SEARCH  
New to Leap Local? Learn More

Inappropriate / Inaccurate? Mario Tapia Meza (Chino)

Description:

Mario, who is known to all as Chino, is a local from the beautiful Inca town of Ollantaytambo which has ruins right over the town that are similar to those of Machu Picchu. Chino can offer you tours by foot, bike, or horse. He has both horses that you're used to, and the Peruvian specialty caballos del paso.

Chino knows and loves the stories of the Sacred Valley, the Inkas, and the current culture. He'll tell you the love stories of the battling Ollantaytambo Inkas, show you local weavings from the small indigenous weaving community of Willoc, and tell you the archeological theories behind the mysterious circle terrace ruines of Moray.

Spending a day around the Sacred Valley with Chino leaves you wanting more, as his love for his home rubs off on you. He has wanted to be a guide since he was little and currently is in school for guides where he will soon get his carnet. Chino has lots of experience taking large groups or pairs of tourists to Pumamarca, Willoc, Patacancha, Moray, Maras, among many others. He is fluent in English, so no need to worry if you don't speak Spanish.

His trips can be a few hour ride in horse/bike/foot/taxi or a multi-day trip to Lares, Choquequirao, Salkantay, or many other beautiful ruins around the valley that get seldom get visited. For the multi-day rides, he can set you up with a horse to carry the gear and will take care of the food as well. There are trips available for people of all ages and abilities. Let him know what you're interested in seeing or doing, and he'll tell you about the options.

Chino can also take you to Machu Picchu the alternative route through Santa Maria and Santa Teresa to avoid the train. It can be just hiking, or a combination biking and hiking.

At the end of the day to relax, make sure Chino takes you to a chicheria to try the delicious local corn beer with the locals.

In terms of prices, Chino prefers to leave it up to you to decide. But feel free to ask what is appropriate.

Contact Details:

You must be logged in to view the contact details of this local. If you don't yet have a Leap Local user account, please register now.
I have used the services of this
local and want to give a review
I am the local and want to update
or comment on my profile
Add a photo. Edit photos & captions.

Uploaded by Chloe Waters on May 14, 2007.

Chino in the Vallay of Patacancha with his horse Cadiar Uploaded by Chloe Waters on May 15, 2007.

Chino and my Dad at a chicheria Uploaded by Chloe Waters on May 16, 2007.

Chino and his horse Almendrado Uploaded by Chloe Waters on May 16, 2007.

Mario in action Uploaded by pascal tremblay on June 18, 2008.

Mario helping Wendy on Heroico. Uploaded by Wendy Chen on Oct. 16, 2008.

Mario talking about the salt mines to Dan. Uploaded by Wendy Chen on Oct. 16, 2008.

Chino and my partner in Ollantaytambo\'s temple Uploaded by Bruno M on May 11, 2009.

Horseback riding Uploaded by Bruno M on May 11, 2009.

With chino, on horses Uploaded by Bruno M on May 11, 2009.

Leap Local Winner May 2009 Uploaded by Leap Winners on May 19, 2009.

Explaining the remarkably advanced water system in the Ollayantaytambo ruins. Uploaded by Kate Friday on July 23, 2009.

Chino in Moray/Maras at a UNESCO site. Uploaded by Kate Friday on July 23, 2009.

Trying \"chicha beer\" with Chino was an experience we will never forget! Uploaded by Kate Friday on July 23, 2009.

He opened many doors - literally and figuratively - into the local lifestyle and people. Uploaded by Kate Friday on July 23, 2009.

Our \"salty\" guide explaining the harvesting process at the salt mines of Maras. We peppered him with questions -- ha! Uploaded by Kate Friday on July 23, 2009.

Chino at the Ollantaytambo ruins. Uploaded by Daniela on Sept. 17, 2009.

Lares Trek with Chino Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Chino with my children on Lares Trek Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Lares children Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Villages in the Lares Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Our treking team in the Lares Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Our camp site Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

The horseman daughter Elisabeth with my two girls Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Lares children Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Crossing rivers in Lares Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Cultural experience arriving in villages Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Lares hot springs Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Lares hot springs Uploaded by Stef bolduc on June 23, 2010.

Riding from Moray to Maras Uploaded by Liz Moore on Aug. 24, 2010.

At the end of the ride by the Urubamba River Uploaded by Liz Moore on Aug. 24, 2010.

Chino showing us around the home where we tried Chicha Uploaded by Liz Moore on Aug. 24, 2010.

Chino talking about the ruins at Saksaywaman Uploaded by Judd on Sept. 30, 2010.

Chino helping me onto my horse Almendrado Uploaded by Ling-Zhi Hew on Nov. 1, 2010.

Tasting the authentic Chi cha with Chino Uploaded by Amy on Aug. 22, 2013.

