You want to trust your travel provider, especially when heading to a different continent, so it is important to choose the right operator for your trip. Whether you just want to see Machu Picchu or get the whole Peru experience, your tour operator will be taking care of all your accommodations during your stay.
Whatever tour operator you decide to go with, you should ensure the company is offering everything you will need for your trip. Some trips come with complete travel insurance through certain operators, which can cover trip cancellation and interruption, emergency medical coverage, baggage coverage and more. If the operator you choose doesn’t offer this, consider picking up some travel insurance yourself or picking another tour company.
When you book your tour, you should be able to go where you want. If an operator doesn’t allow you to customize a travel package, you may not be able to hit all the highlights you would like. However, if the operator offers a set package that provides everything you want, this won’t be an issue.
To find experienced and well-managed operators, a few organizations keep directories of Peru tour operators (as well as tour operators for other countries). The National Geographic Travel Directory is an excellent source for finding tour operators, and you can check the reputation of any operators that interest you by looking up the company’s profile on the Better Business Bureau website. Associations like the American Society of Travel Agents also maintain member directories online.
Ensure the operator you are considering is both licensed and insured to be in business. Another big indicator of whether a tour company is a good choice is whether they know much about the country. Have any of the staff lived or traveled there themselves? If they haven’t, it may be better to find a company with more first-hand experience in Peru.
A few other accommodations that some tour operators offer include private guides for specific sites, such as Machu Picchu or the Nazca Lines. Both of these historic sites are somewhat remote and require a guide to truly appreciate the experience.
Once you get to Peru, how much support does the operator provide? You’ll be far away from home and perhaps without a cell phone — if something goes wrong, you need someone you can call. Some tour operators only answer calls and emails during business hours based on their location, while others offer 24-hour support. If you are an experienced traveler, this may not be as prominent a concern, but others may appreciate that level of availability.
Cost is also a consideration when looking for tour operators, but don’t go with just the cheapest price if the company won’t provide what you want. Everyone has different standards when traveling, so be sure your Peru tour operator includes everything you need. Double check all the services you want are a part of the package, as some services are included in the price and others cost extra.
Your Peru vacation should be relaxing, and choosing the right tour operator can help ensure a stress-free trip.