Recommendations for local Peru tour agents

Old Jun 22nd, 2024, 12:36 AM
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mjs
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Recommendations for local Peru tour agents

Looking for recommendations for a tour agent for 10 day trip to Peru
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Old Jun 23rd, 2024, 05:36 PM
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I've always planned my own trips there, but it's been a while. It's just as easy as booking any US trip.

What services did you need?

In Lima Uber is now an option. In the past I have used taxidatum.com

There was a recent detailed trip planning thread by tom_mn.

Last edited by mlgb; Jun 23rd, 2024 at 05:38 PM.
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Old Jun 27th, 2024, 09:54 AM
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I have visited Peru many times and like mlgb, never felt the need to use an agency for anything. It is very easy to almost book everything either online or when you get there. An agent will add little, except cost and perhaps some support if things go awry. flights can be booked direct with airlines, accomodation with booking.com, Expedia etc and Machu Picchu tickets and trains direct with those providers.

You dont mention what your plans are but most itineraries will include a couple of days in Lima, 5-7 days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley and possibly a third location - Amazon/Arequipa/Titicaca (though a third location would make it a bit rushed . Many agents seem hell bent on the latter , packing as much in as possible though IMO this is a mistake as you would inevitably end up spending too large a proportion of your time in transit rather than actually doing and seeing things. If you do use an agent then be firm and dont let them try and rush you around too fast.

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Old Jul 2nd, 2024, 10:18 PM
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Plan so far is:
August 22 SMF-IAH-LIM arrival 2040. (Airport Wyndham.)
August 23 LIM-CUZ 0950-1110 (Palacio del Inka 23-27)
August 24-27 Cusco/ Sacred Valley etc.
August 27: Vistadome train to Aguas Caliente (? Tierra Viva) Machu Pichu Circuit 2B at 1500
August 28: Machu Pichu Circuit 3D Huchuy Picchu at 1000. Train back to Cusco? (same hotel)
August 29:
August 30:
August 31:
September 1 Lima (AC Hotel Marriott)
September 2: LIM -IAH-SMF 2250-1159 September 23

So trying to figure out what to do between the 29th Cusco and Lima. Want to get to Lima either during day the 31st or late the 30th. My friend in Lima says 3 days should be good for Lima. Considered Sanctuary Hotel Machu Pichu but it's $2200 and I need two rooms. Train to Lake Titicaca and fly to Lima? Amazon?

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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 12:14 AM
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A number of observations which are based on many trips to Peru and I would stress my own personal preferences (which may be entirely different from your own.

Acclimatising to the altitude - if you havent been to altitude before be aware that the altitude of Cusco (3400m) can affect some people quite severely (it did me on my first trip but my wife was unaffected ). For that reason, if you have not already booked MP entrance and train tickets, I would consider switching things around and go to Ollantaytambo straight from Cusco airport and spend your first night there @ 2800m and visit MP the next day. Aguas Calients is even lower at 2040m and MP is 2400. spending a few nights in this epalces will prepare you well for Cusco and Puno which is even higher @ 3800m

Machu Picchu visit. - I prefer to visit as a day trip from Ollantaytambo which is a much, much nicer village than Aguas Calientes which is frankly , uninspiring. If possible I would try and do the two circuits on the one day which would free up time for your other plans. Staying at the Belmond would make this much easier and more time effective but, nice though it is, it is vastly overpriced and not to the same standard east the Belmond properties I have stayed in.

Ollantaytambo/Sacred valley - is well worth you time. It has its own set of ruins and is one of the few Inca Villages still intact. We went for a day and ended up staying a couple of months! The best way of visiting the key sights in the SV is to do a taxi tour on your way to Cusco visiting Moray , Maras and Chnichero will take 4/5 hours. I cover one such trip in the second post in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/peru/

Cusco - I believe really needs two full days to explore or one very rushed day.

Other locations - Titicaca is probably possible with the itinerary you have but bear in mind that the trains doesnt run every day. An alternative would be one of the tour buses which takes the same time but has the advantages of running every day and being able to stop at places of interest en route.

The best place for the Amazon from Cusco is Puerto Maldonado . Because of the logistic of getting there you really need 4 nights/3 days to make it worth while.

Clearly much depends on your own interests and preferences but with the time you have I would probably spend the whole time in Cusco and the SV and Lima (an oft overlooked city, especially if you are foodies ). Alternatively, I would think about dropping a night at MP and spending 4 in the Amazon. On balance, I think I would skip Titicaca but these are just my subjective views.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 08:57 AM
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FWIW, I felt hard pressed to see what I wanted to see in Lima with 3 full days there. If interested, consult my trip report; the section on Lima begins with post # 67.
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Old Jul 4th, 2024, 11:00 PM
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Agree with KJA in that there is a lot to see in Lima, an often overlooked city as people head straight off to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. We have spent weeks, if not months in Lima but have had the luxury of long trips around South America. In the context of the time you have for your trip, I think 3 days is about right. One for Miraflores, one for Barranco and another for the Centro Historico. Choose your hotel location in Lima wisely as it can be challenging to navigate around the city.
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Old Jul 4th, 2024, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by crellston
it can be challenging to navigate around the city.
An understatement, for sure!
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 04:52 AM
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Lima Easy was a great resource for my first trips to Lima, although I don't think it is completely current, it is a good place to start.

