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AryMay

A report on what we did at our South American ports - the condensed version

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12 hours ago, suzyed said:

Thanks for sharing all your great experiences and those that might not have been so great....LOL!
Could you each tell us what time of year your cruises were, please?

I'm wondering if I am the only one feeling confused  and out of my depth about this itinerary since this sailing is so port intensive and we have no experience with any of them?  I know for sure Penguins are in our future and we have booked with Patrick Watts for Volunteer Point but beyond that....yikes!

 

 

We also did this cruise on December 17 , 2018 finishing in Buenos Aries January 8, 2019 . This may give you some ideas and photos to help you decide what to on your cruise . 

 

We also went to El Chaltan

 

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The Perito Moreno Glacier

 

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And Torres del Paine

 

 

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You also may see Penguins , Humpback and Orca Whales .

 

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And you will not forget the icebergs , glaciers and Antarctica

 

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You can see more including videos here at our Cruise Critic Travelogue :

 

 

 


 

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Mary,

 

THANK YOU so much for the card for about Frederico.  We will be doing this trip in January and have been in contact with them to arrange wheelchair transportation.  We travel with our 23 year old daughter who is in a wheelchair full time.  We would have never known about this option had you not taken the time to post about it and then have the foresight to include a copy of his business card.

With deepest gratitude,

Robyn

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We are doing SA next Feb and was just wandering what you did for currency.  Did you use local currency or were US$ accepted everywhere. I noticed you were able to use CC sometimes.  Are CC widely accepted???? 

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11 hours ago, COTINGEY said:

Mary,

 

THANK YOU so much for the card for about Frederico.  We will be doing this trip in January and have been in contact with them to arrange wheelchair transportation.  We travel with our 23 year old daughter who is in a wheelchair full time.  We would have never known about this option had you not taken the time to post about it and then have the foresight to include a copy of his business card.

With deepest gratitude,

Robyn

 

I'm so glad you were able to make arrangements and hopefully Frederico will be your guide. He is such a nice guy and a great guide as well!

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11 hours ago, newport dave said:

We are doing SA next Feb and was just wandering what you did for currency.  Did you use local currency or were US$ accepted everywhere. I noticed you were able to use CC sometimes.  Are CC widely accepted???? 

 

Before our trip I opened a Charles Schwab online checking account. The debit card associated with the account refunds any and all ATM fees so we could use the card anywhere without worrying about what the fees would be. 

 

When we landed in Santiago, we withdrew Chilean pesos from an ATM at the airport. We also got a little extra cash at our hotel but I don't think we got a great exchange rate so probably should have used an ATM again.

 

Most of the time we did use a credit card (Visa) that has no foreign transaction fees. A couple of our tours accepted US cash, but required that we pay with crisp, new bills. 

 

We hadn't planned on getting money in Argentina, but then our guide at Iguazu Falls insisted we had to pay the entrance fee into the falls with cash (which wasn't true.) We used an ATM at a bank in the town of Puerto Iguazu and only withdrew enough cash to pay to get into the falls...equivalent to less than $40 USD but the ATM fee was over $10 USD. With the Charles Schwab card the fees were credited back to our account.

 

I had put about $1500 in the Charles Schwab account prior to the trip but since coming home I have transferred most of it back out of the account. (There is no minimum balance needed.) When it is time for our next trip I will add money back into the account once again. 

 

I tried to include more details about costs, etc. in my blog if you are interested. The link is in my signature below.

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AryMay - you are a wealth of information and we so liked your blog!

We are doing a Santiago to Buenos Aires cruise in Dec/Jan this year and were thinking of going to Iguazu Falls at the end of the cruise.  Reading your blog made us really want to do this, even if it was hot!   What a spectacular sight!   Question for you though - did you have to get any vaccinations for Iguazu (or Argentina) ahead of time?  There seems to be a number of sites that recommend especially Yellow Fever vaccine.   Did you have many issues with mosquitos?   Did you ever find out when buying tickets to the Park at that ticket counter if you could have used a credit card?   We also have the Schwab card so not that big an issue I suppose, except for finding an ATM.  Thank you again for all the insights!

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1 hour ago, CCWineLover said:

Question for you though - did you have to get any vaccinations for Iguazu (or Argentina) ahead of time?  There seems to be a number of sites that recommend especially Yellow Fever vaccine.   Did you have many issues with mosquitos?   Did you ever find out when buying tickets to the Park at that ticket counter if you could have used a credit card? 

 

Yes...we did get some vaccines for our trip after visiting a travel clinic. The Yellow Fever vaccine was the one that we debated about most but we went ahead and got it. Also got Hepatitis A (2 shot series) and typhoid (4 pills containing the live virus good for 5 years.) The shot form of the typhoid vaccine is only good for 2 years. Here is a link to my blog post where I discussed this:  The Painful Side of Traveling

 

In hindsight, I don't think we would have needed the Yellow Fever vaccine. In the couple of days we were in the warning area I didn't see a single mosquito. But having the vaccine gave me some piece of mind knowing that the disease can be fatal. Also, my husband is going to Peru next month on a missions trip and would have needed the vaccines for that trip anyway. 

