Feedback - what our customers say

We believe that constructive customer feedback is essential to continually improve the service we provide. For that reason we always ask customers what they enjoyed most on their trip; if there were any problems; and if they would recommend Optimundo to a friend. We are delighted that in the last 3 years 100% have said they would recommend Optimundo to a friend.

We hope the feedback below is as helpful to you as it is to us.

Everything Ran Like Clockwork

Hello Andrew,

I have been meaning to drop you a line ever since we got back but things have got in the way.

Overall we had a really good trip. I'm glad to say that the logistics you had organised all worked out perfectly. The guides in Chile and Argentina were all excellent - always just a step ahead of us in letting us know where we had to be when and always on time meeting us at airports etc. The guides and drivers were excellent and were always more than happy to chat.

The weather in the Lake District was a little disappointing but that's just one of those things. So we probably didn't come away feeling that we had really got the most out of that part of the trip. There was even too much rain for some of the water-based activities such as canyoning that we tried to book onto! But we did eventually see the top of Volcan Osorno on Day 3 and we did make it to the penguin colony on Chiloe which was worth the trek.

Patagonia, both Chilean and Argentinian was spectacular. We had a great time at Ecocamp and just as we had been unlucky with the weather further north, we were probably rather lucky whilst in Torres del Paine. We managed the trek up to the Towers and reached them in glorious sunshine - fantastic photo opportunities. And we also had a really clear day for our trip round the park and to the Grey glacier, albeit somewhat windy! In fact, although we knew it would be windy at times in Patagonia I don't think we were quite prepared for how constant a feature it is. Perhaps that might be something you warn future travellers of as I was definitely glad I had packed my woolly hat as an afterthought. Ecocamp was great fun - we really enjoyed meeting other travellers and sharing our days excursions with them. It's amazing how quickly you build up a rapport. I know we had a debate with you about the suite domes versus standard domes when booking. Personally we have absolutely no regrets about saving substantial amounts of money and in return having communal bathroom facilities as these were perfectly acceptable and we're used to camping anyway. Because apart from the actual dome facilities all other services (food, excursions, guides, scenery) at the camp were identical. And the price differential was huge! We were a little surprised that there was no electricity in the standard domes (they don't make this clear on the Ecocamp website - but we managed to recharge camera batteries etc overnight in the communal domes) and that there was absolutely no internet access or mobile phone reception on site at all. Not that this was a problem in itself - it's actually quite nice to be completely cut off but we hadn't been aware beforehand and therefore had not been able to warn our family back home that this would be the case.

Our last few days in Argentina were also good. The Perito Moreno glacier is amazing. We particularly enjoying tramping around on it with crampons one of the highlights, not because it was particularly strenuous but it was rather a laugh. It's a good job we saw the Grey glacier first as otherwise it might have been an anti-climax after its Argentine cousin. And our final stop in Buenos Aires was also worth doing. The hotel there was in a great part of town for restaurants and cafes etc. It was just a bit of a trek to the tube. We did get a lot of benefit out of having a guide for half a day, probably not something we would have thought of doing, but he did assist us with reaching Boca on public transport, which we might have struggled to do otherwise, and was there to explain to us precisely what was going on in B.A. regarding current Argentine anti-British sentiment! There were lots of Union-Jack-burnings the night previously on the TV news, which caused us a bit of concern, but he was able to put our mind at rest and we certainly faced no hostility directed towards us.

In all it was a trip I will remember for a long time. For us I think we got the balance right between independent travel with some self-drive, yet having a lot of the other travel logistics taken care of for us. It was good to have some days activities pre-planned, but then to have others when it was up to us. The hotels were all of a more than sufficient standard for us and were generally well-located. The fact we speak Spanish came in useful on many occasions as we soon discovered that road signs were practically non-existent but that added to the sense of adventure. I can only reiterate how impressed we were with the local travel agencies out there who didn't put a foot wrong.

Thank you for your part in putting together our trip - again everything ran like clockwork and we got exactly what we had asked for. If we can ever swing another trip to South America (kids, work and money willing) then we'll definitely get back in touch.

Best regards

Liz

Just back from our fantastic trip to Argentina

Hi Andrew

Hope you are well. Just back from our fantastic trip to Argentina and I wanted to say Thank you for the wonderful arrangements. It was just one thing short of being perfect! (Not your fault!)

All the hotels were very good, particularly Helsingfors, which was all you promised and we'd hoped for. A wonderful place that we would not have discovered without you. For most of the time we had the place to ourselves too! Unfortunately we were unable to make it to the Blue Lagoon due to that unpredictable Patagonian weather and that was the only disappointment, but there you go can't have it all!

The guides, drivers and ground arrangements were first class: on time, well organised, thoroughly professional. Much better than the last ones I had in Argentina. We had a bonus of a full day tour on the day we went to Gaiman. We were only expecting that but we were also taken to Punta Tomba.

Aerolineas were the same as ever! Flight times changed etc. Travelling to Trelew from El Calafate was a bit of a nightmare as the flight times and routes changed but we made it!

I think June told you that the icing on the cake was seeing the orcas at La Ernestina. A lovely place very much a working home but if you do not like wildlife and wilderness I would not recommend it, there was a lot of sitting around waiting for the orcas. Juan the owner is of course a researcher and this, not tourism, is his priority. (He was still very welcoming of course and the place is well run, comfortable, clean with good food). They hadn't seen on orca attack all season, two films crews and other guests had been there for a couple of weeks with nothing. We hit the jackpot on our second afternoon - totally unexpected. We had five hours on the beach as one orca made his first ever attacks. 12 attacks with 7 successes. Very brutal but an amazing sight to see, especially when you consider that these are the only orcas in the world that do this and this was only the 13th orca that had seen doing it. We will never forget it.

So "Thanks" once again for your hard work and patience with all our concerns and queries. We are thinking that our next trip to South America might be to Brazil to the Pantanal combining it with a return to Valdes to see the right whales. I don't know if you cover Brazil but if you do let us know and we will certainly be in touch.

Best wishes

Elaine

Excellent Trip to Chile

Sorry that it's taken so long to follow up on our excellent trip to Chile. Here's a summary of our thoughts about the trip separated by location.

Atacama
+ hotel good; food good; reception staff helpful; guide Sevi (Severine - French) - very helpful, knowledgeable and good with clients. The excursions were good, with the exception of the Tatio geysers (disappointing, following quite a long drive early in the morning to coincide with the sunrise).

Petrohue
+ hotel location good (if isolated); food variable; had the best room in the hotel (end of season, so quiet) with excellent view and facilities; reception staff helpful;

- Excursions: these were pre-booked without consultation with us
- The guide (Mauricio) was very poor

Cerro Guido
+ Hotel: the location fine, despite being outside the park. The food, hospitality, accommodation and housekeeping excellent; would simply advise them to include some indoor photos on the website (as we didn't quite know what to expect, but were very pleasantly surprised on arrival).

+ excursions: excellent choice by the guide

+ guide: Pedro Moita was far and away the best guide of the trip - knowledgeable, entertaining, excellent English, utterly attentive to us and highly flexible. We suggest you request his services in future for all your clients.

Santiago : Hotel Orly
- First room was acceptable (but no lift access to that floor)
- Second room (at the end of stay) was small (especially the en-suite) and "tired" (decor, fittings & furniture)
- Breakfast was poor (poor quality, choice okay)
- We advise your using a different hotel

Cocha
+ always at the airports on time, easy to identify, seemed well organised, spoke good English

+ first guide (Jose) very good (knowledgeable and helpful) - if you can identify which Jose, would you pass this on to his manager (if he's an employee, as opposed to an independent like Pedro Moita).

