I was lucky enough to have Darwin as my guide for the five day hike of the Incan trail to Machu Picchu. This trek had been a dream of mine for a long time and I am so grateful to have had such an accomplished guide to take me through this experience.
From our first meeting at our hotel the morning of our departure, Darwin exuded warmth, positivity, and professionalism. Not being Spanish speakers, we were impressed with his fluency in English, as well his obvious experience and comfort on the trail. This was the first time my best friend and I had done a multiple day hike, had used trekking poles, or had ever hiked at those altitudes. Darwin put us ease, teaching us to use our equipment properly and to manage our breathing through the steep ascents.
Darwin’s knowledge seemed endless. Throughout the hike, he taught us about the geography of the region and its evolution, as well as the flora and the diverse ecosystems and climates through which the trail passes. Fortunately for us, his understanding of this unique region was matched by his education of Incan history. We got see experience a number of impressive historical sites along the trail leading up to our day at Machu Picchu, and it is clear from his knowledge that Darwin has supplemented his formal education with a great deal of literature on Incan history. He had a number of books to recommend and has sparked an ongoing desire in me to learn more and more about the Incan Empire. His passion helped to bring this rich history to life for us.
Darwin’s warm character and personality contributed greatly to our overall experience. He was kind and encouraging through the more challenging parts of the trail and was full of interesting stories and anecdotes. He also treated our porters and the rest of the staff with great respect and kindness, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces, not just ours.
Hiking the Incan Trail had been at the top of my bucket list for many years. Because of Darwin’s experience, personality, and knowledge, this once in a lifetime trip exceeded my highest expectations. Any adventurer should consider themselves lucky to get to explore with a guide of his caliber.