Would like recommendations for South America private shore excursions ?

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#1
Sherwood Park
6 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
As seniors, my wife and I are taking the Star Princess departing LA on Dec 4, 2018 and disemabrking in Buneos Aires on Jan 3. With at least 15 stops and an average ship excursion at $125, that means the two of us could spend $3750 on excursions. So I am looking for helppful recommendations for private tour companies for our stops and a description of what one sees.
Cabo San Luca, Mexico
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Callao (Lima) Peru - 2 days
Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile
San Antonio (Santiago) Chile
Port Montt, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Puertoa Madryn, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Also, we would be interested in attending a premier football (soocer) match in Buenos Aires Jan 2 or 3
#3
962 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
We used Perro Tours in Valpariso, Denis in Puerto Montt, and I know other people used a group to Volunteer point in Falklands. Also booked directly with El Pedro in Puerto Madryn


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#4
We live on a small lake in rural Nebr.
7,893 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
We've been to a lot of those places, using only private tours. Use these boards to search for the specific port to get ideas.

Off the top of my head the only tour name I remember specifically is Estancia for the Falkland Islands, which we did this January. It was literally less than half the price of the ship tour and went exactly the same place and did exactly the same thing in the same time frame. The ship may have used them or Patrick Watts, in fact.

All the tours to Volunteer Point to see the King penguins go the same route and actually travel together in caravans as the chance of a particular car getting stuck is great, and they help each other by pulling out others The cruise line uses the same people as we who booked privately.

I'd have to go back and look to see other names, but all of our excursions were good.
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#5
South Florida & Shenandoah Valley, VA
6,615 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by mathduck
As seniors, my wife and I are taking the Star Princess departing LA on Dec 4, 2018 and disemabrking in Buneos Aires on Jan 3. With at least 15 stops and an average ship excursion at $125, that means the two of us could spend $3750 on excursions. So I am looking for helppful recommendations for private tour companies for our stops and a description of what one sees.
Cabo San Luca, Mexico
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Callao (Lima) Peru - 2 days
Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile
San Antonio (Santiago) Chile
Port Montt, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Puertoa Madryn, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Also, we would be interested in attending a premier football (soocer) match in Buenos Aires Jan 2 or 3
We (DH, me, Sister, brother-in-law) did this cruise (well, LA to Rio) at the same time of the year in 2016/2017 on the Crown Princess and had many of the same stops. Almost all of our tours where private. Just look them up on the internet for descriptions of their tour offerings. Make sure you check for 'cruise ship tours'.

Puntarenas - Odyssey Tours. A very enjoyable full day tour.

Callao (Lima), Peru - we did a two day tour with Haku Tours. Absolutely fantastic and the owner (who was our tour guide) took great pride - and rightfully so - in their support for the poorer sections of the city.

Cocquimbo - We all took Princess tours to the Elqui Valley. DH and I did the Pisco Distillery and my sister and DH did the telescopes. I think their tour was much more interesting. The restaurant we all ate at for lunch was excellent with wonderful Chilean empanadas as a first course.

Punta Arenas -Solo Expedicioines. This was Christmas Day. We had a fast boat ride to Isla Magdalena to see the Magellanic penquins and lots of babies. We were scheduled to sail around Isla Marta to see the sea lions but the seas became too rough.

Ushuaia -Patagonia Adventure Explorer. We had a mid-afternoon Beagle Channel Boat Ride reserved but the winds and seas picked up and they had to cancel at the last minute. They immediately returned our fares and asked if anyone was interested in a van tour and hikes in the National Park for a cheaper fare. We really enjoyed it and the guide was excellent.

Port Stanley - Patrick Watts to Volunteer Point. We reserved 13 months in advance - he fills up. An excellent experience.

Montevideo -Urugais Tours. They weren't planning on doing tours on New Years Day morning but our roll call had enough people interested to fill one small bus and one standard size but. We were the only vehicles on the road at 9 am. Our guide was very good.