Check any museums or other sights for open hours. Lima has been through a lot in the past few years, many small museums did not come back after the lockdown and websites are not always current. Tripadvisor is now as good a source as any, since you can see if there are recent reviews. (Just bear in mind that TA owns Viator).

For most visitors the Larco Museum would be a top sight, often they underestimate how much time it deserves.
https://www.museolarco.org/en/

Editorial comment.. I don't always think that travel agents or former Lima residents (or even current ones) have a good handle on what is worth seeing for a first time visitor.

https://www.limaeasy.com/lima-guide/lima-culture-guide

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 7th, 2024 at 05:10 AM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 04:26 PM
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We were unable to get a full day at MP as tickets did not work out.
Itinerary now at:
Cusco 23-25
Sacred Valley 25-26
Aquas Caliente 27 with Circuit 2B MP in afternoon and 3C next morning
Sacred Valley 28
29: considering flying to Arequipa and doing all day tour of Coclo valley 0300-1730 fly to lima evening (or bus to lake Titicaca and fly Lima)
30-2 Lima
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 09:29 PM
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The two full days in Cusco at the beginning will be enough to enjoy the main sites on Bolleto Touristico, the markets and indeed, just wander the streets of San Blas and around the Plaza. A great city in which to just wander and the food is amazing.

My concern with staying in Cusco at the beginning is the altitude. My first time there I was badly affected. Fortunately my hotel had oxygen so that was enough to avoid the need for a visit to hospital. My wife , by contrast barely noticed it! You wont know until you get there. Check out the US CDC or UK NHS websites for full info. You may want to consult your GP as to whether a prescription for Acetazolamide which can help a lot, is suitable. NB it can be purchased in farmacias in Lima very cheaply.

I would take the taxi tour I described above on you way to Ollantaytambo visiting Chichero, Moray and Maras. Should take 5/6 hours. Use your time in Ollantaytambo to explore the village and ruins , best at either end of the day when it is much quieter. Alternatively, if you want 5* hotels , you will find those around Urumbamba 15 mins drive away (easy to get a taxi or collectivo between the two (collectivos are much more fun!)

I think you will already have had enough time to explore the Sacred Valley so I would think again about staying there on the 28th. Perhaps take at taxi tour back to Cusco, this time via Pisac (another amazing site) and Sacsayhuaman before spending the night in Cusco.

Arequipa is wonderful and one of my favourite cities in South America but it would be an incredibly tiring end to your trip to fly there, take a long and very early trip to Colca Canyon (you wont see the best of it on a day trip) and you would miss Arequipa. If you want to go there I would just go for the city (worth it for Monasteria de Santa Catalina alone imo)

Both Arequipa and Titicaca really need 2 nights just because of the travel logistics. Titicaca is a 6 hour direct bus ride from Cusco or a 10 hour tour bus which stops along the way (worth if the timings work for you)
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Old Jul 12th, 2024, 12:39 AM
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I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand your plans (laying them out by days, rather than nights, never makes things clear to me), but FWIW:

Like crellston, I would be concerned about your acclimitization to altitude. When I reached Cusco, I'd already been to several higher elevations, and was nonetheless nearly immobilized. I didn't suffer altitude sickness (thank goodness), but I was so weary that even the prospect of climbing a set of stairs was enough to make me cry.

And like crellston, I don't understand what you hope to accomplish by going to Arequipa with so little time to see it or to use it as a base for a tour that really requires an overnight in the Colca Canyon.

I'm sorry if these comments seem harsh....

Here's a link to my TR. I visited all the places you are contemplating, so even a quick skim might prove useful:
Praise for Peru A report of my solo month in this amazing country


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Old Jul 12th, 2024, 12:41 AM
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Thank you all! It's been a busy year so far. Did the Cotswolds and Rhodes in April. Philadelphia in May. Peru in August as above in planning. Chicago in October. London in planning for end of November coupled with some Christmas markets in Germany. That will be easy. Galapagos possibly in February? Also trying to do a round the world business series of flights to go to New Zealand and Hokkaido within the year as well. Its too bad I still work.
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Old Jul 12th, 2024, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by mjs
Thank you all! It's been a busy year so far. Did the Cotswolds and Rhodes in April. Philadelphia in May. Peru in August as above in planning. Chicago in October. London in planning for end of November coupled with some Christmas markets in Germany. That will be easy. Galapagos possibly in February? Also trying to do a round the world business series of flights to go to New Zealand and Hokkaido within the year as well. Its too bad I still work.
I'm not sure what your point is.

