Recommended by our guidebook we booked our Salkantay Trail trek through Big Foot Operators mostly because they were the only ones recommended by the guidebook that got back to our online requests for information. Very responsive to our initial inquiries and questions via email, we realized we were paying more than the normal rate, but expected to have a better experience.
The staff at Big Foot was extremely professional and as we signed the waivers, contracts and paid for the tour, they went over specific details of the trek with us and provided us with a written receipt outlining what was and was not included in the trek. We were sure there would be no surprises on the trek and were under the impression that Big Foot ran the trail tours themselves with their own guides and staff.
Unfortunately we were wrong, they operate only as a middle man, sending their clients off on tours by other operators. This resulted in a number of very disappointing surprises.
On the second morning we were told that boiled water for our water bottles would only be provided at breakfast, not at all meals as the details from Big Foot stated. Walking on average 8 hours a day, this was completely unacceptable to us, especially given that it was written on our documents from Big Foot. Fortunately we had our own water purifier so we were able to fend for ourselves, however this is such a huge health and safety issue at the high altitudes on the Salkantay that we could not just accept it as fact. Then came strike number two. Combined with clients from other travel agencies and tour operators we had paid almost a third more than everyone else in our group. This wouldn’t have bothered us so much if we felt that we were getting what we had paid for, but the value just wasn’t there. From the poor quality of the equipment to waiting almost two hours for lunch, and almost losing people on the trail, time and time again the tour failed to live up to our expectations of quality.
Little surprises continued to pop up and we found ourselves paying out of pocket for not included transportation to the hot springs and having to pay to put our bags on the train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes and Macchu Picchu. The issue was not the money it was that the additional costs were surprises despite having going through the details very specifically in writing with Big Foot.
We spoke with Big Foot about our quality concerns and the deviations from our contract upon our return in Cusco. Basically because they are a middle man and not a tour operator they couldn’t live up to their contract. After meeting with our group and the guide, Big Foot agreed to refund us part of our tour price, which while our wallets were happy, we were still disappointed that it had to come to a refund. Overall we had a good time on the Salkantay Trail, but despite resolving the situation, they’re unable to promise anything on the tour since they aren’t the operator and thus we cannot recommend them.