Customer Reviews

Overall
9.8 / 10
40 reviews

Chloe Waters (recommender) (10 / 10)

reviewed May 14, 2007, 10:16 p.m.

Chloe Waters spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Mario took my dad and I on caballos del paso to Pumamarca, beautiful isolated ruins on the way to Willoc. Then in the afternoon he took us in taxi to the ruins of Moray and the town of Maras, known for its portadas, or fancy doorways.

Best bits: I absolutely loved riding through the valley on horses. Mario shared so much about the history with us. It had been a long time since I had been on a horse, so I was a little timid to start off, but I felt very safe and had a wonderful time. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Worst bits: The worse part was leaving Ollantaytambo!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes

Jenny van Mens (8 / 10)

reviewed Oct. 30, 2007, 1:28 a.m.

Jenny van Mens spent 5-10 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Eco tour in Lares planting trees with the local community and school children

Best bits: Playing cards, Mario´s original ideas and genuine thoughtfulness
Worst bits: Cold and altitude sickness

Ratings

Overall experience: 8 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

Mario is a fantastic and enthusiastic tour guide. He is a genuine person who cares greatly about his customers and will do anything to ensure their safety and well being.

Janice Kendall (10 / 10)

reviewed Nov. 9, 2007, 12:07 a.m.

Janice Kendall spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

I spend a great week camping in Cuncani valley with Mario, and also with Domingo and Louis. They really looked after us well. Mario speaks good English has a great sense of humor. He is very helpful and will do his best to solve any problems you may have. He is very perceptive and trys to make you time in Peru as comfortable as possible. The mountains were amazing and the people really lovely. Mario is a great advocate for Peru, he is proud of his country, his heritage and knowledgeable about the history. Mario is a great guide and I would highly recommend him. He is also fun to play cards with especially when you win.

Best bits: meeting the locals with Mario
Worst bits: the cold

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 8 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 8 / 10

Comments:

i haven't read it yet

Michelle Singler (10 / 10)

reviewed Nov. 14, 2007, 2:22 p.m.

Michelle Singler spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

This was my second trip with Chino. We spent 3 days and 2 nights hiking to the thermal baths at Lares. The hike was breath-takingly beautiful with views of glaciers and glacial lagoons. We passed local villages and llamas and alpacas.

Best bits: The views, the hike, the thermal baths. Making it to the top!!
Worst bits: Getting out of the thermal baths!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

I would really recommend the Lares Trek to people who want to do a few day hike, but either don't want to do the Inca Trail for economic reasons or because it's so busy. We only saw 2 other tourists the entire trip. It wasn't an easy hike--need to be fit and accustomed to the altitude, but it was worth it and wonderful. Chino was great. Our second day I couldn't carry my pack, so he had a horse carry it for me. The fresh cooked meals were delicious!

Jody (10 / 10)

reviewed Jan. 23, 2008, 12:27 a.m.

Jody spent 5-10 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We found Chino here on LL and he guided us with excellent English through the towns and ruins of Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, Pisac, Maras, Moray, Cuzco and more. Along the way he explained to us the history and culture, showed us how to get about as locals do, and introduced us to his friends. He arranged hikes, horseback riding, and for us to rent a dirtbike for a side trip. We thoroughly enjoyed his company and spent most of our down time hanging out with him. Our honeymoon was fantastic with his help! Thanks Chino!

And please give our regards to Jose, who helped us around Cuzco.

Best bits: Chino went out of his way to help make our trip enjoyable.
Worst bits: Going home.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

kelly fleischer (10 / 10)

reviewed March 6, 2008, 11:15 p.m.

kelly fleischer spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino took us horseback riding and to several ruins in the Ollatatambo area

Best bits: he was very informed, fun to be with, helpful
Worst bits: nothing needed improvement

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 5 / 10

Comments:

mariola katryniok (10 / 10)

reviewed May 16, 2008, 3:01 a.m.

mariola katryniok spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

horseback riding from Moray to salt-mines of Moras

Best bits: his knowledge, his enthusiasm, everything was perfect
Worst bits: none

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 8 / 10
Eco impact: 5 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 8 / 10

Comments:

pascal tremblay (9 / 10)

reviewed June 18, 2008, 8:46 p.m.

pascal tremblay spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

we visited in his company the sacred valley. Ollantay tambo, pisac, cusco, chincheros etc.

Best bits: flexibility, friendship, allways whit a smile and a good humor
Worst bits: my stomach reaction to some peruvian food.... 8)

Ratings

Overall experience: 9 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

I would say that Mario is a very special person. He love is contry and pass that feeling to you. Whit him you feel safe and in good hand. He has a lot of patience to explain and he is very flexible to your need. When I think of the 4 days me and my wife spend whit him it makes me wish we were back there.

