Jacada Travel clients Joe and Virginia tell us about their trip to Peru and what they thought of the Jacada experience.
Client: Joe and Virginia, California
Itinerary: Arequipa, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Amazon Cruise, Lima
Travel Designer: George Warren
First Impressions in Arequipa
‘Arequipa was a good place to start our visit because we experienced such a rich and varied introduction to Peru. We saw beautiful vistas of the huge valley of farmlands, surrounded by gorgeous snow-capped mountains, as well as the traditional colonial architecture within the city’s neighbourhoods. Arequipa is a fabulous place to get acquainted with the diverse aspects of Peru. It has such wonderful plazas, courtyards, architecture, museums and monasteries that are steeped in history. We felt we’d experienced so much, and the trip was just beginning. Our guide Nancy was wonderful, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and a terrific companion for our day in Arequipa.’
Exploring the Sacred Valley
‘From the minute our guide met us we were treated to a fountain of information, awe inspiring Inca sites, and the beautiful landscape of the Sacred Valley. It was a day filled with sightseeing and learning about the ingenuity of the Incas. We saw the town of Chincheros, the Moray Terraces, the Maras Salt Pans, each of which is not to be missed. We loved being outdoors all day exploring these sites. To top off our day, we went to a secluded hacienda to have a lunch that was incredibly delicious and made us feel like we were Peruvian residents of the hacienda with our personal chef.’
The Journey to Machu Picchu
‘The Vistadome train ride to Machu Picchu is such a fabulous scenic journey, through mountains, along rivers, and past small dwellings. Be sure to sit on the left side of train on the way up.’
At the Ruins
‘Machu Picchu is better than we could ever have expected. Hiking to the Sun Gate, being so high up in the mountains and looking at the breathtaking views, with the history and architecture of the ancient city is remarkable to experience in person. Our wonderful guide Jose showed us a great time. He’s an extremely knowledgeable historian, who is enthusiastic about his country and culture, and a really good sport. We very much enjoyed his company and stories.’
The City of Cusco
‘In Cusco, it was so interesting to experience the mix of traditional Catholicism and Spanish Colonialism, as well as pagan and Incan mythology and archeology, all in one place. During our visit, there was a Sunday Parade in the Plaza des Armas, which we saw firstly from the Inca Archeological Site Sacsayhuaman, and then later, up close, in the Plaza itself.’
Cruising the Peruvian Amazon
‘Enough praise cannot be stated for the entire crew on our ship. For us, the fact that the guides were all raised in Amazon villages was the best part of the experience. They ARE the Amazon experience, making visiting that area meaningful. Each guide had their own personality and history, but each one was expert and superb at not only guiding on the skiffs, but also talking with passengers and teaching us all about the Amazon.’
‘Aqua Expeditions delivers a wonderful, unique experience. We had some sightings of animals and birds, as well as snakes and insects, but the experience was rich in just the wonderfulness of being on the river in the Amazon jungle, learning from the guides and enjoying the cruise. The outstanding experience for us was the visiting the villages on the river, interacting with the village people, and seeing how they live.’
Experiencing the Capital
‘Our guide Erica made our time in Lima a lovely experience – it’s a very special city, indeed. Not to be missed is the Larco museum, where we couldn’t be torn away. We saw a lot of the city and got a good introduction with Erica, so were then confident to go out on our own the following day to walk and explore the city, observing the people and looking at architecture. The walk along the cliffs, overlooking the ocean, was perfect for a Sunday morning. Lima was just so much fun and a wonderful way to end the trip.’
What was your personal experience with your travel designer?
‘Here’s the important thing to know about George: He listened to our requests. He understood what our intentions, personal interests and style of travel were. He made improvements and suggestions to the itinerary based on his enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of the area, and then he put it all together and made it all magically happen. Plus, he is a lot of fun to talk to and has a ton of patience. George has a wonderful spirit.’
How did your travel designer do in matching the right accommodation to you?
‘We worked with George to select the hotels, and it turned out that every single place we stayed was absolutely PERFECT for location, feel, ambience, hotel services, fitting our needs and the way we like to travel, as well as budget.’
What is your opinion of Jacada Travel as a luxury travel operator and do you believe the trip was good value overall?
‘How better to express how well Jacada put together our trip than to say we had a fabulous time every single day and thus, we are hard pressed to find anything we would want to change or were unsatisfied with. It is such a huge comfort to know that the expertise and support of Jacada was always with us on our trip. This was our second trip with Jacada and both experiences were superb. We hope to be able to plan another trip in the future with Jacada.’