Last updated: 10:00 30 June 2020 (AEST)
We would like to reassure all of you that we will do everything we can to make your dream of traveling to Peru come true! This global pandemic is not something we could have prepared for and we are trying to adjust and adapt our policies as conditions change in Peru and around the world. As each of your situations are unique, we will work with you individually to find a solution that works best for you. We are committed to finding the best options for our guests and employees. We are aware that even if Peru is back to normal soon, other countries may still have travel restrictions in place. Our guides and porters want to get out on the trail just as much as you do! We are doing our best to support our community during this difficult time. We will update the information below as the situation develops.
The safety and wellbeing of our travelers and staff is our highest priority, therefore, effective 16 March, SAM Travel will suspend all tours until 1 September, 2020. Given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, we have updated our policy effective immediately: if you have a tour or trek booked at any time in 2020, 100% of your payments can be applied to a future trip in 2020, 2021 or 2022. Even if you cannot make a decision until a week before your trip, we can still reschedule you.
We do not need the exact dates that you plan to reschedule at this point and do hope that you are able to keep your trip to Peru! We are not expecting anybody to be able to pick new dates until flights are back to normal. When you are able to reschedule new dates, please email us. If you must postpone to 2021 or 2022, please email us this December and let us know which month you are planning on visiting Peru next year.
We have made out decisions based on the fact that tourism, as the main economic activity of Cusco, provides the majority of jobs in the region. Our company must protect our employees to allow us to start operations again as soon as possible, with the same experienced staff who have been working with us. Also, every booking incurs fees which are non-refundable. For these reasons, we are unable to offer a refund. We will be providing you the option to change your tour/trek date without paying any penalty to new dates up to December 31st, 2022.
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If, for any reason, you are unable to reschedule your trip from now through the end of 2022, you can transfer your reservation and deposit to any friend or family member. Send us their full name and email address and we will take it from there!
According to a study published in the US by the National Institutes of Health, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is weakened by altitude. We hope that this will continue to protect the Cusco region, as we have had very low numbers of cases since the pandemic started. In the future, it is likely that vacations to the mountains will be safer than vacations to the beach. You can read the study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7175867/
You can contact our support team online or over the phone. However, we are urging customers whose tours may be impacted to hold off from calling our sales teams unless your tour departs before July 30. Like most countries around the world, this is a difficult time for small businesses in Peru. We are grateful for your support through this challenging time, and encourage everyone to be kind to one another while we navigate this global crisis.
SAM Travel is a small, local Peruvian tour company. We are experiencing hundreds of messages and calls about postponing or canceling at this time and want you to know that while this pandemic is really scary for our company, we are committed to helping our guests, staff and community, and being resilient to come through this together. At this time, we are choosing not to lay off any of our regular staff, because they rely on us so they can provide for their families. We are also supporting our porters, cooks, and guides because the loss of work, even if only a month, is devastating for their families and communities.
Most of you have only paid your initial deposits for tours and treks with SAM Travel, which is around $200 per person. All guests pay the balance of their tour cost when they get to Cusco to start their tour. We ask for your patience and hope that you are able to postpone your tour and move it to a later date in 2020, 2021 or 2022.
We have received kind messages from several past and future guests of SAM Travel who have asked how you can help in this time of crisis. If you are unable to do your tour, you can donate your deposit to our fund for out-of-work porters and their communities, which are hit hard by the stop in tourism and the devastating landslides of February. We will move your deposit to our new SAM Travel Community Support Fund and will directly send 100% of that deposit to the hardworking people who have been most affected by this global pandemic and economic disaster. Former guests can send donations through PayPal.
Our porters come from the community of Chawaytiri and we will continue our support for their whole community. We took the first delivery of food and emergency supplies to the community on 7 May, 2020. Other recent projects there include book donations and painting the school. This economic crisis will directly impact them and we are working with community leaders to determine how we can best assist them at this time. You can see their children on our YouTube channel, when we brought food and toys for Christmas.
SAM Travel Peru
Machu Picchu was recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1983. UNESCO has been concerned with the increase of visitors to Machu Picchu within the last few years and worries that these crowds are causing damage. They have established new regulations for 2019 to reduce visitor traffic within this archaeological complex.
These new regulations will take effect on January 1, 2019. All visitors will now be limited to 4 hour visiting sessions. Tickets to Machu Picchu will be divided into three daily sessions: early morning (6AM – 9AM), late morning (9AM – 12PM) and early afternoon (12PM – 3PM). Within these sessions, visitors must choose a specific hour to visit. This is to regulate and reduce visitor traffic within the citadel– each hour will be limited to 600 visitors.
The new regulations will have a direct impact on: Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain (not to be confused with the citadel itself). In order to enjoy your tour of the citadel and hike the additional mountains, you will need to purchase an extra entrance ticket to the ruins extending your time allowed inside. This means that Huayna Picchu tickets will go up from $35 per person to $75 per person
All tours include the entrance to Machu Picchu but, in order, to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will need to purchase an additional Machu Picchu entrance ticket with the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu permit, which will cost a total of $75 per person. These new regulations will come into effect starting January 1, 2019 and will apply towards all tours. If you have booked Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain with us and do not want to pay the higher fee, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
These are new regulations that will take effect starting January of 2019, keep visiting our page and social sites for more information or updates on these regulations.