Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
BitburgBoy

Viking Ocean to South America

Recommended Posts

We are going to be on the Viking Jupiter next January 2020. Viking offers two excursions to Iguazú Falls and wonderif anyone knows the approximate cost of the 13 hour vs the 48 hour excursions. What opinions would you all think of the Iguazú Falls visit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, BitburgBoy said:

We are going to be on the Viking Jupiter next January 2020. Viking offers two excursions to Iguazú Falls and wonderif anyone knows the approximate cost of the 13 hour vs the 48 hour excursions. What opinions would you all think of the Iguazú Falls visit?

 

You will starve time and money to do the falls on your own. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what the cost would be, but I would not miss a chance to visit the falls. They are one of the top natural wonders of the world. Not to be missed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Viking is just entering this market so unless someone on the World Cruise has done this excursion with Viking, getting prices will not be easy at this time.

 

It is not to late to add on time before or after your cruise so that you can visit the falls on your own. You do not have to do a Viking extension in order to say late or arrive early.

 

We did the falls on our own in 2009. We did a week pre-cruise in Buenos Aires (stayed at B&B) so we did not have to worry about getting back to the ship before it left. We were on the first airplane out of BA to the falls and we were at the park in time for lunch. The airport is in downtown BA right along the water front, a 15 minute drive from the cruise terminal. We stayed at the hotel in the park so that we did not have to worry about getting to and fro. We did the RIB boat ride under the falls. Bought our tickets when we got there. Do not bother to pay extra for the jungle ride to the dock because you won't see any animals; they are either nocturnal or hide when the hear the truck coming. You will see more animals walking in the park than you will on the jungle ride. The next day we did the Upper Circuit and the Devil's Throat. Better than Niagara Falls. We took the last flight back to BA.

 

Warnings:  it is very hot and humid at the falls in January. Wear a bathing suit on the boat because you will get wet. The boats ride under the falls. They will give you waterproof bags for anything that you wish to keep dry--like your cameras, your shoes. We were on the boat ride where we had to walk ourselves up from the water level to the hotel level. In the heat, it was arduous--to say the least.

 

Thirteen hour trip vs 48 hour: flights are 2 hours each way plus travel to and from the airports. The description of the 48 hour does not say if you are staying at the hotel at the falls or if you are staying in town. IMHO, staying at the falls is the way to go.

 

enhanceenhance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did a pre-cruise tour to Iguazu Falls prior to a Norwegian cruise around the Horn.  Iguazu Falls was absolutely stunning and amazing so most importantly, just make sure you get there. It was the most spectacular part of our trip.

 

We asked our independent travel agent to help us arrange the tour.  I am quite certain it would have been way cheaper to do it on our own.  However, our comfort level was to have someone "hold our hand" since we had never been in South America before and don't know the language. Hindsight being 20/20, we probably could have done it on our own, but we did find great value in having our own private guide. The whole thing was brokered through Avanti who contracted with a local tour company called Aguas Grandes. Our tour guide's name was Tatiana who was absolutely wonderful! What a gift it was to have her as our guide. She spoke pretty  good English and understood our questions. She was knowledgeable about the Falls, the area, and her country.  She explained things we saw and pointed out things of interested that we would have otherwise missed. She was also mindful of our comfort and safety, making accommodations for us when we got too hot during the tour.  The Falls were simply spectacular beyond words. We were sad to have to say goodbye to Tatiana – she is truly an exceptional human being!

 

We stayed at the Melia Hotel (formerly the Sheraton Iguzau) which is the only hotel in the National Park itself. It was a great location. The staff was exceptionally friendly and welcoming. The hotel had large floor to ceiling windows that had exceptional views of the Falls. Our room was comfortable and had a great view of the Falls, but in need of some updating (which sounded like they were going to do in 2018). If you can afford it, I would try to stay there 3-4 nights if possible.  The first night we stayed in Buenos Airies, then flew off to Iguazu the next morning and toured the falls, overnighted at the Melia, finished our tour by 10am the next day and flew back to Buenos Aires. It was just too short. One of the reasons it was too short was that the airlines changed our schedule at the last minute so that we did not arrive at the Falls as early as we were supposed to. However, I still can't imagine trying to experience it all in 13 hours. Way to short and rushed. 

