I plan on going on and having a great time as I have always wanted to see Peru.
Though the planning did not go as well as I had hoped, I managed to do it all myself on the internet and in the long run learned quite
a bit by doing so; and met many new wonderful folks in Peru who cared that I had a good time and experience.
Not only did INK not provide the train tickets (and the bus??--- not on Luxury Link packages, I am sure!) I have 3 inter country flights that they could have purchased in the country for far less than I did from the U.S. The information is on the bid package that they will do this, but it was never offered nor were my constant requests for the help in obtaining trains, planes and of course additional accomodations ever acknowledged.
So, I did it myself as I had paid for the package up front. I learned quite a bit more about the country and the fact that what a company says they are going to do depends on the company's ethics. Some do and some don't and that is a lesson for all.
Inkaterra may be leaders in eco-tourism, but they have a lot to learn on the customer satisfaction side. I have also read stories on trip advisor and other fourms where the service was not up to standard, so if anyone is looking at their packages, call them first and get all the details (in writing).
Like I previously said, they have issued a new package for Machu Pichu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley on LL which includes much more and will make it easier for anyone to get around, ie. train, transport from airport to SV and Cusco, etc. so I do applaud them for taking that step forward.
I don't want to keep the negativity alive; therefore I will post my trip report HOPING it is positive when I return.
I will try to explain how the process ran for me: I contacted INK immediately upon bid acceptance using a phone no. in Lima. Unfortuntately I do not speak Spanish and the connection was awful so I suggested we email.
I sent an email as soon as I got off the phone. I waited a couple of days and was amazed I did not hear anything. Emailed again; got a reply that they would get back to me. This went on and on...I had dates that I wanted to use and also FF miles to Lima. So timing was very impt.
After finally receiving an email and telling me my dates were open, they rescinded those dates in another email a week later. They had booked them while I was trying to contact them.
No mention ever of helping me with transportation, lodging; all the questions I asked about that were just ignored.. I took it upon myselfto begin looking into it because after the datefiasco I was afraid of what they would do (or not do) next. I was lucky to have FF tickets and could easily change at this time; if not, I would have had to spend even more to accommodate THEM.
The train situation is especially difficult.Peru Rail need copies of your passport- which Inkaterra had in theirpossession and could have and should have used..(They have since changed, and you can buy on line) It took me over a week to get all that worked out with PR. And there is a language difference so at times our emails were very confusing. . Inkaterra should have taken care of this; instead a small boutique lodge in the Sacred Valley ,after hearing my story did everything to assist me , including picking them up and holding them for me upon my arrival and paying for them until I get there. They also found me a car and a guide toget me from Cusco to theSacred Valley to acclimatize - extremely important to avoid altitudesickness. Peru Rail messed up on my times and this hotel went back and corrected them and picked up the newer ones! I also read trip advisor forum and there are many very knowledgable Peru travelers who gave me plenty of info; of course most of them do not deal with Inkaterra; but many have stayed at their MP lodge and have seriously complained about their lack of service once they arrive. You may want to go to that forum and read "Cusco".
If I had known all this to begin with I would have never bid on this auction.
However, as I stated,the new package seems to cover this, so go for it. That is the one positive out of all this; INK now includes the train, transport and staying in Cusco. Didnt help me, but I am glad they did it.
I will let everyone know the service I recieve in a trip report the end of May.
For now, I have to get back to my positive feelings towards the trip. I seriously thought about not going on this trip as I was so upset with Inkaterra; plus the extra money I had to spend because of their refusal to address any of my requests or provide me with the information to book the connecting flights, added lodgings (which I have in writing from them,thisis necessary for the trip - well they should have added it to the auction, or at least make it known we would have to do this)
As before, I think they are receiving a great deal ofpublicity in the "high end glossy publications" (latest was"Travel and Leisure" )showcasing their new properties (which are beautiful) , and in the eco-friendly travel world, theyare considered leaders (again, a good thing). Also, from what I have read,the president is on the board of National Geographic. All this would lead one to truly believe their commitment to customer service parallels their commitment to the environment.
Those two do not necessarily complement one another.
Could be Iwas just unlucky with the rep. who I worked with, who knows?
I have spoken with JoseKoechlin, President and Owner of Inkaterra, who is agentlemen, with great manners, a true love of ecology, Peru, orchids, nature, and travel in general. I just think he is not aware of all that is going on in his ever expanding empire. That sometimes happens when you have so many different divisions and grow quickly. I hoped my copies of emails I sent to him and our conversations (via email) would make him aware of the problems consumers like myself face ; and word of mouth these days is ever present via internet.
BUT, having said that, it is a top down problem. By the way, I emailed not only Mr. Koechlin (with a copy to LL) , but to every manager whose email was listed on their contact page. He was the only one who responded, and I have to give him points for that. I never heard from anyone else.
Perhaps they are working on it.
I would not hesitate to reccomend your bidding on theNEW auction, but "buyer beware"-- call them and ask your questionsFIRST.I did not have anything to go on, as everyone had been using Orient Express and I assumed LL had checked on every aspect of their new clients before putting them up for bid.
I also emailed Luxury Link after reading what a terrific job they did in handling problems like this. Did not work for me. Maybe I just had a bad month! Nancy called me and left me a brief message; I then got a call asking if Inkaterra followed up. So, what did they do for me??
