My travel agency's staff were generally knowledgeable and responsive, but they could improve a few things. First, the staff member with whom we were initially working left about halfway through our trip planning (which occurred over the course of 15 months)--after we had committed and made deposits. One thing she left undone, which her colleague picked up just a few months before our departure, was that we did not have our internal flights, e.g., Lima to Cusco and Cusco to Lima and then on to Quito. It was a bit of a rude awakening to have several thousand dollars more added to the price of our trip at that late date, after everything else was locked in. Further, our hotels had already been booked, without taking into account the fact that we would fly into a destination, e.g., Quito, at a time when a transfer to a hotel didn't make sense. So, we had a transfer to a hotel 20 minutes from the airport at 8 pm and then back to the airport less than 12 hours later to go to the Galapagos; it would have made much more sense to just stay at the airport hotel and cut out the transaction cost of all that travel time. Also, there was some confusion when we checked ourselves into our first LATAM flight because our itinerary from the travel agency listed the carrier as LAN, not LATAM. It would be helpful if the carrier information were listed in a uniform way to make such matters simpler. It would also be helpful to have from the travel agent clear information about what food one can and cannot take to Galapagos. We knew not to bring fruits and vegetables but wound up ditching our nuts out of fear we would be fined, but then others brought food onto the island, and we had nothing to eat for several hours after our arrival in Galapagos. (Cruise guides/staff should really suggest that, because it will be a long time before guests get lunch (like 3 pm) they should avail themselves of food kiosks at the airport, kiosks not visible from the arrivals hall area).
Our time in the Galapagos was the highlight. We also really enjoyed our visit to the lodge there. Loved getting to stay overnight at the Machu Picchu Lodge. We loved our picnic on the day we visited Maras and Moray, up amidst the glaciers and after enjoying the Inka New Year/fertility festival at Moray. Most of our hotels were excellent, some truly exceptional.
We would include more down time and probably do less generally so as to minimize the amount of travel time b/w destinations. Too much van time in Peru. Very long wait (3 + hours) in Aguas Calientes once we returned from Machu Picchu and before catching our train back toward Cusco.
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