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Worth paying for quality!
I did no planning I advance for my Machu Picchu trek and just hoped things would work out for the best in Cusco. There are a million companies in the city when you arrive and choosing one is a bit of a struggle. My hostel offered Salkantay treks for about $180, but they seemed to skimp on everything and have lots of hidden costs, so I paid more for SAS, which had a good reputation online. I definitely think it was worth it - our group wasn't too big (8), our guide, Edgar, was excellent, and food was really good throughout. We got the Machu Picchu sunrise at 6am, and it's worth paying for that once-in-a-lifetime experience. Great trip!
From April 28 until May 1st 2018 we walked the Inca trail with SAS Travel. It was a great outdoor experience! Our tour guides, Jhon and Edwin, spoke very good English and knew a lot about the history and Inca and Quechua culture. We had a fun hiking group of 9 people and the guides made sure that we all had a great time, taking into account everyone’s hiking abilities. The porters were quick and professional with the camping gear and woke us every morning with a nice cup of hot coca tea. The breakfast, lunch and dinner were of star restaurant quality, thanks to chef Julio! We would highly recommend everyone to do this trip with SAS Travel. Thank you! Saludos, Maartje and Hans from Holandaread more
My son and I had a 5-day package. The tours were fantastic! All of the guides were knowledgeable, patient and provided an excellent tour and history of Peru. Hotel Marqueses was wonderful. The staff was very helpful. The hotel is beautiful and quaint. The highlight for us was the 1-day Inca Trail with Justino. The 1-day is a great alternative if you want to hike into Machu Picchu but are not up for camping out! The hike and scenery are fantastic! Justino is a great guide! I highly recommend this tour and SAS travel. Thank you for a vacation we will always remember.read more
I recently did the 4 day Inca trail. Our tour guide was Isaac, and he was teamed up with an excellent chef- Walter, and porter team lead by Benedict. Isaac was excellent, definitely seemed like he was the most well connected, and positive guide on the trail. Walter was super impressive! I couldn’t believe the quality and diversity of the food he was serving- unreal! Benedict lead a very happy and hard worker group of porters. Overall, kudos to the staff team that you employee.
I will write a review on tripadvisor as well.
Very well organized and executed. Cooks, guide and office staff were always quick with a solution and answered all questions. Of particular note, our guide Elias Lazo was both an expert in his country's history but an outstanding guide. I would highly recommend him. Staff and hotel accomodations at the Matqueses Hotel (two doors away from SAS office) was tremendous too. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip.read more
Inca Trail - Classic 4D/3N -
- We did this trail with SAS Travel and Henry/Louis as our guide, Julio/Fred as our cooks, Smiler/Matteo/Bellisario/Enrique etc. as our porter team.
- This was a great team and always willing to help and made our hike very memorable.
- Overall, the hike was very enjoyable with food and views being the best part! The hardest was Day 2 and going down the steep stairs and the monkey steps on Day 4 to Initpunku.
- Hiking poles are very useful
Tips - 1 - Make sure to get electrolyte powder and keep hydrated.
2 - DO NOT Overpack (like we did!), lighter the better and maybe get a porter which was something we did not want to do but it might actually get someone employed.
3 - High socks, head lamps are recommended and the toilets at each site, except the first site are an experience I would like to erase of my trip.
Hike Orientation (pre-day 1 at 7pm) - Henry/Louis did a good job at orientation and this introduced us to the team and provided us with an overview of the hike.
Day 1 - We started out on a bus at 6am with the team, guides and cooks. We stopped for breakfast at Urubamba and got acquainted with rest of the team. Louis was good enough to point out some "Inca activators' - cocoa leaves and a black colored activator (probably Leija) and a eucalyptus concentrate (was very good to open up the lungs). Porters were picked up along the way at Ollataytambo and we proceeded to Km. 82 (which I believe is the rail road mile marker).
At Km. 82, we secured all our stuff and proceeded to the check point. We got a team picture at the trail's classic representative sign board. Passports and permits were verified ahead of crossing the bridge...and then we started the 4 Day "holy" trail with magnificent views of Mt. Veronica on our rear.