Should you be asked by other clients, we thought that the day trip we organised ourselves to Valparaiso worked out fine - the Santiago subway system was cheap, clean, efficient and safe - in both Santiago and Valparaiso, we found people helpful and friendly.

All in all, we had a fantastic trip, so thank you for helping make it happen. We would have no hesitation in recommending you to others and using your company again.

Regards

Alison and Mark

Entire trip was fantastic

Hi Andrew,

Just a short note to say the entire trip was fantastic. Thanks for a great time, well organised, the whole trip went very well indeed. We really enjoyed Argentina, and the people you use were all keen to help us enjoy it.

Thanks again.

We will certainly use you for our next trip to South America.

Regards

Peter

Great Holiday, all the locations and accommodation you recommended were excellent

Andrew,

I was going to drop you a line today anyway. Great holiday, and all the locations and accomodation you recommended were excellent choices. All spot on. Thanks for looking at a possible change of plan towards the end of the trip. After a day of rain on arrival in Bariloche, the sun came out for 5 days, so all was good.

I would definately recommend Optimundo.

As a suggestion for future clients:

1) I don't think people need a guide if staying at The Sheraton. It's easier to make your own way in to the park. We waited for the guide until 10am and could have more usefully walked in to get the first train to the main falls at 8am. That's the advantage of staying in the Sheraton. Wasn't a problem, but guide not neccessary, as there's nothing to commentate on. Just tell guests to report to Conceierge at Sheraton for advice. And the room we were in had fantastic views. Incidentally, people we met spoke very highly of the Orient Express owned hotel on the Brazilian side.

Local tip - see Brazil side in the am, as the sun is in best position then - ie not in your eyes, but shining on the Argentina side.

2) Costa Petit is a great location. Peume Hue is out of this world.

3) The trip to the Missions is in hindsight too far. 3 hours there, 3 hours back. 1 1/2 hour visit. Glad we saw it, but wouldn't do it again or suggest it to others.

A

We had a fantastic holiday

Hi Andrew

Thought I would let you know that we had a fantastic holiday. Everything went to plan as carefully organised by you. All the guides were very helpful and fun and all the flights (and bus) were on time! We were the first guests of Casa Atacama to reach the summit of El Toco - caused quite a stir!

Many thanks.

Morag and Paul

It surpassed our expectations by a wide margin

First of all Andrew let me say how much we enjoyed our holiday in Chile. It surpassed our expectations by a wide margin. We really appreciated your recommendations and the way the itinerary was put together, including the integration of our birding trip with Fantastico Sur.

So all in all a great trip, with no major problems apart from the flight connection issue. Thank you again for helping to sort that out. We could have done with fewer early starts, missing breakfast, but considering the distances we travelled, I guess there's no alternative. I wouldn't use Sky again, not because of the problem we had, they just seem to have less back up compared to LAN and the planes are pretty old!

We look forward to visiting Chile again, and when we do we'll be in contact. When I've finally sorted out all my photos, I'll send you a link so you can see what we were up to.

Many thanks and kindest regards,

Andrew & Jackie

Thank you for your help

Hi Andrew

Just to report that we are all safely back in UK after a great trip - thank you for your help while we were away.

Angela

Great times

Hola,

Overall I had a great time and I loved it. And food was amazingly good!!

....great time, great hols, great scenery, great food and great people...nothing else I can say!

Except, I am looking forward to planning next year hols....and again in that part of the world because I am becoming a big fan of latin america!
Thinking of Ecuador or Easter island combined with either Tahiti or some places in Chile....
I dont believe you organise Ecuador?

Many thanks for this unforgettable trip.

Saludos

Meredith

fantastic honeymoon and absolutely loved Chile

Andrew, we had a fantastic honeymoon and absolutely loved Chile and we may well return :)

1. All the services we had were excellent, everyone really friendly and helpful and on time etc. We were delighted with all the hotels and places we stayed. The only issue we had was that no-one from Tierra Atacama picked us up at the airport. Luckily I had their number was able to phone them and they arranged for a taxi to take us there from Calama - they were picking up a large group and forgot about us. This wasn't an issue as we actually got there at the same time as the group and the people at the hotel were hugely apologetic (the complimentary champagne helped !). Actually, TieraAtacama is probably top of our list of where we would go back to first.

2. The holiday exceeded both our expectations. I was concerned about the amount of travelling time we had but it wasn't a problem and never seemed too tiring.

3. Absolutely.

Best wishes,

Ewan

Wonderful Trip

Dear Andrew,
I've been back a little more than a week.
Wonderful trip. Highlights: Easter Island. Huilo-Huilo (the rain forest in the depths of winter), crossing from Chile to Argentina, Bariloche and the falls and the ruins of the 17th century Jesuit missions in Argentina.
Best,
Tom

very professional and helpful

Dear Andrew

Thanks for the follow up.Our feedback is as follows

Lima tours has proved to be very professional and helpful.

They were always on time. As soon as they were informed about the strike they immediately organized the plane for free to let us get to puno without delay. They also offered an extra tour in puno for free as the guide is cusco did not perform well and skipped one of the included sites. Furthermore they sent to Porto Maldonado the baggage which we did not received in lima at the arrival.

So local agency was definitely fine

Hotels

Lima: casa andina private collection was a bit a disappointment.
Porto Maldonado: inkaterra was very good, the guides competent, the tours they offered nice
Cusco: The best we had in peru was the monasterio. A real luxury hotel! The libertador in cusco was very good but definitely a class lower compared to the monasterio.
Sacred valley: Sol y Luna was very nice and much better than expected
Puno: the Libertador is the best one can get there. A class lower than the the libertador in cusco but the location and the view of the lake was beautiful
Paracas: also this hotel was much better than expected, maybe problematic when full as privacy in the room can be an issue and the restaurant appears not to be able to cope with a high number of guests
In summary a part from casa andina all the rest was great

We had a great vacation! Thanks for organizing it for us

Ciao

Thanks again - an amazing holiday!

Hi Andrew
Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you: We had an absolutely superb time! The helicopter ride was an extra bonus. There was a mud slide behind us, and in front of us the mountain was disintegrating - huge boulders were tumbling down the mountain like ping-pong balls! We were transfixed - never seen anything like it!
Mountain Lodges of Peru are a really superb company. The lodges are simple, but very comfortable, the food was excellent and the staff amazing - never met friendlier or more helpful people. The attached photo was taken at the first lodge (Salakantay) were we couldn't believe our luck: a hot tub jacuzzi outside, just under the glacier, was just the thing to take out the aches from the joints after a hard hike. Just fantastic. I cannot recommend the company enough. The guides were unbelievably knowledgeable and knew just how to handle all the altitude problems (which we all had). The best!
The jungle was also everything we had hoped for - again, excellent staff and guides, and great being at such remote places. The lodges were comfortable, and the guides accommodated the hikes easily to our needs and the frequent downpours.
So thank you for you another wonderful holiday!

Thanks again - an amazing holiday!
Kind regards
Chelsia

thank you for the excellence of the arrangements

FAO Andrew

We have now returned from our S America trip and I want to thank you for the excellence of the arrangements you made on our behalf - tours/. guides/hotels/the lot!. Everything went very smoothly and I must add our appreciation of the pick-up arrangements too. Even when we were badly delayed inot the small hours by one flight I was able to phone your rep. and he was there!