 

The cautionary tale about going out on your own vs. a Viking sponsored tour of the Falls is that if something goes wrong, the ship is likely not going to leave without you if you go on one of their tours. In many many places we have done private and/or non-ship sponsored tours and been fine. However, I do believe we were lucky in going on a private tour before the cruise. Argentina is subject to many worker strikes. When we arrived in BA there was a baggage handler strike that kept us from retrieving our luggage for four hours, missing our BA tour and instead spending our time in the airport which had quickly filled up with passengers from other arriving flights.  There were passengers on some of these flights who were due to leave port that day for an Antarctic cruise and they were super concerned that they might miss their cruise. If something had happened like this on the way back from the Falls, we might have been in trouble. If you do go on your own, give yourself time for some unexpected bumps.

 

I do agree with Peregrina651 that it can be extremely hot and humid at the falls.  The day we were there in January 2018, it hit 100. Combined with the humidity it was tough. We made it though and we were in our late 60's at the time. Make sure you use sunscreen and wear a hat. It really can make a difference.  The heat is also a reason I don't think the 13 hour tour would be a good idea. With the heat as bad as it can be, you'll need a break from it and then time to go back and finish the next day. We did not do the boat tour, but a rain jacket would be a good idea, particularly at the Devils Throat where the mist is significant.

 

Sorry this got a bit long...  😉

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the great tips on our future visit to Iguazú Falls. We have been looking for private tours and hopefully will find a good one  b4 we head South.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bitburg Boy, if you are interested in a couple other private tours let me know. We did all private or small tours on our South America trip and all of them were very good. I'm not sure which ports are included in your itinerary, but the one we had in Puerto Montt in the Lakes area of Chile was a taxi tour and was exceptional and I would highly recommend it. We were a bit unsure of doing the taxi tours as we had never done any like that before, but they turned out to be favorites of ours. I had found them in another poster's blog. Let me know if you would like information on these. I'd be happy to share them with you.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, doxielover47 said:

Bitburg Boy, if you are interested in a couple other private tours let me know. We did all private or small tours on our South America trip and all of them were very good. I'm not sure which ports are included in your itinerary, but the one we had in Puerto Montt in the Lakes area of Chile was a taxi tour and was exceptional and I would highly recommend it. We were a bit unsure of doing the taxi tours as we had never done any like that before, but they turned out to be favorites of ours. I had found them in another poster's blog. Let me know if you would like information on these. I'd be happy to share them with you.

 

 

 

Hi Doxielover47:  Thank you for the insight.  We are on the Jupiter this coming December Santiago to Buenos Aires and Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Ushuala, Falklands, Puerto Madryn, Montevideo are other ports).   We also would be interested in any info you have on the taxi tours you took or any other South America tips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CCWineLover, my absolute favorite private tour in South America was in Stanley, Falklands. We went through Estancia Excursions to Volunteer Point.  A long, bumpy ride in a 4-wheel drive vehicle was totally worth it when we arrived and were able to walk among thousands of King and Gentoo penguins and view them in their natural habitat.   

03-15 (19).jpg

03-15 (30).jpg

03-15 (11).jpg

03-15 (15).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Marguerite-a-Ville said:

CCWineLover, my absolute favorite private tour in South America was in Stanley, Falklands. We went through Estancia Excursions to Volunteer Point.  A long, bumpy ride in a 4-wheel drive vehicle was totally worth it when we arrived and were able to walk among thousands of King and Gentoo penguins and view them in their natural habitat.   

 

 

AGREED!! We did not use the same company and since it was 10 years ago, I don't even know if the guy we booked with is even still doing it. If I remember the details correctly, our guide  was running the Islands radio station during the Argentinian invasion and he had some fascinating stories to tell. And the drive across the bogs is an experience in itself.

 

If the photos above haven't already convinced you, try here: https://southamericajanuary2009.shutterfly.com/portsofcall/116

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2019 at 2:16 PM, CCWineLover said:

 

Hi Doxielover47:  Thank you for the insight.  We are on the Jupiter this coming December Santiago to Buenos Aires and Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Ushuala, Falklands, Puerto Madryn, Montevideo are other ports).   We also would be interested in any info you have on the taxi tours you took or any other South America tips.

