Private North Peru trip – October 2019
I wanted to let you know that we had a marvelous time in northern Peru. William is a superb guide; very knowledgeable and accommodating. Alberto is an exceptional driver. Peru is by far the most chaotic place to drive in that I have ever visited, and he handled it expertly. The archaeology far exceeded our expectations! Thanks for putting the trip together for us.
—Ron Belak and Peg Linn ( USA ),
North Peru tour - September 2018
Willi - Since our return from Peru I've been contemplating our tour of the northern archaeological sites and museums and putting my photographs and journal in order.
It was nine days of visiting an astonishing variety of ancient sites. Bernie has spoken to my of the "joy" of our trip and I know that the breadth of experiences kept both of us completely engaged and excited despite our very different backgrounds: his substantial previous travel in Central and South America and my armchair interest in the archaeology of Peru.
Tour 12, Lima - Chiclayo, which your website describes as "compact" and "focused," was just as described. We chose it to efficiently visit as many sites and museums as practical, and the full assortment was only possible with your planning and organization and the experience of the team of fantastic guides and our driver for the majority of the trip, Leonardo Bazán. All connections and plans were kept, and when an unexpected difficulty occurred, it was handled very professionally. It was very unfortunate that Mitzi Montero was unable to be with with us a second day in the Chiclayo region (she was extremely knowledgeable and engaging) but she was able to quickly arrange for her fellow guide, the fun Roxana Roses, to be with us on the last day of the tour and explain the metallurgical displays in the Sican Museum. All of the guides were excellent, from yourself on our first day out of Lima, the scholarly William Alvarado in Trujillo, Renato Córdoba in the Casma area, and Liz Durand in Huarez. All were very helpful, and they also added so much information as these were the regions where they had lived and worked for years.
Both the major sites, like Caral and Huaca Rajada and its associated museum displays, as well as the lesser known sites of Nepeña Valley the were given thoughtful attention. We were also very glad to have followed your suggested substitution of visiting Vichama instead of Aspero: it was a thoughtful experience to see the bas reliefs on the Edificio de Las Hornacinas with their sad depiction of the privations that may have lead those people to that coastal site.
Also enjoyable was that this tour with its rapid pace was not advertised specifically for its scenic and natural diversity, but it covered a wide array of landscapes. The high mountains of the Cerro Blanco and Cerro Negro ranges near Huarez were especially beautiful, but the barren coastal deserts, away from the river valleys, were awesome and a little frightening. Despite the fast pace, we were able to enjoy many of these landscapes, including a brief stop at the glacial Lake Querococha (3980m) where Bernie took a quick, icy swim.
In many ways this was a trip of a lifetime.
I plan on putting a similar review in at Trip Advisor.
Mary Mosier and Bernard Zerfas
Martinsville, IN, USA
North Peru tour April - May 2018
Willi, a very special thank you for all your efforts. It was a pleasure meeting you and we enjoyed our time with you. Incidentally thank you so much for arranging the night at the ecological lodge with Lola and Perico, her son. All of our accommodations were wonderful, however our night there was very special and one to be remembered. We loved the ambience - very charming. The personal touch that both Lola and Perico are so adept at providing and dinner was excellent. Also a very special mention and thank you for William, our guide in Trujillo. He is the best. Very professional and knowledgeable and ensured that we had an understanding of the Moche and Chan Chan cultures. Please thank him and convey how much we enjoyed our time with him. You were right about Ricardo - he is amazing. Always felt safe. He is a very skilled and personable driver.
John Kernochan / Janene Davis - Boston, USA
August 2016, North Peru tour Tarapoto, Chachapoyas, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Trujillo
Dear Mr. Helmbrecht,
The tour was a great discovery of those pre-Inca civilisations.The drivers and the guides were both very efficient and nice. So indeed, we had a good time and thanks for organizing it.
P.-Y. Burgi and family
June 2016, North - South Peru tour
We have been back from our trip to Peru a little over a week now, but the memories and images are still vivid.
When friends ask us what stood out for us, we cannot readily answer. Was it the astounding archeological sites we visited in the north.... evidences of complex and sophisticated civilizations preceding the well known Inca?
Was it the majesty of Colca Canyon, the dazzling beauty of Titicaca Lake, the historical charms of cities like Arequipa and Cusco, and the incredible Machu Picchu?
It was all that and more!
In addition to all this, we were so pleased with the quality of your tour. The planning and pacing worked out beautifully. Most importantly, the guides who carried out the tour were excellent, knowledgeable and totally professional.