We had two Inca sites along the way and Henry was passionate about Inca culture in his descriptions and told us about "Pacahkuthec" (earth re-biulder - Thanks Louis!)
Overall, Day 1 (about 8 hrs, including lunch and breaks) was undulating (maybe 3X200m), although the schematic from SAS shows gradual climb up (1X200m). This is more like a pre-trail test and depending on how you feel, you can make a decision to continue or return.
The tents were already setup and there were hot showers here for 10/S and we could buy water etc. We had good views of veronica and the milky way's arm with an abstract view of a Llama and her calf which was somewhat used by Inca astrologers as an anchor.
We had happy hour with hot chocolate, tea, biscuits, coffee, conversation, POPCORN etc.
Breakfast - Papaya juice, Tea/Coffee, Bread/Scrambled eggs
Lunch - Ceviche to stat, Avoacado salad, Giant corn kernel cobs, rice, fish, mint tea
Dinner - I forgot to get a picture...Darn!
The bathroom was nice at this location and probably maintained by one of the villagers.
Tip - If you are at slow or on the latter half of the group to arrive, I would suggest starting early, say 15-30min, so you can catch up with everyone at lunch and then do the same so everyone meets up as close as possible at campsites etc.
Day 2 - We woke up early around 530am and before we started did introduce ourselves to the "Blue" team and vice-versa.
It was mentioned on the SAS travel graphic that today would be tough due to the ascent (~2000m). After a few minutes of ascent, we stopped for a quick break, sunscreen, bug spray, rest room etc., before we started the steep hike.
We ascended ~1000ft ahead of our first break, had a snack and then checked in with permit office. We started our second ascent ~1200ft. to Ayatapata. This was a good spot for break with rest rooms. The next ascent was ~1000ft to Llulluchapampa where we stopped for lunch. This has great views of parts of the Andes range.
This was a tough climb, but we kept slow and steady pace and reached the pass around 4pm enjoying the views around at ~13800ft (started at around 8800ft). It offered fantastic views of the surrounding mountain range.
The weather can change very rapidly here, the clouds started moving in with moderate visibility. We got to the campsite by 630pm.
This site had a lot of other groups camping as well, with common bathrooms (an experience I would like to erase of my Inca Trail trip).
Breakfast - Quinoa oatmeal, bread, jam, caramel spread, tea/coffee
Lunch - corn and veggie fritter?, Salad, Fried rice(with pork), Potato soup, Chicken in mushroom sauce
Dinner - As usual started with happy hour, pop corn etc., and I cannot remember but it was great!
Day 3 - It was a bit colder as expected and supposed to be the longest day. As we were slower than the group, we started hiking 20-30min earlier. The group caught up with us at the first Inca site, a watch tower, Runkurakay.
Then came the second pass, which offered similar views as dead woman's pass. It was also considered sacred to some extent to pile up stones and thank, "pachamma" - mother earth. We stopped here for a light snack.
The path after here was steep down until we reached the next Inca site. This was larger, was a watch tower, had a sacrifical place, living quarters etc. The second site's climb was very steep. We could also see another storage site and the lunch site site as well.
The path after this was undulating before it went steep down after Phuyupatamarca campsite. We were about one hour early than the group here and the weather changed very rapidly with clouds reducing visibility.
After here, we kept going down to Intipata, where there were more terrace farms and we could get beautiful views of the valley, train tracks and we saw a herd of llamas grazing.
After here, it was going down to the last campsite which also had a bunch of other teams.
Breakfast - Rice pudding(oatmeal?), bread, jam, tea/coffee, Omelettes
Lunch - Stuffed pepper, steak with mushroom, Egg Salad, Fried rice(with pork), lentil soup
Dinner - As usual started with happy hour, pop corn etc., Pizza etc. and I do not have a picture
- We had a little tipping ceremony for the porters this evening and the chef made a special CAKE!!!
Day 4 - After three days of beautiful weather, it started raining and kept on from the previous night to early this morning.
We woke up early as the porters had to pack up and leave to catch their train.
