This was one of my favorite vacations we have taken in our 25plus years as a couple. Everything was fantastic and our representatives and all the company's travel agents were very attentive and supportive throughout the planning phase as well as while we were traveling.
The only suggestions I would have is to provide more guidance in the following areas:
1. Baggage allowance for Domestic Travel
2. Suggested tipping policies
3. Asking the guides and drivers to offer us an opportunity to exchange money in each country
4. Giving us a chance in all trips to spend some time alone or shop with Local vendors- This was done well in Buenos Aires.
5. Hotels should all provide small wash clothes without having to ask
6. When traveling with 2 adults, 3 towels should be offered instead of only 2
7. For boutique hotels, there should be robes offered
8. Drivers along with the tour guides should speak English
9. Give us suggestions for power supplies and converters in different countries - We had to purchase our own because the one we bought from America did not work in Chile.
10. Have tour guides provide Maps and information brochures at the beginning of all tours. This was not consistently done. Or we were provided maps at the end of the trip.
11. Before we travel, send us information about the Weather, including ideas of what to pack based on our tours and excertions. For example Iguazu Falls.
12. Help us make reservations for dinner in local highly rated restaurants. Or at minimum, offer us suggestions as part of the places we will be staying
13. Offer a snack when you know we have had a long travel day and may not have had a chance to eat
14. Have water available at all times during tours.
Iguazu was amazing, private wine tours in Ugo, Santigo valley was a highlight. Perez Cruz and Carzon del Sol were wonderful choices.
We found great restaurants thanks to Yelp : La Mar in BA, La Rueda in Iguazu. We should have known about these in advance so we could have made advanced reservations.
Being offered a welcome gift of wine was so special in BA.
We loved the accommodation in Argentia. By far our favorite lodging location. Our host and her staff were perfect. I would go back here in the future. All her suggestions and recommendations were really nice. The cooking class was so special and I would do that again. Everything tasted incredible. It is true about being hungry and not eating too much that day.
Our tour guide on the Trekking trip was very good. But it may have been better to have a quick lesson in Rock propelling before actually going on the hike so that one could be better prepared.
Our driver in Santigo Chile was so kind and helpful. He even helped us with our bags all the way to the check in counter. That was excellent service. Always punctual and accommodating. Spoke great English and was very knowledgeable.
Chose hotels that are more modern accommodations and where we can be sure the staff spoke English.
Make reservations to high end restaurants in advance
Be sure to exchange money at each airport and estimate in advance how much to cash per day
Bring a guide book
Know when Museums and Gardens are closed to plan properly for activities not led by a guide
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
We are glad that our client had a great time and enjoyed her vacations overall. We also appreciate her time and input in her suggestions for our future travelers regarding baggage allowance, tips etc. Since Argentina & Chile are still not charging extra for the baggage in the domestic flights we haven’t had that request on allowance.
Regarding the drivers and guides to offer exchanges opportunity - this is a good idea and some of our representatives do it directly, we normally don't recommend it too much since we had some experiences when the exchange rate was very different in Argentina and the locals tried to take the advantage so normally we recommend to check with your hotel and personal guide.
Regarding the comment about wash towels, this is more a cultural difference :) unfortunately It is NOT a common thing to offer small wash clothes at any hotel in Argentina or Chile (or other south American country) since it is not a common size of towel to use like in the USA. That why they are not offered as a “standard” item. The same happens with the robes, since majority of hotels our clients used are boutique hotels they don't always include the robes in the bathroom but they normally have them in the pool area or at the front desk upon request.
Also with the amount of towels offered, each hotel has its own policy and with the environmental policies in place, a lot of the small hotels keep it to the minimum of 1 towel per person but they are always open about providing with an additional towel if need/requested.
Our client's itinerary was pretty busy in both Santiago and Mendoza since there was a lot to fit within the time frame * they have two full day excursions* so there was not too much time left at leisure or for local shopping except that in BA. But I will be sure that we explain this better next time so if its necessary to add a night here and there we could do it.
Even though this is a good suggestion, it is not common since the drivers are drivers ONLY. The same like it would happen in the USA for transportation to the airport, the driver speaks the local language but you will need a guide in order to speak your language. This will also be much costly for the client since there is no requirement of ENGLISH SPEAKING for the drivers (and lot of them might not be educated). So we would need to hire 2 guides in order to have both speaking English. The driver's job is very simple and important for us but the main focus for trips is to provide a save and respectful driver. That is why we add an English speaking guide when needed.
I like your suggestion to offer a snack or water for the excursions specially when they are private :)
We are very happy that our client had a great vacation and trusted us for this special trip. We are glad that we were there along the way and hope to do so next time they travel to South America.
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