Bernhard Boser (8 / 10)

reviewed July 29, 2008, 5:47 a.m.

Bernhard Boser spent 5-10 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Treking and sight-seeing (sacred valley)

Best bits: scenery, Andean life
Worst bits: none

Ratings

Overall experience: 8 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 7 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes

Wendy Chen (10 / 10)

reviewed Oct. 16, 2008, 4:30 a.m.

Wendy Chen spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We spent a day with Mario horseback riding through the Sacred Valley and visiting the Inca agricultural terraces in Moray and the town and salt mines of Maras. We also visited a chicheria after our ride. The day was the highlight of our trip—hands down. Mario planned the day to perfection. We particularly enjoyed hearing about the area’s history and culture from him. He has a great perspective because he grew up and still lives in Ollantaytambo. And more than anything, he was super nice and super cool. We would recommend working with him without hesitation or reservation.

Best bits: We loved his stories.
Worst bits: We were very sore.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

Dejan Duzevik (10 / 10)

reviewed Dec. 11, 2008, 6:45 p.m.

Dejan Duzevik spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Met up in Cusco, had drinks at a local nightspot in Ollantaytambo, went to Moray, Maras, and the Inka sites around Ollantaytambo. We also went horse-back riding, and drank Chicha in a traditional house.

Best bits: It felt like hanging out with a friend rather than a guide
Worst bits: None

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes

Sarah Bowman (10 / 10)

reviewed Jan. 1, 2009, 12:17 a.m.

Sarah Bowman spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We traveled around the Sacred Valley, from Yucay to Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu to Pisaq and then to Cusco, visiting ruins and exploring local culture.

Best bits: Everything!
Worst bits: Nothing.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 5 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

raven (10 / 10)

reviewed March 31, 2009, 2:12 a.m.

raven spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We met Chino for the first time on a hot afternoon in Ollantaytambo. My first impression told me right away that we had picked the right guy. He was smiling and totally cheerful. Chino gave us a quick summary of our day to come and all in perfect English. We rode off and throughout our voyage Chino showed us many sites and was happy to answer any questions. On our arrival to Pumamarka, he gave us an inside look to how the locals lived and made us feel really welcome. Chino is very knowledgeable and a total comedian. He’s a total joy and is guaranteed to give you an experience you will never forget.

Best bits: seeing the suspended pyramid, and visiting wih the locals
Worst bits: leaving...

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Bruno M (10 / 10)

reviewed May 11, 2009, 9:05 p.m.

Bruno M spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

My partner and me went on a tour of Ollantaytambo and also on a one-afternoon horseback riding tour near Ollantaytambo that offered scenic views and a truly unique experience. Chino was a friendly, knowledgeable, generous, and all-around awesome guide. Later on we hang out with him in Cusco, and he also recommended a friend of his that was our guide trekking to Machu Picchu.

Best bits: The horseback riding tour was an amazing experience. His knowledge of the history of Ollantaytambo and his fun stories were great.
Worst bits: I wish I had had more time to hang out with him in Ollantaytambo!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

emily (9 / 10)

reviewed May 13, 2009, 1:37 a.m.

emily spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

chino picked us up in cusco, along with a driver and gave us a tour for the afternoon of pisac ruins, pisac market and back to ollaytantambo. the next day he gave us a full day tour of ollayanta ruins, chincheras, maras, moray,salineras, urumbamba and back to ollanta

Best bits: excellent knowledge of history of area/ excellent english/ very friendly
Worst bits: none (could have gotten a driver with a newer taxi!

Ratings

Overall experience: 9 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

none.. i would recommend chino to anyone! (my kids are thinking of making the same trip and will definitely get in touch with chino..) thanks for a great trip! emily and marc lerner

Leap Winners (10 / 10)

reviewed May 19, 2009, 3:49 p.m.

Leap Winners spent 2 hours or less with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

This is not a typical review – it is an opportunity to identify Mario as a winner of Leap Local's competition to reward good local guides and services. The best bits and worse bits are a snippet from our judges’ comments. More details about the competition are on our site.

Best bits: Really respect him striving for self improvement by further studying to be a guide. (Kirsten) Like the fact that he is going solo, and I’ve met him too and he’s a lovely guy. Good language skills, flexibility, knowledge, alternative sites etc. Some wonderful reviews of Mario.
Worst bits: He should be encouraged to set rates – even if it says rates are negotiable.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Not sure
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Karissa Pearson (10 / 10)

reviewed May 24, 2009, 8:09 a.m.

Karissa Pearson spent 2-5 hours with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Went horse back riding

Best bits: Had great information on the site. Very friendly. Made entire experience great.
Worst bits: N/A

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 8 / 10

Comments:

Kate Friday (10 / 10)

reviewed July 4, 2009, 1:24 a.m.