Sounds like the same itinerary as ours was only in the opposite direction. Attached is the list of the tours we took in each port and the cost in US$ for each. [Note: I could not give you a breakdown of the pre-and post-cruise tours we had as they were brokered by our travel agent and the cost of everything was all lumped together at a price tag of around $6K. Probably a big number, but as I mentioned before, we were looking to have someone hold our hand and when you ask for that the costs go up. The pre and post tour package included all transfers, business class airfare to/from Iguazu, all the pre and post cruise tours and entrance fees, and 4 nights of hotels.]  While I recommend all of the tours we were on, those in yellow highlight were our favorites. 

 

A word about tipping. We based most of our tour tips around 15% of the tour cost. Whether you do the same is entirely up to you and the service you get. We always tipped in local currency (after receiving a snarky comment about tipping on TripAdvisor), but after being there, I would likely tip in US$ if I go there again. The reason why is the inflation - particularly in Argentina. When I was calculating tips at the end of 2017, US$1 was worth 17 Argentine pesos (ARS). By the end of our trip, the same dollar was worth 21 pesos. Now, that same dollar is worth 41 pesos - in just over a year. Multiple tour guides told us that people actually like getting tips in US$ because it is a stable currency relative to theirs. One of our guides told us that real estate is even sold in US$ there. Whether you choose to tip in US$ or ARS in Argentina is up to you, but recognize that by the time you get there, the ARS will likely not be worth what you paid for them originally. If you use US$, crisp new money is appreciated.

 

Let me know if you have other questions. Again, see attached for my list.

p.s. I totally agree with Marguerite-a-Ville about the Volunteer Point tour in the Falklands. Very bumpy ride, but oh so worth it. I would have highlighted it on my list except that our guide could have been a bit more talkative. He was more of a driver than a tour guide, but then it wasn't his primary job either.  I would still highly recommend the tour.

post tour info for sharing on cruise critic.docx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it might be more helpful to just copy and paste my tour info in addition to the attachment as some folks might not trust attachments. My yellow highlighting did not come through on this copy and paste so my favorites are in bold type

 

 

Contact Info

Tour(s)

Aguas Grandes tour agency

reservas@aguasgrandes.tur.ar

Iguazu Falls private tour – ask for Tatiana to be your tour guide

Buenos Aires City tour

correo@eurotur.com.ar

 

Uruguias Brun Turismo
Jorge Alegre // Guí­a de turismo Regional y Nacional

reservas@uruguias.com.uy
 www.uruguias.com.uy
+ 598 99700416

Montevideo Uruguay – small group tour

Sentir Patagonia Tours (Diego Allende)

ventas@sentir-patagonia.com.ar
WhatsApp +54 9 280 4 565607
Puerto Madryn - Patagonia - Argentina
Cell: 54 9 280 - 4565607
Email: ventas@sentir-patagonia.com.ar
Web: www.sentir-patagonia.com.ar

Punta Tombo Tour, Puerto Madryn, Argentina – small group tour

Patrick Watts Tour

pwatts@horizon.co.fk

Volunteer Point,
Port Stanley, Falklands – 2 couples in our van

Gerardo Germain, Taxi

gerardo_ush@hotmail.com

Ushuaia, Argentina – private taxi tour

 

 

 

Puerto Chacabuco Tours
Angi and team

 +56 9 84883092 info@puertochacabucotours.com,
Angi and team

Puerto Chacabuco Lake small group tour

Jamie Liebrecht’s Patagonia Shorex Tours

info@patagoniashorex.com

Puerto Montt, Chile – private tour with lunch at El Mirador
Adrian V
enegas Alvarez was our guide – fabulous. He also gave us his card with this email address nantours@gmail.com. I think he was helping Jamie out on the day we were there.

Valpariso and Vina del Mar tour

Luis Gustavo Sanchez Aranda was our tour guide

Arranged by Latitud 90

gustavo.sanchez@tie.cl or gustavo.sanchez0110@gmail.com

 

San Antonio, Chile – private tour with lunch at Café Turri

Santiago half day tour

Arranged by Latitud 90

Santiago City Tour, half day – private tour

 

 

 

Eurotur – Argentina

correo@eurotur.com.ar

Arranged pre-cruise hotels, all transfers and tours for Buenos Aires and flights to/from Iguazu Falls

Latitud 90 – Chile

 

Arranged hotel, all transfers and tours for Valpariso, Vina del Mar, and Santiago.

