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Stan and Geoff, November 2010

It’s now 5 weeks since Stan and I returned from South America and Antarctica, and the experience is still top of our minds as the best trip we’ve ever done.

Belatedly, we want to thank you both very much for your knowledgeable planning, and for the meticulous bookings and arrangements you made, since they were one of the keys to our holiday being such a pleasure.

The other key was the destinations themselves. Antarctica was the awesome absolute highlight; Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls were also amazing; and all of the places and their local people, the local agents, and the hotels that you sent us to were most enjoyable and hassle-free. We had no disappointments, and the very few hiccups we felt were things that were entirely outside your or our control (like an airport strike).

Let me mention some specifics that we appreciated:

  • The choice of destinations, and the order in which we visited them to capitalise on the weather (very good everywhere we were so lucky) and on lower airfares
  • The measured pace of the itinerary. We didn’t rush anywhere, we didn’t have to cram things in, we had plenty of “at leisure” days (that we easily filled)
  • The choice of hotels, and their generally good value. There were no disappointing hotels, and a few were exceptional (Il Monasterio in Cuzco, Rio Sagrado in Sacred Valley, Aldebaran Hotel in Bariloche, Machu Picchu Pueblo)
  • The local agents, their escorted pick-ups, and private tour guides. They were all very good well organised, very amenable, and knowledgeable. Our guide in Rio (assigned for all our activities), and our 2 guides in Buenos Aires were all terrific. Condor Travel in Peru was exceptionally well organised and reliable, and we used their free health insurance.
  • Alan’s meticulous plans and bookings succeeded like clockwork. There were no surprises, and no alterations.
  • The upgrade on Prince Albert II. The lobbying of us all must have worked. We were upgraded to a suite twice the size of the one we booked, right in the middle of the ship. Our suite was so comfortable and well-laid-out that we later declined an upgrade to an Owner’s Suite!
  • The weather. I don’t know how you did it but, over 45 days, we had only one day of disruptive rain and one day of magical light snow. The Andean Lakes were deeply coloured and their snow-capped volcanoes were visible, Machu Picchu cleared for us (one blue-sky day and one misty morning after the rain), Iguazu Falls were even more spectacular on our second day because it had rained overnight, we missed all the storms and high seas out of Ushuaia and had the most brilliant clear calm Antarctic days.

Thank you both very much for arranging such a memorable and stimulating trip for us. It was exceptional. We hope to see other parts of South America some time in the future, and will be back for your recommendations and plans.

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