Bought a tour package from bestperutours.com run by Peru Tavel & Tours, LLC. Did not receive full services as planned upon and were placed in danger.
Tour to end with 3 days in Puerto Maldonado start 11/23/2015.Ended up in the middle of Indefinite strike scheduled for the area that should have been avoided.We do not believe this company acted within reasonable care or their fiduciary responsibility at the cost of our safety.On 11,22,2015 we traveled from Macchu Picchu to Cusc.Picked up at the train station by Juan,a representative of 'Contactus',Peru Travel & Tours affiliate company in Peru.We heard talk of a strike in the Madre De Dios Region where we were headed;we asked Juan;he said he had heard of nothing at all in the news.In the morning We tried to contact the consulate in Lima for information before leaving our hotel.But they were nit open.Juan picked us up at 8am. At the airport,our flight was delayed without reason.We paid a café for WIFI to try to contact Juan, no one answered.I spoke with the airline, ater being insistent,star air did confirm with us that there was a strike delaying service.I could only reach Joyce's VM.Best Peru travel in FL,were inside their business hours,I contacted someone on their online chat and shortly after received a call from Joyce.I expressed our concern and wanted to know if we should even board the plane or remain in Cusco. Joyce said that there were often demonstrations in Cusco. However,she had never heard of one in the Madre De Dios Region even when she lived in Peru.Joyce said she was leaving a doctor's appointment and would e-mail me back in half hour from her office after contacting the consulate,lodge & Star air.Shortly after I hung up, our new departure time was displayed.I emailed Joyce with our new departure time & stated again that we were uncomfortable and were not sure if we should be traveling to that area. I received an e-mail from Joyce right before boarding,The e-mail states that she spoke with the Inkaterra Conception lodge & that they would pick us up at the airport.Joyce said she spoke with the Canadian consulate in Lima and that there was a strike in Puerto Maldonado scheduled for that day 11/23/15 she wrote that the strike would only last one day and that it was safe to travel and would not affect us.Once we arrived we were greeted at the airport by staff from Inkaterra,the representative said "I have some bad news" there is a strike going on,and we will need to avoid town.We boarded a bus and following behind a police escort to the 'the butterfly house'where we picked up several other tourists that had flown in earlier and had been kept there for several hours.They seemed confused and frightened.After they had boarded,we followed the police escort down a rough logging road through the jungle,driving by several locals burning things and yelling in the streets after 2 hours. We stopped at the side of the road and were told we would be boarding boats to our lodges and that it would be 1 1/2 hours down the Madre Dios to avoid Peurto Maldonado.As opposed to the 25min it would have been from town as outlined in our itinerary.We were told that once at the lodge there would be no WIFI or telephones,again something our travel agent did not mention.Staff informed us we could only bring our carry on,and our luggage would be placed in storage. We had never been told this previously or prepared for it.I had to insist over and over that we wanted to keep our luggage with us.We went down a steep bank and were divided from the other tourists onto a boat with one other couple and two men.
We departed down the river with one man driving and and the other on the lookout with binoculars. after half hour a staff spoke to us in English.He said the protest was planned to startt 11/23/15 & was known nationally for 2 weeks.He said it was a follow-up to a earlier 2-day "peaceful" protest,to which we found out tourists had been held against their will including two Canadian women on Nov 03, 2015 as reported in an article by cbc.ca. The staff member told us that earlier that morning Puerto Maldonado had was closed.Locals were burning
tires in the roads and had placed tacks in the streets to stop traffic.He said a few nights prior a known environmentalist was executed by armed men in his home in Puerto Maldonado fueling the strike.Also documented in the media.We arrived at 5pm missing tours we had paid for.
I searched for WIFI,which I found even though we were told there didnt have any.I wrote Joyce to inform her of the situation and how displeased we were.I then wrote the Canadian consulate in Lima and heard back from an agent named Charo ********** offered to contact Joyce that evening on our behalf and CC us into the conversation via email.We went to bed and the next day we waited to hear back from Charo & Joyce.Shortly after 1 pm, I wrote the consulate,Charo confirmed they had not heard back from Joyce.I gave Charo the contact information I had for Contactus in Lima.
