In 2002, a workaholic Minnesotan advertising salesperson went on a short trip to Machu Picchu, Peru with a friend. Stopping in a tiny, dusty town called Ollantaytambo on the way back, he quickly fell in love with the area’s mountains, culture, people, and their astonishing way of life.
This led to quitting his job shortly thereafter and spending the next 13 years living near Machu Picchu, creating KB Tambo, a small hostal and adventure travel business. “Tambo” means rest house, in the Incan language of Quechua.
Meeting extraordinary and interesting people from all over the world and random walks of life soon became the highlight of our lives. We were amazed by their humility, and inspired by their various life stories.
We had vacationed and traveled a lot, but had never been part of anything like this before. The electrifying atmosphere of different cultures, languages and new friends turned every day into a rewarding adventure. And everyone was so happy! We were hooked for life.
We soon discovered what all travelers eventually do, at some level: that feeling of being in amazing and beautiful places, with wonderful people. Of feeling so alive. That feeling of being on the inside of a big secret. That …. “it”.
Being a local helped. We learned alot as Machu Picchu grew slowly – and then quickly – into one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. We learned that everywhere has hidden gems that make each place special, places where only the locals go. We watched as well-meaning travelers all did the same things, and ate at the same places. Walking down the street, guidebook in hand, never even knowing about the local’s annual dance party happening on the edge of town. We invited all those we could but the rest, through no fault of their own, just never knew.
We saw precious vacation time and money being wasted, due to not having all the logistics down solid. We saw the same frequent, common mistakes. It was a profound realization: that no amount of pre-trip research to a first time destination could ever be enough. Much like the way you know the area where you live so well, as a visitor never could.
We loved the travelers. We loved new sights. We tried hard. We ….. cared. And so, we grew. And grew. Gaining unexpected accolades and attention along the way, doing travel the only way we knew how.
We have since slowly expanded our travel business, into countries we know well and have been visiting for years in our own travels and vacations: Iceland, Cuba, Japan, Tanzania, Costa Rica. And, our home base of Colorado, USA.
We’re big, but we’re small. The small core group of original staff manages each trip from beginning to end; we don’t pawn you off on just anyone. Our owner still answers or oversees every email, and still guides many of our small group trips. We never lost touch – and we never will.
We still have the exact same philosophy as when we started: Helping people get the most out of their limited time and budget. We organize affordable trips – either private, or in small groups – by not wasting money in the wrong places, and by excelling at the boring logistics that ultimately play a huge role in your trip’s success.
We treat every client like they are our family or best friend. We treat every trip as though it were our own. A simple formula for success. But don’t tell anyone, we’ll just keep that our little secret.