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February 25, 2004 -- Want to pop down for a peek at Peru? It's heading towards fall there, and two tour companies are offering great rates to Lima, Cusco and the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu.

The best bang for your buck comes from Traveland.com (www.traveland.com), which is offering a six-night Peru package for prices starting at only $789 plus tax, double occupancy. Single travelers will be glad to see that the dreaded "single supplement" here is mild when compared to most -- only $100. Prices from various US gateways include:

  • Miami: $789
  • New York, Tampa or Atlanta: $989
  • Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas, Oklahoma, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver or Salt Lake City: $1,029
  • Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland or Raleigh: $1,189

Given the very low prices of domestic flights recently, you could probably get lower prices from some cities by booking your tour from Miami. For instance, a $240 difference for Los Angeles is pretty good, but Chicago-Miami roundtrips regularly go for around $200, a $200 savings over Traveland's add-on price.

Traveland's tours depart Miami roughly every other week from April 22 through October 20. The package includes flights to Lima, flights from Lima to Cusco, and a train from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

You'll spend one night at the Hotel Regency in Lima, three nights at the Prisma Hotel in Cusco, and two nights at the Hotel Presidente near Machu Picchu. The package also includes a slew of extras: tours of Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, a show, two lunches, one dinner, six breakfasts and "all ground transfers."

It's only fair to alert our readers that this is the first time we've reported on Traveland, so we've yet to receive any reader's feedback concerning personal experience dealing with this company. That being said, they are affiliated with the International Air Transport Association (www.iata.org) and have a clean record with the Better Business Bureau, both good signs. Plus, this is a very good deal, the best price we could find. To see more details, go to www.traveland.com/vacation_details.php?id=26. You can call Traveland at 800/321-6336.

Marnella Tours is always a strong competitor in South American travel, and their tour to Machu Picchu is no exception. They charge a little less for a shorter trip: five nights for $779, jumping to $929 if you're single.

Their package also doesn't have quite as many frills as Traveland's. It leaves out the night in Lima; instead, you have four nights in Cusco at the Dorado Intercontinental and one night near Machu Picchu at the pretty basic Machu Picchu Inn. Tours of Cusco and Machu Picchu and all breakfasts are included. Flights are on Peru's airline, Aerocontinente. Still, though, this is a great price, especially for couples. If you're interested, go to

For more information, visit www.marnellatours.com or call 866/993-0033.

Have you been to Peru? Give us your trip report on our Peru Message Boards. We love to learn about where you stayed, what you ate and what you saw -- of course, we want to know prices, too.