South America trip, Andrew Pettigrew (from UK) - March 3, 2014
We got back safely from our South American adventure.
Overall our trip was an amazing success so thank you for all the work you put into it. I now appreciate why there was a delay in your responses sometimes due to the number of other companies you were working with to build our trip and co-ordinate all the various activities.
We landed at Santiago to be met by Felipe our guide and Roberto our driver who both got our trip of to a great start in Santiago and Valparaiso. We managed to get inside the Santiago stock exchange and also visit the largest swimming pool in the world in Vina del Mar. Hotel Orly lived up to its designation as boutique. They also got us checked in for the next stage of our trip to make sure we would be OK. We were caught out by the meal times and portion sizes in this part of Chile, sharing portions is acceptable. Lunch is 1pm to 3 and dinner is 8pm or later.
The trail to Los Lagos in the Huerquehue National Park requires climbing 1500 feet (strenuous hike). I tried to book the ferry across Lake Piriheuico online but you need to do this more than 24 hours in advance. I also tried to phone and even with the help of the hotel receptionist we could not contact them. Since we could not book the ferry we stayed with the other option going through Curarrehue which allowed us to see the Lanin Volcano where we had a very enjoyable picnic lunch by the lake side.
San Martin hotel was comfortable but on a Saturday better not to stay near downtown. We then headed to Bariloche. There is an alternative route to Bariloche which although an unpaved road along the shore of Lago Traful is just amazing drive and needs recommending. Hotel Sol de Nahuel in Bariloche is a new hotel with a great view over the lake and a swimming pool with an infinite edge. The only downside here is parking which is limited and is down a steep drive with a sharp turn and only holds 7 or 8 cars.
It is a long drive from Bariloche to Puerto Varas which with an hour taken up going through customs there is not really enough time to do justice to the thermals at Puyehue. In Puerto Varas the Casa Kalfua hotel overall was nice hotel but some of the standard rooms are in a basement with barely a street view rather than a city view.
We had a great 4 days at Puyuhuapi Lodge including Kayaking and a walk to the highest waterfall in Chile. Flying with SKY airlines from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas was good – they provided a very nice lunch.
The drive from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales was along a road lined for miles with lupins of all colors in full bloom magnificent picture. There are only a few minutes each morning to catch the sunrise on Torres del Paine – for us that was 6am.
Our sail on Lago Argentino to the Perito Moreno was a great day out. We took the upgrade to the Uppsala Lounge which gave us magnificent views throughout the days sail including Scotch on the Rocks with real glacier ice. We enjoyed our 5 days on-board the M/V Stella Australis sailing from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia which successfully included landing at Cape Horn after passing through Glacier Alley. When we landed at Ushuaia your rep had printed off boarding passes so that made life easy.
Our day trip to the Estanzia was a wonderful day out. Natalie our guide kept us in the conversation even although the majority of the group were Spanish speaking. Not only did we get what was on our program but we also got a horse show and gaucho singing.
Then the flight from Buenos Aires to Iguasso Falls started. When we eventually arrived at Iguazu Falls we had no luggage but fortunately our guide Tony who had been waiting 7 hours was still there and immediately helped us get a claim for lost baggage processed. Tony did a great job helping us recover from a very stressful day and making sure our hotel accommodation was what we expected. The following day he was wonderful combining both the Argentina and Brazil parts so we missed nothing. Even when Maureen was not feeling well he got the elevator in reverse at the falls. Everybody is Tony’s “cousin” and that gets you special treatment.
Pickup in Rio was easy with Luiz again doing a great job setting us up for the rest of our time in Rio. We particularly enjoyed our evenings on the roof top of Hotel Atlantis. In addition to the city tour we spent 2 hours visiting the fort at Copacabana Beach this is one of the best examples I have seen of a fort with World war 1 gun emplacements. We even had a sail past by 6 ships of the Brazilian Navy.
I have attached some pictures regarding our trip that hopefully give you an idea of how successful the trip was! Andrew.
South America trip, Chris K (from USA) - February 21, 2014
You and your contacts met all of our expectations and more. It was amazing to see 2 of the Wonders of the World in the same week.
We did "venture out of the box" when we experienced dining on an Arabic menu, Guinea Pig and Boar.
You would be highly recommended to any friends traveling to South America.
Thank you for your attention to every detail.
Mexico trip, John Ng (from Singapore) - February 18, 2014
We are now at the Mexico City airport waiting to take our flight home via SFO, Hong Kong and Xiamen, China.
I like to thank you for arranging this wonderful tour of Mexico for us. Everything went on extremely smooth, on time and totally no hiccups.
Thank you again and if you ever plan to come to our part of the world, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will love to have you and show you around.
Peru trip, Marina Sokol (from Australia) - February 18, 2014
Thank you so much for the fantastic and professional services that you have organized for our group. Everything was coordinated with perfect precision. The tour guides and the transfes were very helpful and enthusiastic. Darwin was very professional, passionate and informative.
You have made our trip most memorable, enjoyable and stress free. We loved Peru thanks to you. We would live to recommend you and your services to all our friends and family in Australia and the USA.