So thank you. You have my full recommendation.

Best regards

Campbell

We got back last night from a fantastic holiday

Dear Andrew,

We got back last night from a fantastic holiday.

I hope that you were not involved in the earthquake in Chile, as I thought you might be there at that time. We were in Buenos Aires when the first one struck, and although it was recorded there, we felt nothing. I feel very sorry for the Chileans.

I would say that our holiday exceeded my expectations. The places we visited in Argentina and Chile had stunningly beautiful and had wonderful wildlife. All our guides were charming, had excellent English and were very informative. All the guides were punctual when meeting us at the airports and even the rather complicated border transfer into Chile to visit the Torres del Paine National Park was carried out very efficiently.

All the hotels we stayed in were very comfortable and some of them were outstanding for food and character. We loved the lighthouse at Punta Delgada which has a lot of charm and the staff are very friendly. Las Hayas at Ushuaia is very comfortable. The Cerro Guido estancia at Torres del Paine is very special and gives you a very good idea of how a working sheep ranch is run - and the food is great. Peuma Hue estancia is just Heaven, we found it really difficult to leave and come back to reality. The Elevage is very comfortable and very conveniently situated, only a few streets away from Ave. Florida for last minute shopping. The only hotel we did not like very much was the Hotel Imago in El Calafate, which we think is rather a triumph of design over comfort. It looks very nice, but the staff are rather offhand, the room was too hot, the swimming pool is like a hot bath, and the menu in the restaurant is so limited and so bad that most people take the shuttle bus into town every evening. I think you should find a new hotel in El Calafate.

We would definitely recommend your company for a holiday in South America, as you obviously know the countries well and managed to tailor the holiday very well to our specifications. My husband really enjoyed his fishing on the Rio Grande and in the Bariloche area. All the other activities were great fun and I even persuaded my husband to go on a horse, something he has not done for 30 years. We are now thinking that we would like to go to the north of Argentina as well, but we are not sure when.

Many thanks for all your hard work in organising what has been a very enjoyable holiday for both of us.

Best regards,

Stella & Ian

the services provided by Optimundo were excellent

Hi Andrew,

We had a wonderful time in Argentina and the services provided by Optimundo were excellent. The drivers were always on time and, surprisingly, so were the internal flights. Everything worked smoothly. Some highlights and suggestions listed below:

Tours:

We were a bit surprised that Optimundo had tours scheduled for us in BA because we thought we had agreed that we would be on our own in the city, and the itinerary you sent didn't say anything about tours. But, the guide who picked us up at the airport insisted that was not the case, and we were picked up the next morning at the hotel for a city tour and then later for a drive to and boat trip at Tigre. It turns out the city tour was a great addition to our trip. Our guide, Ignacio, was quite knowledgeable, and it was an excellent way to be introduced to the city. We could have skipped the Tigre boat trip, but it wasn't excessively long, so we were fine with it. We did skip the Tango show - we thought we had made it clear to the guide that we didn't intend to go, but apparently they sent over a driver to pick us up and left a message at the hotel asking why we weren't there.

El Calafate:

Hotel - Eolo: Beautiful.

Tours:

The Perito Moreno Glacier tour/boardwalk hike was very interesting. Our guide, Paula, knew lots about the history of the area and we really enjoyed her company. As noted below, however, it's not clear that we needed a guide for this tour.

The 7-hour boat ride to see other glaciers the following day was way too long and pretty dull. We would have skipped that.

Mendoza:

Hotel - Cavas Wine Lodge: Lovely; great service.

While Optimundo was not responsible for our tours, we'll give you some general thoughts since you probably book the same type of tours for others.

Argentina Expeditions - rafting and trekking. The rafting was lots of fun. The trek was dull - the guides were young kids, mostly from other countries, who knew nothing about the area and offered no commentary on the flora or fauna. Eight of the twelve trekkers were also rappelling, so we slogged to the rappelling point for an hour, sat for an hour while they rappelled, and then slogged back essentially the same way we came. Annoying.

Wine tours - 6 wineries in two days might be a bit much, but we enjoyed all of them. The lunch at Melipal was excellent.

We had dinner most of the nights at Cavas, which was quite good. One night we went to a restaurant called Las Negras, which was not very good.

Regards,

Pete

The holiday was beyond our expectations!

Hi Andrew!

I was about to write you. Have a wonderful 2010! About your questions, here we go:


1) Were any of the guides, hotels or other services a disappointment?

The guides were really excellent, in Santiago and in Mendoza. They were very professional, friendly and did everything to make sure our trip went as we expected.

The hotels were good. May be the hotel in Santiago could be better located (more central) and the bedroom was too hot (the air condioning was really old and noisy!).

2) Did the holiday meet your expectations?

The holiday was beyond our expectations! My parents and I were very happy with all the services provided. Our trip was wonderful. I really loved all the places we've visited. Mendoza is a great region and the visits to the wineries met all my expectations. Our guide was a wine connaisseur, which enriched a lot our visits. The tour to Aconcagua was great! Beautiful landscape!

3) Would you recommend Optimundo to a friend?

Absolutely! Everything went well, from the first e-mail to the trip itself. Your answers/information were very prompt and the itinerary proposed matched what we wanted.

I'd like to thank you for everything. For my next trip to Chile and Patagonia, I'll surely contact you.

Best regards,

Simone

Definitely whetted our appetite for more Chile

Andrew,

We did have a great time, thanks.

Hotel Bonaparte was very nice, we had a mix of rooms on the three occasions we stayed, some a little better than others. The service there was very friendly and despite being a little way out, it was a good location for us.

The cycling wine tour from Santiago was a real highlight for us. It was very well organised and informative. It was great that it was only us two on the tour and the guys who run it are really enthusiastic. I would certainly recommend you using it again and suggesting it to people as it was much better than a coach tour to CYT. The wineries we saw were small and personal and the winemaker we met on the last one, the organic vineyard, was an absolute delight. They were also very generous with the wine and the lunch was great.

Hotel Solace in Puerto Varas was beautiful. Very luxurious and modern with great style. Food in the restaurant was great too.

Hotel Baobab was unbeatable, as soon as we arrived we wanted to stay longer. It was empty as well so we had tours and spa facilities virtually to ourselves. Trouble with it was the getting there. We looked for directions on the internet and they are very few and far between. We eventually found out where it was and set off on a journey across ever deteriorating roads only to be told at the end that the last bridge had collapsed and we could not get through that way and we had to turn round and drive all the way back. The road we were then directed to turned out not to open until 6 pm so in the end we had a very long trip round to get there. May be worth highlighting this to others who are self driving.

Although out of town Antumalal was worth it - so well designed and very friendly.

After all the great hotels O'Tai was very disappointing.

All meet and greets were superb - on time and friendly.

Definitely whetted our appetite for more Chile.

Thank you,

Emily

we had a fantastic holiday in Argentina

Andrew,

Just to report that we had a fantastic holiday in Argentina. Thank you for all the bookings and arrangements that you made.

I report back favourably on almost everything:

Edgar did us a very nice city tour on our arrival.

Own hotel was very nice and Barbara very good and informative. Obviously lots of restaurants nearby but it was a good 20 minute walk to the tube though.

Lola hotel a bit more quirky but really very nice (though the ladies there are MAD!). It's actually very convenient for the tube and there are a number of restaurants nearby so we didn't have an issue with its location.

