigenous people of Peru (the Quechua) enriched our experience tremendously. On the Community Visit we drove to a remote farming village, where we visited the elementary school and met the children in their classrooms, grades 1, 2 and 3. We had a typical mid-day meal with a Quechuan family, followed by witnessing the centuries old method of separating lima beans from their stalks (husband, wife, grandfather and grandmother all working together).
Javier is a very funny and knowledgeable guy. He informed us of the historical significance of the sites along the Inca trail, as well as the flora and fauna. Javier made sure we paced ourselves properly during the ascent to Dead Womans Pass, and he provided the right amount of encouragement to help us cope with the thin air at nearly 14,000 ft. We had wonderful conversations about the differences between life in Peru and the United States. We walked into Machu Picchu at 8 am on day 4, just as the sun burned off the rain clouds from the previous night. Javier led us on an in depth tour of Machu Picchu before we descended to Aguas Calientes.
We had plenty of time for a soothing soak in the hot springs, followed by lunch at a restaurant and return to Cusco by train. Javier made sure that all of the arrangements were in place before we parted ways. A Cusi driver was waiting for us at the Cusco train station to whisk us back to our hotel. After all of our wonderful experiences, the next morning we were delivered to the airport, accompanied by Jose, for our flight to Lima and then home.