I wish I had good things to say about this travel company, but I don't. I do not think they are worthy of being on the Zicasso site. I just got back from a trip that cost over $50,000 with my family, and we all agree this was the worst executed trip we have ever been on. I feel let down and upset quite frankly. Soooo many things went wrong on an almost daily basis that I couldn't relax, bracing for what next was going to go wrong next.
We started in Buenos Aires. While the hotel we stayed at was darling the location (over 1 mile away) from the main area was disappointing. Not what I would recommend to a family that said they wanted to be in the heart of Palermo (We have stayed in the Ricoletta area 3 times prior) but wanted a fun, hip spot to stay with our boys (ages 21 and 19).
The last night our travel agent with our travel company stated in writing numerous times that the last recommendation did not take reservations. We had to be picked up at 4:00am the next morning so arrived to dinner at 8:00 pm to be told that they only take reservations and would never have told our travel agent that they didnt. We had to wait 2 hours for a table.
The next morning we were waiting for our driver at 4:00am... at 4:20 I panicked and called our agent asking where our driver was?? Supposedly there was a mix up and he finally arrived at 4:45am... we almost missed our flight and had to run throughout the airport .... not the way to start our day. Stressful and chaotic.
We were picked up at the airport by a tour guide to go hiking on a glacier. Upon arriving at the National Park our tourguide pulled the bus over and said we had to pay $500.00 pesos each to enter the park. I explained that we had paid for everything in advance and did not have much money (pesos) on us... could we pay with a credit card as we had not been told we needed money to enter. We were told no... they did not take credit card and she didnt have proof that we had paid so we needed to pay or could not enter the park. We scraped together the money to enter the park and were finally allowed in. My husband at this point asked what the hell kind of travel agency had I used???
Prior to leaving on the trip we booked 2 nights at a refugio at the estancia we were staying at. A week prior our agent told me that they couldnt pick us up from one of our outings as planned and so we would only have one night at the refugio. Upon getting there we discovered that that was NOT true. They had done a last minute booking for a family of 6 from Australia and bumped our second night. Therefore we only got one night at the refugio.
We did a tour to a glacier 45 minute hike to zodiac boats on a lake.... we get in the boats (there were 2) and one would not start. over an hour later they decided to take one boat across and go back for the other people. Upon crossing the wind picked up and we literally had buckets of glacier water pounding us. We got soaked through all of our layers of clothing. it was awful. They said this did not happen often. I told them that they should provide large ponchos in the future for their clients as an extra layer. We then had to wait almost an hour for them to go pick up the other group. This ended up adding almost 3 hours to this tour. Wet,and cold. After this day both my husband and I started to get sick.
There is so much that went wrong I am just going to summarize.
We fly to Bariloche and are met by the rental guy of some low end off brand rental car outfit. Our rental car has 3 rock cracks on the winsheild, over 100,000 miles on the car and is a beater. As we drive the insulation from the window falls down every 5 minutes and I need to puch it back in place. When given the car I ask the rental guy to please set up the GPS fo us (since I assume he knows how to use it) he sets the GPS to the coordinates that our agent gave us and tells us to follow it and it will take us straight to our hotel. Well 1 1/2 hour in, I realize we should be there. We pull over to ask a tour bus that is pulled off the road for assistance and she tells us that we are in the completely wrong direction. It took us 1 1/2 hour to get to our hotel. What kind of rental car agency does this company use??? Awful!!! Terrible car, terrible service.
We get to our hotel, and our hotel room is freezing (and it is raining outside). This is at 7:00pm on Christmas Day. I ask for the heat to be put on..... nothing. I ask again around 8:30.... nothing. We have dinner, go up to our room and ask again.... around 10;00pm. Finally the owner shows up and apologized and said the breaker and swithed and he reset it. We went to bed on Christmas in long johns, scarves and shivering. Awful!
We left for San Martin (3 hour drive) our agent recommnded a hotel for lunch... we arrive and they are closed. Just one more thing not planned well.
