There's More To Peru Than Machu Picchu
G Adventures is one of our favorite companies. They're experts in adventure travel and offer a wide variety of small-group tours, safaris, and expeditions all over the world.
Jelvon and her sister were about halfway through their Peru tour with G Adventures when they were given 24 hours to leave the country due to COVID-19. She was kind enough to share her thoughts about Peru, experience with G Adventures, and having to leave the country on such short notice.
Q. What was your original G Adventures itinerary?
A. Our original itinerary was eight days where we start in Lima for a day and a half, head by plane to Cusco for a day, take a train to Aguas Calientes for another day, see Machu Picchu on day four, and then backtrack to Lima the exact same way. That would include a train back to Cusco and a flight to Lima.
The highlight of sightseeing on the trip included a city tour of Cusco with optional visits to the city’s museums and archaeological sites, a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, the hot springs at Aguas Calientes, and Machu Picchu.
G Adventures provided us with private transportation any time we required ground transportation or airport pickup / dropoff. We had a private, air conditioned van for our group of around 15 people. It was very comfortable. They also made sure to handle all of our other transportation needs such as train tickets and internal flights.
Q. What was your favorite part of the trip?
A. My favorite part of the trip was seeing Machu Picchu. So many people flock to Peru every year to just get a glimpse of the iconic view everyone has seen in pictures or postcards. I was excited to finally check that off of my bucket list.
Q. What are your thoughts about Peru as a whole?
A. Peru is an amazing and beautiful country, and although almost everyone goes with seeing Machu as the main goal, there is a very diverse and rich culture that I hope everyone takes the time to explore in Peru as well.
Q. Is there any reason you chose G Adventures versus a different group travel company or doing the trip by yourself?
I have done both solo trips and a group trip with G Adventures before. I appreciate the ease of not having to create my own schedule or worry about accommodations and transportation, especially in a country I am very unfamiliar with. I chose G Adventures again because my trip to India with them was extremely pleasant and smooth.
Going with G Adventures also always allows me to experience the culture a bit more than I would be able to immerse myself on my own. There are almost always visits to more rural areas and interactions with the people of the country you are visiting that I always appreciate. For example, in Peru I had the chance to visit a women's weaving community supported by G Adventures, and seeing women and young girls perfecting those generational weaving traditions and fueling their community was such a unique experience.
Q. Did you have a favorite restaurant or hotel during the trip?
The hotels that I stayed at during my trip were the Lima Wasi Hotel, Hotel Prisma, Hotel Inka Paradise, and Hotel Pachacuteq. I suppose the Lima Wasi was my favorite because of its proximity to the city center and the water. Other than that, all of the hotels were lovely and clean.
There was a plaza in Lima (Miraflores) called Larcomar with a great selection of different restaurants to choose from. Also Punto Azul in Miraflores offered a less commercialized meal with amazing food.
Q. What tips, tricks, or advice do you have for future travelers wanting to go to Peru?
My biggest advice would be to expect all types of weather. The forecast said it was going to rain the whole time I was there, but it only rained once. I traveled in mid-March and Lima was very hot, maybe 80 degrees, and Cusco was slightly cooler, with some pretty cold nights. I wore everything from sweaters to t-shirts.
Q. If you went back to Peru is there anything you'd do differently, or what are some additional things you’d like to do?
I feel confident in saying everything I had planned and wanted to do, I did have a chance to do. If I did go back I would spend another couple days in Lima and Cusco, and perhaps venture into the less commercialized areas even more. Also, I did not have time to go to the beach. It was beautiful and I could definitely spend more time there. There is a beautiful restaurant on its own pier in the water in Miraflores that looked amazing, I would have gone if I had more time.
Q. Advice on navigating the airports?
The Lima airport wasn’t overwhelming, in my opinion. The Cusco airport was very small and easily navigable. The only thing I would say is know which transportation you are going to use when you arrive at the airport (people will always come up and try to sell you on guides and taxis which can be confusing).
My other piece of advice is to stay by the gate before your flight because they don’t announce when they begin boarding!
Q. Advice to those wanting to visit Machu Picchu?
Pack extra batteries and chargers for your phone and camera, in case anything happens to them. We met a man at Machu who was asking people to take pictures of him and send them to his email because his phone died!
Q. What was the rough age breakdown for those in your group?
There was a range of my age (24) to some travelers in their late 60s. There was a good mix, but G Adventures also offers themed trips and trips geared only toward younger travelers or more seasoned travelers. The difference is a slight variation in the pace of the trip and level of physical activity.
Q. Would you travel with G Adventures again? Why or why not?
I definitely will travel with G Adventures again because both times I have traveled with them I have gotten to do everything I wanted and more. Their guides are always bubbly and excited to show their groups the best possible time. Their guides are all locals, so they know the best spots and care deeply about truly sharing the essence of the culture they are deservedly so proud of.
Q. What tipped you off in regards to something might be seriously wrong regarding COVID-19?
The entire trip we were monitoring what was going on in the US because we figured if anything they would announce that we had a few days to make our way back (similar to what happened with Europe). But the shock came when it was actually the Peruvian president who gave foreigners 24 hours to leave the country before Peru closed its borders.
Q. Did you notice anything unusual or unique in the airport when you were leaving or on the plane on the way home?
It was a strange feeling in the Cusco and Lima airports on the way home. It was extremely packed but they would not let you into the airport in Cusco unless you already had a ticket, so there was a very large number of people waiting outside trying to get it.
When we arrived at the Lima airport they had stopped selling tickets to anywhere in the world and all airlines had closed their desks, so if you didn’t already have a ticket, like many people didn’t, you were stranded in Lima.
Q. Did you ever feel in danger on the way home?
Not necessarily in danger, but the way home was stressful because of the time crunch we had to get out.
G Adventures did a great job of getting our group a flight from Cusco to Lima to even give us a chance to make it home. (Lima is the only international airport in Peru). It was crazy and sad because some people in our group did not get a chance to purchase a ticket before we arrived in Lima so they had to stay.
I took the last flight out of the country and took off at 11:57, three minutes before the travel ban started.
The largest small-group adventure travel company in the world, G Adventures provides a great experience for travel lovers of all ages. They offer more than 750 tours in 100 countries on all 7 continents, and each tour is guaranteed.
No matter your travel style or where you want to go, we're happy to create an itinerary that fits you perfectly. Email us or give us a call and we'll get the planning process started.