Profile photo for Martina Capel
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active 2 days ago

Martina Capel

My name is Martina, I am German and the co-founder of Phima Voyages, together with my husband Philippe who is French. We created Phima Voyages three years ago when we arrived in Chachapoyas, as we felt the need of developing responsible tourism in the region of Amazonas.

It is our mission to integrate local people through traditional experiences such as weaving or a cooking lesson, a homestay or any other activity that can be shared with the local.

I have 20 years of experience in tourism and hospitality and have myself worked and traveled extensively all over the world. I love the fascinating history of the pre-Columbian civilizations in the northern region, but also the incredible culinary diversification. Meeting with local people, staying in home-stays or participating in traditional activities are some of the experiences I could propose you.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"All the regions of Northern Peru, starting from Lima and going north.

This includes pre-Incan archaeology such as Chan Chan or the Sun and Moon Temples, great funeral sites in Cajamarca such as the Ventanillas de Otuzco, the Chachapoya civilisation in the Amazonas region with its citadel of Kuelap (also named the Machu Picchu of the North), extraordinary Museums such as the Museum Tumbas Reales in Chiclayo or Museum Mallqui of Leymebamba, until the region San Martin, already in the Peruvian Amazonia with its chocolate and coffee production.

We specialize in local and rural activities such as weaving or cooking classes, learning how to make sugar cane sirop and sugar, natural walks for birding and butterflies, chocolate experiences and many more..."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I always worked in Hospitality industry, I went to a hotel and tourism management school in Switzerland, worked overseas in Asia for several years before coming back to France where I had a hotel with my husband for over 10 years. We then travelled around the world with our boys for 4 years before settling down again in Chachapoyas."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"With my husband and our two boys, we spend one year travelling the United States in an RV. I will never forget this time when we were so close, living on 14 m2 and sharing so many memories."

Martina is part of the following groups: Peru Travel Agents
Chan Chan
Archaeology & Culture in Northern Peru: From Trujillo to Chiclayo - 8 Days

Explore the culture and archaeology of Northern Peru on this eight-day adventure. Discover La Ruta Moche, the “road” along the northern coast of Peru, which includes the kingdoms of Moche, Chimu, and Lambayeque, with impressive archaeological sites that are among the most famous in South America. See a horse show, take a city tour, and visit the temples and Chan Chan in Trujillo. Then, check out the Archaeological Complex and the Museum of the Lady Cao in El Brujo. Spend time learning about Sican culture, and head to Túcume to enjoy traditional activities after visiting the iconic pyramids.

A mountain road in Leymebamba
Archaeological Tour of Northern Peru: Cajamarca, Chachapoyas, & Chiclayo - 8 Days

In just over one week, explore the best of Northern Peru. Begin in Cajamarca and head to the archaeological site of Cumbemayo, then explore a pre-Incan cemetery. Next, drive to Leymebamba, take a woodworking class, and visit a museum that houses 200 mummies, followed by a visit to the Mausoleums of Revash. Tour the Kuélap ruins, check out the Sarcophagi of Karajia funeral statues, explore the Amazonas region of Chiclayo, and more.

Kuélap ruins
Northern Peru: Kuélap Ruins, Gocta Waterfall, Museums, & Mausoleums - 5 Days

Embark on a quick-yet-adventurous five-day tour of Northern Peru’s highlights. Upon arrival in Jaen, head to Chachapoyas, your home base throughout the journey. Hike to the Mausoleum of Revash, followed by a visit to Musuem Mallqui, which is home to more than 200 preserved mummies. Then, take a day trip to discover the Kuélap ruins for a day of exploration. The grand finale includes a scenic hike to one of the highest waterfalls in the world—Gocta Waterfall—before flying to Lima for your departure.

Remnants of round houses in an archeological site called Kuelap
Northern Peru Cultural Tour - 8 Days

This 8-day tour is perfect for history buffs with a sense of adventure. Starting from the desert coast, make your way to where the Andes meets the Amazon, stopping to see some of Peru's best archaeology sites. Here you will find the impressive ruins of Kuélap (the Macchu Picchu of the north), the incredible sarcophagi of Karajia, painted mummies in Leymebamba, and a spectacular waterfall. Back to the coast, pay a visit to a museum with elaborate artifacts from the Moche civilization.

Catarata de Gocta is one of the highest waterfalls in the world
Best of Lima & Northern Peru - 13 Days

Steeped in history, this fascinating tour covers the most important archaeological sites of Northern Peru. Start the adventure with a few days to explore the capital of Lima. From here, fly north to Chiclayo and begin an epic road trip—by private transfer—visiting exceptional pre-Incan museums, complexes, and ruins. Over 13 days, you'll see a range of landscapes, like coastal deserts, Andean mountains, and a portion of the Amazon jungle, culminating with a hike to one of the world's highest waterfalls.

Citadel of Kuelap ruins
Ancient Cultures of Northern Peru: Cajamarca, Leymebamba, Trujillo & Lima - 15 Days

Explore the history of the pre-Inca civilizations that inhabited northern Peru on this thrilling 15-day tour. You will start in Lima, the coastal capital. Enjoy a cosmopolitan experience before heading north to Cajamarca to see temples and ancient graves. From here, you'll drive to the Amazonas region to visit mausoleums, mummies, and the ruins of Kuelap. Then, you'll drive to the coast for more archaeological excursions, including Caral, the oldest civilization in the American continent.

