Featured Traveler: Kent, from Emmitsburg, MD

This was Kent and Will's first Zoom Vacation, and they were so much fun to have on the trip, we certainly hope it will not be their last.  Kent shared with us his thoughts on gay travel and Peru.

Zoom:  Why did you decide to take this trip with Zoom Vacations?

Kent:  It was a kind of last minute decision to go to Peru after our trip to Puerto Rico was cancelled because of the hurricane. Peru is someplace we had wanted to visit and we liked the idea of a pre-planned trip.

Zoom:  Was this your first time in Peru?

Kent:  Yes it was - we have a good friend who had fallen in love with the country years ago and he had really piqued our interest in a visit.

Zoom:  Was coming during American Thanksgiving a good choice?  Why?

Kent:  For us, we were not loving the idea of spending Thanksgiving in the U.S. - we typically host a big event so the idea of NOT doing that and letting someone else worry about it was an appealing change from our routine.

Zoom:  Did having a Zoom Concierge (Bryan) make a difference in your trip?

Kent:  Bryan was really fun to travel with and he was a great resource during the trip if any problems came up and we needed help with something. Having made the trip before, he was a great source of information and in addition, he was charming and funny too.

Zoom:  Did the hotels live up to your expectations?

Kent:  We found all the hotels to be really nice and definitely the kind of places we would look for when we travel. They were all a little different but definitely comfortable and luxurious. 

Zoom:  How about Machu Picchu?

Kent:  We found it to be a wondrous place and really enjoyed the trip, although I have to say I enjoyed some of the other sites we visited just as much. I feel like we would have missed a lot of out-of-the-way spots if it wasn’t for our Zoom guides. Everything was really effortless and I didn’t really find it to be too much - there were plenty of opportunities to skip excursions or stops if the mood struck you.

Zoom:  What were your favorite parts of the trip?

Kent:  We enjoyed Cusco very much and definitely the food - I had heard that Peruvian food was good and I was not disappointed. Very good quality and lots of opportunities to try things that featured local ingredients and traditions. The coco and muna tea was really refreshing and kind of nice change from coffee drinking.

Zoom:  What were some of your biggest “wow” moments?

Kent:  We found the whole sacred valley was pretty amazing with lots of incredible vistas of cities built on the tops and hanging off the sides of mountains, and so on. Personally, being a little afraid of heights, it was a little dizzying at times but that could have been the altitude.

Zoom:  How were the other people on the trip?

Kent:  We met some very interesting and charming people in our group and I really enjoyed the size - we only had 12 on our tour and it was a good number. I definitely met some interesting people that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to meet at home.

Zoom:  Will you be taking another trip with Zoom Vacations?  To where?

Kent:  For us, I think Zoom is the perfect trip to make to places where the logistics of travel might be a little daunting. We both have busy jobs and getting time off is always a challenge, so having everything pre-arranged with so much attention to detail is a real luxury and well worth the money. 

I like the fact that the company is a 'pop&pop’ operation and we like supporting gay businesses.  I also felt confident that Bryan would keep us out of trouble.  We’d like to try a trip to Africa and India in the future.

Featured Travelers, Jaime and Conrado, from Mexico City.

Conrado and Jaime first heard of Zoom Vacations over ten years ago, and when they decided to go to India, they knew who to call.  It was their first Zoom Vacation, and we hope it will not be their last, because they were such wonderful travelers!  Always friendly, open to trying new experiences, appreciative of the wonderful things that happened to them on the trip, and always so courteous and respectful of local customs, people, and culture.  Plus, with all their shopping, they significantly improved the local economy!

Zoom:  It seems to us that a lot of people have misperceptions of what India really has to offer. Do you think that India is how people think it is?

Conrado:  No, we believe people only know the poverty and negative image about India but there is so much more. History, culture, religion, natural beauty are just a few things people should know more about India

Zoom:  Did anything surprise you about this trip to India?

Jaime:  The enormous gap between poverty and wealth is greater than we imagined. The orderly chaos on the streets is actually fun to experience!

Zoom:  What do you think that most people would appreciate about a trip to India?

Conrado:  Amazing food, beautiful temples and palaces. Spirituality and very kind people.

Zoom:  How were the accommodations on this trip?

Jaime:  Excellent accommodations in general but the 3 palaces in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur were out of this world. We felt like royalty in all senses.

Zoom:  What were your top three highlights of the trip?

Conrado:  1- Staying at incredible palaces where facilities and levels of service are outstanding

   2- Guided visits to amazing temples of many religions and styles

   3- The customized events we had for our group, such as the high tea at an old palace in Varanasi where the current Maharaja still lives. 

Zoom:  Did you eat well?   Do you have a favorite meal or dish from the trip?

Jaime:  All food was amazing, and we really enjoyed trying all different cuisines and never got sick, which is a usual concern we heard before going to India.

Zoom:  On this trip, we did a lot of driving through India. How was that for you?

Conrado:  It was very comfortable in the vehicle we had. The driver was outstanding. It was interesting to witness the countryside, very different landscapes, local customs such as festivals and processions on the road and we even saw some shepherds with their herd of camels. Travel time felt shorter than expected.

Zoom:  How was it being part of a gay group in India? Did you feel comfortable?

Jaime:  Yes it was very comfortable and fun, especially when everyone went crazy shopping all the time!

Zoom:  What did you learn about India, Hinduism, Buddhism, architecture or spirituality that you didn't know before?

Conrado:  A lot of interesting facts about religions, their history and current practices.  

Zoom:  India is also known as a shopper's paradise. I know you bought some great things there, did you find this to be true?

Jaime:  Yes! it was beyond our expectations. We love art and antiques and bought several valuable pieces for very reasonable prices

Zoom:  You also took our add-on trip to Nepal. What were your impressions of Nepal?

Conrado:  We loved Nepal and its people. It is a very spiritual place and were glad to visit even if some temples were damaged by the earthquake. There were many things to see that were not affected by the earthquake and people were very thankful for our visit. Food was excellent and the hotel was amazing, its architecture is completely different, very traditional Nepalese. Would go back in a heartbeat.

Zoom:  Do you think it was worthwhile going to Nepal as well? How was it different from India?

Jaime:  It is very worthwhile to visit, climate was perfect. Nepal is like a little India but several decades back in time. People are still more innocent, nice, polite and service oriented. 

Zoom:  Is there anything else you two would like to add?

Conrado:  Zoom had many small details with us including daily surprise gifts that gave it a plus. Everything was very well planned but still we had options to adjust the schedule when the group agreed on a different alternative. Of course we would like to thank Bryan Herb for the excellent attitude, humor and service he provided as the zoom concierge with us during the trip. He did a fantastic job coordinating and arranging every little detail!!