I used Peru Experiences for a trip last Fall 2007. I had to be extremely flexible w/dates and had to be persisitent w/e-mails and calls. However, once confirmed, all went well. My trip was Cusco and Macchu Picchu on the Hiram Bingham, 2 nights at the Sanctuary Lodge,etc. I flew to Lima and stayed a few days before hoppinga flight to Cusco. I stayed at the Sheraton (noisy as it's on the city streets)and Marriott while in Lima. The Marriott location was very scenic and the better hotel. However, Sheraton was closer to the government buildings/city/Presidential homeand they(Sheraton) offer a freeshuttle to Miraflores (the area for shopping, eateries,etc) where Marriott is located. In Cusco,I opted to splurge for a night at the Hotel Monasterio at $500 FOR 1 NIGHT. The room and hotel is beautiful, but THE SERVICE WAS AWFUL AND NOT WORTH THIS PRICE-DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THE HOTEL MONASTERIO. The Best Western was 1/5 the cost and the service was unbelievable at the Best Western-bellhop carried bags several times through the streets and the entire staff was very nice UNLIKE the HOTEL MONASTERIO. The Sanctaury Lodge at Macchu Picchu was great and the service was awesome-food was good. Both of these hotels are run by Orient Express (Monasterio and Sanctuary)---the people at the Monasterio need to learn from their sister hotel. Peruvians take great pride in their food and many speak English (if you can't speak Spanish). Food was good and the presentation, even for breakfast meals reflect their pride. The Hiram Bingham to Macchu Picchu was scenic and like travelling back in time--dining car-linens, views, and other people on the train were social. Summary: Stay a few days in Lima in the Miraflores area at the marriott. Hop a flight to Cusco and stay at the Best Western. Try to take the Hiram Bingham to Macchu Picchu and stay at the Sanctuary Lodge. Hike the surrounding hills/mountains for a view overlooking Macchu Picchu..make sure you have water/camera/sunscreen/bug spray/deet. Enjoy
Hi rkwaranger. Thanks for the info. Just an FYI...the Orient Express Peru trip used to be offered on LL as an auction. It was wonderful and a great price. We all hope it comes back again.
Why did you have to be flexible with Peru Experiences? Was this a tour program or an individual program. Its nice that you highlighted some of the hotels. How did you do with the altitude situation...any sickness?
Altitude sickness hit mefrom midnight until 5 AM--I thought my head was going to explode. This was surprising because I didn't have a problem all day in Cusco and I never experienced problems in Ecuador(Quito and higher altitude levels) I had to be flexible w/dates because the Sanctuary Lodge can only accomodate so many people (it's the hotel located directly next to Macchu Picchu)--and it fills up quickly. I had the individual program but transfers were provided and a tour of Macchu Picchu for about 2 hrs.Departing Macchu Picchu I took the Vistadome trainback---had to take a van from the trainending point (small town you should visit if time allots)back to Cusco. Transfers were part of the deal. I was on the Hiram Bingham goingto Macchuand Vistadome coming back. By the way, on the train backthey had a mini fashion show with guys and gals showing off Peruvian articles for sale to kill some time.
I elected to stay at the Hotel Monasterio for a night to splurge....again, I was extremely disappointed and wrote to the Orient Group---and have not received an acknowledgement since. To be clearer about my disappointment w the Monasterio---we checked in---they asked us if we wanted dinner reservations-setup for 7PM---showed up---no reservation. Secondly, they asked if we wanted to attend a class/tour showing and explaining the artwork that's at the hotel--again we signed up-showed up at the appointed time and no one around. Desk staff didn't help and the "manager" wasn't professional--offered excuses only-they acted as if it didn't exist (we speak Spanish-so there wasn't a language gap)--that's not how you treat travelers paying $500 night----and because we had reservations for these events, we didn't see some of the sights and events that were going on in Cusco that day. When you set aside time for these "events" and they don't take place-it ruins the rest of your travels because it screws up your plans. ***Warning-changing money in Cusco***don't rely on the Calculator scheme-Cambio punches in the amount in dollars and multiplies by the exchange rate in front of you and hands you the currency. However, the calculator has a built in % that rips you off. For example, we changed $140 US to Soles-rate was almost 3 sols per dollar x $140 is 420 Soles--however, he handed back less than 380 Soles----However, we caught this almost immediately. Less suspecting travelers may fall for this because he punches in the amts using a calculator and shows you as he punches.in the amounts--