Recent trip reviews for Martina

Amazing Peru!!!!!!!!!
Peru | Nov 15 - Nov 21, 2022

S
sue n.
West Chicago, IL | Reviewed on Nov 26, 2022

My husband and i just came back from a weeklong and activities-filled vacation from Peru. I could not be more thankful that we went along with Martina's agency. Being busy all the time-she has really been my brain throughout this trip. She created a trip for me, and my husband based on our likes, and it was perfect! Huge shoutout to the rest of her team. Gwen was always one step ahead of us in terms of our day-to-day activities. our drivers and guides were absolutely wonderful. We couldn't... read more

My husband and i just came back from a weeklong and activities-filled vacation from Peru. I could not be more thankful that we went along with Martina's agency. Being busy all the time-she has really been my brain throughout this trip. She created a trip for me, and my husband based on our likes, and it was perfect! Huge shoutout to the rest of her team. Gwen was always one step ahead of us in terms of our day-to-day activities. our drivers and guides were absolutely wonderful. We couldn't ask for more. Yuri and Yefry ,Juan Carlos and Percy -they were all professional and knowledgeable. Special mention to both Angel and Edgar-they were there during my toughest time battling through altitude sickness and they went above and beyond to take care of me. Even my husband said that they looked and sounded really concerned for my wellbeing.
With that being said, Cusco was wonderful. A very clean city, I might add. Machu Picchu was extraordinary. But i really enjoyed Palcoyo Mountain. If not for the harsh condition up there, i could've have stayed there all day. Peru is beautiful. We can't wait to go back!!!! Martina, expect am email from me one of these days. We'll do this again!!!!!!!!!!!

Hotel Reviews
Llipimpac Guesthouse
Cusco

A very quaint hotel in the middle of bustling Cusco, you instantly feel at home and relaxed in this hotel. The front desk person-i forgot his name is just oh so respectful and charming. They take good care of the place.

Location
Sol Natura Hotel
Ollantaytambo

I like the hotel set up..They have some sort of indoor garden/oasis in the middle of the hotel, surrounding the rooms. Rooms were big enough and clean. Just a tad bit noisy since our room was right by the entrance and we can hear conversations when people walk by our room but when nighttime comes, it's really quiet Good location too--right across good restaurants and walkable train station.

Casa Vivencial Raqchi homestay

Very authentic Peruvian stay with the local family. Obviously, the comfort is not the same with the hotel but one night of immersing yourself with the locals and they are embracing you and welcoming you to their home--it's an experience in itself.

Casa Vivencial Llachon Homestay Ruben
Puno

Loaction is very good. Overlooking Lake Titicaca. Another first-hand experience with a Peruvian family. They helped me get tucked in bed as this was when i got really sick with altitude sickness. Room was comfortable enough. We just didn't have any hot water for the shower.

Activity Reviews
City Tour Cusco
Cusco

Cusco is surprisingly very clean. I loved all the architectural design. It's a bustling city but still relaxing..

Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Ollantaytambo

Amazing structure of Machu Picchu--just amazed as how intact it is despite hundreds of years that has passed. and how the people brought all those rocks on top -surrounded by the Andes Mountain is beyond my comprehension. It is a legitimate wonder of the world.

Palcoyo excursion
Cusco

Now this is what i call a marvel...I've seen mountains but not colorful mountains. I would want to go back if i can. I just can't stop appreciating how wonderful it really is. I got sick with altitude sickness, but it was really worth it.

Activites at Llachon, Lake Titicaca : Uros, Textile Workshop and Hiking
Llachon

Another amazing day with the floating villages. Very ingenious of using totoro reeds to build a floating village. How cool is that? Looking at those people--i didn't see any stress in their faces. Do they even know what stress is? They just looked very content in how they live their lives. It was just relaxing sitting with them and just looking at how calm and content they looked.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Nov 26, 2022

Dear Sue,

Thank you so much for this amazing feedback !

I can see that you fell in love with Peru - I absolutely understand :) I'll be there for you whenever you want to discover some more regions of our beautiful country.

In the meantime I wish you a good re-adaptation to daily life and a happy holiday season coming up.
Warm regards,
Martina

Our trip to Peru was amazing!
Peru | Sep 5 - Sep 17, 2022

K
Kori H.
Akron, OH | Reviewed on Sep 20, 2022

Our trip to Peru was amazing! Everything was perfectly organized.

Martina did a great job upfront ensuring that all of our excursions , hotels, and travels were booked and coordinated. She did a great job of listening to our requests and altering our itinerary to ensure that it was everything that we wanted. She was kept in great contact before and during the trip!
Lionel was our main contact once we got to Peru, he was very helpful providing us all of the detailed information we needed... read more

Our trip to Peru was amazing! Everything was perfectly organized.

