luxury Peru tours travel


Tour Portfolio

Opulent Itineraries



Machu Picchu Luxury Tours


luxury Peru tours travel

Legacy of the Incas
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Machu Picchu - Lake Titicaca

(11 days/10 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Sacred Sites of the Incas
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Machu Picchu - Lake Titicaca
(12 days/11 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Empire of the Sun
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Machu Picchu - Lake Titicaca
(14 days/13 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Ancient Civilizations of Peru
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Colca Canyon - Machu Picchu
Lake Titicaca

(16 days/15 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Archaeological & Ecological

Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Peru & Ecuador:
Galapagos - Machu Picchu
Lake Titicaca (or Amazon)
(18 days/17 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Grand Tour of the Inca Empire
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Colca Canyon - Amazon
Machu Picchu- Lake Titicaca

(22 days/21 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Ancient & Colonial Capitals
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Machu Picchu
(10 days/9 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Machu Picchu

(13 days/12 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Machu Picchu & Galapagos
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Peru & Ecuador:
Machu Picchu - Galapagos
(15 days/14 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Galapagos & Machu Picchus
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Ecuador & Peru:
Galapagos - Machu Picchu
(18 days/17 nights)


Luxury Galapagos Cruises


luxury Peru tours travel

Enchanted Isles of the Galapagos
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

(11 days/10 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Galapagos & the Kingdom of Quito
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Galapagos - Andes

(16 days/15 nights)


luxury Peru tours travel

Galapagos & the Amazon
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Galapagos - Amazon
(16 days/15 nights)


Luxury Ecuador Tours & Travel


luxury Peru tours travel

Historic Haciendas of the Andes
Machu Picchu Luxury Tours

Cotopaxi - Antisana - Otavalo
(7 days/6 nights)


© 2013 Inka's Empire Corporation.
All rights reserved.

luxury Peru tours travel


For an abbreviated version, see Quotes from Our Guests

The domain name of the e-mail address has been omitted to maintain our guests' privacy. For references, please inquire.



We are very happy with everything…

– Jorge & Janina Galante


Date: January 3, 2015 11:59:30 AM AST
Subject: Re: WELCOME BACK!


we are very happy with everything. They took excellent care of us.

I will be in touch with you when we are ready for the next one.




Raul, our guide, was incredibly attuned to our wishes and extraordinarily knowledgeable...

-- Leslie Van Houten & Phillip Belisle


Date: November 11, 2013 10:59:26 PM EST
To: Martin Haggland <>

Hi Martin,

Our tour was terrific. The people were amazing. Our driver was courteous and safe (although the van left a bit to be desired -- narrow seats and sort of big for the 4 of us.) Raul, our guide, was incredibly attuned to our wishes and extraordinarily knowledgeable. He loves animals and birds, and it showed. Going with him to this area was a real treat. We saw the world’s smallest owl and the world’s biggest hummingbird thanks to him. (Not to mention the condors and vicunas!) Gladys is a jewel -- she should be cultivated and treasured.

I thought the Casitas de Colca was wonderful. The rooms are exquisite, and they had enough activities to fill in some down time since it is out in the proverbial boonies. I did most of them, including feeding the baby llamas and alpacas (and did not trample any children in the process!) to taking the cooking and Pisco Sour classes.

Some people on TripAdvisor complained about the food, so I had low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. It was not up to the standards of Central or Malbar in Lima but was very good...

In any event, we so enjoyed our stay with you all in Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, and would not hesitate to recommend Inka's Empire Tours to others.





We loved this trip...

-- Dawn & Peter Stahl


Date: January 8, 2013 6:40:40 PM EST
To: Martin Haggland <>
Subject: Argentina trip

Happy New Year.

We had the greatest trip to Argentina and Antarctica.
Both places exceeded our expectations.
Here are a few observations of the Argentina portion of our adventure:

Argentina was way more enjoyable than Peru -- more industrialized/modern, definitely more clean, not as much poverty.
Buenos Aires is fascinating. It never sleeps and has wonderful architecture and charisma.
Preferred the Magnolia Hotel slightly over the Legado because of the great breakfast -- freshly baked croissants --
and slightly larger room. The Legado was a better location for shopping and cafes, though.
Our tour guides, Stella and her brother Alejandro, were excellent. Stella was always there at all our airport landings and departures, arranging transportation and meals. Alejandro, a professor, was so knowledgable about everything, and they both were extremely friendly. Enjoyed his Gourmand tour because of the food, unique places and his knowledge. Everyone seemed to know him....
The Wanderlust company you found was very receptive and had wonderful staff.

Of the two tango shows -- El Cabaret was way better than the one at Esquina Carlos Gardel in every way. The meal at El Cabaret was excellent, decent wine never stopped coming, the club was smaller and intimate and the show breathtaking . Esqiuna was okay... The dancing was very good and presented differently than El Cabaret. In other words -- if one had to choose, El Cabaret wins hands down.

The bird tours and canoe trip and various restaurants were all tailored to our wants and much appreciated,

Iguazu Falls really are a wonder of the world. Unbelievable. Could have spent another day there. Our guide was great... birding was great... the Brazil side was worth going to... the side trip to the hummingbird garden was a real treat. The Sheraton was just fine, with the view of the falls and good service. The one morning we were going birding before breakfast opened, they packed a snack for us. IGUAZU FALLS is a real must for anyone going to Argentina or Brazil.

El Calafate was a good choice for us also. The Hosteria Alta Vista is set in the most breathtaking scenery with some of the best meals we had anywhere. Perito Moreno Glacier and the park were stunning, but we enjoyed the mountain vistas and the truck rides, bird watching and trekking even more.

Just when we thought nothing could be more spectacular in Argentina, we arrived at the Cavas Wine Lodge in Mendoza. Highly, highly recommended. The accommodations are stunning. Our room included a huge sitting area, bedroom looking out over the vineyard with the Andes in the background and giant en suite, walk-in closet, stunning decor, outdoor shower and plunge pool on the patio and outside stairs to the rooftop, where there was a fire place and a big round lounge area. One evening they built a fire for us and served us a delicious steak dinner on the rooftop under the full moon. I enjoyed a wine-inspired spa treatment which included soaking in a wine bath -- my hands and feet were pink! We toured three great wineries and had a private lunch at one with all sorts of nibbles and wine. Learnt quite a lot about wine at the Cavas, from their wine expert. The staff were extremely attentive, starting with the manager, who greeted us with a glass of wine. We never did go to town for any meals, as they had a very good restaurant there. Oh, yes, did some birding. Could have stayed a few more days there also.

So as you can gather, we loved this trip and I did not even detail the Antarctic part, which was such a surreal experience and definitely the most exciting, exhilarating, different excursion we will probably ever take. Not for everyone, but for those who like the outdoors and adventure, unbeatable! Thank you, Martin, for once again arranging such unique places to stay and dine, and for tailoring the activities to our preferences.

Sincerely, Dawn & Peter Stahl

PS: We saw 168 different species of birds, of which 122 of them were lifers, during the whole trip. Pictures of Antarctica are posted at and Argentina will be coming soon at the same pbase site.



We have never had such wonderful and personal service...

-- Lee & Bonnie MacPherson


From: Bonnie MacPherson <>
Date: November 30, 2012 3:40:02 PM EST
To: Inkas Tours <>
Subject: Hi from Bonnie and Lee in San Pedro de Atacama

Having a fabulous time -- this Awasi Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama is amazing. It has to be one of the nicest places we have ever stayed -- anywhere! (And that's saying a lot!) Food and service here have been 5-star. Just a gorgeous oasis in the middle of nowhere.

The private excursions and our guide (Jorge) have been beyond description, and the scenery here is spectacular. Really interesting -- we have also seen lots of animals, including llamas, vicuña, flamingos, a fox, a strange little rabbit-like/chinchilla thing, etc. Wait until you see the pictures!

Tonight we have a private star-gazing tour. We hate to leave -- but tomorrow we go to see the famous "Valley of the Moon" and then to the airport to go back to Santiago to continue the trip. If the remainder is like this part, we'll be very pleased, indeed...

-- Bonnie and Lee


See the detailed comments.



It was fabulous...

-- Robert & Lee Norstern


From: Robert Norstern <>
Date: October 2, 2012 8:46:29 AM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <>

Hey Martin,

Perfect. Everything was terrific Thanks to everyone. In a nutshell, it was fabulous. Much more detail later.




It was all I had hoped it would be and much more...

-- Richard Vorwerk


From: Richard Vorwerk <>
Date: May 21, 2012 4:48:10 PM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <>
Cc: helen huckaba <>
Subject: Vorwerk/Huckaba Tour

Hi Martin,

I want to thank you for arranging our tour of Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Overall, it was all I had hoped it would be and much more.

Despite the limited time frame I gave you for the tour, it was just spot-on.

Here is a day by day critique for your information and future planning.

Wed 09May2012
The choice of the Ramada was excellent due to its proximity to the airport with the late arrival from the US and the early departure from Lima to Cusco the next morning. While the Ramada was not as luxurious as the other hotels we stayed in, you can't beat its location which allowed us an extra hour or two of sleep.

Thurs 10May2012
The flight to Cusco on Star Peru was fine. It may not have offered the services of LAN but we didn't know the difference.
The Hotel Libertador was great. The only complaint was that Helen and Cy could not get their room cool. The HVAC system does not have a/c only heat. I was fine.

The first day at altitude is critical and there was too much scheduled for the afternoon and evening. By the time we got the Museo de Arte, all of us were really tired. The food at the museum was excellent. However, there was a large, loud party (12) of Norte Americanos and toward the end of the meal another large, loud party (14) was seated. This is a glass enclosed resturant and the noise level was not conducive for quiet conversations over dinner. Fortunately, we were eating dessert when the second group was seated.

Lunch at Pacha Papa was a good introduction to Peruvian cusine and there were no complaints.

Fri 11May2012
This was a great day and we got to know our guide, Holger, and driver, Cesar. Both men are top quality and became friends by the end of our visit.
Due to the length of drive and visiting the sites at Maras and Moray, we did not get to 3 Keros until 200P. The meal was great, if too filling, and by the time we finished it was going on 400P. That meant that dinner at Rio Sagrado that evening followed too closely to a large lunch.
My suggestion would be to have a picnic lunch with green salad, fruit salad, chips and sandwiches along the way. This way there would not be two large meals in a short time frame. The adjusting to altitude suggestions say to keep to light meals the first and second days.

The Orient Express Rio Sagrado was our favorite hotel by far. The location, personnel and personal service was outstanding.

Sat 12May2012
This was another really great day. We arrived early at Pisaq and beat the crowds by an hour. When we left it was getting quite crowded. The brewing of Chicha was interesting and the ruins at Ollantaytambo were great to see. The visit to the shaman was interesting but not my kind of thing and the visit to the market at Pisaq was also not my kind of thing.

Sun 13May2012
The train ride to Machu Picchu was fun and the sight-seeing great. Really fun for a fan of railroads.
I continued to be impressed by Holger's knowledge of all the Incan ruins and especially Machu Picchu. He had worked at Machu Picchu for several years and that certainly showed through. It was there and the previous day that the advantage of just the three of us with a guide was really important.
You were correct in changing us back to the Sanctuary Lodge. Thank you. You can not beat it for location so that both sunset and sunrise over Machu Picchu can be enjoyed.

Mon 14May2012
The morning hike up the Sungate Trail was worth the effort and finally we saw the perspective where all the famous photographs are taken.
The train to Poroy was fun until the sun went down. I do have a complaint about Peru Rail in that they play the Peruvian flute music very loudly. It makes it difficult to have decent conversations. On the return trip there was a "fashion show" of clothing that they were selling. I could have done without that, as well. Neither of those things are under your control.

Tue 15May2012
The flight to Lima on Star Peru was delayed due to Lima and Cusco fog. So we missed out on some of the morning tours. Ofelia, who was both our transfer agent and guide, did a good job of letting us choose what we wanted to see. The Museo Larco was very interesting and lunch at the museum was excellent as well. Ofelia was very, very knowledgeable about the collection at the museum and the sights we saw.

With the afternoon sight-seeing and the traffic we did not have much time to enjoy the hotel's amenities. The dinner at the hotel was excellent and gave us a chance to get to know our guide.

The only person who I have omitted was our transfer agent in Cusco, Pilar Estrada. She was excellent as were all the folks at Southwild who coordinated our visit.

Thanks again.





-- Brooke & Salvatore La Duca


From: Brooke La Duca <>
April 2, 2012 4:00:53 PM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <>

Hi Martin

We had an awesome time. The accommodations were excellent and our guide, Alberto was very knowledgable, accommodating and personable. We lucked out and had fantastic weather as well.

Thank you for your attention to detail.





I was just thinking about you and our trip to Peru with fondness...

--Sandy Shepard, Esq.


From: "Sandy Shepard, Esq." <>
Date: March 21, 2012 2:54:04 PM EDT
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Hey Martin - Sandy Shepard here

Hey there!

I was just thinking about you and our trip to Peru with fondness. We just returned from Vietnam/Cambodia and a few times we commented on how much we missed having you on the "end of the rope" back in the U.S.! Everything worked out ok - until the VERY END when a "fog-out" took down the airlines out - and you're just lucky we didn't call, we had you still on our "travel speed dial"! (Which made Herbert and me both laugh.)

Sitting here I still have the Ekeko that you were kind enough to have our guides purchase for us up at Lake Titicaca!





I shall never forget my first view of the ruins...

-- Drs. Jane Kahle & Kate Scantlebury


From: "Kahle, Jane Butler Dr." <>
Date: August 14, 2011 2:23:17 PM PDT
To: Martin Haggland <>
Cc: Kate Scantlebury <kscantle@....Edu>
Subject: Fwd: View my album on MobileMe Gallery.


In spite of good intentions, I have not let you know how special our MP trip was. I did nag Kate long enough that she agreed to let me forward her photos (she was willing, just too busy to reply). Think they tell it all. However, I shall send separately a photo that Omar took of me at the Sun Gate, which he and I climbed to. I told him that you would need proof that I had done it.

Briefly, one of the best decisions we made was to stay 2 nights at MP. As you know, the weather was truly bad during most of our stay (Sacred Valley and MP, especially). Lots of photos of me in a plastic poncho that I stuck in at the last minute. But with almost three days at MP, we were able to roam it in the sun on the last day. I am reading Mark Adams' book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, and highly recommend it.

Again, thank you for all of your effort on our part. I shall never forget my first view of the ruins--from the mausoleum. We are talking about returning to South America soon!





Thank you very much for making my dream come true...

-- Chandralekha Duttagupta


From: Chandralekha Duttagupta <>
Date: July 18, 2011 8:51:30 PM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <>

Dear Martin:

I wished to personally thank you for making such a great arrangement for our Peru trip. It was a great arrangement. I/we thoroughly enjoyed the trip though Carla and Eleanor had a bad day at Machu Picchu. But they handled it bravely with the help from Omar and Carla. Omar has been a wonderful guide and an added comfort to our trip. Now I know more about Peru. Carla was also very good and so were Daniel and other people at Lima. Thank you very much for making my dream come true and giving such a great treat. Simply it was wonderful !!



Chandralekha Duttagupta



We have had a fabulous trip...

-- Irvine & Elaine Weitzman


Date: June 12, 2011 1:30:30 PM EDT
To: "Martin Haggland" <>

Hi Martin

We have had a fabulous trip. Won't be home until Friday and so we can talk the week after.





Thanks so much for making this memorable arrangement...

-- Margie Floirendo


From: "Margie M. Floirendo" <>
Date: June 12, 2011 10:24:43 AM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <>

Hi, Martin,

I'm back home in the Philippines after a long trip (2 months).

Peru was a memorable trip. All the hotels were very good.

My daughter's favorite destination was Puerto Maldonado. The hotel was exceptional... service and food. Our guides were very knowledgeable. We went fishing for piranhas at Lake Valencia and ate what we fished after.

My favorite was Chinchero, but I had difficulty walking because of the altitude.

I also liked the Sacred Valley. Of course, Machu Picchu, but I have been there before.

The food in all the places were surprisingly very good. It was beyond my expectation that Peru has advanced in its quality of cuisine.

The service of your agent was excellent. They took care of us very well. The only part that was irritating was when Cesar was late for 15 min picking us up at the airport when we returned from Puerto Maldonado.

The guides were good... They took care of us very well... and we were very pleased about that.

The museum of Juanita in Arequipa and its story was amazing...

Thanks so much for making this memorable arrangement.

I will surely recommend your agency to anyone I know who will be going to Peru...





Our trip was perfect...

-- Carol Covello


Date: February 14, 2011 11:24:33 AM EST


Our trip was perfect. Thanks for all of your hard work and patience in putting it together.

Carol Covello



The arrangements were impeccable...

-- John & Heather Griffiths


From: John & Heather Griffiths <>
Date: February 11, 2011 4:56:37 PM EST
To: Martin Haggland <>
Subject: Our November Peru Trip

Dear Martin: We wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Peru, and this was almost entirely the result of Inka's Empire Tours (the weather had something to do with it too), and in particular the tremendous quality of the guides... The drivers too were wonderful.

I started writing this when we got home, and it has developed into almost a book, so instead of sending you all the details, here is the short version:


The uniform excellence of the guides was the outstanding feature of our three weeks in Peru. Carmen in the north was wonderful, and we have to single out Juan Carlos in Cuzco/Macchu Picchu and Ofelia in Lima for special praise as well. I hope you will pass along these comments to them.

Juan Carlos had such depth of knowledge on every question we asked. We felt like three year olds - "What's that bird? What's that building? Why is that the way it is? Who was that person, or that culture, or who made that pot, or that textile?" He answered everything with humour, patience, understanding and sensitivity for the subject matter. He never lectured us, but made us feel that we were part of an ongoing discussion. He respected such knowledge as we displayed and added to it. In fact, in Machu Picchu, I was stopped by another English speaking visitor who asked me, "Where did you get your guide - he is fantastic!" We heartily agreed.

Ofelia also stood out for her attention to detail and her sensitivity to our moods and preferences. On our first day with her, at the Museo Larco, she noticed even before I did, that John was looking pale and ill. When he went to sit down, she kept an eye on him, and when he admitted to feeling like he really didn't want to go on, she swung into action, calling Manuel (the driver) to come and pick him up and take him back to the hotel, instructing Manuel to stop along the route and pick up some medicine. Ofelia and I went on through the extraordinary Larco Museum and enjoyed lunch on the patio, then we abandoned the rest of our schedule for that day so I could be back at the hotel to stay with John. This meant cancelling dinner at Astrid y Gaston, which was a disappointment. However, when we returned to Lima later in the tour, she and Inka's Empire Tours had somehow managed to re-schedule that dinner for the last night we were there, notwithstanding the difficulty in getting reservations at the premier restaurant in Lima. When the Miraflores charged us for my room service dinner the night John was ill, she went to bat and got us a refund.

Carmen was indefatigable and profoundly knowledgeable about the dizzying number of cultures in the north. She was particularly tactful with John's rather catholic taste in food -- he was never made to feel he 'ought' to try the local dishes he really didn't want to try...


Each hotel was more fabulous than the last...

The Rio Sagrado was a standout; beautiful, beautiful room and location. Calm and relaxing. My hot stone massage at the spa was nice - not a standout, but okay...

The Hotel Paracas was magnificent; there is no other word for it. The setting is fantastic, the room was sumptuous. Our little plunge pool on the deck was amazing! The boat tour from the hotel dock to the Ballestas was worth the trip even had we not wanted to fly over the Nazca Lines, which we did and which was also terrific. The marine ornithologist who accompanied us could not have done a better job. As you know, we waffled a bit about adding these two nights onto the end of our somewhat lengthy trip, but we were so glad we did...

The Libertador in Trujillo is a hotel full of character. We enjoyed the little pool, and we loved the food ther...

The Miraflores is wonderful. I enjoyed the view of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, while John was sick in bed! The restaurant was great. And the treatment at the spa there was fantastic! This was a wrap, but she gave me a wonderful foot and scalp massage while I was wrapped...

The Monasterio was an interesting experience, and I'm not sorry we stayed there once, but it was not to our taste - too much heavy Catholic ambiance frankly. As I told you, we can admire Catholic art and architecture to a degree, but we can get enough of it. Sleeping under a floridly ornate portrait of the Virgin gave John the willies. The dining room was great...


The food was, generally, amazing. The bread alone should have its own guide book. We almost always had a wonderfully diverse bread basket with each meal... and I don't think we ever had the same bread twice. It was all delicious. As other guests have commented, there was just too much. The breakfast buffets were all wonderful but then you had to face a big lunch and dinner too. I put on fifteen pounds.

In addition to all the wonderful restaurants we enjoyed, we were pleased to find that the hotel dining rooms were all very good indeed. In fact I would have to say that the best meal we had, not just from the point of view of quality of food, but service, was at the Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu. And yes, we did eat at Astrid y Gaston. Very good too, but the menu there was almost deliberately outre, at least for our tastes. That is not to say it wasn't wonderful; it was.

I'll end my 'short' review here. If I started on Machu Picchu, the Royal Tombs Museum or El Brujo in the north, the Larco Museum in Lima, and all the other fantastic things we saw with our fantastic guides, this would go on for chapters. This was truly the trip of a lifetime, and in large portion that is due to Inka's Empire Tours, Juan Carlos, Ofelia and Carmen. John's comment sums it up best I think -- the arrangements were impeccable.

Now, if Inka's Empire Tours only did the Mayan sights...

Thanks for everything.

Heather Griffiths



We are all truly grateful for all of your efforts in making out trip a total success...

-- Harmon Leete


From: "W. Harmon Leete" <>
Date: February 2, 2011 2:12:31 PM EST
To: Martin Haggland <

Hello, Martin,

We are home after a truly memorable trip. Chile and Easter Island are remarkable... and the sights and experiences there were unforgettable. We were continually amazed at the extent of the planning and preparation for our visit -- at every destination we were met, and reservations were in place even at the most remote sites. The quality of the guides everywhere was exceptional, and our activities, when they departed from our itinerary, were usually an improvement. The hotels at San Pedro and Easter Island... and the other hotels were all excellent. We bitterly regretted not having a week to spend at the Petrohue Lodge...

The restaurants you selected, except when we were too full from earlier meals to venture from our hotel, were uniformly excellent, and again we were amazed at the thoroughness and professionalism with which arrangements had been made. Even in the Lake District, after a 1 3/4 hour ferry ride to the tiny town of Puella and a bus ride to the hotel, we found a table reserved in our name at their restaurant. We are all truly grateful for all of your efforts in making out trip a total success.

Thank you very, very much.




An adventure that we will always remember...

-- Peter & Dawn Stahl


Peru -- the land of the Inca ruins, the elevated Andes, cloud forests, rain forests, arid plains and an amazing number of birds (1,800 plus species there). Peru was more then a holiday. It was an adventure that we will always remember... Our adventure seemed to have it all as they say -- trains, planes, automobiles -- and add in motorbikes and canoes. Best of all were the great birder guides that made it possible for us to see and photograph almost 267 species...

Peter & Dawn



A very wonderful and successful experience...

-- Grace Bowman


From: Grace Bowman []
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 04:28 PM
To: ''Martin Haggland''

Hi Martin,

... Each and every hotel was wonderful. Staff were wonderful. As with the others, I would have enjoyed an extra day at the Rio Sagrado since it was so beautiful, but then we would have had one less day at Titicaca with Julius. All our guides were different and extraordinary... All in all a very wonderful and successful experience. Thank you for keeping it all together...




Grace and I had a magnificent time...

-- Dennis Bowman


Date: September 18, 2010 4:44:17 PM EDT

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your inquiry about our trip to Peru. Grace and I had a magnificent time in your country with our close friends. We truly enjoyed our tour there and we would like to return again someday.

I appreciate the fine job you and your staff did for us; the accommodations; the fine dining and the exquisite ancient sites that we visited.

Thanks again for making our trip memorable,

Dennis Bowman



We enjoyed everyone and everyplace...

-- Jaya Brand & Barbara Bruch


Date: September 14, 2010 9:32:49 AM EDT

Hi Martin,

We had a trip of a lifetime. Thank you for your work and help. Your Peru support team is great and we enjoyed everyone and everyplace. And thanks for helping with communications with home.




The guides were spectacular...

-- Linda Allchin & John Reagan


From: linda allchin <>
Date: September 23, 2010 7:53:15 PM EDT
To: martin <>
Subject: Comments re: trip

Hi Martin

I'm finally getting around to writing my comments for the Peru trip. Overall the trip was fabulous and thank you for putting it all together. Everyone had a wonderful time, the accommodations were great and the food awesome. The guides were spectacular -- everyone met us on time and had the itinerary all lined up. Ophelia met us at the airport -- everyone got settled well and we had a great tour of Lima the next day. Then we met Carrie -- she was outstanding and really caught on to our group quickly. She is extremely knowledgeable and we had a lot of fun with her. Extra high marks for Carrie. Then we met Julius -- he was also spectacular, caught onto the group energy quickly and melded in with the group -- extra points for him too!!! It was especially nice that he took us to the Floating Islands that he is a native of to meet his family -- that was a special highlight. They fed us, played music, danced with us and treated us extra special. Then we got to participate in a hair-cutting ceremony on Taquile Island for his god-son. Same thing -- lots of wonderful food, music and dancing. My face couldn't quit smiling!!! Then we went to a wonderful shaman ceremony with his sister @ Amaru Muru -- very special!! And of course, Machu Picchu is beyond words!!!!

Thanks again Martin for your work in putting this together -- it was an unforgettable vacation and we will always have great memories. I would definitely recommend you to others going to Peru. When I get my pics on line, I will send you some. Hope your parents are doing OK and you had a good visit. Feel free to call me if you have any questions.

Sincerely Linda



Thank God for your tour company and travel insurance...

-- Megan Moser & Jeffrey Eisel


Date: September 7, 2010 6:03:03 PM EDT


We are home safe and sound. It was a long trip back. Both of us are still feeling "woozy" but better every day. We are going to see the infectious disease doctor in my practice. Travel Guard told me they are sending the claim form to me. Anytime you are ready you can send the necessary documents we will need to submit the claim. Thanks again for all of your help. Jeff and I are so thankful we did the trip as we did or we likely would have been in much bigger trouble in Peru... thank God for your tour company and travel insurance.

Thanks again!




The entire Paracas/Nazca portion of the trip was fantastic...

-- Dr. Gregory Denison and Dr. Patricia Garner


From: Gregory Denison <>
Date: August 14, 2010 11:45:23 AM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <>

Sorry for the extreme delay in getting back to you. That's just how busy our lives are...

