Peru is one of the most popular destinations in the world right now. It has so much to offer visitors with mountains, jungle, and a coastline that stretches hundreds of miles. There are also a lot of fun activities to choose from like zip lining, white water rafting, and trekking to the incredible Machu Picchu.
When booking a tour, some people opt to book everything themselves and each item on their itinerary separately. The problem with this is, it can take a lot of time and end up costing more overall. It’s also easy to make mistakes and book the wrong tour for the wrong day, for example.
The best option to make sure you enjoy your vacation and everything goes smoothly is to reserve your tours through a travel agency. These guys have done it thousands of times and are experts in their field. When using a tour operator you’ll get the following:
- Knowledgeable staff who know the tours inside and out and will be there to help you 24/7.
- The option to mix and match your itinerary and put things together how you want. They can tailor make your vacation how you want it.
- Great deals! Tour agencies usually work alongside or have special rates with train and bus companies, hotels, and many attractions.
- The chance to sit back and relax knowing all your holiday is already planned out and reserved.
- Experienced guides who’ll tell you all they know about the attractions and everything about the country’s history.
- The knowledge that you’re in safe hands should you be in an emergency. The agency will know what to do in this situation.
How Do I Book Through a Peru Travel Agency?
If you’ve decided that booking through a travel agency for your vacation to Peru is the route you want to go, here’s how to go about it.
- First, you’ll need to find a company you want to book through by searching online. Some only offer select tours while others have a wide range. You’ll also find some that sell cheaper versions and some that offer expensive and luxury tours.
- Next, you’ll need to get in touch with the company you select. This should be relatively straightforward as most of the agencies will have their contact info on their website. The most common way to contact them is via email, however, some might also have a chatbot on their site where you can speak live with a representative.
- Let the person who you speak to know which tours you’re interested in and for when. They’ll tell you if there’s availability and what the next steps are to reserving your spot.
- You’ll usually need to give your information (passport number, personal details) to the agency for them to be able to get you tickets. Machu Picchu, for example, can’t be booked without your passport name and number.
- A deposit needs to be paid to reserve your spot. This is to allow the company to buy your tickets, which are usually non-refundable. The deposit makes sure that the cost of these are covered in the event you have to cancel your trip.
- Once you’ve completed all these steps, the agency should send you a confirmation by email so you have proof of purchase and reservation. You’ll need to print this or show it on your phone when you head to the agency in the country.
What If I Need to Cancel My Trip?
In the unfortunate event that you need to cancel your trip for any reason, your deposit won’t be refunded. This is because the amount you paid will have been used to purchase any necessary tickets. The entrance to Machu Picchu and train tickets aren’t refundable. This isn’t the choice of the agency but rather of the respective companies themselves.
Booking With an Agency Tips
Reserving your vacation with a tour company is a great option and it might seem like you don’t need to think about a lot. Still, there are a few tips and tricks to make things go as smoothly as possible and to make sure you get exactly what you want.
Do Your Research
We can’t stress this enough. You must research thoroughly all the companies you’re interested in. This doesn’t just men looking at their website or social media feed. You need to read comments from previous passengers to learn what their experience was like and to get a general feel of the agency.
It’s not uncommon to find one offering a spectacular offer and all the trimmings to get here and find that your guide doesn’t speak English and you’re travelling in the back of a pickup.
There are hundreds of agencies in Peru and they aren’t all as great as they appear. Seeing the experience others have had is a good indicator of what to expect.
Book in Advance
It might seem that reserving through a tour operator or agency will guarantee you your spot, which is usually the case. However, there are only a certain number of tickets available a day for many attractions, like Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu Mountain, and the Inca Trail. The latter is booked up months in advance.
You can reserve some tours upon arrival, but it’s best to be well-planned and have everything booked with as much anticipation as possible to avoid disappointment later on. There’s nothing worse than booking your flight and then finding out you can’t climb Huayna Picchu when you visit Machu Picchu.
You might be wondering what this means. Well, it’s not uncommon to see disheartened tourists when they can’t get the dates or tours they want. It’s important to be understanding if this happens to you and know that it isn’t the fault of the agency. Entrances and tickets are controlled by other authorities and companies, so it’s out of the hands of the tour agency you book through.
You may also find that you send a message after lunch but don’t hear back from the agency until the next morning. This is because of the time difference between Peru and elsewhere, as well as working hours. Don’t worry, your message will be answered. Agencies have hundreds of messages to get through a day.
If you really need to speak to someone urgently, you can try a chatbot on their site or call the number on their site directly.
How Do I Know the Agency is Legitimate/High Quality?
When browsing through the options you see online, it can be hard making a decision. How can you know the agency you’re looking it is legal and legitimate as well as of a high standard? Here are a few pointers.
- The Website – How’s the design of their website? Is it user-friendly and easy to find the information?
- Transparency – This is very important. Does the company share all their information with you? Or is it hard to find out certain things? They should have a disclaimer and it should be easy to find out all about them.
- Terms and conditions – These should be clearly set out on their site and they should send you a copy if you ever request it.
- Reviews – As mentioned earlier, looking at what other travellers have said about the company and their experience is a great indicator of the quality.
- Contact – Are the company easy to get a hold of? You want one that gets back to you as fast as they can and doesn’t leave you waiting days for an answer to a simple question. You need an agency who fixes issues quickly and doesn’t cause you any extra stress. Instead, they should lighten your load.
- Sustainability – Is the agency you’re looking at involved in sustainable tourism? This shows they care about the zone and people in the area.
- Payment – What payment options are available? This can be very important to most people. Are they open about extra costs for certain payment types?
What Questions Should I Ask the Tour Agency?
There’s no doubt you’ll have a lot of queries and doubts when booking a tour, but the main things you need to ask about are as follows:
- Group sizes – Some agencies offer large groups, whereas others offer more intimate options.
- Food – This often depends on the price, and you’ll find some offer basic meals and others buffet style, even in the middle of the mountains!
- Guides – You’ll need to know if they speak your language and at what level. It’s no good going on a tour if you don’t understand what it’s about.
- What’s Included – This is a very important one as you don’t want to have any surprises upon arrival or in the middle of the tour with an unexpected payment. Make sure you know what tickets and extra costs are or aren’t included. Ask about optional extras.
- Times – Ensure you know exactly what time you’ll be picked up and dropped off. You don’t want to miss a tour because you slept in.
- Accommodation – An important factor for most tourists is where they’ll be staying. Some like luxury whereas others are happy roughing it. You need this to be clear before you book anything.