Charo wrote and said she was able to get in touch with ****** Navarrete from Contactus.Alvaro told Charo that Inkaterra lodge would provide security and escort us from the hotel to the airport & that Inkaterra was preparing a press release informing of all the actions they have taken and that Charo would be receiving a copy of it to which Charo said she would forward to us. We received a response from Joyce around 2pm to the email Charo had sent to her from the Consulate the previous day.She said that their representative Alvaro ********* would be in charge of reconfirming the details with Inkaterra regarding the transfer to the Airport @ 4pm I received a personal email from Joyce 24 hours after my e-mail sighting distress.Meanwhile, Inkaterra staff would not answer questions in regards to our travel arrangements or engage in any discussions around the environment in Puerto Maldonado.That night while finishing dinner at 8:00 pm a staff member told us we needed to have our bags ready for 5:30am outside our door and would leave at 6:30am the next morning.I asked if we would be taking the same route back to the airport.He said,we would be going by boat to the main port and from there would be escorted to wait for our flight,he said,the strike was not starting until 8am.We translated local news stating the regional president leading the protest,had his life threatened in his home,he called for the entire region to join him in town to oppose the govt.The federal govt was dispatching military to the area; & protesters were planning to barricade the roads and stop tourists.11/26/15 we were up at 5:30 and boarded boats to head into town,staff kept close to the shore,at one point we heard what sounded to be a gun go off.We arrived at the central pier We were then advised to board a "bus"wood-paneled box with a motor;it had wooden benches bolted down in rows with no safety belts.We saw one police truck and several men that looked just like civilians heavily armed.We preceded down a back ally relatively fast,everyone on the inside seats got hit in the face and their arms cut by trees and bushes coming inside the vehicle as we went down the narrow ally. After 1/2, we came back to the gate where we had initially departed from.We realized that ourpath had been completely blocked.Now it was after 8 am and we proceeded to drive through the central part of town athigh speed through the protest there were tons of people.Abruptly we came to a full stop;people hit the benches in front of them.We were within inches of hitting the car in front and being rear-ended by the bus behind.There was a barricade in the road in front.we started driving again, even faster than before, we proceeded to drive over everything on the road without stopping. There were barricades of tree branches, rocks, bricks,glass and things burning in the streets.We just kept going forward over it holding on as tight as we could.
I have sent a registered letter asking for a refund to the seller of travel. I received a letter from David ***** today saying it was the responsibility of the lodge not Peru Travel and will not be recieving $$.
Contact Name and Title: ***** ***** General Manag
Contact Phone: XXXXXXXXXX
Contact Email: *****@bestperutours.com
Ms. ********* Our detailed response is included attached, along with the supportive documents! I have a few more documents like a copy of our sales receipt to client, copies of flight and train tickets used by Ms Reid and Mr ********* a receipt for more payments to Contactus in Lima Peru for over US$3400 related to other services paid and used during Ms. ****'s 11 day trip to Peru, fix costs paid by our company, etc, that can not be send due to the total number of files aloud. I will gladly send them to you in another email upon request, and after getting confirmation that this reply and the 10 attachments included were received. Sincerely, ***** *****.
We highly appreciate you bringing to our attention Ms. ****'s feedback and take very seriously the comments shared in her letter. We strive to offer excellent customer services and we have been doing so for the last 15 years. We are an award winning and licensed by the State of
Florida agency (#STXXXXX) that has an average of 2000 clients per year with excellent reviews
and so far zero complaints. We are truly affected and I am emotionally concerned by Ms. ****'s
complaint because our first priorities are both our client's satisfaction and safety. Precisely for this reason, it is important that we professionally address each comment mentioned in her letter.
"Bought a tour package from bestperutours.com run by Peru Travel & Tours, LLC. Did not
receive full services as planned upon and were placed in danger."
Peru Travel and Tours, LLC had effectively sold a tour package to Ms. **** and her travel
companion, Mr. ******** for an 11-day trip to Machu Picchu and the Amazon. You can see the
total length of the tour package, the list of cities visited, activities and total trip cost in the attached files. Also, as you can see in the attached Disclaimer and Responsibility Statement we are an independent contractor that arranges packages for individual and group travel.
Responsible for making the arrangements for all accommodations & services, except to the
extent that accommodations or services cannot be supplied due to reasons beyond our control. If is necessary to modify a tour itinerary due to local conditions, Peru Travel & Tours, LLC has the right to cancel, change or substitute any of the services included with comparable alternatives without compensation. Therefore, it is undeniable that Ms. **** and her travel companion had received all of the services they requested, reviewed, approved and paid for (at a very reasonable rate). As proof of this, I have included not only copies of all the receipts we were able to obtain from our providers but also signed copies of their travel reports with great reviews. As you can see they received full services as planned.