I had already purchased everything in addition to the LL package, spending about $2,000. Maybe they'd like to refund some of it for "good relations" haha, I doubt it.
I even invited Mr.Koechlin to meet me at one of his properties I am visiting (three) so we could discuss this further and perhaps I could help assist him in developing a better run customer service office. I was in the hospitality business myself and if my employees responded as his initial ones (I later got an employee who was genuinely interested in helping me,but it was too late) we would have all been out on the street.
So, that is my story.
Do NOT let this deter you from going to Peru. Just beware and ask for the supervisor to do all your planning.
I am sure you will have a great trip. I am planning on making the most of mine and hope all the worry I have had will be gone by the time I land in their beautiful country.
Sorry this was so long, but it's been a long three months.
We won a LL package to Inkaterra and went this past January. Though the language barrier was a bit difficult at times, we didn't have many problems at all and had the greatest vacation.
Things to help you..
Book your own inter PERU flights on LAN.com as Inkaterra adds a hefty surcharge on all services they book. We saved so much this way.
Book your own hotel. We went to Hotel Monasterio and it was AMAZING.
Try and stay in CUSCO for a couple of days as it is amazing. We only had an evening and a morning there and wish we would have planned to stay for one more.
There's no need for Inkaterra to have someone to pick you up at the airport - for added dollars.
!! It is so easy and WAY cheaper to get a cab!
The Inkatera Urubamba villas are so beautiful and the drive there was spectacular. We chose to hire a driver from the airport.Again SO much cheaper!
Inkaterra Machu Picchu was so LUXURIOUS!! Crazy beautiful!
And of course, the amazon was amazing, but be prepared after all the luxury and pampering for a more down-home and rustic experience.
We let Inkaterra help to plan our itinerary, and then when we researched all the prices we saw that we were paying another $1500 US more than if we used their itinerary and booked on our own.
We drove to the train station and got our train tickets when we got there. It wasn't a big deal at all. There are so many AIRPORT reps with booths in the airport and one of them came with us and set us up with a driver- for nothing but a TIP!
Good luck and have an amazing time!! It is an extraordinary experience!!
We would have stayed another day at the villa, and at Machu Picchu Inkaterra if we had known how great it would be!
Hi Andie, It is great to hear you had a terrific trip with Inkaterra. It lifts my spirits after my disappointing start with them.
Unfortunately My problems started at the beginning, when they did not respond to even get me started on the trip..looks like that was not a problem for you.
Going to MP now requires advance train reservations; all the forums on MP I read state you must purchase in advancebecause is it so popular (especially in high season when we are going) and you take the chance of them being sold out for your dates, so you were very fortunate to be able to walk up and get them;also, we will not be in Cusco before MP to obtain them.
Did you stay in Cusco very long?
I have purchased my Lan tickets for travel from Lima-PM-Cusco-Lima.
I did add quite a few additional nights in Sacred Valley and am usingInkaterra's Villa Sonia after MP just for one more night before heading to Cusco. You areright, using their accommodations were extremely high for the area; I was quoted $300 a night in SV and $600 a night in Cusco.
After reading and researching the area, I realized one night was definitely not enough, so we are spending three in SV, and three in Cusco.
I found lovely lodgings through forums and internet research.
HOWEVER, it does not excuse Inkaterra from not responding to my requests for help coordinating this trip.
After traveling that distance I wanted to be sure Iexperience everything I could, and adding add'l nights is not unusual when travelingsofar to such a diverse country.
Thanks for sharing; It is so nice to hear a positive experience. Gives me great hope!
Hi Andie (and others who have taken this trip), was the altitude in Machu Picchu or Cusco a problem? I've been thinking about this trip for a while, but I've hesitated, partially due to this concern. On ski trips I sometimes get a headache, even taking meds. Did you have any issues?
I have not been on this forum lately as I am preparing to leave for my Inkaterra package won through LL.
I suffer headaches also from a neck problem, but have been told by many forum participants to acclimate by staying in Sacred Valley before attempting MP and Cusco (which is a higher altitude than MP - and the place most people get sick) I have a presc. from the Doc for Diamoxx, and will take advantage of cocoa tea and leaves!
Will definitely report back on the trip..as you are aware I am a bit skeptical of what's ahead as far as ease of transitions, but going full force with the trip. I am sure it will be quite an adventure and hopefully the beauty we encounter will overshadow the problems I faced earlier!
Returning late May so hope to get back with a great, enthusiastic report.
I, and no doubt others, will be waiting for this report too as several of us have purchased the LL Machu Picchu auction. I am experiencing the same poor response that Dana described in her posts. I have read extensive, very positive reviews of Inkaterra and their properties...(one of the reasons I bid on the auction). But the current customer service experience I am having is more similar to Dana's.
For community members interested in Inkaterra, I would will be happy to provide some of my experiences. Originally I was having similar contact issues to those that Dana reports. However, after using a different e-mail contact address directly through their website, I received quick responses and assistance. I'll be happy to keep the community updated.
Hi elyseea. Thanks for the excellent feedback. The auction looks lovely but there have been a few people who have had difficulty working with the property. (I personally had called them months ago and they were quite helpful.) Thanks for your help. When do you go??????