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Accompanied travel to Peru: how to choose the right company to travel

You have decided that you would prefer to take a guided tour to Peru, but which company should you travel with? A blue-chip company with a well-known brand, or a smaller tourism company with a more personalized approach?

A lot depends on your own travel style, your expectations and your budget. But beware of the “cookie-cutter” tour, where large groups of tourists are ferried from one place to another following a tiring itinerary, often staying in hotels on the outskirts of town and eating meals that don’t typically showcase the best cuisine. region of.

As a Certified International Tour Director, I’ve done tours of varying quality for many different companies, and the most expensive tours don’t necessarily mean the best. A good tour company understands the needs of its travelers. They have incorporated the latest trends into their itineraries and go out of their way to help you experience and define the culture you are visiting.

Many of the larger tour companies are experiencing a lot of competition from smaller companies that provide the traveler with a more defined experience: smaller groups, more hands-on experiences, better food, and hotels that are centrally located to a destination rather than in the costumes of the city. Many of these larger companies have started smaller brands to accommodate the traveler who wants to get away from “cookie cutter” tours.

It takes a bit of research to find a twist that’s right for you. Google some companies under the search term “guided tours to Peru” and look carefully at the following criteria:

Itinerary: Are they offering the attractions you have on your wish list and how much time do you allow for each one? Many tours that take you to Machu Picchu only offer an afternoon at the site, too little time in my opinion. If the dream of your life is to visit Machu Picchu, a few hours in the ruins will not be enough. Look for a tour that offers the opportunity to spend the night in a hotel near the site. Your pass is good for the entire day, and many visitors enjoy having extra time to hike a mile on the Inca Trail or slowly walk around the site to take pictures. Some tour companies also offer an overnight pass, so you can watch the sunrise over the ruins or spend a few hours doing one last tour of the site before the train leaves for Cusco in the afternoon. I also recommend finding a company that offers a guided tour by an experienced Peruvian guide once you arrive at the site, so you can better understand what you’re seeing.

Other must-see items on a Machu Picchu itinerary include the Sacred Valley, the ruins in and around Cusco, the Pisac market, and the churches of Cusco. Beyond the must-see attractions, what else do you offer? Look for something unique, like a personalized tour of a museum by the curator, a paso horse show and lunch at a hacienda in Lima, a cooking class, or a lecture by an archaeologist. You are looking for a company that truly has a passion for the area. You’ll notice that all tour companies have the same prerequisite stops and attractions on their itineraries, so look for something special, something that shows off your passion and knowledge of Peru.

Hotels – If you are booking a Machu Picchu tour, you want to find a company that offers hotels in central Cusco. It’s a fascinating city, rich in restaurants and shops, so make sure you find a company that book hotels as close to the city center as possible. Your hotel in Lima should be somewhere near Miraflores, on the outskirts of the city, as this is where the exclusive and safe hotels are located. I cannot stress enough how important it is to really look at the hotels on offer. Read reviews on Trip Advisor. Ask your travel company lots of questions. Hotels in Peru are much cheaper than their American and European counterparts, and if you’re choosing a more expensive, exclusive tour, you want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth. There is nothing better than coming home after a busy day at altitude to a hot shower and a good bed to get into. Many hotels now offer multiple night stays at the same hotel, and I strongly believe this makes for a better tour. People like to make hotel rooms their “home”, hanging their clothes and leaving their toothbrush in the sink. Many tour companies spend the night in the Sacred Valley instead of returning to Cusco. I prefer to return to Cusco than for my passengers to change hotels.

Meals: Look closely at how many meals are included. Good tour companies will understand the importance of groups dining together most nights of the tour. Dinners bring groups together and make a great meal for a company to show off their knowledge and understanding of Peruvian cuisine. How many meals does the company offer? Call and ask about restaurants and do some research. And remember how important it is that restaurants are carefully chosen. It is not uncommon for tourists to have stomach or intestinal problems during their tour of Peru. This is not just because the food is “bad” in this country, but because of the difference in bacteria. A good tour company will have tried and true restaurants on their itinerary. Food is less expensive in Peru, and a good tour company will incorporate meals that showcase cooking in clean, well thought-out restaurants.

Free Time: There is a plethora of wonderful shopping in Peru, and Peruvians are known for their handicrafts and artisan skills. You’ll want free time to wander the streets of Cusco, visit museums or galleries, or sip coca tea, the tea that cures all ills in Peru, in a restaurant with a patio on your own. Free time is not only important for your own activities, but also gives you time to slow down and enjoy the culture, instead of being in a rush. I’ve been on dozens of tours where the experience gets blurry, the passengers are tired and overworked and find themselves itching for some alone time. Seeing an area with your own eyes is an important part of traveling, whether you’re with a tour company or not.

The less time in Lima, the better: Lima has its charms, but you really only need one day to conquer it. Most people who fly into Lima are going elsewhere. Do not choose a company that includes more than one day of sightseeing there; there’s no need

I know what you’re thinking: I’m choosing a guided tour so I don’t have to do any research! But if you take a little time to delve into the itineraries, hotels, and restaurants used by the companies you’re considering, it’ll make for a much more rewarding trip.

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