All the best
Peru trip, Judit Bordos (from Hungary) - February 17, 2014
Thanks for your email. Everything was running so smoothly in Peru it is just unbelievable. Really, thanks for organizing this great trip for us, we had a fab time! The hotels were absolutely fine with very lovely and helpful staff everywhere. The guides who were helping with transfers or on tours were doing a great job!
I am really looking forward to go back to Peru one day, hopefully not in the too distant future to see more of the country. And I am absoluyely sure if some of my friends will want to visit Peru or other Latin American destinations you would be highly recommended!
On or way back to Chile I made a stupid beginner's mistake by forgeting about the tume difference so we missed our bus from Arica to San Pedro, but luckily managed to jump onto another bus to Calama where anyway our flight was leaving later on. So had a few exciting moments and missed out on half day in the desert, but I can blame only myself : )
Thanks once again for everything and once I get back home after Carnival in Rio I will check the pictures and maybe send you some!
Peru trip, Hean Ong (from Malaysia) - February 12, 2014
We were pleasantly surprised with the efficiency and the punctuality of the tour guides and the smoothness of the program you arranged for us. May be due to all the negative information in the websites about Peru, we were not expecting things to be so well organised. Although we went to Machu Picchu and Puno during the rainy season, we were very lucky to get no rain on our first day in Machu Picchu and the view of the surrounding mountains were clear, with just enough mist to give it a heavenly atmosphere. Puno was also sunny when we were visiting the islands and only rained heavily at night, when we were back at our hotel room.
All the hotels you arranged for us were also comfortable, with good, attentive service.
All the tour guides were quite alright, we were most impressed with the one at Machu Picchu because he gave a lot of information and were obviously very proud of the history and culture of the place.
All in all, it was a wonderful tour and a good introduction to South America. Although South America is a bit far for us (40 hours of flight including transits each way) we feel we can go again to South America to visit other places arranged by you!
Thank you very much Mauricio for making our tour a comfortable and memorable one. We most certainly contact you again if we need a South American tour.
Thanks and bye for now,
Dr. and Mrs. Ong Hean Teik
Peru trip, Tatiana Labzina (from Russia) - February 10, 2014
We are very grateful for you. The organization of our trip was excellent. The trip was amazing. We liked it very much. In Lima most of all we have remembered and were impressed by the beauty of Aliaga house.
There was a nice hotel in Paracas near the ocean. We saw wonderful animals like sea lions and penguins, birds in Ballestas Islands, beautiful views and of course the greatest mystery of Nazca Lines.
Next day we went to Cusco and it was amazing-unique architecture and landscape.
In Machu Picchu our guide told us a lot about the history, functioning of lodgings (rooms), we have visited the Incas bridge, made a lot of photos, were impressed by the beautiful nature.
Hotels in Cusco and Urubamba were wonderful! Posada del Inca Yucay with beautiful landscape and excellent cuisine is the best. Our guide in Cusco, Elmert Raul Nina Carreno, was so kind, useful and knows so much the best guide we’ve ever had.
When we returned back to Lima we spend our free time walking in the park over the ocean and visited Larco Mar.
Thank you and best regards Tatiana, Olga.
Peru trip, Mario Paventi (from Canada) - February 10, 2014
I booked a ten-day trip to various locations in Peru through Latin Discover. Mr. Mauricio Guzman, agent, provided a carefully tailored itinerary which exceeded my expectations.
The hotels were very nice and clean. The tours in Cusco and in Ollantaytambo were interesting, however Machu Picchu and my climb to the summit of Wayna Pichu was the best part. Although it did rain on occasion, well it was the raining season, I was blessed with sunny weather at every highlight of my trip.
Pick-ups were always on time, and the guides were qualified and passionate.
I met many interesting people from all over the world and I would not hesitate to do this trip again!
The only negative, has nothing to do with Latin Discover or Mr. Mauricio Guzman, but with the Peruvian system. Vendors are allowed to sell fossils and other souvenirs, however they were confiscated at the airport, because according to Peruvian officials they cannot leave the country. When traveling to Peru do not buy fossils!
South America trip, Clara Nguyen (from USA) - February 7, 2014
We enjoyed the trip tremendously and would like to thank you for putting it together for us! Here is my feedback on a couple legs of the trip:
Quito city tour: Fantastic job by the tour guide and driver. Afternoon off was good to explore the local market
Quito - Galapagos transfer for Coral II: The bus provided was rather tight and I think some passengers were beginning to feel car sick.
Coral II experience: Yacht was fantastic and the crew amazing.
Galapagos - The itinerary was overall very good, guide quality was good.
Santiago: We enjoyed the city tour.
Atacama: Hotel had great service.
All the tours were good - guides were well prepared and knowledgeable. Overall the trip was pleasant and the pick ups were good.
Thanks once again,
Costa Rica trip, Emilia (from Poland) - February 7, 2014
I am back in Poland. I enjoyed very much my 18-day vacation in CR. Traveling was easy, people were very friendly, I was able to communicate in Spanish every time when necessary. I did a lot of bird watching and I simply loved Costa Rica.