 

Credit cards ARE accepted for entrance into Iguazu Falls. I knew it said so on the park website, but the tour guide insisted we needed cash so we complied. After returning home, I emailed 01Argentina (who we booked with) and explained what happened and got the following reply:

 

Well actually the last season the credit cards at the entrance of the National Park were not working properly and some passengers arrived to the Park without cash, the CC system was out of order and it was too complicated for the tour guide solved those troubles. Honestly this is the first season that Visa and Master are accepted (not Amex yet). We still need to evaluate with our supplier if it was successful this year the CC system since it is something very new.

 

Here is a photo I took at the entrance and you can see there are Visa, Mastercard AND AMEX logos in the window so maybe American Express IS accepted now? 

 

image.thumb.png.aefbc70939fc23000905c6e4914d82a4.png

 

Have fun planning your trip and please let me know if there are any other questions I can answer!

 

 

Edited by AryMay

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On 5/20/2019 at 9:15 PM, AryMay said:

I'm so glad you were able to make arrangements and hopefully Frederico will be your guide. He is such a nice guy and a great guide as well!

How did you pay for this tour?  With this being a new start up company, Federico and Giselle have asked that I "deposit funds into a bank account" so that they can confirm the tour.  They gave me no other information on the bank account.  I'm guessing a wire transfer? They are only asking $100 to confirm the tour for the five of us, which is fair, but I'm unsure what they want.  I've asked them to clarify, but hoping for your insight.   Your thoughts, please.

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14 minutes ago, COTINGEY said:

How did you pay for this tour?  With this being a new start up company, Federico and Giselle have asked that I "deposit funds into a bank account" so that they can confirm the tour.  They gave me no other information on the bank account.  I'm guessing a wire transfer? They are only asking $100 to confirm the tour for the five of us, which is fair, but I'm unsure what they want.  I've asked them to clarify, but hoping for your insight.   Your thoughts, please.

 

Our tour was originally booked with another tour guide (Ruben M.) and he arranged for Frederico to fill in for him when he had car trouble. Ruben had requested we pay him in cash at the end of the tour and so instead we paid Frederico the same amount that we would have paid Ruben (which is what we agreed on before we started the tour).

 

Hopefully you will hear back from Frederico with more details. 

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19 hours ago, COTINGEY said:

How did you pay for this tour?  With this being a new start up company, Federico and Giselle have asked that I "deposit funds into a bank account" so that they can confirm the tour.  They gave me no other information on the bank account.  I'm guessing a wire transfer? They are only asking $100 to confirm the tour for the five of us, which is fair, but I'm unsure what they want.  I've asked them to clarify, but hoping for your insight.   Your thoughts, please.

 

We are booked with Frederico and Giselle as well, for Dec 2019.  About the deposit, she wrote: "You can make the deposit before boarding the ship, I´ll send the information the first days of December. If there´s a problem with ship and it cannot dock, we´ll send you the money back.".  I assume she will set up a PayPal account by that time.  That's how I've paid for deposits with most small, independent guides.

Edited by Kate-AHF

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Meant to add.... wire transfer will not be an option for me.  Way too expensive.

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Thanks all for the tips. Particularly on walkability from the Port, some of our favorite ports are those we can jump on a public bus/ and or do some walking /hiking.  Sounds like we should be good in Puerto Chacabuco and Montevideo. We are considering booking a 4 hour hike in Punta Arenas so nice to know walking around the city is available for the rest of the day.

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Not sure why you were told Typhoid shot is good for 2 years as we in Canada have a 10 year shot and it has been that way for a long time.

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On 3/2/2019 at 1:11 PM, AryMay said:

Iguazu Falls – We added three nights to our trip post-cruise and booked a package tour to Iguazu Falls through 01Argentina. The cost was $620/person and included all of the transfers, 3 nights for hotels, and a guide at the falls.

 

Here is how it worked out…driver picked us up at the ship when we disembarked, waited while we dropped off our luggage at hotel in Buenos Aires and then took us to the smaller airport (AEP) for our flight to Puerto Iguazu. A shared shuttle took us from the airport to our hotel in Iguazu. Next day a shared shuttle picked us up at the hotel and took us to the falls where we had an all day tour and then returned us to our hotel for the night. We had gotten Argentinian pesos for the entrance into the park which was 700 ARS per person (~$18 USD) but could have used a credit card. Next morning we were picked up at the hotel, driven to the airport for our flight back to Buenos Aires. A driver picked us up at the airport, returned us to the hotel where we had stored our luggage. Early the next morning we were picked up and taken to the international airport (EZE) for our flight back to the U.S.

