Traveler Testimonial: An eye-opening experience

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Traveler Testimonial: An eye-opening experience

Glacier, Latin America For Less Observing the beauty of frozen ice in southern Chile.
Photo courtesy of Doug Schrepel

Last month the Schrepel family from Colorado enjoyed a memorable 19-day trip to Peru and Chile. During their South American adventure, Doug and his family made great friendships and witnessed breathtaking beauty that he shared with our team in a recent testimonial. Doug thanked travel advisor Kelly C. and our Latin America For Less team for making their trip possible, an experience he said opened his eyes to South America’s natural beauty and cultural kindness.

An eye opening experience

“We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Peru and Chile.  We saw and learned so much in 19 days, a relatively short amount of time. There is no question that Latin America For Less was a major factor in making this possible.

Starting in Peru we were met in the Lima airport by Paula. She escorted us across the street to our hotel where we would only be for a few hours, wrote out a list of culinary dishes and drinks she felt we should try during our visit to Peru, and ordered our first pisco sours. Our hotel was comfortable and convenient.  While this was a very short night for us, we felt oriented and had no problem working our way to our Cusco flight the next morning.

After a wonderful flight over the amazing Andes we arrived in Cusco where we were met by Kelly. When our bags didn’t arrive in Cusco, Kelly was great and communicated our problem to the LAN representative, assisted us in filling out the necessary paperwork to get our bags to us and we had them in our room in 24 hours.

Our hotel in Cusco was great and in a perfect location for walking to the Plaza, shops and restaurants in the heart of Cusco.

Jose met us on our second day. He was wonderful and he took us to the many Inca ruins surrounding Cusco and then to some key places in Cusco including the Cathedral with a painting of the Last Supper featuring guinea pig as the main dish!  Jose was very knowledgeable and personable and we all really enjoyed getting to know him.

On our third day we traveled with Jose and his driver through the Sacred Valley. We stopped at a small wildlife refuge along the side of the road that Jose usually allocates 10 or 15 minutes to visit, if even stopping at all.  He knew that two of us were veterinarians, and all of us interested in the wildlife of the area, so he graciously let us visit for over an hour.  This was an unexpected highlight with condors in a flight cage flying within a few feet of us and an education in the plight of the many illegally exported animals.  We, of course, were awestruck by the Sacred Valley, its many ruins, and enjoyed a couple of markets we visited. We had a wonderful buffet lunch with the largest kernels of corn that we had ever seen.  Two of us are vegetarians and this buffet was perfect for us.

The weather in Cusco was perfect. Through the Sacred Valley we had a few scattered showers, but the ever changing low lying clouds and shadows only seemed to add to the beauty of the valley and the mystery of the ancient ruins.

We parted with Jose in the Sacred Valley and hope to meet up with him again, perhaps on a tour through the Manu jungle in the future?!

We enjoyed a quiet night in the Sacred Valley in a very nice resort with a good restaurant and then met our transfer right on time to take us to the train station in Ollantaytambo the next morning.

We were met at the train station in Aguas Calientes by Fabricio.  He showed us where to store our bags and presented us with our Machu Picchu tickets and bus tickets for the next two days. He spent three hours with us in the ruins explaining the highlights of Machu Picchu.  Also very helpful, personable, and knowledgeable we thoroughly enjoyed our time with Fabricio.

Again a very comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes.  While we did get some strong rains in the afternoon, it was nothing a raincoat couldn’t handle.

Back to Machu Picchu, an awesome hike to the top of Huayna Picchu and then out trip back to Cusco all went very smoothly.

After getting back to Cusco and another great meal – the food in Peru was amazing – we headed on to Chile where we spent a few days with my daughter in Chile’s central valley.

Next stop Punta Arenas, to Chile’s southern Patagonia region where we were met by Alberto and Hugo our driver.  Alberto provided a nice orientation of the area on our way to our hotel.  We had a wonderful evening and Hugo picked us up right on time as we were scheduled to travel by boat to Isle Magellan. The wind was fierce that morning so the boat was not an option, but we were able to take a land based tour to a smaller colony of penguins about 70 km away from the city.  It was fantastic, and no sea sickness!!

Again, no problems with transfers to the bus station and to our hotel in Puerto Natales. The next morning we had a wonderful day with our guide, Francesca, introducing us to the Torres del Paine area. Francesca was great, allowed a lot of photo stops, and got us squared away in our hotel on Lago Grey where we had a brilliant blue iceberg right outside our beach side window…WOW!

The employees of Peru For Less and Chile For Less were all great!  They never failed to be on time to pick us up for transfers to the many buses, trains, and planes on which we traveled.  All the hotels were more than comfortable and all of our tour guides, always helpful and knowledgeable, taught us so much and were a pleasure to be around.

Kelly, I really can’t think of anything that you could have done to make this trip better.  This is a rare compliment for an employee or a business and we all thank you so much!

Finally, I was really touched by the plight of both the poorest people and the stray dogs in Peru. I hope to travel back to Peru in the not too distant future to see if I can help in some way.  I know there are several veterinary groups working in Peru and Chile to reduce both human and non-human animal suffering and I hope to become involved in some way.  Thanks for helping to open my eyes to the beauty of these countries, the kindness of the people, and the great unmet need.

My warmest regards,

Doug”

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is a group of travel-loving experts who live, work, eat, and breathe all things South America. Their inspiration stems from a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity that make this continent so special.

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