Machupicchu & Palomani Pass - Nov 28 - Dec 2, 2018
Slightly tricky to say who we are reviewing here; all the preliminary bookings, queries etc were expertly handled by Fiama, our KImKim representative in Cusco, but in reality both our trips were organised and run by Andean Lodges, a local company there, and their people were delightful. Especially helpful was that their rep, (Alphonso?) came to our accommodation before the trips to give us a briefing and answer questions, and he looked after the luggage we didn’t need whilst we were in the mountains. Our first trip, to Machu Picchu by minibus/train/bus seemed daunting at first because it required us to juggle several sheets of paper tickets for the various stages of the trip, but everything worked out well and our guide on the day was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was an intense 4 hrs there, though, and with a touch of stomachs-sickness I would have liked to be able to just sit and rest for an hour or so. The included meal afterwards was excellent - but one suggestion from me; it was not explained which part of the menu applied to us, we were lucky that people on the next table had already worked it out.
Next trip - 3 days hike - was great, but let it be noted that altitude sickness made it far tougher than the website hinted at. The Lodges themselves were fabulous, much grander and impressive than the website had suggested. The best aspect of this trip was what I least expected - that the native Indian “road crew” , despite the language barrier, were great fun and good company, whilst staying discreet and not intrusive. Our guides (on different stages), Jeremy and Jacqueline, were excellent and genuinely were enjoying it as much as we did.
Can thoroughly recommend Andean Lodges to anyone looking to do these kind of experiences. One recommendation to the organisers, though - whilst we were totally expecting to give tips to the gang, it was unclear how much, to how many, and when, which could have been a bit awkward (we bluffed our way through) - so a bit more up-front clarity around that would be welcome.