For South America arrangements

This item appears on page 34 of the January 2011 issue.
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For my grandson, Kent, and myself, in the fall of 2009 I booked June ’10 tours with Overseas Adventure Travel (the 16-night “Machu Picchu and the Galápagos” plus the optional, five-night “Amazon Rain Forest of Peru”). I purchased our air separately, planning to spend a few days in Bolivia before the tour began.

In December I was notified by OAT that they were canceling the tour. They offered a substitute date, but it conflicted with our Bolivia plans and Expedia wanted $1,000 per person to change the flights.

Fortunately, I knew a travel agent in Lima, Gustavo A. Méndez Banda, owner of Slogan Comunicación Integral Tourism Advisors Agency (Av. Arequipa 330, Of. 607, Lima 01, Peru; phone [511] 423 4988, mobile 997 458040, e-mail gustavoamb@hotmail.com), who agreed to plan our trip, May 30-June 23. Gustavo did a fantastic job making all of the detailed arrangements. We essentially did the same sights as OAT but not necessarily in the same order or for the same periods.

We visited La Paz, Lake Titicaca and other venues for five days and nights in Bolivia; overnighted in Puno, Peru; took the delightful all-day Andean Explorer train through the Andes to Cusco; visited Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Lima; spent almost a week in Iquitos exploring the Amazon rainforest with our own guide; toured Quito, Ecuador, and spent five days in the Galápagos aboard a 100-passenger ship with excellent facilities, visiting two different islands each day.

Gustavo arranged all the transportation in South America and saw to it that we were met by a qualified guide and driver at each stop. There were no glitches whatsoever; everything went as planned. All of our day tours were private and the guides were outstanding. The hotels he selected all were truly four- or five-star quality.

The total cost for everything in Peru and Ecuador, including international airfare, was approximately $1,000 more per person than the $5,800 OAT would have charged, but the private tours, better hotels and personal attention more than made the difference a bargain.

I paid Gustavo in segments with wire transfers before the trip as he completed the planning for each phase, thus avoiding the five-percent extra charge to use a credit card.

For anyone planning to go to Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador, I highly recommend contacting Gustavo.

WILLIAM B. MASON, Jr.

Memphis, TN

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

For my grandson, Kent, and myself, in the fall of 2009 I booked June ’10 tours with Overseas Adventure Travel (the 16-night “Machu Picchu and the Galápagos” plus the optional, five-night “Amazon Rain Forest of Peru”). I purchased our air separately, planning to spend a few days in Bolivia before the tour began.

In December I was notified by OAT that they were canceling the tour. They offered a substitute date, but it conflicted with our Bolivia plans and Expedia wanted $1,000 per person to change the flights.

Fortunately, I knew a travel agent in Lima, Gustavo A. Méndez Banda, owner of Slogan Comunicación Integral Tourism Advisors Agency (Av. Arequipa 330, Of. 607, Lima 01, Peru; phone [511] 423 4988, mobile 997 458040, e-mail gustavoamb@hotmail.com), who agreed to plan our trip, May 30-June 23. Gustavo did a fantastic job making all of the detailed arrangements. We essentially did the same sights as OAT but not necessarily in the same order or for the same periods.

We visited La Paz, Lake Titicaca and other venues for five days and nights in Bolivia; overnighted in Puno, Peru; took the delightful all-day Andean Explorer train through the Andes to Cusco; visited Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Lima; spent almost a week in Iquitos exploring the Amazon rainforest with our own guide; toured Quito, Ecuador, and spent five days in the Galápagos aboard a 100-passenger ship with excellent facilities, visiting two different islands each day.

Gustavo arranged all the transportation in South America and saw to it that we were met by a qualified guide and driver at each stop. There were no glitches whatsoever; everything went as planned. All of our day tours were private and the guides were outstanding. The hotels he selected all were truly four- or five-star quality.

The total cost for everything in Peru and Ecuador, including international airfare, was approximately $1,000 more per person than the $5,800 OAT would have charged, but the private tours, better hotels and personal attention more than made the difference a bargain.

I paid Gustavo in segments with wire transfers before the trip as he completed the planning for each phase, thus avoiding the five-percent extra charge to use a credit card.

For anyone planning to go to Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador, I highly recommend contacting Gustavo.

WILLIAM B. MASON, Jr.

Memphis, TN