We had not travelled to South America when we ……. well I decided to travel to Peru.  Hiking the Inca Trail was a bucket list item for me so it was time to cross it off the list.

So how did we plan on how to see the most of Peru that we could?

What did we want to experience?

I started researching what we would like to experience while in Peru – lots of Google searches, looking through tours that tour companies did, reading blog posts etc.   The list included (but obviously was not limited to) the following:

  • Lima
  • Ballestas Islands
  • Nasca Lines
  • Arequipa
  • Colca Canyon and the Condors
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
  • Peruvian Amazon
Planning a trip to Peru
Cusco, the day before hiking the Inca Trail

So how could we experience all of this and more.  Well the first thing for us to decide was: – were we going to travel through Peru by ourselves or take an organised tour.  We love travelling by ourselves, but because it was our first time in South America and because we don’t speak Spanish, we decided it would be a good idea to research organised tours and see if this would be good for us.  We decided it was.

Planning a trip to Peru
Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa

Selecting an Organised Tour

So selecting an organised tour was our next step.  Well that became an interesting decision.  Sometimes when we travel we like to go five star and sometimes we like to backpack – it really depends on our destination and what we want to do at that destination (happy to stay 5 star in London but also happy to backpack through Vietnam).  What I found was that tours that stayed at four / five star accommodation caught the train to Machu Picchu and did not hike the Inca Trail, while tours that stayed at two / three star accommodation gave the option to hike the Inca Trail.  When I realised this, the decision was made – hiking the Inca Trail was on my bucket list!

Planning a trip to Peru
On an 8km hike from our farm stay back to Chivay, we were overtaken by a herd of llama's and their elderly herder.

So the next step was selecting the tour company.  It came down to two – G Adventures and Intrepid. We had never travelled with either G Adventures or Intrepid before, but we found lots of great feedback about them both and loved the idea of a small group.  It ended up that we had 5 people and our guide for the full 21 days!

Planning a trip to Peru
An experience of a lifetime - seeing an Anaconda in the Amazon

But we finally decided on an Intrepid tour called Peru Encompassed.  Click here for a link to the tour.  So why did we pick this tour.  There were a few reasons:

  • Obviously the first was that we could hike the Inca Trail
  • It covered everything in the list of what we wanted to experience
  • It meant that we had nine days at altitude before hiking the Inca Trail which gave us heaps of time to acclimatise!  This was a big plus.

I must say it was an amazing experience.

Planning a trip to Peru
We made it! We survived the Inca Trail

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