I believe that the Fiesta de los Diablitos in Rey Curré has a big potential to attract tourists from all around the world and to continue this wonderful tradition alive. I talked to two foreign tourists and they were also very impressed. The museum in Boruca is fantastic, they have an excellent choice of masks, each of them is unique. Dear Mia, thank you very much for your help in organization of this itinerary and also for helping me in finding the transportation to Rey Curré from San José.
South America trip, Alina Bardashevich (from Russia) - February 5, 2014
It was a great trip! Thanks a lot! We now have great memories and great experience.
Astrological tour was just awesome! Guides of the tours were great, lovely people (we had Salvador and Eduardo).
Bolivian part was just perfect! The guide and the driver are lovely people. Saying this I mean they are professionals of what they are doing and just nice people besides professional skills. We felt completely safe. The car was always clean, they were always right on time, we were just relaxed and enjoying. Food was great, snacks, plenty of water. Both hotels at Uyuni were really good. Los flamencos hotel was ok. I realise completely that it is in the middle of nowhere. So we cannot require and expect a lot. One night there is ok. Palacio del Sal was clean and food is nice, friendly staff. I believe, this is all that I have to say;)
If you ask me if I recommend your service to other or if I am gonna use your service again, the answer is YES:)
We want to go to Peru and Colombia (probably to combine it) and also to Costa Rica and Puerto Rico (probably to combine this two together).
Costa Rica and Puerto Rico is a plan for April/May.
I will sort the pictures soon and I will send you some to you.
Thanks again! It was a wonderful journey!
Argentina trip, John O`Donoghue (from South Africa) - February 3, 2014
I am finally back in South Africa with my feet firmly on the ground.
My three weeks was really packed with activities and most enjoyable. It was a great experience but there is so much to see and I hope that I can plan a trip to the rest of Argentina and South America at some stage.
Iguazu Falls were great and in Ushuaia there was so much to see and do. These two locations can now be ticket off my “bucket list”.
Buenos Aires of course has it’s own “ flavor” with Tango shows and the waterfront restaurants. The Spanish architecture was impressive and took me back to my trip to Spain.
Thank you for the arrangements and everything went off well. I can definitely recommend your organization to others and to any future trips I do to Latin America.
Attached are some pics of my week at the Dakar 2014.
Many thanks again,
John JM O’Donoghue
Costa Rica trip, Steve Horn (from USA) - January 30, 2014
A GREAT EXPERIENCE IN COSTA RICA
Four friends had a wonderful time. Lots of relaxation, some exciting zip lining, on the road adventures and tons of great food.
We made one wrong turn leaving our hotel in San Jose , so the trip up to Ocotal was close to 6 hours, but fun non the less.
While the roads are not what were used to, they offer lots of great scenery and a true picture of life in rural CR.
We did the river tour and saw tons of wildlife. Great croc sightings and an interesting side trip to see and learn about the sandmen in the river.
Witches Hill zip lining was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We ate high atop the hill in Playa Del Ocatal and not only had great food, but a wonderful sunset. In fact we enjoyed many fine meals, Picante, Father Roosters and Marisqueria Milanes Seafood.
I can’t say enough about the Costa Rican people, warm, charming and always incredibly helpful
We can wait to go back.
Argentina trip, Abbie Stuart-Fox (from USA) - January 29, 2014
We began planning our trip to Argentina Nov. 2012 a full year before we went. I sent an email to Latin Discover because they were very highly recommended by close friends. Mauricio responded to my email and we couldn't be happier.
Mauricio asked the right questions to find out how we like to travel and what kind of trip we would like. Based on the time of year we were going and his advice we decided to go to Buenos Aires, El Calafate, and Ushuia.
Mauricio took care of booking our internal flights, hotel bookings, and excursions understanding that we also like to have time to wander. All along the way he kept us informed of any necessary changes. The people he hooked us up with in Argentina were first rate. They could not have been more helpful.
We were very happy with the level of service we received both through Mauricio at Latin Discover and also with their representatives in Argentina.
Over that year between the first email and the trip I would be embarrassed to say how many emails I sent Mauricio with questions. Every question I asked was met with grace and warmly answered. He is a most patient man!
We also feel that Latin Discover gave us a good value for our money. It was a real blessing to have all these important things taken care of. It was so reassuring to know we would be met at the airports and would be looked after.
We want to say thank you, Mauricio. We would definitely use Latin Discover again and would highly recommend them to everyone.
Abbie-Stuart Fox and Ted Waller
Argentina trip, William Kidd (from Canada) - January 28, 2014
Yacuntinga LODGE was fabulous. THE ROOM WAS AMAZYING, KING BED AND JACUZZI. We loved the experience.
Food and service and activities were all exceptional and well organized. Wish we could have stayed longer.
We did get a bit muddy but knew this from staying in other jungle lodges. Wonderful people and get aboriginal people. GUIDES were informative and enjoyed their jobs.
Simply a truly wonderful ecolodge in Iguaza FALLS.
Thank you MAURICIO
Elaine & Bill