- There was some confusion on when to start, previous night briefing mentioned 530am but we had to basically pack everything up by 430am finish our breakfast and departed at 445-5am. After a brief walk, we came to a check point where our permits were verified. There was really bad stench at the point.
After checkpoint, the hike was undulating until it was very steep ("monkey steps") and then a gradual hike up to InitPunku where everyone was waiting for the fog to lift and get a glimpse of the Lost city of the Incas - Machu Pichu. We stopped here for maybe 15-20min and started our hike down. Along the way, we stopped at what is supposed to be "Customs" check during the Inca times with an altar to offer your prayers etc. Apparently, this was the place where only royals/nobility would enter and rest of the folks go back to Phuyupatamarca and hold.
We continued our hike down and got to the spot to get a representative view of Machu Pichu but it was still foggy and after about 15-20min, we started exploring rest of the sites. We went to the agricultural terraces, Temple of four elements, quarters, main square, Huayana pichu entrance, astronomical clock etc. where we ended the trip. The fog started to disperse around 11am and we went back up to get our pictures, took us about 20min. Ahead of going around the sites, we exited Machu Pichu and re-entered after leaving out bags at storage.
We completed the Classic Inca Trail in May and just loved the experience. Elias was a wonderful guide and the porters and cook cooked up delicious food and looked after us so well. This is a once in a lifetime experience and not to be missed!read more
We did the classic inca tail, everything was perfect! The group, Elvis and Hans our guides were so kind and gentle, taking care of all!! The portes, Walter, Jose and all the crew, amazing, carring all our belongins and more, always with a a smile!
The chef, Quino and his sous chef, provided us with great food, delicious!
Liliana from SAS was great!
Thank you all for making this trip to Cusco and the inca trail a great experience!!
We were pleased with the trek and the care of the guides. Being the senior members of the trek, we did not wish to slow the group, yet we were given assistance when needed. The food was excellent, our guide was most interesting. All in all, a great experience.read more
Highly recommend the Lares Valley Trek/Machu Picchu 3N/4dys with SAS Travel. The historic Hotel Marqueses, was incredibly beautiful, great staff, and very accommodating to trekkers. Our lead guide, Hilbert Sumire made this trip immeasurably better by sharing his vast knowledge and passion for the land, people, history and culture of his upbringing, and went above and beyond to ensure the safety & wellbeing of everyone along the way! He was a joy to travel with, and kept everyone motivated to push through as a team! We began in the Andes Pumahaunca Valley; mules and llamas loaded with supplies towards day one base camp in a serene setting under the Andes moonscape & sound of the rushing waters. Day 2 was the toughest trek to reach the highest point of 4,580 meters. Trekking through the mountain Switchbacks were seemingly difficult, but very possible, with the expert guidance of Hilbert & his top teammate Juan! Reaching the top was rewarding enough, but the trek downhill into the local village where llamas are raised and the land is farmed was a cultural experience that won’t soon be forgotten! Ending Day 2 at a campsite next to pools of beaming hot springs in Lares Village was a welcomed relief for sore muscles! The chef prepares excellent meals throughout the trek, and I was grateful for the “Free Gluten” options which were hearty & delicious!
Day 3 and 4 spent exploring and trekking mountain views of farming terraces & experiencing the vastness of the Inca ruins was remarkable. Machu Picchu City began early on Day 4 & experiencing the sunrise there couldn't have been more breathtaking! The night before we had a good meal @ the hostile which was logistically close the train station in Aguas Calientes. Plenty of open markets for supplies and souvenirs! Thank you to the local guides Hilbert & Juan, as this trip will go down as a lifetime experience of fond memories and much knowledge gained each step of the way! HOLD YOUR LAMAS friends and ENJOY! Thank you!
Hi SAS Travel Team
I am compelled to send you all a thank you note. Everything was PERFECT and made for a once in a lifetime trip. Everything was organized, all rented equipment was perfect, everyone I interacted with (including the hotel) ensured I was happy / satisfied and our guides Hernan and Dayvis kept us informed, safe, and felt like friends. Match that up with the excellent chef, coordinator and porters...there was NOTHING I would want to change.