Kate Friday spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino arranged our transportation and sightseeing activities in and around Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley. He was very knowledgeable, incredibly conscientious and punctual, and very pleasant to be with. He earned our trust and confidence very quickly, and advised us very well in all aspects of our travel (even those that he had no planned).

Best bits: Seeing many aspects of the town and valley from a local perspective instead of the tourist perspective
Worst bits: Chino was unavailable one day and we used a different guide :(

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Chino is very flexible, and can show you his home country from the viewpoint of a local or give you a 5-star holiday, depending on your needs.

Kate Friday (10 / 10)

reviewed July 4, 2009, 9:33 p.m.

Kate Friday spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino did an amazing job coordinating the logistics and giving us an inside-view of Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Moray, Saltino. We traveled between sites using on foot, private minivan, taxi, cambi and local buses. We joked that the only form of transportation missed was the llamas.

Best bits: The ability to see Peru from the eyes of a local
Worst bits: Chino was unavailable one day and we used a different guide :(

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Whether you are searching for the chance to experience Peru from the perspective of a local or you want a 5-star, customized tour, Chino can do it all. He strives to understand the individual needs of each client, and gives his full and undivided attention to you when he is guiding. He is extremely patient and warm, and has a good sense of humor.

Daniela (10 / 10)

reviewed Sept. 15, 2009, 2:51 a.m.

Daniela spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

I spent two days with Chino, visiting Moray, Maras and Salineras on horseback and visiting the Ollantaytambo ruins and Chinchero by car. Both days were absolutely perfect. Everything was extremely well organized (coordinating the different modes of transportation etc.). Above all, Chino is a great person to hang out with, and it was more like exploring the Sacred Valley with a friend than with a guide.
Altogether a fantastic experience!

Best bits: Horseriding in the Sacred Valley
Worst bits: None

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Joanna Bradford (10 / 10)

reviewed Dec. 2, 2009, 4:16 p.m.

Joanna Bradford spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We loved Chino!! Chino was the guide for our family (with 3 kids ages 8, 6 and 4) around the Sacred Valley and Cusco. We had 4 guides during our time in Peru and Chino was by far the best--very knowledgeable and passionate about the area and its history, punctual and dependable, with a wonderful, friendly personality and a great sense of humor. It really was like traveling with a friend. He is great with kids and is caring and compassionate...when my son developed a big lump on his leg, he took us to the local doctor, translated for us, and even brought his mom who made up a herbal poultice to put on his leg--all AFTER he was done guiding us for the day. Our kids keep saying "We miss Chino!"

Best bits: Great personality, very knowledgeable, stunning scenery
Worst bits: Couldn't go horseback riding because my son hurt his leg :-(

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Glenda S. McKinney (8 / 10)

reviewed Dec. 6, 2009, 10:26 p.m.

Glenda S. McKinney spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We went from Ollantaytambo to Maras, Moray and a weaving collective, and ended up in Cusco. He was our guide, and we had a driver as well.

Best bits: historical and geographic details
Worst bits: kept forgetting our names, but not a huge problem

Ratings

Overall experience: 8 / 10
Value for money: 8 / 10
Eco impact: 5 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Not sure
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

laura jackson (10 / 10)

reviewed Dec. 10, 2009, 9:17 a.m.

laura jackson spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino is the best guide. We met him for lunch to discuss our plan, he took us to the best local resturant. the following day at 8am, he took us on a half day tour of the incas and then a half day horse back ride down the sacred valley stopping to look at the salt flats. I was really scared of horses but Chino was very patient and i ended up loving the horse i was on!!! we then visted a corn museum, and went to a ollantaytambo, where we visted the Inca archaeological site. That evening Chino took us for the best burritos at his favorite resturant. The following morning we went to Machu Pichu, where he explained everything in great detail. Chino is a very knowledgable guide, and ended up being a great friend who we had lots of fun with.

Best bits: The food, Chino's high spirits!!
Worst bits: The rain at Machu Pichu!!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Hilary Johnson (10 / 10)

reviewed July 10, 2017, 11:10 p.m.

Hilary Johnson spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

We spent 3 days with Mario! We spent 2 days touring Sacred Valley and then the 3rd day we went to Macchu Picchu and hiked Huayna Picchu.

Best bits: Mario is an excellent guide! He was educational and entertaining, and happy to answer tons of questions, including some oddball ones! He also taught us a few Quechua words and stories, which we really loved.
Worst bits: Nothing! He's outstanding. We'd love to visit with him again.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Matthew Fairclough (10 / 10)

reviewed June 1, 2010, 9:37 p.m.