Intercontinental Hotel, Buenos Aires

Moreno 809 1070 Capital Federal, BA
+54 11 4340 7100

Great staff; our room on 8th floor was great, room on 4th floor not so

Melia Hotel, Iguazu

+54-3757-49-1800;
Av F Madero 1020, Iguazu, Argentina

The only hotel located in the National Park 

Lastarria Hotel, Santiago

+56 2 2840 3700
Coronel Santiago Bueras 188, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile

Beautiful boutique hotel in a great location in Santiago 

 

Tours during cruise

Tour Cost

Fees

Tip

Total

Montevideo, Uruguay

 $  100.00

 

 $    15.00

 $     115.00

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

 $  198.00

 $         40.00

 $    30.00

 $     268.00

Falklands

 $  360.00

 

 $    35.00

 $     395.00

Ushuaia, Argentina

 $  240.00

 $         40.00

 $    40.00

 $     320.00

Punta Arenas, Chile*

 $  348.00

 

 $    60.00

 $     408.00

Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

 $  252.00

 

 $    50.00

 $     302.00

Puerto Montt, Chile**

 $  288.00

 

 $    50.00

 $     338.00

 

 $ 1,786.00

 $         80.00

 $  280.00

 $  2,146.00

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much, doxielover47 for this amazing list of tour details.  I imagine this will help many many people who are taking the South America trips upcoming!  

Quick question for you - did you have any concerns or were there any "close calls" in getting back to the ship before sailing?  That is the only thing that concerns me about doing private tours - if you miss the ship, it could be quite costly!!

Wonderful job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like you, I was also concerned about this. I questioned many of the tour operators about this and they responded that they had never missed getting people back to the ship in time. I also read many reviews on TripAdvisor.com about each of the tours (except a couple of the taxi tours which weren't on the site). Based on this, I guess you would say that we took the leap of faith that we would be OK - and we were. 

 

What we found was that in many cases, the tour operators go out in groups of vehicles so if one runs into trouble, there are others available to help out. For example, the Patrick Watts tour vehicle we were in that took us to Volunteer Point in the Falklands had room for six people including the driver. It was in a remote area and we drove off road for a good portion of the trip (which was amazing by the way...). It could have been a situation where a vehicle might get stuck given bad luck, but we went out in like a caravan of vehicles (where BTW all the drivers were related 😉 ). So if one got into trouble, there were others to assist. What we learned is that these people rely on tourism for a living and they are careful to not jeopardize their reputations and their businesses by not getting their clients back on time.

 

This being said, of course there are likely to be stories out there where this may have happened and yes it could be a vacation breaker if it did (especially in such a remote area where other transportation to the next port might be very limited), but I did not run into such stories in reading the TripAdvisor tour reviews. I do encourage you to do so as you can get a much better idea of what you'll be seeing if you go too. For the taxi tours, check out www.thepreismans.com blog which was mentioned in another CC roll call post and is where I found Gerardo Germain and Jamie Liebrecht's taxi tours. 

 

Keep the questions coming. I love sharing about our experience in South America. So amazing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should have mentioned too that the tour pricing in my post above was for both my husband and I and was effective as of January 2018.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2019 at 4:58 PM, Peregrina651 said:

 

 

AGREED!! We did not use the same company and since it was 10 years ago, I don't even know if the guy we booked with is even still doing it. If I remember the details correctly, our guide  was running the Islands radio station during the Argentinian invasion and he had some fascinating stories to tell. And the drive across the bogs is an experience in itself.

 

If the photos above haven't already convinced you, try here: https://southamericajanuary2009.shutterfly.com/portsofcall/116

 

Our guide was Patrick Watt. Glad to see that he is still in business. We had a marvelous trip with him. One of jeeps did get bogged down but it took no time at all to unstick the jeep and get us moving again. While the drivers pulled out the jeep, the passengers had a chance to wander a bit on the bogs:

 

enhance

enhance

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Our guide was Patrick Watt. Glad to see that he is still in business. We had a marvelous trip with him. One of jeeps did get bogged down but it took no time at all to unstick the jeep and get us moving again. While the drivers pulled out the jeep, the passengers had a chance to wander a bit on the bogs:

 

enhance

enhance

 

 

You were lucky to get Patrick. I think it was a nephew that took us on the tour - and while the tour was fabulous, the guide we had could have been better.  He was more just a driver than a tour guide. That being said, we really loved the scenery and the penguins and would do the same tour again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, doxielover47 said:

 

You were lucky to get Patrick. I think it was a nephew that took us on the tour - and while the tour was fabulous, the guide we had could have been better.  He was more just a driver than a tour guide. That being said, we really loved the scenery and the penguins and would do the same tour again.