The Hotel Paracas was fantastic. Much nicer than the Miraflores Park, in fact. The entire Paracas/Nazca portion of the trip was fantastic -- your guide, the Nazca lines overflight, the hotel and food, the museum and Inca site, and the boat trip to the Ballestas Islands. I don't want to say that it was better then the Amazon cruise, but almost -- certainly equally fantastic. We would have enjoyed a trip to a Pisco vineyard/distillery if there had been time....

The Aqua Expeditions cruise was also magnificent. Ship, food, service, excursions and guides -- all were world-class. We saw one of the other old, creaky, dark river cruise boats in Iquitos, and there is no comparison. The cruise is probably not for everyone, however -- you have to be reasonably mobile, and you have to really like wildlife and the natural wonder of the flooded forest. 4 days was perfect -- I think it would have been tiresome after a week. And no sign of pirates!

Astrid & Gaston and Mesa 18 were both great. I know the chef at Astrid & Gaston is a Peruvian superstar, but Mesa 18 was actually a little better.

I do have a recommendation regarding wine with dinner -- tell your guests that it is not included, and adjust your charges accordingly. We wanted to order a nice bottle with dinner each night -- as I'm guessing most of your clients will -- and it was awkward to have a certain number of glasses of wine included, but not a bottle.

The manner of handling the check at Astrid & Gaston was also a little awkward -- our guide sat at the table until we ordered, then went to settle the bill with management. Maybe you should just have an allowance of several hundred dollars for dinner, and let your guests know that they will be responsible for anything above that amount. I guess it did help to have the guide at the table to translate, though -- no English menus, and a "no comprende" waiter....

The shopping trip in Lima was just what we wanted. Las Pallas was as great as I remembered.

Your guide in Lima was late taking us to dinner at Astrid & Gaston. She was sort of average overall -- not bad, just not quite up to the standards of the rest of the trip.

Hope this helps....

Drs. Denison & Garner



All the guides and other staff were excellent...

-- Dr. Valerie Godsalve


From: Valerie Godsalve <
Date: June 14, 2010 12:20:53 AM EDT
To: Martin Haggland <
Cc: Charles Munn <
Subject: 15 pictures for you from Brazil

Hi Martin and Charles,

Hope you're both well! Just a short note with some pix to let you know that the Brazil trip went very well and that all the guides and other staff were excellent. The pix are a mixture of people and wildlife, all equally interesting in my view and all part of the fabulous country that is Brazil! They are of the hyacinth macaws, a capybara, jacares, guide Rafael and people in the Sertao, several market scenes in various places and a great fish dinner at the Pantanal fishing lodge. I'm leaving for the Arctic tomorrow but will be glad to give more details when I'm back. By the way, the jaguars nearly eluded me -- saw one in the last 2 hours of the trip (on a different memory card), and the scarlet ibis expedition was wiped out by a sudden tropical storm. Have to try again another time. Also, Charles, it was great to meet you in Cuiaba. Thank you for taking the trouble to do that. With very best wishes and thanks.




You already know how beautiful all the sights are -- we enjoyed all of them, and each so distinct...

-- Roger Skelton & Serena Richard


We had a great time. Service and hotels and tours were overall excellent -- we give an "A" to Inka's and you! I will of course have many details when we actually get to talk. Re-entry to work is never easy... It was a really good "soft" adventure and as you pointed out, extremely well-timed. You already know how beautiful all the sights are -- we enjoyed all of them, and each so distinct. We took zillions of pictures and an hour-and-15 minute video, which I have to learn how to edit down to a more palatable length.




It truly was a fantastic experience...

-- Isa Hetzel


From: isa hetzel <>
Date: March 30, 2010 10:40:18 AM EDT
To: <>
Subject: Brazil
in a Nutshell

Before the blush is off the rose....

It truly was a fantastic experience. Felt that even after only a few days, I had a taste of what the country/culture is all about. For two reasons: the extraordinary guides and visiting the three sections of the country that were so entirely different.

The guide, Ana Marie, in Rio, was just right for me. She had so much energy, enthusiasm, and was a good age. We had some things in common, and I felt I made a friend. She knew the city inside out, and had a lot of knowledge of history, current events, politics, botony, geography... suggestions of things to do. The little Portuguese library was marvellous! The hotel was fabulous and relaxing, courteous, helpful. Great location.

Marcos, at the Falls, was also very polite and friendly. He was so conscious of the environment and all of those ramifications, which was good to witness. The Falls, well, what can one say? The walkways were impressive...being able to get so close to everything. The crowds didn't seem too bad. The boat trip was wet! and I loved the ride back on the military truck through the jungle. Saw lots of animals and birds. The hotel was as nice as it possibly gets. Delicious food, tranquility, remoteness, clean, fresh, new pool. Loved sitting out at night watching the stars and moon, and listening to the falls in the near distance. Music in the bar... very luxy and luscious.

Gabriella in Salvador was also very good. She and Jonas, the driver, felt entirely trustworthy, and the city was so much on the edge. And such an eye opener to conditions. We spent a fair amount of time driving through the "suburbs" which were so terrifyingly poor and vast. Loved the colonial city, architecture, hills... churches. It was Palm Sunday, which gave it an additional interest. The hotel here is marginal...not great. Not terribly clean, creepy, old towels, musty. But the candlelight and the limited changes of the structure were very realistic and so thus interesting. Views out over the city from the back were lovely. The boat excursion, a little rangy, but glad I went as I love boats and it was a nice, long voyage. Beach, again so poor, and the water was not clean. But all really interesting... people so varied. Music follows you everywhere here. Had a chance to do some drawing/water coloring on this excursion at the two beaches. Enjoyed the panorama of the harbor sailing back. Tour guide on the boat was just great... friendly, helpful, solid.

Weather was absolutely perfect every day until the last when there was some rain in the afternoon. I like the heat and humidity, which for some reason never felt oppressive. Everyone was on time (except for the day I arrived which actually was pretty funny, because after waiting for some time, it seemed like Inka's Empire Tours probably didn't exist, that it was an online sham!). They knew what they were doing, the itinerary was so well planned and inclusive, so luxurious to have one's own personal guide and clean car at one's disposal. It was a life time memory. Highly recommended to anyone. I can't every thank you enough for all your attention and personal help. If it hadn't been for you, I'm sure I would not have done this. So I am in your debt.




Everything went very well and exceeded expectations...

-- Ronnie & Hardy Bowen


Date: February 4, 2010 5:55:47 PM EST
To: Martin Haggland <>

Everything went very well and exceeded expectations
The guide, Alfredo, was wonderful -- we really liked him
Can't say enough about Rigo and Rudy and the Villa Colona
Our favorite restaurant was Zazu -- ate there 3 times; 2nd favorite was Noe (as recommended by the guys)
Galapagos were amazing!




It was an amazing vacation...

-- Wayne Jacobs


From: "Wayne Jacobs" <>
Date: January 8, 2010 9:00:40 AM EST
To: "Martin Haggland" <>


It was an amazing vacation. The trail was tough but very rewarding. The arrangements and service was supurb and I want to thank you for all your hard work to make this such a memorable holiday. Thanks for the dinner at DCO. I will be sure to recommend your services to anyone planning a trip. Once again thanks a lot. Wayne Jacobs



Thank you for all the planning. It truly enhanced the experience...

-- Ron Ellis


From: "Ron Ellis" <>
Date: January 6, 2010 9:11:00 PM EST
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>


Had a great trip - thank you for all the planning. It truly enhanced the experience.

I filled out an evaluation form with comments. Do you receive a copy?

Would be happy to provide additional feedback.

In regards to the Amatani Project, am very positive on the work that they are doing and would recommend the charity.





Truly, everyone played a part in making the time unforgettable...

-- Ron Ellis


Omar Aragón was the best guide on the Inka Trail and for Machu Picchu. Despite inclement weather, he kept everyone's spirits high. His energy is contagious, and his friendly and welcome manner was appreciated. Would highly recommend Omar as a guide for Cusco, Inka Trail and Machu Picchu.

Jose in Cusco was an amazing driver. The way that he navigated the narrow streets was very impressive. Manuel had the daunting task of Lima traffic, but he did well also.

Ramada is worth it simply for convenience. Libertador is the place to stay in Cusco. Wish that had more time to enjoy the offerings at Sol y Luna and Inkaterra Pueblo. Casa Andina is a very nice place for a day room; however, I was there for less than an hour and a half, so somewhat of a waste.

Overall, I am very pleased with the program and schedule. Would acknowledge that one of the key reasons for my high level of satisfaction is the people -- drivers, guides, etc. My deepest appreciation goes to Omar, who really made the time on the Inca Trail special; but truly, everyone played a part in making the time unforgettable. Would definitely recommend this program. After being on it, you may even consider me an unofficial ambassador for Peru. Given this successful trip, will consider the tour service for other areas, such as Patagonia.

Ron Ellis, January 4, 2010



We saw lots of wildlife, especially birds, in the Amazon...

-- Dr. Valerie Godsalve


Subject: Peru trip went fine
Date: October 1, 2009 10:39:04 PM EDT

Hi Martin,

How are you? Thanks for your follow-up emails on the Peru trip.

I'm a bit jetlagged tonight but here's a brief note to start.

The Peru trip went well and the hotels, lodges and guides were all very good. Milagros in Cuzco was especially helpful and friendly and deserves special mention!

We saw lots of wildlife, especially birds, in the Amazon (also lots of mosquitos!).

The sightseeing in the Sacred Valley and in Lima both had to be curtailed due to late incoming flights and as a result not to try to cram too much into too short a time and to have meals at reasonable times. The altitude in Cuzco also has to be considered -- I had no problem with it, but certainly it is wise to take the first day there slowly.

Please don't be overly concerned about the occasionally slow restaurant service -- things tend to be more leisurely there and the staff were always courteous.

Looking forward to hearing from you and to the Brazil trip!

Best regards,




We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a great travel experience...

-- Michelle & Gary Garbis


Subject: Detailed comments/suggestions
Date: September 14, 2009 5:32:21 PM EDT

Hi Martin,

Sorry it's taken me a little longer than I anticipated to pull this together -- basically I decided to insert comments on each day of your itinerary (my comments should be in red) rather than risk omitting something. As I said before, we loved our trip and were really happy we decided to go with YOU. Peru is a very special country, and you made it a delightful country to visit. All our connections were flawless, our accommodations luxurious, our tour guides knowledgeable people who were enjoyable to be with, our drivers very professional (Jose, our driver in the Sacred Valley and Cuzco, went far beyond that), and our food delicious. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a great travel experience.

Michelle Garbis

See the detailed comments.




Peru was everything we hoped for and more...

-- Michelle & Gary Garbis


Subject: Our trip to Peru
Date: September 8, 2009 11:41:46 PM EDT

Hi Martin,

We got back from Lima early yesterday and wanted to let you know that our trip was fabulous! We'll write more in greater detail once we slog through the mail, pay the bills, and adjust to sleeping in our own bed, but we did want to thank you for everything -- guides were great, accommodations were outstanding, and food was spectacular. There were a few bumps... and mosquito bites... along the way, but overall, Peru was everything we hoped for and more. Thanks again.

Michelle Garbis



A Letter of Reference from Sandy Shepard, Esq.


Just go with They're the best, and you won't be disappointed...

-- Sandra Shepard, Esq. & Herbert Wolfram


Date: July 19, 2009 4:59:25 PM EDT

We recently took a trip to Peru. A yoga group that we belonged to was staying at a retreat center and having outings in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We wanted to find someone who would organize a trip to visit other parts of Peru, culminating with meeting our yoga group. We put out the "call" on the Internet after much research -- and three tour operators answered. Then we asked more questions. Two answered. Then we asked more questions, and asked for more personalization. Only one answered – We had many, many, MANY questions and queries before we left the country -- answered all patiently. Once we arrived in Peru, their guides and drivers were fantastic. We were taken to a private residence in Lima that I am sure no other tour companies visit. The food recommended was fantastic. When one of our guides discovered that we really enjoyed a festival we had "stumbled upon" during our drive (no other non-locals were there), he called around and rearranged the next day because he found another festival that we could visit, too. When another guide had a "whole day planned" and discovered we had changed our mind about the itinerary, he and the driver had a "tete-a-tete" and completely reorganized the day around what we wanted to do (visit nice art galleries of local, interesting Peruvian artists a la Victor Delfin) -- and it was one of our favorite outings.

The best part was actually when Bad Things Happened. We got sick with altitude sickness, and our guide took care of us with special Peruvian oils and coca tea (of course), but also Peruvian-based OTC meds that really did help (much more than our American altitude meds!). We had a car hit our van out in the boondocks, we had a big pile of corn fall on our van (it was an "accident" of the farmers working the steep slopes above), the trains went on strike... and always, had a backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan. When we weren't sure we WOULD be able to meet our yoga group (due to the train strike), found us a flight, but also made sure that we understood if they needed to drive us to meet up with the tour, that it would be their pleasure.

If you're going to Peru, please don't go through the agony we went through of trying to plan our trip, "vet out" travel agents, and the like. Just go with They're the best, and you won't be disappointed.

Sandra Shepard, Esq. ( &
Herbert Wolfram



I have been telling everyone this was the best vacation of my life!

-- Rachel Ferguson


Date: May 25, 2009 8:14:17 PM EDT


The short answer is: I had a wonderful time on the tour! You asked for details, so here they are:

Everything you and Maureen arranged went according to plan. I was picked up at my friend's house in plenty of time to make my flight to the Galapagos (I coordinated the night before with Latin Trails, as you suggested) -- the tour guide who picked me up, Gina, was very informative on the way to the airport. She turned me over to a fellow representative at the airport, who took care of checking in my bag and making sure I got to security in no time at all! (I never even had to show ID, which would never happen here in America, but I'm sure that was an advantage of going on an organized tour.) The flights were uneventful (although I wasn't pleased when I spilled my coffee on the way there due to a faulty seat tray and all I got was a little sympathy and some napkins to wipe it up).

As for the catamaran tour itself, it was everything I imagined and more! I was so glad to be on a "luxury class" cruise -- the boat was incredibly clean and our every need was catered to by very helpful and professional crew. I speak a small amount of Spanish, and I was glad to be able to converse with the captain and crew to establish a real connection and express my thanks. (I was a little surprised that the captain & crew didn't speak more English considering they deal with a large number of tourists, most of whom probably don't speak much Spanish, but they knew the basics of communication in English (like "how are you?," "food's ready" and "wear your lifevests") and failing that, sign language always works! No compliants here. I understand from one of the Latin Trail administrators that a relatively small percentage of folks from the Galapagos speak English. The tour guide and captain worked together to get us to places before the crowds arrived, in time to see some special sights, and the captain often drove the boat during "off-hours" at night to save those of us with weaker stomachs. The tour guide, Enrique, was excellent! His knowledge of the islands was extensive, and his English was more than adequate. He really watched over us -- especially some of the tour group who were less physically able (in one instance, we landed on a lava field with one of the crew members, who walked with one couple a short distance and then helped them turn back while the rest of us went on and in another instance, a couple who weren't snorkeling were taken on a panga ride so they could take pictures and get something out of the afternoon while the rest of us snorkeled). I also had the advantage of having the captain as my snorkeling partner on 4 out of 5 snorkeling adventures -- he pointed out some amazing sights that I surely would have missed by myself and also pointed them out to anyone else who kept up with him. This was a help to Enrique, who stayed back with those who were more nervous / couldn't swim as well / hadn't snorkeled before, pulling along a life ring that they hung onto, so everyone got something out of snorkeling. And, for safety reasons, the pangas were always circling us, even pulling us along by a rope at times when the current was too strong (we generally snorkeled w/ the current, but sometimes that was impossible). I thought that the organization of each day's activities was well-thought-out. We would have either a land or sea excursion for 1-3 hours, followed by an adequate rest period (with delicious snacks to keep our energy up), followed by another excursion. I never heard anyone complain about being too tired!

Finally, upon my return, Gina met me at the airport. Apparently, there was a little snafu and she had been called to pick me up while out with her mom, but she didn't mind. She and her mom met me and drove me back to my friend's house, which was one hour away due to rush hour traffic. I think little snags like this are to be expected and I really appreciated that the oversight was caught before I landed and it all worked out (Gina was already close to the airport when they called her).

I have been telling everyone this was the best vacation of my life! The Galapagos is a wonderful place in and of itself, but since my return, I have read about the dangers of going with a less-than-best tour company, and I have to say that while it's on the expensive side, the tour I was on was worth it. The people helping me every step of the way really made my vacation -- I felt safe and well cared for, and like we were the first ones ever to visit the islands (b/c they got us there before the crowds) -- a truly special and unique experience.

I am so glad Maureen found you! I will certainly consider other tours with your company in the future, when I've saved up my pennies again! And if there's anything else you want to know about, please let me know.

Thank you so much for your help,



A Letter of Reference from Toby Pearson


You can trust them...

-- Toby Pearson


From: toby pearson <>
To: "Sandra J. Shepard, Esq." <>
Subject: Re: Reference for
Date: Mon, May 11, 2009, 12:22 AM

Hi Sandra,

Great to hear from you.

Thanks for being interested in the marriage situation. As of today I think things are OK. We are negotiating with the family and the terms are narrowed to either a human sacrifice or $100,000. Currently looking for a volunteer.

I too had never booked serious leisure travel on the Internet. Our experience with Inka's was, in my opinion, exceptional from start to finish. Their strongest assets are Martin Haggland in New York, the knowledge of Peru you can't find in text books, and their in-country personnel. 

With even high-end local travel agencies, my experience has been: you tell them what you want, give them a budget, they give you a stack of brochures, and tell you what you really want based on the sub-contractors they have worked with in the past and customer feedback.

With Mr. Haggland, I told him "kind-of" where in Peru we wanted to go and that our interest was in culture and people first and buildings and architectural sites second, that my youngest daughter is a chef and food critic so we wanted lots of local cuisine, and my middle daughter was interested in spirituality. This was a legacy trip for my grown children.

Martin created a personalized adventure that was exactly what I was looking for.

Everything to the smallest detail was perfect. And Inka's is definitely into detail. They know Peru. Martin was in touch with the Peru crew every step of our journey, checking on how the trip was going and making various refinements to our itinerary even as we were on the move. Of course, all was done behind the scenes.

The crew in Peru knew not only the usual tour stuff, but what we were interested in, and constantly found those many "wow" things along the way that really make any trip memorable. We were greeted with the respect we had paid for, yet a personal caring throughout that made us feel like family.

You can trust them.

If I can provide any additional information about our experience, please let me know. And have a wonderful adventure. Peru is a magnificent experience.


Toby Pearson



I unquestionably believe you gave me the best trip for the price...

-- Clayton Jesse


From: c j <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Fri, Mar 20, 2009, 2:12 PM

Hey Martin-

I'm actually feeling pretty good about being the poor bloke that provided you with the inspiration for your "frugal luxury" lines. I couldn't be more excited about this trip nor could my ladyfriend. I unquestionably believe you gave me the best trip for the price, and I haven't even gone yet! You did one hell of a job making me feel comfortable with this and I was pretty lost with the 50 million other travel agencies for this region. I'll paste my flight info, but I did use to find the cheapest flights. I will also attach my traveler's insurance.

Thanks, Clayton Jesse



Exceptional professionalism, attention to detail, care, caring and safety...

-- Toby, Michael, Christina & Elizabeth Pearson


From: toby pearson <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Thu, Mar 12, 2009, 11:15 AM

Dear Martin,

Certainly OK to process any additional charges and thanks for the insurance processing.

The trip was absolutely wonderful from start to finish.

We had asked for loads of culture, art and cuisine. Inka's Empire Tours provided more than we could have asked for. Each hotel provided  a unique experience in dining, ambiance and expert staffing. We worried about nothing from the time Daniel and Miguel met us at the airport in Lima to the time they helped us process back to Texas.

Kika in Lima was one of the most informed travel companions we have ever had. She made numerous changes to our itinerary as if she were reading our minds. The visit to the textile and cultural museums were highlights, as well as visits with contemporary and indigenous artists.

Manuel and Jose Carlos in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu were, once again, absolutely the best. Coming as we do from Texas, both men quickly became part of our family and will remain so. As was the case in Lima, we believe we had unique experiences that any other travel consultant would have missed. These trips became uplifting as we entered each destination. As you are aware, Manuel is Inkan and we sat for hours learning and discussing the spiritual and cultural history of his civilization. We had those wonderful wow moments such as the shopping at the city market (not tourist market) and enjoying dinner at a local restaurant with Manuel and his absolutely delightful girlfriend. I believe we all could move to Cusco in about 3.2 seconds.

The same was true at Lake Titicaca with companion Julio César and driver Hector. Julio is from an indigenous culture and he added so much to the experience by providing top quality, history, culture and a relaxed tour of the lake area. We even enjoyed a day with his family on one of the Uros islands, including dance, song, food and most importantly the love of his family.

The day before we left, Julio invited us to attend a very small village festival within easy walking distance from our hotel. You could feel the sense of community within the group of about 100 locals, and soon felt part of that community, sharing a beer with the men, enjoying all of the beautiful dress of the village ladies and, of course, playing with the children.

Our favorite hotels I believe were the Urubamba and Titilaka. Both were extremely welcoming, unique and with extraordinarily caring staffs.

You asked me to "rate" Titilaka. By vote, the favorite of the entire family. Accommodations, views, meals, professional staff, all a 6-star rating. The decor is a fusion of crafts, antiques and modern art. Absolutely unbelievable. Each staff member acted and talked as if it was his or her hotel, taking ownership and pride, responsibility and guest comfort to a new level. The experience was relaxed elegance at its finest. I wouldn't book another guest at any other hotel near the lake.

Having never met the owners of our two favorite hotels, I imagine they could, in fact, be the same. Ownership of the guest experience has been successfully passed on to every staff member. I know at Titilaka the owners have regular meetings with the employees, allowing each member of the team to openly discuss their ideas, often being accepted. One of those additional wow moments was when the staffers told us they were holding a celebratory open house for all members of the nearby community, providing food, drink and music. This would extend the village's annual festival one additional day and allow locals to see the hotel from inside as guests, rather than a forbidden destination only for tourists. This smacks of extraordinary leadership at all levels.

In any case, from working with you, Martin, from the onset to the final wave "till next time" in Peru, we were taken care of with exceptional professionalism, attention to detail, care, caring and safety.

We talked early on that this was a legacy trip for the Pearson family, and it truly was.

Thanks so much Martin, your Peru team and Inka's Empire Tours for everything.

Toby, Michael, Christina, Elizabeth


(Martin, two additional items... think I may have married Julio César's sister during one of the family dances just before we made our way back to the mainland. Don't know, but Mama and Papa were just too damn happy. May need your help breaking through the cultural barrier in future on this one someday.

Also, don't be surprised in the future if your guests mention that they didn't know, "Howdy Y'all, from The Republic of Texas. Wee-re fixin ta visit some new folk."  was part of the traditional Inkan greeting along with coca tea and a warm seat. Couldn't help myself.

Please feel free to refer potential travelers to us or use any and all of the above comments as well as correct any errors. Please pass my thoughts about Titilaka to its staff and owners.)



Many magical memories created...

-- Donna & Barry Burtis


From: "Barry Burtis" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 9:37 PM

Hi Martin,

We had a wonderful trip to Chile. We enjoyed every part of the journey, a tremendous experience. We even had super weather -- sunny and warm with clear skies and one whole day with no wind -- in Patagonia. We think Explora has hit on a winning formula. Accommodations were top notch, food & wine, great, all in all, many magical memories created.

My photo books are completed and just about to go off to I'll share them with you, online, when they're ready.

Thanks so much for your help with the Holiday!

Donna & Barry



We greatly enjoyed the trip...

-- Rich & Becky Zahren


From: "Richard Zahren" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Cc: "'Linda Thompson'" <>
Date: Sun, Mar 8, 2009, 9:25 PM


There were indeed many good parts to the trip. Both Explora lodges were terrific, although quite different. We would recommend them to anyone interested in their style of adventure tourism. The variety of activities at both locations made it easy to find opportunities that fit one's interests.

The Hotel Orly was comfortable and very conveniently located. The staff was friendly and very helpful as we previously reported. We also enjoyed both meals at the Akarana restaurantgreat food and very pleasant discussion with the owner.

We were surprised and delighted by the Colchagua Museum in Santa Cruz. We would recommend allowing more time to really explore it in more depth.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed the trip and were truly impressed by Chile, to the extent that it could be a location for another visit in the future.


Rich and Becky



A very memorable journey!

-- Glenn and Linda Thompson


From: Linda Thompson <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Cc: Rich and Becky Zahren <>
Subject: Hotel transfer in Santiago
Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 10:24 AM

Dear Martin,

I just wanted to reiterate what a lovely time we had at both Explora venues in Chile! In addition, our tours of Santiago and the wine district were informative and fun. In fact, the museum we visited near the winery was a private collection that took up a whole building and was among the best we had ever visited!

... All in all, we had fun hiking, eating great food, meeting helpful and experienced staff at the Exploras, and generally getting to know a lovely part of the world.

And thank you especially for your attentive planning of a very memorable journey!


Glenn and Linda Thompson



Everything was excellent and I hope to travel with you again...

-- David Waller


From: "David Waller" <>

To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>


Date: Tue, Feb 24, 2009, 8:34 PM

Yes, Martin. Everything was excellent and I hope to travel with you again. The note below was a critical summary of the trip in general. I am sure I have left things out -- 3 weeks was a long trip.

A far as the sickness, I believe it was the buffet in the Valley, but it could have been the dinner that night at a new restaurant they were trying out. I forget the name, but it was excellent food, with excellent service and I enjoyed the ambience and clientele. I can't be sure, but something I ate made me very ill.

There were so many things that the tour staff took care of that I can't name them all. Helping me at the airports, transfers, Band-Aids for blisters, special requests. I am high maintenance, I suppose, and the tour staff always made things right. Thank you!




A trip of a lifetime...

-- David Waller


From: "David Waller" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Mon, Feb 23, 2009, 6:24 PM

The trip was fantastic, and I had a great time. Here are some comments:

It seemed to always be a problem what was included and what was not at meals. I didn't know, had to ask, and usually the restaurant didn't know. This was awkward, and I never knew how much to tip because most of the time the prices were not available, and I did not get a bill except for incidentals. This situation may have been exacerbated since I was traveling alone.

