Excursions to Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Site, Awanka Kancha (A Living Museum & Alpaca Farm), Pisaq Town, Market & Traditional Oven, Pisaq Archaeological Site- Private Tour & Lunch at Hacienda Sarapampa, Traditional Paso Horse & Marinera Dance
A caution: enthusiasm promotes the danger of employing superlatives. An accusation of verbal generosity might appear to apply here, but be assured, any intensity of enthusiasm is warranted. With that in mind, allow me to describe this event in its most austere terms: Peru: In the Footsteps of Hiram Bingham III was an adventure, an education, and a success. Perversely, I will reveal two negative but unavoidable aspects of this tour. The first was the daunting physical requirements of long-distance international travel. One-way travel time, including difficult-to-avoid connection layovers, approached 24 hours. After a short adjustment day in Lima, stepping off the plane in Cusco, Peru at 11,000 feet was an illuminating moment for tired travelers from Hawaii. An adventure.
I must commend Doug Rigg and the staff of the Punahou Alumni Travel Program. The single- most critical decision in developing a successful tour, even before choosing a destination, is the selection of tour company, which in effect chooses the destination. For two years in a row Doug and company have made perfect decisions. This year’s choice, Peru Eco Expeditions, owned by Daniel and Sara Bustamante, was not just outstanding, it was inspired.
Owners Daniel and Sara at all times exhibited the highest levels of professional competence; their commitment to the customer was total, while creating and executing an absolute masterpiece of guided tourism. Everything was perfect, even the rain. The accommodations were easily four or five-star. Every day of the tour offered culinary delights, both in food and in the exquisite settings in which the food was served, from farming estates to rooftop verandas; from lakeside tents beneath the high Andes to luxury trains en route Macchu Picchu.
While Sara worked the details and kept the schedule, Daniel was our primary voice, exhibiting an impressive depth and scope of knowledge, but even more impressive enthusiasm a infectious joie de vivre. Daniel made you smile. But this tour was far too encompassing for a single voice. Jocelyn guided us superbly on our single day in Lima, Peru and immediately set the tone for the entire week: energetic, knowledgeable, and passionate. But it is Eric Salas that did yeoman’s work throughout the week, delivering not only information but extensive historical and cultural insight. Energetic, knowledgeable, and passionate.
Tour pacing was impeccable. The visit to Macchu Picchu was, of course, the anticipated highlight. It lived up to expectations, made even more fantastic by the Hiram Bingham Experience, a luxury train to and from the city in the clouds. Every day was a home run, some longer than others, but they were all very big home runs, and they came in perfect order. I indicated that there were two negative aspects of this tour, the first being the arduous travel. The second negative is far more difficult to accept, especially when one is having an experience of a lifetime: The tour had to end.