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Alpaca Expeditions Guests: We are committed to the safety of our staff, guests and the communities where we travel. Please see our COVID-19 Travel message for information on 2020 postponed trips and next steps..

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COVID-19 Tour Cancellation Information

For Alpaca Expeditions Guests

Dear Alpaca Expeditions Guests

We know you have a lot of questions about your Alpaca Expeditions trekking tour you have booked so far in 2020. I want to reassure you in the midst of this unprecedented, extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic that we are here to support you, and help you with how to still make your Peru adventure dream come true with a variety of flexible options. None of us could have ever imagined what is happening now throughout the world. We are working very hard to respond to the overwhelming number of phone calls, emails, Facebook messages and live chats that we are getting daily. We are committed to personally working with each of you, prioritizing your safety, the safety of our Alpaca Expeditions staff, and the safety of the communities where we travel. We greatly appreciate your patience as we navigate these uncharted waters.

  • Here are the facts as we know them today:

    • The Peru government proactively closed the country’s borders in a declaration of a state of emergency on March 16th. Domestic air travel was attempted in July, but after numbers increased as a result, all air traffic is now closed again. While there is no date set for the border to open, they have asked us to be prepared for the closure to last the duration of 2020. We are on standby for any changes to this and will share as soon as we information ourselves.
    • As of today, the Peruvian government has not offered any refunds. They continue to be flexible, allowing us to change permit dates ( Inca Trail permits, Machupicchu fees, Huaynapicchu and Machupicchu mountain tickets) & to other travelers. Permit dates have historically never been changeable, but permit fees paid on cancelled trips are now able to be moved to new permit dates when you choose your trip departures.
    • The Peru government will not reduce or eliminate tour company taxes on March trekkers, despite the fact that no tours can run. We don't know about later months at this time. For all these reasons, we are unable to offer a refund.
    • The railroad company that transports all guests to Machu Picchu who are not hiking in directly via the Inca Trail through the Sun Gate, is now letting those tickets be postponed to the new trip dates.
    • The standard cancellation policies of most airlines worldwide do not refund plane tickets as rule, ever. They do refund travelers who have purchased the premium-priced, refundable tickets. In the event of a need to cancel that is not the fault of the airline, they usually charge change fees, and only waive them in exceptional circumstances.
    • At this time, we understand that airlines are allowing travelers to cancel their tickets without any changes fees incurred when they rebook later dates, due to COVID-19. Travelers have a year to rebook the ticket, for travel at any time.
    • Airlines in the United States have so far asked the US government for a $50 billion emergency disaster bail out package.
    • Adventure company operators like Alpaca Expeditions have not asked the government for a bail out package.

    Like you as travelers, small tour companies like ours are caught in the middle of these extraordinary circumstances. This is made all the more difficult and anxiety-producing for us all because of tremendous uncertainty of how long the COVID-19 epidemic will last, and when travel restrictions will ease and where.

Here are our newly revised and flexible cancellation policies to help you continue your dream of trekking in Peru to Machu Picchu:

  • Postpone Your 2020 Tour Date If Peru Is Closed During Your Tour Departure

    • If the country reopens and trekking resumes, your trek will be going!
    • If Peru is closed during your 2020 tour date, you may reschedule anytime through 2022.
    • PLEASE NOTE: As soon as the Peru government reopens the country's borders and trekking, all Alpaca Expeditions treks will restart. You cannot postpone your trek or transfer your trek to someone else once the country is open and trekking trips restart. There are no refunds for any trips, as per our reservation policy.  
    • THIS MEANS: If you have an upcoming October 2020 trek and the country reopens, your trek will happen as scheduled. If the country stays closed for October, 2020, you will be able to postpone your trek and move it to another date for 2021, or even 2022.   There are no refunds or exchanges if you choose not to come on your trip when the country is reopened. 
    • Please note: This includes ALL Inca Trail Treks, Alternative Treks, and Tours by Train. None of these treks can be cancelled and no refunds are possible. We can only postpone your trek or tour if the country stays closed on the date of your tour or trek. Any fees you paid in advance for Inca Trail permits, Machu Picchu fees, Huayna Picchu, train tickets, or hotels will NOT refund us—they will only let us have you change your travel dates if the country is closed. 
    • If you have postponed your current 2020 trek, you have time to choose when to reschedule for later in 2020, anytime in 2021, or anytime in 2022. You will be able to wait and see when the country reopens, when flights resume, etc. 

  • Transfer Your 2020 Tour to a Friend or Loved One If Peru is Closed During Your Tour Date

    • This is a new and wonderful opportunity. Unlike plane tickets that are not transferable at all, ever, the Peru government is allowing the transfer of permits to another person.
    • Alpaca is taking it a step further, you are welcome to transfer your Peru trek to another person for any time in 2020, 2021 or 2022.
    • Give your trek to a friend or loved one and let us know their name and email and we will get all their details to transfer the booking.
    • You cannot transfer your trek to someone else once the country is open and trekking trips restart.

  • How to Help Ensure You Get Your Preferred Inca Trail Tour Dates for 2021 or 2022

    • As long as you decide by September of the previous year, we will be able to secure your preferred trek date. Pre-season bookings start in September and permits start getting released in October by the Peru government for treks in the following year.
      • PLEASE NOTE: You can decide on your Inca Trail trip dates after September, and into 2021, but you risk not getting your first choice dates.  This is because Inca Trail permits sell out quickly for the most popular dates as soon as the government releases permits in fall 2020 for the 2021 season.  This is why we are not always able to secure your first choice dates after September's pre-release reservation window.
      • Also note, we anticipate a much greater than normal level of Inca Trail permit requests for 2021 treks, because of the 2020 cancellations and postponements. That's why we encourage you to pick your dates for 2021 early if you are able to do so.
    • Note that limited permit availability applies only to the Inca Trail 4D, 5D and 7D treks. All alternative treks do not require special permits and have a lot of flexibility and availability.
    • For alternative trekkers, you can start on any day you wish, as long as we have two trekkers.
    • Again, if you don’t get your preferred Inca Trail dates, we will work with you to find the best alternative dates for your travel.
    • Take your time to figure out when works best for your schedule and let us know and your deposit and booking will be moved accordingly.

We hope that you stay safe and healthy, get outside for fresh air, and that no one that you love is impacted by this virus. It’s incredibly scary right now for us all, and we know that together we will get through this.

Let us stay home today, so we can hike together tomorrow.

 

Kind regards,
Raul Ccolque
Owner and Founder, Alpaca Expeditions.
“From Porter to Adventure Entrepreneur”

A Humble Note

Alpaca Expeditions is a small, local Peruvian tour company. We are experiencing thousands of calls about cancellations and refunds this time and want you to know that while this 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, for 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 Alpaca Expeditions tours, this is $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, or 2021, 2022, 2023 as your first option.

For others, you may like to know that if you are unable to do your tour, and you wish to donate your deposit to out-of-work porters fund or communities hit hard by the stop in tourism or the devastating landslides of February, we will also move your deposit to our new non-profit Alpaca Expeditions Foundation, and will directly send 100% of that deposit to the cause of your choice.

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