Brazil trip, Arif Herekar (from Pakistan) - July 18, 2013
My name is Professor Arif Herekar and I am a consultant neurologist in Pakistan. My love and passion is to travel the world what they call globe trotting. I had seen most major continents but had always been over whelmed by the Amazon. South America had remained untouched in my travel register.
Sitting in a distant place like Pakistan I had wondered how could I ever get a lodge in the depth of the Amazon and comfortably get around Brazil and the Iguazu fall. All of which I had to see. Dates, pick ups, stays, movements and most of all flights (domestic) and the reliability in some one sitting thousands of miles away. There are a lot of travel companies in Pakistan but Latin America is one country one dare not touch. The situation in Brazil had always been uncertain insecurity had been the order of the day for long before I had actually traveled though.
I started searching for a reliable tour operator and there were many. The internet has made communication easy and approachable.
Took me two months to browse around and gain confidence. Traveling to far and wide places is difficult if you want to travel in comfort, and convenience. We are not getting any younger and so as you catch up with age you want every thing laid down to your requirement, when you are young you can use buses, trekking, rucksacks and else. All this is however not easily possible at a later age. You may have more money, less energy, and want things done easily.
After 2 months of intense home work I found Sandra Benavides who hails from Central America to be precise Costa Rica. Believe me Sandra made things remarkably easy. I traveled after that and have absolutely no complaints everything fell into place. Bless you Sandra!
Peru trip, Carol Raynor (from Bermuda) - July 4, 2013
Thanks for arranging a terrific trip for us from Bermuda. Carol Raynor
Costa Rica trip, Robert English (from Ireland) - July 2, 2013
I just received the following email from my honeymoon clients, Caroline & Rob:
“We were thrilled with everything from start to finish on our trip. Honestly it was one of our best holidays due to the ease of it!
It was planned to a T and was great reassurance after being so tired from the wedding etc. We didn’t have to think about a thing!”
Thanks so much Mauricio for making my job so much easier. I’ll be forwarding you details to all my colleagues and friends in the trade and hopefully it will result in lots more business for you.
Costa Rica trip, Annemarie Heuls (from Austria) - June 24, 2013
Thank you for the organization of our trip. We enjoyed it very much, although a bit short, it was great. The driver extremely friendly, trustworthy and nice, the hotel excellent and the place wonderful.
South America trip, Hussain Alshamali (from Kuwaiti) - June 11, 2013
I would to thank you for your good efforts in organizing a wonderful tour within Latin America countries. At the same time my regards to the tour guide in Peru, Chile whom work very professionally in organizing the documentations on all the tours, informations about the visited sites.
Peru trip, Sarah Faraidooni (from Arab Emirates) - May 27, 2013
We had an awesome time in Peru. The flights were on time, the Andean Explorer train ride was epic and the drive along the Andean mountain was absolutely stunning.
Our guides spoke good English and thoroughly explained historical facts, monuments, places and the Peruvian way of life. We were lucky to be with a very knowledgeable guide at Machu Pichu. We were told that our guide, Darwin, wrote several books about the great wonder.
Fortunately, we did not experience altitude sickness even though we drove up 4,900 meters, and traveling from Puno, the highest point, to Cuzco made a big difference since we were acclimatized by then.
The hotels were basic with wi-fi access, but good enough to spend one to a few nights as we were on the road most of the time. I truly appreciate your advice about bringing gifts for the children and their families, it certainly put a smile on their faces!
I would definitely refer you to friends and family planning a trip to Latin America. I cannot emphasize enough how well-organized the trip arrangement was.
Peru trip, Mair Harris (from Bermuda) - May 17, 2013
This is the second time I have started an email to you.
Please excuse my tardiness in thanking you for your swift response to the altitude sickness I was experiencing in Puno. Thankfully the guide was able to recommend oxygen and electrolytes and I managed to continue as planned.
The previous day we had gone to the Floating islands and then a long trip on a slow boat to an island which name I forget right now. So we were on the water almost all day and enjoyed the Colca canyon and Arequipa.
We all had a marvelous time. Before this time the jungle experience and all the other experiences we had were so diverse that it was an outstanding time for us all. We saw so much and experienced so much that the 3 weeks seemed so much longer.
We are all well travelled people but I have to commend you on putting an excellent trip together for us and all the guides were excellent. Our guide at the Sandoval Lodge was superb as was our last guide Omar who took us from Puno right onto the plane to come back from Arepiqua.
We have stunning pictures, videos, memories and mementoes( we Bermudians do like to shop at the little markets along the way!)
The only thing we were relieved to get back to was the zero altitude in Bermuda!
Anyway much belated thanks, wanted to get something down before the weekend for you…
Peru trip, Cindy Simon (from Bermuda) - May 15, 2013
We could not ask for better service. After working in the missionary field, painting 12 dorms,and very dry in Cañete.
Did not know what to expect but Mauricio, everything went as you planned. Airlines, guides, transportation = buses and trains, hotels, attractions.