Thank you for giving me an unforgettable trip!!!
Steve Allocco USA
Dear SAS Travel,
My parents, husband, and I just returned from the 9 day/8 night Salkantay trek, with three days of tours beforehand. SAS was great at coordinating everything; the guides and staff were professional and knowledgeable. It was only four of us on the Salkantay trek with Mateo as our guide, Walter as our chef, and Adolfo as our assistant chef. Everyone was wonderful. Prior to becoming a guide, Mateo studied archeology, which contributed to his obvious expertise during our trek. He has a great since of humor, is compassionate, and genuinely enjoys sharing is knowledge with others. Because of a nerve disease, my dad felt fatigue on the second day (the most intense climb), and Mateo held on to him for hours and prevented him from falling. When we come back to Peru, Mateo will be our guide. He’s our friend for life!
As for the food, Walter and Adolfo were magicians in the kitchen! I can’t believe how well we ate the entire time. There were always four or five choices at each meal and they were all delicious. Everything was prepared from local fruits and vegetables and gave us the energy we needed for the trek. Walter and Adolfo had great personalities that made for an enjoyable journey.
SAS did a great job coordinating our stay and selecting skilled people to lead us through the Salkantay trail.
Dear SAS Travel,
I recently took a trip with SAS to Manu National Park. Juan Jose Salas was my guide. He is fantastic and made the trip a wonderful experience. He was very professional and knowledgeable. I would recommend him again as a guide for you to use in the future. The chef was also excellent and accommodating to our preferences. He cooked us delicious meals. There was a lot of food, but we tried to eat it all. We also appreciated the snacks we got along the way. The boat crew was also great and very helpful. The boat was clean, the van to the boat was clean and the driver was great. The accommodations were also clean and I have nothing to complain about.
This trip was phenomenal! Our tour guides, Felipe and Hans, were the best. They were friendly, positive, and knowledgeable. Our cook for the trek made amazing food every breakfast, lunch, and dinner... he even managed make a cake in the middle of the jungle! The porters, however, are the backbone of the Inca trek - without them, it is impossible to finish. These people work so hard so ensure that everything runs smoothly for us.
One thing I must mention, however, is that the hot springs in Aguas Calientes are 20 soles/person, not 10 (only locals pay 10)! Please update!
Overall, SAS is a great company with affordable prices. They really go out of their way to make sure we have an unforgettable experience in Peru. Thank you so much!
P.S. Shoutout to Oliver who was our guide during the guided city tour and Sacred Valley tour. You were awesome!
"The experience was fantastic".
My wife, son and I just took the 3 day / 2 night tour to the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu. The experience was fantastic. Hiking the Inca trail, even for one day gave us a unique perspective to the area and history. Martin, our tour guide in the Sacred Valley was attentive and informative. Diego, our guide for the trail and sanctuary did a wonderful job telling us about the cultural and natural history of the area. Overall we would book again with SAS Travel.
Alex Blevens USA
SAS Travel was far superior.
My husband and I just returned from the Inca Trail trek. It was one of the best experiences we have ever had. My husband has been on several other treks with different companies in different countries and said that SAS Travel was far superior. Our guide Alvaro was incredible -he was funny, warm, helpful, caring, and genuinely wanted everyone to have a great time. He was also extremely knowledgeable and taught us many things we will never forget. Anyone that treks with Alvaro is very lucky! We also had amazing food cooked by the incomparable Humbertto, it was a gourmet feast at every meal! Hernan was another fabulous guide that ensured we were all safe and comfortable as we trekked. And the porters did everything in their power to make this a memorable trip which it absolutely was. I highly recommend SAS Travel and hope that others are able to experience the Inca Trail trek with this wonderful group of individuals.
Elizabeth Jones USA
My daughter and I went on the 4d/3n trek begining March
What made this a great experience were our chaskies, our guides, Jose and Aldo, Lucho our coordinator and the group with hiked with! We were all brothers and sisters! Ya? The food was delicious and plentiful and always on time! Ya?
Our lunch sites were phenomenal! I believe we got the best spots with the best views!