 

I think that we were among the first to book from our sailing and then we went on our roll call and urged others to join the tour. I think that is how we got to go with Patrick. We were on Celebrity and had a very active roll call.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2019 at 4:21 PM, Marguerite-a-Ville said:

CCWineLover, my absolute favorite private tour in South America was in Stanley, Falklands. We went through Estancia Excursions to Volunteer Point.  A long, bumpy ride in a 4-wheel drive vehicle was totally worth it when we arrived and were able to walk among thousands of King and Gentoo penguins and view them in their natural habitat.   

03-15 (19).jpg

03-15 (30).jpg

03-15 (11).jpg

03-15 (15).jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

love your pictures .. we are thinking of goign Jan 2020 and was so disappointed when saw the single included excursions which were basically bus trips for most ports.. Excited now seeing what you did..thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, sctraveler04 said:

love your pictures .. we are thinking of goign Jan 2020 and was so disappointed when saw the single included excursions which were basically bus trips for most ports.. Excited now seeing what you did..thanks

We very highly recommend the Patrick Watts tour. The scenery was amazing. Kind of other worldly. We were fortunate that we were able to see both the Falklands and Cape Horn. According to ship's staff that we talked to, about 50% of the time these can get cancelled due to bad wind and weather. Keep this in mind when you go so you are mentally prepared that this is a possibility. I had packed Dramamine and sea bands but never had to use either. 

 

Also, if you are wondering what kind of clothes you'll need, well layers are an absolute must. When we packed we thought we would need like winter clothes to view the penguins, but when we went to Punta Tombo, the temps were in the 90's and many of the penguins were hiding under bushes to get out of the heat.  By the time you get to Cape Horn and Ushuaia, the temps will likely be in the 50's. My recollection of the Falklands was that it was maybe in the 60s.  Many folks on the ship had packed winter boots and parkas for this outing. Anyway, our stereotype of where penguins live was totally blown away.  Another reason why this whole trip was by far the most interesting and wonderful experience we've had. We learned so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/6/2019 at 8:05 PM, sctraveler04 said:

love your pictures .. we are thinking of goign Jan 2020 and was so disappointed when saw the single included excursions which were basically bus trips for most ports.. Excited now seeing what you did..thanks

 

Because you aren't stopping in quaint little towns that lend themselves to walking tours.

 

Go to the ports of call section and learn about the private tour operators in each of the ports of call. We did a private tour with one other couple to Punta Tombo (I believe our guide has retired). We toured with Patrick Watt out to Volunteer Point; book early and you might be lucky enough to ride with Patrick. In one port a bunch of us walked off the ship and negotiated with a van driver to drive us around for the day (hiring a guide was addition but one of our members was fluent and simply translated our drivers narrative).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2019 at 10:18 AM, BitburgBoy said:

We are going to be on the Viking Jupiter next January 2020. Viking offers two excursions to Iguazú Falls and wonderif anyone knows the approximate cost of the 13 hour vs the 48 hour excursions. What opinions would you all think of the Iguazú Falls visit?

The Viking pre or post excursion to Iguazu Falls and Rio de Janeiro four nights is $3,599 per person.

 

Which South America cruise are you taking?  We are on the January 24, 2020 Santiago to Buenas Aires one.

 

Already booked Patrick Watts Volunteer Point excursion because the Viking Sun World Cruise one sold out really early.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha, we will try to leave our cabin,4121, neat for you as we get off as you are boarding.We are thinking to try the 13 hour excursion out of Buenos Aires. Have a great cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, BitburgBoy said:

Ha, we will try to leave our cabin,4121, neat for you as we get off as you are boarding.We are thinking to try the 13 hour excursion out of Buenos Aires. Have a great cruise.

Ha ha...we are in 4030.  Close.  Having trouble finding anyone on our cruise and have only a couple of us on the Roll Call.  Still early but so excited.  You have a great trip also.  Will be following that Roll Call.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...