With regards to the Amazon trip, which was the last 2 nights of Ms. ****'s 11 Day Trip to Peru,
and more specifically regarding the short transit in -and- out of Puerto Maldonado which is the
subject of the remainder of Ms. ****'s letter let me first elaborate a quick geographic and social
explanation of such tour. The Tambopata Natural reserve is located in the department of
Puerto Maldonado within the Amazon basin of the Peruvian rain forest. In order to visit one of
the many lodges located in this region (let me note here that we booked our clients in one of
the finest, safest, nicest lodges in that area (http://www.inkaterra.com/) as you can see in the
link and the reviews posted by many travelers), you must first fly to the city of Puerto
Maldonado which is full of thousands of tourist every year that visit the Tambopata and many
other natural reserves of the area. Puerto Maldonado is the transit city between the airport and the lodges located in the Tambopata Reserve, and away from P Maldonado, this city is also
known to be a mine city dedicated to the extraction, sometimes illegally, of the gold from the Madre de Dios River. This activity has been occurring in the area for no less than 50 years with the consent of the Peruvian government. On November 23rd the government issued a warning
to the illegal miners and blocked the supply of fuel and other necessary resources in an attempt
to block their illegal activities. This created a reaction within a small portion of the population
who later called for a strike. Even though the majority of Puerto Maldonado citizens are
hardworking and peace loving citizens, normally when these strikes are called for and executed
there is some turmoil and vandalism that affects the normal life of otherwise peaceful citizens.
This might explain the account of events in Puerto Maldonado described by Ms. ****. Please
note that in Peru, when a strike is called for there is always a period of negotiations to avoid it and if it persist there is a very last minute confirmation of the strike and sometimes even the
same day it begins. Puerto Maldonado was not the exception. It was a week after Ms. **** and
her travel companion arrived at Puerto Madonaldo that an official suspension of travel was
issued (On November 30th. They arrived on the 23rd-) by the "Asociación de Hospedajes
Ecoturísticos de Puerto Maldonado." http://elcomercio.pe/peru/madre-de-dios/paro-madredios-suspenden-turismo-falta-seguridad-noticia-XXXXXXX
In fact, we were not informed nor had advance knowledge of the strike by the U.S. State
Department, the Peruvian Consulate, the Lodge, the wholesaler in Peru (Contactus) or the
Peruvian airline Star Peru, as they operated all services as usual.
Kindly note that once we were made aware of the strike and we received Ms. ****'s email on
November 23rd we immediately contacted Inkaterra (their lodge in the Amazon) by phone prior
to their flight to Puerto Maldonado where they advised us that nothing had been suspended for
trips to the lodge and that they would take any needed steps to be sure they arrived to the
lodge and returned to the airport safely. Upon their arrival at Puerto Maldonado and from that
moment on the logistics of the 2 nights spent in the Amazon was the responsibility and under
the control of Inkaterra Lodge as it was stated during our correspondence with Ms. ****. The
limitations in route to the lodge and the return were the direct result of the strike and the
rough ride to the airport although stressful was in their best interest to provide safe
transportation. You can also find attached the detailed direct report issued by the lodge!
Our signed copy of our client's Disclaimer and Responsibility Statement provides that "Travel
Agency Responsibilities: Peru Travel & Tours LLC, is an independent contractor that arranges packages for individual and group travel. Responsible for making the arrangements for all accommodations & services, except to the extent that accommodations or services cannot be supplied due to reasons beyond their control. If is necessary to modify a tour itinerary due to local conditions, Peru Travel & Tours LLC has the right to cancel, change or substitute any of the services included with comparable alternatives without compensation. " Also ": By applying deposit/payment for a reservation, customer/traveler agrees to all the terms conditions describe above, and those that apply to all transportation, accommodations, services and activities, included and described on your reservation. " And "Peru Travel & Tours LLC, not liable, in any way, for personal injury or sickness, property damage, inconvenience, loss of meals, loss of time, or any other loss arising out of the act, omission, or negligence of any
direct air carrier, motor coach company, hotel, ground operator, optional side tour vendor or any person rendering services or accommodations in conjunction with the trip or any travel related services. The above mentioned parties will not be held responsible for any damage, loss or injury due to accident, mechanical breakdown, government action, weather, strike, act of God, or any other reason. Peru Travel & Tours LLC, is not
responsible for any of the customer's luggage. Peru Travel & Tours LLC reserves the right to withdraw any tour described herein at any time and to make changes and alterations as may be found necessary for safety and proper handling of said tours. "
Kindly note that all services paid for such as hotels, tours, ground transfers and transportation
as well as the domestic flights were provided as shown per our trip confirmation receipts
(please see attachments) for the entire 11 Day Trip to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the
portion for the Amazonian stay at the lodge (2 nights).