 

Not sure what all of this would have cost if I had booked it on my own, but it was so nice just to have drivers show up and take us where we needed to go. The heat and humidity at the falls was very intense, so my friend and I sat out on the last section (the lower falls) while our husbands did the walk.

 

I know many people visit both sides of the falls (Argentina & Brazil) but I wasn't sorry we only did the one side. I was really wiped out by the heat and after being gone for a month, I was just ready to go  home. Also doing both sides of the falls requires another entrance fee and a Brazilian visa. We did get yellow fever vaccines in advance but didn't see any mosquitos at the falls. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. 

 


Thanks so much for posting this information.  We've just booked a South American cruise for 2020, and the cruise line extension to Iguazu Falls seemed pretty pricey, and now I have something to compare it to.  Cruise line is 4x the price!  It includes meals and some other excursions, but ouch, I think we'll save the money for business class air!

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Hello Mary,

 

Thank you for your extremely helpful and balanced information. Do you have contact information for your tour through the Hotel in Puerto Madryn?

 

many thanks,

 

Ricki

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, ricki said:

Hello Mary,

 

Thank you for your extremely helpful and balanced information. Do you have contact information for your tour through the Hotel in Puerto Madryn?

 

many thanks,

 

Ricki

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the El Pedral web page that gives details about their cruise ship tours. There is a link on the page to book online, but I couldn't get it to work just now when I tried to do a mock booking. There is an email address at the bottom of the web page where you could inquire about the tour.

 

https://www.reservaelpedral.com/en/full-day-trip-for-cruisers/

 

I love the vintage photo that they have on this page!

 

afiche-cruceros.jpg

 

I have a blog post about our day in Puerto Madryn if you want to see photos and get more detailed information about our tour. Here is the link: Puerto Madryn Penguin Tour

 

I follow El Pedral both on Instagram and FB and enjoy seeing the photos they post daily!

Edited by AryMay

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Hello Mary,

 

Thank you for your extremely helpful and balanced information. Do you have contact information for your tour through the Hotel in Puerto Madryn, and with either Ruben or Federico in Ushuaia?

 

Thank you, Mary, for posting the link and offering your more detailed blog.  I was able to get partially through the online booking process, until it came time for payment,  then I got a message that they couldn’t take payment from my “state.” I will try emailing them.

 

One of our friends on this cruise has some difficulty walking long distances, so it doesn’t sound like this would be a good itinerary for her. How rough was the ride on the gravel road?

 

Again, I really appreciate all the excellent descriptions and photos!

 

Ricki

 

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, ricki said:

Hello Mary,

 

Thank you for your extremely helpful and balanced information. Do you have contact information for your tour through the Hotel in Puerto Madryn, and with either Ruben or Federico in Ushuaia?

 

Thank you, Mary, for posting the link and offering your more detailed blog.  I was able to get partially through the online booking process, until it came time for payment,  then I got a message that they couldn’t take payment from my “state.” I will try emailing them.

 

One of our friends on this cruise has some difficulty walking long distances, so it doesn’t sound like this would be a good itinerary for her. How rough was the ride on the gravel road?

 

Again, I really appreciate all the excellent descriptions and photos!

 

Ricki

 

 

 

 

 

The gravel road to get to El Pedral is bumpy...but not near what it was like getting to Volunteer Point to see the king penguins. I know that doesn't tell you much though, does it. I literally felt sore after the drive to Volunteer Point in the Falklands but not from this ride in Puerto Madryn.

 

As for your friend, we didn't have to walk but just a short distance on the trail until we started seeing penguins, but if your friend decided to not walk all the way to the beach (about 1.5 km) it might be very hot for her to just wait at the van until the rest of the group returned.

 

I'm so glad you asked about our tour in Ushuaia with Frederico! (One of our best tours ever!) Back in February Frederico was telling us how he and his wife were hoping to be able to buy a van to handle tours for people in wheel chairs. Just this morning I saw he had posted on FB that their dream is now a reality! Here is the Google translation of what he said...

 

We are happy!! After long months of much waiting and much patience, we got all the proper certifications for the first touristic transportation for handicapped people. We would like to thank those who accompanied us in our project.
For information: 2901-15609520 - ananturismo@gmail.com

 

Here is a photo of his new handicapped accessible van! (And look at that scenery in the background!!!) 

 

Image may contain: sky, car, outdoor and nature

 

Since we didn't actually tour with Ruben, I can't give you any personal recommendation other than the fact he was good about correspondence. I also thought the fact that he lined up a substitute tour for us when he couldn't make it spoke to his character. Here is his contact information:  ruben-ushuaia@hotmail.com

 

Good luck on your planning and let me know if you have any other questions! 

