When visiting the Cusco and Machu Picchu area, there is a lot of ground to cover. There is the city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley – home to Moray, a terraced agricultural wonder, and the Maras salt filelds, Pisac with its colorful markets, and, of course, the grand-daddy of them all, Machu Picchu.
We compared 3 tours that all ranked in the top 10 TripAdvisor Activities in Cusco and 1 tour group that was recommended by one of the hotels. We suspect that their typical customer wants help hiking the 3-day hike to Machu Picchu (MP), but we were just looking for a guide to take us around and show us the sites.
We started by providing them a basic itinerary:
- Day 1: Arrive at noon, pick us up and drive us to our hotel 30 miles away – but on the way we’d like to see Pisac’s colorful market and ruins and whatever is on the way.
- Day 2: Tour the Sacred Valley (
- Day 3: Train to MP, afternoon in MP
- Day 4: Morning in MP, Train to Cuso in the afternoon
- Day 5: Morning tour of Cusco, head to the airport in the afternoon.
Items 2-5 are pretty standard, but #1 is a little more unusual. Most people spend the first day in Cusco and do a prescribed loop around Pisac and the Sacred Valley. We were also asking for a driver and guide to stop and show us some sights on the way to the hotel.
Ultimately, each of the guides were able to accommodate these requests. Price-wise, 3 from TripAdvisor were very similar, with Tikariy coming in about 50% higher than the rest. Tikariy was also slow to respond and had to be prodded for information. The other 3, Alpaca, MP Day Tours, and Pachatusantrek were all very professional, quick to respond, and very customer-service oriented.
Among the 4, there wasn’t a clear winner, but Bonnie from Alpaca was super friendly over email, and they do have the added bonus of stopping at an Alpaca farm which should be fun. They had no problem meeting us at the airport and taking us to our hotel via some sights. They arranged our trains as well as our entries into Machu Picchu for both an afternoon and morning walk.
Happy RTW Travels!