Mini trip review-Part One
We went on the Hidden Galapagos and Peru trip the first week of April, 2019 and had a wonderful time. Sorry, I don't post pictures nor am I as detailed as Alan S, British, Sealord and others whom I have learned a great deal from. I had two significant considerations before booking this trip. The first was did it make sense to do these together? After looking at a map, taking the trip, and having time to reflect on our future travels I would say absolutely yes. Except for some backtracking from Cusco to Lima to catch the flight to Guayaquil geographically it made sense and it is doubtful we will travel to western South America again anytime soon. The second was do we go on the Silversea ship or the Isabella II. If you look at some previous threads from last year, there is a difference of opinion on this. We like our creature comforts and we chose to go on Silversea even with the additional cost. A concern was the potential altitude sickness issue. To address that head on, Cusco is at 11500 feet, Machu Picchu 8000 feet. We took Diamox the day before we flew to Cusco and the time we were in Cusco before going to Machu Picchu. When I got off the plane in Cusco, I felt very light headed, like half the top of my head was missing. My wife claimed its just because I don't have brains there anymore.....Except for that and a little huffing and puffing, we had no significant effects and did not need oxygen. i would guess about a third of our group had "something", just feeling blah, some stomach issues, etc. but nothing more than that. Once we went to Machu Picchu these issues for just about everyone went away. What they say is true, don't assume because you are the picture of health (I'm not) you won't get sick.
OK, on with the show. We went to Lima one day early. All of the hotels on this trip were very nice, very different but very nice. The rooms were comfortable, the food good, the service excellent. Different travelers had different views as to which of the hotels were their favorite. We felt very safe in our first day in Lima, exploring on our own. Most people spoke English and with my very rusty Spanish we got by just fine. Our TD was excellent. Some of the "special events" that Tauck provides were very enjoyable. We had a local guide in Cusco and Machu Picchu.The train ride to Machu Picchu was very comfortable. From the train station you take a bus to the top of Machu Picchu. There are no guardrails on the road up and the hairpin turns. There is only one hotel at the top of the mountain, right next to the MP entrance, and you stay there and it is really neat staying there for the one night. Machu Picchu is AWESOME!!!!! The next day you head back to Cusco and we stayed for two nights at my favorite hotel the Belmond Hotel Monasterio. They offered Tauck guests a great deal on laundry here and we took full advantage of it. Speaking of clothing, we had never been to a Columbia store before we went to Southern Africa. We used much of the same clothes from Africa on this trip. As a general rule people dressed very casually. In my opinion, hiking shoes are a must.
Ok, thats the first week, I'd be happy to answer questions as best I can. I know I am a broken record on this, but even though the website and this forum is newly constructed go back and read the previous years threads they are invaluable. There are certain contributors that have been on many Tauck trips and their insights helped us make decisions prior to traveling.