Matthew Fairclough spent 5-10 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Best part of a week with Chino in the Sacred Valley in between Cusco and Ollantaytambo, including ruins at Sacsayhuaman, a horse back trail from Moray to Urubamba, stopping at salt mines at Salinaras; trek to thermal baths at Lares; a day at Macchu Picchu; epiphany and all the festivities in Ollantaytambo.

Mario brought Macchu Picchu and other sites to life with his storytelling to embellish the stones which were the foundation of day to day Inca living. Mario has an extensive knowledge of the history and culture of the Incas and Peru since the arrival of the Spanish which he linked to present day society; through him we had a lot of contact with local culture and communities. This was facilitated by Mario’s fluency in Quechua, Spanish and English.

Mario has a great sense of humour and faith in the joys of life, so the whole time we were with him was like easy and enjoyable. We planned our itinerary while in England, but we were easily able to adapt as we liked in Peru with Mario’s knowledge of conditions and the local area.

Moving through the wondrous landscape of the Sacred Valley and listening to stories of Incas and Spanish conquistadores while meeting locals, tasting the cuisine and finding out about their age-old traditions opened up a vibrant world to us.

Amazing landscapes, people, food & drink, history and stories.

Best bits: Mario's stories and sense of humour
Worst bits: No worst bits (apart from a spot of diarrhea! But Mario helped find us a good chemist too!)

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 8 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Stef bolduc (10 / 10)

reviewed June 23, 2010, 2:10 a.m.

Stef bolduc spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

My familly and I did a wounderfull trek in the Lares region in Peru with Chino. We did the hike with a horse so that our children can enjoy the trek. We wanted to experience, not only a hiking experience, but also a cultural experience and Chino did manage to make it happen. The horseman girl came with us hiking and we went sleeping with a familly...what an experience!

Best bits: Watching my childrens riding the horse while we are trecking peacefully. Chino was great with my children. Memorable seeing my oldest child walking hand in hand with a local child.
Worst bits: The rainy snow fall that hit us at 4 500 meter!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Mark Pyle (10 / 10)

reviewed June 25, 2010, 5:22 p.m.

Mark Pyle spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino accompanied us on tours of the Ollantaytambo and Pisac ruins, a day visit to Machu Picchu, a horseback riding tour of the Moray-Maras-Salineras area, and a mountain biking trip in Patacancha valley. He was very helpful with finding lodging and other logistics before our arrival. Chino arranged everything for the horseback and mountain bike excursions. Our trip was tailored for a family experience with a 12 year old, and everything was wonderful. He is very knowledgeable about the entire area. This was our first such trip using a guide in any capacity, and Chino more than exceeded our expectations. We will be returning and will be calling on Chino's services to see more of this wonderful place. Thank you, Chino, for helping make this trip very memorable!

Best bits: All.
Worst bits: Leaving the Sacred Valley

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

Katie Moore (10 / 10)

reviewed Aug. 21, 2010, 6:02 a.m.

Katie Moore spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino picked us up in a car at our hotel (right on time), toured us around Moray, arranged for Peruvian Paso horses to meet us there, and took us on an unforgettable ride through Peruvian countryside. He took us through Maras town and to Salineras, explaining and answering questions along the way. Then gave us our first taste of Chicha! Completely unforgettable day, very smart guy with reasonable prices, would recommend him to anyone in the Sacred Valley area who needs a guide.

Best bits: The incredibly beautiful Peruvian countryside, Chino's knowledge of local customs and history
Worst bits: Saying goodbye and going back to our hotel!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Liz Moore (10 / 10)

reviewed Aug. 24, 2010, 9:12 p.m.

Liz Moore spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino came and picked us up at our hotel the morning we scheduled with him. We drove out to Moray, stopping along the way for pictures. Chino gave us a tour of Moray before meeting our horses for the day. (He set it up so that we could ride Peruvian Pasos for the day which were very well taken care of, unlike some horseback riding places) We then rode to Maras for a snack before continuing on to the Salineras. Chino gave us another tour of the Salineras before heading down to the river where our driver and the horse owners met us.

Chino answered any and all questions we had from the moment we got in the car and was incredibly knowledgeable about the area, the culture, the history, and the science behind everything we saw. There was not a single question he couldn't answer.

On our way back to Cusco, Chino stopped at a house to let us try Chicha. The fact that he speaks Chechuan allowed us to try the Chicha at a local woman's house who graciously let us see how she lived.

Chino was also incredibly nice. He did everything with a smile on his face. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

If you want to do anything around Cusco, look at Chino first! He's amazing.

Best bits: Everything! The scenery, the information, the chance to meet local people...it was all amazing
Worst bits: Nothing. The entire day was incredible.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Heidi Hart (9 / 10)

reviewed Sept. 1, 2010, 6:43 p.m.