Thank you and if you are ever in Montreal we would be happy to be your guide to our wonderful city.
Myrna and Peter Cohen, Montreal
Dear Mr. Helmbrecht
Just prior to leaving Peru my wife and I mentioned to you that we were very pleased with the services of WH Tours, but I would now like to put forward a few more specific comments.
Let me begin with the beginning! Prior to contacting you, my wife and I had notions as to what we wanted to see and do in Peru. For instance we knew that we wanted to visit many of the important archaeological sites in the North, we wanted to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu while trying to stay clear of "industrial-scale" tourism, and we wanted to spend time in towns and cities where contemporary Peruvians live and work. We were also concerned about the costs and we certainly did not envisage staying in high-end hotels.
The first remarkable achievement of WH Tours was to transform our lists of interests and preferences into a clear and feasible programme, one which not only spelled out the dates and times of departure and the transport modalities but also indicated the key sites to be visited and identified suitable hotels.
My wife and I promptly agreed to the proposed programme, and that led to the second remarkable achievement of WH Tours: what WH Tours accomplished was to fully "operationalize" the programme -- making arrangements not only for the domestic flights and tickets but also for very satisfactory cars, guides, drivers and hotels. Indeed, the quality of the services and equipment made available to us was very good. In particular the guides and the drivers took account of our interests and priorities. For instance, at each museum we asked the guide to give a very brief introduction and then we visited on our own. Similarly, at our request, lunch was ordinarily a low-key affair in a local restaurant. We were very pleased too with the selection of the hotels: they were not only comfortable but were generally small, friendly establishments with gardens or attractive courtyards.
Aside from these two remarkable achievements there are two more facets of the services of WH Tours that merit attention. On the fourth day of our trip, our flight from Arequipa to Cusco was cancelled. Fortunately you were quickly informed of the cancellation, and you proceeded to make the necessary adjustments in our schedule. As a result the disruptive effects of the cancellation were kept to a minimum, and we were even able to take advantage of our additional day in Arequipa.
We would also like to note here that we feel that your interest in -- and indeed enthusiasm for -- all things Peruvian -- from cuisine to modern art and from football to history -- added to the pleasure and the benefits of traveling with WH Tours. We did not feel that we were simply buying air tickets and booking hotels. Rather it seemed that we had an opportunity to discover many facets of life in Peru and to benefit fully from our trip there.
Once again, many thanks to you and to all your colleagues and collaborators!Best regards,
North - South Peru tour June 2015
We have spent 4 wonderful weeks in Peru in a tour organized by WH Tours, a travel agency based in Lima. Our travel agent, Willi Helmbrecht developed a custom tour that exceeded our expectations. He was very attentive to our needs and interests, and took his time to get to know us.
His recommendations were very valuable particularly in getting us ready for the heights of Cuzco and Machu Pichu. He introduced us to the archaeological sites in north Peru, also a visit to Arequipa, with an optimal duration for each stay. The hotels which he recommended fit completely with our requests. Willi was personally accessible to us during our trip to Peru.
All his guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. Josmar (Cusco) and Adrian (Arequipa) took an excellent care of us and introduced us to various aspects of Peruvian life (Church dance party in Arequipa, dinner at a small Piquanteria in Cusco, drinking Chicha and cheering the Peruvian football team ).
We highly recommend WH TOURS. You will benefit from personalized approach to tour organizing to meet your budget. You could not do better.
Pnina + Marcel Pinchevsky from Montreal, Canada
North Peru tour April 2015
During late 2014 I was looking to have a holiday the following April 2015, which would cover most of the archaeological sites in North Peru. I found that the normal adventure companies I have used in the past did not embrace all the sites I wanted to visit, than I hit on WH TOURS run by Willi Helmbrecht who specialise in tours to North Peru. I contacted Willi by email who promptly returned my queries which led to me booking tour 11 with his company. My wife and I had a wonderful time during April, escorted by Willi for approximately two weeks and then by Mitzi another excellent guide. I can highly recommend this company as being reliable and going the extra mile to make the holiday so much more enjoyable, and if your British like myself the bonus of having someone fluent in the language makes life so much easier. The only mistake I made was not having taken the option of four star hotels as we used the three star and although good some did lack basic facilities. Please use WH TOURS with confidence as it is a cost effective alternative to the big companies.
John and Veronica Wray from Hamshire, England
North and South Peru tour: 14 - 29 of April 2014
When we started to prepare our trip to Peru my wife and I were lucky to find website of WH tours company which is run by Willi Helmbrecht, who has lived and worked in Peru for many years. He is a person who is completely married to Peruvian culture and history. He lived for many years in Arequipa, Trujillo and Lima and he has a perfect knowledge of all archeological cities of this area and museums.
