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Maximiliano Vilcas Hancco

The Adventure Company Leader of the Month July 2010

Nominee for Group Leader of the Year Award

Country:     Peru

Trips run:    PU - Classic Peru,   PT - Empire of the Incas,   PC - Flight of the Condor

How long have you been leading trips for The Adventure Company:

4 years

I think I have one of the best jobs in Peru! I make news friends from all over the globe while touring, hiking, cycling and river rafting. I love to show people my country and they seem to love it too!

What is your travel experience/background?

I studied a tourism degree for 3 years at Cusco University and then started working as an guide around Cusco. Initially I concentrated on tours in the city, the Sacred Valley and especially the Inca trail. But over the past 14 years I have had the good fortune to walk most of the trekking routes around the mountains of Cusco, including the Lares Valley, the Ausgangate loop and Choquekirao ruins. Being a group leader in recent years, it has allowed me to travel to a wider range of destinations in Peru including the desert coast, the Colca Canyon close to Arequipa and Lake Titicaca. I have also used my free time to travel to the beaches and mountains of northern Peru, as well as the Amazon rainforest.

What is your favourite activity /event on the trips you lead?

Even though I have done it so many times, arriving at Machu Picchu after hiking for 4 days on the Inca trail still gives me a thrill. It’s great to feel the excitement of the group as they are about to see Machu Picchu for the first time.

What is the best thing about your job?

I live in the town of Ollantaytambo in Sacred Valley quite close to Machu Picchu, so it gives me great pride in showing my home town to travellers from all over the world.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened on a tour?

I once was finishing the Inca trail and enjoying the view overlooking Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, when one man in the group surprised his girlfriend and asked her to marry him. She said yes! Machu Picchu is a magical place; I hope she did not regret her decision when she got home.

In your mind, what is the best place to visit in your country?

Machu Picchu is the obvious answer because no-one is disappointed when they see the citadel for the first time.

In your mind, what is the most interesting custom in your country?

I guess there are not a lot of countries where they eat guinea pigs & I really like the Corpus Christi celebrations in Cusco. The colourful religious processions are important, but the locals also enjoy themselves at street parties with lots of beer and guinea pigs.

In your mind, what is the most important phrase to know?

It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say it with a smile.

In your mind, when is the best time to vist and why?

From June to September is the most pouplar time to visit Peru because the weather tends to be clear and sunny in the Andes. Although I like April and May, it might rain a little but it is spring in the mountains; the fields are green and the flowers are in bloom.
In your mind, what are the most important items to pack for your tour?

You need to be well prepared for camping on the Inca trail. So before you travel I suggest you make a well researched packing list for the trek. Yes, all the outdoor items and accessories are important, but it might just be your favourite chocolate bar which will help you get up the hills!

What our customers have to say...

Max Vilas was one of the best guides we have experienced on any trip. His knowledge of flora, fauna and Inca culture seems to be second to none. On a trip as varied as this there were many issues that Max had to deal with; differing guest’s desires, changes to timetables, etc. But Max took it all in his stride and guided us well.  David & Hilary Craven, PU 25 September 2010

He was fabulous. He looked after us very well, was very informative and clearly passionate about his country and its history.  The Belcher Family, PC 10 July 2010

Max Vilcas was a gem in every way and really cared about us when some of the group suffered altitude sickness.  Janine Bolomey, PC 26 June 2010

Our Group Leader "Max Vilcas" was excellent.  His knowledge was brilliant and he looked after the group very, very well.  He joined in all the fun and made our holiday an enjoyable experience.  He looked after those who felt unwell with altitude sickness, keeping a special eye on them until they felt a lot better.  I would say that Max made our holiday and we would be more than happy to have him with us again.  Everyone was made to feel comfortable and we all had a great time.  Roger & Margaret Beland, PC 26 June 2010

Max Vilcas was fantastic with huge knowledge and enthusiasm about the Inca and present culture. Interested in and listened to the group and made sure that we did what we wanted within the frame work of the itinerary. Flexible, knew everybody and was well respected by fellow guides and officials alike. Timothy & Jacqueline Feline, PCi 12 June 2010

Max was a star. He made me feel so welcome in his/my country and clearly has a deep love and pride for Peru. He was good fun with such an infectious laugh that I will always remember.  Erika Willson, PC 08 May 2010

Max gave us great insight into his country.  He was extremely proud to tell us about its people and their lives.  He gave us opportunities to ask questions and take regular stops along the way.  He was extremely helpful and caring.  Belinda Hack, PC 03 April 2010

We really enjoyed our trip to Peru.  The pace was just right and we had an excellent guide named Max - a true credit to the Adventure Company - who was so knowledgeable and really made the trip that extra bit special.  Mark Grimbley, PUA 12 December 2009 

Max Vilcas