Heidi Hart spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

I spent 2 days exploring Cusco and surrounding area with Chino. We walked the town, took local transportation. He knew everyone one and everywhere to do. When I wasn't with him I had his great advice to follow. Then I spent a day in Ollantaytambo with a guide that Chino recommended because he was busy. Chino is great if you want to take the road less travelled, he offers insights you would never get from another tour agency.

Best bits: All of it....
Worst bits: Nothing....

Ratings

Overall experience: 9 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

No changes...I think he's great!

Hayden Tornabene (10 / 10)

reviewed Sept. 2, 2010, 2:41 a.m.

Hayden Tornabene spent 2-4 weeks with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

This past summer, I went on an emersion trip to Peru with an organization called Walking Tree Travel. We went to Machu Picchu, we went biking through the Andes, a service project where we built a cafeteria, it was amazing.

Best bits: Absolutely Everything
Worst bits: Not a thing

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Judd (10 / 10)

reviewed Sept. 30, 2010, 10:18 p.m.

Judd spent 1-3 months with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

I work as a photographer for an American camping company taking high-school kids to Peru each summer for cultural immersion trips. The kids stayed with local families while doing a service project and in hotels while traveling around the country visiting all the major sites.

Best bits: Hiking the Inca trail and Sandoval lake
Worst bits: Stomach troubles...the usual travel issues

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 7 / 10

Comments:

He should mention his love of teaching. Chino was always excited to teach the kids about the places we were visiting and the customs and habits of the people. I could also mention his ability to adapt to changing situations. We had some kids who needed to leave the trip early and he made the arrangements to get them home safely, quickly, escorted and at a minimum cost. We were also able to make changes in our itinerary with minimal complications. Without Chino I do not think the trip would have been as smooth or enjoyable. He smoothed out the wrinkles.

Ling-Zhi Hew (10 / 10)

reviewed Nov. 1, 2010, 2:16 a.m.

Ling-Zhi Hew spent a whole day with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

My boyfriend and I arranged for a day tour with Chino -- he picked us up at the airport in Cusco and we drove to Moray in the Sacred Valley. After admiring the ruins, we picked up our horses and took a leisurely 5 hour ride through the splendid mountains, passing through the town of Maras and the Salineras salt pans along the way. Our driver picked us up at the other side and drove us to Ollantaytambo, where we had just enough time for a lightning tour of the ruins before it got dark. It was a perfect day and a fantastic start to our Peru trip. Chino is an affable, motivated and sincere guide who knows and loves the area well. We highly recommend him to anyone looking for a tour in the Sacred Valley.

Best bits: Horseback riding through the Sacred Valley
Worst bits: None!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 7 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 9 / 10

Comments:

Amy (10 / 10)

reviewed Aug. 22, 2013, 7:23 p.m.

Amy spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino was our personal guide for 2 full days around the scared valley area. We had an amazing time and learned so much about the Incan culture. He was extremely knowledgable and passionate about his heritage. He customized the 2 days to take us exactly where we wanted plus he added some of his own suggestions that ended up being highlights of tour. He made sure we didn't miss anything. He picked us up early and spent longer than originally planned with us each day. His restaurant recommendations were top notch - some of our favorite meals. Juan, the driver chino arranged for the 2 of us, was also great and got us everywhere we needed and made good time.

We started the first day in maras with a scenic horseback ride on Peruvian paso horses to moray to see the circles. Chino was excellent with the horses (neither of us being experienced riders) we were very comfortable with him) We rode back from moray to maras to have lunch. From there, we visited the salineras which was very cool. Chino took us down around the actual salt pool which most other people we saw there on tours did not get to do. From there, we stopped at chinchero town which was very authentic and worth a stop.

Day 2 we started off visiting the alpaca and llama "petting zoo" (this has a real name I just don't recall it) where we fed them and learned the differences between them. We then drove to pisac stopping along the way for some scenic photo ops (chino was a good, very patient photographer - our friends and family were surprised how many pictures we got with both of us in together). At pisac, chino took us on a long hike around the ruins and we hiked all the way back down to the town rather than driving back like tour groups. This was a great way to experience the ruins without all the crowds at the sites closest to the parking lot. From pisac, we drove to ollantaytambo (chino's home town!) where we had a great lunch at another one of his restaurant recs. As we went thru town all the locals said hi to chino. We felt really good to be walking around with him. On our way home, we stopped for the local brewed Chi cha. Very cool authentic experience, basically in a local woman's kitchen however, if you go, only have one sip since its made with local water and neither of us felt so great the next day.

All in all, chino exceeded all expectations. He was our favorite tour guide of our 2 week trip. A great spirit and pleasure to spend 2 days with :)

Best bits: everything! couldn't imagine a better way to have seen the area
Worst bits: nothing - well just dont drink too much of the chi cha..

