This was my first booking through Zicasso and their recommend agent in Lima. Our journey was a 17 day trip which included Lima, Arequipa, Chivay (Colca Canyon), Puno (Lake Titicaca), Cusco, Sacred Valley, and of course, the most amazing of all - Machu Picchu! The itinerary was great, hotels were wonderful (especially the breakfasts), and the transfers/logistical arrangements were all spot on. Our travel agency provided a helpful and friendly representative in each location who met us, took us to our hotel, briefed us on the activities for the following day(s), and made sure we were taken care of every step of the way. The price was very competitive and fair. Service was A+. While we were "on our own" in terms of setting our own itinerary, our agency hooked us up with different small group tours (usually 15 or less people in a minvan, except for the long haul transfers, which were on a comfortable bus) at each location to see the sights. We had a private guide for Machu Pichhu. This approach combined the economies of group tours with the freedom of individual travel. All the guides were fantastic and we enjoyed meeting new people each day.
Machu Picchu is everything you have heard about it, and more! A most magical setting for the incredible architectural achievement of the Incan civilization. Another highlight was the Andean Explorer 10 hour train journey from Puno to Cusco. This was a full day journey - first class all the way, and lots of fun entertainment. And, seeing the condors soaring in Colca Canyon! The Lake Titicaca tour took us to a spend time with a local community - a most enjoyable day!
I booked a day outing from Lima on my own to flyover the Nasca LInes. It was a 3 hour drive each way for a 90 minute flight - most of which was getting to the Lines from the airport. It was difficult to spot the "drawings", but I did manage to see 3 of the 12 and it was awesome. However, for the cost (about $400 per person including a private driver from Lima), I think I could have passed on that.
Another thing I would do differently is to skip the hike up the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu on the second day. The trail was easy to walk, but it is still a long haul upwards and ever upwards. The walk up to the Guardhouse on the second morning is well worth it - and enough! The view from there is the classic one you see in all the MP photos. And no need to go for the "sunrise" - we went up around 9am before it got too hot, and it was a perfect time.
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