We arrive in Uruguay and are met by another off brand car rental guy. The car is so little we can barely fi our luggage. My boys had to squish in the back with a large suitcase between them and backpacks on their lap for a 2 hour drive. Who would do this to a family of 4?? We each had one large peice of luggage for the trip plus a backpack..... isnt that normal??? Shouldn't a travel agency know how to plan this?? We start driving, it is dark outside....about 20 minutes into the drive a light comes on..... we are on complete empty. Thank goodness we came across one last gas station (the line took us 30 minutes) to get gas. What type of car rental agency gives a car on complete empty??? And at night??? This company uses cheap off brands and lets their cleints pay the consquences. I can not say how awful their overall treatment was throughout the trip. I feel like I went on a bargain discount trip and the trip cost over $50,000!!!!!
This company should be banned from zicasso and I warn anyone to not trust them in the future. So disappointed!!!
Horseback riding out to the Refugio and staying at the refugio was an absolute highlight. Trecking on the glacier with "clamp ons" was amazing. My boys had an amazing time fly fishing with the guide near San Martin. Wine tasting in Uruguay was very special.
Yes, I would use a better travel agency. Our agent was responsive and on top of everything while planning the trip but the actual sub contractors that this company uses were sub par and had a huge negative impact on our trip. I understand things do not always go smoothly while traveling but literally every travel day turned into a nighmare.
TRAVEL COMPANY'S COMMENTS
First of all, I would like to thank you for your review as it made us take a hard look at the services we used for your trip and reevaluate these working relationships. I appreciate your feedback regarding both the highlights and the negative experiences.
We are so very sorry for the inconveniences you experienced along the way, and take full responsibility for some while others could unfortunately not be helped. We also hope that the reimbursement of our commission helped to show you that we do not take our mistakes lightly and will not be repeating them in the future.
To address your points:
Buenos AiresThis is our favorite hotel in the Palermo area, especially when it comes to young couples and family's with children. I'm sorry you felt that it was located away from the very heart of Palermo, however, I wouldn't recommend staying in the exact center due to the lack of quality hotels and noise from the bars and restaurants at night. We will make sure to let guests know the hotel is a few blocks from the center from now on. We sincerely apologize about the restaurant reservation and pick-up time, both of which our Operations team takes full responsibility for. You were reimbursed completely for the transfer.
El Calafate I'm afraid our suppliers failed to communicate your pre-paid entry to the park between themselves, but I was happy to know that they returned the money to you before you left.
As for your time at the estancia, it holds that they changed to one night in the refugio once you had confirmed you would like to return to the estancia to complete the Glacier Sur activity. At this point, they moved your original guide to the Australian family. The boat breaking on the Glacier Sur excursion itself could not have been helped, though we have told them to include waterproof ponchos for clients in the future to ensure this does not happen again.
Bariloche/San Martin We sincerely apologize about the state of your car and the inefficiency of the person who set up your GPS. I had also included written driving directions in your itinerary that I had hoped would be of service to help guide you to your destination. Still, as a result of your experience here we are now working with a new supplier and will be sure that our clients receive cars in excellent condition moving forward.
In terms of your heating at the hotel, the owner did his very best to repair your heater and I'm happy that it was turned on, albeit later than we all would have preferred.
Your lunch on the way to San Martin was not planned, and rather you had asked me that afternoon for a recommendation. I recommended Las Balsas, Doña Quela, and Dublin, but on this day it turns out that the Las Balsas restaurant was closed as the owner's family was visiting (I followed up with them). I apologize for this inconvenience, however, this was not something pre-planned and Las Balsas was sure to recommend another delicious second option afterward.
Uruguay The rental car here should have come with gas, and I am very sorry that it did not as this has never happened to our clients before. As for its size, I did run a larger car option by you a few weeks before travel, however, you elected the smaller car based on cost. At that time, details as to it's size had been passed on to you.
Again, we are extremely sorry that there were so many mishaps during your travels. I was happy to be in contact with you throughout your trip and am glad that I could offer my support throughout. We are reviewing all our relationships with our service providers for the future and will be sure a similar experience is never repeated for Zicasso clients.
Each review is written by a verified traveler who was matched by Zicasso to the reviewed agency. Traveler must have purchased and traveled.
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