Peninsula Valdes - obviously a big hotel/chain but very good service. Roger Rhys, the main local guide, was also very good.

Patagonia Rebelde - had a really nice feel to it and the people were very friendly and helpful.

Las Piedras - basic but very nice and very friendly.

The only disappointment was that on the day we were due to do the whale watch (14th), it was too windy and we couldn't go. I was expecting a refund for the boat trip element ($125 per person?) but they advised that I would need to claim this from you. Can you please confirm.

Thanks and regards

Catherine

Overall, the holiday met with our expectations

Dear Andrew,

Thanks very much for your email. We did, indeed, enjoy our trip and there are certainly an number of memories that will stay with us for a while to come.

Overall, the holiday net with our expectations and the Atacama sector exceeded them.

We would recommend your services to anyone we know who was contemplating a visit to Argentina/Chile.

I hope that the above is of some assistance to you.

Regards

Peter

Needless to say we had a simply wonderful time

Hi Andrew
I am really sorry it has taken me so long to reply to your last email - there has just been so much to catch up on, and then I wanted to send some pictures, which meant sorting through the more than 1000 I took!
Needless to say we had a simply wonderful time. We are very grateful to you for arranging it all and, more than that, for re-arranging it all after that disastrous start! Luckily, after that it all went smoothly.
The guides were fantastic. All were different, and all were great characters, so we had a great time in each place for different reasons. The scenery was just great - more than was expected, and I would be hard pushed to say what was best, though perhaps it was the Torres del Paines and the Atacama. However we did enjoy the quirky Chalten - it was the only place where the accommodation surprised us a little, but the odd-ball characters in the place more than made up for it, and we loved all the walking, and the fact that everyone there was equally keen on getting up into the mountains. What a place!
I do have to mention the gin and tonics - I don't think it is a drink the locals mix often, because from Torres del Paines to the Atacama we were served 80% gin with 20% tonic - enough to make any place memorable - or rather not, on the morning after !!!

We loved the people, especially the Chileans, who seem such a gentle folk. If I had to live somewhere other than London, it would probably be Santiago.

Thank you so much for all you did - the itinerary was well planned - although we spent a lot of time on planes, we did see and experience a lot, so all was worth it. You have excellent contacts - we had great service to and from airports, not to mention the wizard who found our luggage. Everyone was very polite and helpful, and offered more than simply a transport facility. They were well-informed and so keen to share their obvious pride in their country.

I think you gave us a terrific service - I have already recommended you to friends, and will no doubt contact you in the future when we plan the next visit to see everything we couldn't fit in this time

Thanks again so much

Kind regards

Chelsia

The whole holiday was a fantastic success

Andrew, sorry it has taken a few days to write this to you but we have been rather busy workwise since returning home!

Well, to start, many thanks for all your help in arranging our fantastic holiday. Everything about it was excellent. Also many thanks to go to Cocha for all the punctual pickups and great drivers and guides.

The flights were all fine. We actually had no complaints about our trip out with Iberia contrary to some reports! The flight back with Lan was also very good. You are right, it is a good service, modern fleet and they also had very comfortable FLAT beds!

I hope you might appreciate some feedback on the different parts of the trip.

The Atacama was great, wish we could have stayed longer. The Alto Atacama was also probably our favourite hotel overall although all were very good. The food and wine were some of the best we had. The hotel itself is in a fantastic setting and so much built in tune with the surrounding environment. All guides at all hotels were excellent and the trips offered very good.

All hotels were exceptionally quiet, we were the only 2 at the Alto Atacama for the first night! We were joined by 4 more guests for the next few days and the owner!

The Hotel Orly was very good too, lots of character compared to other hotels in Santiago. We also appreciated 2 nights there to get to see some of the city.

Quincho was lovely as expected, again we had a lovely guide, Alex,and the scenery (not the weather!) was great there too.

Patagonia was very interesting too and we had some good trips there. The Remota ! well the night we arrived there was a big French group there and the hotel and ambience did remind me of a busy Youth Hostel I had stayed at in Rome once!! Actually the hotel is great, definitely grows on you and very different architecturally. The food here was surprisingly very good, drinks flowed very freely! After the first night it was also extremely quiet, only 8 - 10 guests.

The wine district was beautiful , hot and sunny and the Casa Real a real gem. We had an amazing suite with 7 rooms in it! Again, very quiet only 6 guests. Could have stayed there much longer! We were slightly wary of the cost of the dinners as your note had mentioned, but in fact dinner is only $65 and obviously includes all the wines and other drinks, so no complaints there.

Lastly, Vallparaiso was very interesting to see and with an excellent guide, Claudia. .

The Isla Secla was very nice, a typical seaside hotel, well chosen! Unfortunately the sun didn't shine here but was a good wind down before the trip home anyway. Food wasn't great but you are a bit of a captive clientele as 2 lovely looking restaurants on the beachfront would only take cash, and at this stage of the holiday we had neither Dollars nor Pounds left to exchange, only credit cards. Might be worth a mention to future clients as the restaurants did look good.

The whole holiday was a fantastic success, incredibly diverse scenery and climate, lovely accommodation, not a single bad meal and no hint of tummy trouble! and we ate everything!

Will definitely recommend you to anyone we know!

Many thanks again

Carolyn and Steve.

I would like to congratulate you for the perfect organisation

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your enquiry. I would like to congratulate you for the perfect organisation and excellent accommodation provided. The guides provided were excellent. A special recommendation goes for Maria Jose Eguiguren, manager of the Remota hotel in Torres Del Paine,for the personal attention and help provided .I have travelled to many parts of the world and very few managers match her standards of hospitality.

Both my wife and I consider our holiday in Patagonia to have been one of the best

I would be delighted to receive information re tours which your company provides.

Anthony

Just to say that we had a wonderful trip.

Dear Andrew,

Just to say that we had a wonderful trip.
Many thanks for the wonderful locations and hotels you sent us to. We had the trip of a lifetime, especially the Atacama.

Peter overcame his dislike of Cabanas Il Belvedere after we had met up with some very hospitable Argentineans and after we had explored the coastline north of Punt Del Este which is deserted, with lovely fresh water lagoons

Best regards

Jenny

It truly was a trip of a lifetime and one we will never forget

Dear Andrew,
Sorry for the delay in getting in back to you. It was always our intention to contact you on our return to thank you for organizing our amazing trip. It truly was a trip of a lifetime and one we will never forget. Every aspect of our trip exceeded our expectations. We would both particularly like to highlight our first class experience at hotel Kunza!! The accommodation, food and service are clearly exceptional. However, it was really the views and the topography of the region that were unforgettable!! It was a complete surprise to find such diversity in the dessert and unlike anywhere we have visited before! The activities offered at Kunza were brilliant and tailor-made for your fitness and interests. It was a great surprise to be able to a climb to 5600 metres !! Our transfers and travel itinerary was clearly well thought out and despite covering large distances it never felt tiring.

With sincere thanks
Best wishes
Sarah & David

Thank you so much for the amazing job you did in organising our honeymoon

Hi Andrew,

Thank you so much for the amazing job you did in organising our honeymoon - it was absolutely perfect. The hotels were all great, the tours excellent and we met some really lovely people. Everything worked like clockwork, which considering how many different places we visited was no mean feat!
Kind regards,
Julia

I have no comments on the overall organisation other than Excellent.