Martina did a great job upfront ensuring that all of our excursions , hotels, and travels were booked and coordinated. She did a great job of listening to our requests and altering our itinerary to ensure that it was everything that we wanted. She was kept in great contact before and during the trip!
Lionel was our main contact once we got to Peru, he was very helpful providing us all of the detailed information we needed and ensuring we got from place to place. Our trip included 6 flights, 5 hotels, and over a dozen excursions, EVERYTHING was planned to perfection.
All drivers and tour guides were extremely professional and really made our experience the best that it could be. We loved exploring everything that Peru had to offer. Some of our favorite experiences included sand boarding and camping in the desert, visiting Machu Picchu, hiking to scenic waterfalls, and exploring the amazon via jungle cruise!

I typically do not like booking with travel agents, but I would book with Kimkim again in a heartbeat!

Hotel Reviews
Villa Barranco - Ananay
Lima
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Aranwa Paracas Resort & Spa
Paracas, Pisco, Ica
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Desert Camp
Huacachina
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Sol y Luna
Urubamba
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Antigua Casona San Blas
Cusco
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Delfin III Amazon Cruise
Iquitos
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Sep 21, 2022

Dear Kori and Emeric,

Thank you so much for your great review and comments. It was a pleasure for me organizing your honeymoon trip to Peru - you wanted it to be very special and it was my mission to make sure it will be unforgettable.

I am so glad that you enjoyed your time in Peru and that you got to experience as well the less-visited places (like the desert camp).

Thank you for travelling with us.
Warm regards,
Martina

An incredible family trip to Peru!
Peru | Aug 3 - Aug 16, 2022

Julia
Julia M.
East Norwalk, CT | Reviewed on Aug 18, 2022

What a trip to Peru! It was an incredible family holiday. Even more so for not having done an adventurous trip before like this with our children (16, 14 and 11) mainly because of their age and then covid. I soon realized that I needed help planning this as there was such a lot or organize and (although I normally like to plan holidays myself) it was clear that I definitely needed help with this.

Martina was so helpful ... we went through each part of each day. We added places and... read more

What a trip to Peru! It was an incredible family holiday. Even more so for not having done an adventurous trip before like this with our children (16, 14 and 11) mainly because of their age and then covid. I soon realized that I needed help planning this as there was such a lot or organize and (although I normally like to plan holidays myself) it was clear that I definitely needed help with this.

Martina was so helpful ... we went through each part of each day. We added places and activities that I knew I would like us to do and Martina made suggestions for those I didn't know or wasn't sure about. She put together an amazing itinerary for us. We were very busy but it was thoroughly enjoyable and very importantly manageable and fun for my kids.

I really also appreciated the support from the team in Peru. Information was provided for each day in advance (tickets, guide names, transfer details) and all the work was done for me and arrived via What's App on my phone .... which was so easy! Everything went very smoothly (which I think would not always be the case in Peru!) and the services provided were excellent ... very helpful as our Spanish is extremely limited.

I definitely would plan a holiday with Martina again!

Hotel Reviews
Pisac Inn
Pisac

Loved this cozy hotel. Food was amazing!!!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Desert Camp
Huacachina

Incredible experience! Beautifully set up for us. A great adventure. Also, the sand boarding and buggy ride before were so much fun!!!!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Pullman Lima Miraflores
Miraflores, Lima

Such a luxury! A real treat for the the beginning and end of the holiday.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Waman Hotel Machu Picchu

Can't recommend. Basic rooms, noisy all night. Awful breakfast. Our only bad experience.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Everything.
San Agustin Paracas
Paracas
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The view, the pool, the location. A little threadbare generally but we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
Tika Wasi Casa Boutique
Cusco

Very pretty hotel ... cozy and very authentic. The staff were incredibly helpful with everything. Breakfast was good. Very nice to have coca leaf tea any time you want it! We were very happy to go back there after our travels in the Sacred Valley.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Tika Wasi Valley
Sacred Valley

Very pretty hotel. Very convenient location.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Sacred Valley tour : Chinchero, Maras and Moray by bike
Peru

Great fun family day! Yuri was an excellent guide.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
From Paracas to Huacachina Sand duning and buggy
Paracas

Such a fantastic experience! Thoroughly enjoyed all of it ... the buggy ride, the sand boarding and the camping. All of our family loved doing this and we will always remember it!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
From Lima to Paracas, visit of the Paracas Reserve
Lima

This was really good ... stunning actually. We had traveled to Paracas to see the Ballestas Islands and I didn't really have much expectation for this reserve but it was actually incredibly beautiful and I'm really glad we went.

Quality of Experience
Food
The view! The guide was also excellent.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
From Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and overnight in Aguas Calientes
Peru

The train ride from Ollyantaytambo to Aquas Calientes was great ... the views were amazing. The guide we had in Machu Picchu (Ana) was absolutely excellent. There was a small protest (very peaceful though) going on which she swiftly navigated us past and straight onto a bus up to Machu Picchu. We LOVED Machu Picchu. Ana's English was excellent. She was patient with our children mucking about (!!!). She had lots of information which was fascinating. Hotel Waman not great. We loved the hike to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain. Our 11 year old found it the easiest, funnily enough! It was much harder than expected but totally worth it and something we will never forget. The views from the top were out of this world! So glad we did this. The train ride down was HILARIOUS! There was dancing and a fashion show. So much fun!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visit Pisac archaeological site and market
Pisac

I didn't get to see very much of this as I wanted plenty of time in the market! What I did see was very interesting and I had an excellent guide ... Milton .... whose English was just incredible.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visit of Islas Ballestas
Peru

This was good ... lovely to see the penguins jumping in the water.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Aug 18, 2022

Dear Julia,

Thank you so much for your nice comments.

