My wife and I just return a week ago, May 17th, 2013, from Gate 1 10 day affordable tour B group and we enjoyed the tour. My wife has gone on their tours before with good results. The Peru tour was just as advertised. The hotels were nice, food good and transportation on time. Our tour guide, Rene, was with us the whole time. He is an Inca, and with his very good English, did a great job explaining the history, sites, and culture of his country. Machu Picchu is more then the books and video show. Gate 1 had us up at 4:am to take the early train to Machu Picchu which gives you about 5 hours which was enough even to walk up to the house at the top. 3 of the site we visited required about 500 steps to reach the top or incase of Moray to the bottom so wear good hiking shoes.
May was a good time to be there. Weather was warm, not hot and we had no rains. Be sure to take a fleece wind breaker with as it can be a bit windy up on the 12,000 ft plateau. The floating islands on Lake Titicaca were very interesting and that area will be the coolest part of the trip yet nothing like the Minnesota we had left.
The exchange rate was about 2.6 sols to our dollar. We would just divide their sol price by 5 and multiply by 2 to get a us dollar value. So S/25(sol) as about $10.US. BUT, bring only new crisp US bills. They will not accept any bills that have a small hairline tear. Best is to get like S/250.(Sol) when you get into Lima, at a bank or exchange place, so you have money for some meals not include or other items. If you have Sols left at the end of trip you can always use them up as part of your tips.
Always drink only bottle water and have plenty with you. Drink some Gatorade products also. Leave the Pisco Sour drink till our last night there if you dare. Also, 3/4 of our group experienced some problems with altitude sickness, even those of us who work out. Believe me, there is NO reasoning to who will have some problems. It was no fun for one of our group who had to fly back down to Lima.
We are glad we did this trip. Always seem to meet a nice group of people to share the trip with and would use Gate 1 again for tours.
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