We absolutely love planning our travels. It’s fun and exciting to visit a new place and figuring out what to do and how to do it is one of the great joys of travel. But, it can also be overwhelming. Working with a tour agency can help ease the stress – they can help you sort out all the options, organize your travel and make reservations. In addition, they often know about places you may otherwise miss!
Choosing the right agency can be a daunting task – there are literally hundreds of options. In this post, we’ll help you think through the important factors when choosing a travel agency, give you some of our tips and even provide you with our recommendations for some of the best travel agencies for your travels in Peru!
Read on to learn all about Choosing the right Travel Agency for your travels!
Planning Your Trip across Peru? Our guide is the perfect travel companion, full of inspiration and ready to help you plan your Peru trip from A to Z. Be inspired by our route recommendations and insider tips from Peruvian locals. Begin your journey in one of the most fascinating countries in Latin America!
Factors to think about when choosing a Travel agency:
While affordability may seem to be the most important factor, be aware that you definitely get what you pay for when using a travel agency in Peru. There are cheap tours to be found, but we’ve found that we are usually disappointed by these tours. They are usually with large groups, not on time, the transportation is risky at best and it’s pretty clear that the staff isn’t well compensated for their time. Do your research and figure out the average cost for the tour you are looking for, then find the travel agency that meets your other, more important criteria.
We all now know that tourism can be a huge negative for the communities and environments we visit. Therefore, it’s really important to find a travel agency that cares for its staff, the communities they visit and the environment. Don’t be afraid to inquire about this and make this a priority factor in your decision. It’s up to us, the tourist, to begin to require this in our travels.
The travel agency, Go Get Peru is really focused on this – The owner, Juan Carlos, designed and built houses for home-stays with local families in a few locations around the Sacred Valley. This is an incredible way to experience life like a local and also support the communities you are visiting! Check out our post about Home-stays here for more information: 5 reasons to do a Home-Stay in Peru
For Inca Treks to Machu Picchu, you want to be especially sure that the porters, who will carry most of your things, are well-compensated and well-treated by the travel agency. After seeing them in action, you’ll understand why this is so important! See our list below for some great options for these treks.
Another factor you’ll want to consider is the itinerary itself. In general, you’ll find that most travel agencies in Peru offer similar itineraries and tours. But, look closely at each one, and you’ll be able to find your style. Some offer a more relaxed schedule while others will pack in activities from sun up (or before!) to sun down.
More important than the specific itinerary should be the ability to tailor the experience. If you have a specific itinerary in mind, many tour agencies will help you make that dream a reality. We had really good luck with Go Get Peru and custom-made trips. They offer set tours but you can usually tailor the trip to be whatever you want/need.
This factor is one that you probably don’t want to think much about, but it’s super important! You’ll want to make sure you understand the payment terms before you agree to (or pay for) any portion of the trip. Important factors to think about in this area:
- When are payments due? Most will require a deposit of some kind with the full payment due upon the start of the tour.
- Method of Payment: Cash, card, Paypal, other. It can be a huge hassle to carry enough money to cover a big tour and you could have big fees if you have to do a bank transfer. Inquire about options for payment – this seems to be getting easier as more banks become interconnected.
- Cancellation and refund policies: It’s important to understand what happens if your plans change or you can’t make your tour. Remember that many tickets must be purchased months in advance, so, for example, if you suddenly have to cancel your Machu Picchu trip, the tour agency has likely already purchased your entrance tickets and train fare and those are non-refundable.
Our ALL ACROSS PERU Tips:
The best way to figure out who to work with is to message different agencies and see who communicates with you the way you want.
Use your social network
Don’t assume your guide knows how you like to travel. Make sure you view the itinerary beforehand and think through how it will go. Don’t like 3am departure times? Make sure to read departure times (or ask if they aren’t provided). Many tours start very early and go very late. Conversely, if you want to pack in more fun, don’t be afraid to inquire about adding on side trips!
Tour agency recommendations:
While we can’t provide an extensive list, here’s a few different travel agencies that we’ve either personally used or know the owners/guides. Note that we do not receive any compensation from promoting them – We just really like them!
- Go Get Peru: Great for tailor made trips, especially in the Sacred Valley. We especially loved their unique trek to Huchuy Qosco that included an overnight home-stay.
- Viva Peru Tours: Great prices for trips in the Sacred Valley, especially for trekking.
- Phima Voyages offers unique trips, especially to Northern Peru.
- Peruvian Soul: Good options for tailor made trips around all of Peru.
- Sacharuna Adventures: They offer tours in the rainforest around Tarapoto.
- Other great agencies for booking treks include: Llama Path, Alpaca Expeditions, X-Treme Tourbulencia, and Chaska Tours.
Peru is famous for its cuisine so a tour centered around food is a must! There’s lots of options, but here are some of our favorites:
- Exquisito Peru: Culinary tours and classes in Lima.
- SkyKitchen: Cooking classes in Lima – Learn to cook some of the most quintessential Peruvian cuisine!
- Tasting the Road: They offer totally unique tours combining biking and culinary tours – Based in Cusco.
- Choco Museo: They offer a free tour as well as classes to learn all about the chocolate making process. There are locations throughout South America.
Specialty Tours: Most of these are around the Cusco area
- Rafting: Mayuc
- Biking Tours: Loreto Tours
- Stand Up Paddling: Sup Cusco
- Bungee Jumping: Action Valley
- Zip Lining & Climbing: Naturavive (Owner Sky Lodge)
Luxury Travel: Finally, if you’re looking for a little more comfort in your trekking, these companies can offer some incredible experiences:
We’d love to hear your experience if you’ve used any of the agencies – Happy Travels!
Who is writing?
Hola! I’m Abigail, writer for ALL ACROSS PERU and lover of all things Peruvian! I live in Lima and you’ll often find me eating lomo saltado and sharing pisco sours with my patas (friends).