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Looking for private tours South America & Antarctica trip in January 2024


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Trying to plan shore excursions for our South America & Antarctica trip in January 2024. 

Has anyone used a company called the Shore Excursions Group? 

Does anyone have any specific guide recommendations if using Tours by Locals? 

We prefer nature to museums. I am specifically looking for recommendations for these ports:

  • Montevideo (in port 15 hours) & Punta Del Estes, Uruguay
  • Puerto Madryn & Ushuaia (thinking Tierra del Fuego National Park), Argentina
  • Punta Arenas (in port for 12 hours) & Puerto Chacabuco & Puerto Montt, Chile (want to explore Patagonia)

I have booked tour to Volunteer Point with Adventure Falklands.

 

Thank you!

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7 hours ago, 0106 said:

Trying to plan shore excursions for our South America & Antarctica trip in January 2024. 

Has anyone used a company called the Shore Excursions Group? 

Does anyone have any specific guide recommendations if using Tours by Locals? 

We prefer nature to museums. I am specifically looking for recommendations for these ports:

  • Montevideo (in port 15 hours) & Punta Del Estes, Uruguay
  • Puerto Madryn & Ushuaia (thinking Tierra del Fuego National Park), Argentina
  • Punta Arenas (in port for 12 hours) & Puerto Chacabuco & Puerto Montt, Chile (want to explore Patagonia)

I have booked tour to Volunteer Point with Adventure Falklands.

 

Thank you!

In Puerto Montt we used Andres O from Tours by Locals for a 6 hour tour up to Osorno Volcano with a hike, then Petrohue Waterfalls and Todos Los Santos Lake.  He scheduled the stops so that we avoided the big bus tours at those locations.

 

In Puerto Madryn we used Sentir-Patagonia for a 7 hour excursion to Penninsula Valdes & Estancia Valdes.  Saw elephant seals, sea lions with pups, maras, guanacos, magellen penguins and more.  Lunch at ths Estancia after walking with the penguins and their young.  Awesome.  Diego Allende was very helpful.  Ventas@sentir-patagonia.com.ar

 

In the Falklands we used Patrick Watts for Volunteer Point but our group was called back after an hour out as ship cancelled port due to worsening tender conditions.  Have more then one tour to see penguins planned.

 

In Ushuaia we used Nicholas of Alma Calma for Tierra del Fuego.  Was about 5 hours and we did 4 hikes in different areas.  Stopped to see the train and the End of the World Post Office - one of the hikes started at that beach.  We avoided the tour bus crowds too.  Spectacular.

 

In Buenos Aires we used Elizabet Jeckle from Tours by Locals but she now has her own company with her daughter.  Was a 6 hour day visiting historical square with cathedral and Casa Rosada, several colorful neighborhoods, a walk through La Recoleta cemetary plus a local lunch.  Her company is Iconic Buenas Aires i think.  Will look that up.

 

From Montevideo friends did a tour out into the country to a ranch and loved it.  Barbecue lunch, horsemanship show, gauchos.  We just did town.  Very walkable from ship.

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1 minute ago, TayanaLorna said:

In Puerto Montt we used Andres O from Tours by Locals for a 6 hour tour up to Osorno Volcano with a hike, then Petrohue Waterfalls and Todos Los Santos Lake.  He scheduled the stops so that we avoided the big bus tours at those locations.

 

In Puerto Madryn we used Sentir-Patagonia for a 7 hour excursion to Penninsula Valdes & Estancia Valdes.  Saw elephant seals, sea lions with pups, maras, guanacos, magellen penguins and more.  Lunch at ths Estancia after walking with the penguins and their young.  Awesome.  Diego Allende was very helpful.  Ventas@sentir-patagonia.com.ar

 

In the Falklands we used Patrick Watts for Volunteer Point but our group was called back after an hour out as ship cancelled port due to worsening tender conditions.  Have more then one tour to see penguins planned.

 

In Ushuaia we used Nicholas of Alma Calma for Tierra del Fuego.  Was about 5 hours and we did 4 hikes in different areas.  Stopped to see the train and the End of the World Post Office - one of the hikes started at that beach.  We avoided the tour bus crowds too.  Spectacular.

 

In Buenos Aires we used Elizabet Jeckle from Tours by Locals but she now has her own company with her daughter.  Was a 6 hour day visiting historical square with cathedral and Casa Rosada, several colorful neighborhoods, a walk through La Recoleta cemetary plus a local lunch.  Her company is Iconic Buenas Aires i think.  Will look that up.

