Brandon and Vince have been together since college, but when you are around them you feel as if they just met. When you first meet Brandon and learn that he majored in Theater in college, that will come as no surprise. And when you learn that Vince is in the medical profession, well you can see the caretaker aura coming right through. It had been their longtime dream to visit Peru and after the trip, we spoke with Brandon about his experience. This is what he had to say.
Zoom: There is a lot of hype about Machu Picchu. Did it live up to your expectations?
Brandon: In one word, absolutely! It was stunning. Our guide gave us such amazing insider information that you just wouldn't get if you explored on your own. We opted to stay at the hotel near the archeological site and that allowed us to get a spectacular view of sun rise! Then on day two we did the additional hike up Machu Picchu mountain...again AMAZING!
Zoom: What did you learn about Peru or tourism in Peru that you think most people don't know?
Brandon: I didn't realize how important tourism is to the Peruvian economy. So every detail and aspect of our tour was top notch. I appreciated how seamlessly we moved from airport to van to hotel to sites. It was just so easy and so enjoyable. I also learned that in order to be a tour guide in Peru you have to be certified, so they're extremely knowledgeable about their culture, their country, and the many diverse people who live in Peru.
Zoom: What was the highlight of your trip?
Brandon: For me the highlight of the trip was visiting the floating islands on Lake Titicaca. I also loved visiting the alpaca farm. For Vince, his favorite was visiting Machu Picchu.
Zoom: Did going as a couple help or hinder your ability to meet other friends in the group?
Brandon: As a couple, or singles, gay, or even straight, everyone was awesome! Everyone was friendly! And we shared so many laughs and inside jokes! We all bonded with each other in unique ways! I don't think going as a couple had any effect on our ability to meet others!
Zoom: Were you able to find time to be together for any romantic evenings?
Brandon: For sure! What I tell everyone is that, YES, you see and do a lot! But there was always down time, or time to do your own thing! We found several nights enjoying a quiet dinner, sipping a cocktail, or just relaxing together in one of the many stunning hotels!
Zoom: What was something interesting you learned about the history of Peru?
Brandon: I was amazed to learn how brief the Inca ruled in Peru. The vast majority of their history is Pre-Incan. And....FAST FACT how many varieties of potatoes are grown in Peru? 5,000!
Zoom: We often think of Peru as a shoppers paradise. What were some of your best finds?
Brandon: We brought back some awesome pottery. I bought a really cool silver and leather bracelet. And of course we love the hand-woven baby alpaca poncho and hats!
Zoom: Did Peru as a country feel gay-friendly to you? How were you received by hotels, restaurants, and guides?
Brandon: Peru is just super friendly, period. But I always felt comfortable and welcome. Every hotel, restaurant, merchant, or guide we interacted with was so respectful, polite, and kind.
Zoom: How do you think this trip would have been different for you had you gone on your own instead of with Zoom Vacations.
Brandon: I don't even want to think about that!! HA! With Zoom it was hassle-free and worry-free. I would not have been able to find all the great hotels, tours, and restaurants. This trip contained a lot of travel within the county, and that was handled flawlessly! I tell my friends, I'm so busy with work that I don't have time to search for all the great places to stay or go, and you surely can't believe every review you read online! With this trip I just had to show up, and that is exactly what I did! Show up and have a fabulous time!
Zoom: Were there any special Zoom Vacation touches that you particularly appreciated.
Brandon: Of course! Everyday plenty of bottled water, which you need because of the altitude, and snacks! Several special gifts in our hotel rooms after a day of touring! Not to mention the private welcome dinner. What was the phrase we all loved to say..."We are exclusive!"
Zoom: Where would you like to go next with Zoom Vacations?
Brandon: I would totally be game for any of the Asian locations! But we for sure will be doing the South African Safari trip one day!!