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15 hours ago, AryMay said:

 

The gravel road to get to El Pedral is bumpy...but not near what it was like getting to Volunteer Point to see the king penguins. I know that doesn't tell you much though, does it. I literally felt sore after the drive to Volunteer Point in the Falklands but not from this ride in Puerto Madryn.

 

As for your friend, we didn't have to walk but just a short distance on the trail until we started seeing penguins, but if your friend decided to not walk all the way to the beach (about 1.5 km) it might be very hot for her to just wait at the van until the rest of the group returned.

 

I'm so glad you asked about our tour in Ushuaia with Frederico! (One of our best tours ever!) Back in February Frederico was telling us how he and his wife were hoping to be able to buy a van to handle tours for people in wheel chairs. Just this morning I saw he had posted on FB that their dream is now a reality! Here is the Google translation of what he said...

 

We are happy!! After long months of much waiting and much patience, we got all the proper certifications for the first touristic transportation for handicapped people. We would like to thank those who accompanied us in our project.
For information: 2901-15609520 - ananturismo@gmail.com

 

Here is a photo of his new handicapped accessible van! (And look at that scenery in the background!!!) 

 

Image may contain: sky, car, outdoor and nature

 

Since we didn't actually tour with Ruben, I can't give you any personal recommendation other than the fact he was good about correspondence. I also thought the fact that he lined up a substitute tour for us when he couldn't make it spoke to his character. Here is his contact information:  ruben-ushuaia@hotmail.com

 

Good luck on your planning and let me know if you have any other questions! 

Hi Mary,

 

I have already heard back from Lara, and we are definitely booking this tour. Thank you very, very much. I am Impressed with the professionalism of the response, and the itinerary. We are not lovers of big bus ship tours, so this looks perfect.

 

I do have one question. My friend, who has difficulty walking, wouldn’t mind waiting at the hotel —a good idea—but she is worried about the long pier and about how far it was to walk to the van or bus.  Do you recall the distance in minutes or city blocks?

 

i am also grateful the updated information about Frederico. You speak so highly of him, and it is always great to see someone fulfill their aspirations. I will contact him as well.

 

Ricki

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, ricki said:

 

I do have one question. My friend, who has difficulty walking, wouldn’t mind waiting at the hotel —a good idea—but she is worried about the long pier and about how far it was to walk to the van or bus.  Do you recall the distance in minutes or city blocks?

 

Ricki

 

 

 

 

From memory, I couldn't tell you how long it took to walk from our ship to where the van was waiting, but I do remember it was quite a hike.

 

So...I went on Google maps and calculated distance from where the ship was docked to a hotel near where the van was parked. Looks like about half a mile that we had to walk. (Isn't technology great!) 🙂

 

Hopefully this is helpful!

 

image.thumb.png.8fb1e2538857bdf11324ed50e6a4af89.png

Edited by AryMay

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Mary,

 

What a clever thing to do!  That was genius to use Google maps to get an idea of the distance. It is quite a hike, so I hope she will be able to do it. 
 

too bad they don’t have people with pedal rickshaws like they do in some ports.
 

Thank you very much going the extra mile with all your information!

 

Ricki

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We are on an NCL Cruise next week with this itinerary in reverse. Very excited . One question I have is in reference to footwear at  the Penquin  sites .do we need boots and heavy winter jackets .Will sneakers work. Trying to limit luggage weight

 

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On 3/2/2019 at 12:52 PM, AryMay said:

I am in the process of updating my blog (link is in my signature) and  will go into greater detail about the trip and include lots of photos. This will take some time because I am trying to sort through thousands of photos!

AryMay - I am finding your information so helpful.  I do want to see your blog but I must be a doofus on these boards as I don't see or know how to see the link in your signature.  Could you assist?  Thank you!

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2 hours ago, bbfgator said:

AryMay - I am finding your information so helpful.  I do want to see your blog but I must be a doofus on these boards as I don't see or know how to see the link in your signature.  Could you assist?  Thank you!

 

You probably have your signatures turned off for the boards. The ability to see everyone's signatures can be turned on in your account settings.

 

Here is the link to the beginning of my South American blog posts. South America/Antarctica Cruise

 

If you are viewing the blog on a computer (rather than a mobile device) you can also see an index to all of my posts for the last 10 years! 

 

I started this blog as my personal journal (and hence the name, My Souvenir Memories) but am always happy if it is useful to someone else. I know I get so much planning advice from reading other people's blogs. 

 

Let me know if you have any specific questions! 

Edited by AryMay

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As fellow Minnesotans (Lake Mille Lacs), we tolerate the COLD quite well. Q: Is cruising the Chilean Fjiords with HAL in early April similar to Alaska in the Fall?? ie 'Are you up close and personal' with the Glaciers and whatnot.... or is it more of a voyage thru the area without snooping in the various bays and fjiords as it is in the Inside Passage??

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