My husband and I initially planned to make a trip to Peru with a nice upscale educational tour company like Smithsonian. However, while we were doing online research about our options, we kept running across the firm of Ancient Summit and the name Nina. From our first phone call, there was a difference.

While other tour companies had a “that’s the way it is” tone, with Nina the attitude was, “It’s your vacation. We can make it whatever you want.” That was really attractive to us because it stood out and also because it fit our very particular needs and dreams. Also it was appealing to have our own tailored and personalized vacation for just a little more than a group tour. We gave Nina our parameters: We wanted to see Machu Picchu but we also wanted to fit in the Amazon. We wanted to relax but we also wanted to have access to local people we might be able to help through a small charity we founded. I also wanted to find people to interview for a research project.

For part of our trip, we thought five-star comfort might be attractive, but we also thought we might want to get a little “interesting” too and didn’t mind sacrificing some luxury in exchange for a rich experience. We like physical activity and adventure as well as a nice bed. We ended up with a trip that was far better than we could have imagined,, with plenty of time built in for relaxation and for us to do spur of the moment things, which we did, and to rest through a surprise stomach bug that hit my husband. Nina’s guides were exceptional – knowledgeable, well-educated, speaking excellent English, flexible. The drivers also were experts, which is pretty important in a third-world country. We were met by a guide and driver at every stop and whisked to our hotel or site. The guides were available to us at all times, and if we thought of something off the agenda, they readily accommodated us. In locations like the Inkaterra resorts that had their own guides, our experience was also excellent.

Nina clearly knows the country well and has excellent contacts. We feel incredibly lucky to have happened upon Ancient Summit and we can recommend the firm without reservation. Our trip was well-balanced with sightseeing, learning opportunities, physical exercise, hammock time and shopping (we only wanted a little of this and we got what we asked for – but what we bought was great quality and well-priced – artwork, pottery and alpaca sweaters as well as a couple of market knick-knacks for our kids). Nina also helped us to organize philanthropic and research activity to fit our particular needs and wishes. Our Inca Trail hike (the one-day version) was just enough of a challenge and is a memory we will always cherish. Nina also arranged a market visit and cooking class with a local chef in the Sacred Valley, a fantastic experience. The food in Peru was wonderful – we ate no processed food the entire time and came home feeling healthy and refreshed. When we (unfortunately) needed medical care, the doctor and nurse came to our hotel room and we felt the medical care was excellent in every respect. The Sol y Luna resort in the Sacred Valley goes onto our list as one of the most beautiful places we have stayed worldwide. Learning about the Inca culture was another highlight and has touched the way we look at the world.

I could go on and on but rather than reading someone else’s notes, I recommend that you call Nina and let her arrange your own special Andean adventure. I could go on and on but rather than reading someone else’s notes, I recommend that you call Nina and let her arrange your own special Andean adventure.

Marti and Tom