With regards to the last part of Ms. ****'s letter:
"I have sent a registered letter asking for a refund to the seller of travel. I received a letter from David ***** today saying it was the responsibility of the lodge not Peru Travel and will not be receiving $$."
We received an email with a Letter of Intent from Ms. **** dated December 16th with a deadline of December 23rd for a total refund of US$4,450 corresponding to the total amount paid by them for the entire tour package with the initial thread of filing complaints with the State of Florida, TCRC, DOT, USTOA, and to file a suit against our company with the intention to
damage our reputation and affect our ability to get credit which we consider something pretty
close to what is called extortion due to the fact that this was her first letter to us and the
amount that was being requested. Copy of such letter is also included in the documentation
submitted along with this letter. We responded in good faith via email with a letter dated
December 22nd giving a detailed explanation of our limitation of liability and regretting any
difficulties experienced during their trip, while at the same time offering a US$200 courtesy
refund. We can double such offer to a total of US$400, notwithstanding the above, and without
admitting any liability or wrongdoing, but as a courtesy and in an effort to find a satisfactory
resolution for both parties. We truly, based on the arguments expressed, expected to receive a
satisfactory response from Ms. **** accepting our offer or explaining to us, once again, her
arguments as to why she must get a total refund of US$4,450 for the 11 Day Peru Trip.
Ms. Scrivner, we truly and honestly regret the bad experience of Ms. **** while visiting the
Amazon due the events beyond our control and liability. However, after another careful review
of Ms. ****'s letter and the services provided we do not think that this merits the requested
refund of the total amount paid for their trip of US$4450. Therefore, we respectfully ask that
you also release Peru Travel and Tours, LLC of liability in this case.
Best Peru Tours- a PT&T company
Note. Included with this letter you will find:
1-Copy of signed Disclaimer and Responsibility Statement
2-Copy of the trip's itinerary along with the confirmation voucher of services
3-Copy of reports of services signed by clients, rated "Excellent"
4-Copy of Ms. ****'s letter intent to us
5-Our initial response to Ms. ****'s letter
6-Copies of receipts for services, hotels, entrances and flights provided
7-Official lodge's response (Inkaterra) and account of events during guests ****'stay
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Thank you very much. At this time, we do not accept the comments received on behalf of David *****. As Mr ***** mentioned in his remarks, Peru Travel & Tours is an award winning company with good customer reviews, they advertise a BBB A+ on their company's websites along with other credentials with organizations listed in David's letter. Which is why we choose to buy a tour with this company and are certain had everything gone as planned we would be giving them a good rating as well. Unfortunately, our trip did not go smoothly; I believe the real test to a company should be in how they deal with a critical situation, not the best case scenario. We feel that Peru Travel & Tours failed to act promptly or in our best interests.
Mr. ***** points out that in their 'Disclaimer and Responsibility Statement' it is stated that "If it is necessary to modify a tour itinerary due to local conditions, Peru Travel & Tours LLC has the right to cancel, change or substitute any of the services included with comparable alternatives." We felt prior to our trip that this statement represented the company's commitment to client safety. However, we brought the situation in the Madre De Dios Region to the attention of Peru travel several times before our commute on Nov. 23rd to Puerto Maldonado; our concerns and situation were not taken seriously nor were we relocated.
Mr. ***** attached "signed copies of their travel reports with great reviews". Is misleading, as you can see he did not attach reports for all locations or from both myself and Marijan individually, even though there was a report for every operator and hotel per person throughout the trip given to us. A few reports we did fill out with good ratings for specific tour operators we believed did a good job. For the hotels and operators, we did not have a good experience(s) with, there are no 'signed copies of travel reports with great reviews' due to us refusing to fill them out when asked. With the exception of two that we filled out only because we were being transported by the individuals requiring the reports, they asked us several times to fill out a report while watching and not at the end of service. We filled out the two reports because we felt it was necessary to ensure safe transportation.