I'm so glad that everybody in your family enjoyed this very special family vacation. It was a pleasure creating this trip together with you. As I have young adult-children myself, I felt very comfortable in proposing the different activities that might suit your children. They will forever remember this trip they made with you.

Warm regards,
Martina

Martina and her team were amazing. They made ...
Peru | Jun 9 - Jun 17, 2022

C
Catherine D.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Jul 27, 2022

Martina and her team were amazing. They made me a custom made trip in a short amount of time. I really recommend their treks as I had one of the most stunning hiking experiences in my life. They are friendly and helpful and knowledgeable.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Jul 27, 2022

Dear Catherine,

Thank you so much for your comment. It was a pleasure creating your trip and we are glad that you enjoyed the trek.

Thanks for choosing KimKim for your customised trips !

All the best,
Martina

great experience in Peru
Peru | May 21 - Jun 1, 2022

T
Todd V.
Chapel Hill, NC | Reviewed on Jun 21, 2022

We had a complicated custom itinerary involving many different guides and drivers that was put together very quickly (and at a very reasonable cost) through Phima Voyages, going from Lima to Cusco to the Parque de la Papas to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu (including a 1-day trail hike), the Rainbow mountains, Lake Titicaca and various sites in between. All the guides and drivers were excellent (and very multilingual), the handoffs between them were smooth, and when troubles arose (e.g.... read more

We had a complicated custom itinerary involving many different guides and drivers that was put together very quickly (and at a very reasonable cost) through Phima Voyages, going from Lima to Cusco to the Parque de la Papas to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu (including a 1-day trail hike), the Rainbow mountains, Lake Titicaca and various sites in between. All the guides and drivers were excellent (and very multilingual), the handoffs between them were smooth, and when troubles arose (e.g. an airport closure) they put together an alternate plan to get us where we needed to go with minimal fuss. There was always a helpful agent on call over whatsapp if we had any questions. It was a top-notch operation and an amazing experience. The Parque de la Papas is less visited, but if you are interested in traditional agriculture, cultural heritage, and biodiversity (and are also acclimated to the altitude and comfortable with a very rural homestay) I can't recommend it enough.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Jun 22, 2022

Dear Todd,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm very glad that you enjoyed your trip. We love to show our travellers the less visited sites, to take a little more time and to get a closer experience about life in Peru. Therefore we work with different communities and rural entrepreneurs (such as the Parque de las Papas, but also at Lake Titicaca). Your trip has a direct impact on our local partners !

It was a pleasure creating your personnalised itinerary to Peru. I will pass on your comments to everybody involved.

Thanks for travelling with us and KimKim.
Warm regards,
Martina

Can you organise a custom trip for 2 in the Chachapoyas area?
Peru | May 25 - May 29, 2019

L
Lynda P.
Australia | Reviewed on Jun 12, 2019

We loved our trip to North Peru that we organised through Phima Voyages. Martina was wonderful as we made our plans and bookings. She kept us really well informed and provided lots of good advice and local information.
The airport transfers and hotel bookings were very well organised.
Our tours were wonderful. It was great to get away from the main areas for international tourism and explore a bit more of Peru. A highlight for us was the ruins at Keulap, but we enjoyed our experiences too.... read more

We loved our trip to North Peru that we organised through Phima Voyages. Martina was wonderful as we made our plans and bookings. She kept us really well informed and provided lots of good advice and local information.
The airport transfers and hotel bookings were very well organised.
Our tours were wonderful. It was great to get away from the main areas for international tourism and explore a bit more of Peru. A highlight for us was the ruins at Keulap, but we enjoyed our experiences too. Our guide was friendly, well informed and helpful. Our driver was very professional and we always felt safe, including on some of the winding dirt roads.
While we were there we experienced a magnitude 8 earthquake. The Phima team were great at making us feel safe (which we were!) and keeping us informed about potential changes due to rockfalls on the roads.
I really recommend Phima to anyone looking for a personalised travel experience in the Chachapoyas area.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Jul 18, 2019

Dear Lynda,

Your trip was very special with the earthquake in the middle !! I am glad that everything turned out fine and there were no major problems.

Thank you on behalf of our team for your nice comments. We work together already for several years and it is very encouraging to hear that you appreciate our services. It was a pleasure showing you our beautiful region of Amazonas with all its treasures and experiences !

I wish you many more exciting trips and especially - lots of encounters and stories to tell.
Warm regards,
Martina

Chachapoyas: Peru’s Best Kept Secret - 7 Days
Peru | May 13 - May 28, 2019

Alan
Alan K.
Canada | Reviewed on May 31, 2019

This trip was everything I hoped it would be. On the practical side, all the connections and transfers went according to plan and no time was wasted. We had an excellent guide, Jhon, and driver, Carlos (in the Andes - there were other drivers on the coast). Both were friendly and made the time in the car interesting and fun. Through them, we were able to spend whatever time we wanted in each place and they were only too happy to make unscheduled stops whenever we requested.

I hadn't... read more

This trip was everything I hoped it would be. On the practical side, all the connections and transfers went according to plan and no time was wasted. We had an excellent guide, Jhon, and driver, Carlos (in the Andes - there were other drivers on the coast). Both were friendly and made the time in the car interesting and fun. Through them, we were able to spend whatever time we wanted in each place and they were only too happy to make unscheduled stops whenever we requested.

I hadn't anticipated the drive through the Andes from Cajamarca to Leymebamba would be so important. It immersed us in the beautiful, rugged physicality of the country and took us completely into new territory - like a trip to Oz. The primary reason for me taking this trip was to see the sarcophagi of Karajia and the experience did not disappoint. They have a silent, majestic mysteriousness that must be experienced first hand. When you are walking through Kuelap, you can begin to imagine what a thriving bustling place it must have been in its heyday. The museums at Leymebamba and that of the treasures of the Lord of Sipan should be singled out for the creativity they show in the way their artifacts and information are presented.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on May 31, 2019

Dear Alan,

I am so glad that this trip to Northern Peru matched your expectations and that you could spend time at the Sarcophagi of Karajia. With your itinerary you got a great overview of the important archaeological sites and if Jhon could give you some more insight of Peru, the customs and habits, then this is just wonderful.

On behalf of all our team, thank you for travelling with us, for your good humour and interest in the beautiful regions of Northern Peru.

Keep on travelling :)
Martina

Chachapoyas: Peru’s Best Kept Secret - 7 Days
Peru | May 13 - May 28, 2019

John
John G.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on May 30, 2019

I came late to this trip, which was originally planned by my friend and travelling companion, Alan. However, once on board, Martina and team made it easy to get everything organised - the packing list was especially useful!

There's a blog on peru2019.wordpress.com.

Trip notes:
- Everything went pretty smoothly, organisationally, especially once we'd realised some of the hotels had "Alan John" as the room occupant!
- Cumbemayo, Kuelap and Karajia especially good for me, largely because they... read more

I came late to this trip, which was originally planned by my friend and travelling companion, Alan. However, once on board, Martina and team made it easy to get everything organised - the packing list was especially useful!

There's a blog on peru2019.wordpress.com.

Trip notes:
- Everything went pretty smoothly, organisationally, especially once we'd realised some of the hotels had "Alan John" as the room occupant!
- Cumbemayo, Kuelap and Karajia especially good for me, largely because they were more into the countryside
- "local" lunches in village restaurants were great - I really enjoyed dancing with la abuela and her 6m old grandchild in Karajia
- Jhon was a great host and representative of Peru; we had a good time in the cars with him and the drivers, in a very relaxed atmosphere; he tried hard to answer questions (so many questions!!) about all sorts of random aspects of Peru past and present, and took our banter well
- Hotels were generally great, but it's a shootout for top gun between Rangua Wasi (great location, incredible food, a very personal experience) and Hotel Achemaqui, just for the DIY sarcophagus tour in the rain alone ... Nah, Rangua Wasi! Some were more "characterful" than others, but then we met
- Drivers were very careful and confidence-inspiring, given the often challenging conditions and traffic state, and very courteous about going over the innumerable speed bumps on every pavement in Peru
- Cars generally good, but last leg of trip (Trujillo-Casma-Lima) car was not especially comfortable for 10? hours in rear seats
- Everyone we interacted with, from hotel staff, people on the street, village people, was friendly and open - we had many surprise encounters that added a lot to our experience

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on May 30, 2019

Dear John,

Thank you so much for your detailed review.

I am glad that you enjoyed your trip and had many encounters with the local people - I would say this is because of your kind and outgoing way ! It was a pleasure organising this tour for you and Alan and I am happy to hear that you enjoyed Jhon's company throughout your trip. (He did so, too :) )

I am sure that you and Alan will have lots of memories and stories to share now !! And I can only recommend your blog to everybody, as it is a great read.

Warm regards,
Martina

Northern Peru Possible Highlights?
Peru | Jun 20 - Jul 1, 2018

S
Sally B.
Salt Lake City, UT | Reviewed on Jul 11, 2018

We had an excellent guide, Jhon, and driver, Dantes. They made us feel safe, gave us local insight into the regions we were traveling and taught us a lot about the history and current events of the areas. The sites were diverse and marvelous. Our favorites were Kuélap and Cumbe Mayo but the other sites we saw were not far behind, such as the Sarcophagi of Karajia or Huaca de la Luna. We had a local guide for the Museo Reales de Sipan who did a wonderful job shepherding is through the museum... read more

We had an excellent guide, Jhon, and driver, Dantes. They made us feel safe, gave us local insight into the regions we were traveling and taught us a lot about the history and current events of the areas. The sites were diverse and marvelous. Our favorites were Kuélap and Cumbe Mayo but the other sites we saw were not far behind, such as the Sarcophagi of Karajia or Huaca de la Luna. We had a local guide for the Museo Reales de Sipan who did a wonderful job shepherding is through the museum in the limited time we had. The scenery is beautiful and every meal somehow was better than the last. Phima, Jhon and Dantes went above and beyond in their advice, recommendations and assistance for the trip.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Sep 28, 2018

Dear Sally and Eliza,
Thank you so much for your kind review. I am very glad that you enjoyed your trip to Northern Peru and that you liked Jhon and Dantes :)
Thank you for visiting the North and I hope you had a wonderful time in the South as well.
Warm regards,
Martina

Chachapoyas: Peru’s Best Kept Secret - 7 Days
Peru | Mar 6 - Mar 14, 2018

S
Samuel O.
Byesville, OH | Reviewed on Mar 18, 2018

I would like to say thank you to Martina. She put an incredible tour together in a very short amount of time. She always responded immediately to any question i had. She was a real pleasure to work with.
Our guide John was great. He was very friendly and always upbeat and helpful.
Our stay at Casa Hacienda Milpuj was great. The freandly conversations were nice and the food there was best of the entire trip. I could have stayed the entire trip in Hotel Achamaqui. The service and food were... read more

I would like to say thank you to Martina. She put an incredible tour together in a very short amount of time. She always responded immediately to any question i had. She was a real pleasure to work with.
Our guide John was great. He was very friendly and always upbeat and helpful.
Our stay at Casa Hacienda Milpuj was great. The freandly conversations were nice and the food there was best of the entire trip. I could have stayed the entire trip in Hotel Achamaqui. The service and food were very good and the scenery was amazing. I loved the quiet peacefulness.
All the day trips were great but I think the waterfalls of Gocta was the best. Riding horseback provided some great photo opportunities. I have traveled extensively in the past and this was the most organized and well planned tour i have ever been on. Thank you Martina and Kimkim.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Mar 20, 2018

Dear Samuel,

I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you liked the hotels we have selected. It was my pleasure planning your trip and suggesting you the different sites to visit.

Thank you so much for your great overview.

Warm regards,
Martina

Chachapoyas: Peru’s Best Kept Secret - 7 Days
Peru | Jan 17 - Jan 21, 2018

J
Janice V.
New York, NY | Reviewed on Feb 01, 2018

Martina was very helpful regarding our pre-trip planning. We had planned all facets of our trip to Peru prior to contacting Martina. We decided to do so because we wanted to go to the area and found it somewhat difficult to research travel options there. Our tour stated that we would have an English speaking guide.
Day 1 we were met by Joan/John and Carlos @ Cajamarca airport. After dropping our bags we visited Cumbe Mayo. This was a wonderful place. Our guide was clearly... read more

Martina was very helpful regarding our pre-trip planning. We had planned all facets of our trip to Peru prior to contacting Martina. We decided to do so because we wanted to go to the area and found it somewhat difficult to research travel options there. Our tour stated that we would have an English speaking guide.
Day 1 we were met by Joan/John and Carlos @ Cajamarca airport. After dropping our bags we visited Cumbe Mayo. This was a wonderful place. Our guide was clearly enthusiastic but, not fluent enough (in English) to convey much of his knowledge. As became clear at that point, Anna often needed to translate for my benefit. ( I sensed the visit was the short version. ). We learned that J was a guide-in-training. He had to train for some 900 hours before receiving license.
We returned to Cajamarca. Having risen @ 3 in the morning for our 7:30 flight we were hungry at that point and asked J for recommendations. He dropped us at a lunchroom on the square. A fairly grim experience. I mention this only because perfunctory drop-offs became the norm. I think this is an issue of manners. We are outsiders, the guide the insider. This in addition to the fact that the Hostal had no heat — it was cold and mercilessly rainy,— or WiFi. There was no way not to hear our next door neighbor’s TV. If we had foreknowledge of the lack of heat, we would not have agreed to stay there. How hard is it to recommend a few places to eat?
Driver Carlos was excellent throughout. No fruit or water in car throughout our tour.

Day2 7 hr drive to Leymebamba. Prompt pickup. J asks if we want to stop @ a grocery store. Having stocked up on snacks at the Cajamarca market, we only needed more water and stopped at bodega. We naively assumed that there would be a plan to eat along the way. We chatted for about 1 hour as we left the city and headed in the direction of Leymebamba. We stopped for lunch and J suggested we take our food and eat on the little square. Another point of confusion. We hadn’t packed a lunch. Meanwhile J & C headed into a little restaurant for lunch. Since it was clearly the only place to eat in this locale, I joined them.
We stopped only once thereafter for a photo op. For the remaining 6 hours there was an abundantly obvious silence. Our questions like, ‘what river is that?’ were answered but, no comments/ info from guide.
Then a stop at woodworker’s place. This was kind of crazy. After 7 hours in a car we did not feel like doing this but, felt obliged to do so.
We reached Leymebamba and checked into our Hostal. This proved to be a far nicer stay. A lovely well maintained Hostal and it was fortunately warmer than Cajamarca. Great family, delicious breakfast. Again though, after that very long drive, no food recommendations. We made the wrong choice. Ironically, the next day after visiting the Museum we had a great lunch, in plaza. The restaurant owner, a relative of Carlos’, was a delightful woman who really knew how to cook!