Hi Andrew

You'll be glad to hear that I really enjoyed by trip. I have to confess that I had no idea that Chile is such a diverse and wonderful country.

Best hotel - Quincho

Best food Quincho followed by Eleo

Friendliest staff - Eleo

Best Excursions - Alto Atacama

Best guide - Cerro Guido followed by Alto Atacama

Drivers and transfers all worked fine - so I have no comments on the overall organisation other than Excellent.

Hope this is helpful

Sara

We had an amazing trip from start to finish

Andrew,

Now we are back and settling into work again I just wanted to drop you a line to say a huge thank you for all the planning and work that went into our holiday. We had an amazing trip from start to finish and this was a great deal to do with the organisation your end. We always felt very well looked after and we didn't have to worry about anything.

All the reps and guides we met were superb and very helpful. We were particulary impressed by Norberto from Rumba Sur in Ushuaia. He was great fun and gave us lots of advice on what to do with our free time.

The balance of time in each location was also excellent (although we would have loved to have stayed longer in each one). Thank you, and we will be in touch next year to plan a similar jaunt to Chile!

Hope you have a good festive season.

Regards,

Martin

Everything exceed our expectations

Hello Andrew,

We had a great time in Argentina. Iguazu falls and the glaciers are the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. We were very happy with all the hotels, guides, and services. All of our guides were friendly and informative. Everything exceed our expectations--and we have already recommended Optimundo to friends and co-workers!

Thank you for a wonderful trip.

Sincerely,
Nicole

The holiday exceeded our expectations

Hi Andrew
You beat me to it, I was going to email and let you know that we had a fantastic time. Everything went very smoothly, all the guides were fantastic and even the weather was lovely.

In answer to your questions:

1) There were no disappointments at all, the guides were very knowledgeable and the hotels were just what we needed. The Antumalal was particularly wonderful, they upgraded us to a private cabin which despite the intermittent lack of hot water was great.

2) The holiday exceeded our expectations

3) Definitely, I already have.

Thank you for all your help making our holiday and my Dad's birthday very special.

I hope you enjoyed your birthday and our call didn't affect your day. I didn't get your message but it didn't matter.

Thanks again, kind regards

Jennifer

The trip was great

Andrew

Hope you don't think I forgot about you. The trip was great, Santa Rita and the Explora on Easter Island were outstanding and definitely the highlight of the trip. The rest of the hotels were good too but obviously had to compete with the memories of the aforementioned. The weather was also kind to us although did go a bit freaky in Patagonia which I understand there is normal.

Many thanks, maybe Argentina in two years!

Cheers, and thank you so much again.

Julie

We had a fabulous time with no hic-cups at all.

Andrew, thanks for the e-mail.

We had a fabulous time with no hic-cups at all.

The guides were generally very good, but I would like to emphasis that the ones in Iguazu and Buenos Aires were excellent.

The guide who took us back to the airport at Calafate could have shown more enthusiasm and it would have been helpful if she had warned us of the local departure tax before we had exchanged all our money (the guide in Buenos Aires warned us of the departure tax there).

Of the hotels, the one in Puella was disappointing in terms of the room, the staff and the food. In retrospect, I would advise people not to stop-off and make the journey to Puerto Varas in one go.

The Jose Nogueira in Punta Arenas and the Astoria Palace in Rio both had small rooms but were fine for one night.

The Amerian in Iguazu gave us an upgrade to a suite which was well appreciated. The Posada Los Alamos at Calafate has very good facilities but the top three for us were the Design Suites (Bariloche), the Puelche (Puerto Varas) and the Indigo (Puerto Natales). All these three were fantastic places to stay and we would recommend them.

In answer to your other points, yes the holiday met our expectations and we would certainly recommend Optimundo to anyone.

Thanks again for putting the trip together and we hope to be able to use your company again.

Martin

everything worked out well

Andrew,
Yes. everything worked out well. But the Iguazu/BA/Atlanta/Bermuda journey took 24 hours, door to door, including layovers.
BA pickup both ways by Patricia was fine.
We decided to do the afternoon jungle falls walk with Wilson (tour guide). We also decided to use him for the Brazil falls trip the following morning. He was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.
The other guide, Eddy, picked us up from the Sheraton for the return journey.
Iguazu was much cooler than we were expecting.
No issues to report; everything was fine.
Thanks for the follow-up. Pity we didn't have enough time to do the Mendoza trip. Maybe next time.
Ian

this will surely be part of the top 3 trips we ever made

Hi Andrew,

Happy New Year and all the best to you, too!!!

Sorry for the delay but after a 3 week holiday, return to work is always hard :-) !

We wanted to get back to you anyway, just to confirm that we really enjoyed our trip and that this will surely be part of the top 3 trips we ever made (it's impossible to say that this was the "best", as, once you got the "travelling bug or fever", all trips are different and all generate unforgettable memories!).

1) Were any of the guides, hotels or other services a disappointment?

Not at all! Off course there are some guides which you might like better, but no one has ever let us down or gave us any reason to be disappointed, so we don't want to point out anyone: all were perfect.

Regarding hotels, I would say that the only one where we were a little bit disappointed with service standards was ... the Ritz in Santiago, but this just means that all other hotels have exceeded our expectations, especially the Remota lodge in Puerto Natales, which is absolutely great and we really would have liked to stay longer (especially as we did the trekking to the base Torres on the 1st day and then had to rest our legs for the remaining days!). We also like to mention that we really liked the food (and wine) that we got in the hotels, on the ship and during the excursions. It was very surprising that not only the food had an excellent taste, but that the presentation and service were of high standard (Terratai lodge for example!!)

2) Did the holiday meet your expectations?

It actually exceeded our expectations, which however is not only due to your "work" (if we may say so ;-)), but also related to the friendliness of the people, the absolutely breath-taking nature, the weather conditions that we experienced, the hotels, guides and drivers during our trip and even the food that we had in our hotels or during our excursions.

We are really impressed by these two countries and are willing to improve our Spanish language knowledge for our next trips to South America!

3) Would you recommend Optimundo to a friend?

Yes, without any restrictions!!!!

Thanks again for making this possible!!!

So, that's it, another good moment in our life is over, fortunately there will be photos and memories for ever!

And back to work again, in order to finance our next trips! Maybe you can let us know if you have something new (other countries?) or special in your program, as we really wouldn't mind organising another trip through Optimundo!

Best regards

Arlette and Frank

the arrangements went like clockwork, except...

Hello Andrew,

Just a note to say that we had a great time on our recent trip to Chile & Easter Island, many thanks.

All the arrangements went like clockwork, apart from a small hiccup when we flew back to Santiago from Easter island and the driver was waiting at international arrivals and we (and our luggage) came out of national!

The Bonaparte Hotel proved to be a good base in Santiago, with a good and reasonably priced restaurant. Although we quite like walking, it was a moderate distance to the restaurants in the centre of the Providencia district.

Easter Island was fantastic, we had a wonderful wedding anniversary visiting the moai quarry at Rano Raraku. We weren't quite so impressed with the 'box lunch' which was a full hot meal, which got cold very quickly in the strong breeze! We would have preferred a simple picnic. The O Tai Hotel was fine, although the breakfast was a bit basic. As the books say, you don't really go to Easter Island for the food, which is also expensive, unsurprisingly.

We did have a nice candlelit dinner on our anniversary because there was a power line down!