 

From Montevideo friends did a tour out into the country to a ranch and loved it.  Barbecue lunch, horsemanship show, gauchos.  We just did town.  Very walkable from ship.

Yep, Elizabet is iconicbuenosaires.com

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We used Shore Excursions Group.  They are a middleman.  But it's hard to find out the name of the vendor they are using.   We booked with them for Brisbane...when our ship  changed itinerary a few weeks before sailing, they were excellent about refunding the money.   We have used Tour by Locals many times.

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We visited a number of the ports you have listed during our Nov/Dec 2022 cruise. In most of the ports we used private tour operators.

 

If you are interested, you can find more details in the review I did of the cruise.

 

 

 

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We did a South America/Antarctica cruise on Holland America that began in January 2019. Here is a list of our tours along with a links to the tour websites and also to my blog posts with photos and videos. 

 

Ushuaia

 

Montevideo:

 

Puerto Madryn

 

Punta Arenas

 

We did a ship tour in Puerto Chacabucco (just OK) and we had to skip Puerto Montt because it was too rough to tender. Our itinerary did not include Punta del Estes

 

Hopefully this is helpful. This cruise is the favorite of all we have done!! We also added a visit to Iguazu Falls which was amazing!

 

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For Puerto Madryn we used https://www.reservaelpedral.com/en/ which ended up being an excellent tour.  This company limits the number of people they allow in each day (its a private ranch).  Our bus had 12 people and the drive is about 1.5 hours.  Not only did we get up close to the penguins but the included lunch after was excellent.  Plenty of wine/beer included in lunch. We got lucky as we were there March 15 and we heard that the cruise ship tours to another location had no penguins.  HIghly recommend.

 

In Ushuaia, we took a private tour for 4 adults that took us on several hikes.  The web site is https://www.tourguideushuaia.net/ushuaia-private-guide/  and we took option 3 which is a 5.5 hour tour in Tierra del Fuego national park covering several areas of the park including the end of the world road.  Driver was waiting for us at port and gave us an excellent tour.  I think you can customize the hikes if you inquire ahead of time.  We were a group of 6 people.

 

Puerto Montt - we hired a private tour for the 4 of us (http://www.puertomontt-excursiones.com/en/ ).  Drove us to the Petrohue Rapids and  a beautiful lake about 6 miles past the waterfalls where you could take a short boat ride around the lake and where you can have some excellent photos of the Osorno volcano.  Great communication and quick responses to my inquiries.  

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2 hours ago, porschenut said:

For Puerto Madryn we used https://www.reservaelpedral.com/en/ which ended up being an excellent tour.  This company limits the number of people they allow in each day (its a private ranch).  Our bus had 12 people and the drive is about 1.5 hours.  Not only did we get up close to the penguins but the included lunch after was excellent.  Plenty of wine/beer included in lunch. We got lucky as we were there March 15 and we heard that the cruise ship tours to another location had no penguins.  HIghly recommend.

 

In Ushuaia, we took a private tour for 4 adults that took us on several hikes.  The web site is https://www.tourguideushuaia.net/ushuaia-private-guide/  and we took option 3 which is a 5.5 hour tour in Tierra del Fuego national park covering several areas of the park including the end of the world road.  Driver was waiting for us at port and gave us an excellent tour.  I think you can customize the hikes if you inquire ahead of time.  We were a group of 6 people.

 

Puerto Montt - we hired a private tour for the 4 of us (http://www.puertomontt-excursiones.com/en/ ).  Drove us to the Petrohue Rapids and  a beautiful lake about 6 miles past the waterfalls where you could take a short boat ride around the lake and where you can have some excellent photos of the Osorno volcano.  Great communication and quick responses to my inquiries.  

Thanks for this information.  Are you passing on this information on Puerto Madryn or were you planning on doing this tour again?  I am interested in the shore excursion tour.  I will run it by my husband.

 

Doris and Ray

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Porschenut,

 

My husband and I are interested in doing the Puerto Madryn El Pedral tour.  I have reached out to the tour company to get details on size of vans,  whether we pay on day of tour, etc.

 

When I get information, I will post and see who is interested.  Thanks again for the info.

 

Doris

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  • 1 month later...

I used Shore Excursions Group. com for some excursions on our trip in Jan 2023. I had them scheduled for excursions in 
 

Punta Arenas: 2 people went horseback riding. Went great had no trouble finding them in the terminal was fine, the excursion was fun and they were back on time. 

Also in Punta Arenas: 2 of us went on a walking tour. Very nice guide, but the tour was not very interesting.

