Post # 1
We got married in April and haven’t taken our honeymoon yet because time restrains. We finally have our ducks in a row and it’s FINALLY time to start planning!
We first had our heart set on New Zealand but we decided to wait on that. We are now focusing on Peru and the Amazon Rainforest. I found what looks like a great travel package but I’m not sure what to expect from a “partially guided tour.” Yes, they have an itinerary but when I called the travel agency they said the primary age of people on the tours is 40-70 year olds. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I’m just wondering if it’d be to slow pace for DH and I. Here is the link to the tour we were considering.
DH and I love adventure and to experience other cultures. Visiting Machu Pichu would be an experience of a lifetime!
So have any of you Bee’s taken a guided tour? Did you feel it was worth the price? Would you do it again?
Any thoughts and/or comments would be wonderful!
Post # 3
I am very anti-organzied tour. If a place is nice, I want to stay an extra day or two. I also hate group meals, and doing everything in a sanitized version, which is what you get with a tour group. They take you to all the tourist traps and get a cut of everything you do/buy.
Get yourself a Lonely Planet and go from there. I have been to Peru and traveled around, not speaking much Spanish and it was totally fine.
You do have to take a guide on the Inca trail, but it isn’t like a guided tour. Just making sure you get to Machu Pichu.
It is also way cheaper to do on your own. Accomadations in South America are very cheap. We were not trying to be budget travellers, and spent about $50/night for a decent hotel, and 15-20/day on food. The tour is quite pricey. Bus travel is very easy in South America. I would never spend the money that you would be for what you are getting.
Also 4 days in Lima is way too many. But you also miss a lot of great places in Peru. Like the Nazca lines, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa. All are great.
Post # 4
I see that you would go to Lake Titicaca, which is good. But there are also a lot of “city tours” and stuff that would be irritating.
I also see that there is a lot of flying, which basically will eat up at least a good 1/2-3/4 of a day. Getting to the airport, checking in 2 hours before your flight, flying, getting your bagage (and the rest of your groups bagage) then getting out of the airport. There is going to be a lot of wasted time, IMO.
You also aren’t getting any Inca trail, just Machu Pichu. Which is ok. But for a lot of people the trail is also an important part.
Post # 5
@andielovesj: Thank you for your reply! If we were to go on our own do you have to make reservations for hotels or just wing it? Wow, if hotels and food are that cheap that is a rip off.
The one thing that I think would be frustrating about a group tour is that you’re under the guides say. DH and I are pretty spontaneous and I worry that we may get irritated being rushed along or puttering around somewhere for too long.
We were thinking of going late May early June. Do you think we’d avoid the big crowds if we went then or do you have another time you’d suggest?
@andielovesj: Thank you for your reply! Yes, the amount of flying worries me :/
Post # 6
I’m also pretty anti-guided tour. The exception to that being rainforest treks – it’s safer to go with a guide for the specific excursion, and may be required (it was in Borneo, for conservation and safety reasons). But, your hotel etc that you book on your wn can typically arrange that. We’ve done a lot of travel and really winged it most every time, planning only a week or so in advance. If you have your heart set on a specific place to stay, or if it is high season, planning ahead couldn’t hurt. You’ll typically get better rates and more options planning on your own – not to mention more flexibility.
If you do go the organized tour route, definitely do more “adventure” type tours – the demographic will be younger and you’ll have a better time.
Post # 7
@crayfish: Thank you for your reply! I guess I’ve never had a vacation where we’ve winged it so I’m not really sure where to start! Is it easy to catch buses and trains to other towns when you have luggage?
Post # 8
DH and I hiked the Inca trail 2 years ago. As PP’s have said, you have to have a tour company to do that (and you’ll want one – this coming from a person who is normally anti-tour group.)
There are other places in and around Cusco and Machu Picchu such as the Sacred Valley that you’ll likely want a tour company for as well since it’s quite a drive out there.
But I don’t necessarily think you need to be with a tour company the whole time. We were happy to have some days to ourselves.
Post # 9
@Cummins59: I never pre-book anything, because I like to be foot loose and fancy free. If a city is great, I don’t want to have to leave because I have a hotel reservation in another city. There are so many places to stay that I have never not gotten a place. Some places aren’t exactly my dream place, but I stay there a night, and move somewhere else in the morning.
I would really suggest bringing a travel back pack. You are never going to be able to wheel your suitcase once you leave the airport. The streets are not smooth, so unless you want to carry your luggage by hand I’d take a back pack. This will also make it easier in terms of loading and unloading your stuff from a bus.
If you go in late May early June, you will be going at the end of fall beginging of winter. It will probably be quite cool in the mountains. So you will need to pack accordingly. That said there will be fewer tourists then if you book in Jan-Feb which is their summer.
Get the Lonely planet, and take a look before you decide either way. Once you do a trip on your own, you will never want to do a tour. They are very sanitized, and very group centered. You will do everything with those people for 2 weeks. Which is a long time to be stuck with someone who is a jerk, and there is always at least one on every bus.
If you do decide to go tour group, maybe check out one geared to younger people. Maybe like Gap Adventures