The wine tour was very good, our guide Ignacio Hewstone was excellent, very knowledgeable and interesting. The Hotel Santa Cruz Plaza was excellent, with more authentic food as well. We didn't really need the full lunches included, especially the one at Miguel Torres, which included 4 different glasses of wine - something of a struggle to stay sober!

Please don't think any of the comments are complaints, we are very happy overall, but thought you might like to know our thoughts. We'd say the best thing to change would be to make the included lunches lighter, but no doubt other people with larger appetites would say it's fine as it is!

You don't seem to include 'comments from satisfied customers' on you website, but if you wanted to, we'd be happy to provide some. We have already recommended Optimundo to a work colleague who was interested in our trip.

Once again, many thanks, Barbara and Paul

we had a great holiday

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for enquiry, we had a great holiday. Country ,weather and people were all I could expect.

The only disappointment was the hotel at Puerto Varas, Colonel del Sur, which was a late change and which we would not chose to stay in again.

Alta Atacama and Santa Cruz hotels and food were brilliant.

Otherwise all services were excellent although flight delays were a pain but out of your control and I guess have to be expected in a country the size of Chile.

We would recommend Optimundo.

Regards

Alan

enjoyed every moment of it

Hi Andrew

I had a superb holiday and enjoyed every moment of it.

Regrettably I have been ill since I arrived back

There were a couple of minor issues but other than that all the guides were excellent and the hotels certainly up to expectations

The minor points were

A The city tour was a bit of a non event we went to the palace and saw the changing of the guard then on the the superb museum and then drove to a shop a bet disappointing as I am sure Santiago has a lot more to offer.

B When we arrived at Santa CRuz no wine tours had been booked for that day and being a Sunday every thing was fully booked. The guide was marvellous and did eventually arrange two visits On the Monday every thing worked but actually only visited two of the bodegas on the itinery. The two not on the list that we visited instead were fine.

I stress these were minor problems and dealt with by the guides

Once again it was a superb holiday for which I thank you very much.

Regards

David

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Optimundo and the holiday was excellent.

Andrew,

First, thanks, it was a really great trip. To answer your last questions first I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Optimundo and the holiday was excellent.

I've run through the various elements below. The negative comments are not major, but it seems useful to pass them on as they may be useful to you.

i) Overall itinerary: great selection but with hindsight we probably tried to cover a little too much ground. Including the flights in and out we did a huge amount of travelling in 2.5 weeks and one fewer location would probably have been better. Might also have been good to have the flexibility of a hire car for a few days at some point to do a bit of exploring.

ii) Alto Atacama: virtually empty when we were there but seems like an excellent hotel. Food, wine, excursions all brilliant. Atacama region itself fantastic.

iii) Hotel Remota/Puerto Natales: again very good. Hotel very pleasant and food good. Guides not quite on level of Alto Atacama but still very good. Windows in bathroom an odd call though. Major question I have here is location. We travelled to the National Park two days of three, which was about 1 hour 30 each way. On balance I would probably have preferred to stay in the park if this is possible.

iv) Hacienda des Andes: again great hotel/location and great excursions. Tamaya vineyard trip was excellent and I would definitely you use them again if they are willing. I've hunted down a supplier of their wines in the UK.

v) Vicuna: pleasant town. Hotel Halley is a bit more basic but was fine. Observatory trip excellent.

vi) Punta des Choros: this was probably the only element that was not particularly good. Also the weather there was fairly grey and overcast, and I gather this normal. Would be lovely if the weather is good but there's not much to do there when it's not. Island trip was good but short so left plenty of time to fill.

vii) Vina de Mar: good place, and I also really liked Valparaiso - a bit more active. Hotel was solid as you would expect. Could easily have spent longer there.

My personal highlights were Atacama and Hacienda des Andes, with Torres del Paine a close third.

Thanks for your work, it was a great trip and sorry for having to call you on Christmas day. Hope the comments above are useful to you.

Cheers,
Nick

...we loved it all!

Dear Andrew
Just a brief note to let you know that we are back home having had the most wonderful trip. The organisation was superb and we enjoyed every place that we visited..very difficult to pick out a favourite as it was so varied...we loved it all.
Very many thanks from us all for arranging such an unforgettable trip.
with kind regards
Mary

We had an absolutely brilliant time

Andrew

We had an absolutely brilliant time. Chile is a wonderful country and we're now recommending it to lots of people we know! In answer to your questions below, I would say that our holiday did very much meet expectations and we would definitely recommend Optimundo to a friend because of how smoothly everything went. All of the guides were very friendly and the service was very efficient, all of our transfers pretty much turned up to itinerary and we have no complaints on that front, in fact we were very impressed.

Overall, we had a wonderful 3 weeks so thank you so much for organising everything so well. My partner absolutely fell in love with the Lake District and is even now thinking about buying some land around Lake Llanqihue (I think I've probably spelt that wrong!)!

Thanks again.

Lucy

it was a fantastic trip

Hi Andrew,

I will certainly write properly in the next week or so. In all it was a fantastic trip and we have recommended you to anyone who cares to listen, although people are getting bored of hearing about our amazing holiday already!

Thanks again and will be in touch soon.

Nick

We had a marvellous trip thank you

Dear Andrew

We had a marvellous trip thank you, and certainly felt grateful for some of your suggestions at the planning stage. Here are a few comments about the different components:

1. Puerto Varas

Plane journey and connection in Santiago went fine. Collected smoothly at Puerto Montt by driver/guide who was responsible for all our trips there - a nice man, but see below.

Wonderful welcome at Quincho Country Home - the outstanding hotel of the trip for all round comfort and attention. The people there were so friendly and the food so good we hardly wanted to leave. The weather was not so perfect and for the first couple of days we were worrying that we wouldn't see the top of Osorno at all, but then it improved and we were happy. Thanks a lot for your recommendation of Quincho.

2. Easter Island

Casas Rapa Nui took excellent care of us, and from what we saw of the other tourist accommodation on the island we were glad to have stayed there. Once again the weather was below expectations (not just ours but the locals' too from their complaints and apologies). Nevertheless though it meant we walked less than we might have done we did see most of the key sights during dry spells.

3. Santa Rita

Pick-up at the airport very efficiently handled by Cocha and comfortable journey to Casa Real. Another triumph for you, thanks, as the hotel was marvellous and we hadn't heard of it before you mentioned it. Lucky for us that they were no longer on strike. It seemed a shame to be leaving so quickly as the atmosphere was so peaceful and the food so good, but we had more to do of course. Cocha again picked us up on time and took care of us right through to check-in.

4. Atacama

All went smoothly on this journey and the pick-up was trouble free. Lovely hotel again, so thanks again to you. Staff were again very friendly and helpful. Some things obviously still need doing there, as there were no phones in the rooms and poor mobile connectivity (thanks to its position between cliffs no doubt). There was no TV, but that was no real problem in such a beautiful place. Food and wine were again good and plentiful, with a special feature the marvellous buffet spreads they laid on for the full day trips. The hotel gardens obviously need some time to mature, but it was hard to fault anything else.

5. Valparaiso

We had a good tour of Valparaiso (and even liked Vina a bit more than we thought we would!) and a very pleasant lunch. Transit to the airport went perfectly smoothly and we were on our way home.

Iberia's business class wasn't bad, but not quite as good as the updated BA service, and on a particularly bumpy journey from Santiago to Madrid we were annoyed that their in flight entertainment system was malfunctioning. We were able to see the economy class programmes but none of the Business Class choice or other features such as games.