 

We were scheduled to take a catamaran tour in Ushuaia. I had been trying to reach them by phone or email to let them know we knew our ship would be 2 hours late and I wanted to be sure we would still have time for the tour. After 2 weeks of trying and the day before we left they did get in touch with me and told me it should not be a problem. 

 

We were delayed even further getting into Ushuaia by a few hours, and the port there is chaos when we did dock, their directions were a little vague, Get off the ship and find the Shoreexcursions Sign" 

Long story short we JUST missed the last catamaran we could have taken for the day. We found a Shore excursion booth OUTSIDE the port gate and the person in the booth notated on my printed copy of the ticket we missed the trip due to late docking, I sent them a picture by FB messenger, which was a more reliable way to communicate with them, as I could see if they had read my messages. They didn't reply for a few days, and when they did they said I would get my refund once they investigated with the tour operator. Then 7-10 days after the end of the cruise I would get the refund. It took a little longer than that, but I did get the refund.  

 

Would I use them again? probably.

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For both Montevideo and Punta del Estes we used The Wine Experience.

 

Ryan at TWE was phenomenal. First we tours of Montevideo and then out to the country side for a fabulous tasting and Uruguayian bbq lunch with paired wines. Then another tasting at a drop dead beautiful winery with delicious wines.

 

Punta del Estes was a repeat. City your, then fabulous wines and lunch. Ryan is exceptional. Tell him Sandy sent you!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We did a South America cruise in March 2023, but without the Antarctica portion. If you prefer to book your tours with an independent operator, as we always do, we highly recommend Calaio Viajes y Turismo, an Argentina-based operator.

I contacted Edgardo Calaio, the General Manager, and arranged a total of 8 tours - Buenos Ares, Montevideo, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt, San Antonio and Coquimbo. All tours were much cheaper than the ship tours and more comfortable than riding in a bus with 50 passengers. Edgardo was a pleasure to work with. There were six of us and we made a number of changes during the planning process. Edgardo was patient and professional over a period of almost two years. When we needed to move the deadline to 2023, he was able to move everything to a year later. It was a great help to be able to arrange all of our tours with one contact.

On each tour our vans were comfortable, clean and spacious for the six of us. All of our tour guides spoke excellent English and were able to answer all of the many questions we asked them. Edgardo told us the name of our tour guide just before each port so we knew who we would be travelling with. We made a small deposit for the tours a few months before we left. At our request, we did not pay the balance to the driver at each port, but paid via PayPal just before departure. If you are planning tours, be sure to contact Edgardo and ask what he can arrange for you. The website is https://calaioviajesyturismo.tur.ar/. On over 30 cruises with Princess arranging private tours around the world, our experience with Edgardo has been the best.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 3/31/2023 at 5:15 PM, AryMay said:

I'm very interested in reading your blog - especially regarding ushuaia and Puerto Madryn as we are trying to finalize our plans for those ports.  I'm getting an error message trying to open it, though.  Is there a trick, or can I get granted access?  Thank you!

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8 hours ago, saffy12 said:

I'm very interested in reading your blog - especially regarding ushuaia and Puerto Madryn as we are trying to finalize our plans for those ports.  I'm getting an error message trying to open it, though.  Is there a trick, or can I get granted access?  Thank you!


Sorry about that! I think you should be able to access the blog now. Please let me know if you continue to have issues. 
 

I am a little jealous of your upcoming trip! Our South America/Antarctica cruise is our favorite of all time!

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On 8/31/2023 at 6:11 AM, AryMay said:


Sorry about that! I think you should be able to access the blog now. Please let me know if you continue to have issues. 
 

I am a little jealous of your upcoming trip! Our South America/Antarctica cruise is our favorite of all time!

Yes, it does load now, thank you!   I'm really looking forward to it, so excited to read your experiences!

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On 3/31/2023 at 5:15 PM, AryMay said:

 

 

Puerto Madryn

 

 

I reached out to El Pedral to try and book them for our upcoming cruise.  They asked for our passport numbers in order to hold the reservation.    That seemed a little risky to me - I can't figure out why they would need that to hold the reservation.  Am I being too paranoid?   Did they require that when you reserved with them?

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23 minutes ago, saffy12 said:

I reached out to El Pedral to try and book them for our upcoming cruise.  They asked for our passport numbers in order to hold the reservation.    That seemed a little risky to me - I can't figure out why they would need that to hold the reservation.  Am I being too paranoid?   Did they require that when you reserved with them?

I honestly don't remember if we had to give our passport numbers or not. I went back and looked through my email correspondence with El Pedral and don't see that it was mentioned.

 

 

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