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Holiday review by Mike Bassett

Name: Jo and Mike Bassett
Date of trip: 18/04/2013
Number of people: 2
Country: Peru

Overall level of Satisfaction

 
Tribes Overall: "We had a wonderful holiday which totally surpassed our expectations. Everything organised by Tribes went according to plan. The agents, guides and drivers were totally reliable, helpful and knowledgeable (in the case of guides) and skillful (in the case of drivers). Tribes' choice of accommodation was exactly as we would have wished and we are most grateful to Paul for the way in which he put the holiday together."
 
Tribes Service: "As anyone would, we obtained a number of quotes and suggested itineraries from various travel companies. We immediately felt that Paul from Tribes was on the same wave length as us. We initially requested four different itineraries, which Paul instantly produced in a clear concise format (none of the other travel agents managed to do that!) Each time we made a minor alteration, which was quite frequently, Paul was extremely patient and executed the change. Other companies sent us a huge illustrated booklet each time we made an alteration - not necessary!"
 
Guides: "In general the guides and drivers were brilliant. Some went beyond the call of duty such as Gloria in Quito, who took us to a pharmacy on the way to the airport and assisted us in buying cough mixture for Mike's annoying cough. She also arranged to have his sunglasses repaired while we visited Napo Lodge. Her driver, Ivan, was also excellent. The other guide worthy of special mention was Antonio who accompanied us on Lake Titicaca and was particularly concerned about Mike's tummy upset and the effects of altitude. He tailored our activities to suit. Delphine, our indigenous guide in the Napo Wildlife Centre was also incredibly knowledgeable and helpful as were his canoe paddlers."
 
Social & Environmental Responsibility: "Apart from tourism generally assisting the people of Peru and Ecuador to survive, it must be responsible for keeping the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca in existence. The Napo Wildlife Centre is a prime example of maintaining the local community and hopefully saving the rainforest."

Accommodation

 
Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport
Modern and fairly characterless, but clean, efficient and so convenient for the airport (walking distance). Good restaurant. No currency exchange facilities as mentioned in our Tribes brochure, so had to change money in the airport.
 
Pakaritampu
Consisted of a number of red buildings in the most colourful gardens with snow-capped mountain views and about five alpacas in an enclosure. The hotel is situated on the edge of the attractive town of Ollantaytambo, so close to the railway station but a good ten minute uphill walk at the side of a gushing river into the town. Our room was spacious, clean and rustically furnished. The restaurant was large but empty, most guests preferring to eat in the cheaper little restaurants in town.
 
El MaPi
Again modern but conveniently situated in the centre of Aguas Calientas near to the bus and train station. Also near to shops and a huge craft market. Our room was quite small, but with adequate en suite shower-room and large bed. Good restaurant.
 
Casa Andina Plaza
Fairly basic but clean and perfectly adequate. Very conveniently situated for shops, sightseeing and restaurants.
 
Casa Andina Private Collection Puno
Lovely lakeside hotel. Our spacious bedroom had two huge beds and views over the lake. The restaurant was excellent for evening meals, but poorly staffed for breakfast at 7.00 am.
 
Amantani Island Homestay
This was far more civilised than we expected. Our hostess, Gladys, was very welcoming and smiley and produced tasty food from her stock-pot over an open fire and a gas cooker. We were glad to have our guide, Antonio, staying with us to act as translator. Gladys was a little surprised when I presented her with a gift of candles (suggested by Tribes!) as they had their own generator and constant electricity. We were also glad to have our headlamps with us to help find our way to the outside loo in the pitch dark. We were disappointed there was no village dance in the evening and went to bed at 8.10 pm, but really enjoyed our stay on Amantani Island.
 
Casa Andina Centro
Modern, clean and adequate. Again very convenient for craft markets - much appreciated as we had gifts still to buy. Our small room with no view had two 4'6" beds - fine for us as our bed at home is 4'6"! Walked to the restaurant our guide recommended, which was good.
 
Patio Andaluz
Lovely characterful hotel in the centre of old Quito city. Loved the open courtyard style of restaurant. We stayed there for one night x three. On the first occasion we had a delightful suite with a wooden staircase leading up to our bedroom and ensuite bathroom. The rooms were not quite so grand the next two times, but none the less spacious and tastefully furnished with antique furniture. The food was good. In the Cava Bar we met people with whom we later sailed on the Mary Anne in the Galapagos.
 
Napo Wildlife Centre
A magical place situated on the banks of the serene and beautiful Anangucocha Lake. Our delightful cabana was rustically furnished with the large comfortable bed veiled by mosquito netting. The staff and guides were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable and the restaurant served up delicious food.
 
Mary Anne
A beautiful traditional three masted tall ship. Delicious food was served usually on the aft deck but on a couple of cool evenings in the dining room. Our cabin consisted of a large double bed + a single bed and a spacious en-suite shower-room. The staff were friendly and helpful and the captain only too pleased to encourage participation by willing hands. He even allowed a group of us onto the bridge to celebrate with bubbly the crossing of the equator late at night.
 
Hacienda Santa Ana
A somewhat tortuous car journey, the latter 20 miles or so over cobbled roads, but well worth it to arrive at this idyllic hacienda in the heart of the countryside. Although we arrived at 2.30 pm they willingly supplied a delicious 3-course lunch. Horse riding up into the mountains on the last day was also a great experience and we just about caught sight of the snow-capped summit of Cotopaxi mountain, normally shrouded in cloud.

Our Memories

"

AM I DREAMING?

I am sitting on soft white sands with two adorable baby sea lions tentatively sniffing my toes and watching me inquisitively with their big brown saucer eyes.  I am on the tiny island of Mosquera just off North Seymour in the Galapagos Islands, and have just been transported here by Zodiac from the beautiful three masted schooner, the Mary Anne.  We were greeted by dozens of sea lions, dipping and diving in the blue waters.  I want to stay here forever, but there are more islands to explore and more fascinating and friendly mammals, birds and sea creatures to see.  It is all quite unreal.

"
"
Tribes organised for us an action-packed four weeks in Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and it is incredibly difficult to say which was the best experience.  Was it my first sight of Machu Picchu which quite blew me away, or the floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca, which may no longer exist a couple of generations from now, and then there were the birds and mammals on the Galapagos Islands which are unreal being so tame and unique.  However, our four days in the Napo Wildlife Centre totally exceeded all my expectations.  The tastefully furnished  lodges overlooking such a beautiful lake were a joy to stay in.  Our native Annangu guide, Delphine, had such in-depth knowledge about all aspects of the rainforest, we were totally fascinated.  Nothing can be more relaxing, yet exciting, than gliding silently along one of the many black streams in a canoe listening to the sounds of the forest.  Delphine would suddenly signal his boatmen to stop paddling and point with his laser beam to a tiny hole which he had miraculously spotted high up in a tall tree with the small face of an owl monkey peeping out, or an apparently dead leaf  hanging from a branch, which when gently pressed, forced a tarantula to make its appearance.  But my most vivid memory is when he heard before any of us the rustling in the water hyacinths followed by the barking of terrified giant otters as they were being attacked by an aggressive cayman.   We were so lucky to see these rare animals and even luckier to get a second sighting later on that afternoon in the lake when only yards away these characterful creatures were playfully popping their heads out of the water displaying large silver fish in their jaws. I shall remember these magic moments for the rest of my life.    

"

customer rating

5/5 from 54 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT-5hrs

Flight time: Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.

Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.

Visas: Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.

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