I found this travel agency completely by accident as I was searching for a reputable company to help organize a 3 week trip to several destinations in South America for my husband and myself. Not only were they prompt in answering my internet inquiry, but they immediately listened to and responded to what I wanted in terms of destinations, hotels, price, guided vs free time, activity level, etc. Our agent set up a phone call during which we explained our travel preferences and he set up an itinerary that ended up being perfect. When we gave him input or suggestions, he added it in or told us why he recommended a different direction. The amount of time in each place worked out to be just right, the amount of free time was great and we were always dropped off at the end of a half day tour at a location where we were close to where we wanted to walk around or see another sight on our own. While I now know that there are certain standard routes that people take, I feel that our travel agency developed the itinerary that best suited us because they listened.
We fell in love with Buenos Aires and with Torres del Paine. Much of the pleasure in learning about a place has to do with the guides selected in each place, and we had outstanding local guides each time. Our guide in Buenos Aires picked up on our interests and made a point of helping us do things she knew we would like (getting opera tickets at the Teatro Colon, riding the commuter train, exploring the Recoleta cemetery) that added to our trip. Our agent was the one who urged us to go to Torres del Paine, and we will always have such phenomenal memories of our excursions while staying at the "resort." Our visit to Mendoza is another example of us saying "We want to go," but putting ourselves in our agent's hands to make the right choice for our style of travel. We were so pleased!
It takes a lot of thinking to come up with anything. We had heard great reports about Valparaiso, Chile and so asked to add an extra day and night there beyond the day trip that our tour company had booked. We did a lot of walking and exploring in Valparaiso, so it wasn't a bad experience, but it isn't an attractive city and took some effort to get into the vibe. But that was our request, and our travel company made it work. In El Calafate, I wish I had gone to the glacier museum.
I sound like many Americans, but the tipping issue is confusing. Our travel agency gave us a guide, but it didn't always seem to work. How much is appropriate when a driver and guide pick you up at the airport and drive you to the hotel without really providing guide services, just a transfer. For the driver, how much if they pick you up, drop you off for 4 hours, then pick up again vs making several stops during the 4 hours. I know it's hard to be specific, but working in multiple currencies for multiple activities was difficult - I wish I could pay more and have tips included.
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