Sandoval Lodge, Casa Andina hotels and Sonesta hotels were great and the food and services at the resturants was great. It was so amazing to have all the services at airports we did not have to think (smile.) This was a trip prearranged that all was fantastic.
Will recommend Latin Discover and YOU Mauricio to others in Bermuda. This vacation was a vacation that we will never forget and we thank you, thank you soooooooooooo much for all the work, you helped us to enjoy every minute.
All have a few bug bites to take home (smile) and some had altitude sickness but was advised to take days slowly. Still had a Great Vacation
Will send you pictures later.
Belize trip, Karen Barnum (from USA) - April 22, 2013
For the most part, our Belize trip was great. The guides were top notch and went out of the way to identify birds and animals for us. Top vote to Calbert at Gaia River Lodge.
When we first arrived, there were two guys there with our names but the details were quickly straightened out and we were on our way. The lodge was very welcoming and our cabin was very nice. The food was good and the wait staff were very gracious. We substituted the horseback outing for a morning birding session with an afternoon trip to 1000 foot falls which were spectacular. The view was awesome and we got to see the Orange Breasted Falcon and a pair of White Hawks. The trip was a good blend of archaeological sites and nature. The San Ignacio Resort was fine also.
I spent that last night with the traveler's curse and no sleep. Can't say what the cause was; the restaurant we stopped at had good food, but I had a different drink than Melinda and our guide, she had a veggie plate but the guide and I had the same dinner. He of course, would be more accustomed to the local food than I.
All in all the trip was great!
Peru trip, Barbara Hoffos (from USA) - April 16, 2013
I want to thank you for the outstanding service that was afforded me on my recent trip to Peru.
My accommodations were excellent. The tour guides were very proficient in their knowledge of each area I visited. The drivers were excellent managing those mountain roads with ease.
All pickups were on time. To be met at the Lima airport was such a comfort for two women travelling alone to a city of over 9 M people and not speaking the language.
We had a unforgettable experience in the main square in Lima, when students approached our guide and asked if they could practise their English by asking us questions. Encounters like this are priceless.
Also, we had 3 long days and were very tired. However, to see ruins that are still being uncovered in the middle of the city and to contrast those while one is looking at the skyline of Lima was quite something.
Many thanks for all your excellent arrangements. I would highly recommend your company to any friends travelling to Peru.
South America trip, Bernard Robinson (from South Africa) - April 15, 2013
Bernard returned from a major tour of 8 Latin American countries that took almost 3 months. It was trip that, at his request, included much active adventuring along the way. We asked him how it went, and as his reply was telegraphic in style, we reproduce here the Q&A format. For more details see our blog, Discovering Latin America - and yourself.
Thanks again Laura, a great effort!
Q: You must have returned to South Africa pretty fit after this trip!
Not really pushed at all .. excepting maybe Cotapaxi.
Q: Your itinerary looked very exciting. But was it in practice? yes, thoroughly enjoyed!
Q: How was the Costa Rica part?
Didn't climb Rincon (de la Vieja), but would have liked to. Instead went on maybe a 5km walk with 4 other 60+ year olds. Initially disillusioned, with one lady falling several times, way too strenuous for her and extremely slow & long waits for me. Eventually walked behind her to help her when (not if) she fell. BUT .. chatted to her afterwards at lunch, an amazing lady, first travel outside the UK, first hike, courageous lady. The start of realizing that travelling is far more than the plan. If one is sensitive to the present ..the world is so much richer. On my travels in Galapagos bumped into another south african who introduced me to the book . "the Power of Now" .. Eckhart Tolle. Read this on the trip .. reflected & enriched my views of :living now".
Q: How was climbing Cotopaxi? ..
while busy with our final ascent with pick axes in deep slow, straight up quite steep slow, guide said "turn back .. down quickly .. not happy with snow .." that was exciting adrenalin! Too much snow previous week and summitting too dangerous
Q: Sierra Negra (a volcano on Isabela Island, Galapagos)?
A great hike, quite easy, great views
Q: How did you find Pumalin in Chilean Patagonia?
Was awesome, other than losing a set of clothes I left on a rock to dry & forgot and lost my underwater camera while kayaking. Beautiful area .. crisp .. great scenery. A great group, only myself and an Italian honeymoon couple, but accompanied by an awesome old boat, skipper and aide, guide & his mom .. a real odd grouping and magical moments. Equalled the kayaking .. back to the fun of present context.
Q: So what is your opinion on which were the real highlights of your trip?
(I was) asked this by many, and my answer .. all very different and no bad experience. Bolivia highlands and Uyuni salt plains in wet season, Lake Titicaca, Cusco & the Inca trail is a good 2 week follow-on experience.
Costa Rica .. touristy and pretty. Zip lining very good, as was climb of volcano & swimming in lake inside crater. The room I had at Tamarindo .. I think best acommodation ever, could have spent 5 days there.
Colombia not touristy, which I enjoyed .. amongst locals. Paragliding the canyon awesome, & great river rafting. Cycling & ATV in Mellegin super.
