Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.
Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.
Responsible tourism: Peru small group budget vacation
Low Impact Transportation: This trip experience gives you the chance to try out the public buses like Lima to Pisco to admire the Beauty of the national park of Paracas, Puno to Cusco and its outstanding scenery of the Andean Plateau, overnight sleeper bus from Nasca to Arequipa and Arequipa to Cusco. Getting around as the locals do not only allows you to experience the culture on a deeper level, but the same way it is at home, using public transport is the most sustainable way to go – after walking of course! Supporting local culture and businesses: There are a multitude of opportunities to support local businesses and immerse yourself in Peruvian culture on this trip. From the colourful local markets to the bustling food stalls and cafes, the choices for eating and handicrafts are endless and the money is staying in the local economy - a vital way for tourism to make a positive impact. Activities that take you to markets, locally-owned restaurants, locals’ homes and villages are vital to the local peoples’ ability to truly benefit from tourism in Peru.
As A Tour Operator This company has operated on responsible tourism values since its inception. From an environmental perspective, our initiatives extend from our company offices to our tours. Our head office and stores are powered by a local green energy provider, we encourage cleaner transportation methods for staff, and purchase all supplies from a local green business supplier. Our office is as paperless as possible and our brochures use 100% PEFC certified sustainable paper.
We offset emissions from all corporate flights and our marine vessel, and encourage our travelers to do so by providing an online platform through Sustainable Travel International.
Tour leaders provide travelers with information about local environmental issues in their respective regions, and provide suggestions of how we can best protect the local environment and culture. To reduce the amount of waste created on tours, tour leaders also encourage travelers to use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic, cotton tote bags, reusable batteries, etc. We also include destination-specific information in our guidebooks, which are provided to each traveler including information particular to the local culture and environment and tips on how to be a responsible traveler.
Our style of trip, traveling, eating and staying with the locals, puts you right at the heart of Peruvian culture. Peru’s multi-ethnicity is evident in the mixing process since the arrival of Europeans to the country, Multi religious parties. In Lima you can appreciate the mixing cultural process on the facades of churches like La Merced and San Francisco church and its Catacombs, The Archbishop house and the presence of many well decorated balconies of colonial houses surrounding the central area of Lima, The colonial heritage in Arequipa with its Catholics festivals and baroque mestizo facades that churches holds on their entrances that surprizes any visitor walking around its buildings, Cusco the centre of the attractions around Macchu Picchu, the anniversary of Cusco Inca foundation or any catholic festival which happens around weekends. Sharing a home stay at Caccaccollo community compliments a true Andean experience. It may not be apparent that learning about and respecting other cultures is part of being a responsible traveler, but we believe that this discovery is a natural way for people of all backgrounds, nationalities, and religions to interact and learn from each other, fostering peace and understanding. An amazing experience!
Support World Heritage: On this trip there are numerous opportunities to visit important heritage sites on foot or by taking a local bus such as the famous Plaza Mayor in Lima, The Downtown area of Arequipa with its cobbled stone streets and colonial houses, catholic churches like The Cathedral, San Agustin, The Company and The Traditional district of Yanahuara, The Centre area of Cusco with its Inca streets and temples that still amazes people like Koricancha, The Cusco Cathedral and the Archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman near the city, the well known Macchu Picchu and the quality of its construction , among others. Celebrating world heritage is an important way to participate in sustainable tourism. Many world heritage sites are designated for protection so that all the world’s people can share in these fascinating and historical wonders for generations to come .
Other optional unique experiences on this trip that allow you to support the local economy and learn about Peruvian culture include: Taking a local flight to appreciate the enigmatic Nasca lines, riding the Andes region on Arequipa to get the Colca Canyon, the deepest on earth and having the chance to have a hike around the canyon area or the valley with its largest area of cultivated terraces on Peru, Local Homestay in Cusco with the women's weaving project rescuing ancient textiles techniques, hike the unique Inca trail in 4D/3N to arrive into Macchu Picchu, Cooking class in Cusco learning local recipes and how to make a real good pisco sour. Truly an authentic experience!
As A Tour Operator Supporting communities is and always has been at the heart of our tours. We provide business opportunities to local people by employing local guides and tour operators. The majority of accommodation used on our tours are small-scale, locally-owned hotels and hostels. Our tours mainly use public transportation wherever possible and are small in size to keep our impact on fragile sites and communities as minimal as possible. We monitor the sustainability of our tours through traveler evaluations in order to allow for continuous improvement. We support the local economy and business initiatives by visiting locally-owned shops, restaurants, and markets on our itineraries.
Many tours incorporate community projects as a way of supplementing community income and supporting community development projects. In 2003 we founded a non-profit organization PLANETERRA as a way for our travelers and our company to give back to the people and places we visit. We develop community projects around the world in the areas of health, education, small business development and environmental conservation. Funds are raised through traveler donations and fundraising. The company pays all administration fees which means that 100% of each individual donation goes directly to the community projects. Each year, we continue to support and develop new partnerships with more community projects and community-based tourism initiatives worldwide, in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Along the trip we have the chance to visit our project of Caccaccollo community , weaving women's project and if times allows it, the House of the children of the Sun in Cusco.