Guided Tours in South America?

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
3223 posts
Sugar bee

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
Member
3223 posts
Sugar bee

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 # 6
Member
10384 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

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 # 8
Member
1367 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

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
Member
3223 posts
Sugar bee

@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

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