Ecuador .. only did the volcanoes, I really enjoyed, but I enjoy physical challanges. Galapagos ..my time was perfect, and the 3 day cruise awesome .. swam with shark and a couple of turtles.
Atacama ..super. I used spare time to cycle to dam / lagoon 20 km away .. and great to cycle in the middle of nowhere .. just a road disappearing into the horizon, and floating in the small dam of water denser that the dead sea .. enjoyed doing the road of death, not scheduled, but a must! Not a scary as one would think.
Salta .. I was alone with an engadged couple of guides, awesome views in desert areas, vinyards .. and more learnings. Initially disappointed on day 2 when the guides said I would be picked up at 9am and taken to a wine bottling company in a small village .. I wanted to do some serious cycling. The tour lady, a superb spanish person who was most interesting and passionate about life, felt very at ease and captivated after 2 minutes. Similarly, another wine farm for more wine tasting & lunch. Absolutely awesome, and even climbed a mountain after lunch while waiting for a pick-up. Later on, while cycling over many dry rivers, crossed a bridge with a good river flowing, gorge on one side. Left the bike, hiked for 10 min over mountains to find start of gorge, and swam the river. Suggested to guides that we barbeque rather than supper at restaurant. Guides happy, bought meat & veggies, beer, and a superb barbeque alongside a river. I thought it was all about cycling, it was not, leaving the plan when one is sensitive to the NOW beauty around one was better!!
The Amazon .. enjoyed, but eaten by mosquitoes! One morning laft 5am to take pics from boat of sunrise. While taking pics of the changing colours, decided I wanted to be part of the picture, not taking pictures, so slipped overboard and swam about 20m from the boat .. basking in beauty .. a level above pleasure if that can be understood.
Rio an awesome city, and I dont like cities too much. Climbing Sugarloaf .. 2 of us climbing .. 200 taking the cableway.... living differently makes one feel special.
Q: What could have been better?
nothing worthy of mention
Q: Do you often go on adventure trips like this?
Not this length .. but for example did Patagonia south a year ago. Did through another agent, also a Laura, who suggested an itinerary of what she would recommend if I spent 3 weeks there, only wanting to hike & kayak. That worked, so same approach with 'your' Laura. You know the best of the best better than I would, using local specialists. A bit of tweaking, as I like strenous activity.
Peru trip, Colin Whitehead - April 15, 2013
I have only just returned from my extended trip to the Americas and UK yesterday, and am wading through over a month of mail... Suffice to say that the Peruvian pre-cruise tour which you arranged was by far the highlight of my 5 weeks of travel! The arrangements and organisation were top notch as was the accommodation and excursions. Barb, Sheila and I are unanimous on this.
Again, a big thank you for a superlative few days in magical Peru! I have already endorsed your brand to many friends I have since shared my trip with. I cannot say enough about how satisfied I was with absolutely every aspect of the experience!
South America trip, Charlie McCallum (from Canada) - April 12, 2013
We had an absolutely wonderful trip! All the guides were great, we were always met by someone as planned and all transfers went smoothly.
The Cachalotte in the Galapagos was a lovely boat, but people do need to know the cabins are VERY small, and the boat can be very noisy at night as it moves from island to island. The guide, Juan, was fantastic, and the hikes and snorkelling were unbelievable!
The Aqua on the Amazon was a very luxurious boat, the meals were great and the staff beyond belief! The guides were very knowledgeable and we saw so much wildlife! The only drawback was because we were on a 7 day trip, with other people who came for 3 days, and then others who joined us for 4 days we ended up getting repeats on some trips and lectures...it would have been better for the company to do something different with those who were there for 7 days.
We would absolutely refer people interested in travelling to South America to your company for arranging the trip. We thank you for setting up such a fabulous trip for us.
Thanks again, Ronni & Charlie
South America trip, Ron C (from USA) - April 10, 2013
We really enjoy our trip, especially after being delayed a year and were happy to see a lot of Chile from bottom to top! We were pleased with all of our accomodations (especially liked the Orly Hotel in Santiago) and the transport always met us when needed at the scheduled times. Both boat trips, although different in level of lodging comfort, were great adventures and we were blessed with reasonably good weather for both. Overall, we were pleased with the trip and certainly appreciated your efforts in helping us put it together and working on delaying it a year. Will attach three pictures from the trip, one of us at Cape Horn, one of a glacier on the Navimag journey, and the last at the Tatio geyser field in the Atacama. Again, thanks for your efforts in helping us arrange this memorable journey. Gracias por todo.
Belize trip, Melinda Eckert (from USA) - April 10, 2013
I thought the trip to Belize was a fantastic and loved everything. The guides were all very knowledgeable, especially about birds and were very accomodating about it.
The food was good.. I liked the Gaia Resort best, and next to that I liked the Chateau Carribean for its old style, quaintness and view. I have no complaints. Great trip! As far as pictures are concerned, mine didn't turn out very well, but my travel companions did.