Kristen

Trip to peru, Peru - May 5 - May 23, 2018

Traveler: Kristen K. - Local specialist: James Mackender

This my second trip as a solo female traveler using kimkim (last year was Nepal) and I have been astounded both times. I will definitely keep using their services for my big trips. I spent 99% of my time in the Sacred Valley - and the trip offered an amazing look into the culture, history and nature of the area.

First, James and I ironed out the basics... what is my general itinerary and where do I want to stay. He was great at making modifications and giving me a series of possible options throughout the country. Although I originally chose Peru to do a spiritual retreat, James was able to make sure everything around that experience made me comfortable - as well as confirmed with locals that the retreat I had chosen was reputable.

The number one resource they had for me was Rolfi, my guide that did everything from meeting me at the airport with Mario (another amazing human who drove us all around the valley). He made my travels unforgettable. It wasn't just his understanding of the Valley, but his passion for the history. My questions were his fuel and he made me feel always welcome. He even taught me a bit of Spanish which I worked on throughout the trip. I am forever grateful to Rolfi.

We built in the 3 day Lores Trek which blew me away - the views, Rolfi's love of local plants and flowers, the beautiful happy staff of cooks and muleteers... while not easy I was emotional many times overcome by the beauty. At summit, nearly 16,000 feet... I was exhausted, elated and overwhelmed by the experience. Although a shorter trek, I still recommend training for this - especially with lung capacity, balance and leg strength. I absolutely recommend doing it - not touristy at all, so it becomes a very intimate time with you, your thoughts and nature (I believe we crossed the path of another group only twice the entire trek).

Another thing to mention, as a solo female traveler, I was blown away at Quechua Treks desire to check in on me and make sure I was happy. At one point, I found myself feeling alone in a location they put me in. I was embarrassed to admit my discomfort (wanting to be strong and independent), but James, Rolfi and Mayra jumped on helping me change my itinerary and actually put me back in a place I LOVED called Nunus. If you can fit Nunus into your budget... you MUST go there - it's family-owned boutique casitas tucked in the base of the valley in Lamay. It's easy to go to the other local towns like Pisac (only one sole). I spent many hours relaxing there in the sun, reading in a hammock and taking in the fresh Andes air.

What else? There were so many things like going to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, rock climbing, day hikes, town visits, celebrations... its a beautiful colorful culture with a love for music, dancing and color. I'm glad I stayed the entire time in that region. And it gives me incentive to come back to explore Lima, the Jungle and more of Cusco. Tell James or your guide what types of things interest you because the options are limitless in Peru.

Also, packing... I know you'll read it elsewhere. I packed light and purchased clothes (and two souvenir duffle bags) at the local markets, mainly in Pisac. Just know that you'll need everything from shorts to thermals. So, you should definitely bring camping items and clothing - because they aren't available in the Valley (outside the city of Cusco), and use the local markets to buy their colorful pants, tops and ponchos. If you like shopping, ask Rolfi about Chinchero - he showed me quite the find there where the ladies taught me about how they make their textiles and then I went crazy snatching up things for my friends and family back home.

You can find photos of my experience on IG @kknape

James Mackender, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Kristen, thanks for your kind words. It was a lot of fun planning your trip, you're the kind of traveler that's a lot of fun to work with. Glad we got a chance to meet in the Valley when you were with Rolfi. Some of the pictures you took really capture the spirit of the valley. Come back again! Best James