Holiday review by Anna E
Name: Anna E
Date of trip: 27/03/2015
Number of people: 2
The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca were one of the highlights of our trip. A fascinating insight into how the Aymara still live, despite the intrusion of the 21st century. Similarly the visit to the island of Taquile was brilliant - the weather was superb, so Titicaca looked more like the Med than an altiplano lake. We were there on the Catholic Easter Sunday, so were lucky enough to see the local parade, drums, flutes and all.
The train ride from Cusco to Puno on the Andean Explorer was out of the world. The train itself is wonderful, wood paneling and elegant retro lamps - my daughter commented that it felt as if somebody was about to be murdered, like on the Orient Express. The ten hour journey passed all too quickly, if we had more time in Peru I would have liked to return by train to Cusco, rather than by plane.
This is the second time I have booked a holiday with Tribes Travel, and each time I have found the information, advice and departure details and documentation outstanding. I love the way Tribes advises on tipping, so that we do not feel awkward.
A bit more practical information about the two Amazon lodges would have been useful, e.g. take torches and lantern for Heathriver lodge, no shoes allowed in Sandoval lodge hence need flip flops or similar. Some hotel had both European two pin and American two min plugs, but most only had American. So take an adaptor with you.
Our best guide was easily Ruben (Chino) who was with us for nearly a week n Cusco and the Sacred Valley. He was great with the children and his enthusiasm for his job was clear to see.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
Our stay at Heathriver lodge was clearly eco friendly. I was particularly impressed with the staff there, who definetely enjoyed being there and went the extra mile to make our stay a good one. Our first day we went to visit the macaw lick - unfortunately the hide has sunk, and was half submerged. so we had to return to the lodge. At first I thought it would take days to fix, bringing in equipment from Puerto Maldonado. But no - 3 members of staff returned to the hide in the afternoon, and spent several hours winching up the hide, cleaning it out and preparing it for our second visit the next morning, returning to the lodge well after dark. You can\'t get more dedicated than that..
The places you stayed
As I expected from a hotel of this standing the room was great, the bathroom phenomenal and the service discreet and efficient. A problem with an annoying background noise was resolved efficiently.
A wonderful immersion in the Amazon - far from anywhere, the sounds and sights of the jungle were a great experience. The huts are indeed basic, but very clean. Take a torch each and a battery lantern for night time, as they only have candles in the room. They have board games and cards for entertainment if there is a downpour. Great hammock hut with a view over the river to relax.
The lodge itself is really very nice. Open ceilings make for a disturbed night if you are unlucky enough to have noisy neighbours. I rate it average not because of the lodge itself but because of the dreadful access path. Do NOT go in the rainy season. It took us two hours of miserable plodding through very deep mud, accompanied by mosquitos, to get to the lake. My whole stay was spoiled by the thought that I had another two hours of misery to get back to the river.
Lovely old convent tastefully converted into a hotel. We had three double beds in our room, very comfortable.
Modern hotel on lakeside, room ok, view over the car park (no triple rooms with lake view). Underwhelming accommodation but excellent food in the restaurant.
This is clearly the best hotel we stayed at during our trip. The casitas, the gardens, the horse riding, the food - all absolutely brilliant. Well worth it.
The grounds were superb, lovely guided trails included in the price. Rooms were fine, the bathroom really very basic (given the price) and oddly enough no mosquito nets on the windows. So either fresh air and bugs, or neither. Despite its "eco friendly" image, they changed the towels and soaps every day. Very good food in the restaurant.