But then, I have never "done" any place. I've been privileged to explore several parts of our world. I don't consider it an accomplishment to flit here and there -- my interest in travel involves actually taking the time to see and experience the things that make a place unique or special. Obviously, your approach differs.
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Old Jul 12th, 2024, 02:11 PM
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I concur that staying in Cusco from the beginning is a bad plan. Actually overall a bad plan in my experience with multiple trips to Peru. You really haven't allowed enough time for more than the Sacred Valley/ Cusco/ Macchu PIcchu and Lima.

So many tourists think that they have to stay in Cusco to "acclimate" for Machu Picchu. This is only necessary if you are planning to hike the Inca Trail, which obviously you are not doing.

I would go 23-24-25 Ollantaytambo or Urubamba (three nights). Don't do much on the 23rd but rest. Next day see the ruins at Ollantaytambo, also walk up to the old town. Take it easy to help acclimate. You could do some tours on the 25th if you wanted.

26 train to Aguas Calientes (from Ollantaytambo). Can do an afternoon in MP. Night in Aguas Calientes.

27 Machu Picchu day, return to Ollantaytambo or Urubamba by train, overnight there.

28 Taxi tour back to Cusco, stops at Moray/Salineras/Chinchero,etc if not previously seen. Sleep in Cusco (three or four nights)

28-30 Cusco. Two or three full days including a day for Pisac where you can taxi up and walk a part of an Inca Trail back down into town. You could optionally see Pisac from Urubamba or Ollantaytambo. With three full days you can visiting Sacsayhuaman or the other minor ruins nearby.

31 AM you have time to see a Cusco city sight, such as the Cathedral, the airport is only 15 minute taxi ride.

Fly to Lima, two nights (31, 1) Lima (Barranco /Miraflores/San Isidro Neighborhoods). Don't miss sights include the Larco Museum and downtown Plaza sights.

9/2 you leave luggage at desk and check out. See Lima returning to hotel about 6pm to take a taxi to the airport.You don't need to stay at the airport for a midnight flight.

If your goal is just to "tick" Machu Picchu you don't even need to spend 10 days. Some people do it in 3 or 4 as a cruise ship excursion!!

Many do not realize just how large Peru is, anything involving overland travel takes time especialy with those pesky Andes in the way.

If you want to compress the above itinerary and "tick" another sight, some people go to Nazca on a tour from Lima. Alternatively many with no interest in slow travel combine Machu Picchu and the Galapagos.

https://newperuvian.com/how-big-is-p...20nine%20times.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 12th, 2024 at 02:58 PM.
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Old Jul 13th, 2024, 08:44 PM
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I have limited exposure to high altitudes but had little problems with Aspen or Pikes peak or Salinas Grandes although I was not doing anything physically demanding. I had no problems climbing Mt Fuji but got quite ill coming back down the mountain at a very fast clip. I think to be safe going to the Sacred Valley first makes sense. My daughter has decided to join us and other than Salinas Grande she has little exposure to high altitudes. We have also decided to limit our trip to Cusco, Sacred Valley, MP and Lima.
So now we are considering Sonesta Urubamba
for 23-24-25, Move to Sonesta Cusco 26. Leave most of our luggage at the Sonesta on the 27th
and take a taxi to Ollantaytambo for the Vistadome train to AC / hotel Tierra Viva and MP circuit 2A at 3pm. On the 28th do MP 3C circuit at 10am then make our way back to the Sonesta Cusco. Cusco 29th. Leave for Lima on the 30th. Lima 31st-1st and leave for home 2215 in the 2nd.
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Old Jul 14th, 2024, 08:49 AM
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Better to do Machu Picchu from Urubamba if you don't want to stay in Ollantaytambo.

It's 30 minutes Urubamba to Ollanta and 1 hour from Cusco. Might want to look at a map if you haven't already.

Is it too late to change your tickets for MP? Would make more sense to move them up. If it is not possible or you just don't want to, I would stay in Urubamba on the 26th, they should hold your luggage until you return. Pickup the luggage on the way to Cusco from the 28th onward.

You can see some of the sights such as Pisac from Urubamba also. I would consider also spending the night of the 26th in Ollantayambo. Gives you the morning or late afternoon to visit Olantaytambo Ruins when it's less crowded. There is a simple but adequate lodging right by the train station, as well as a few others on the entrance road.

If you are up for it, a visit to the Sunday Pisac market on the 24th, best to go early. More interesting for the locals who come into town from surrounding villages. Ask if there is still the "Horno Colonial", not sure if it still is open post-COVID (more to see the oven than to eat there).

Urubamba also has market days (for produce type market with all of the potatoes). May work out just as well. Probably less full of tourists. You can buy souvenirs in Cusco, Aguas Calientes, etc.. For authentic weavings I would go to one of the weaving centers or the museum in Cusco. I would be skeptical of anything offered in the tourist markets now.

https://www.textilescusco.org/contact#contact-mapas

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 14th, 2024 at 09:32 AM.
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