The highlight of the trip, besides Machu Picchu, was the camaraderie and seeing llamas on the trail, the monkey stairs, our 1st campsite for the night on the farm (nice and quiet, peaceful), looking at the stars at night, the views at lunch and the weather (sunny and warm for the entire trek).
We all got certificates after lunch in Aguas Calientes. Our bus was waiting for picking us up from the train station! The driver was kind enough to make a couple banos stops!
Over-all, this was an incredible journey! SAS travel was exceptional, our guides, chaskies, and group were!!! That's what counts right?
Jake Silverman Canada
“Fantastic 4 day/3 night Inca Trail ”
My partner and I, along with 13 others just completed the Inca Trail with SAS. I would highly recommend this company! Although it is expensive due the number of porters and fees to the park, you are truly well looked after.
Our guides were Philippe and Oliver. They seemed to genuinely care about the group, the porters and other staff, the nature and the history of the sites. They were also fantastic to have a laugh and spend time with. Our trip would not have been the same without them!
The food on the trip was some of the best we have eaten in South America. It is hard to believe how they cook what they do on top of a mountain, after hiking for hours with all the food/cooking requirements on their backs. Incredible !! Overall, a fantastic trip, I would recommend to anyone interested in doing the Inca Trail!
Thomas Haworth UK.
“An Excellent travel agency to enjoy Cuzco and surrounding areas”
I made several tours with SAS Travel, the 5 days INCA TRAIL (something UNIQUE! I will keep it in my heart for the rest of my life!!!), Moray and Salineras de Maras, Ollantaytambo & Pisaq just to name the main ones.
The staff is very very friendly but extremely professional. All the info were always clear and detailed and it happened many times I spent a lot of time in their office simply talking about Cuzco and its culture as we were friends since long time. Except in one tour where the guide, in my opinion, was not so professional (but I must say that guide was not employee of SAS travel...it was low season and even if I booked the tour with SAS , as it normally happens in that cases, the trip was in cooperation with another agency), in all the other tours I always found great persons extremely prepared and speaking a very good English.
In particular I want to THANK once more Jhon, my guide for the INCA trail : if the trekking was SO SPECIAL is also due to him. Good luck my friend! Hope to meet you again!
I'm sure in Cuzco there are other professional agencies...but with SAS travel you can have great time for sure!
Vanessa Cox USA
“The perfect way to experience Machu Picchu”
After having dreamed about trekking the Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picture for years, my husband and I finally went! We couldn't have been happier with our choice of companies. Normally we prefer to travel independently, especially for active adventures, so we weren't sure initially what it would be like to hike and camp with an organized group. But the trekking, along with everything else, was perfect!
We did the 5 day Inca Trek - day 5 being an extra day at Machu Picchu to climb Wayna Picchu.
The night before the trip, we met our friendly and helpful guide Elias who explained how everything would unfold. He helped our group plan what we needed to bring and stoked everyone's excitement. He remained incredibly enthusiastic and personable throughout the trip and managed to lead the lot of us successfully while befriending everyone. We had an additional guide, Matteo, who also did an outstanding job. He usually took the rear guard to cheer on the stragglers, but he also took turns explaining, with a unique and commanding voice, the history of the ruins we saw along the way.
Every afternoon when we arrived in camp, the staff had tents set up for us and bowls of hot water for us to wash in. As if that wasn't luxury enough, they'd always invite us to happy hour - tea and popcorn in the dining tent. Then, a meal would follow, often in several courses! It was truly excellent. I was especially impressed at how skillfully the cooks Benedicto and Florentino accommodated my vegan diet. There were always hot soups and plenty of fresh vegetables. One of our fellow trekkers celebrated her birthday on the trail and they made her an amazing cake!
The trekking itself was excellent. The guides kept our group together for archeological sites and some explanation of the local flora and fauna. But at other times, they gave us the freedom to walk at our own pace, which suited us well. We would always meet up for lunch, and both Elias and Matteo were always on hand to answer questions and take photos.
In short, this was an amazing experience with an amazing group of people. We were quite sorry to bid everyone goodbye in the end, but loved every minute of our experience. Visited November 2016