Santiago and Vicinity: The Ritz was stuffy, but generally nice accommodations. The club room was the same as a regular room that I had on my return from Easter Island, just much more expensive. The regular room was even on the same floor as my club room. Out of 5 breakfasts I had included at the Ritz, I could only use 1 because of early departures, and a delayed arrival the first day. This also happened in Cuzco not that I needed to eat anymore.  One dinner that was included at the Ritz Agua was a problem at checkout, since it was on my bill. The desk clerk argued that no dinners were ever included. I told him I had even given the waiter the voucher. I had to unpack the voucher copy to provide it to him. A small bottle of water was $6 at the hotel.

The guide, Melissa Mellegus, and driver were fun and nice. I didn't think Melissa was a very experienced tour guide, but the three of us had a wonderful time. They were very attentive, and I felt very comfortable with them both. I think I got very sick from the buffet on the  Colchagua Valley tour, and lunch was not at the Club Social de Santa Cruz. I passed out on the airplane to Punta Arenas the next day for a period of time from sickness, and that day was not a good travel day for me due to health problems. I quickly recovered the next day.

The Explora in Patagonia was more exciting than I had hoped. Everything was just right. The Hotel Shop had the most outrageous prices I have ever seen for example, $36 American dollars for a small tube of sunscreen! I enjoyed the special lectures in the evening. The service and guides were first rate.

I also enjoyed the Explora in Easter Island. I think I hiked every inch of that Island! I wish there were some additional orientation of the hotel, activities, and overview of the history of the island and sites we might be able to see. Some type of night time program would be a good idea. The staff was wonderful. One big issue that I think will hurt tourism for that island is the number of unkept and undernourished horses (and cattle) on the island. No one, not even the owners, care for their animals, and we saw many recently dead and dying horses and cattle. The meat wasnt even harvested, and the owners probably didn't even know that the horse or cattle was injured or dead.  They just let all the animals die without any help. Several of us noticed this overpopulation, and I just couldn't help but think it was history repeating itself for the islanders overutilizing their resources. Being from Kentucky, I love horses. When we saw two horses in distress the first day, one mare with a colt mired in mud and the other was a colt with an injured or broken leg, we could not understand why no one would help or report the problem to the horses owners. The next day the mare with the colt was found by another tour group dead in the crater lake. At least they could have shot the mare and taken the colt. The colt will probably die as well. Horse and cattle carcasses litter the little island. Tourists do not want to see death and suffering.

Anyway, Easter Island was a very interesting experience that was a goal in my lifetime. I wasn't disappointed.

In Peru, Eddie Pizzaro was willing to do anything I wanted to do and was very professional and helpful. He was very knowledgeable and could answer any question I might have. The Urubamba Villas was a garden of Eden. I had the three bedroom villa, so I had room to stretch out at the end of the day. The Ollantaytambo ruins and town were a special treat for me. Sanctuary Lodge was perhaps the finest hotel of the trip as far as food and service was concerned. *****. I learned that I am scared of heights having visited Machu Picchu. I never knew this before. The Vistadome train ride back to Cuzco was slow. Eddie would point out significant places and historical artifacts along the way that not even locals knew about. I think you warned me about the long train ride, but I agree it was worthwhile overall. 

The Hotel Monasterio was a nice facility, but I felt they had many service flaws. There was no bottled water in the room, and they wanted to charge me for water. The dinner the first night was complicated, and they left me without any service or water or anything for over 10 minutes while they tried to find out what my meal included. I had to speak to the MaitreDe, and it ruined the dinner. Oxygen also wasn't provided without a fight as you had indicated it would be. Everything was a problem and cost extra. After the Sanctuary, it was a black and white difference. The dinner in the courtyard of the Museo de Arte Precolombino was fabulous. Lunch at Pacha Papa with some friends we had met was fun.

Lima was more exciting than I had expected, and Caesar was the most forthcoming of all the tour guides with a running history of things we saw and places we visited.  He was very informative and a wonderful tour guide. Since it was Ascencion day, there were many religious ceremonies going on all over the city. Visiting La Casa de Aliaga was very special indeed. Astrid & Gastón was very good, and I wish I could have spent more time at the Miraflores Park Hotel. It seemed like a marvelous facility and everyone went out of their way to make sure everything was correct.

Thanks for providing me with a trip of a lifetime.



Everything worked perfectly...

-- Dale & Deanna Marco


From: "dale marco" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Tue, Dec 16, 2008, 1:22 PM


The major impression I take away from this trip was the outstanding arrangements. Everything worked perfectly. The hotels were all great; the food was great in every restaurant where we ate; the guides were very good, knowledgeable and very accommodating to our every wish. I have travelled extensively and cannot think of a single occasion where everything worked so perfectly. Overall, it was a wonderful trip.




A million thanks...

-- Alison Frater & Mary Simpson


From: "Alison Frater" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Travel report
Date: Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 11:58 PM

Hi Martin,

Report time!!:

Attached is my news letter -- feel free to read it -- not compulsory!!!


Firstly re Quito 'missed flight'. An event neither Mary or I can believe happened. We are both used to airlines co-flying with different companies/flight numbers etc. On this day, when being given our boarding pass, we were told the scheduled 11.30 am departure time was delayed and the new time was still to be determined. Through security to Gate 1 as per Boarding Pass -- the board had 11.30 am next to our flight number -- I misinterpretted this as the original dep. time, and it did not change.

This was our first domestic flight with no bi-lingual signs and any English announcements were basically impossible to hear/understand. The flight was announced in Spanish (of course) and people went to Gate 2 and we thought we heard in English a different Flight No. and Company -- probably the destination of Guayaquil (whose pronounciation at that time we would not have recognised). There were still plenty of people in the waiting room and no action at Gate 1. The rest is history.

On to the trip -- Hotels: In preface, Mary and I are equally comfortable in 5 star establisments, as in lesser accommodations, so our evaluations would not necessarily concur with others. (And Mary's report may differ significantly to mine).

Quito: Villa Colonna -- a stunning facility in a stunning location. View from the roof terrace day and night worth the visit alone. Rudy and Rigo's hospitality could not have been surpassed -- we got treated like long lost friends on return and Rudy acutally ran a considerable distance back to Villa on our last day when we picked up cases, to see us. Breakfast -- far far too much to eat, but delicious. The one critisism -- although they were more than happy to mind our excess luggage whilst away, we thought $7/d a bit steep i.e. $49/week x 2 weeks.

Quasar: Sure there was a mixup with the boats, but we could not have been looked after better on the Evolution (including the open bar all week) and after our missed flight they sorted us out very professionally, and without taking blame, kept on apologising for the problem. I think as a company they may be struggling. Meanwhile our berth was the biggest I have had whilst sailing anywhere and food/service was par excellance.

Napo Eco Resort -- food was delicious -- too much. Waiters in dining room trained to the tee and could run rings around others in even 'good' restaurants. Our accommodation was more than comfortable - I heard no compalints from anyone. Our bums (i.e. bottoms for you yanks) did get a bit 'sat on' after a few hours in the canoes, but would do it all again tomorrow. Daily tours excellent. NB read my comments about our night away from Resort in news letter. We had a ball. It was a highlight, but I think some clients would die, but suspect our team had sussed we would adapt. So given that, probably 5 days would be adequate to see all, but Mary disagrees.

Hotel Orly: A boutique facility as you said, in a delightful area. The rooms are small, which certainly would not suit everyone -- but friendly service and safe to walk around area day and night. No complaints. Their restaurant had a wide range of med. priced meals, and they accepted our previously arranged vouchers without queiry.

Miraflores Park Hotel: 5star+ -- would be a good view if that mist/smog/clouds cleared! No, seriously, excellent with all the luxuries to pamper ourselves with. Early b'fast to room for early departures.

Hotel Libertador Palacio del Inka -- Cusco. Excellent. Large suite with fruit and coffee making facilities which we used for early departure. I think it was located well for walkers (which we didn't have time for) but with all the one way streets, didn't get around to orientating myself properly.

Hotel Libertador, Puno: Large suite with marvellous lake view. Welcome Pisca sour, but the hotel lacked atmosphere -- it reflected the hussle/bussle of quick turn overs -- our 4 night stop over was unusual. Food in the dining room was o.k., but unexciting. (I might add at this point, because our guides were SO GOOD, they in most hotels, checked us in etc. and in Puno in particular, the hotel staff didn't have the opportunity to explain their facilities -- we found areas on our last day we didn't know about -- eg. pool, net etc.

Hotel Awasi: Well what can I say -- a fabulous experience from the moment we walked in the front gate to the farewell as we left. Everything was magical. You must visit!

Hotel Petrohue: Great location with marvellous view up lake and surrounding mountains. Lovely building with atmosphere+ and friendly people. Food fine.

Hotel Cabanas del Lago - Puerto Varas: again lovely location/lake and town views. Friendly welcome. Large with lots of comings and goings. Room expected high standard. Dining -- forget this place to eat at. Our set menu was basic and my meat was unedible -- Mary's pasta dry and boring. Got woken up by waiter, to sign the wine account!

Hosteria Las Torres: At the far end of the Park from the direction we entered, but the drive along the length of Park (that we did 3 times) was amazing and so glad we had that opportunity. The hosteria according to our guide, is under new management, and probably they have cut down on staff. Food was good, but service very slow. We were in a very recently opened block which was basic and probably had been opened in a hurry -- had that 'not quite finished yet' look. Warm and comfortable - no furniture, wardrobes etc. It reflected, but achieved its 3 star status.

Hotel CostAustralis - Puerto Natales. Back to luxury and lake views. Welcome drink and room/facilities/food excellent.

Dining out. Well where do I start. The variation in locations and eating styles ensured a feast of sensations. We had not realised that wine would be included in all our special nights out - a pleasant surprise.

Astrid & Gaston -- Santiago. What a welcome to a new country. That night we learnt how to eat and enjoy wines -- the experience was more memorable than the food, and that's saying something, as the food was unbelievably fantastic, even if I did eat a dish I wouldn't have ordered given the choice. Rated No. 1 of all our dining, by Mary and I.

Chef Rafel Osterlicht's Blu -- Quito: Great atmosphere and service. Food fine, but not comparable with the previous night, which is not a fair criticism. We got to eat there again on our last night in Quito. We'd gotten back from Galapagos too late to eat at Chez Jerome as planned, so instead of going to Cafe Tianquez, we went back here and given an al a carte menu and bottle of wine -- presumably to make up for the missed meal. The food chosen by us was excellent and better than our first night. (We did not indulge in dessert).

Napo -- I've alluded to already. We were surprised by the excellence and range of foods available -- fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices to die for. Ecuador everywhere has fruit and vegies that taste like fruit used to taste like.

Hotel Monasterio restaurant. Food fine. Water $14 (and reluctant to give change despite tip already given). The effort of driving from hotel to hotel was lengthy and time consuming with all the one way streets - I'm sure the food at Libertador would have been fine -- menu looked ok anyhow.

Huaca Pucllana restaurant - Lima. The site was astounding -- food was fine, but not exciting, but a must place to visit for the atmosphere. No. 2 for position.

Cafe del Museo - Lima - Again a fun and interesting setting and good food -- too much food.

20th Oct. Santiago -- both lunch and dinner were at different places to what you had previously chosen -- their names I have not kept, but lunch (owned by a NZ woman)particularly was excellent+ and dinner at a tapas/wine bar was fun.

Restaurant Club de Yates -- Puerto Varas: Again, a great setting over the lake with especially excellent food and fine service. Rated No. 2 by me, for food and service.

San Cristobal -- Santiago. No. 1 for position. Food and service excellent. We were lucky with a clear clear evening and we arrived by chance, as the distant snow capped mountains reflected the setting sun, a delightful (almost) last night out in Sth. America.

Guides/drivers. Am not going to identify anyone. Without exception they were all excellent, friendly, informative and we felt as 'family' with them all. Some had better grasp of English than others, but NO communication problems.

Tours: Can't think of any criticisms/suggestions to make. They all exceeded our expectations and each day it seemed Mary or I would say "this is so different to anything we've seen so far". The variety within each tour, not to mention tour to tour was expansive. We were dog tired at the end of each day, but ready to go out and dine and back up for more again the next day. You can't take credit for the weather, but except for the last 2 days down south, we were so lucky.

Well -- I've done my homework -- can I get back to my photo editing?

Martin again - a million thanks for your input and help with all the planning. Will talk again I'm sure. Alison

See Alison Frater's newsletter with photos.

Read Alison Frater's diary.

See Mary Simpson's letter.



We toasted your expertise and advice on many occasions...

-- Alison Frater & Mary Simpson


From: "Alison Frater" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Alison and Mary home
Date: Thu, Nov 6, 2008, 4:50 PM

Hi Martin,

We have been 'home' for about 12 hours. I am still in someone else's time zone, but just a quick note to let you know we had a fabulous time. Will go into more detail later, but briefly NO hitches or problems. We survived everything much better than I'd hoped and without exception everywhere was amazing and we toasted your expertise and advice on many occasions.

Bye, Alison



All of the hotels, restaurant guides were first rate...

-- Ken & Joan Frankel


To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Wed, Oct 15, 2008, 10:12 PM

Hi Martin,

First: All the good points.

1. All the Hotels in Lima, Cusco, Machu Pichu and Quito were first rate.

2. All the restaurants were first rate.

3. All the guides were first rate with good English skills.

4. We liked the Villa Elizabeth. The bed was a double, smaller than we would prefer. Berta, our housekeeper and cook, was super. She could not speak English, which gave us a chance to practice our Spanish. We could see this as a challenge to some people, even though Francisco, the manager, had good English skills. The villa has no screens on the windows. When open for ventilation, bugs and mosquitoes get in. We thought this added to the rustic quality of the villa but could see how this would be a challenge for other visitors. Overall, I would recommend this to future guests as long as they understood the limitations mentioned above.

Second: Our disappointment with the Coral I.

The Coral I did not meet our expectaions of a luxury yacht experience...

Joan and I want to thank you for planning our trip in such detail. We also want to thank you for inquiring about our satisfaction throughout our journey.

You may recommend us as guests who have a high regard for your personal service and who were extremely satisfied with the land portion of our tour. We could only recommend the Coral I as a utilitarian way to see the Galapagos Islands.

We hope these comments are helpful.

Thank you, Martin, and all the best of luck to you --

Ken and Joan Frankel



This has tied for the best vacation that I have been on...

-- Chuck & Angela Nacos


To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Fri, Oct 31, 2008, 10:17 AM


Thank you for following up...

I must tell you though that Chuck has taken me all over the world, and n (I have a special fondness for Bhutan, even though the accommodations will never be as good as yours) -- I am looking forward to our next trip planned by you -- do you have excursions in Argentina? I would love to visit some of the wineries there -- if not this year hopefully next --




All of the hotels were wonderful and our guide was great...

-- Chuck & Angela Nacos


Subject: Nacos Chile tour
Date: Tue, Oct 7, 2008, 5:16 PM


Thanks for working on our behalf --

My impression of the Hotel Explora as compared to the Alto Atacama is that even if the Explora were not under construction, I would have preferred the Alto Atacama. I thought the staff at the Alto Atacama were so much more professional, the guides were clean, prepared, professional -- the hotel itself is in a beautiful canyon-like setting and the grounds were lovely. I myself felt the Alto was much nicer then the Explora. Our experience with the Explora staff was sub-par -- one day on our hike the van was an hour late in picking us up (the Alto Atacama van was there to pick up its people, coincidence).

If your guests need a lap pool, that is one thing the Alto does not have -- they have 5 or 6 small individual pools, good for plunging and hanging, but not for exercise -- but, of course, not sure what the Explora pools are like, they look like beautiful lap pools.

As far as the rest of the Chile trip, I only wish I had more time to spend there -- all of the hotels were wonderful and our guide was great -- wish we had more time (days) to visit wineries.

I personally did not like the train to Puno, was too long for me, but I think the others enjoyed it. The other thing is that on our second day excursion from Puno to visit the ruins, we back-tracked quite a bit (over 2 hours van ride one way) to an area the train passed thru. I think an option for those not wanting the train would be to drive to Puno and catch some of the ruins along the way as I believe the drive is only 6 or 7 hours max.

I had a great trip -- my only regret is that I think we did too much and didn't get to enjoy the wonderful hotels as we often got back to the hotel just in time to get ready for dinner and then we left early mornings. We should have (and certainly could have) had a little more say in planning the next day's events (we figured it out around week 3).


Angela Nacos



Way too much fabulous food...

-- Janet & Thomas Lundy


Date: Wed, Jul 30, 2008, 1:13 PM

Martin... Here are some of Tom's and my thoughts on our trip. I warn you this is long!

Miraflores Park Hotel... wonderful, very large room, beautiful ocean view (and, yes, we saw it everyday very clearly), plenty of space for your clothes, lots of reading light and a large bathroom with a great tub and large shower. Plenty of thick towels, and linens seemed fine. Breakfast is on the top floor, and when the elevator opens up you see a gorgeous swimming pool, ocean and sky... breakfast was good, they will make you whatever you want in addition to the buffet... The service in the hotel is A+. They couldn't have been more accommodating... especially on our return July 23/24. We drove them crazy with our flight changes and they more than handled everything with kindness and competency... they even opened the business center at 3 am to help us out... Box dinner for plane delicious chicken sandwich... only had lunch in the Poissonniere Restaurant, and we barely ate due to the change in flight, but what we did eat was very, very good and the service perfect, lovely maitre d' who recommended his favorites... just delightful... as you can tell, it is most certainly 5 stars.

July 17: El Huacatay... wonderful... charming place... Sheyla helped us order and guided us in what was good for us to eat on our first day at such elevation... Food was nicely prepared... very good tasting... keep going there.

July 18: 3 Keros... way too much fabulous food... my husband missed this one due to being sick... owner was lovely, explained everything... a charming place... keep going there, also.

July 22: Pacha Papa Restaurant... great setting and the food was good, but the service was very, very slow... there were other people in larger groups there, but they seemed to get served faster... never had time for dessert, since we were an hour behind schedule.and wanted to get to the sights. It was just one of those days... keep it... Everywhere we ate, including the museum in Lima, the staff was wonderful to us... We much appreciated being able to order off the menu, rather than have been limited to certain options.

A few other thoughts... really liked Sol y Luna. They were wonderful to my husband when we left him for the day... cleaned the room when needed, made toast, tea etc... liked the location also... room was very dark, but too tired to read anyway.

Machu Picchu... of course, the Sanctuary Lodge is very special... due to having to leave early, we only ate one lunch there. We fortunately changed things around and ate in the hotel dining room for lunch... The buffet was crowded and unpleasant looking... we would suggest that you let your guests eat both of their lunches in the dining room and skip the buffet.

We were due to leave Machu Picchu on the late afternoon train and arrive in Cusco around 8:30 pm... way too late to arrive in Cusco... due to Steven getting sick, we had to race out for the 10:30 am train. Sheyla was amazing in organizing this. We would recommend that you have your guests take a train no later than 2:30 in the afternoon to get to Cuscu at a reasonable hour... that gives a day and a half in Machu Picchu... Again... all of the above arrest our thoughts

Please let the people in Lima and Cusco know what a terrific time we had and that we appreciate all that they did for us, sickness, delayed planes and just every little thing that we asked of them they did for us. Can't wait for you to plan our next adventure.

Also, the letter I sent you yesterday about Sheyla and Jose Carlos, I would like you to forward to the Cusco office... Hope this wasn't too wordy... Best Regards... Jane and Tom



We couldn't have asked for a better eight days...

-- Jane and Thomas Lundy


To: Cc:
Subject: Florin Lundy trip 7/15-7/24
Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2008, 12:52 PM

Now that we are back home in New York, we wanted to take the opportunity to let you know what an amzing time we had in Peru. We couldn't have asked for a better eight days. Everyone from Lima to Cusco went above and beyond to make this a trip we will long remember. We wanted to make special mention of our fantastic guide, Sheyla Robles, and driver, Jose Carlos Ordonez. Sheyla had so much information, but beyond that took such good care of us... especially when one by one we were getting sick. She truly is an Inca treasure. Jose Carlos was charming and an excellent driver. We always felt safe as he drove up and down your steep and winding roads. Yours is a very professional organization and we will recommend you highly to our friends. We look forward to planning another trip in the future with our contact, Martin, in New York. Warmest regards to everyone in your Cusco office especially Sheyla, Jose Carlos and Maria.



There are not enough words to say how fantastic the trip was...

-- Jane & Thomas Lundy


Date: Sun, Jul 27, 2008, 7:17 PM

There are not enough words to say how fantastic the trip was... this week I promise to sit down and write in detail about everything, including a very, very few suggestions... Can't thank all of you enough for making this an experience we will cherish forever... your staff throughout Peru is outstanding... especially Shelia and our wonderful driver Juan Carlos... both were amazing... until later in the week.... Thanks so very much.

Jane and Tommy



Above and beyond the call of duty...

-- Steve & Roberta Florin


Subject: fast update
Date: Thu, Jul 24, 2008, 12:15 PM

Our flight was cancelled last night due to mechanical problems.

We called Ofelia -- she meet us at the airport (well, well after midnight) and made arrangements for a driver to pick us up and take us back to the Miraflores Park Hotel. She was with us all the time!!! Never once did she feel this was an inconvenience. She only wanted to tend to our needs. She went above and beyond the call of duty.

The Miraflores Park Hotel could not have been more accommodating and understanding. They arranged for a late check out -- 4 pm -- and then went even further and changed the late check out from 4 to 6 pm. They certainly did not have to and we did not ask -- they just did it. this hotel gives the entire hospitality industry an A plus, and they stand at the apex of the industry. I humbly suggest that all of your clients should stay here!!





You have always been more than accommodating to our needs

and have always acted with our best interests in mind...

-- Steve & Roberta Florin


Date: Wed, Jul 16, 2008, 6:55 PM


Greatly appreciated. You have always been more than accommodating to our needs and have always acted with our best interests in mind.

Take care,




A sensually delightful and mentally stimulating journey...

-- Jenny and Trevor Tomkins


From: "Jenny Tomkins" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Our Peruvian Journey
Date: Sun, Jun 29, 2008, 2:42 PM

Dear Martin,

It has taken us a few days to get our feet back on the ground and ourselves into gear again after our engrossing and delightful travels in Peru.

We have already completed the in-country survey but wanted to drop you a line too -- to thank you for all the thought and planning that went into making our travels so smooth and enjoyable.

Machu Picchu was, of course, a highlight -- the site itself and its spectacular mountain setting. Another favorite place was Sillustani, for its total serenity, though we were distressed that the Peruvian government is not adequately protecting the site, which is somewhat vandalized.

We were also distressed by the poverty and environmental degradation we witnessed in Juliaca; clearly Peru still faces major social challenges. (Indeed, we felt that it was barely recovering from the Spanish invasion!! I am sure that Inca society would be difficult adjustment for a highly individualistic Westerner to make, but Trevor and I ended up very much admiring much about that society and mourning its destruction. In particular, we admired their amazing agricultural know-how, their dedication to feeding and caring for all the people of their empire, whether Inca or not. And, of course, we were over-awed by their architectural accomplishments. Spanish churches did not thrill us so much...

For me, another highlight was the museums we visited in Lima. I was entranced by the pottery and by the textiles.

Our guides were all excellent in their different ways. We particularly appreciated Efrain's extensive knowledge of Peru's history and culture (all were well-informed, but we felt he stood out in this respect); we enjoyed Edison's lively personality and knowledge of the topography around Machu Picchu; and we appreciated Angel's thoughfulness. The transfer staff were excellent too; we enjoyed meeting Maria and Ofelia -- we were sorry to have to drag her out of bed so early on the last day and would have been pleased to get ourselves to the airport by taxi to avoid that.

The hotels were all first class. Indeed the Monastario may have spoiled us for life. We were so impressed by the ambiance, the breakfasts, and the excellence of the staff.

We have only one slight and very personal criticism. We both felt a little "force fed". Trevor and I both love to eat and consider ourselves to be very knowledgeable about food. We loved the breakfasts but would have much preferred to have a very light meal at midday. It was impossible to do justice to three large meals daily. I would have liked some bread, cheese and fruit at lunch or dinner each day. Sadly I never felt hungy enough to enjoy the food, except, as I said, for the wonderful breakfasts. (By the time we reached Puno, we had all resorted to ordering plain spaghetti for dinner each evening.) I also began to feel by the end of the trip that the seasonings and menu offerings were beginning to be a little too "familiar".

One other very minor annoyance was that at the Libertador we had a "tourist menu" unceremoniously thrust at us when we sat down to dinner the first evening. This offering was visually unappealiing and didn't have anything on it that we particularly wanted to eat (i.e., no spaghetti!;-)). A first the maitre d protested when we asked for the full menu but, in his defense, after that meal they always brought us the full menu and didn't charge extra for our nightly pasta -- no doubt well under our daily dining allowance!

As I said, that is a minor quibble. Overall, we had a sensually delightful and mentally stimulating journey and we offer everyone at Inka's Empire Tours our thanks.


Jenny and Trevor Tomkins



Far and away better than anything that Abercrombie & Kent can offer...

-- Dr. Walter & Sharon Davisson


From: "Walter/Sharon Davisson" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Re: INKA'S: MY THANKS...
Date: Mon, Jun 23, 2008, 1:31 PM

Dear Martin,

I am down at my Sarasota home and am catching up on email. I will respond to your question comparing your operation to A&K.

Your personalized approach is far and away better than anything that A&K can offer because of their large size and corporate mentality.

Your prices and flexibility are far better.

Your concern for tour inadequacies are genuine and rapidly rectified.

Your choices of accommodations, restaurants, tour stops, and in-country agencies are better.

Your personalization of tours for customers cannot be matched by A&K.

I would be happy to serve as a positive voice for you if any future customers have doubts or questions that they would like answered by a third party.





It is the ultimate bonding experience. We will never forget it...

-- Michael, Lisa, Charles & Anne Coleman


From: Lisa Coleman <>

To: Martin Haggland <>


Date: Sat, Jun 21, 2008, 10:41 AM

Oh my gosh!!! That defies description! The trek was definitely challenging; far more strenuous than we had imagined, but we rose to the challenge and were unbelievably pleased with ourselves for making it through every day and even arriving earlier than our guide thought we would. Edison said we surprised him that we pushed ourselves as much as we did. Our kids had NO problems, though they said it was tough, too. The days were happily exhausting; the scenery was beyond imagination; the food and service were unbelievable; the tents, sleeping bags, equipment was top drawer.

Two regrets: never saw a condor and the mosquitoes!

I would definitely tell future guests to bring STRONG insect repellent and perhaps encourage them to take B6/B12 complex before visiting to try to deflect the little buggers.