After receiving our itinerary Willy gave us valuable advices and suggestion regarding the additional sites and time they require to for the visit. His selection of hotels and organization of the second part of the trip to Cusco and Sacred valley was not less successful.
But the most enjoyable was his guiding to numerous archeological sites and museums we visited on the way from Lima to Chiclayo: Caral, Fortaleza de Paramonga, Sechin Huacas del Sol y Luna, Chan Chan, El Brujo, pyramid Huaca Cao Viejo and many other places and museums.
We also enjoyed were much his guiding and introduction to us of Peruvian cuisine, and pisco sour.
We could not be more happy with our trip to Peru thanks to the effort of Willy.
Ilya Verbitsky and Vera Afremova, Alexandria, VA / USA
NORTH PERU TOUR APRIL 2014
WH Tours is an outstanding, professional and dependable company for Peruvian tours. I was impressed at the prompt responses to my tour requests and the exceptional itinerary prepared personally for me. The tour guides and vehicles used during my experience were simply superb! Willi Helmbrecht made sure that my first visit to Peru was memorable. The sights, food and people I encountered thanks to WH Tours were truly amazing!
I would recommend them without hesitation, and I am already looking forward to a second trip with this caring and capable company!
Morris Petty Jr., Odessa - Texas/USA, April 2014
We were very pleased with your arrangements. The following are our comments on the tour, hotels, transport and guides. Given the time constraints we gave you, we feel the tour exceeded our expectations!
DAY 1 - May 6: LIMA
Karina and Victor (driver) welcomed us warmly at Callao. She provided a comprehensive city tour before taking us to the Casa Andina Select in Miraflores. This hotel is an excellent choice: friendly staff, full service, good location and comfortable accommodation. Victor arrived in a timely fashion to transfer us to the airport for our flight to Trujillo. He made us feel comfortable despite our limited ability to communicate with each other. On arrival in Trujillo Marcus and Leonard (driver) were waiting to transfer us to Hotel Costa del Sol. This facility was the nicest accomodation of the trip. Please note, however, that our room was two twin beds not one matrimonial (not a big deal).
DAY 2 - May 7: LIMA - TRUJILLO
Marcus was the most experienced and professional guide of the tour. He expertly guided us through the Huaca de la Luna and Chan Chan. His suggestion for lunch along Huanchaco beach was perfect. We also appreciated his pacing and concern for our needs. Marcus was exceptional at advising us in advance of the next day's arrangements so we could dress appropriately, bring sunscreen/bug repellent and plan our water and snack needs accordingly.
DAY 3 - MAY 8: TRUJILLO - CHICLAYO
The city tour was short but adequate given our time restraints. We were pleased to actually meet you! Throughout our stay in Trujillo, Marcus provided much appreciated insight into modern Peruvian life beyond the standard "tour guide" explanations. He also ensured we boarded the correct bus to Chiclayo. We were sorry to say goodbye! After a comfortable and interesting bus ride, Mitzi and Elmer met us at the bus station and drove us to the Bruening Museum. Later we checked into Hotel Costa del Sol Chiclayo. This hotel is well located for stores and restaurants; staff helpful and friendly; good restaurant. We were upgraded to a "suite" with a matrimonial bed. The hotel is clean, but sparse. We noticed that the Casa Andina's location is not as good, but the rooms and services may be better?
DAY 4 - MAY 9: CHICLAYO
The pace of today's tour was good and the right mix of visits to sites and museums. Mitzi takes her job seriously and is very knowledgeable, organized and thorough. Her local museum connections provided unique insights. Elmer is a concerned and careful driver.
DAY 5 - MAY 10: CHICLAYO
Chaparri was a highlight of the trip for us; however, we are glad it was not done on a travel day. Elmer drove expertly over the rough terrain. There were few options for lunch, but I always carry snacks so we were fine until our return to Chiclayo. Again the pace was good and Mitzi's explanations were excellent.
DAY 6 - MAY 11: CHICLAYO - LIMA
Today's sites were amazing. Given the late flight back to Lima, and that we were hot and dusty, we should have asked and paid extra for a dayroom. It was a nice surprise, however, to be upgraded to business class for the return flight to Lima. Mitzi ensured we got our boarding passes and through security despite the late hour. Our friend Victor was there in Lima waiting to transfer us to the hotel.