Buenos Aires - Buenos Walking Tour. Excellent American expat (Jessica) as a guide.
#6
962 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
We used Perro Tours in Valparaiso but I am sure they do San Antonio. We booked directly with El Pedral for Puerto Madryn and saw penguins. For Puerto Montt, we had a guide named Karen who we booked with a guy named Denis and I think the company was Puerto Montt Excursiones. Punta Arenas is easy to walk on your own. We used some ship tours in some city. We went on a wildlife excursion boat trip that was right at the dock in Ushuaia


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#7
Florida
2,785 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by angeleyes27
We used Perro Tours in Valparaiso but I am sure they do San Antonio. We booked directly with El Pedral for Puerto Madryn and saw penguins. For Puerto Montt, we had a guide named Karen who we booked with a guy named Denis and I think the company was Puerto Montt Excursiones. Punta Arenas is easy to walk on your own. We used some ship tours in some city. We went on a wildlife excursion boat trip that was right at the dock in Ushuaia


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You are right, Perro Tours does San Antonio tours...I talked with them about doing one.


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#8
Gainesville, TX
7,544 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Ushuaia - Pira Tours the only company that can take groups on to the penguin rookery.

Costa Rica- Oddessey Tours

Lima Cabs-had a guide & driver for the 2 of us so we could. I’ve as fast or slow as we wanted.

Falklands - Estancia Tours

La Serena - Tours by Locals
#9
24 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Originally posted by mathduck
As seniors, my wife and I are taking the Star Princess departing LA on Dec 4, 2018 and disemabrking in Buneos Aires on Jan 3. With at least 15 stops and an average ship excursion at $125, that means the two of us could spend $3750 on excursions. So I am looking for helppful recommendations for private tour companies for our stops and a description of what one sees.
Cabo San Luca, Mexico
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Callao (Lima) Peru - 2 days
Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile
San Antonio (Santiago) Chile
Port Montt, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Puertoa Madryn, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Also, we would be interested in attending a premier football (soocer) match in Buenos Aires Jan 2 or 3
For these ports we used Tour guide Ushuaia company : tourguideushuaia.net
I got a reduction for booking several ports.

Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile
San Antonio (Santiago) Chile
Port Montt, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Puertoa Madryn, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina


#10
The Beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Scenic Northern Michigan
1,541 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Like you, were are seniors too and I organized a number of tours for our Roll Call. Like others have said, you need to spend the money on Falkland Islands. We used Patrick Watts and he fills up very quickly as well as the landowner has decreased the number of people that can come onto Volunteer Point at one time. Do that first and you can reach him at [email protected] He wants you off on one of the first tenders so make sure you get in line about 30-45 minutes before they start passing out the numbers.

Punta Arenas, Chile - easy walk to downtown then take a cab to the Museum where the replicas of Magellan ship, the Beagle, etc are. We had our driver wait for us and it was about $15 pesos to go and return and wait.

Montevideo - I used Uruguias Brun Turismo and reached them through [email protected] I organized the tour and with 15 people, it came to $25 each for a large bus and a very good tour including a marketplace. I recommend them.

Buenos Aires - I did the ranch tour/luncheon that the cruise ship organized and I was very happy with it.

In Puerto Montt I organized a bus tour with Patagonia Austral. Think it was about $70

Ushuaia - I rented a boat from Patagonia Adventure and had others from our Roll Call book seats with me. Went into the harbor, close up to sea lions, seals, birds and we went to one of the islands and did a small hike. It was great.

You can save money by organizing the tours yourself - the vendors appreciate you getting them business.

Any questions, email me at [email protected]

Jane
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#11
Minnesota
2,444 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
We just returned from a Panama Canal cruise that stopped in Puntarenas. We did a tour with Gio Tours (http://www.giotours.com/8-in-1-real-...ca-highlights/) and it was one of the better tours we have done. Our guide, Jesus, was outstanding.

My tour confirmation had stated that we would be in a smaller group (<20) in a van, but the tour was a larger group (~28) in a coach bus. The bus was comfortable and the larger group didn't impact our experience.

On the tour we got to interact with white-faced capuchin monkeys, take a boat ride down a river where we saw crocodiles and many species of birds, a delicious lunch at an outdoor restaurant, and shopping. We were also able to see scarlet macaws and howler monkeys along side the road (and the driver stopped to let us take photos.)
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#12
Ontario - Canada
1,926 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Hello!