That's my report, which I hope is helpful. We wondered whether we were doing the right thing in using a travel company we knew nothing about apart from an attractive web site, but having tried Optimundo's service we'd be happy to recommend you to any friends who were thinking of visiting Chile. Your knowledge and advice helped us to some choices which definitely enhanced our enjoyment. Quincho was definitely the star, followed by Casa Real, then Alto Atacama. As for the locations I think the Atacama came top for its magnificent scenery, Easter Island was very interesting, and the Lake District only comes after them because of a combination of the slightly disappointing weather and the less extreme nature of its nevertheless beautiful scenery. I'm now biting my nails while I wait to see what my 600 slides look like when they've been processed.

Thanks again.

Robert

We had a fantastic holiday thank you.

Hi Andrew

We had a fantastic holiday thank you. There were a couple of hitches, delayed flights, delayed luggage but this can happen anywhere and didn't ruin our honeymoon.

To answer your specific questions:

1) Without fault all the guides were brilliant. We have never done a holiday like this before, we usually prefer to organize our own excursions and fend for ourselves, but we got so much more out of our time there thanks to the knowledge of the guides and it was great for a honeymoon not to have the hassle of organizing our time out there.

2) We didn't really know what to expect! I would say that we had a tight timescale and wanted to pack in as much as possible, but we may have underestimated how tiring this would be, and didn't have much down-time during the two weeks. No regrets, but we maybe hadn't anticipated that for example in El Calafate we would have to be up and ready for 7.15 two days on the trot! And with several flight delays we lost some relaxation time.

3) Would we recommend Optimundo? Definitely.

I hope this makes sense and is of some use to you and doesn't seem negative. We loved Argentina, and would love to go back one day to visit the places we couldn't this time around.

Thanks very much.

Louise

A fabulous job!

Andrew,

Sorry for the delay on this.
We both think that you did a fabulous job, from instant replies to our questions and understanding what we wanted itinerary-wise. We would definitely recommend you and Optimundo to anyone we know planning a trip to Chile.

Thank you so much for all of your help on the trip.

Monika

The holiday was excellent!

Hi Andrew,

The holiday was excellent! We had such a good time. All of the guides were outstanding, helpful, friendly and informative. They always arrived on time and made every effort to help us enjoy our time.

The only disappointment was the hotel Bonaparte in Santiago - not a great hotel. All the other hotels were excellent and were of a very good standard.

I would definately recommend Optimundo to anyone wanting to travel to Chile or Argentina.

Thank you so much for organising such a great holiday, we could not have asked for any more. It was great to have such good service - it is so rare these days.

Kind regards

Sally

I am quite satisfied - even delighted

Dear Andrew,

I am quite satisfied - even delighted - with the holiday. The guides were all good and the only hotel that was a tad disappointing was Antumalal at Pucon ... not in terms of general quality or facilities (both of which were good) but the way it was run. It had a more "amateur" feel than the other places and at times reminded me a little of Fawlty Towers. Also, I think a hotel actually in Pucon would give more flexibility without the need for taxi rides.

I did get to see the Explora hotel in the Torres del Paine park and stayng there (rather than the Remota at Puerto Natales) would certainly have allowed more time to see the peaks. I am not disappointed though ... the Remota is a top class hotel and is able to offer activities (such as the fjord cruise) that would not be as practical at the Explora.

I would definitely recommend Optimundo to a friend - and will be doing so.

By the way, I was a day late getting back because the LAN flight from Santiago to Sao Paulo was delayed by technical problems to the point where I and several other passengers could not make our onward connections. LAN Chile were very good about it ... offering us alternative routes, free overnight stays and re-booking through other airlines to ensure we still got where we needed to be. The only hassle was that they took 4 hours to decide that the aircraft could not fly.

Regards,

Steven

All in all one of our best holidays ever

Andrew,

I have more time now to provide you with a bit of feedback.

Summary

The trip was a great success. You got it just about perfect in judging & interpreting our requirements. All arrangements worked like clockwork. Only one delayed flight and that only by an hour.

Detail

Best Hotel: Punta Arenas, Cabo del Horno
Best Package: Remota, lovely people from the managers through to the guides, brilliant.
Best transfers from airport: Santiago where Cocha were spot on.
Best memories: So many, but Grey Glacier, Milidon Cave, Magdelana Island, Geyseys and salt flats in Attacama, Valparaiso, Neruda's House.
Best guides: good one for Santaigo city tour (Juan) all at Remota but one in particular at Tarantai (Jorge).
Best meal: Merlin Restaurant in Puerto Varas, German chef Richard ??, suberb meal of Wildboar in a honey source (wow).
Best wine: loved the Carmenere.
Best Beer: a red beer, local brew from Valdicia (German influence?).

All in all, one of our best holidays. We have already recommended you to several friends and will continue to do so.

May well return in years to come, maybe taking in bits of Argentina next time,

Many thanks,

Peter

Fantastically Organised

Dear Andrew;

First of all, I'd just like to say how fantastically organised the trip was, you seem to have thought of everything!

Our first four days at Remota were amazing! The food was fantastic, the wine was great (and included in the full board.) They even prepared delicious canapes with our pre dinner drinks! The rooms and architecture of the hotel was excellent. The excursions we went on were outstanding; the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and great fun; particularly Christian and Philippe. We're hoping to go back to Remota again, if we can ever afford it! It well exceeded our expectations. I would highly recommend Remota.

Our last day wine tasting with Daniel was great and we managed to bring 5 bottles back home with us. The observatory was really good too. However, I have to say we were both disappointed with the Hacienda, and I wouldn't recommend it. On the whole the trip was definitely worth it . They really were fantastic days! I would definitely recommend Optimundo to a friend.

Regards,

Melissa

the trip went very well

Andrew, back home again, the trip went very well, thanks for arranging it for us. ATP was represented very well in Buenos Aires by Trini Goyeneche of Tourism Solutions. She was very professional and personable and spoke excellent English. She was very prompt and took good care of us.

Regards,
Jim

back to the gloomy UK!

Andrew

Back to grey gloomy UK - ugh

will reply in detail but overall it was a great trip

Peter

we had an absolutely amazing holiday

Hello Andrew,

Thanks very much for your message. We were going to write to you anyway and so you have just prompted us into action.

We had an absolutely amazing holiday and both really enjoyed it. When we looked at the itinerary, we were a bit worried that we were trying to fit too much in and it wouldn't feel very relaxing because of all the travelling around, but it really was the opposite and the travelling really added to the experience. Our drive down the Carretera Austral was an adventure we'll never forget. We really enjoyed our climb up Villarrica volcano even though we didn't manage it to the top and the slide down again was great fun! Caleta Gonzalo was like Heaven on earth and we were really reluctant to leave. The Termas de Puyuhuapi were very relaxing and the sight of the San Rafael Glacier was fantastic! So as you can see, we've completely fallen in love with the country and feel we need to return at some point to see the rest of it!

To answer your questions:

1. The guides were all excellent and all the plans worked very smoothly and thank you for helping us when we thought we'd been abandoned in Coyhaique! The hotels were lovely, particularly Monte Verde in Pucon and the Cabanas at Caleto Gonzalo and all the staff were very friendly and helpful. The only feedback on this point I would give is that if you have other people who are driving to Mincho's lodge in Coyhaique it would probably be helpful to give them clearer directions to it.