Mr. ***** seems to downplay our commute both in and out of the region when he says "short transit in -and- out of Puerto Maldonado." The commute was in no way a short transit. First our 40-minute plane ride from Cusco was delayed by several hours the morning of November 23rd. We were at the airport for 8:00 am and did not end up boarding until 12:25 pm. Once arrived we were put on a bus and driven down a logging road for 2 hours by police escort to a place where we boarded boats on the Madre de Dios River and from there had a 1.5-hour commute to the lodge arriving after 5 pm. In our itinerary, our arrival was expected before noon in order to eat lunch and attend outings we had paid for in the rain forest, which we missed due to the commute. The day we departed from the Lodge our day started at 05:30 am to make our 12:45 pm flight amidst the strike. The commute was not in any sense a "short transit" but rather a long, terrifying experience.
In Mr. *****'s, he says, "(let me note here that we booked our clients in one of the finest, safest, nicest lodge in that area (http://www.inkaterra.com/) as you can see in the link and the reviews posted by many travelers)." Originally we were booked by his company to stay at a Lodge called EcoAmazonia, A few nights before departing on our trip I heard a poor review of the lodge and investigated further on trip advisor and through the ecoAmazonia website. Several people who had stayed at that lodge had been bitten by the owner's monkeys that were unattended and upon arrival home had to undergo rabies treatments for several months. EcoAmazonia lodge holds daily Ayahuasca (DMT) ceremonies, as advertised. http://www.ecoamazonia.com/en/ecoesotericism.php Ayawasca is an extremely illegal drug in North America and something Peru Travel failed to warn us about. We wrote Peru travel with my concerns and asked to be switched to the Inkaterra lodge for which we paid additional fees.
Mr. ***** states in his letter "In fact, we were not informed nor had advanced knowledge of the strike by the U.S. State Department, the Peruvian Consulate, the Lodge, the wholesaler in Peru (Contactus) or the Peruvian airline Star Peru, as they operated all services as usual." This is not factual; We had heard talk of the strike prior, which is why we asked our tour guide in Cusco if he was aware of anything planned in the Latin media and were told no. The morning of our flight we spoke with Star Air, who confirmed that the delayed flight was due to a strike in the region. I called Peru travel to speak with Joyce and informed her of what we had heard and what was going on with our flight. I made it very clear that we were not comfortable going to the region if there was, in fact, a strike. Joyce said she would call the embassy in Lima, star air and contact the Inkettera Lodge then e-mail us back, we received a response before our flight in it Joyce says she is aware that there is a planned strike but that it would only be lasting one day and would not affect us. I will attach this e-mail as the document.
The Lodge was well aware of the strike at that time. Mr. ***** tries to rid Peru Travel of all responsibility in stating that "time spent in the Amazon was the responsibility and under the control of Inkaterra Lodge as it was stated during our correspondence with Ms. ****." The lodge had their financial interests at heart, as did all lodges in the region, to deter tourism would result in a massive economic loss for an impoverished area, so, of course, they waited until the government made an official decision to do so days later. One Would think Peru Travel, operating out of the USA, would have taken this into account before passing off responsibility for the well-being of their clients in such a situation. Furthermore, we later found out; there was a protest less than one month before our arrival, during which tourists were taken hostage. Also, information one would assume Peru travel would have known about and considered being a responsible travel company.
Here are links to Peruvian news outlining prior events and informing of the Nov. 23rd planned strike; as well, an advanced notice of the strike posted by the Consulate in Lima on November 21st.
We paid for and sent a registered letter to the address listed with Best Peru's Licence number on the BBB website, following legal advice and sent an e-mail of the letter to both David and Joyce so all parties we're aware of our intent. Our intentions are not as David stated "to damage our reputation and affect our ability to get credit that we consider something pretty close to what is called extortion." Our full intent is to hold Peru Travel accountable for their lack of interest in client safety and in no way was meant to be extortive in nature, all actions listed in our letter are valid and true to our intentions in dealing with this matter. We feel we are owed a refund as our trip was not carried out as agreed upon. We hired Peru Travel to take the stress out of arranging a 'once in a lifetime' vacation and instead came home traumatized by the experience. Before arriving in Puerto Maldonado, we had issues arise that due to the mishandling of this company put additional strain and discomfort on our plans emotionally and financially. If we did not put our entire budget in the hands of this company in no way would we have proceeded to Puerto Maldonado with the information we already had on November 23, 2015.
Attached you will find e-mails sent from Joyce Staver the morning of 11/23/2015. If needed we can also supply additional e-mails between us, the Canadian consulate in Lima and Peru Travel Tours LLC.& affiliates.