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes

Ellen Kubala (10 / 10)

reviewed Dec. 26, 2013, 1:15 p.m.

Ellen Kubala spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

WE did it all! I truly think we saw everything there was to see and do in the Sacred Valley/Cusco/Machu Picchu area.

Best bits: Everything that Mario (Chino) brought us to was fabulous. Can't image a better tour guide, he's awesome!!! On time, polite, caring, fair, funny and absolutely an adorable personality.
Worst bits: I had a bit of altitude sickness, but the rest of my family did not.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

We are a family of 4, with 2 teen aged daughters staying in the Sacred Valley region for 5 days. When we arrived at the Cusco airport, our arrival flight had been delayed 2 times so we were nervous about making our PeruRail VistaDome Train connection in Ollanta, which had reserved (and expensive)seats, AND a 2 hour van ride from the airport. There was no time to waste. Mario (Chino) was at the airport waiting for us with his driver and van. Of course, they knew the fastest way to the train station in Ollanta. We made the train with a few moments to spare. I simply could not believe we made it...thanks to Chino, we did.
I should preface all of this by telling you about Chino's nature. He is a genuine, kind, funny, knowledgeable and very caring soul who loves his job and his country deeply. He is patient and punctual. He ALWAYS picked us up on time, ans was never late. Texting him in country was easy! Simply put, Chino is a super nice, genuine guy with a lot of class!!! Any price he tells you, go with, because it is a fair price. Very fair.
We made advanced arrangements with Chino via email, told him what we wanted to see and he also made suggestions which were perfect. He will give you a price and an itinerary before you leave from home...well before you leave.
Day 1 - Travel day -From Cusco Airport to Ollanta for train. Train to Aguas Callientas. I recommend the Vista Dome train and try to get seats numbered 1 and 2 if possible.
Day 2 - Machu Picchu Day - Note: We did Machu Picchu first, then Ollaynta area which did allow for adjustment of altitude before going to the higher altitudes of Pisac and Cusco.
So of course Machu Picchu should be on everyone's bucket list. Words cannot describe it. I suggest doing MP first (to adjust to altitude). We stayed in Aguas Callientas and got the first available bus to the Machu Picchu at 5:30 or 6 am. We stayed 1 night at a perfectly fine hostel called La Payacha with a room which had huge windows that opened to the rushing river just outside the windows. The view was gorgeous. Also, if there is time, get a massage at one of the local massage parlors. Very nice.
Day 3 - Horse Day at Maras and Moray -My husband and our daughters did a day of horse riding to Maras and Moray which they absolutely loved. It was one of the highlights of the trip and they recommend it highly. Chino is a horse expert. I chose not to ride even before leaving America. We stayed for 2 days at Tunipa Lodge Hotel for 2 days in Ollanta. It was perfect. Great breakfast too. Note: As an extra, Chino went out of his way and showed us a chicha Corn Beer Bar which was fascinating....and not on the itinerary.The making of corn beer and the adorable bar were very interesting.
Day 4 - Ollayntyambo ruins site, Pisac ruins site and Pisac market. Great views and must see's. Then a long drive to Cusco. Note: As an extra, and not on the itinerary, Chino took us to a llama farm which was really cool. By the way Chino, is open to adding to the itenerary and very willing to stay longer than planned at any site or anything at all. He was never bothered at all or never rushed us...he could have stayed as long as we wanted, no problem for him. For example, I mentioned a local meat and vegetable market in Ollanta town and he took us there(which was awesome). All of the townspeople knew Chino.
Day 5 - Cusco Area tour - Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Tambomachay, Puka Pukara sites. Qorriconcha and The Catedral in town. Walking around the town of Cusco with Chino was cool. He would randomly point out cool facts. My teen daughters liked Chino a great deal, as did my husband and I. He's just a great guy and knows the history thoroughly about each site. We stayed at a fancy hotel called El Virrey Boutique(our big splurge) which had a balcony overlooking the Maine Square. Not necessary but nice.
Day 6 - Depart for Airport. Leaving Chino was sort of difficult, we really grew very fond of him....like a friend (yet he's very professional at the same time). We liked him so much that we will remain in contact via facebook...he's just a super nice nice guy. The kind of guy you would want to have as a friend! Really, we all truly mean that.

Gabriel (10 / 10)

reviewed July 8, 2015, 6:53 a.m.

Gabriel spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Chino took a friend and I on an exhilarating four day hike known as the Lares Valley Trail. On the final day we went to Machu Picchu.

