2570 messages
active 12 hours ago

Nicole Koch

We moved to Peru 12 years ago to help the poor. We worked in two schools that were free for those who could not afford an education for their children, the most poor. During those years, on our off time, we explored Peru in every way we could, trekking Choquequirao with our one-year-old, biking the many foot paths we would see all over the Andes, camping, fishing, and much more.

We've become friends and family with many people here, and really came to know and love the Peruvian culture. Seven years and 4 kids later, we moved away from volunteer work and naturally into tourism. We opened an Airbnb out of our house and began sending our guests on the tours we had designed from our own knowledge. After a bit, it was only natural we decided to open a tourist agency that specializes in custom built adventure tours, with Machu Picchu always a climax of the trip. We operate, organize, and occasionally guide our tours, especially the mountain biking!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialise in trekking all over the Cusco region especially Salkantay to Machu Picchu with lodging in cabins run by locals in the area, serious mountain biking, mountain biking for all levels, culturally infused tours, Adventure Packages to Machu Picchu."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Living in a place as marvelous as Peru and loving the adventure of the great Andes, it was only a matter of time before people started to ask us for our expertise. We opened Haku (meaning "let's go" in Quechua) Expeditions and began forming custom packages for people who want to be a traveler, not a tourist."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"We had always wanted to trek Salkantay with our family. We took our four kids aged, 8, 5, 3 and 1 on an adventure of a life time. The two older kids rode horses while William and I carried the littler ones. We trekked for three days and then spent three days in the hot springs of Colclomayo to reward the kids for their hard work."

Featured trips & expertise

The Inca trail leads to the ruins of Machu Picchu
Inca Trail to Huchuy Qosqo & Llactapata with Machu Picchu - 9 Days

Follow in the footsteps of the Incas over 9 days as you hike this ancient trail and explore meticulously preserved ruins. Relax in mineral hot springs and learn traditional coffee roasting techniques with experts at an organic farm. Afterward, lose track of time exploring the narrow, winding streets of Cusco — the historic capital of the Incan Empire.

Rainbow Mountain Trek - 2-Day Itinerary

Journey through an undiscovered land of wild desert landscapes, snow-capped peaks, herds of alpacas, to arrive at the ultimate destination: the rainbow-painted slopes of Rainbow Mountain hidden deep in the Andes.

Apurimac Canyon
Inca Legends - Full-Day Mountain Biking Tour

A full-day mountain biking ride on the outskirts of Cusco. Enjoy panoramic views of the Andes and ride past Llamas and Alpacas as you descend into the upper cloud forest and lush waterfalls of the Apurimac River Valley. It's a short, perfect day of Andean biking!

Sacred Valley Adventure Tour - 3 Days

If you're looking to combine some adventure with a tour of Machu Picchu at the end, consider this three-day itinerary. The Sacred Valley is a hotbed of great day adventures, given its steep terrain along the Urubamba river and dramatic scenery. Choose from a selection of activities — from zip-lining, ATVing, single-track mountain biking or paddle-boarding before your visit to Peru's most famous ruins.

Rooftop garden in Cusco
Sacred Valley Cuisine Tour - 5 Days

With Peruvian cuisine on the rise worldwide, here’s a unique tour that introduces you to Cusco and the Sacred Valley through the best cuisine and restaurants that the region has to offer. You also experience the Peruvian culture of cooking with fresh local ingredients in a hands-on cooking class.

Recent trip reviews for Nicole

Salkantay trek to machu picchu - 5 days, Peru - Apr 9 - Apr 13, 2018

Traveler: catherine S. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

My husband and I have travelled much of the world and we would put this as one of our top trips. The country was beautiful, the people were amazing.
Nicole helped arrange everything for us and it was a perfect combination of trekking and learning about the local people and their cultures.
Our guide Ruben was fantastic!! He catered to us and went above and beyond to help us and to make our experience as memorable as possible. As an experienced guide, we slowed him down but he waited... read more

My husband and I have travelled much of the world and we would put this as one of our top trips. The country was beautiful, the people were amazing.
Nicole helped arrange everything for us and it was a perfect combination of trekking and learning about the local people and their cultures.
Our guide Ruben was fantastic!! He catered to us and went above and beyond to help us and to make our experience as memorable as possible. As an experienced guide, we slowed him down but he waited patiently for us with a smile! All of the people we met along the way seemed very comfortable with Ruben and were very welcoming to us.
When we left Toronto to head to Peru both of us were a bit scared as to what was ahead of us for a trek, but we made it and Ruben helped us every step of the way.

I have suggested to my friends and family to do the same trek, it is a trip we will always remember and cherish.
thanks to Nicole and Ruben!!

Salkantay trek to machu picchu, Peru - Dec 28 - Jan 6, 2018

Traveler: Ellen A. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Thank you, Haku, for arranging this wonderful trip. All aspects of the Salkantay trek were excellent. Our guide, Rubin, was knowledgeable about all of the logistics and provided us with lots of information on local culture and customs, and plants and history.

Our first evening accommodation at the refuge at Soray Pamp was a great start. We were served a delicious lunch and the refuge was rustic but lovely. We could see Mount Salkantay in the distance. We took a day hike to Glacial Lake... read more

Thank you, Haku, for arranging this wonderful trip. All aspects of the Salkantay trek were excellent. Our guide, Rubin, was knowledgeable about all of the logistics and provided us with lots of information on local culture and customs, and plants and history.

Our first evening accommodation at the refuge at Soray Pamp was a great start. We were served a delicious lunch and the refuge was rustic but lovely. We could see Mount Salkantay in the distance. We took a day hike to Glacial Lake Humantay which was spectacular. We were welcomed back with a delicious dinner cooked by the gentleman who ran the lodge.

The day 2 hike over the Salkantay pass to Chalullay was grueling but satisfying. We arrived at Chalullay in the late afternoon. Accommodations were a bit chilly but beds were comfortable. Day 3 we hiked through rainforest cloud, a more gentle up and down hike with lush vegetation and views of the river. The evening at the Coffee plantation was a highlight. Fredy the owner and his family were wonderful hosts and the accommodations were very nice. We enjoyed the warmer climate at this elevation. With our guide translating, Fredy showed us the step by step process from growing and harvesting the coffee beans to roasting them for our breakfast. From here we started on an Inca trail with a long but not as challenging hike.

Highlights were the ruins of Llactapata and lunch with views to Machu Picchu. At the end, we took a short train ride to Aquas Caliente and Macchu Picchu. We were very glad to have the opportunity to climb Huayna Picchu on our visit to Macchu Picchu. At Nicole's recommendation, we added an evening in Ollantaytambo where we enjoyed the lively town square, local activity, and the ruins. On our return trip to Cusco by car, we explored the salt mines and a village were weaving and knitted goods were produced and sold. The knitted goods in Peru are beautiful.

We also booked 3 days in the Amazon rainforest in Puerto Maldonado, also arranged by Nicole and Haku. Our guide Efraim was excellent-- extremely knowledgeable and helpful. And Freddy, the local contact who picked us up by boat, cooked us lunch and carried our luggage through the jungle had endless energy. Our stay at Lake Sandoval lodge was memorable. Great food and service and the setting, overlooking the lake was memorable. The lake was full of otters, caiman, and fish, and at the water's edge, we enjoyed the monkeys and variety of birds.

We would highly recommend Haku to plan a custom itinerary for a Cusco based travel adventure.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you Ellen for the Review. It was lovely meeting your family and helping you on this trip of a lifetime!

Sarah

Best day hikes in the sacred valley near cusco, Peru - Oct 12 - Oct 15, 2017

Traveler: Sarah M. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Nicole was incredible, and took the time to figure out what kind of trip I wanted, then helped me adjust last-minute when I needed to make some emergency changes.

I plan to recommend Nicole to anyone I hear is going to Peru—whether they ask for recommendations or not :)
She was available, helpful, knowledge, and lovely.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks so much! It was our pleasure.

Peru trip 2017, Peru - Aug 16 - Aug 19, 2017

Traveler: chrisha m. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

We had a good guide, Joise. To improve, it would have been great if we had more communication from the travel agent.

Everything was good. Had a good driver and perfect guide. Would have liked to have more communication

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hello Chrisha,
Thank you for letting us know your thoughts and thank you very much for the review!
Nicole

Andrew

Best day hikes in the sacred valley, Peru - Jul 26 - Aug 1, 2017

Traveler: Andrew H. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Fantastic communication and great advice from Nicole. The guide and driver were brilliant.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Gracias Andrew. Safe travels.

Janice

Best treks to machu picchu, Peru - Aug 11 - Aug 19, 2017

Traveler: Janice H. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

I had a great first experience with KimKim. I told others about it before even going on my trip. I began to fear it was too good to be true.... no, it was great from start to finish. I was regularly surprised with more than expected... more supported and more amenities than I thought.

I generally interacted with Nicole. She was very responsive, often responding within the hour or early morning after a late night inquiry. She alerted me to a period of a few days where she would be unavailable. Our short notice trip went off without a hitch.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks Janice. We were happy to create this trip for you and your son! Take care and Safe Travels.
Nicole

Salkantay trek to machu picchu, Peru - Aug 4 - Aug 14, 2017

Traveler: Mark B. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Planning and booking the trip was easy. KimKim connected us with a great tour provider, and always responded quickly to questions and requests.

It's rare to find a tour organizer really dedicated to creating a perfect experience, but that's the impression we had with Nicole and Haku. It's not the cheapest option, but hearing about others who had trekked with larger groups we are happy with our decision.

Our guide Josias was experienced, patient and a great companion for the 6 days. We... read more

Planning and booking the trip was easy. KimKim connected us with a great tour provider, and always responded quickly to questions and requests.

It's rare to find a tour organizer really dedicated to creating a perfect experience, but that's the impression we had with Nicole and Haku. It's not the cheapest option, but hearing about others who had trekked with larger groups we are happy with our decision.

Our guide Josias was experienced, patient and a great companion for the 6 days. We stayed in comfortable lodges in epic locations, and really enjoyed the meal on the final night.

There were no hidden costs or surprises, and every detail was covered. This truly allowed us to enjoy one of the best hiking trails in the world.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks Mark. Salkantay is an amazing trip and I am so glad you could enjoy it!

13 days, salk, biking, horseback, Peru - Jul 14 - Jul 26, 2017

Traveler: Herman V. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

We just came back from a hiking trip to Macchu Picchu in Peru via the Salkantay route with HakuExpeditions wich we had booked via kimkim earlier this year. Our trekking along Salkantay as well as the visit to Macchu Picchu were just awesome. Nicole from Haku Expeditions was very flexible in setting up our itinerary and upon arrival in Cusco she organized a briefing with our trekking guides.

The guides were absolutely fantastic. Both were very friendly and helpful, and had tremendous... read more

We just came back from a hiking trip to Macchu Picchu in Peru via the Salkantay route with HakuExpeditions wich we had booked via kimkim earlier this year. Our trekking along Salkantay as well as the visit to Macchu Picchu were just awesome. Nicole from Haku Expeditions was very flexible in setting up our itinerary and upon arrival in Cusco she organized a briefing with our trekking guides.

The guides were absolutely fantastic. Both were very friendly and helpful, and had tremendous knowledge about the trek, the culture and environment. We did not trek by tent but from cabin to cabin. The accommodations were basic and clean, typically for what I've expected on a trek like this (no unnecessary luxury - but a good bed and a good hot shower every day). The food was above expectations. The Peruvian cuisine at high altitude, on the beaten track, tasted so delicious that we hiked almost every day without even having to rely on our snacks during the hike in between the main meals, there was plenty of good food and great hospitality. Definitely a trip we would like to do over sometime.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Herman it was wonderful to meet you and your family. Thanks for coming to Peru and allowing us to create a custom trip for your family!

Hiking in peru, Peru - Jun 5 - Jun 11, 2017

Traveler: Jennifer S. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

I wish we could have kept the same guide throughout the entire experience. Our first guide, Reuben, saw us through the Choquequirao trek (which was fantastic) but we had a different guide for Machu Picchu and unfortunately he wasn't nearly as good. After several days on the trail with Reuben, we were very comfortable with him and his team, and it was jarring to switch to someone new on the last days of the trip.

Overall, booking with Bill and Nicole was great. Nicole was always in contact... read more

I wish we could have kept the same guide throughout the entire experience. Our first guide, Reuben, saw us through the Choquequirao trek (which was fantastic) but we had a different guide for Machu Picchu and unfortunately he wasn't nearly as good. After several days on the trail with Reuben, we were very comfortable with him and his team, and it was jarring to switch to someone new on the last days of the trip.

Overall, booking with Bill and Nicole was great. Nicole was always in contact making sure we had what we needed (she even gave me advice on which restaurants were good, what to pack to deal with the constantly changing weather in Peru, etc). It put my mind at ease being able to have such an open dialogue with her up right up until the day we left for the trip. That is definitely not something you get when booking through a regular travel agent.

I have nothing but great things to say about Bill and Nicole. They were easy-going, helpful and always willing to answer our questions. As I mentioned previously, the open communication with them throughout the planning stages of this trip really helped us prepare properly for the trek. I felt like we experienced Peru from a 'locals' perspective rather than a 'tourists' perspective thanks to their tips and suggestions. I would have loved it if they could have accompanied our hiking guide, Reuben, when he met with us to conduct the 'briefing'... actually I would have loved it if they could have come with us on the hike itself! They are such good people and did a great job helping us plan this trip.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Jen, Thanks for the fantastic review! This comment is so sweet of you. We wish we could go too! (Jen:) I would have loved it if they could have accompanied our hiking guide, Reuben, when he met with us to conduct the 'briefing'... actually I would have loved it if they could have come with us on the hike itself! They are such good people and did a great job helping us plan this trip.

Thanks again! By the way, we would have loved to have Ruben with you in Machu Picchu. He is such a great... read more

Hi Jen, Thanks for the fantastic review! This comment is so sweet of you. We wish we could go too! (Jen:) I would have loved it if they could have accompanied our hiking guide, Reuben, when he met with us to conduct the 'briefing'... actually I would have loved it if they could have come with us on the hike itself! They are such good people and did a great job helping us plan this trip.

Thanks again! By the way, we would have loved to have Ruben with you in Machu Picchu. He is such a great guide. However, he was already booked for another trek. We just didn't have any other choice.
Keep in touch and safe travels.

Peru travel, Peru - Jun 24 - Jul 3, 2017

Traveler: Justin B. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Nicole provided my friends and I with a vacation for the history books. First of all, the planning stage was a breeze. After mentioning a rough idea of what we wanted to hit in Peru, Nicole came back instantly with a draft itinerary. After some minor tweaks, it was set. In the weeks leading up to the trip, Nicole was only a quick Whatsapp away to answer all questions, and she would immediately respond. The trip was just as smooth. In Cusco to Ollantaytambo, our beautiful colonial Airbnb was... read more

Nicole provided my friends and I with a vacation for the history books. First of all, the planning stage was a breeze. After mentioning a rough idea of what we wanted to hit in Peru, Nicole came back instantly with a draft itinerary. After some minor tweaks, it was set. In the weeks leading up to the trip, Nicole was only a quick Whatsapp away to answer all questions, and she would immediately respond. The trip was just as smooth. In Cusco to Ollantaytambo, our beautiful colonial Airbnb was comfortable and in a perfect location. Our English-speaking drivers and guides were on time and extremely nice. From exploring ruins, biking through the Andes, whipping ATVs, zip lining in the Sacred Valley, hiking to the top of Machu Picchu, among countless other adventures, the trip was effortless as Nicole thought of everything. She was just as responsive in Peru, ready to lend food and other suggestions at every turn. She even hooked us up with an amazing contact for our stay in Lima. I would recommend anyone looking for a genuine adventure to use her services.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks Justin! It was a pleasure helping you out. We had a fun time biking with you guys as well. Take care and safe travels!

Salkantay trek to machu picchu - 5 days, Peru - May 21 - May 25, 2017

Traveler: Kimberlee C. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Nicole was excellent at organizing our trip. It was great to talk to a real person on the ground in Peru when I was booking from Australia. At first, our trip seemed expensive but now in hind sight considering everything it included and in comparison to other travelers we met along the way our trip was excellent value for money. Every aspect of our trip was organized we didn't have to worry about a thing. Our guide Josias was absolutely fantastic and really made the trip special. He spoke... read more

Nicole was excellent at organizing our trip. It was great to talk to a real person on the ground in Peru when I was booking from Australia. At first, our trip seemed expensive but now in hind sight considering everything it included and in comparison to other travelers we met along the way our trip was excellent value for money. Every aspect of our trip was organized we didn't have to worry about a thing. Our guide Josias was absolutely fantastic and really made the trip special. He spoke fluent English and helped us translate along the way and told us fantastic history and facts about the region. The food and accommodation were excellent. After a hard day walking it was great to come home to a real warm bed. I am a coeliac and catering along the way was fantastic! We couldn't have had a better trip. We are so happy we chose to book with KimKim.

Nicole looked after all of our needs. She was very patient and always helpful. She helped us booked our salkantay trek and gave me information about other trips and options available.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks so much Kim! We loved getting to know you guys. I am so glad you liked it. We love creating amazing memories for people. Keep in touch and take care.
Bill and Nicole

Will be in cuzco aclimatizing for 4 days before hiking inca trail, Peru - May 2 - May 2, 2017

Traveler: Charles M. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Thank you Nichole and William, the guide Javier and our driver Marco were excellent. They were first and foremost good people, they were attentive, and knowledgeable about the people places and culture that we were exploring. We came expecting a trip from place to place with explanations and guidance, and instead were treated as friends being welcomed into a family home. They stopped every time we seemed interested in a landmark or even a beautiful field of Quinoa that we wanted to photograph... read more

Thank you Nichole and William, the guide Javier and our driver Marco were excellent. They were first and foremost good people, they were attentive, and knowledgeable about the people places and culture that we were exploring. We came expecting a trip from place to place with explanations and guidance, and instead were treated as friends being welcomed into a family home. They stopped every time we seemed interested in a landmark or even a beautiful field of Quinoa that we wanted to photograph for memories. They showed us a wonderful part of Peru, and we are grateful for their time and effort.

You chose your people well, they made this excursion perfect.

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks Charles! We are glad you could feel at home here in Peru. We love making vacations amazing!

Rachel

Salkantay trek to machu picchu - 5 days, Peru - Mar 21 - Mar 28, 2017

Traveler: Rachel R. - Local specialist: Nicole Koch

Everything was well organized and explained in the itinerary

They checked in in the trip when I was there and ensured everything went as planned

Nicole Koch, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks Rachel! I am glad your had a wonderful trip!
Nicole