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6 Ways to Get the Most for Your Money on a Tour

6 Ways to Get the Most for Your Money on a Tour

Comparing Peru tours can be very confusing. It can be difficult to tell why one tour is sometimes thousands of dollars less than another tour. Aren’t all tour operators’ costs based on the same components—guides and other support staff, hotels, meals, transportation, entrance fees, and equipment?

Yes, tour operators are generally working with the same cost components. The difference is often in the fine, sometimes invisible, print that spells out what is included in the tour. (more…)

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Secret to Getting a Hot Shower at a Cheap Hotel in Peru

How to Get a Hot Shower

Getting a hot shower can be tricky. On numerous trips to Peru and other countries within Latin America, I discovered that hot water doesn’t seem to flow as abundantly or consistently as it does at home. Many a time, I did the cold shower dance, trying to get only certain body parts wet while keeping others dry to minimize shivering.

Since then, I have figured out how to get a hot shower in Peru so you can rinse off the dirt from your four days on the Inca Trail in comfort. (more…)

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Machu Picchu Weather: What to Pack

Machu Picchu Weather What to Pack

Machu Picchu weather is typical of mountainous regions: unpredictable. I have experienced everything from torrential rainstorms that I thought would wash the ruins away to perfect blue-sky days. So how can you make sure that you are prepared to enjoy your tour of one of the world’s greatest wonders? (more…)

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Don’t Get Sick on Your Peru Vacation

Dont Get Sick

I have been to Peru eight or nine times and have only gotten sick twice. The last time was on a bus ride that seemed like it would never end. I spent the last two hours locked in the bathroom. It wasn’t pretty.

Since then I have learned a few tricks to stay healthy while in Peru. (more…)

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What to Do If You Lose Your ATM Card on Vacation in Peru

ATM at Machu Picchu

When I flew to Peru last February, I immediately lost my ATM card at the airport in Lima. I was so tired I forgot that the ATMs in Peru dispense cash before returning your ATM card. I took my cash and walked away. The ATM, in turn, gobbled my card.

This would have been less of a problem if I had been traveling to Cusco or Machu Picchu. I could have gotten by on the cash I had and charged the rest of my expenses to my credit card. But, I was heading to Peru’s north coast where cash is still king. (more…)

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Should I Buy Handicrafts from Children in Cusco?

Should I Buy Handicrafts from Children in Cusco

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Chiapas, Mexico, to attend the ATTA World Summit was the hordes of children roaming the streets, dirty and bedraggled, selling everything from woven belts to cotton candy. It was disconcerting. I didn’t know what to do when confronted by their beseeching eyes and outstretched palms.

I’ve run into this situation time and again when I’ve visited Cusco. Clearly, I can never buy enough handicrafts to really make a difference in the children’s lives. But, should I buy any at all? (more…)

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How to Get a Good Deal on Alpaca Souvenirs in Peru

How to Get a Good Deal on Alpaca Souvenirs in Peru

Last week I attended the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s World Summit in Chiapas, Mexico. Yes, I was working. But, I was also a tourist. I wanted to bring home a souvenir from my trip. In Chiapas, the definitive souvenir is amber jewelry. The amber is produced locally, and plenty of jewelry stores and street vendors offer a wide selection of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. (more…)

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Why I Love Private Guided Tours

Why I Love Private Guided Tours

The first time I vacationed in Peru, my dad and I were in a tour group with two other travelers: a grandfather and his grandson. The ease with which we all got along was uncommonly lucky. I have since been on several other guided tours where my travel companions included constant complainers, cheapskates, and people who moved at a different tempo than I did. I tried my best to be patient and tune out the negativity, but I’d be lying if I said my enjoyment wasn’t adversely affected. (more…)

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10 Questions to Help You Compare Tour Prices

10 Questions

Recently I was looking to see how Llama Expeditions’ tour prices compared to other guided tours in Peru. The range of prices was baffling. Some tours were so cheap I wondered how the tour operator was able to stay afloat. Other tours were so expensive I wondered how the operator was able to attract customers.

So how do you figure out which guided tour offers the best value? Here are ten questions to help you compare tour operator prices. (more…)

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Buyer Beware! Protect Yourself From Shady Tour Operators

Buyer Beware! Protect Yourself From Shady Tour Operators

According to a recent article in the South American Explorers Club newsletter, the Peruvian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVIT) estimates that between 55%-60% of travel agencies in Peru are informal. This means almost 4,500 agencies are not registered with the Ministry of Tourism. While many of these companies are honest businesses, some take advantage of their informal status to disappear with your money. (more…)

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