Best bits: Excellent support throughout the entire trek. We were delighted with the service provided (including the food that was prepared, leadership skills shown by Chino and the crew and Chino's intimate knowledge of the area). We began with a tour guide and finished the journey with a friend, very happy with this choice of guide.
Worst bits: The altitude sickness, however that has nothing to do with the services provided by Chino. In fact, we were treated very well during our moments of sickness.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 9 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Accurate and better than I would ever have imagined. Memories to last a lifetime

Mary C (10 / 10)

reviewed Nov. 14, 2015, 10:39 p.m.

Mary C spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

My friend and I visited the Sacred Valley and we were incredibly happy with Mario. We went horse back riding, visited villages and monuments, went river rafting and Machu Picchu. He had a wonderful driver, Arturo, who had a nice, clean car and drove extremely well. Having Mario as our guide really made our trip a perfect 10!

Best bits: I can't say enough about how knowledgeable, professional and personable Mario is. He would think of every last detail down to reminders on sunscreen and bug spray. He walked us to restaurants and introduced us to the owner before saying goodbye so we could have our meal. He handled every entry and itinerary-we did not have to do a thing.
Worst bits: None!

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Huy Nguyen (10 / 10)

reviewed April 25, 2016, 3:32 a.m.

Huy Nguyen spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

My family of four: my wife, my 16-year-old son, my 12-year-old daughter, and me, stayed 2 nights in Ollantaytambo on our way to Machu Picchu. Our hotel in Ollantaytambo connected us with Mario to show us around Sacred Valley for a day. He met us at our hotel at 9 am. We then walked to Ollantaytambo ruin where we spent couple of hours there. After that, he went with us on a taxi to Moray and Salilenas. We learned so much about the Inka culture and Sacred Valley from him. His service was so excellent that we asked him to go with us to Machu Picchu.

Best bits: During our experience with Mario, it was very enjoyable for the whole family. He was patient and explained everything very thoroughly, as well as having a sense of humor. It was as if we were his friends, who happened to visit, and I believe this is what makes him an excellent tour guide. However, this is a general appreciation, for me personally I saw something more. Mario was born and raised in the Sacred Valley, so he has a deep respect for the land he was raised on. He remains humble and honest without fail in every situation, as well as being friends with the people who live the area. We were able to see and understand so much more because he spoke the native language, and the locals were comfortable with letting him bring us. To conclude our experience with Mario, he was able to take us to places most visitors could not, and this was because of his humble and respectful approach to the locals.
Worst bits: To say goodbye to Mario.

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes

David (10 / 10)

reviewed Aug. 21, 2017, 9:49 p.m.

David spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

My family just spent 4 amazing days with Chino. A relative recommended us Chino's services and we are really satisfied!

On the first day, Chino and a driver took us at our hotel in Cusco and drove us to 3 very nice sites along the road to Ollantaytambo: Chinchero, Moray and Salinas of Maras. Very interesting visits and Chino took the time to give us detailed explanations and respected our pace.

On the second day, we left our hotel at Ollantaytambo and went for a 2 days, 1 night trek in Lares area. What a wonderful trek it was! Chino had planned everything with his crew: 1 muleteer, 1 cook, 1 assistant and 3 horses. The landscapes were amazing. My 13 years old daughter and 11 years old son really appreciate the trek too. It was a very good challenge for everyone. We saw lamas, alpacas, sheeps, lakes, river, snow-cap mountains, etc. At night, the stars were spectacular and Chino helped us to observe them.

On the 3rd day, we completed the trek by a 2 hours walk and a rest in the thermal baths of Lares. We then drive back to Ollantaytambo and took the train to Machu Picchu.

On the 4th day, Chino guided us to Machu Picchu sanctuary site. Once again, his explanations were very interesting. He answered all our questions without any hesitation.

We highly recommend Chino. He can adapt easily to the type of trip you want: full-organized, half-organized, he's flexible.

Best bits: Lares trek: wonderful food and landscapes. At one point, my daughter got a big headache and had difficulties to complete the mountain ascension. Chino found a solution by asking a muleteer who was passing by to take my daughter up to the mountain on the horse.
Worst bits: Saying adios to Chino at the end

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 10 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments:

Rishit Shah (10 / 10)

reviewed Nov. 27, 2017, 2:28 a.m.

Rishit Shah spent 2-5 days with Mario Tapia Meza (Chino).

Report a problem with this comment

Description

Mario guided us for 3 days during our trip to Sacred Valley.

Best bits: Mario was the highlight of our experiences in Sacred Valley. He is not only immensely knowledgeable about the Inca history but also an excellent example of the very welcoming Peruvian culture. Mario was our tour guide during the 3 days we spent in Sacred Valley and on our trip to MachuPicchu. I would recommend him in a heartbeat.
Worst bits: none

Ratings

Overall experience: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Eco impact: 9 / 10
Does the local understand eco issues? Yes
Profile Accuracy: 10 / 10

Comments: