amybatt

Looking for trip planner for Peru: Machu Picchu, Amazon, Galapagos

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Has anyone used a trip planner (similar to a safari planner) for Peru that they would recommend? I'm considering Machu Picchu later this year and would like to combine with either Amazon or Galapagos. I do not want a canned group tour, unless it's an extremely good tour with a very small group. Any advice is appreciated, even if it's things to avoid! Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

@@amybatt

 

We went to Peru (Amazon/Machu Picchu) in September/October 2014. We used Wild Planet Adventures (www.wildplanetadventures.com) out of Sausalito, California to organize the trip for us. I know we paid more than we would have if we had just used local operators, but I did not know how to piece the two parts together at the time.

 

Rainforest Expeditions (www.perunature.com) was our local operator for the Amazon, and InkaNatura Travel (www.inkanatura.com) was our local operator in Lima and Cusco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu. Both outfits were excellent and I would not hesitate to work with either one directly for a return trip. A friend of mine used InkaNatura directly for her Machu Picchu add-on to the Galapagos last year with great success.

 

What Wild Planet helped us do was to have a single resource for the whole trip. They also organized a special kayak day trip down the Tambopata River for us that was unforgettable and one of the coolest things I've ever done, and this was not on the regular itineraries of Rainforest Expeditions. Again, though, I think we probably paid a premium for that peace of mind.

 

There's really no reason in my mind to join a group tour in Peru. You can customize a tour with private guides for less than the prices I see quoted for many organized group package tours.

 

Haven't been to the Galapagos (yet), but I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Edited by Alexander33

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Search for @@Atravelynn 's reports on this part of the world. She's been to Peru including Machu Picchu and Manu and also to the Amazon (not sure about Galapagos) and she used some companies she liked.

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Awesome, thank you both @@Alexander33 and @@SafariChick! I'll get on this tonight!!

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Has anyone used a trip planner (similar to a safari planner) for Peru that they would recommend? I'm considering Machu Picchu later this year and would like to combine with either Amazon or Galapagos. I do not want a canned group tour, unless it's an extremely good tour with a very small group. For Galapagos, you are part of a group on a ship. Walks on the island are groups of 8 guests with a naturalist. So that part is set--unless you can charter your own boat! I really liked Galapagos Travel in Aptos, CA https://galapagostravel.online/#pagei1 I used them twice. They have 16 passenger ships and two guides for each of the groups of 8. But their specialty is longer trips, such as at least 11 days IN the islands. So that might not work with a Machu Picchu combo. Any advice is appreciated, even if it's things to avoid! Thank you!

I booked Machu Picchu with Greentracks in Colorado. The ground operator they used was InkaNatura which had outstanding guides and excellent itineraries. I had been advised not to book InkaNatura direct in case of any issues that might crop up. A couple of issues did come up that involved managerial decisions by InkaNatura that were not to my benefit and Greentracks helped me out. So I will echo that advice.

 

Greentracks also booked an Amazon cruise on the Ayapua (I think we were 8 but the boat can hold 18). Wonderful trip where we saw wildlife from the boat and on excursions by canoe and on shore by foot.

 

Here is the report from the Greentracks trip.

http://safaritalk.net/topic/9397-peru-kaleidoscope-of-colors-amazon-cruise-machu-picchu-jungle-lodges/

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Posted (edited)

I have friends who live in the Galapagos Islands and previously lived in Peru. They travel extensively in that area; would you like to chat with them?? :D

 

I visited them the past two summers and they certainly know their way around South America.

Edited by AmyT

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It's probably a bit away from your "not a canned group tour" @@amybatt & they are a UK operator but we went with Llama Travel last year & they were excellent. I'm no fan of packaged tours either but Llama allow you to mix & match "modules" (our trip was Lima, Cusco (Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu), train Cusco to Puno (Lake Titicaca), Colca Canyon (Condors), Arequipa, Lima) so you only go where you want to. Group sizes were small (~10-12) apart from Lake Titicaca where the ~30 person group was split into 2. All the guides were excellent & from the local operator Condor Travel.

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Thank you @@AfricIan, that sounds good! I will look at them. I'm not opposed to that sort of "group" travel as long as I'm not attached to the group 24/7! I like the idea of the modules.

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I just booked my July trip to Peru, I only used a tour operator for the Manu section of the trip. 8 day trip with Amazon Wildlife Peru. The other two weeks I booked myself. A lot of resources online, much less expensive than a tour group.

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@@amybatt what ever company that you use, stay long enough to get to the outer islands. You might also check to see how they feel about being the first to arrive at an island and to be first to get on land. Parties at night are not a priority if you want to be the first to arrive.

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@@amybatt - be aware that Peru is currently suffering terrible devastation from the worst flooding in decades. Even the capital Lima has been flooded and without water the past week.

 

Roads have been washed out, mudslides are widespread, infrastructure is collapsing from what I hear and read.

 

Not sure how soon things will be back to normal but depending on when your trip is, there may well be lingering effects.

 

I had been debating Peru versus Ecuador for a trip about 12-18 months from now but at this point, Peru is out of contention. Especially since I found a lodge in Ecuador with very good odds for Spectacled Bears in season.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all.

 

@@offshorebirder, I'd not made it that far in my research to know that. I don't think that'd be ideal conditions to go there, particularly if I want to hike in MP. Ugh. Thank you for the warning. I'm starting to feel as if fate is conspiring to get me back to Africa now, all my "plan B" for the fall are ruling themselves out!

 

@@marg, I'll keep that in mind for the Galapagos. I'm not a parties at night type of person anyway, but good to know.

 

@@Tania, thank you for the info. I was worried that logistics on the ground were similar to Africa, where you need to know the lay of the land and what you need to get around. Good to know that's not the case! Have a great trip, I'd love to read a trip report and hear about it when you're back!

Edited by amybatt
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I can highly recommend "INCA" for both Peru and the Galapagos. We've traveled to both with them as well as to the Amazon and Turkey. They'll plan private customized

trips and, absolutely, have THE best guides.

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I think the flooding was only around Lima – I don’t think Cusco or Machu Picchu was effected at all.

 

Honestly, I think this is something that you could just book all the separate elements yourself if you have enough time to leave a bit of space between one thing and the next.

 

Do you have to choose between Galapagos & the rain forest? That would be a very difficult decision! Both amazing, but very different.

 

Galapagos – find the boat trip you want, fly from Quito to Galapagos. The agent for the boat you choose will organise that. If you have time you could spend an extra day or two in Puerto Ayora before you sail – we really enjoyed it as you can walk or take a water taxi to some cool places and yummy street seafood (lobster!).

 

It’s worth reading the boat itineraries carefully though. Many of the 8 day options do two short loops with a return to the main island in the middle (so people can do just a 4 day trip). You really, really want to go to the outer islands on a proper 8 day one.

 

If you like birds & butterflies you can do a wonderful side trip from Quito to Mindo. The cloud forest there is amazing. We caught the public bus (2hrs) but it’s also very easy to hire a private driver to take you there & pick you up a few days later (my parents did this).

 

Peru

Peru rainforest –we went to Manu, my parents went to Tambopata. Manu was amazing but a lot of time in the canoe. Mum & Dad loved Tambopata and even saw a jaguar. Flying in and out was better for their timeframe.

 

Machu Picchu – again you can book this yourself if you find a package that you like. If you’re a bit adventurous (and not too scared of heights) make sure you get tickets to climb Wayna Picchu.

 

Cusco itself is fun to spend time in – you can do self guided walks to look at all the old sections, there’s great places to eat – both traditional and modern fusion.

 

South America is wonderful, I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you choose to do!

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@@amybatt Have you booked your trip yet? I just came back from a two week cruise of the Galapagos Islands last week and absolutely loved it, I didn't want to leave. They also do a one week itinerary either in the North West or in the South East or you can combine both to a two week cruise. The boat only has max. 14 passengers (which is quite small for Galapagos), provides maximum time in the field and therefore caters mostly to wildlife enthusiasts and / or photographers. I am not a fan of group holidays either and was a solo traveler on the trip, but both the group as well as the crew were just amazing and I am so happy I joined them. We always arrived before everybody else when animal behavior was at its best (and light still soft) and had many more landings and activities such as snorkeling and kayaking than other boats. Also the guide was the best I could have wished for, extremely knowledgeable and so passionate about everything we saw. If you would like me to, I can put you in touch with the owner / operator of the boat.

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