DAY 7 - MAY 12: LIMA
Violeta advised us at 9:00 AM May 12 that the national museum was closed. She took us to the nearby Huaco and then the Larco Herrera Museum. We enjoyed both, but were disappointed about the closure. Violeta did not suggest an alternative museum. Victor returned us to the hotel shortly after 1:00 PM. Once again Victor took us to the Airport at 9:30 pm for our AA flight.
Toireasa & Roger Strong
35790 Canterbury Avenue
Abbotsford BC Canada
I should have got back to you before now but it was very busy after I got home. I hope that you are well. My phone did get back to me! I promised you a trip report - I am not sure it will be as thorough as if I'd written it 2 weeks ago but even so here goes:-
Guides - all the guides without exception were good. Patricia who you had not used before is to be very highly recommended; great knowledge, great English and great personality. I liked Augusto very much indeed too. I am always happy with Kika and Mitzi!
Car and driver - The vehicle was excellent and always clean and Pedro was a really first rate driver. Apart from the odd departure from Lima which was very tiresome he never put a foot or a wheel wrong. Very careful, very polite - a really excellent driver I would happily use again.
Hotels - I have yet to find the right hotel in Lima! The staff at the Colon were very nice, the rooms less so. Hotel Mossone in Huacachina was really nice, something from a bygone era. El Farol Inn remains best in that area, it is fine I am happy to use it again. Libertador Trujillo is good, my choice there for sure. Costa del Sol Chiclayo? It was OK but not brilliant. I am going back to Jaen for sure and that hotel was fine. Casa Andina in Chachapoyas was great. We kind of liked the Casona in Leymebamba too but it is really not comparable as you did tell me. So, no compalints re the hotels at all Willi.
Bearing in mind that I made the program myself (obviously with your advice) I am already aware of what I could or might change... we can deal with that on our next trip Willi (yes there will definitely be one!) so just a few further comments from me...
The meeting with Quirino Olivera was EXCELLENT. I really liked him and would like to further my involvement and communication with him as I feel he is an excellent guy doing excellent work. They need funds --- and I am very interested in their work.
I also liked Ulisses and Edinson SO much. There is a great deal more rock art to be seen in the area and I would like to come back for that and also Jaen, Bagua and many other sites and idea in this area. If I get involved well I want you to be involved too! Faical is easy to get to (but it is too long to drive from Chiclayo and return to Jaen that same day) and Yamon was not bad. WE need to learn how to order or prepare better packed lunches! :)
OK and so to Chachapoyas and my opinion on the few sites that I did manage to do in the short time I was there and the ideas for the future. Kuelap was fantastic and not a difficult site, of course take the walk up easy but it's not a difficult site. The road up is not so great!!! Choclic was a great site and needed machetes and the local guy was excellent (Buonaventura). The museum was good ... not as great I had hoped if I am honest ... but certainly a good museum. Karejia was good and our first experience of the local horses... the horses and the women were sturdy and reliable.
Chachapoyas is a great region and even now (what with all the road works!) still opening up. I want to offer this program.
One thing I love about Peru is the wifi!
Overall a great tour with great people and great sites and great food...
Theban Travel Club
London WC1N 3XX
in summary, we had a fabulous trip through North Peru. Everything met and exceeded my expectations. Thanks for all you did for us.
Regards, Neil and Mary Burmester
WH Tours Review
I had studied Andean archaeology some 30 years ago under the late John Rowe, one of the founders of Andean archaeology. Until the current millennium, what I recalled was the great Chavin Horizon and early mounds along the coast attributed to the “cotton pre-ceramic” period. Caral and the Norte Chico civilization were unknown, with dates going back to an astonishing 2800 BC. Now, that is being pushed back by current research. Most of the excavations of the early coastal mounds revealed what appeared to be giant hills of cultural debris, not appearing to be pyramids at all.
My wife had some business in South America and we decided to take some extra time with Peru, to see the ancient sites and recent discoveries that are truly the Origins of Andean Civilizations. It took a year to plan the trip. I could see the basics of the tour we wanted, copied by many tour groups, including Caral and Chavin de Huantar, then on to Trujillo and the later Moche and Chimor ruins so popular in that area. I was checking out the tour groups that advertised the basic tours, by internet and email and using tour services referred by some of our larger hotels. They were all pretty standard and not very well thought out.