Day 3
Visit to Leymebamba museum. Wonderful visit. Felt a bit rushed as we followed J through. This seems to be an occupational hazard for tour leaders. One though that they surely need to develop the flexibility to allow for. It seems to me that a tour guide to be really good, needs to get to know his clients. Perhaps J is too young? Not curious? ( He might have heard that one of our reasons for visiting Peru was our interest in its cuisine. )
After a terrific lunch we set out to visit Revash. Sadly rained out. Roads in dangerous conditions. We were dropped off at Lola’s and Perico’s. Heaven. Spent an afternoon at their wonderful place with our consummate hosts. We loved each other’s company. Nine hundred stars!

Day 4
Kuelap Visit. Terrific.
Lunch @ Shubet also good. Again Carlos’s friends/relatives..
Drive to Gocta. Rafael not there but, his in village helper arrived promptly to let us in. Somewhat unsure how to interpret Rafael’s absence but, made ourselves comfortable. (Footnote hot water unavailable.)
Had a wonderful afternoon enjoying Rafael’s place. Also later when another guest arrived.

Day 5
Hike to Gocta Waterfall. Strenuously wonderful. Took horses half way back down.
Arrived back to Rafael’s hot and tired....wanting to clean-up and relax. J announced we were to go next door for lunch. We went. When one is staying at Rafael’s, the setting isn’t really impressive.
The food is mediocre. J had told us that C would be driving us to Jaen the following morning; a gesture we very much appreciated. Carlos happened to be dining @ same time we were (next door) with his family. We confirmed that we would see him tomorrow.

Day 6
Instead of Carlos, his young relative ( no more than 18?) w/ his friend to airport in Jaen.
Nice person. Friendly but, not a mature driver. Thought we would be seeing C and planned to give him a tip then. Plz send info regarding how we can do so.

My advice to Trip planner. Suggest visitors to this region—-@ least @ this time of the year— come and go via Jaen. Spend time in Chachapoyas and environs.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Feb 02, 2018

Dear Janice,

Thank you very much for your comments and letting me know how you felt during your stay in the Northern Andes.

I guess your stay was a little overcasted because of the rain. It is true that when it rains, there unfortunately are not many options. Hotels in the region usually don't have heating (nor Wifi) and the humidity gets into you and your bones.

Jhon, our guide, has already finished his training beginning of last year. He has a diploma as an official guide, a career... read more

Dear Janice,

Thank you very much for your comments and letting me know how you felt during your stay in the Northern Andes.

I guess your stay was a little overcasted because of the rain. It is true that when it rains, there unfortunately are not many options. Hotels in the region usually don't have heating (nor Wifi) and the humidity gets into you and your bones.

Jhon, our guide, has already finished his training beginning of last year. He has a diploma as an official guide, a career that takes 3 years, and he is guiding for us since April last year. Maybe his natural Peruvian shyness added to some of your English comprehensive issues . Otherwise he is enthousiastic about his work and I am sure that he will improve to better understand the needs of our clients. Thank you so much for your comments that I will pass on to him.

I am glad that you liked the different archaeological sites throughout your stay as well as the (rather difficult) hike to Gocta.

Once again thank you for your detailed comments that I will share with our local partners. The region of Amazonas still needs to catch up about 50 years of tourism development in comparison with the South of Peru, but we work hard to improve our services together with the local hotels, drivers, communities and other partners.

Warm regards,
Martina

North Peru
Peru | Dec 24 - Jan 7, 2018

Darlene
Darlene C.
Canada | Reviewed on Jan 19, 2018

Our trip was full of activity and adventure in Northern Peru for 2-1/2 weeks. Our guide Jhon was young and full of energy and our driver Carlos was an attentive, safe driver. In Trujillo, we thoroughly enjoyed the Sun and Moon Temples and Chan Chan. The demonstration of the straw boats and cooking class in Huanchaco was fantastic.

Heading into the Andes is spectacular. Outside Cajamarca, we loved our hike through Cumbemayo to see the remarkable Andean water works. The Revash was very... read more

Our trip was full of activity and adventure in Northern Peru for 2-1/2 weeks. Our guide Jhon was young and full of energy and our driver Carlos was an attentive, safe driver. In Trujillo, we thoroughly enjoyed the Sun and Moon Temples and Chan Chan. The demonstration of the straw boats and cooking class in Huanchaco was fantastic.

Heading into the Andes is spectacular. Outside Cajamarca, we loved our hike through Cumbemayo to see the remarkable Andean water works. The Revash was very interesting and we enjoyed our horse ride to the site. Visiting Miguel in his workshop and painting our own Sarcophagus was a lot of fun. Perico and Lola's private conservation property in the Utcubamba Valley was so beautiful and was a favourite of ours. It was hard to say goodbye to them and the family they had visiting at the time. Then off to Kuelap by cable car and another hike to the site...fantastic!