What else can I tell you? All the Inca sites were amazing. As you know, once we returned to Lima we felt we had had our fill of antiquities once you see the ruins in person, museum visits pale by comparison. So we opted to take a tour of modern Peru and drive through the commercial district and the colonial part of town. Nelida was an AMAZING, flexible, knowledgeable guide. She knows EVERYTHING about Peruvian history. This was the perfect counterpoint to the 5-day idyll of our trek.

I will send you a couple of photos, so you can see what we look like! Please let me know what else I can provide. The trip was almost sensory overload and it just now is sinking in HOW MUCH we really saw, did, experienced. And, the most special part of the trip has to be the time our family spent together just talking, laughing, teasing, challenging one another. Our children are 17 and 19 not too many more years where just the 4 of us can be together. This was the PERFECT experience to share. I have told this to ALL my friends who have children at these ages. It is the ultimate bonding experience.

We will never forget it.


See all of the correspondence.



We cannot trust A&K to do what they say they will do...

-- Sharon Davisson


From: "Walter/Sharon Davisson" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Re: INKA'S: MY THANKS...
Date: Thu, Jun 19, 2008, 9:52 AM

Martin -- my reply -- We cannot trust A&K to do what they say they will do, even tho it is part of the itinerary. We will not deal with them in the future.

Your tour was as promised -- no stress or anxiety about sticking to the plan. I did tell the guides that I needed 1/2 hr or 1 hr at a marketplace and they were very accommodating.

And thank you for the suggestion that I buy a sweater early on. I lived in that sweater.

I liked our guide in Quito (Sheyla). She was young, very accommodating, didn't know the amt of rainfall per year in Quito but was overall very acceptable.

I thought the Hotel Monasterio was wonderful and would not have wanted to stay anywhere else. I trust you have been there.

Maria came back to walk us across the street to the museum for dinner. That was unnecessary but impressive.

I don't know what was romantic about the Alta. It was a good boat and we were well taken care of. I thought the A&K boat was going to the same places we were -- it was much bigger and looked very modern. Didn't have an opportunity to talk to any of the A&K passengers. Our boat was fun -- we were the only "Yanks".

Did you know Quasar was chartering flights for the Galapagos? That was the reason for the time changes for our flights to/from the island.

It seemed that the info itinerary was not as precise in Quito as in Peru. Karla thought the carriage ride was in the day, your itinerary said it was after dinner. No big deal but imprecise. Actually, we didn't want to wait the 20 minutes or so for the carriage ride as weather was cold and it had rained.

Onto the important stuff -- Do you arrange trips to BA or other places in SA?




The tour overall was a great experience. I would highly recommend it...

-- Dr. Walter Davisson


From: "srdjpw" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Tue, Jun 10, 2008, 11:16 AM

Buenos Dias Martin,

The trip went fine. I have all my notes available with my ratings and impressions of all tour arrangements. I will be happy to discuss the trip with you at your convenience....




We have so many wonderful memories...

-- Nancy & Joseph Costa


From: "Nancy M. Costa" <ncosta@....>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Sun, May 4, 2008, 1:42 PM

Martin -- we are just back from our Inka's Empire tour and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the trip -- it exceeded our expectations in every way -- the accommodations, the meals, the tours. Most of all, the personal service we received by everyone was outstanding.

We completed a comprehensive feedback form before we left Lima and gave the trip an overall rating of A+.

I would like to specifically mention the guides we had -- they were each unique and made our experiences very special -- Cesar in Lima, Raul in Arequipa, Sheyla in Cusco and Felix in Puno. Raul is a very impressive bird watcher and helped Joe identify many species of birds. We saw seven condors at Colca Canyon -- Raul knew just where to stand to get the best views of the birds. Sheyla made Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and Cusco magical places. Joe will never forget his 60th birthday at Machu Piccho -- we saw a double rainbow and an incredible sunset. The boat cruise with Felix on Lake Titicaca was a perfect day. Our final lunch with Cesar at Astrid y Gaston was so delicious.

I would also like to mention our transfer agents who really took great care -- Ofelia in Lima, Gladys in Arequipa and Maria in Cusco. Gladys was very helpful when Joe did not feel well and helped us adjust our itinerary. Maria arranged a "royal" welcome for us at the Monastario -- we were received in the Chapel, not the hotel lobby. We felt so special.

I could go on and on about all of our adventures and experiences. We have so many wonderful memories thanks to you and Inka's Empire Tours. Please pass this note on to your local Peruvian tour operators, with our sincere thanks for all they did for us.

We will absolutely recommend Inka's to our friends and hope to be a repeat customer in the future when we visit the Amazon and the Galapagos...

Nancy and Joseph Costa



It was truly a trip of a lifetime for our family...

-- Mark & Nancy Jaffe


From: "Nancy Jaffe" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Thu, Mar 13, 2008, 4:03 PM

Martin, Ive tried to answer everything for you!

This was the first time we have ever had help planning a trip, and I am so glad I did choose to go with you and Inka's. We got so much more out of the trip than we would have had Mark and I tried to do the driving and the daily planning and the restaurant choices, etc. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for our family, which is just what I wanted. It didn't hurt the boys to be bored a bit, by things that they will always remember and may someday appreciate having seen, and on the last day, when Nate said that his brain was on over-load and he just needed to go home, I knew that was true and I was glad he had taken so much in!

Thanks again, Martin, for the fruit, chocolates, and flowers in our rooms, for our Pisco Sours at each meal, and for all the thought you put into trip planning. There wasn't a bad hotel room or a bad meal in two weeks! Well done!

-- Nancy

See all of the letter.



I can't praise the guides enough...

-- Mark & Nancy Jaffe


From: "Nancy Jaffe" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Sun, Mar 9, 2008, 1:18 PM


The trip was fabulous. No complaints, except we could have used more time in the Galapagos, as you suggested. Thank goodness we made the effort to get there for the whole 4 days of the cruise...

We loved the Coral I and our naturalist, John, and the other passengers were great. We were so sad to leave after 4 days. I had read somewhere that the boat is musty and old; we found it very nice, and the crew was excellent. No wish went ungranted, and we had lots of excursions...

Thanks, Martin, for everything. Although it was expensive I can't imagine doing this trip any other way. We saved so much time having the guides and the routes all planned out, the tickets purchased and the parking taken care of. You can't put a value on having someone watch your things while you are off taking pictures or taking a hike. I would not hesitate to recommend Inka's to anybody, especially families with teenagers.



See all of the letter.



We had a great week here in Peru...

-- Sabine & Peter Bommeli


From: Sabine Bommeli-Jakovickis <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Sun, Mar 9, 2008, 9:18 AM

Hi Martin,

we are sitting in the Country Club in Lima, ready to leave for Buenos Aires. We had a great week here in Peru -- outstanding tour guides, and with the Monasterio and the Country Club two excellent hotels. If you would like to, we'll will send you some more impressions about our days here.

Thank you for your great organization!

Sabine & Peter Bommeli



The trip exceeded our expectations in almost every respect...

-- Andrew & Maggie Lund


From: "Andrew Lund" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Re: INKA'S: BON VOYAGE...
Date: Mon, Feb 25, 2008, 1:05 PM

Hello Martin

I promised to give you more feedback once we got home. I'm sorry it has taken a while -- there's a lot to do after a five weeks absence!

As I said to you earlier, the trip exceeded our expectations in almost every respect. We were particularly impressed by the logistics -- all the pickups were bang on time, and all the people we met were very attentive. We were impressed to receive several phone calls checking that all was well, which indeed it was. I asked for help with online check-in for a flight which you hadn't arranged for us, and your people couldn't have been more helpful, even though they needn't have gotten involved with that aspect.

The people in Cusco were especially good. They clearly understood how AMS can affect us lowland dwellers. Their concern for our health was most reassuring, and their remedies really worked. Manuel, our outstandingly good guide, took particularly good care of us and was very sensitive to our needs at all times. He worked at the relationship with great skill over the five days he was with us, and we had a great time. The guy is a real gem.

This is not to detract in any way from any of the others who served us. We couldn't have asked for more. There was very little to criticise, but I know you are a perfectionist, so i will just mention a couple of points.

Inka Grill in Cusco was a disappointment. Dowdy surroundings and a poor choice of menu.

We thought the included menus in the hotel restaurants were below average. The staff couldn't seem to understand the concept of upgrading. Why not give a monetary allowance for each meal which the client could set against the actual cost. This would make it possible to select from the full menu if the set choices were not acceptable.

I would struggle to find fault with anything else. Many thanks and congratulations for a job well done. Peru is a delightful country. We thoroughly enjoyed pretty well everything about the place.

With best regards




Our guides and drivers were very pleasant, helpful and informative...

-- Helen & Morton Fleshler


From: "Helen Fleshler" <>

To: "Martin Haggland" <>

Subject: Our Trip to Peru

Date: Mon, Feb 18, 2008, 9:37 PM

Dear Martin: We arrived home on Thursday after our 15 day trip to Peru. We were very pleased with our accommodations throughout our trip and found the food to be too plentiful and excellent in its quality and presentation. Our guides and drivers were very pleasant, helpful and informative and those who met us at the airport were also very helpful and pleasant. We were fortunate in that although it is the rainy season we actually saw very little rain. I have one major recommendation which I think is a very important one. Going from sea level (Lima) to Cusco by plane is a difficult transition because of the altitude. But to then have to tour on the day we arrive in Cusco to heights of 12, 500 ft. was not very pleasant and actually caused some illness that evening. Luckily it passed by the next day, but I believe it would be more advisable to go to the Sacred Valley which is actually lower than Cusco rather than to Chinchero. I also think that exerting effort in touring on that day is definitely not a good plan. Other than that, everything went very smoothly and we definitely enjoyed the trip. I wish to thank you for helping us to plan a very comprehensive trip to such a beautiful country.


Helen Fleshler



It was absolutely brilliant...

-- Linda & Elhanan .


From: Linda Streit <>
Date: Sat, Feb 9, 2008, 8:53 PM

Dear Martin, It was absolutely brilliant, but I want to give you a real blow-by-blow account, which I'll do when I'm back home. Fantastic trip, exceeded all my expectations, thanks for organising a great holiday... too many highlights to tell you about!

All the best, Linda

See all of the letter.



Everything was amazing...

Edwin Upson & Jessica Sklute


From: "J. Edwin Upson" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Wed, Jan 9, 2008, 6:36 PM

HI Martin;

Everything was amazing. I will reply in the next day or so with some details for you

Thanks again;


See all of the letter.



We'll never forget the dedicated service you gave us...

-- Roni Berger, PhD


From: Roni Berger" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: 'Tis the Season...
Date: Thu, Dec 20, 2007, 10:23 PM

Thank you Martin; you too. We'll never forget the dedicated service you gave us. Hope to organize more trips with your help.

Roni Berger, PhD LCSW



Absolutely terrific!! It could not have been better!

-- Renée Addison


From: renée addison <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Subject: Re: 'Tis the Season...
Date: Thu, Dec 20, 2007, 11:59 PM

Hi Martin

Feliz Navidad to you as well and a very happy New Year.

I was extremely remiss in not emailing when I returned from Peru last winter but I hope its not too late to tell you that the short 3-day stay you arranged for me at the Country Club of Lima was absolutely terrific!! It could not have been better! Many Thanks!


Renée Addison



I absolutely loved Napo Wildlife Center...

-- Bonnie Pelnar


From: Under Watercolours <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Sat, Dec 15, 2007, 7:32 PM

Hi Martin,

I'm back. We had a fantastic trip. I absolutely loved Napo Wildlife Center and I'm hoping to lead some bird watching trips there in the future. What a wonderful place! Our guide Andres was absolutely fantastic and really made the trip for us. I got some great shots!

I'll be writing up a trip report for my website when I have time.




Our guide was knowledgeable. We enjoyed him immensely...

-- Jeanne & Bill Downey


To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Fri, Dec 14, 2007, 7:27 PM

Hi Martin,

We're sitting in Houston waiting for our final flight home. Enjoyed Napo much more than we thought we would. Wasn't so sure about the 2 hr. dugout canoe ride, especially when we found out we had to get up at 4:30 am the next morning and do it again on the way to the parrot clay lick, but the more we did it, the more enjoyable it became. Saw both parrot clay licks, 2 kinds of monkeys close up, caymans, lots of birds, a tapir, heard marching wasps (freaky!), army ants, etc. Our guide, Andreas, was knowledgeable and a very good guide--we enjoyed him immensely. The center is beautiful, especially looking at it from the water. Sixto (?), the native guide, was also very good, he was amused when our interpretations of what we thought he was telling us were totally off base. My husband and I did this tour to push our envelope a bit, and that's what happened in a very positive way. We also enjoyed the dinner at the restaurant the evening of our return to Quito, something we weren't expecting to be included. I will be writing a positive for Trip Advisor about NWC. Thanks for setting everything up.

Jeanne & Bill Downey




-- K. Ebel & S. Root


From: K. Ebel...
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Thu, Nov 29, 2007, 11:17 AM

Hi Martin,

We're back and our trip was FANTASTIC!!! I have to get settled here, but we can chat maybe early next week. I know you still have to get back home again from California. We LOVED the Explora(s) so, SO much! I am so glad we went there. They're fabulous and we met so many wonderful people. Honestly, I am glad the Awasi didn't work out -- half the fun was doing the "explorations" with the different guides and the guests.

Mom said she spoke with you yesterday. Thanks for chatting with her! Believe it or not, our flight from Santiago was 2 hours delayed, we got into JFK late and we missed the return flight to Boston, too. We ended up getting on a 2:20 flight, so we never got home here till after 6pm.

Hope you had fun in California.

K. Ebel & S. Root

See all of the letter.



I have to commend you in your meticulous organization of the trip...

-- Marcia & Debra Shuwarger


Subject: our galapagos vacation
Date: Fri, Nov 9, 2007, 7:18 PM

Hi Martin, Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you regarding our wonderful trip to the Galapagos. We had a great time and it exceeded our expectations. The boat was quaint and had a lot of character. We met up with a group that had been traveling on the boat for a week who were from England. They were a fun group and made the trip very interesting. The downside of meeting them after they had been traveling around the islands for a week was that we did not visit sides of island that they had already been to. We did not go to the Darwin Center as well as the first night on the boat we traveled almost 12 hours straight to get to the other side of the Galapagos. That was a very difficult initiation to sailing and the water was really rough. The crew on the boat was friendly but only the guide spoke English. With his broken accent, it was a little difficult understanding him. But the crew was outstanding, the food decent, and the ship was kept clean. We knew ahead of time that the accommodations were small but we managed. I highly recommend this company and crew for future tourists who want to visit the Galapagos on a small boat.

As far as our experiences in Quito, the guide and driver provided to us were terrific. The guide was knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to help in all ways. The driver was on time and helpful to us getting around the city. From beginning to end, we felt safe in their hands. Both were flexible in adhering to our itinerary and showed us a great time.

Our accommodations were very comfortable. We enjoyed Villa Colonna and the gentlemen who run it. We wish we had more time to enjoy their beautiful bed and breakfast. You already know that there was a mix up in our documents at the beginning of the trip but Toppsa took care of it seamlessly. I have to commend you in your meticulous organization of the trip and that every detail was considered. I felt that you took every precaution you could with two women traveling alone and we felt at ease everywhere we went. We ate at some fabulous restaurants in Quito and have no hesitation recommending them to your future clients.

Thanks again for providing our family with another wonderful vacation. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Maybe one of these days we can meet when we're visiting Ryan in New York. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Marcia Shuwarger



The hotels were absolutely wonderful...

-- Gregg & Ellen Hardy


From: "the Hardys" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Tue, Oct 30, 2007, 10:44 AM

Martin, Thanks for keeping in close touch about our trip. We did, indeed, have a wonderful time.

Gregg rarely gets sick at home and we have been most fortunate not to be ill on trips -- but he was sick for parts of this adventure.

I must say that we only missed one afternoon at Machu Picchu because he could not go much more. Sheila was absolutely wonderful. She was very kind and understanding and felt bad for him, as I did. She had an excellent knowledge of the ruins, the plant life and all the surroundings.

Ofelia, in Lima, was also very good with us. She knew the city and was great taking us shopping (for me) the last day. We thought the restaurant Fusion was going to be too heavy at lunch, but it was delicious.

I am sorry about the misunderstanding about dinner the last night. We were not sure if we had time to eat in the restaurant, with it opening at 7:30 and we had to leave for the airporet at 9:00 pm. We did not know about room service for dinner. Thank you for any compensation.

The hotels were absolutely wonderful. Being in such a third world country, the hotels you chose were beautiful and some of the best we have ever experienced.

We think the Machu Picchu Pueblo was such a better place to stay than the Sanctuary. It would have been nice to stay at the Sanctuary, if sunrise would not have been cloudy, but the grounds at the Pueblo were so fantastic with all the tropical plant life. I did go on a short orchid walk while Gregg was resting. (I loved it!!) We enjoyed the hummingbird "fights" on the feeders outside our room.

The Monasterio in Cuzco was fabulous. Such a beautiful hotel. We did not have altitude headaches, only GI problems. We did take Diamox, and probably that helped us.

The Sol y Luna was a beautiful setting, we needed more time to enjoy it's grounds.

The Country Lima was also very elegant. The room and bathroom were very spacious and the hotel was beauriful.

Gregg could not fully enjoy the food, but it was delicious when we could eat.

We also enjoyed Eduardo in Puno. He was very unique. He knew all the locals, their family and even their dogs. He was a very good guide and we really enjoyed him. All of the drivers were extremely polite and courteous and could not have nicer. It was great not to have to figure out road maps or have to find taxis.

The ten hour train ride from Cuzco to Puno was long and somewhat boring. The experience of the train was fun, but long. It was nicer the last day to take the shorter plane ride thru Cuzco back to Lima.

In all, it was a wonderful, unforgettable trip, made especially easy by being met at each destination by a kind, knowledgeable guide and driver.

Thank you so much for such good planning and making the experience easy and effortless on our part. We were indeed spoiled.

Gregg and Ellen Hardy



We felt well taken care of, pampered...

-- Ursula & Chris Ekren


From: thomas ekren <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Tue, Oct 9, 2007, 9:23 PM

Hello Martin! Thank you for your welcome greeting. I only looked at it tonight. The Wednesday after our return one of my dogs became ill, and on Friday I had to take him for an emergency surgery to Oklahoma City -- superior surgeon, very good facilities. My rascal dog is back again, as naughty as ever.

Thank you for all your planning! Everything went very well. We liked our hotels. At the Country Club the staff was attentive, friendly. The setting of the Pakaritampu was beautiful, our rooms spacious, quiet. In Cajamarca, the Posada is a lovely, peaceful place. We had a large room with a gorgeous view; there were three Old English Sheepdogs guarding sheep, flowers, a meadow. No horses. I am glad that we opted for the mountain view rooms at Machu Picchu. The Monasterio is special; again, attentive staff, beautiful flowers.

We found Cajamarca and the countryside very interesting; the drive to Cumbe Mayo, watching farmers at work. You had to search for tourists. At the posada there was only one other couple, and our guide mentioned that she had had four tours only during this season.

As you had stated, Pachacamac is all a ruin, with the one reconstraction as an exception. And yet. If you know its history and use imagination, the ruin can come to life. You walk up that pile of sand and there is the green-grey ocean, the niches, benches. For us it was a worthwhile experience. As was the whole trip.

You can see photos, but you do not realize the scale. Scale, in particular, applies to Machu Picchu.

About our guides. The lady in Lima was the best. Kika. Her English was excellent. She was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Ofelia met us at the airport and took us back; she was not the guide; however, Ofelia knows her archaeology and was helpful in warning me that at the National Museum a gallery was closed that exhibited the textiles. So we skipped that museum and went to Barranco. Our guide in Cajamarca, Fany, I believe, tried very hard and was patient with me on our walk to Cumbe Mayor. We were not sure whether she always understood our conversation at lunch. No criticism of her, though. To be perfect in a foreign language you must use it all the time.

I liked the two ladies in Cusco. I cannot recall their names at this moment. We had a great dinner conversation the last evening with Mary, your representative. In Cusco, Chris did not feel well and developed altitude sickness in the afternoon; he just slept. He had been all right previously, except for one minor headache episode. Perhaps we should not have had oxygen at night? It is a theory mentioned by someone we met. Durng daytime your body adjusts to a certain oxygen level. Then at night readjustment. Next day less oxygen.? In Lima, Chris was fine again.

Chris did not take any medication against altitude sickness; I did after Cajamarca because when walking toward Cumbe Mayor, I did not have enough energy and my head felt strange. I decided not to walk up Ollantaytambo so I would not develop any problems, and I did not want to slow Chris down.

The Chinchero weavers. I did not care for their colors nor the stripe patterns. I am sorry. The sweaters were of poor quality. I purchased a small runner, shades of light brown; not expensive; it was meant as a token, something for their economy. Now, I found a more interesting weaver in Ollantaytambo, in the narrow street on the way to somebody's home. This weaver copies old patterns. I recognized a Wari design near the door. Her prices were around three hundred dollars for a square yard. I mention this if you should arrange a trip for someone who collects textiles. I am not a collector.

Let me know if you have specific questions. The drivers were very good, careful. The restaurants. The first day in Lima, the lunch near the ruins, in the ruins. A very good chef. Also the dinner that night. The tasting menu for lunch the last day in Lima was a disappointment. Appetizers, ok. The fish, very good. The breast of duck, no way. Strawberry preserves with it and a mixture with no flavor. It so happened that I had ordered breast of duck at Primo (check Zagat) in Rockland, or Rockport, in Maine -- now, that was superb! Let someone from InkaNatura try it. It was an interestng lunch because of the ambiance. Minimal decor, white walls.

I must stop now. Any particular questions, let me know. If someone would like a recommendation, I would be glad to talk to them, and it would be nothing but excellent, don't worry, go and stay longer! I never worried about pickpockets.

Thank you very much for everything. The execution was perfect, as promised. Do excuse my typos. Tell future travellers that we felt well taken care of, pampered; everything was thought out and taken care of.

Thank you! Ursula Ekren



I could not praise enough the bio program in Manu and our guide...

-- Dr. Roni Berger


From: "Roni Berger" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Re: INKA'S: IT'S TRUE...
Date: Wed, Sep 5, 2007, 3:27 PM


Thank you for all your help with organizing an unforgettable trip and adjusting to all the changes. Once we got there, the trip was great. Our guide was nice, knowledgeable, fluent in English and very flexible and responsive to all our requests. She was a very intense young woman, so this was a match made in heaven. I cannot praise her enough, and we are very grateful to you. The plan was rich -- a lot of hiking, birding, boating, animal observation, good accomodation, excellent food -- in short -- I could not praise enough the bio program in Manu and our guide. The meal in Cusco was AMAZING. Thank you!!! It was a nice and generous surprise after the challenge presented by getting there.

Roni Berger, PhD LCSW



Thank you for organizing such a wonderful trip for us...

-- Dan Berger


From: "Dan Berger" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Sun, Aug 26, 2007, 4:33 PM

Martin, thank you for organizing such a wonderful trip for us.




Had a great time...

-- Jane & Caroline King


Date: Wed, Aug 1, 2007, 9:06 PM

Dear Martin - had a great time - details to follow - and thanks! Best - Jane and Caroline



Diving with hammer sharks was sublime...

-- Marc LeBel & Aurélie Papillon


From: "marclebel" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Mon, Jul 16, 2007, 7:00 PM

Hi Martin,

Galapagos were fabulous. Anahi was superb! Caso Asilo was also excellent.

Diving with hammer sharks was sublime.





Our tour was a to die for trip...

-- Marcia Strouss


From: "Marcia Strouss" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Fri, Mar 30, 2007, 12:03 PM

Hi Martin:

Overall, our tour was a to die for trip. Napo Wildlife was flawless. The hotel in Quito was great! The little Italian restaurant around the corner was real nice too (La Briciola). Patricio and Alex from Toppsa were very helpful. The Coral I was nice. Crew and guides were real nice. Food was ok and accommodations a bit tired (bathrooms smelled). Yet, we loved the smallness and things like jumping off the boat. The excursions were great! After comparing the excursions from Coral I and what we could do out of the Royal Palm, I feel the boat is the way to do it. It is difficult getting onto an island unless you are from a cruise boat that has pangas and permission. The Royal Palm had an exquisite setting and the accommodations were first class. Wait staff and reception staff were very helpful...


PS I will try to forward you a few pictures when I have worked out the bugs on my software.

Thanks again. I have given your name to a friend who is interested in the Galapagos next March.



We truly loved the experiences that we had in Ecuador and in Peru...

-- Julie Miller-Soros, Michael Soros & Joshua Soros


From: "Julie Miller-Soros" <>
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2007, 11:06 AM

Thank you Martin. Also, my husband was mistaken about the tips during the trip! I did read your tip guide, but I chose to tip more because the guides and drivers were so good and I know how they struggle to survive. I wanteed to overtip so it really was not a problem! Please know that we truly loved the experiences that we had in Ecuador and in Peru. Thank you again for all your help and concern and thank you for actually listening to our comments!




Service, people, hotels and choices were good...

-- Michael Soros


Notes from a telephone conversation with Michael Soros on 26 March 2007:

"Great trip! You anticipated everything. Loved Casa Aliso and Gonzalo, our guide in Quito. Service, people, hotels and choices were good..."



The tour was fabulous and we absolutely loved everything...

-- Julie Miller-Soros, Michael Soros & Joshua Soros


From: "Julie Miller-Soros" <>
Date: Sat, Mar 24, 2007, 3:41 PM

Hi Martin,

The tour was fabulous! We all had a wonderful time, but we/I am exhausted from the trip!!!! I think we may have been a little too busy and we didn't have enough down time to rest! BUT, the tour was fabulous and we absolutely loved everything.

Feedback: I'll go place by place -

Quito - Guide (Gonzolo) and driver (Patricio) were great and we enjoyed the tours and the museums, and the equator, etc.... Lunches were fine, but the dinners were only mediocre. Casa Aliso was a wonderful hotel and I'm glad we stayed there.

Airport transfer from Quito to Guayaquil - fine - it went well.

Galapagos Explorer II - good - our suite was perfect and the boat was fine. All excursions and activities were interesting and good. Food was okay: breakfast and lunch buffets okay and dinners were better.

Guayaquil to Lima - transfer from boat was fine and person who met us in Guayaquil airport was helpful and good.

Arrival in Lima - Mariella met us at the airport. She is NOT good! She is not helpful enough and she is not as warm as any of the other guides, drivers, or people. This is a second job for her and it shows that she is not trained for it and she doesn't care enough about the job. She was not good as she was not helpful or warm or sensitive to our needs. The other guide (Alberto) and the driver (Alberto) in Lima were great - fine and we enjoyed the Country Club Hotel and everything we visited in Lima. But, we did too much: we could have left out the Japanese museum of artifacts and weavings because we saw everything in the earlier museum and it was tiring to go to another museum late afternoon. Meals were all good in Lima.

