We booked our Peru tour through SAS Peru and want to highlight some areas that could be avoided to make the tour better.
Firstly, SAS Travel Peru prices are pretty reasonable and you can save quite a bit by using them
but you have to do your research and fine tune the tour during your bookings before
payment. The main disquiet I have is that this tour company has a problem of conflict of interest
as a tour operator and as well as a hostel owner in Aguas Caliente. A good tour operator will always try to
choose the best hotel or accomdation for its customers and if its lousy, it will look to put their customers elsewhere. In the case in Aquas Caliente, which typically is the launching point
for tourist to visit Macchu Pichu, SAS travel owns a very budget hostal and will put its customers to this crappy hostel and offer even crappier meals.Its called Hotel Viajeros Bed and Breakfast .
Aguas Caliente is littered with many hostels and hotels and your visit to Machu Pichu , a once in a life time experience would be more memorable if your accomadtion and meals are better than
what is dished out by SAS.The food offered by the restaurants is quite good and that area
has many good hotels which is not pricey (less than US$100 per night). As such if you book thru SAS, maybe you can ask for a change of accomodation and ask them not to provide any meals and pay the difference. to stay and eat elsewhere. My wife and I skipped the meals offered by Viajeros and nearly moved to another hotel, except that we had a Cusco- Machu Pichu train delay due to a landslide and we arrived a little too late to move to another hotel
and also we planned to leave for Machu Pichu by 6.am the next day.
The same conflict of interest also applies to Hotel Marqueses in Cusco, except that this hotel is
quite ok and close to the main tourist square but is a pretty old boutique hotel. My gripe is that
the price of $US90 per night is higher than most of the boutique hotels around the main square
by about usd$ 15-20. We stayed 4 nights there.
Also on our return from Machu Pichu to Cusco, we lost alot of time because SAS booked us
on the train that stopped one third of the way before Cusco and then we had to wait and join
many others to take a bus instead of booking our train ride all the wat to cusco. This caused us a delay of two and half hours and by the time we reached Cusco, all the restaurants were
closed (10.30pm) and Hotel Marqueses room service ends at 9pm...no dinner for us.
The SAS Travel Peru office is right next door to Hotel Marqueses but we did bother to confront
them the next day as we had been told that our train will arrive Cusco by 8.00pm ( but we came back by bus and I think a train ride would be more comfortable and safer too in the night). The train ticket price difference between the stop one third the way and all the way to Cusco was only USD$15 per person and I thought that SAS Travel should not try to save the difference
as it should care for our well being. We did not confront them for breaking the agreed arrangement to get us back to Cusco all the way by train as its already water under the bridge and better to let go and move on and continue to enjoy our holiday.
All in all, the SAS is not a bad company but to enjoy your tour better, the onus lies with you to check all the arrangements in minute details to minimise your discomfort.
We were on a holiday and were able to smile and laugh at our situation because Peru
and Machu Pichu rocks!
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