Planning the trip with the consultant at this travel agency went smoothly. However, I think the our consultant needed to spend a little more time understanding our age/physical ability. He recommended 2 days touring Machu Picchu. However, we got there by 10 am the first day and had seen all we needed by the end of the day. Since we were not hikers, we were not going to hike to the Sun Gate, nor were we going to climb Huana Picchu. So, we spent a pleasant day relaxing in Aguas Caliente, but wasted the cost of admission for 2 for the second day.
All of the accommodations were fine and most of the local tour guides were excellent. Our guides in the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco were excellent. Unfortunately I was very ill in Lake Titicaca and could not go on the tour, but the local tour guide helped us find a doctor, called my husband several times to make sure I was ok, and came to the hotel to check on me. She was very helpful in my time of need.
Our Lima tour guide was curt and not very good and the guide who rode with us for over 8 hours for the Nazca lines tour fell asleep most of the time and was NOT very informative.
Our consultant did not respond to an email when I had a medical emergency in Peru. However, the person monitoring the chat line was able to make our travel changes for a price that I believe is excessive. Changing 1 flight out of 3 on our return trip cost me $100 from the travel company for the change fee. I think considering the cost for the trip, they could have done that for free since I also had to pay the travel company and the tour company. Given my condition in the morning I was unable to leave the hotel room and travel for an hour to the airport. It took some time for the prescribed drugs to take effect so I had to leave later. The hotel was extremely helpful and accommodating, including allowing us to check out from our room very late.
Ollantaytambo was awesome. After we climbed to the top and came back down, our guide took us around the old part of the city and we could see the streets and buildings built by the Incas still in use today. We were able to go into a person's house and see how he still lived in the one room stone house built hundreds of years ago. That was an added bonus to the tour.
We loved Machu Picchu and our guide was very informative, providing us with a picture of what life was like when it was an occupied. It was on my bucket list for quite some time and did not disappoint!
Cusco was a very charming city and relatively easy to navigate (by then you are pretty used to steps and elevation!). Our guide was the same as in the Sacred Valley and our half day tour was great. That gave us a day and a half to explore and we enjoyed walking around and some of the other museums (Inka Museum, Historical Museum).
I would only stay one day in Machu Picchu. I would have loved to spend another day in the hotel in the Sacred Valley and enjoy their spa and property as it was stunning! I could have returned from Machu Picchu on the last train and spent the next day relaxing at the hotel.
I would NOT have done the Nazca lines. From Lima, it is too long to travel (4 hours out, 4 hours back) for a 1 hour 10 minute ride!. I did not realize we had only 1 stop in all of that travel. I would have spent another day in Lima exploring the Center City and other neighborhoods.
I may have liked to go on at least one GROUP tour to meet other tourists. However, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu required a private tour as it allowed me to go at my own pace.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
Dear Karen, Thank you very much for your feedback. We love to hear about our client’s trips as well as any constructive criticism that can be offered to help improve our services. I am very happy to know that you enjoyed the Ollantaytambo tour. I did this tour myself, and went into a similar stone house that you described, and it was a really eye opening experience to see how Quechua people lived day-to-day. Also, the hotel you mentioned is one of my favorite properties anywhere, and I am so happy that you got to experience this unique lodge. Regarding Machu Picchu, it is always my suggestion to spend 1 night and 2 days in Machu Picchu. We find that spending just 1 day can rush the experience, and leave travelers wanting more. I take age and ability into account with every trip I plan, including yours. The 2nd day in Machu Picchu did not have to be spent hiking. Our clients often use this day, to get up early before the crowd from the train gets there, and experience Machu Picchu in its more pristine nature. I did not include permits to hike Huayna Picchu, or Machu Picchu Mountain because I did understand that you were not hikers, but perhaps if I spent more time understanding your precise desires, then I would not have scheduled a 2nd day in Machu Picchu at all and for that I apologize. The tours in Lima and Nazca Lines both sound like they are not up to the standards that reflect our values. I am very sorry that these guides showed you such a poor representation of what could have been an incredible experience. We are currently investigating these tours and guides, and will follow up with you when we receive their comments. Obviously your tour guide sleeping during the Nazca Tour is unacceptable. We will definitely be following up with more comments on this one. As far as the logistics go for the Nazca Lines, I am always very careful to mention, that it is a lot of driving to get to Nazca, and the time in the air is actually not that long. However, often time, it is an important attraction for our clients, so when you said that this was something you wanted to do, I made it a point to include it in your itinerary. Perhaps I misunderstood your desires here. I am very sorry to hear that you got ill on your trip. We understand these things happen and we are always ready to jump into action and make the necessary changes when these sort of things do occur. As your consultant, I did not receive your email, but as soon as we received your livechat through our website, we immediately contacted several of our partners, and made the necessary cancellations. It is the industry standard to charge a cancellation fee as it requires a lot of time and communication to make the necessary changes, however, if you feel that this is an unjust charge, we are happy to refund the $50 per person amount. Thank you again for your thoughtful feedback and once again, I would like to apologize for any shortcoming of your trip. We strive for excellence, so when we receive feedback such as this, we take it very seriously, and use it to improve moving forward. Perhaps there is a time next week that we can schedule a phone call to go over any remaining concerns you may have regarding the Nazca Lines, the cancellation fees or the rest of your trip. Please let me know a time that would work for you. It was a pleasure working with you, and I look forward to helping you plan any future trips to South or Central America. Take care, and keep traveling!
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