The reason I chose WH Tours was Willi himself. Instead of just replying to my email with a stock tour price, he called me. You can see from his website that he understands the archaeology and importance of things. What he put together for us was a well-researched tour from Lima to Trujillo, an updated Origins tour that included the newest discoveries and a format of hotels and restaurants along the way that was better than what I could have imagined. The tour included:
There are a number of reasons I would recommend WH Tours, but they begin with Willi, his understanding of Peru and its archeology; his ability to find a way to do anything and get you there; his punctuality, integrity, honesty and patience; his flexibility and personal contacts that really turn out improving the trip immensely; his command of languages including Spanish, English and German; and his knowledge of the best hotels to stay at, when there are few choices, and the best museums and restaurants along the way. I must say that Willi Helmbrecht became a friend on our weeklong adventure, and I recommend him to any and all!
Patrick Colvin & Paula Amanda
Thank you for arranging such an excellent and outstanding tour for us. I was very happy with the hotels we booked with you. The driver you gave us was one of the best I have ever had, and for such an adventurous journey. He was confident and careful and we always felt in the best possible hands. He also knew good places for lunch! We also had several absolutely outstanding guides, their level of commitment and passion really helped to make the tour unforgettable. We chose a long and tough itinerary and your advice and knowledge made it all work. The best possible accolade we can give you is that we are coming back and wouldn't think of travelling with anyone else.
The Theban Travel Club
Tour 5 - August 2012
We had a wonderful time on your Northern Peru tour 5 (7 nights) in August 2012. Everything worked like clockwork, the driver was excellent, the local guides for a day to two at each location worked very well, and some of them were absolutely superb. We were amazed by the wonderful things we saw. We have been telling our friends that they should go to Northern Peru too and highly recommend WH Tours!
Jim & Enid Emerson
Tour July 2011, Lima-Caral-Trujillo-Chiclayo-Nasca-Paracas
I had an amazing time on the trip! What an experience!
Both Maggie and Eddie are extremely knowledgeable and people friendly.
I would recommend you, Maggie, and Eddie to anyone I hear who is traveling down to Peru!
I can honestly say that I have nothing but constructive compliments to
offer, Willi. I thought that all of the people (guides, bus drivers, staff at various
establishments, etc), restaurants, hotels, trips, everything about the trip,
was put together very well, and executed flawlessly.
Willi put together a very complex tour for us involving up to 19 different family members coming and going at different times over 16 days. We toured the Northern Coast Kingdom, the South Coast, Lima and Cusco area. Willi worked very closely me to ensue that our tour days were not too long and made great suggestions of areas and tours I had not thought of. Our group had a marvelous time in Peru. All the arrangements from the hotels, to being picked up at the various airport and dropped off or returned to the hotel & the tours were of first class quality. We used buses and domestic flights. The buses were very high quality and each guide make sure that our group got on each domestic and international flight. The suggested resturants were fabulous. We really got a chance to truly taste Peruvian cusine.
I would recommend WH Tours and Willi to any one wishing an exciting, quality and cultural tour of Peru. We saw so much more than just Machu Picchu and have memories to last a life time.
12. - 24. June 2010, Tour Nr. 10
As part of an 8 week roundtrip through Peru I was determined to travel through the northern region. I had already done extensive research regarding this region and had precise plans concerning the locations that I wanted to visit. Searching the internet I found several agencies that offered tours of northern Peru. After an intense comparison I decided to utilize the services offered by WH Tours. Mr. Helmbrecht's agency has an extensive variety of different tours and his service in respect of giving additional information is outstanding.
The travel route included all of the highlights of this region, choice of the driver and vehicle was the best Peru has to offer. Up to this day I am wondering how the driver William was capable of presenting a spotless car every day under the given circumstances; I was more than impressed by this task.
The hotels of this trip were lovely, their location carefully chosen and possibly occurring problems were solved instantaneously. Mr. Helmbrecht's knowledge of the region and the Spanish language is remarkable and his sense of humor fantastic.
This tour through the North was the absolute highlight of my entire time in Peru, I simply had the time of my life. I can recommend WH Tours without any restrictions. I will certainly return and take another tour with WH Tours because I know it will be another once in a lifetime experience.
Thank you Willi for an unforgettable time. You are a precious jewel! Keep up the good work! The travel industry certainly needs more people like you!
Sylvia Schenk, Rosbach v.d.H., Germany
Tour 1 - October 2009
This is just a quick email to say thank you for the wonderful tour of Trujillo and Chiclayo. Marcus and Maggie were terrific tour guides...extremely knowledgeable and friendly. We had a great time with both of them. Thanks once again and hopefully we`ll be back to tour more in the north with you guys someday soon! Take care.
Sara Roy & Chris Grimes