Here is a link directly to the “table of contents” for our South America cruise, click on the individual link for the port that you are interested in:
https://baskeytravels.com/2017/11/11...-america-2017/

We did all private excursions (with a focus on birding); but notably Buenos Tours in BA were fantastic for city tours, “doing it ourselves” in Punta Arenas became a highlight when a private company (Solo) pulled the rug from beneath our feet (and 30+ other cruisers), and our private driver/guide in Ushuaia was simply “brilliant”.

Heather
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#13
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
12,437 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by mathduck
As seniors, my wife and I are taking the Star Princess departing LA on Dec 4, 2018 and disemabrking in Buneos Aires on Jan 3. With at least 15 stops and an average ship excursion at $125, that means the two of us could spend $3750 on excursions. So I am looking for helppful recommendations for private tour companies for our stops and a description of what one sees.
Cabo San Luca, Mexico
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Callao (Lima) Peru - 2 days
Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile
San Antonio (Santiago) Chile
Port Montt, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Puertoa Madryn, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Also, we would be interested in attending a premier football (soocer) match in Buenos Aires Jan 2 or 3
Be careful on the soccer match, if it is being held at the stadium close to the La Boca area. We decided to try to walk from La Boca back toward the downtown. BAD idea, we passed a soccer stadium and were immediately in a VERY bad area. Fortunately, after a couple more blocks, we found a taxi. Later we asked the owner of our B&B about the area and she said, yes that is a bad area, you shouldn't go there.
We have done two cruises on Celebrity Infinity that include ports you list.
Here are my detailed reviews of both cruises, with tours that I recommend.

South America
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=248878


http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=94024


#14
Ontario - Canada
1,926 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Originally posted by 4774Papa
Be careful on the soccer match, if it is being held at the stadium close to the La Boca area. We decided to try to walk from La Boca back toward the downtown. BAD idea, we passed a soccer stadium and were immediately in a VERY bad area. Fortunately, after a couple more blocks, we found a taxi. Later we asked the owner of our B&B about the area and she said, yes that is a bad area, you shouldn't go there.
This is where a guide is handy - we started at the Football Stadium and walked to downtown. We felt 100% safe with our guide. I wouldn’t have done it alone, but with Richard - we experienced the unbeaten path with confidence.

With kind regards, Heather
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#15
Sherwood Park
6 Posts
Joined Apr 2012

Thank you,

I enjoyed reading your links - very informative
I could imagine telling stories over a glass or two of merlot

Originally posted by 4774Papa
Be careful on the soccer match, if it is being held at the stadium close to the La Boca area. We decided to try to walk from La Boca back toward the downtown. BAD idea, we passed a soccer stadium and were immediately in a VERY bad area. Fortunately, after a couple more blocks, we found a taxi. Later we asked the owner of our B&B about the area and she said, yes that is a bad area, you shouldn't go there.
We have done two cruises on Celebrity Infinity that include ports you list.
Here are my detailed reviews of both cruises, with tours that I recommend.

South America
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=248878


http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=94024


#16
Sherwood Park
6 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Wow
How does one chose the appropriate “Latin America” shore excursion?
The first half of the cruise, the ship spends a lot of time in Peru. Therefore, it should be a focus. The second half of the trip four of the places could involve penguins and their summer birthing grounds. So it should also be a focus

Cabo San Lucas is our first stop. We have been ziplining and my wife has ATV’d on a previous trip, so those choices have been removed. I would have to flip a coin between Salsa & Salsa or City Highlights, but I have seen glass blowing before.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica is our second stop. Our son spent one week backpacking in Costa Rica and we have less than 11 hours with lots of good selections. We have been to a coffee plantation, been ziplining, taken train rides & trams, and we feed hummingbirds at our house in AZ. Through Odyssey Tours, Alvaro Ramirez quoted a price of $75 per person (group rates after 8 people) for the 10 in 1 Highlights of CR’s Pacific Coast Tour. I haven’t booked yet.

Callao, Peru is our third stop. It is for two days. Lima has two of the top 10 restaurants in the world. Therefore it must be a gastronomic heaven. Machu Picchu requires it’s own special tour and time is limited. Thus going to the Pachacamac ruins will give a taste of ancient civilizations. Haku Tours offers reasonable choices that interest us. They are Peruvian cooking lessons and tasting ($75) in the morning and the Local Wine Tour ($35) in the afternoon and the next day Pachacamac Pyramid sanctuary walking tour ($50).