The biggest surprise and highlight for us was our stay at Villa del Monte in the coffee country of Rodriguez de Mendoza. We have a coffee roasting business and requested some time with coffee growers. The home we stayed at in the area was really great and the caretakers living next to the home were warm and friendly. We did an afternoon at an underground cave that was pretty cool although fitting through a small hole to start was a little scary but worth the effort. The best part for us was spending our time with the coffee farmers (owners of Cafe Monteverde) who provided us with such a detailed education of their business from the growing of the coffee at their farm (tasting included) to going to their laboratory in town to watch and participate in grading and cupping of the coffee. This was fantastic for us.

The Gocta Falls is another favourite. The hike is fairly difficult so the horses came in handy. Lunch at the Gocta Lodge is outstanding and so is the view. Our last stop on the coast was the Pyramids of Tucume and Museum Tumbas Reales with the latter being our favourite museum.

With a little more time, Jhon will get better at his English. It's good but sometimes we had translation difficulties. He is a great guide and really cares about what he does. Both him and Carlos were always available and willing to make things work for us.

Thank you Phima Voyages for a great adventure in Northern Peru!
Darlene & Gary Carlton

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Jan 24, 2018

Dear Darlene and Gary,

Thank you so much for your nice comments.

I am so glad that you enjoyed your trip. It was a lot of fun planning it for you, as it gave me the opportunity to include activites and adventures. You had enough time to meet with the locals and interact, like at the coffee experience :)

If you have any pictures you would like to share, don't hesitate to send them through to me.

Warm regards,
Martina

Keilap
Peru | Nov 16 - Nov 21, 2017

M
Marilyn S.
| Reviewed on Nov 26, 2017

Everything was splendid before , during, and after the trip. The only thing that was REALLY hard was the hike to the lodging at Keulap.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Dec 24, 2017

Dear Marilyn,

Thank you for your review. It is a steep hike to Sra. Teodula, but it is just a beautiful place to be. I am glad that you enjoyed your night there as well as the entire trip.

Happy travels throughout South America !
Warm regards,
Martina

Explore Northern Peru: Cajamarca to Chachapoyas
Peru | Oct 22 - Oct 28, 2017

Beata
Beata N.
Canada | Reviewed on Nov 19, 2017

Very professional and high-quality service from Martina, accommodating all of our requests and needs during the trip.

The North part of Peru is not very well advertised and there are not too many tourists in this area (good for people like us, who really enjoyed the real Peru experience, not overtaken by tourism industry yet.) We were nicely surprised and definitely I would suggest using this as a key point in the advertisement of this region. So thank you, Martina, for pointing to us these... read more

Very professional and high-quality service from Martina, accommodating all of our requests and needs during the trip.

The North part of Peru is not very well advertised and there are not too many tourists in this area (good for people like us, who really enjoyed the real Peru experience, not overtaken by tourism industry yet.) We were nicely surprised and definitely I would suggest using this as a key point in the advertisement of this region. So thank you, Martina, for pointing to us these incredible places to see and stay.

Kuelep, Mausoleum of Revish, Sarcophagi of Karajia - amazing sites. Getting to these places through the real Peruvian villages is an attraction on its own. Chachapoyas and Cajamarca - very authentic Peruvian towns with beautiful main squares and beautiful architecture (a little bit disappointing was the fact that there was a major renovation of the main square in Chachapoyas - which we did not expect).

Also, the drive from Cajamarca through the valleys, mountains, and an incredible one-line road was amazing: the views, the trill passing another vehicles and change of sceneries were unforgettable.

Two amazing places we have stayed I would like to mention. Perico and Lola house in Nogalcucho: quiet and isolated house with beautiful private accommodations. Great homemade dinner and breakfast. Lots of options for walks or areas to sit and enjoy the beauty of their place.
Another is in Cocachimba hostel Sacha Puyo (best view on Gocta falls). The views and quietness of this place are out of this world.

Even though we did not have a guide, our driver Beto was able to give us enough info so we did not feel lost without knowledge of Spanish. But the knowledge of a minimum of Spanish language is a must when traveling in this region so I would recommend to always let people know about this fact. In general people in Northern Peru do not know English.

Local specialist: Martina Capel
Martina
Martina Capel
Local specialist in France | Reviewed on Dec 24, 2017

Dear Beata,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a such long overview. I am very happy that you enjoyed your stay in the amazing region of Amazonas.

Everything you mention is absolutely true. The region is still rather untouched from tourism and it gives you the opportunity to meet authentic people and to share their passion (like with Perico and Lola). On the other hand, without any Spanish knowledge and only with English, it is rather a challenge. I'm glad that Beto could be of... read more

Dear Beata,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a such long overview. I am very happy that you enjoyed your stay in the amazing region of Amazonas.

Everything you mention is absolutely true. The region is still rather untouched from tourism and it gives you the opportunity to meet authentic people and to share their passion (like with Perico and Lola). On the other hand, without any Spanish knowledge and only with English, it is rather a challenge. I'm glad that Beto could be of assistance to you.

Once again, thank you for your encouraging comments that I will pass on to all the people involved.

Warm regards to you and your husband,
Martina