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DIV vs organized?

Timmins, Canada
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1,108 posts
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DIV vs organized?

Hi all,

Can you please give your opinions re:DIV vs organized way traveling Peru.

We're at very early stage of our first SA trip planning.

We did DIV to Central Mexico once. Is it much different? Possible?

Pros and con's?

Thanks a lot.

P

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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1. Re: DIV vs organized?

Just search on this forum and you will find plenty information to do tourism on your own when visiting Peru.

Most popular questions are also answered on the right hand box of the page of each city.

Austin, Texas
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2. Re: DIV vs organized?

Recommend getting some assistance from a travel agency. We used Latin America For Less and they were outstanding. Yes, South America is different than central Mexico. I have done both and thoroughly enjoyed both, but South America has a few more logistics intricacies which can cause "down time" while you get them worked out. Got back last week from 14 days in Peru, Argentina, Brazil. A Peru rail strike, and an Argentina entry permit problem were surprise events which Silvana Zavala and Heidy Aspilcueta solved much quicker than I could. And they found us nice hotels in safe neighborhoods where we could still do a lot of our own tourism. You will love South America. Great people with a proud history.

Timmins, Canada
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1,108 posts
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3. Re: DIV vs organized?

Thanks for responses.

I know xochitl I can find a lot if I search but wanted to hear general opinions in regard to those ways of travelling and may be comparison to DIY travel in Central Mexico...

@ Robert C from Austin. Thank you very much for your reply. Glad you had a great trip and finally decided to open TA account today and share your impressions with other fellow travellers. Welcome aboard. Please give us more feedback by posting your trip report, itinerary...etc.

You suggested I get <<some assistance from a travel agency>>. What do you mean by <<some>>? What did they help you with? Was it tickets only or transportation or lodging? Did it involve whole trip or separate parts of it? Was it private tour or shared?

Thank you,

P

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: DIV vs organized?

Piramidan, thanks for your interest in more travel details. I fear I have pushed my family and co workers to the tipping point on recounting our experiences. What great fun.

First, I assure you that we have no connection to Latin America For Less so this isn't intended as their advertisement, but they came through for us. Although we met up with another couple for part of the trip, it was a private/customized tour. As to what I mean by "some" assistance. On the few travels we have taken I prefer to do my own research and then set my own itinerary including side tours. This being our third trip to South America I just know there is likely to be a local religious holiday, a one-day strike or something I had not anticipated that calls for a rapidly implemented Plan B. I found LAFL very open to that flexible approach of letting me set part of the itinerary. In the larger cities I selected the hotel and most of the side tours. For the rest LAFL set the travel logistics, and a few of the local tours. They gave me options on the hotels depending on how much local flavor we wanted. I found my own restaurants. So they were helpful in my trip planning, but I felt I was in control of the package. Where LAFL became Vacation Difference Makers was during the trip on the travel logistics. The train travel arranged for one leg went on strike on our travel day, so LAFL attempted an air travel contingency plan before finally securing a driver for a 4 hour trip that got us back on schedule. Whew! Same heroics for getting us into Argentina. I had trouble with my entry permit (my error), but LAFL jumped in and fixed what I had tried to fix at the airport, but could not. So the short answer to your question should have been : they helped a little bit with tickets, some larger amount with lodging, and A LOT with transportation while in South America.

You asked about Pros and Cons. When you do it yourself you feel more adventurous; like a traveler instead of strictly a tourist. But I have also lost valuable travel time trying to get across national borders while cleaning up paper work, etc. I found LAFL was very flexible in letting me take on as much as I wanted, and they were there to help me implement Plan B when I needed them. In trying to see three countries in two weeks I made a good decision in not attempting to handle all of it by myself. Have fun in SA.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: DIV vs organized?

Just as a counter point, we were DIY and thought it worked very easy. We found Peru to be very tourist friendly. All the hotels were happy to help with taxis and day trips if we needed a car. Buses and trains were easy to book online. We were able to hire local tour guides for an hour or two at most of the ruins. There were always people at the hotels that spoke English. If you wanted restaurants that had English menus, they were easy to find. Every hotel we stayed at arranged a complimentary or very inexpensive airport or bus depot pick up for us to make finding the hotels easy.

Pros of DIY - costs less, total flexibility of the itinerary, not stuck with a bad tour guide or service for 2 weeks if the agency you pick does not work out.

Cons of DIY - takes time to do the research yourself. As Robert said, if something goes wrong, you have to straighten it out yourself. Need to be able to navigate yourself around airports, bus depots, and things like that. Need to figure out a visa if that applies to you. We only were in Peru so had no border crossing issues and USA citizens did not need a visa, so that was also easy, and had no transportation problems on our trip.

california
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6. Re: DIV vs organized?

Canadians tourists do not have any visa required for entry in to Peru, so that is a non-issue. Just a valid passport.

This is an extremely easy country to self plan.

There is a huge range of excellent lodgings that can be booked online or by email. Many are now on partner websites with TA so you can link directly from the review to the booking websites (as well as link to hotels own website). Nearly all hotels on the popular tourist trail have at least one employee who speaks English. Ask them to set up your transfers from airports (or bus stations). Taxis are not expensive.

Plane and train tickets are also easy to book online.

The biggest issue us if you want to hike the Inca Trail, which can only be done with an officially approved guide company and needs advance booking.

Buying Machu Picchu tickets can also require some help from a hotel or agency as the website is very problematic.

If you want to arrange guided tours you can search TA for local guided or tour companies. Eg around Puno, All Ways travel. Percy Salas gets top marks around the Sacred Valley/Cusco.

It is always a good idea to have some leeway for flight delays etc.

Edited: 24 October 2013, 00:24
Timmins, Canada
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7. Re: DIV vs organized?

Thank you very much.

That's what I hoped to hear. We did DIY trip to China recently. So I am not a stranger to preparation groundwork, have some experience... Just needed to hear this from somebody familiar with the place.

I guess renting a car is out of the question even on short distance. We did rent in Mexico... What do you think?

Thanks again,

P

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: DIV vs organized?

There's no need. Taxis and buses are cheap. Most of the time you would not need one anyway.

Berkeley, California
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9. Re: DIV vs organized?

I completely agree with Wes032. We did it on our own other than had a travel agency book our flight (they got a great deal). We hired a few tour/guides there at the sites. We reserved our own hotels (TA) and planned our own transportation in country. Had not trouble. Hotel staff were all fabulous in helping us. It's pretty easy in Peru!

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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10. Re: DIV vs organized?

If you are an experienced traveler its quite simple to DIY travel plan. Spanish is a great help, but not absolutely required.

I suggested you read this forum because you will be able to get feed back from travelers who have been in Peru visiting via Tour Companies or by themselves. So many questions may arise when you plan your trip, that it is almost impossible to give advise which will fulfill all your queries.

So , go one step at a time. Plan your trip and when questions arise, place them on this forum. I am sure many travelers will happily answer your queries