Lima to Cuzco - again Mariella was not a good person to do the airport transfer, but everything else was fine.

Cuzco - guide (Maria and Sheila) and driver were EXCELLENT. Maria, Sheila and the driver were great. They were all very sensitive to our needs and how we felt in the altitude, etc.... We loved them and we loved being in Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Pisaq, the weaving demonstration, etc....and the Sol y Luna was wonderful. All meals were good and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Machu Picchu - GREAT and very glad that we still had the same guide: Sheila. She was wonderful and she was very flexible and accomodating of our needs. Our son truly enjoyed that Sheila was willing to take him on a difficult hike in the early morning. Sanctuary Lodge was wonderful and meals were great.

Back to Cuzco - Still with Sheila - Great. Also, Maria met us and she was great too. Maria even accomodated Josh so he could photograph inside the museum early in the morning before it even opened! We were all very happy with the great treatment we received here. Meals in Cuzco were very good especially the Incanto Restaurant. We were not very impressed with the last night buffet meal and folklore show at Tunupa Restaurant as it was too touristy for us and we were very tired by then. Also, we're just not very fond of buffets, but it was okay. We loved everything we saw and experienced in Cuzco though and we loved the Monasterio Hotel. This was a great choice and we needed the oxygen in the room!

Cuzco back to Lima - airport transfer was fine. All went well. Alberto picked us up in Lima and showed us a little more on our way to the hotel. We were tired and chose to rest in Lima instead of touring. Lunch and dinner were good and it was great to have a room at the hotel for the day!

Again, Mariella was not very good when she took us to dinner and to the airport to leave. She just isn't right for the job. Sorry, but I know you would want to know this so...............

Anyway, all in all, our trip was fabulous and we loved it. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DID. Your efforts showed as our experience was great. Thanks.




Positively memorable...

-- Brian Bernier


From: "" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Sat, Mar 17, 2007, 11:29 PM

Hi Martin- I just returned home safely with Wes, Troy and Caroline, Marcia and Sam are at Royal Palm. I wanted to tell you that we had an extraordinary time in Quito and the Galapagos. Your efforts over the past several months made out trip easy and therefore positively memorable. Simply stated, "we had a wonderful time". We are determined to return and when we do I am sure we will be getting in touch with you.





We truly had a wonderful trip...

-- Thomas, Beverly & Elizabeth Marlow


Date: Fri, Feb 23, 2007, 6:23 PM

Martin Hello --

Thanks so much for all the arrangements you made. Every step was as planned. Sabrina was an outstanding representative of the Rapa Nui community. We truly had a wonderful trip and learned a lot. The tour length was perfect -- we did everything we wanted to do -- and it was more than one could do in a day or two.

Thanks again, be sure that we will recommend your organization to anyone interested in Easter Island.




I had a marvelous visit to Santiago and Easter Island...

-- Prudence Noon


From: Prudy <>

To: Martin Haggland <>


Date: Wed, Feb 21, 2007, 9:58 PM

Dear Martin,

Just to let you know that the Marlows and I had a marvelous visit to Santiago and Easter Island. All of the conections were very prompt and the guides were knowledgeable, affable, accommodating, and reliable. We decided to cancel the horseback ride because of potential rainfall, but our tour was just as enjoyable without that addition. Thank you for all of your capable assistance.





Your company is wonderfully organized, professional and punctual!

-- Renée Addison


January 18, 2007

Ofelia was a superb guide! I was especially pleased to see her waiting right at the front of the crowd with my name in big letters when I arrived in Lima at 4:00 in the morning after a long flight! Manuel is a superb driver, especially in the crazy Lima traffic! The transportation was excellent and exceptionally comfortable! Your company is wonderfully organized, professional and punctual!

Renée Addison



It was truly an exciting and enjoyable vacation...

-- Fred & Gail Hooper


January 7, 2007

Hi Martin,

We are sharing these experiences with you because you had been so helpful and insightful in setting up the trip for us that we thought we would let you know where everything was perfect and as expected and where things are a bit different than what we expected. Again, we had a wonderful time and felt well taken care of because of your extensive planning.


Fred & Gail Hooper

See all of the letter.



Many Kisses...

-- Cristina & Vincenzo Ferrigno


From: "" <>

To: <>

Subject: Honeymoon

Date: Tue, Jan 9, 2007, 10:04 AM

Dear Martin,

I am in Italy.......!!! The trip was fantastic....all o.k. But the tour in Galapagos was different than your description and in Quito two restaurants were closed, and we went to others.

So, thank you for this beautiful trip.

The next time in Peru.

Many Kisses,




One of our best trips ever...

-- Ed & Linda Hagen, Vincent & Carol Sideli


From: "Edward Hagen" <>
Date: Sat, Nov 18, 2006, 9:43 AM

Hi Martin

The trip went very well and we were quite pleased. We especially enjoyed Peru and the expert and enthusiastic guides we had there.

The Alta provided high quality service but was noisy with much vibration in transit. Not always comfortable.

The suggested tip on the Alta was $120 per person for the crew - higher than anticipated. If you do not have sufficient cash to tip and/or pay for the extras, they take credit cards, but charge an additional 12%!! You need to alert participants to this fact.

In summary, one of our best trips ever.

Ed Hagen



Jim and I have discussed at length the wonderful time we had in Peru...

-- Kristen & James Policy


From: "Kristen Policy" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Nov 6, 2006, 12:48 PM

Hi Martin!

I am very sorry I've been out of touch. Life has been insane! Since returning from Peru, we decided to try to work the current state of the real estate market in our favor and have sold our house, moved into a rental house, and begun the hunt for a new, larger house. Moving is never easy, but doing it with 2 very young boys has bordered on insane. Hopefully, it will all work out as we planned. The sale certainly went our way -- indicating that we sold at the right time. Now we just have to wait for things to bottom out here in San Francisco and begin making offers.

Jim and I have discussed at length the wonderful time we had in Peru and have many thoughts to share with you. I will work on compiling them in a coherent manner and email them to you as soon as that's complete.

In the meantime, we have been discussing making another trip with Jim's family- this time adding either the Chilean or Argentinean wine regions. Is this something you'd be able to/interested in helping us with?





Today we head home with many great memories and lots of new friends...

-- Rick Miller & Cherie Fuzzell


From: "Miller, Rick" <>
To: <>
Subject: Heading Home
Date: Sat, Nov 4, 2006, 7:58 AM

Martin: today we head home with many great memories and lots of new friends. Thanks for all your efforts on our behalf. The highlight was clearly the Inka Trail but the Titicaca boat tour with Eduardo was a clear second... M



We wouldn't have swapped our guides with any others we saw...

-- Grahame & Marilyn Turk


From: "grahame turk" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Sun, Oct 22, 2006, 4:09 AM

Hi Martin

The trip was just great with arrangements working like a well-oiled machine! The guides were polite, helpful, informative, had good English, etc. Jose Bardejo was exceptionally knowledgable (history, animals, plants, geography) and Kerry Chirinos was just delightful to be with. We wouldn't have swapped our guides with any others we saw...

We were pleased to have gone to La Paz and the Tiwanaku visit was an unexpected highlight.

To finish at Explora Atacama- wow! The service there is second to none.

Hope these comments are helpful and thanks again for putting it all together so professionally.

Best regards

Grahame and Marilyn Turk



The Amaro Museum was a definite highlight...

-- Haresh Kirpalani


From: "Kirpalani, Haresh" <>
To: "Schmidt, Barbara" <>, "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Sat, Oct 21, 2006, 3:39 PM


1) Your advice to take along as much art materials as possible was very valuable. Thank you.

2) The Amaro Museum was a definite highlight -- thanks for putting that on the agenda. The guide for Lima -- Claudia Ruiz -- was also excellent.

3) In La Paz: There was an outstanding folkloric night. I think some of your future guests might even wonder if it were possible to have such a night in Lima and or Cuzco.

4) Finally: I am just wondering if you do facilitate hiking trips from Cuzco to Maccu Piccu; and whether or not other parts of South America you cover with hiking trips?

With Best Regards, and thanks for helping us have a memorable holiday.


Haresh Kirpalani



Accommodations, restaurants, guides were all fabulous...

-- Barbara Schmidt


From: "Barbara Schmidt" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Fri, Oct 20, 2006, 3:02 PM

Dear Martin,

We only returned this week from our travels in South America -- hence the delayed response.

We thoroughly enjoyed all of the tour -- accommodations, restaurants, guides were all fabulous. We are not sexist, but we both think that the 2 female guides were even better than the 3 male guides, though all 5 were good.

Best wishes and regards

Barbara and Haresh



We were very lucky to find you!

-- Dr. Lori Volkers & Taylor Poole



Dear Martin,

Thank you again for arranging a wonderful tour for us. The fact you are in contact with us two years later is certainly a testament to your dedication. We were very lucky to find you!

Best Regards,

Lori Volkers & Taylor Poole



We landed after flying over Inka ruins and temples and the Andes...

-- Monika & Kurt Jensen


From: "Monika B. Jensen" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Update from Peru
Date: Wed, Sep 20, 2006, 10:34 AM

Hi guys; the update from Peru

We spent the first few days in Lima, under cloudy skies even though the Internet said sunny!! We had a great tour of the city and ate in some wonderful we are recommending to everyone we meet is La Gloria...the waiter there was the best...ordering for us. And of course Pisco Sours everywhere, all the time!!!

[Thus begins one of three detailed letters describing their experiences on the Grand Tour of the Inca Empire with their friends Giselle Baretto and Marco Pedro.]

See all of the letters.



I loved the mummy bundles: creepy, but pretty amazing...

-- Giselle Barretto & Marco Pedro


From: Giselle Barretto <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Subject: First report from Peru
Date: Wed, Sep 13, 2006, 3:00 PM

Hello everybody.

These have been very busy days and Im sorry if I could not write before.

Lima was a very nice surprise: a big (around 8 million people) clean city, with wonderful smiley people. We started our tour with a great lunch at a typical restaurant, called Brujas de Cachiche, in Miraflores, and after that we visited very nice museums and archeological sites. The neighborhood of Barranco is an artistic place, where we crossed the Puente de los Suspiros (Sigh Bridge) making a wish without breathing. Saw the La Ermita church and the Park of Love. The Pedro de Osma Museum has a private collection of Peruvian artifacts, mainly paintings of the colonial era. The silver room is fantastic. All the museums carry collections of pottery and fabrics from the pre-Inca and Inca periods. It is amazing to realize all the civilizations these guys have had: Chavin, Paracas, nazca, Mochica, Huari, Chimu ... all starting way before Christ. I loved the mummy bundles: creepy, but pretty amazing.

[Thus begins one of three detailed letters describing their experiences on the Grand Tour of the Inca Empire with their friends Monika and Kurt Jensen.]

See all of the letters.

See photos by Marco Pedro.



Thank you for your perfect work and help in every situation...

-- Heike Verfürth & Holger Steffentorweihen


From: Heike Verfürth <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Sep 4, 2006, 5:53 AM

Hi Martin, my best regards from Germany. Nice to hear from you.

And a very big sorry that I didn't write you a few words about our wonderful and perfectly organized trip to Peru. It really was fantastic and I will let you know that it was the best-organized trip we ever did. Related to the problems we had in Bolivia and also at Lake Titcaca with the strikes, you did your best and everything did work very well. We had a lot of fun and a wonderful time. Peru was a fantastic experience. Thank you for your perfect work and help in every situation.

This year we visited Burma and Thailand, Greece and Spain and we are thinking of a trip to Chile maybe next year. Of course, we will contact you for the organization :-)

OK, now to your question about I never heard about this website, I think in Germany LuxuryLink is not very famous. I found you with Google as I did some search about our trip to Peru. My first impression about your website was so good that I did an inquiry for the Peru trip (in english!!!) and the really nice and professional correspondence with you convinced me to do the booking with your agency. My English is not the best and sometimes it was not easy for me, but I really enjoyed the "work" with you and the absolutely perfect result :-)

Best regards from Germany, Heike Verfürth



In short, we were thrilled with the experience...

-- Jeanette & Albert Wiles


From: Jeanette Wiles <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Fri, Sep 1, 2006, 8:43 PM


As far as our trip, I must admit that I entered it with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. After all, I found the travel agent on the internet! However, things could not have gone better. Alex, who met us as we went in and out of Quito, was wonderful. She was always prompt, helpful and courteous. Her brother worked at Sacha Lodge and, although he was not our guide, kept an eye on us and checked to make sure that everything was going well. I remember that you said that you had not sent people to Sacha Lodge, but you should have no concerns about doing so. We had a wonderful time! The accomodations were very nice with no bugs or critters! Our guide was very pleasant and competent and our native guide was amazing! The Galapagos portion of the trip was equally wonderful. The boat was lovely, the crew extremely helpful and the guide was very knowledgeable, if a little short on communication and pleasantness. (I know you have no control over who the guide was and we already mentioned our slight dissatisfaction in the comment box on the boat.) However, the group of people we met on the boat more than made up for his attitude. We got along famously and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

In short, we were thrilled with the experience. We would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone who was interested in this trip.

Thank you for your efforts.

Jeanette Wiles



I've had nothing but rave reviews...

-- Peter Keller, Director, The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art


From: "Peter Keller" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Thu, Aug 31, 2006, 12:17 PM

Dear Martin:

I've had nothing but rave reviews of your trip. Thank you!




Your guides, Sheila Robles and Alberto Gomez, were truly extraordinary...

-- Laurie Williams & Peter Pierce III


From: Laurie Williams <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Fri, Jul 7, 2006, 12:21 PM

Hola Martin,

Yes, we made it back to the 100+ heat of Southern Oklahoma. I wish I was standing on the road to the Sun Gate just pondering the whys and hows of the magical ruins of Machu Pichu.

... it really could not have been a better journey. The trip was much more comprehensive than my previous trip to Peru nine years ago. Your guides, Sheila Robles and Alberto Gomez, were truly extraordinary. The drivers were talented and good humored about our desire to photograph unusual things like the cemetery and the prison where Lori Berenson had been held (and we did not hit anything or anybody -- not so with another group I spoke with -- they hit a dog in Moray). The transfers and vouchers could not have gone any more smoothly. We were grateful for the bottled water that was always available to us.

The accomodations were just right. The hotel in Lima was very good. The day room worked out so well on our return. The staff at the hotel -- most accommodating... Sol y Luna was an incredible and unexpected Eden of a place... Peter and I both treated ourselves to massages with excellent professionals. The hacienda for lunch was unique and memorable.

I am so delighted to have been able to stay at the Machu Picchu Santuario. The Monasterio was as I remembered but the tour of Cuzco was much better under Sheila's guidance than my previous visit. The chosen museums throughout the tour, both private and public, were wonderful. The English ex-pat's interesting collection of authentic Peruvian handiworks was a nice touch. (Her hairless Peruvian pure breed dog was an unexpected and interesting surprise.)

Alberto is such a personable man. He has such energy and great knowledge. We enjoyed his discussions of everything from culture to religion to the politics of bread. He maintained a great sense of humor throughout our visit.

It will take me a year to cull through my 1000+ photos I took (I may never pass that way again)...

As I write this rather short review, the many, many other sights, sounds, fragrances of our nights and days pour in. I hope to write more another day.

Well done, Martin, Sheila, Alberto, Maria and all the other professionals that you have employed to create a wonderful, memorable journey.




We would not change one detail...

-- Charles & Virginia West


From: "Charles H. West" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Visit to Aguas Calientes
Date: Sat, Jun 17, 2006, 2:42 AM

Dear Martin, Angie, and Jose,

We are back to Ohio and buried in work that accumulated while we were away. However, our enthusiasm is very high as we continue to think about the wonderful experiences we had at Machu Picchu and Galapagos. I will write a more detailed report soon; but, at this point, I want you to know how pleased and appreciative Ginny and I are for arrangements and help you provided. We would not change one detail if we were to do it over again. The day with Justo and Bertoni, their families, and the hospital nurse was very special and something I will always remember. I'm sure Angie and Jose share the feeling that, together, we have made a real difference for two fine families and the hospital will be more helpful in the future for local people and tourists.

I can't say enough for Angie and Jose. They are great to be with in all situations and highly skilled in their professions. We wish Ohio were much closer to Cusco so we could share more good times. We thank you for making our trip possible.

Sincerely, Ginny and Chuck West



It was a wonderful trip...

-- Larry & Nancy Hoover


Date: Sat, Jun 10, 2006, 10:37 AM

Martin -- It was a wonderful trip. We were well attended to at each stop. First two nites in Quito were at a different hotel than we expected -- Mansion del Angel -- it was a small B&B in a restored very nice home. Rooms were small, but adequate. Staff was very good. Guide Fernando was very good. We enjoyed the Coral I and its crew. It could accommodate 36. There were 29 the first 4 days and only 13 the last 3 days. The food was good and our guide Pato was excellent. The junior suites on the top deck was the place to be, altho the "matrimonial bed" was two singles. I believe that's what every cabin had. The shore tours were really interesting -- each one a bit different. More snorkeling than I expected, but some of it was really beautiful. Preordering the snorkeling equipment and wetsuits did no good -- it was a scramble for sizes and some of it was a poor fit by the time we arrived on the ship. One item you might add to your list of stuff to take is a collapsible walking stick -- some of the trails are very rocky and difficult to keep on balance. Last nite in Quito at Patio Andulatz was very nice -- it is beautiful and a very nice restoration of a 500 year-old mansion. The weather was rainy and we just stayed there to eat. Good kitchen.

Virginia got along well, although it was tiring for her. Had one really rough nite at sea which got to all of us, but overall the weather was excellent. No rain, but that is a problem there as the wet season didn't happen and the islands are very dry right now.

I would recommend the trip to anyone who enjoys nature and is healthy enuf to get into and out of a rubber dinghy under some interesting conditions and to take some moderately difficult hikes.

We thoroughly enjoyed it and thank you for everything you did to see that it happened in such an enjoyable fashion.

Larry & Nancy



The service from your group was SUPERB!!!

-- Gina Dolan-Sewell, Ph.D. & Granville Sewell


From: "Gina Dolan-Sewell" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, May 22, 2006, 9:22 AM

Hi Martin -- Not much time to write as I am "digging out!" We loved Peru and are looking forward to returning. The service from your group was SUPERB!!! Our guide was so knowledgable and the staff at Heath River, in particular, very attentive. I liked Heath the best for accommodations and wildlife and would return there. Sandoval I would pass on in the future. The "dorm" feel of the rooms (plus open overhead to the adjoining rooms) was unappealing and it was so busy with people. My husband really liked the jungle. While I am glad I had the experience, I think I would pass on the next opportunity.We left Sandoval one day early and the Inka travel staff was most accommodating in helping us with the changes. I am glad we had the extra time in Lima. The museum in Barranco was most informative... we both feel like the museum helped us better understand the process of integration of the indigenous peoples and the conquistadors. This was due I am sure to our guide who helped with the interpretation of the paintings (so interesting... the Virgin Mary often painted in the shape of a mountain!!!).

You and your team were wonderful!! We will be in touch with your for our next trip (when we take our boys). I will probably be the one staying in Cusco, though, while "my guys" head to the jungle!!!

Warm regards,.




The trip was great! -- everything that you said it would be...

-- Dr. John & Beverly Church


From: "John M. Church Jr. M.D." <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: The Trip
Date: Thu, May 18, 2006, 8:27 AM

Martin -- just a note of thanks -- the trip was GREAT! -- everything that you said it would be.

Bev and I agree -- it was our BEST trip in years!

Thank you for putting it together in such an expert fashion.

The guides were very good -- we really liked Shelia in the Sacred Valley, Cuzco, and Machu Pichu. We over-tiped everyone, but especially Sheila.

The hotels couldn't have been any better.

Thanks again for everything -- we are telling our friends who had various reasons for not going that they missed a trip of a lifetime.



A superb trip with memories to be cherished!

Dr. Edward Allen, William Allen & John Allen


From: "Ned and Carolyn Allen" <>
To: <>
Subject: superb trip
Date: Wed, Mar 22, 2006, 11:01 AM

Dear Martin,

Thank you so much for a superb trip with memories to be cherished!... By the way, we were touched by your thoughtful gift of the wine at our last... dinner... We all agree you deserve very high marks for design, performance, and attentiveness. You've banked the possibility of another trip, and in the meantime, some very enthusiastic word of mouth marketing. Many thanks for an adventure of supreme excellence. Very best regards and hopes for continued contact.





You did a fabulous job...

-- Allison Branson & Jean Rikhoff


From: "Allison Branson" <>
Date: Mon, Feb 27, 2006, 11:18 AM

Hello, Martin,

We had a wonderful time... Our guide on Easter Island, Josie, was spectacular! I can't say enough wonderful things about her. She also did something very clever I would recommend for other groups. She switched our full day to the second day. That way one has time to figure things out a little before the long day.

... you did a fabulous job. Do you do Egypt or know anyone that does?

I would recommend Inka's to anyone who asks.




All the arrangements through Inka's worked wonderfully well...

-- Margaret McGovern


To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 12:43 PM


Frank has said most of it already; I just wanted to add my thanks for your help in our trip to Chile and Patagonia. All the arrangements through Inka's worked wonderfully well; while in Santiago, we spoke to Richard at ProTours and to his colleagues at the agency in Santiago, and all were very helpful. Our time at the Explora was lovely, gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery and tremendously gracious hosts; a wonderful conclusion to the trip. And those three "free" days -- they turned into some of the highlights of our trip, as we had the freedom to wander and explore -- thankfully, no "backpacking" necessary. We did stay at the Jose Noguiera in Punta Arenas; then at Estancia Rio Verde, which was a real highlight; then at the EcoCamp that Frank had mentioned -- also a completely enjoyable adventure. I look forward to another trip with Inka's sometime in the future.





Thank you for the fine organization...

-- Frank van Beuningen


From: Frank van Beuningen <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 12:27 PM

Dear Martin,

The tour was great. We enjoyed the Explora Hotel. The tours they organized were very good and the hospitality on a high level... Thank you for the fine organization.




The trip was great!

-- James Lala, Geoff Teall & Pamela Hunt


Date: Sat, Dec 17, 2005, 2:25 PM

Hi Martin and Cindy,

The trip was great! We all had a good time and everything went real smooth.

Thank you,




We received a check for the full amount...

-- Brent & Wilma Garren


From: "Brent Garren" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Travel Guard
Date: Wed, Dec 7, 2005, 10:23 AM

Martin: thanks so much for your assistance with Travel Guard. We received a check for the full amount covering both what we missed and what Wilma could not enjoy due to her illness. You have been great. We certainly made the right decision to arrange our tour through you!

Brent Garren



Have nothing but nice things to say about the tour guides...

-- Mark Benning


To: "Martin Haggland" <> Subject:
Date: Mon, Dec 5, 2005, 3:22 PM

Hey Martin -

Had a great time. Everything went smoothly. Have nothing but nice things to say about the tour guides you set up for me (Josefina Mulloy out on Easter Island was fantastic).

My only regret was something I did to myself... I wound up upgrading my plane ticket from Easter Island back to Santiago. The flight over proved that my tolerance for coach seats is somewhere lower than 5 hours. I should have had you just order business class tickets on LAN Chile up front to save myself from the nuisance.

Already thinking about going back down to Peru or the Explora resort in Atacama, Chile in 2007.

Mark Benning



We couldn't have asked for a better trip...

-- Roger & Ruth Bulger


From: "Bulger, Roger (NIH/NCMHD) [C]" <>
To: <>
Subject: att...martin haggland
Date: Mon, Nov 28, 2005, 8:54 AM

Martin...a very belated follow-up concerning what was a wonderful trip you arranged in Oct for the Herbsts and us. I know Art has written you and we have been meaning to for some time now. I think on balance, we couldn't have asked for a better trip, what with all you did and with the extraordinary cooperation of Mother Earth, the Weather Goddess. Many of your special bits of advice were very valuable and proved interesing to all of us. The weaving demonstration seemed to score highest.

I think one of the points of difference between the Bulgers and the Herbsts emanated from the fact that we have travelled in Peru before and perhaps expected some glitches and misunderstandings along the way, even though Art was very good at basic Spanish. We were for example more positive about the agent in Arequipa, who despite some tardiness seemed extraordinarily sophsticated personally, although she had more trouble than most with english; she did in the end come through with everything and seemed to us to be trying as hard as she could.

The train ride was more like the tooner-ville trolley than the Orient Express vision and those prone to motion sickness had every reason to be stricken with it. The first reaction might have been for an automobile but given the armed guards on the train, it strikes me that the roadway may not impress your risk-managers.

Bolivia impresses the tourist as a little more risky than bargained for at first blush, but I noted that our drivers/guides were terrific and that our photographers were soon into taking pictures of the strikers! We are glad we went on the Bolivia leg, but on balance we probably should have gone home from Cusco after two weeks. We think we bit off more than we could reasonably chew.

It was a wonderful trip which we shall long remember and we shall not hesitate to send others your way in the future. Roger and Ruth Bulger



The trip was excellent and it was well planned and we enjoyed it...

-- Arthur & Lee Herbst


From: "Arthur L. Herbst" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Oct 24, 2005, 2:22 PM


The trip was excellent and it was well planned and we enjoyed it. We survived the altitudes except for some episodes of shortness of breath climbing around at 10-13,000 feet. However, no altitude sickness. We drank lots of tea and took Diamox.

I will go through my notes to give you concerns about various events, but many of them were minor and I would restate, we did have a great time.

Best regards,

Arthur and Lee



One of the best weeks of my entire life...

-- Chris Davis & Gordon Stone III


From: "Chris Davis" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Fri, Oct 7, 2005, 2:29 PM


Gordon and I had a great time on the trip. It was truly a memorable experience. I don't think we have ever had such a stress free vacation and we enjoyed learning all about the current and previous cultures of Peru. We enoyed all the sites and were surprised by things that we did not even think twice about on the agenda. As an example, we both enoyed the salt mines and watching the people work on the terraces as they have for centuries. We still talk about visiting that site. As I said before, our guides were fantastic - especially the guide from Cusco -- Shelia -- she made the trip for us. The drivers were friendly and safe and the transfers were easy and painless. The hotel in the Sacred Valley -- Sol y Luna -- was, by far, our favorite hotel. I could live in that hotel. The atmosphere was so peaceful -- it was the perfect start and finish to each day there.

I think this trip was also a learning experience for us on planning this type of vacation. In hindsight, I would have probably looked into scheduling our own dinners. The dinners was really great, but we kept having dinners with the same group of American and UK tourists on each leg of the trip. I think we would have liked to be a little more adventurous with the food and experience the local flavors and people. With the guide and the driver (and the same group of tourists at each hotel), we felt a little removed from the Peruvian people. It was not until Cusco, where we got to walk around the city on our own, that we felt more in touch with the local people. Also, as an fyi, we felt the dinners in Cusco were not up to the standard set by the dinners on the rest of the trip. In the future, you might also want to have the local transfer person set a reservation for dinner on the 1st night in Cusco. After we got off the train and got to the hotel (around 7:30pm), we were looking forward to a great dinner, but we were told the restaurant was booked. They comped us room service, but we were disappointed that we did not get to try the restaurant. As far as the hotels go, except for the hotel in the Sacred Valley, I think we should have paid the money to upgrade to the Superior package. The rooms were nice and clean, but they were all in the back of the hotels and looked out onto walls. The hotels were great, but I felt our rooms were basic. I think maybe, based on the literature, my expectations were too high.

I only give comments to help you plan for future guests. All in all, it was one of the best weeks of my entire life. I loved the sites and I will never forget hiking up to the Sun Gate in the late afternoon and sitting there for an hour and just soaking in the view. Now that I am back at work, I go back to that moment often. I know I sound like a broken record, but the guides were great and I can never thank you enough for getting us such warm and knowledgeable people. Shelia was also instrumental in taking us to two shops where we acquired a number of treasures. As I told Gordon, when you step into our apt now, it looks like a market in Peru -- the only thing we need is the stuffed peppers (one of my favorite dishes).

Thanks again for all you help and assistance and we will make sure we tell all of our friends about your company and the terrific time we had in Peru.

Take care,




No glitches, misunderstandings, confusion...

-- Leslie & Bradley Burnside


Subject: some feedback
Date: Tue, Oct 4, 2005, 12:00 PM

Hi Martin:

here's some initial feedback on the trip -- I will send more as time permits.

Overall experience -- excellent -- all promised services were delivered as booked -- no glitches, misunderstandings, confusion.

Logistics and guides: Lima -- Ofelia was very personable and efficient in her coordination of the transfers, hotel check in, document delivery. Driver, Pepe, was fine. Jessica (guide) was a pleasant, friendly young woman with a good sense of humor. Our first day in Lima was very good -- Sunday is an excellent day to see the colonial part of the city -- no traffic -- we were lucky to see a parade around the Plaza de Armas by people from Puno. Jessica did a good job of showing us the Convento de Santo Domingo and de San Francisco and the cathedral and the archaeological and Larco museums. We didn't see the Torre tagle Palace though -- maybe we drove by? Upon our return to Lima Jessica met us again -- that day she was clearly tired -- I don't think she'd had a day off in ages -- so she was not as good as she had been on our first day, but we still enjoyed her company. The B&R local guides -- Roger Valencia and Anna were so incredible that they were probably an impossible act to follow, so to speak -- more about them later. We also were tired from the whole trip.

Arequipa -- Gladys was also equally efficient and personable; Jose was a standout -- a really really great guide -- very personable, great English, incredible knowledge about all the things we saw, especially in the Colca Valley. We really enjoyed oour time with him -- and learned an amazing amount about Peru's history, agriculture, customs, belief systems, economy, animals, etc. He shared a lot of his personal stories with us as well. Be sure to request him for clients going to Arequipa and the Colca Valley! The driver, Mr. Allegre, was fabulous -- those roads in the Colca Valley are not for the faint of heart, but he handled them with great skill. In addition, he was a real sweetheart, even though we don't understand much Spanish! Maria, who we had on the final day, was a pleasant young woman, but she was difficult to understand. She really didn't quite understand our questions, either. Not in Jose's league by any means.

Cusco -- just a transfer so no real comments there -- the young lady who came to the hotel was pleasant -- the driver late due to car trouble, but all was OK. I doubt they were the first string for the company in Cusco.


Country Club, Lima -- very nice -- only complaint is that our non-smoking room smelled like smoke. Libertador, Arequipa -- OK -- I wouldn't rate it 5 star, but it was fine. Parador del Colca -- charming overall -- rooms are a bit dark -- upstairs loft is really unusable, bathrooms could use some heat -- only heat is from a space heater placed by the door, but the setting, friendliness of staff, etc., offsets those negatives. A couple nice touches -- hot water bottles in bed at turndown, they baked a birthday cake for me and presented it at breakfast!

We heard some gossip about the purchase by Orient Express from Roger, our B&R guide, who seems to know everyone in Peru. Apparently, the Orient Express guy came to the Colca Valley -- didn't really look around at other options and paid the owner of the parador at least 3 times what the property was worth. Did no due diligence about other properties, water rights, etc. After they bought it they found out that the water rights belong to the neighboring property, still owned by the former owner... It's hard to imagine how they are going to expand it and make it a viable property -- the road down to it is incredibly steep, switchbacking back and forth -- hard to imagine getting trucks, buses etc. down there.


El Senorio de Sulco -- buffet lunch -- excellent Huaca Pucllana -- dinner -- very good Sol de Mayo -- Arequipa -- not great -- there were people at one other table -- inside is not at all attractive -- they weren't serving in the courtyard -- the review from Frommers doesn't resemble the real experience at all. Parador del Colca -- all meals were very good Libertador restaurant -- breakfast buffet -- good -- dinner just OK Las Brujas de Cachiche -- lunch -- excellent Country Club -- didn't have dinner the last night -- still full from lunch

a suggestion on the restaurants:

At Huaca Pucllana, Sol de Mayo and Las Brujas de Cachiche we were presented with the "touristico" menu with a few choices per course. I'm sure the Frommer's reviews are based on ordering from the regular menu, which we probably would have preferred ordering from. None of the menus had an English translation though -- Jessica had trouble translating the menu at Huaca Pucclana (she had no problem w/ the one at Las Brujas...) My suggestion would be that if you are providing meals from a "Touristico" menu, that you get copies of the choices and translate them for your clients before they go if they aren't Spanish speaking. Also, maybe recommending some things from the regular menu would be helpful.

more later,




One thing we would both like to highlight is our guide...

-- Chris Davis & Gordon Stone III


From: "Chris Davis" <>
To: "'Martin Haggland'" <>
Date: Sat, Oct 1, 2005, 5:04 PM

Thank you we had a great time. Let me get settled back into my life in the USA and I will send you some detailed comments on the trip. One thing we would both like to highlight is our guide in the Sacred Valley, MP and Cusco -- Sheila. We both thought she was terrific. Great knowledge, great personality and just nice to be around -- we enjoyed her company as much as we enjoyed the trip. We also unpacked all of our purchases today and I think we could open our own Inca market in NYC. I think we went a little crazy. I will send you some detailed comments at the end of the week. Thanks again, it was a trip we will not soon forget.




We had so much fun we didn't want to leave...

-- Gertrude & David Dreyfuss


From: "Gertrude Chavez" <>
Subject: A most memorable Peru honeymoon!
Date: Tue, Sep 27, 2005, 6:50 PM

Dear Martin,

A million thanks for a truly special and memorable honeymoon in Peru. It was really first-rate! All your people in Peru -- from Lima to Cusco to Sandoval -- treated us like VIPs. The itinerary worked really well and the food was just first class. We fell in love with the magnificent Country Club Lima Hotel. That is our kind of hotel!. The Hiram Bingham was a pure delight! We felt like we were traveling in the 1920s! It was one of a kind. The Libertador Cusco was also special. We liked its understated elegance. The Sandoval Lake experience was exhilirating and was most enlightening. Overall you did a superb job in planning the whole thing! We had so much fun we didn't want to leave just yet.

Most important of all, thank you very much for that wonderful wood carving from Seminario. It will rest on our mantelpiece as a remembrance of our incredible Peru experience. We are truly touched by your generosity! You are a true gentleman and a scholar!

David and I are looking forward to working with you again on our next holiday.

Cheers and best regards,

Gertrude and David --



Everything has been great...

-- Leslie & Bradley Burnside


Subject: Hola from Peru
Date: Thu, Sep 22, 2005, 6:35 PM

Hi Martin - having a great time - everything has been great - Jose was a fabulous guide - we learned so much!

Will send feedback when we return,




We were very pleased...

-- Kenneth Bachman, Esq. & Sharon Bachman


From: "Kenneth L BACHMAN" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: followup on peru trip
Date: Fri, Sep 16, 2005, 6:11 PM

I have been meaning to let you know in more detail that we were very pleased with all the arrangements you made for the trip. The guide for the trip to Manu (Jose Antonio) did a wonderful job and was outstanding in identifying birds and very enthusiastic and dedicated in making the trip there enjoyable for us. Jose Antonio also had a good sense of how to get me excellent photographic opportunities with the wildlife that I especially appreciated. We were also pleased with our guide in Puno/Lake Titicaca (Elysio -- I probably am misspelling his name). He was able to give us experiences with local native families (a wedding celebration on a floating island, a lunch at a guest house at Llachon, a household visit near Sillustani) that were exceptionally enjoyable and culturally enriching. And finally our guide (Mercedes) for Trujillo and Chiclayo and surroundings was wonderful. She was low key and yet very knowledgeable about the archeological aspects that were our greatest interest as well as the colonial sites. The local restaurants in Trujillo and even Chiclayo that we visited were outstanding. In addition, the personnel who assisted us in transit in Cusco and Lima could not have been more responsive and helpful. For example when we arrived in Lima but our luggage did not, they arranged to get us to (and accompany us in) a shopping center to get the basic clothes and supplies we needed to tide us over.




Consistently outstanding guides and services...

-- Kenneth Bachman, Esq. & Sharon Bachman


From: "Kenneth L BACHMAN" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Tue, Sep 20, 2005, 5:37 PM

Not sure I ever sent you this which was my original message about the trip upon returning:

Thank you Martin. We just got back last night after a wonderful trip that was made all the better by the outstanding service that your organization provided all along the way in many locations. It was coordinated in a seamless way with consistently outstanding guides and services.




The guide was extraordinarily good in every respect...

-- Dan & Sybil Silver


From: Daniel Silver <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2005, 10:33 AM

Dear Martin, The North Coast tour was indeed fascinating and enjoyable. The guide, Mercedes Castillo, was extraordinarily good in every respect -- articulate in English, informative and easy to have around.





Our trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos was excellent...

-- Al & Joan Landzberg


Date: Tue, Sep 6, 2005, 3:22 PM


Our trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos was excellent. Thanks so much for all your help.

Al Landzberg



The trip was absolutely wonderful...

-- Marianne Koepf, Michelle Marinelli & Mary Williams


From: "Marianne Koepf" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Sep 5, 2005, 12:55 PM

Thank you. The trip was absolutely wonderful. We do have some minor feedback, which I will try to get to you by the end of next week.

Again, thanks for all of your assistance in planning the trip.

Also, all three of us took some great pictures. We are working on getting them uploaded to the computer to send to you

-- Marianne



I'm infinitely glad that I engaged the services of Inka's Empire Tours...

-- Valerie Seefried


Date: Mon, Aug 29, 2005, 9:35 AM

Hello Martin,

Yes! We had a fantastic time. The tour was incredible and the quality of service impeccable. I must admit that the hike was harder than I had imagined but all the more spectacular and satisfying. We were all very pleased at using InkaNatura. They were wonderful and Teddy was the best guide we could have hoped for. His knowledge of the flora and fauna combined with his understanding of history and archeology was amazing. We managed to camp in 3 beautiful spots and rarely saw other tourists along the way, except for at the highest pass. I think this had to do with Teddy's understanding of timing and the fact that we were doing the 5 day tour instead of the 4 day one. Most recommended because the feeling of having the Inca Trail all to yourself is well worth it. Plus, it is quite strenuous and I'm not sure how my parents would have fared had there been a day less.

The food along the trek was also excellent. Simple and delicious, exactly what we needed to keep our strength up and our digestive systems intact!

My father did end up having to take altitude sickness medication because he felt particularly unwell in Cuzco. Once the meds kicked in he was fine throughout the whole hike. Both the evenings in the Sanctuary Lodge and the Monasterio were wonderful, a most appreciated luxury after 3 nights in tents. The food at the Sanctuary Lodge was surprisingly better than at the famed restaurant in the Monasterio. Perhaps if we'd been provided the full menu at the El Tupay restaurant instead of a greatly reduced one, we would have thought otherwise.

But I can't thank you enough for organizing all the arrangements and I'm infinitely glad that I engaged the services of Inka's Empire Tours for our trip.

Thank you again,




It was all a wonderful experience...

-- Hugh Stimson


From: Hugh Stimson <>
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Wed, Aug 24, 2005, 8:42 AM

Dear Martin,

Thanks for your letter. Your interest in our impressions of the Peru trip which you helped us arrange is much appreciated.

In general, everything was great: the Andes were unexpectedly breathtaking, Machu Picchu a glorious sight, the Peruvians friendly and hospitable, and the overnight accommodations just fine -- I really think you did a great job in making these arrangements. Inca culture is quite amazing, and a discovery for me. Getting around on occasionally rocky and uneven ground was sometimes difficult as expected, but I felt I had to forego only a couple of the ventures away from the van.

So it was all a wonderful experience.

My best wishes, and thanks again!




It was breathtaking...

-- Al & Joan Landzberg


Subject: Re: INKA'S EMPIRE TOURS: Wet Suit and More
Date: Fri, Aug 12, 2005, 11:10 AM

Hi Martin,

We're back and had a terrific time. Machu Picchu, the ghostly skeleton of an ancient city is breathtaking, as are the Andes that surround it. We watched the sun, which the Incas worshipped, climb up over the mountain and bathe the ruins in golden light. It was breathtaking. The Galapagos Islands that we visited are extraordinary, and in their own way, unearthly; the birds and animals live in a haven and a sanctuary, and its wonderful to be able to join them briefly in this habitat where they do not fear us.

The arrangements that you had made worked out well. The hotels, except for the Orca in San Cristabol, were fine. The guides were wonderful; knowledgeable, agreeable, and helpful. The food, which I had expected to dislike because of the emphasis on meat and potatoes, I found surprisingly good. The herbs and spices they use are intense and they use them beautifully.

Al will either call or email you with some details and observations.

However, re: your question about the wetsuit. I definitely needed it and used it, as did Al. I could never have stayed in the water long enough to have a sea lion glide up beside me as I was snorkeling. The wetsuit made all the difference for me, and for Al who wore it in a deep water snorkeling activity. Most of the other vacationers also used wetsuits; the more seasoned snorkelers and scuba divers, had brought their own; one family of four from California had brought their own full length wetsuits and told us that they depend on wearing them in order to enjoy being in cool and cold water. I get cold easily, and as snorkeling is a slow activity, I don't swim as much as I use the flippers to float and the snorkel mask to look, I don't use the energy that I would for active swimming. Even with the wetsuit I began to shiver. I might be happier with a full length one. Al was comfortable with the half suit. There were 18 people aboard, not so incidentally, it was a very international and extremely nice group of travelers, and except for Howard and Susan who swam at the beach but did not snorkel, and perhaps for one other couple from Australia, who scoffed at the coldness the rest of us felt, most of us wore them.

Thanks for your assistance in making this a memorable trip.




All worked out excellently...

-- Sandro & Janet Mazzini


From: "Mazzini, Sandro" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Date: Mon, Aug 8, 2005, 9:09 AM


The trip was great; the food was excellent, actually sometimes, it was too much. Inka Natura was very flexible and all worked out excellently.

Thanks again!!

Sandro Mazzini



We will be going back someday...

-- Kaye Newberry & Harold Prasatik


To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Thu, Jul 14, 2005, 1:04 PM

Hi Martin,

I just wanted to let you know how much Harold and I enjoyed our trip to Peru! It is a beautiful country and the people are extremely nice. We will be going back someday.

As an aside, you mentioned that you were repricing the trip for the revised itinerary. How did that turn out?

Best regards, Kaye



It was worth every penny...

-- Joan Huffer & Robert Dugger


Date: Fri, Jun 10, 2005, 10:46 AM

Thanks for your response. It's kind of nice to deconstruct. A couple of quick thoughts about our accomodations and a question.

We loved everything about the Sanctuary Lodge. The rooms are beautifully appointed, the showers were perfect and the food was excellent. If we weren't so dead tired, we would have loved the patio, too. (I think Tom and Nancy took more advantage of it.) It was worth every penny. And you might want to let future guests know that they have a 3-hour, relatively inexpensive late laundry service. (I wouldn't recommend it for things that need to be pressed and starched, but it was great for smelly hiking clothes!)

We also loved the Monasterio in Cuzco. The appointments, the location and the setting were fabulous. (Room service was quite good, too.) The room had one funny quirk, though. The first junior suite had the bedroom upstairs and the sitting room downstairs. Unfortunately, the upstairs part was stuffy and it was very difficult to get any air moving up there. We tried to talk with the front desk, but they didn't seem to have air-conditioning, or the air conditioning wasn't turned on. On our return, the suite we had only had a couple of steps up to the bedroom and was much more comfortable. I don't know whether you can request specific rooms, but it might be worth having your local operator figure out which rooms have the better arrangement and request those. Or you might talk with the hotel about solving that problem.

In retrospect, I think we were all fine with the accomodations in Ollantaytambo. We weren't really looking for the resort experience there, and the rooms were fine.

The hotel in Quito was interesting. The public spaces were lovely; the rooms were spacious but bathrooms a little small. I gather that it's a little unusual for tourists to stay in the historic district. I really liked being able to explore a bit without a guide during our siesta (taking care about pickpockets). Not a complaint, just something to note and it will probably change if more tourists stay in the area, but there aren't many shops that cater to upscale tastes in that area. It's probably something just to be aware of.

My quick question is, I have a friend who is a diver who is getting married. She would love to have her honeymoon in the Galapagos but is looking for more of a resort setting. (Not sure they want to spend so many waking hours with other people.) Do you know whether there are any nice resorts in the area, or is everything boat-oriented because of the travel times to see the different islands?

Thanks, Martin!

Joan Huffer



The Country Club was luxurious and obviously meant to assure us that we were going

to be well cared for during the tour. We were not disappointed...

-- Nigel & Shoenad Sutherland


From: "Nigel & Shoenad" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Inka trip
Date: Sun, Jun 19, 2005, 8:09 PM


I thought you might be interested in our impressions of the tour in general and a couple of specifics, so here goes.

First and foremost, we enjoyed the experience immensely and could not fault your organisation.

The Andean scenery was breathtaking and the ruins were fascinating.

I started out badly after a very early start from Santiago by leaving my camera on the aircraft. (Not the way to impress your staff with my abilities as a traveller). However, they responded sympathetically and the whole thing was sorted out with the minimum of fuss.

The accommodation at the Country Club was luxurious and obviously meant to assure us that we were going to be well cared for during the tour. We were not disappointed as the hotels throughout were great.

Our guides and drivers were unfailingly helpful and meticulously on time. The guides managed to remain cheerful and interesting, even after a full day.

I suppose Machu Pichu must stand out as the highlight, both because of its impressive setting and the magnitude of the construction, together with the fascinating train journey. Nevertheless, each day brought its own interest. It is unfortunate that Bolivia came to the boil just as we arrived, as we were looking forward to experiencing La Paz. Still your quick and effective reaction meant that we survived with no more than a minor inconvenience. A number of other tourists had far more hassles as operators left things till the last moment.

There was a bit of argybargy at Lima with the AA staff, but it took no more than some cell calls by your guide and some earnest discussions among the AA side, and we were welcomed aboard.

Two Points which I hope you will consider constructive.

All the train seat reservations were for seats at the ends off the coaches. In practice these are the most uncomfortable seats as due to the sharp curves and imperfections in the track the coaches tend to swing back and forth fairly violently. This is exaggerated at the ends of the coaches, while in the centre there is hardly any disturbance. Incidentally, all seats reserved were facing forward, which is a great advantage. The guide in Puno, Anna by name, was just not up to the standard of the rest. She admitted to still being under training and it was obvious, as in spite of her best efforts, she was at a bit of a loss. It was made more difficult for her trying to sort out and explain the sudden change of plans. Please don't drop her, just get her some further training in English.

Finally, Room 402 in the Monasterio in Cuzco is to be avoided at all cost as it adjoins a rather overstressed and complaining lift motor which guarantees an up and down sort of night. That's my lot and, as you can see, we thouroughly enjoyed your tour and thanks for the organisation.

With kind regards and best wishes,

Nigel and Shoenad



I fear you've spoiled us forever...

-- K. Ebel & S. Root


From: K. Ebel...
To: Martin Haggland <>
Date: Sun, Apr 17, 2005, 4:09 PM

Hi Martin,

Yes, we're back, but I have to be honest, I was really concerned about the airport being closed after hearing what sounded like cannon fire outside our hotel room from about 4 - 5:30 AM on Saturday morning!! It went on and on. We finally decided that it must be tear gas "bombs" being shot off. Our guide was worried about whether he could even get to the hotel -- but the barricades to prevent access to the Plaza started at the end of our block. Friday night's TV had stories about a state of emergency being declared in Quito and demonstrations everywhere... and the newspapers on the plane coming back from the Galapagos all noted the massive demonstrations... Yipes!

At the Theatrum (yes, AWESOME) there was a table of about 10 military guys and their wives and outside there was this 30 person band (plus a bunch of followers) playing really loud music in the direction of the restaurant, waving flags, etc. We were wondering who the chaps were and if the music was intended for them. Our walk home was hasty! Usually I am kind of blue at the end of a vacation, but this time I was extremely happy when the plane left the ground! It'll be interesting to see what happens next down there.

I'll give a full report later this week. The trip was truly wonderful, Martin, and I fear you've spoiled us forever. As we came down the last evening in the Galapagos from the hike over Pinnacle Rock, the crowds from boats of ~110 were heading up and we were so glad we were on a small boat and that we were spoiled with individual tour guides for our whole vacation.

I'll be in touch.

K. Ebel & S. Root



Fabulous trip. You organized it brilliantly...

-- Robert & Monique Schweich


Notes from a telephone conversation with Robert Schweich on 8 February 2005:

"Best meal at Machu Picchu -- amazing. Everything about travel in Peru was fabulous, incredibly good. Itinerary in Peru was incredible. Everything was super. Fabulous trip. You organized it brilliantly. Abercrombie -- don't need the group. Love individuality of Inka's tours. Loved museums, in Cuzco is fabulous, food was good. Shocked how good it was. Display was wonderful. Amazing what we could put together in such a short time. No shortcomings..."



Every day was action-packed and well executed...

-- Ellen Decter & Richard DeVries


From: "Ellen Decter" <>
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 7:05 AM
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: RE: INKA'S

Hi Martin

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Our fabulous trip now seems a lifetime away August visits back to Canada and two hurricanes seem to have put us way behind.

By way of feedback, we had a wonderful trip. Every day was action-packed and well executed. It was a great way to travel. We felt we got much more of a local flavor conversing with the tour guides, and hearing their take on life. We really enjoyed that. The properties were all quite lovely...

It was a pleasure working with you. You are the most diligent, well-informed, hard working and pleasant travel agent I have ever dealt with.

Thank you,

Ellen Decter



We had a fabulous time...

-- Richard Drobner & Lisa McGorry


From: "Richard Drobner" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>
Subject: Re: ¡Bienvenidos!
Date: Thu, Sep 23, 2004, 12:53 PM


We had a fabulous time. The dual showers at the Sanctuary Lodge was a real treat. The Monasterio was spectacular.

Our only constructive feedback on the trek was to add a late morning snack on the third day. We didn't get to lunch until around 2:30 pm that day. Otherwise, everything was outstanding. We appreciated the female guide given that all the porters are men. Doris was great.

Thanks for your hard work in putting this memorable experience together for us. See attached some pictures.




Thanks for a wonderful trip!!!

-- Dr. Scott & Lenore Wyrick


From: "Scott Wyrick" <>
Subject: Thanks!!!
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 13:37:54 -0500


Thanks for a wonderful trip!!! We will definitely make a return trip the Vieques Island in the near future. Thanks to you, Abe and everyone else, we had a great time.

Regarding the dinners the last two nights, Shirley gave us $70.00 to pay for the meals for the two nights while we were there. This was just the right amount of money for the meals. There were no problems.

Thanks again, and we will definitely look you up when we head that way again.

Scott and Lenore



All of the arrangements were faultless...

-- Jim Glasson & Ray Medina


July 1, 2004

Mr. Martin Haggland
Inka's Empire Tours
2345 Broadway, Suite 638
New York, New York 10024

Dear Martin:

I am sorry that it has taken so long to write you, but it has taken me forever to get caught up and to get some free time.

First of all, we enjoyed the trip immensely and enjoyed almost all of the destinations. Well, I shouldn't say it that way, we just enjoyed some destinations a little less. Lima was a bit of a disappointment, as you said it would be, and such a change from 1982. Of course the area around the Country Club was beautiful, as was the hotel, but downtown was sad to see what with all the police around and all of the tourists noticeably tense and watchful. We were also disappointed to miss Casa Aliaga and the Torre Tagle Palace.

We thoroughly enjoyed Arequipa, especially the Convent of Santa Catalina. The trip up to Colca was fantastic and seeing the herds of alpaca, llama and vicuña was really exciting. Seeing the condors at Cruz del Condor soar overhead was a real thrill!

I know I don't need to comment on each and every destination, but of course, Cusco and Machu Picchu were the ultimate highlights of the trip. We both suffered the most in these two destinations, but thanks to the fabulous hotels it was easier to handle. My discomfort was caused, I believe, by the altitude. So the first day in Cusco I spent entirely in bed. Our guide was able to change our schedule so that I didn't miss a thing. By the time we went to Machu Picchu, I was back to normal, but when we were on our way out for our afternoon excursion to the ruins, Ray tripped on the hotel stairs and twisted his ankle. He refused to let that deter him and we went into the ruins that afternoon and again at night.

The highlight of the Sacred Valley was the balloon trip. Not so much for the experience of the flight, but for the operator Jeff Hall. He alone made the flight memorable, and when we landed near two elementary schools in Maras, every single school child from both schools came running out to meet us. It was quite an experience.

We enjoyed the train trip to Puno and loved watching the landscape change as we climbed to the high point and then descended into Puno. Puno, on the other hand, was probably our least favorite destination and one of the hardest to deal with due to the 12 hour tour days and all the bumpy roads that we had to travel over.

The catamaran trip across Lake Titicaca to the Island of the Sun was enjoyable as well as the continuing bus trip into La Paz. There were only six of us on the bus from Puno to Copacabana and only about twelve into La Paz.

We were very lucky in La Paz because the day we were scheduled to go to Tiwanaku was the only day that the road had been open in the last two weeks due to the roadblocks throughout Bolivia. The day before, the army had cleared the road in an operation that unfortunately resulted in 7 people being seriously wounded. After our visit, the road was once again blocked. Someone was obviously looking out for us.

All of the arrangements were faultless. Every flight was met and all of the guides and drivers were excellent. We truly enjoyed Nancy, who was our guide in Arequipa. The hotels were really great with the exception of Puno, where the room was drab and depressing.

Complaints are few. Some of the flights left so early it was impossible to get breakfast at the hotel before we left and since it was not included in the next city, we had to pay for it. The guide at Machu Picchu did not have night entrance tickets so we had to pay for that. He gave us two entrances and we should have gotten three. But our biggest complaint was to find out that we had a 9:00 AM checkout at the Sanctuary Lodge on a day when the train to Ollantaytambo was not scheduled to leave until 4:30 PM. It was a disappointment to not be able to spend the day at the ruins because of not having a place to put our hand luggage and having to be out of our room so early. And yes, while we could have left our bags at the hotel, I'm afraid we were not going to leave our laptop behind which contained all of our digital photos of the trip. The thought of hiking about the ruins with all of our electronic equipment was less than pleasant. Consequently, we changed our train to the 1:30 PM train which meant catching the 11:00 AM bus. This in turn made us miss our lunch at the Sanctuary so we ended up buying lunch in Aguas Calientes. I really think you need to emphasize to prospective travelers that all the hotels in the area require a 9:00 AM check out so that this does not come as a rude surprise. That way an informed decision can be made as to which train to catch.

A question: I thought that we had upgraded to a suite at the Monasterio in Cuzco? We only received a Junior Suite. Is this correct? I know the Junior Suite is standard on your trip now, but don't know if it was before.

We could have used a little more free time and a few less 5:00 AM wake ups. With the altitude and physical exertion involved in seeing some of these sights, some time just to recuperate would have been appreciated.

And finally: THE ALTITUDE! I really think you should point out to people that the altitude can be devastating, especially with all the climbing involved. Surely you would think that anyone traveling to Peru would know that the altitude is high, but you just don't realize what it can do to you. It would be a real service to travelers to emphasize this point and perhaps have them consult their physicians for medication.

Once again we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and feel fortunate that we made it to La Paz. Both countries seem ripe for revolution and we are grateful we avoided any political unrest. Thanks again for making our trip so special.

Very truly yours,

Jim & Ray

Jim Glasson
Ray Medina



We camped off the beaten path and felt we had a unique experience

compared to other groups...

-- Matthew Dugan, Chelsea Dugan & Brian Jeffery


Date: Wed, Jun 2, 2004, 3:48 PM
From: "Dugan, Matthew" <>
To: "Martin Haggland" <>


We had an wonderful time! Everything went totally smoothly without hitch or hangup. Our guide, Manuel Usca was absolutely incredible. A totally excellent person and master of the Inca Trail. We camped off the beaten path and felt we had a unique experience compared to other groups. I would recommend him HIGHLY to anyone wanting a once in a lifetime experience. Our porters and chef were also top notch -- they earned our admiration and respect. Thank you for arranging an amazing trip!

Matt Dugan



We learned much of Peru and were both completely satisfied...

-- Dr. Terry Mudder & Dr. Karen Hagelstein


Subject: THANKS
Date: Mon, May 10, 2004, 11:01 AM


Back from Peru. Our guide Alberto "Beto" Gomez was first class. He was extremely knowledgeable about the history of Peru. He reorganized the itinerary, which was a good idea, and we did everything on the agenda and more. We learned much of Peru and were both completely satisfied. I highly recommend him as a guide. Thanks very much for your efforts.

We merely did a couple rearrangements for convenience -- like flew over the Nazca Lines on Thursday afternoon, instead of Friday. Simple things -- nothing out of the ordinary. Beto attended to our every need and suggested changes to maximize our experience and make things run as smoothly as possible. Keep in mind he had an itinerary from the tour company in Lima and maybe they had made the changes. But no worries.

Yes, on Friday morning, we took a boat to the islands to see the wildlife. It was just an excursion boat with an excellent pilot. This was an extraordinary part of the trip but took about 2 to 2.5 hours. As an aside, I thought this was going to be a private boat with brunch but maybe I misunderstood that. Anyway, when we got back and by the time we checked out, traveling to Nazca and then back to Lima would have been a bit much the same day. We visited the lagoon on Thursday as well, which was also quite entertaining and interesting.

Yes, we did receive breakfast with a very courteous and attentive staff. Beto knew everyone. Yes, we did have a lovely ocean front/view room with a nice little beach. Very cozy and I highly recommend the place.





Of course, all the accommodations were the best...

-- Leith, Gloria & Nathan Butler


Subject: RE: !Bienvenidos!
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 13:12:56 -0400
From: "LButler" <>
To: <>

Hi Martin,

The trip was great! We all enjoyed ourselves & it was nice to not have to organize all the activities for a change. I think all three of us agree that the kayaking (bioluminescent bay tour) and the snorkling by boat were the highlights of the trip. Of course, all the accommodations were the best....

Again, thank you for putting together such an enjoyable trip.




Machu Picchu is an absolute gem! The night time visit was so beautiful...

-- Lorraine Volkers & Taylor Poole


Subject: Poole/Volkers - we're back
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2004 19:45:50 EDT

Hi Martin,

We made it back to Miami today safe and sound with no problems getting into Bolivia by hydrofoil on Friday. Machu Picchu is an absolute gem! The night time visit was so beautiful and we almost had the place to ourselves. We were pleasantly surprised about many of our other destinations as well.

When you called on Wednesday night, we had turned in early and had some mild discomfort: me from the altitude, and Taylor had some GI upset; so I probably sounded pretty tired. Luckily, we travel with a fairly substantial medicine kit. We bounced back quickly and enjoyed the rest of our trip.

Overall, we had a wonderful time on our journey, and I will try to give you the details about what we thought about each portion and our guides as well as destinations in the near future.

Our guide in Bolivia mentioned there may be general strikes in May; I think the date was the 2nd or the 5th, but I am not certain. I don't know if this affects any of your clients, but it possibly could. I guess your contacts in Bolivia have probably already made you aware of this. I'm not sure if the Peruvians are still blocking the Bolivian border at the site where it affected us. We are grateful that you and the tour company in Bolivia were able to circumvent the problem.

Thanks for a great tour.

Best Regards,
Lorraine Volkers and Taylor Poole



We loved every one of the planned outings...

-- Martin & Judy Deggeller


Subject: Great Trip
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 14:32:32 -0800
From: Martin Deggeller <>

Hi Martin,

Thought I would let you know how pleased all of us (including the Youngs) were with our just completed trip. Everything went incredibly smoothly without any problems and we loved every one of the planned outings. We were also impressed with the quality of the guides throughout, particularly those provided by Rossana in Cusco. Rossana herself was very attentive to making sure that we knew exactly what was happening schedule-wise.

While both Machu Picchu and the Galapagos fully lived up to expectations, there were many other unexpected highlights, including the ruins at Ollantaytambo, the entire Sacred Valley including the market at Chinchero (we would have loved an extra day or two in the Sacred Valley), the opportunity to spend the time with the family in Llachon, the floating islands (touristy but really interesting), the gardens/museum/shaman, etc. on Isla del Sol, etc., etc. This part of the world was entirely new to us so every day presented new surprises! ...

Again, thanks so much for pulling together such an incredible trip -- you surely have our enthusiastic endorsement and hope we have the opportunity to use your services again.

Marty Deggeller



We got our pictures back today and have a lifetime's worth of memories...

-- William & Paula Young


Subject: Re: ¡Buen viaje!
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 14:35:09 -0800
From: "Paula Young" <>
To: <>

Our trip was truly wondeful, Martin. Our guides were incredible and we packed so much knowledge into the days that we are still whirling. We got our pictures back today and have a lifetime's worth of memories. Thank you for helping Marty Deggeller put together such a great adventure.

Paula Young



It was so great never having to worry about where we were or where we were going!

-- Edward & Leslie Lerner


Subject: Re: ¡Bienvenidos!
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 19:11:31 -0800
From: "Leslie Lerner" <>
To: <>

Hi Martin,

I have finally caught my breath after our trip and wanted to let you know how it went. It was a very interesting experience for both Ned and me, as neither of us had ever traveled to South America. Here are my brief comments on the both the positive and the few negatives:


1. We loved Macchu Picchu! Not only was the sightseeing amazing but the Sanctuary Lodge was wonderful for us (great food and service!)

2. We enjoyed the train ride from Macchu Picchu to Cuzco (very relaxing and entertaining... the fashion show, music, etc.)

3. The train ride through the Andes was surprisingly enjoyable. We met some great people and it went by surprisingly fast

4. Our guide in Cuzco was fabulous. She was very informative and pleasant!

5. We really enjoyed the catamaran cruise and the Island of the Sun (there were only 4 of us on the big, nice catamaran... the two other people we met earlier on our trip and who were from San Francisco (what a coincidence). That was a special treat!

Least Favorites:

1. Puno was not that great for us. We felt cooped up in the hotel for 2 nights and the hotel (although comfortable and nice) didn't have much charm. We realized that there is not much to do in Puno to change this but maybe one night would be better. Two nights of that hotel food was not our favorite.

2. Our guide in La Paz was a very nice guy but I felt he was more of a salesman for living in La Paz, Bolivia. We went to his friends' restaurants and he had a tendency to tell us all of his personal problems and heartaches. We felt badly for him, but wish he had taken a few days off to recover from his sorrows than to unload on us. Needless to say, he was prompt and attentive.

3. The van driver from the catamaran company to La Paz was a nightmare. I was a nervous wreck. He was determined to pass every car on the road... and I was worried about Ned and my being on the same airplane :-)! The driver from Puno to Copacabana was just as bad. I have to say it was stressful for me, since we had two young children at home.

As for the Cuzco hotel, our 2nd night there was a much better experience (room was fresher). However, we went over for dinner at the beautiful Monasterio. Wow!! I think we would have enjoyed Cuzco more if we had stayed either at the Monasterio or the Libertador Cusco. Oh well, live and learn! Also, we wished we had more time in Cuzco to browse around. I would probably suggest to friends, to spend the first full day in Cuzco instead of spending part of the first day driving out to see all the ruins outside the city (maybe spend the next day going to one or two of the ruin sites). I say this now because, after seeing Macchu Picchu, those ruins seem so insignificant in comparison (I think seeing Saqsaywaman and Ollantaytambo would be plenty for many people).

I want to thank you for putting together our trip so attentively. It was so great never having to worry about where we were or where we were going! We also got so much more out of the experience by having guides.

I have to run for now. If you have any questions, just let me know.

Best Regards,




South America will be a very fond memory always...

-- James, Gwen, William & Julia Pasieka


Subject: Re: Inka's Empire Tours: Thank you
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 14:10:08 -0700
From: "Jim Pasieka" <>
To: <>

Martin... thanks for your note regarding Cafe Cultura. Jim and I were talking about it last night and really feel it was the only flaw in an excellent trip. In terms of suggestions to improve, we really can't think of anything. The logistics were impeccable, given a tight schedule, and the people on the ground in both Ecuador and Peru were also excellent. The only guide we had any communication problems with was the guide in Puno -- she had pretty limited English. However, the day was excellent nonetheless. We especially liked your choice of going to Llachon for a traditional meal and visit. It was also very kind of you to be so available while we were away and flexible with our schedule, given our health issues. It was enormously helpful to be able to call and make changes as needed. We never felt that we were left to cope on our own.

Anyway, in short, Martin, it was a great trip and we have shared all our good tales with friends, many of which are interested in a similar trip. Hopefully, you will get some spin-off business.

Thank you again, Martin, for all your assistance and diligence. South America will be a very fond memory always.

Gwen Pasieka



Sitting out on the balcony sipping beer and watching Huayna Picchu

in the clouds was an absolute delight...

-- John Scriven & Sheyenne Jin


Subject: Second part of my comments

Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 16:12:02 +0100



Hi Martin,

... We had a very nice day in Quito. We liked the middle of the world monument very much as well as the museum. The restaurant where we had lunch has an excellent view of the volcano -- it was fantastic to look down and see the mystic crater of the volcano. Our guide for that day, Elain, was a very nice lady and quite knowledgable...

Cusco & Sacred Valley. Cusco is very nice -- we only wish we had more time there. The Monastario Hotel is supreme -- we would have loved to stay there a couple of more days. And our local guide, Roseo, was really nice and knowledgable. We were hit by a rain storm in the middle of seeing Saqsaywaman and had to escape to avoid getting too wet. Otherwise, we would have loved to spend a bit more time there. The day in the Sacred Valley was well spent and we had a wonderful tour there. I wish we could have spent a bit more time in Ollantaytambo, which has been preserved really well...

Machu Pichu. We weren't too unlucky in Machu Picchu, in terms of the weather. It was dry in the afternoon on the day we arrived. Our guide met us at the train station but advised us that it would be better to do the tour with him in the morning the next day, when there are fewer people. That allowed us to wander around the site and take photographs, without being disturbed. The tour next morning was very efficient, although we had to do it in the rain part of the time. Due to the uncertainty of the weather, we only walked to the Sun Gate in the afternoon, which was fantastic. We had a very nice suite in the Sanctury Lodge. Sitting out on the balcony sipping beer and watching Huayna Picchu in the clouds was an absolute delight. The service was also excellent -- both the reception and the restaurant. And the food was also very good. We would not have minded staying up there for the second night, even though it was so very expensive...

If we were doing it again, we would want to spend more time in Cusco -- we had no time to walk around the city and did not have any chance to do shopping there... Actually, we would not have minded staying one more day in Cusco, as the Monasterio Hotel is such a pleasurable experience.

About Rossana. Rossana was excellent -- she tried very hard to attend to every single need of ours. When she found out we did not bring any small bags for the train to Machu Pichu, she gave us two overnight bags to use... She was there whenever she said she would be -- very reliable. We were very pleased to see her...

Lake Titicaca. We liked the train ride from Cusco to Puno, although it was a bit long... everything went well. Susana was very nice and she tried very hard to attend to our needs. We enjoyed seeing the Uros. But if I knew ahead of time, I would have skipped Llachon. It was a very nice town and was interesting to see the family, but the road from Llachon to Sillustani was such a terrible road -- it took us more or less three hours on the bumpy road to get to Sillustani (but it was not so bad and so long coming back to Puno from Sillustani). (The fact that the van they used to transport us was so old and out of shape probably contributed to the longer ride). We would have liked to get to Sillustani earlier and spent bit more time there and stop and visit one of those Indian villages on the road back to Puno.

Bolivia... everything worked out like a charm (except for the weather -- it rained heavily when we arrived at the border. Our guide in La Paz was excellent and very knowledgable. It was too bad we did not get to see the Moon Valley (it was closed) but we enjoyed Tiwanaku very much. Hotel Europa was also a nice experience. The lady at the front desk was very friendly and effective.

... we had a wonderful time. Thanks very much for arranging it.

Best regards,




The Gordons loved the trip you arranged for them to Peru...

-- Cathy King, Cathy King Travel, Waynesville, North Carolina


Subject: Re: Inka's: Gordon Tour Spreadsheet + Contact Information
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 15:37:46 -0500
From: "Cathy King" <>

Hi Martin,

The Gordons loved the trip you arranged for them to Peru. They especially liked the guide in Cuzco... the accommodations, guides and drivers were excellent! ...




A fantastic adventure...

-- Brett Chapman & Janet Te


Subject: Re: Inka's: your impressions about the tour
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 22:18:14 -0800
From: Brett Chapman <>

Hi Martin,

Sorry for the lazy reply, I have been traveling extensively for business recently.

I guess I should clarify my previous comments. Different people will inevitably have different interpretations of the same experiences. Janet and I had a wonderful holiday and a fantastic adventure. However, for us, we felt the holiday was a bit longer than we should have taken with a far more active itinerary than we would have prefered; totally of our own doing! We also would have preferred to prioritise somewhat with the benefit of hindsight. As such, when you asked for our impressions I gave you an honest view from our experiences and expectations.

So, what struck us was that the Colca valley tour is a LONG LONG way in harsh conditions. The drive is 5+ hours of the worst roads in a poor quality vehicle. The dust and dryness were very uncomfortable.

We would have focused more on additional personal exploring time, later morning starts, and focusing on the Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and Lake Tittikaka regions. Additional time to enjoy the hotels would have been great as well, they were simply spectacular! Also the trip into Bolivia that we missed would have been good. So maybe a "lazy tourists" option would be cool? So less activities over a similar timeframe?

Please please don't get us wrong, we enjoyed the trip immensely and have recommended your tours to several people since our holiday! In you run any through Africa (our next adventure for mid 2004!)... :-))

Regards Brett



The trip went great. Peru was fantastic...

-- Brett Chapman & Janet Te


Subject: Re: ¡Bienvenidos!
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 23:22:48 -0700
From: Brett Chapman <>

Hi Martin,

I have had an additional week off now and feel refreshed (and back in the time zone).

The trip went great. Peru was fantastic and the itinerary went according to plan, in general. The only little trip-up we had was the hotels in Machu Picchu... the master itinerary had the Sanctuary Lodge on the first night and the Pueblo Hotel on the second... it turned out to be the other way around... Logically, it would make more sense to have stayed at the Sanctuary on the first night, as it is at the top of the mountain there.

The mountain views and the South American culture are fantastic. Particularly Machu Picchu (of course!) and the Cusco area were highlights in our opinion. Arequipa was also wonderful and had the advantage of a less tourist-focused culture.

Other than that, I have a few suggestions/thoughts for you to think about. Firstly, there are a LOT of early mornings! I suggest you think about a "late starters" option for the flights and pickups. We had half or more of the days on the trip as early pickups, which included 4 am for a flight. In the end, we outright refused to do the three 6 am pickups in a row at Lake Tittikaka... it was just too much. We negotiated later times at around 8 am.

Another thought is that given our time over, we would not do Lima, Arequipa and the Colca Valley tour again. There is not really a lot of interesting sights in Lima. It is a LONNNNGGGGGGG way to and from the Colca Valley (5-6 hours driving each way) on a terrible road with lots of dust and damn cold! The scenery is magnificent, but frankly we found it was not worth the time and pain invested in getting there and back. That is only our opinion with the benefit of hindsight.

In general, the hotels were exceptional! The Monasterio was fantastic and we could have stayed based there for much longer. The Machu Picchu hotels were also a fantastic contrast, with the rustic Pueblo and the modern Sanctuary Lodge.

The guides and drivers were all professional, knowledgeable and punctual. We have nothing but praise for the tour operators we were involved with.

I guess that is about it! A personal note of thanks for all your hard work to make this trip happen.

Kindest regards,

Brett and Janet



Everything in the tour was perfect...

-- Elaine Shehab de Cortes & Ignacio Cortes


Subject: Inca Trail Trip
Mon, 21 Jul 2003 12:05:50 -0400
"Elaine Shehab" <>

Hi Martin:

Hello. Just a short note to let you know that everything in the tour was perfect. The hotels were great and the guides outstanding, except for the one in Lima, who could have given us more historical backround, although he was nice and courteous.

When we were in Puno, our guide, Jorge, took us to visit an Andino home, so we could understand how they live, their customs, etc. While we were there, we met the Andino's grandson, who was very sick with pneumonia. My husband gave the Andean about US $60.00, so he would take him to a doctor, and later on we gave Jorge, the guide, a good amount of antibiotics and medicine he could give to the boy. We wonder if you could find out for us if the boy received the medicine and if he finally got to the doctor. We want to know how he is doing.

Martin, we had the best of times. It truly was a wonderful experience and, most of all, our sons learned, enjoyed and never complained about getting up early, etc. We got up at 5:00 a.m. to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu, but it came out at 7:00 a.m. Still, it was great being in the ruins when no one else was there. My husband and son climbed Huayna Picchu. I thought it was scary, so Carlos and I stayed marveling around the ruins. We celebrated my birthday at the Sanctuary Lodge. It was great.

Thanks for everything, and for sure I will recommend you for future travels to the Inca Trail.

Take care.

Regards, Elaine, Ignacio Cortes



We enjoyed the trip enormously and look forward to another foray into South America...

-- Gaye Plunkett


Subject: Re: ¡Bienvenidos!
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 10:21:56 -0500
To: CC:


Thanks for the message. We had a wonderful trip and your prayers for a clear, beautiful birthday on Machu Picchu were answered. The weather could not have been better and we enjoyed a glorious sunrise over the mountains that morning.

The arrangements went like clockwork, with the exception of the hotel mix-up in Cuzco. We were met by someone at every destination and were given instructions for the following day each evening. Some guides were clearly better than others and we generally found the Bolivian guides to be more outgoing and eager to make us happy. Having said that, our guide for the city tour in Lima was the best of all.

We would have liked to have spent more time in Cuzco and less in Puno, in retrospect. Puno is really not that interesting as we believe the best part of Lake Titicaca is on the Bolivian side. I don't know if there are flights from Cuzco to La Paz, but it would make sense to do that and tour the lake from La Paz, which is a short distance away.

The hotel in La Paz was out-of-the-way and not particularly well run. The room was beautiful and much larger than we required (two full bedrooms and baths), but the restaurant had run out of most of the food by the time we sat down to dinner on our first night and there was no other convenient place to go. We had the impression the desk clerk was also the waiter and the cook! I would suggest putting people in one of the downtown hotels, which appear to be of high quality, but are more conveniently located to restaurants and other attractions in La Paz. Also, when we left in the early morning, there was no desk attendant. Thankfully our guide escorted us to the airport and was able to translate to the security staff that we were checking out and help us retrieve the charge card imprint we had provided upon our arrival.

In short, we enjoyed the trip enormously and look forward to another foray into South America. Perhaps next time we'll visit Ecuador and the Galapagos. We'd also like to see Chile and Buenos Aires.

Thanks for all your assistance, Martin. It was a pleasure dealing with you and this trip was a great learning experience and lots of fun for us.

Best regards, Gaye

See Gaye Plunkett & Peter Barker Tour.



The arrangements were like clockwork...

-- Bert & Pat Hewitt


Subject: Re: Refund has been sent.
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 09:53:15 EST


Thank you very much for the unexpected refund and as we are in the middle of the worst snow storm here for many years I have time to give you more extensive comments on the trip.

First of all let me repeat that the arrangements were like clockwork. The best thing was the guides/drivers who were always there waiting and this meant a lot to us as we are very punctual and dislike having to wait ourselves. In this aspect too we would have been unhappy with a larger tour as we often saw groups waiting around in hotel lobbies for stragglers.

Things we particulary liked: Climbing the sand dunes at Hotel Mossone, the small museum in Ica, the Ballestas Islands trip, the flight over the Nazca Lines (although the view from the tower was quite good and to be recommended for anyone who might feel air-sick as it was extemely hot in the plane and a very bumpy flight).

We liked Cuzco and the Inca sites around there, but the highlight was the market. We had been advised not to go there alone, but we found it to be safe and everyone was friendly. We saw a Shaman with a cooked, large black snake coiled around a pole - apparently the snake fat is used with herbs as a cure for back ache. I could use some right now after shovelling snow! Ollantaytambo was very interesting and Sol y Luna was a great place to stay - we would have liked another night there to just relax. I enjoyed the river rafting and the guide was very knowledgeable about the local flora and history. The Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was great - wonderful view from the dining room, and we liked the town of Aguas Calientes itself. We were very lucky with the weather at Machu Picchu, it was misty and raining when we arrived, but it rained only for an hour so we saw the citadel in very different lights throughout the day. I was particulrly lucky as the mist cleared just as I reached the summit of Huayna Picchu.

We were disappointed that the Andean Explorer was cancelled and we had to go by bus to Puno, apparently this happens frequently. We enjoyed the floating islands and Taquile, Pukara and Sillustani were well worth a visit, but the third day drive along the shore of the Lake could have been omitted as we drove the same route the next day on our way to La Paz via Copacabana. However, that third day was redeemed by the barter market at Zepita which turned out to be a highlight.

We liked La Paz and the guide there was particularly good. The Hotel in Arequipa was great and we were more than ready to enjoy their beautiful pool. The Monastery in Arequipa was well worth the visit and the town itself was very pleasant.

In retrospect, on a three week trip, we would have liked a day here and there just to relax and 'do our own thing' as we were often up at 3 or 4 in the morning to catch an early flight. By the way, the service at the Country Club was excellent, they provided breakfast in the room at 3 AM with a smile and no extra charge.

This was probably more than you want to read, blame the snow.

Thanks again,

Bert and Pat



Everything we saw exceeded our expectations...

-- Bert & Pat Hewitt


Subject: Re: Welcome home!
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 15:12:44 EST

Hi Martin,

Sorry its taken us so long to give you a report, but we had a lot of catching up to do.

First of all thank you for putting together a truly memorable trip. All the guides were excellent and we quickly came to expect someone waiting for us to whisk us away from the airport or hotel. They gave us just the right amount of attention and information and appeared to really enjoy showing us around. Everything we saw exceeded our expectations and all the hotels were great. The Country Club Lima was a good way to start and end, we wish we'd had more time there to enjoy it.

The only arrangement that didn't work out was the phone card that we never received, and the only disappointment was the restaurant San Jose Antonio for New Year's Eve in Cusco. We arrived at 10:00 PM, but were not served anything until 11:45 PM and the food was very poor, typical of a large function; they don't deserve your business. We left soon after midnight and joined the revellers in Plaza de Armas and had a great time there.

In general, we found we were too tired to attend the Folkloric shows, except one in Cusco, preferring to recharge our batteries with a quiet dinner.

In retrospect, I would have liked another day in Aguas Calientes for hiking and climbing and one less day in Puno, although the third day there when we went to a sheep, cattle and barter market near Zapita turned a so so day into a highlight.

All the flights were on time except the last, so we were glad that we had asked for late check out to stay in the room until 8:00 PM. Originally the hotel asked for $140 for that, but the local agent negotiated it down to $70. We suggest that for the future you include late checkout at 8:00 PM for people leaving on midnight flights.

Thanks again for informing our daughter of our changed flight and for organizing a trouble free, worry free vacation. We would be delighted to recommend you to anyone wanting to visit Peru.

Bert and Pat



The trip was fantastic. We enjoyed it enormously...

-- JoAnn Hastings


Subject: Re: ¡Bienvenidos!
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 16:25:32 -0800
From: JoAnn Hastings <>

Hi Martin,

I have a little time now to give you a few more details.

Flights: All the flights operated to the minute on time... or in the case of some of the South American ones, even 5/10 minutes early. SFO/DFW and DFW/Lima were approx. less than half full, so very comfortable. Quito/MIA was jammed, as was the MIA/SFO.

Hotels: The Eko in Lima is in a good location. It is now operating under a different name (which I can't recall at the moment, but which I'm sure your local operator can confirm for you). The Tupac Yupanqui in Cusco was delightful and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. I loved the courtyard. The Pueblo in Aguas Calientes was great and we were very glad to stay there. Such lovely gardens. The Cafe Cultura in Quito was really delightful...I loved the decor and the whole ambiance. One hint for the future... we were late coming in the first night and were assigned Room 4. This is over the street, but even more disturbing is that it is right above the reception area. All the noise of people coming/going floats up to Room 4. The next morning I asked them to change us to any other location. The girl was very agreeable, but said that two large groups were coming in who had all requested specific rooms, so we would probably have to stay where we were. We agreed to hope for a miracle... and got it... someone hadn't come so they moved us. I relate this to you so that you may want to request accommodations by room number... about anything other than No. 4 would be ok.

Transfers/guides: All the transfers were on time and most helpful. The various guides were by and large very good. Especially attentive were Katja and Roberto in Quito. One hint for Rossana in Cusco. When we returned from Machu Picchu, she had said she would be waiting for us at the train station. We got onto the platform with a multitude of signs, guides, vehicles, but could not locate Rossana. Just before arranging for a taxi and only by asking another guide if she knew her did we find out that Rossana was probably waiting at the "other" entrance to the station. As this was our first time at the station and we had no way of knowing there was "another" entrance, Rossana's advising us in advance would have avoided the delay. We found Rossana to be efficient but rather aloof/cold. This is not a complaint... but an observation.

And on the matter of the Machu Picchu train situation, we were told by Rossana shortly after arriving in Cusco that our 3pm VistaDome train had been cancelled. We were rebooked for an 8pm departure out of Ollantaytambo. Having the extra time in Cusco was not a problem to us. That night we were driven from Cusco to Ollantaytambo... arriving approx. 15 min. before the train departure time. The street leading to the station was choked with cars/vans, so the driver had to stop in front of someone's gate. He told us to stay in the car, went to get the tickets, got back about 7 mins. before 8. He asked us to wait, but said he had to move the car. We did insist on getting our luggage and had to run the approx. block and a half and get them to reopen the gate in order to scramble onto the train. One of the adventures of travel! This was the "backpacker" special tourist class service that stopped not at the Pueblo station. Anyway, it all worked out. However, as there is quite a difference in the ticket price ($10 vs. $36.50) I feel a refund of a total of $53 is in order.

[From the subsequent message: Thanks for sending the $53 refund check ref train to Machu Picchu. We spent the full day we had there at the ruins -- even climbed to the top of Huayna Picchu. And the luncheon at the Sanctuary Lodge was a lovely reward for the accomplishment! The next day we decided to relax at the hotel, walk the gardens, etc. It all went very smoothly. As you are aware, check-out time is 9 am, so we put our bags into their storage area and were pleasantly surprised to find when we went to collect them that they had already been transported to the train station for the 3 pm departure!]

Now that I have been to the area, what I would recommend to anyone doing a similar trip is to spend as little time as possible in Lima. The Gold Museum is very interesting, but... If we knew then what we know now, we would have taken a, say, Noon flight on Jan. 1 Lima/Cusco and spent the remainder of the day in Cusco getting acclimatized to the elevation. I felt Cusco a much more attractive locale in every respect.

We felt the amount of time spent in the Galapagos was just right. The Coral II was just fine... the cabin we had was VERY small. The water was rough. But the whole experience was absolutely awesome. They do a very slick operation... we had a really international, fun travel group on the boat. We saw a multitude of flora/fauna, and it was just great. The food was of very good quality and most plentiful. One suggestion I wrote on their comment card... the Coral I operates with true zodiac boats, which are far superior to the "pangas" on our boat.

Overall, the weather cooperated, we felt most fortunate. Only one morning in the Galapagos were we trooping around in a steady rain.

I won't hesitate to recommend your services to anyone interested in arranging a trip to this part of the world.

We just need to get our baggage claim settled, and I would like your input on the Machu Picchu train situation.

Best regards.

JoAnn Hastings



Truly, one of the very best travel experiences we've ever had...

-- Pat & Stan Palombo


Subject: Re: Textile will be sent to you soon from California
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 16:07:08 -0500
From: "Pat Palombo" <>

Dear Martin:

... We fondly remember our trip to Peru as being outstanding and fascinating -- truly, one of the very best travel experiences we've ever had, - and we are grateful to you for all your expertise and assistance in tailoring the trip directly to our interests and needs...

Best wishes,

Pat and Stan Palombo



Memorable and enjoyable...

-- Dr. Harvey Ziessman


Subject: Re: Welcome home!
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 08:28:45 EDT

Martin -

Sorry for the delay in responding. Trying to catch up. The trip was excellent. Cusco and Machu Picchu were wonderful. The Bio Trip was exciting and everything I had hoped. The cock-of-the rock was well worth the long winding ride down the mountain. In my group were two 65 year old sisters who were classic birdwatchers, but they did not slow anyone down. We saw over 150 birds. The macaw lick was fantastic - actually it was parrots, then parakeets, then macaws. The guides were first class. I could have done without the folk dancing which was amateurist and the Cusco dinner/entertainment which was touristy. However, these were very minor. The trip was very memorable and enjoyable. Thank you for all your assistance. - Harvey



The arrangements were perfect and everything worked as scheduled...

-- Vinod Singhal


Subject: Re: Welcome home!
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 14:21:14 +0000

Dear Martin:

... The trip was wonderful and I am glad that I went with you to arrange my trip. The arrangements were perfect and everything worked as scheduled. Cuzco and surrounding areas were very interesting and amazing. But the highlight of the trip was Machu Picchu... The train ride, the... city, and the sourroundings were something that I could not have imagined. It is simply hard to describe. One has to go and see for oneself.

The tour guides were good. In fact, being with a group was better since I was alone. Made some new friends and one who lives in Atlanta...

Overall a great experience, the tour was very well organized, and I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending you to anybody who wants to travel to Peru and other tours that you organize. I am hoping I can do it again in a couple of years with family and friends.

Thanks for organizing a wonderful tour. Please convery this to Rossana also.




It was much better to use your private, customized tour...

-- Lisa McDonald & Robert Aylward


Subject: Re: Welcome home!
Date: Sat, 5 Oct 2002 13:34:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Robert Aylward <>

Dear Martin and Renato,

We loved Peru! The trip exceeded our expectations. Cuzco and the Sacred Valley are exquisite. The scenery is spectacular and the sites are thrilling. Going to the market in Pisaq on Sunday was a nice touch to the tour. We especially liked the salt mines close to Moray. We have never seen anything like them and were impressed.

Most everything went smoothly. The Picoaga Hotel was perfectly located in Cuzco. Our guide, Jose, was very nice. He would stop the car for us to take photos and would let us hike on our own for hours at various sites. He gave us good shopping tips and inquired about prices for us. We enjoyed spending time with him and laughed a lot.

Our guide in Lima, Rosa, was pretty good. The guide at Machu Picchu was average. Our "coordinator" in Cuzco didn't really do much and left everything to the last minute like getting us to the train and to the plane.

We were in awe of Machu Picchu and were very glad to have spent the extra day there. We hiked the Inka trail back to the Sun Gate and climbed Huayna Picchu (which was very steep but exciting). The Pueblo Hotel was the right choice. It is a beautiful place with a first class restaurant. The train ride was amusing especially with the attendants modeling alpaca woolens after serving us beverages.

One thing I might change about the itinerary would be the folkloric show on the first night in Lima. We had arrived from the US at midnight, did a full day of touring at Pachacamac and the city tour of Lima, to have the show start at 9:00 PM and then get up at 4:30 AM to catch the flight to Cuzco. We passed on the show because we were too tired and wouldn't be able to get up to fly out the next morning.

The last day returning, once we returned to Lima, was a little confusing in terms of going to the hotel to wash up, as our friend, Bob Lannan, has already mentioned. However, it was fine. We were taken care of the whole time so it was okay.

Overall, we loved the tour you put together for us and would highly recommend it. It was much better to use your private, customized tour versus a group tour because we got to do a lot of extra things like hiking and shopping. Moreover, the altitude is a bit of an issue. We saw older people in our hotel who were struggling and complaining so we were glad that we weren't with them

We are encouraging all of our friends and family to go to Peru. We will send them to you.

Thanks again!

Kind regards,

Lisa McDonald & Robert Aylward



The trip was magnificent...

-- Bob Lannan


Subject: RE: Welcome home!
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 10:14:42 -0400

... the trip was magnificent and I was impressed by how well everything... was organized. Peru is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, and your agency as well as the agencies with whom you worked in Peru made the trip go very well.

Bob Lannan



Dawn at Machu Picchu was an experience of a lifetime...

-- John Graham


Subject: Itinerary, line by line
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 21:44:37 EDT

Martin, overall FABULOUS TERRIFIC. Here's details that come to mind as I review the itinerary. (As I re-read what I've typed, I don't do it full justice. Every day was rewarding for the insights and experiences they each presented.) Again, please excuse my spelling!

Plane connections in Newark were easily made.

You are aware of the mistake by our driver upon our arrival in Lima. He was a welcome sight as we exited customs, and he did so well in getting us our further tickets, et al, that I (stupidly) did not challenge the dropoff at the wrong hotel. All it cost us was an hour or so to straighten it out and get by cab to the Libertador. The Libertador is a lovely place and an impressive start to our journey.

The flight to Cuzco was uneventful, and I'm glad we had such an early flight. I had some misgivings about the altitude, but felt no ill effects at any time there, except for a very minor, almost unnoticeable headache that might have been totally unrelated! Rossana met us promptly at the airport and we were on our way!

The tour of Ollantaytambo was fascinating. Our guide, Lis, was delightful and knowledgeable, specifically pointing out the llama design of the temple and terraces, the solstice sunrise on the eye, et al.

Thank you for your extensive efforts to arrange the family stay in Chinchero. It was a wonderful experience to see the rustic adobe home, natural stone wood cookstove, the guinea pigs running loose, et al. The hostess spoke no English, but Jamie did fine speaking in Spanish. It was rather chilly overnight (in the high 30s as I recall, in an unheated room with plenty of blankets), but we managed fine. Being able to stay in a private home was a real highlight of the trip for us.

The weaving demonstration was really interesting, and we were the only two observers, so all our questions and interests were tended to. Jamie felt a bit faint from the altitude during that time, and the women truly sprang into action with Coca tea, herbal rubs, etc. Yes, we couldn't resist picking up some weavings.

Back in Cuzco, the Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman were well worth the time. The ruins of the Inca trail stopovers (royalty and commoners) were not much by themselves as structures, but were informative examples of class distinctions and travel.

We opted to skip the dinner - Folkloric show just because we had had a full day, and it didn't even start until 9 pm. Instead, we invited our guide to join us for a local Cuzco restaurant dinner. It was fun to experience the restaurant "hawkers" who wanted to attract us to their establishment. Cuzco's main plaza is a safe and fun place to be, experiencing the various shops, post card vendors, phone card vendors, et al.

We spent one night at the hotel Los Marqueses, which was comfortable and quaint but without hot water. We decided that due to the several nights we would be in Cuzco, it was worthwhile to change hotels to obtain that feature. Rosanna arranged for the move to the Tupac Yupanki Palace while we were away touring, and we thoroughly enjoyed that new hotel. In addition to hot water, it had English-speaking desk personnel 24/7.

Our walking tour of Cuzco was delightful, especially the church at San Blas with its intricate carved pulpit, the extensive artwork and carving in the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, and even the street vendors and their jewelry at San Blas. It was fascinating to see the Incan foundation walls with their magnificent masonry. It took awhile to get used to declining the offers to buy from the street vendors, and to get used to negotiating price, but once we did, we enjoyed the fun of it all.

That evening we did attend the folkloric music and dance, partly because it started early and was brief, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Our next day's tours to the Incan and pre-Incan ruins at Pisac and the 7th Incan's palace were totally fascinating, despite the harrowing road to get to the latter! Our guide, again Lis, pointed out and helped us discover and theorize our own version of life in those places, the similarities, designs, functions, et al. Totally a great day.

Then ON TO MACHU PICCHU. The train (itself a fun experience and a dynamite sequence of mountain valley views) got us there mid-morning. It was perfect to have a tour immediately upon our arrival, as we were then free to pursue our own specific interests within the ruins. Our guide, Berto, continued our experience of wonderfully informed guides, who truly set the stage for us. After our tour, we retired to our room for room service lunch on our terrace overlooking Huayna Picchu, the peak always shown in Machu Picchu pictures. It was totally indulgent, truly a memorable experience. It also kept us out of the sun during the heat of the day. When asked my favorite highlight of the trip, this lunch on the terrace overlooking Huayna Picchu comes up number one!

We explored the ruins together all afternoon and fantasized "Inca Bowl Six" after seeing the terraces (look like a stadium) above the field. Despite (and including) our frivolity, touring the ruins at our own pace and path was magnificent and memorable. Dinner that evening at the Sanctuary Lodge was another delightful experience. The Lodge experience was warm, pleasant, memorable... Great thick towels!

DAWN AT MACHU PICCHU was an experience of a lifetime, and worth the overnight stay at the Lodge. We arose at 5 for an early breakfast and an entry into the grounds at 6 am. I climbed the trail to the Sun Gate, finding a large rock to sit on and watch the sun rise. Of course, by the time the sun climbed over the eastern mountains, it was already very light. I encountered 50 or 60 hikers that had arrived at the Sun Gate from the Inca trail. After photographing sunrise, I continued up the trail until I felt uncomfortable going further. So, I took a picture of where I DIDN'T go, then turned back to shoot the ruins from that vantage point. I then rejoined Jamie, whose broken toe prevented her climbing the narrow path, and returned to the Lodge for further breakfast. We decided that we had explored enough and asked the staff if there were a train returning prior to our scheduled 3 o'clock.

Indeed, a train at 1:00 went only as far as Ollantaytambo, with (inexpensive) taxi connections to Cuzco. We opted to change to that arrangement, and got back to Cuzco three hours earlier than our original schedule. That worked very well for us. We even had time to shop in the bazaar you must walk through between the bus return from Machu Picchu and the train station. We tried out negotiating prices and had reasonable success. Some of our favorite souvenirs came from that bazaar.

That evening, Jamie returned to an internet cafe where she had spent many evenings. That was a pleasant surprise for us, indeed, that we could stay in touch with our family throughout the trip with this method. We were also pleased to experience how safe we felt in the night streets of Cuzco. Traffic is unbelievable!! Pedestrians proceed definitely at their own risk, and everything is fast and small. The buses are just Toyota vans packed with people being directed by a ride-along conductor.

Next day - Posada Amazonas. What a contrast! From 11,000 chilly feet above sea level to a couple thousand HOT and HUMID feet. The accomodations were rustic but private and the experiences unavailable anywhere else. We were lucky to see Giant River Otters, Macaws, and monkeys. The tour of the extensive homeopathic herb garden was a treat. Even the camaraderie of the rustic bar cocktail hour was truly memorable. We met some wonderful people and shared some great, memorable experiences.

We returned to Lima with a stopover in Cuzco. Next time try to get a direct flight if you can! We stayed on the ground in Cuzco for several hours when the takeoff tailwind failed to shift to a headwind. Apparently planes can take off only away from the city, which requires a wind from the South. We got back to Lima late in the evening and stayed at the Hotel Libertador. What a WONDERFUL place for our last night. The dinner was excellent (they graciously provided us with the sauce recipe for my fabulous steak dinner) and breakfast was a welcome FULL BREAKFAST rather than the continental (read roll and coffee) breakfasts we had gotten used to. We did miss the Lima tour that was scheduled, but frankly, that doesn't bother me. The tour guide the next day did drive me around Lima a bit, and that was enough.

We delivered Jamie to her meeting place for her continued stay in Peru, and I continued to Country Club La Planicie, where you had arranged for me to play a round of golf. WHAT A KICK!! I'm surely the only kid on my block who has played golf in Peru!! My caddy had a TWO HANDICAP, for goodness sake and was wonderfully helpful for my game.

My only discomfort from the entire trip was going from the hot humid Amazon Valley to chilly humid Lima (and not particularly clean air), then a 12-hour trip home, I got a sneezing cold that put me in bed for two days. But I'd surely do it again!

I would change nothing of the tour. The Cuzco area is fascinating. The Amazon unique. Machu Picchu is magical. Thank you for your attentiveness, expertise and responsiveness. We know that your arrangements, personal selection of guides, and thorough itinerary and information for our preparedness, made all the difference.

Sincerely, John Graham



Thank you for making our dreams come true...

-- Kalai Tse


Subject: Re: Great Trip
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 06:21:07 -0500
From: "Ralph Harden Jr." <>

Hi Martin,

My husband (Ralph) and I had a great time in Peru. We came back last Monday and were busy assorting the developed pictures and recorded the tape from cameorder video to VCR...

Machu Picchu is awesome. The landscape and the mountains are so pretty...

Tambopata research center is great. We saw lots of Macaws on the 2nd day morning stay before we returned to the Posada Amazonas. We like the Guide Silverio from the Tambopata research center. He is the native people. Very smart and with in depth knowledge in the forest. He told us he used to be a hunter before he worked for the Posada Amazonas...

Shopping at the indian market was great. I could spend the whole afternoon (mean 3 hours) over there. The guide gave us 45 minutes walking around. I love to see all the beautiful textile designs.

Oh, the catacomb in Lima under the church was a surprise. When we visited Paris we did visit the catacomb. Did not know that there is also one in Lima. Could not believe so many people were buried under ground at one time.

We had a great trip in Peru and could not do it without your help in such short notice. Our good memories with Peru are always with us. Thank you for making our dreams come true...

kalai & ralph



In seventh heaven...

-- Jan Nickerson


Subject: beyond our wildest expectations
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2002 21:02:02 -0400
From: "Jan Nickerson" <>
To: <>


John's back, safe and sound
and in seventh heaven from the trip of a lifetime
He has only fabulous reports - zero complaints or concerns.
As far as he's concerned, nothing went awry, unless you count his not being on top of the driver not dropping them off at the right hotel the first night, but he's taking full responsibiltiy for that

I've loved hearing story after story, highlight after highlight
The libertador was a glorious first night and last night to stay in
The homestay was a big hit - great experience of local culture

He wouldn't have changed a single thing from the way it worked out
If he had to drop anything, it would have been the Lima tours, which were exactly the only things that were dropped. How perfect.
They loved every moment in Cusco and surrounding areas - you were right on top of their interests when you added a day there
Two days was perfect for Posada Amazonas.
He had a great golf game in Lima (55 on the front 9, 48 on the back :)

He had all the information he needed.
He loved being picked up and droppped off exactly where and when he needed to be. It was so nice having an reliable informed driver guiding them exactly where to go at the airports, answering their every question on the tours.

Jamie's not crazy about flying, so she puts her energy inward rather than outward, that's why we didn't read more about the great views. More later from Jamie, i'm sure.

The thing he says over and over is extolling the lunch on the balcony of the MP Sanctuary. Unbelievable.
Slice of heaven.
Slice, nothing. Heaven on earth.

We have certainly started a tradition here, of father taking daughter on an extraordinary trip for 10 days between Junior and Senior year of High School.

John will write more, but I just wanted to give you an on-the-spot report.

Unquestionably your selection, orchestration, and the private driver/car and tour guides made an incredible difference. What a right choice that was. I particularly want John and Jamie to express the difference it made to them, so you know how much they appreciate it, and so you can pass their words along to others.

You know how thorough I am at investigating options. My friends know, if Jan's says "this is the one," they don't waste their time considering options. They've never been disappointed.

I am SO thrilled that John and Jamie had no disappointments.

Martin, I really appreciate extraordinary service. Authentic, real, caring service. You have earned my Lifetime Award for Extraordinary Service. Never have I had such extraordinary service, not just travel but anything. Anywhere. At work, for family, you name it.

There is none better.

Thank you.

an extraordinarly satisfied client
and you are welcome to quote me on any of this
or to refer prospective clients to me, for a reference.
It would be my pleasure

Jan Nickerson



Do I button my lips or shout from the rooftops?

-- Jan Nickerson


Subject: Re: Miracles can happen!
Thu, 18 Jul 2002 17:03:58 -0400
"Jan Nickerson" <>

Do I button my lips and not tell anyone you've arranged this for us (so as not to raise their expectations for a favor) or shout from the rooftops that there's nothing you won't do for customer satisfaction?

How can we express our appreciation to you, and to Renato?

VERY appreciatively,



Maybe we can spread the word. Thanks for a memorable trip...

-- Marcia Brandes


Subject: Re: Welcome home!
Tue, 25 Jun 2002 21:21:47 -0400
From: Marcia Brandes <>

June 25, 2002

Dear Martin,

Sorry it has taken so long for me to send you some feedback about our trip. We had a great time, but we were exhausted, and it has taken a week to catch up on everything and have a moment to relax...

As I mentioned to you, the only glitch we had was the breakfast at the Sanctuary Lodge...

Everyone who worked with us in Peru was very friendly, competent, and accommodating. The hotels were more than sufficient - we probably would have been very happy with the next step down, actually. We are not accustomed to travelling in 4 and 5 star hotels in this country, but didn't really know what the standards were in Peru...

I'm really glad we went to Arequipa. Besides the fact that the countryside is beautiful, and the terracing even more elaborate than around Cusco, we were fascinated by the museum film and display about the mummy, Juanita. The convent there was also quite interesting. The drive to Chivay, and then to the Condor Crossing was quite rugged, but worth it because we had great views of the Condors...

The Royal Inca Trail... was DEFINITELY worth it. We both felt we had earned the right to see Machu Picchu. We took advantage of being in the high-rent district at the Sanctuary Lodge by climbing to the guard house at 6:00 am the next morning to watch the sunrise. That was quite special, and my photos came out very nicely...

Rossana, in Cuzco, was very attentive, and made sure we were well taken care of. We enjoyed the folk dancing at the art center, but we could have done without the dinner & show the last night in Cuzco; it was Totally Tourist and not that great. On the other hand, we enjoyed the meals we had overlooking the plaza and the people-watching. You were certainly correct that there isn't anything to worry about in finding good food in Peru. I gained two pounds, in spite of all the walking & hiking we did! Our guide around Cuzco and Machu Picchu was very knowledgable and we liked him a lot.

The jungle experience was a nice departure from what we had already seen, and I'm very glad we ended with that... It rained a lot, but we had a great guide, and it was a good change of pace. We were quite impressed with the job Rainforest Expeditions is doing; we particularly liked the visit to the native medicinal plant hospital...

We had some very interesting discussions with several of our guides about the political situation. I was particularly glad that we got to spend several days with each guide, as it meant we got to know them on a personal basis a lot better...

We are very glad we went to Peru, and I am writing about our trip in a newsletter Steve and I edit that goes to 1000 people, so maybe we can spread the word. Thanks for helping us put together a memorable trip.

Marcia Brandes

See Brandes & Mills Tour.



Our trip surpassed all expectations and we had a marvelous time...

-- Pat & Stan Palombo


Subject: Trip summary
Tue, 7 May 2002 21:48:15 -0400
From: "Pat Palombo" <>
To: <>

Dear Martin:

Our trip surpassed all expectations and we had a marvelous time. I thought you might be interested in hearing about the highlights and the few problems we did encounter.

We loved Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. The scenery is breathtaking and the archaeological sites are impressive and your recommendation as to how to apportion our time was perfect. The guides and drivers met us on time and were extremely accommodating...

We enjoyed the hotels in Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Paracas. However, the Castellana in Lima had uninviting, gloomy and sparsely equipped bedrooms.

One of the highlights in the Cusco area was our visit to the textile center in Chinchero. We were so impressed by the work they are doing in reviving the traditions. I would be very interested in purchasing more of the textiles that they have made. We were limited by the small amount of cash we had on hand and they did not take Visa. I wonder if this would be possible at all and I'd appreciate any information you could provide...

This was definitely one of the best travel adventures we have had. We certainly appreciate all the planning and your very attentive services.

Pat and Stan Palombo



Wow, I'm amazed!

-- Jan Nickerson


Subject: Re: Airline Refund
Thu, 18 Apr 2002 21:35:25 -0400
From: "Jan Nickerson" <>
To: <>
References: 1


I had a delightful talk with Iris tonight. She had only good things to say. She was particularly appreciative of your service, attention to detail, and responsiveness; and to the punctuality and service of the guides. (Recommended in particular the Lima guide she had).

She also mentioned that the only time she had any problem was once, attributable to her forgetting the vouchers! Wow, I'm amazed it was a problem only once! And she said you were right there (via telecommunications) resolving it. AND that you called the moment she stepped into the hotel to register. Most impressive!...

Thanks again





Planning this trip under your expert tutelage and guidance

has been such a great pleasure for us...

-- Pat & Stan Palombo


Subject: Re: Tour of the Inca Empire
Thu, 28 Mar 2002 19:38:25 -0500
From: "Pat Palombo" <>
To: <>

Dear Martin:

We received all the materials today and thank you so very much for the thoroughness and attentiveness you have devoted to our trip. I can't begin to think of anything that you have not included. Planning this trip under your expert tutelage and guidance has been such a great pleasure for us.

Pat and Stan Palombo



I have already told anyone interested where to book their Macchu Picchu tours...

-- Iris Fabrikant.


Subject: Re: Tour of the Inca Empire...
Thu, 7 Feb 2002 13:01:01 EST

Dear Martin:

... Thanks again for all your good work and I look forward to working with you in the future. Besides, I have already told anyone who was interested where to book their Macchu Picchu tours.

Iris Fabrikant.



Everything was perfect!

-- Bill Gass & Billie Spinat


Subject: Re: Tour in Peru
Fri, 5 Oct 2001 14:17:52 -0700
From: Bill Gass <>

Dear Martin,

I just wanted to let you know how the tour went. Everything was perfect! Especially Rossana Valle, she was right on time everytime and went out of her way to make sure everything went well. Also Carlos, our driver in Lima, was terrific...

The only other thing I should mention is the timing for the folk music show (which was terrific, by the way). We switched it to the evening after the Sacred Valley tour since we were too exhausted to go out on the first evening in Cusco, having been up since 3:45 AM.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Peru. Adding the extra days worked out beautifully.

So, again, our heartfelt thanks for your professionalism and for having some of the best people in the industry as contacts.

Bill Gass and Billie Spinat


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