Pisco, Peru is our fourth stop. Although the national brandy tour interests us, visiting the Islas Ballestas, Peru’s Galapagos islands gets our nod. Las Adventures offers an island tour from San Martin port for $69.30. But the best package is $55 from Rocio of Bahia Tours which also includes Paracas National Park.

La Serena, Chile (Coquimbo) is our fifth stop. Many options exist in the valley of Elqui. Carmen Flores Madariaga from Tourism Cochiguaz suggests the $68 tour. They have group rates. Her email is [email protected] It includes the city tour of Vicuna, a Pisco distillery tour and a trip to Vina Falernia.

San Antonio, Chile, ends the first half of the cruise. It is the port for Santiago. Take a 3 hour village tour from Princess ($64.95) or visit great wineries. Princess offers a one vineyard package for $119.95 or Jose Salgado from trip sips offers a gourmet biodinamic and organic package for $177.

Puerto Montt, Chile is the first stop in Patagonia. Although the private tour to Chiloe Island and seeing the penguins of Punhuil for $123.60 through GV tours is appealing, the sightseeing tour of Puerto Montt through Space Stars Tours for $36.28 looks good. Another choice is Ruta Chile – Whole Saler Tour Operator offer a Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas tour for $52.41. This tour would allow us to power shop on Angelmo Avenue and Feria Artesanal.

Punta Arenas, Chile is the second stop in Patagonia. According to Frommer, “go to the penguin colony”. Princess excursion of going to Magdalena Island Penguin Reserve ($199.95) fits this best. Seeing the Fernando Magellan monument and going on a city tour will have to wait until next time.

Ushuaia, Argentina, is the third stop in Patagonia. The “end of the world” in Tierra Del Fuego. The one hour double decker bus tour by Tangol for $60 or the guided city tour for $68.54, I find appealing. However the boating to see penguins from one of the largest colonies in the world at Martillo Island for $142.35 by Tangol may be worth it. I decide to use Tangol Tours to get a package deal (Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn) with 10% off. Our contact consultant is Maria Fernanda Rincon Figueroa (email [email protected] )

Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands is the fourth stop. Almost all the tours of the Port Stanley involves penguins except those doing the city tour. Patrick Watts tour ($165) to Volunteer Point is supposed to be top notch. One can also look on the Falkland Island Tourism website for other guides.

Puerto Madryn is the “last stop” in Patagonia. Kayaking with the Sea Lions
would have been exhilarating, having a recent hip replacement means no can do. Going to see penguins at Punta Tombo Reserve is enticing. However, Tangol’s city tour and Sea Lions at Punta Loma for $67.19 will give us a quick snapshot of Puerto Madryn.

Montevideo, Uruguay would be a wonderful place to visit except on Jan1 as all museums and shops are closed. The locals according to a trip advisor guide spent that day with their families. We will book Princess City Drive for $59.95.

Buenos Aires, Argentina is known to be the home of the tango and our last cruise stop. Although the private tours by Liz ([email protected])would be phenomenal as she is a past tango dancer, we will be taking Princess tours. Jan 2 we will do the Tango Show and City Drive ($159.95) and Jan 3 Tigre Delta and River Cruise ($59.95).
#17
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
12,437 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by mathduck
As seniors, my wife and I are taking the Star Princess departing LA on Dec 4, 2018 and disemabrking in Buneos Aires on Jan 3. With at least 15 stops and an average ship excursion at $125, that means the two of us could spend $3750 on excursions. So I am looking for helppful recommendations for private tour companies for our stops and a description of what one sees.
Cabo San Luca, Mexico
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Callao (Lima) Peru - 2 days
Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile
San Antonio (Santiago) Chile
Port Montt, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Puertoa Madryn, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Also, we would be interested in attending a premier football (soocer) match in Buenos Aires Jan 2 or 3
We have been on two cruises in South America, one Around the Horn and the other from Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to Valpo, Chile and are going on another from Chile to San Diego in March.

We used Monica's tours in Lima and for most of the Around the Horn ports we used SouthExcursions. Both gave us great tours. Also, we used South Excursions for transfers as well.

Here are my two reviews for these cruises.

South America
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...EntryID=248878


http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=94024