2. The holiday more than met our expectations - see above!

3. Yes, I would recommend you to a friend. The service you provided has been excellent. Your knowledge of the country and suggestions for our itinerary were really helpful as we didn't really know where to start. You always responded promptly to our emails and (many) questions which was greatly appreciated and it was reassuring to have your phone number when we were there in case there were any problems. So, yes, all in all two very satisfied customers!

The Monday blues aren't too bad, we're putting together our photo album! It will be tomorrow when it really hits us when we return to work!

Thanks again for everything.

Best wishes,

Nicola and Andy.

Many Thanks

Thanks Andrew

You are, without doubt, the most efficient, supportive and knowledgeable agent I have ever worked with. I'm happy to be quoted on that!

Al

a fantastic trip that met all our expectations

Dear Andrew

Thank you for your welcome home. It was a fantastic trip that met all our expectations and we would certainly recommend you to friends.

We loved the Awasi and were very well looked after but, in retrospect, would have liked a couple of days more there as there was so much we could have done. On our last day we went up into the Altiplano to the Salar de Tara which was an amazing trip and we actually saw vizcacha.

As you indicated the Quincho was wonderful and we absolutely loved it. We had a lovely guide and driver, Cristina and Catin, who gave us a marvellous time. Particularly memorable was our trip to Chiloe where seeing the penguins, sea lions and sea otters was the high point. But the entire stay has given us great memories - every day was packed with interesting activities.

We had an extremely good room at the Remota with a stunning view but if we have one quibble it is with the way they organised the activities and it is something you may like to take up with them.

Of course, we had been incredibly spoiled by our experiences at the Awasi and Quincho.

We enjoyed Santiago and loved Zapallar. For some reason the guide in Santiago changed the start of our tour to the afternoon from the morning (ostensibly to watch the sunset from San Cristobal but, of course, the sun sets far too late at this time of year). This meant that we had already seen many things of interest before he picked us up and we took ourselves to San Dominico and Neruda's house the following day.

Many thanks for arranging eveything so efficiently.

Best wishes

Jenny

we had a great time

Hi Andrew
Thanks for organising the trip we had a great time.
Enclosed are the answers you asked for.
1) Generally very good - one guide did not turn up as you know, but a trip was arranged for us - the accommodation in Easter Island had no air conditioning and quite basic - I would have expected air con in the tropics.
2) Yes - we were very impressed with Chile and our short stay in Argentina - both fascinating countries - we also had a great cruise with excellent weather.
3)Atacama - amazing - Easter Island and glacier climbing also great.
4) Yes

All the best.

Keith

I will certainly be recommending Optimundo

Dear Andrew

Yes, thank you we enjoyed our holiday in Argentina very much.

All of the hotels recommended were good and the staff were friendly and extremely helpful everywhere we stayed.

Unfortunately on arrival in Buenos Aires, after a very long 13 hr over night flight there was no driver or guide to meet us. I found this particularly distressing as I felt vulnerable after travelling long haul overnight and arriving into a country I had never visited before.

I telephoned the local agent using the emergency numbers you supplied. There seemed to be some confusion and the agent told me that I should wait outside the airport. I refused to do this stating that I had paid to be met in the arrival hall and was not prepared to go wandering around the airport - after all there were several people there with name placards meeting other travellers.

A driver arrived after ~ 1 hour and took us to the hotel. The guide (Estella) was at the hotel when we arrived and explained that she had had a really busy morning so they couldn't send anyone to meet us. NOT MY PROBLEM!

She was no better the following day, we were supposed to get a half day tour of Buenos Aires. It was clear that she was not really interested and wanted to get rid of us asap! The tour was disappointing and was certainly not half a day - we were left at the Recoleta with a rough idea of what we could find in either direction. (Maybe she needs a career change!)

The other guides were excellent throughout the rest of the trip and couldn't do enough for us.

The holiday was far better than I expected, its such a diverse country and it seems every day presented a new experience. The wildlife of course was amazing. I also thought that we made the right decision changing our stay from Bariloche to Esquel - same mountain range, beautiful lakes and scenery and NO other tourists! Brilliant.

The main highlights were:

Iguazu - breathtaking - superb hotel very relaxing

Mendoza - excellent winery tour and good choice of wineries (Alto Vista, Trapiche and Familia Zucchardi) lunch at Zucchardi was excellent.

Esquel - the beauty and sheer remoteness of the national park. The guide was very informative and helpful.

El Calafate - The hotel was great and the staff brilliant. The town is very touristy which was disappointing but ok because the national park and Perito Moreneo were stunning, something that will stay in our memories for a long time.

Puerto Madryn - We arrived at the hotel after a 4 hour flight delay (2 a.m.) and were put into what I can only described as a box. We were so tired that we went straight to bed. The following morning we complained at reception and asked to be moved. The girl said she would move our things to a large sea front room while we were on our excursion to the Pennisula Valdes - this was done and all was fine. Maybe you need to make sure that they don't do this to your clients in future though.

Pennunsula Valdes - There are no words to describe this place its just beautiful, a long drive but well worth it.

Punta Tombe - As above really, the state governor was visiting in the morning and the guide suggested that we leave our visit until the afternoon. We explained that we were not interested to having Welsh tea at Gaiman so we visited the museum at Trelew and had a short tour of Gaiman in the morning and spent the afternoon and early evening a Puerto Tombe. This meant that we virtually had the place to ourselves and most of the big tour parties had left - fantastic. I think we saw more wildlife too as the noising tourists had left.

The only negative point in the whole trip was due to the unreliablility and incompetance of Aerolinos Argentinas. None of the flights were on time - the longest delay being 4 hours, there was no catering onboard the aircraft i.e. water only and a piece of cake regardless of time of day. Finally, it was total chaos everytime we flew into Buenos Aires. However, Jamie did warn me so it was not a suprise.


The service Optimundo provided was excellent and it was very reassuring knowing that the company knew of our every move and were monitoring the flights, pickups etc. However, I feel that either an english speaking driver and or guide at pickup and dropoff would have been beneficial (we had a misunderstanding in Mendoza and almost missed our flight). We have been used to this previously with other tour companies.

I will certainly be recommending Optimundo to anyone wanting to visit Argentina.

Regards
Christine

I had a lovely time in Argentina and all went smoothly

Hi

Sadly just got back!
I had a lovely time in Argentina and all went smoothly.
I really liked Salta and Estancia Dos Lunas. There I was the only guest....very peaceful, great food and staff.
And BA is a great city too
I gave your details to a lady aussie traveller.
I need to investigate whats next in South America....so surely will contact you again. Just curiosity: do you arrange Colombia? Cruise around Panama Canal?
Cheers and once more you arranged a great trip.
Best Regards

Meredith

We would definitely recommend Optimundo

Hi Andrew!
Our trip to the Atacama was terrific and certainly one of the highlights of our time in South America. All your arrangements were great. Our guide on the day we went to see the archaeological sites was an anthropologist and she and I had good conversations and I got an "inside view" of what is going on with the profession and politics in Chile. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to see the "mummies" in the museum in San Pedro, but heard the whole story about why they were removed -- and that was also very interesting as it parallels what has gone on in the USA with our indigenous peoples here.

The other highlight was the early morning trip to the geysers -- that was a great experience. We really liked the Hotel Altiplanico -- especially its architecture. We drove by the San Tomas, but really thought that the Altiplanico was much prettier. Whoever designed that place was very talented. Service was also superior. We got good recommendations about places to eat in town and found the whole staff very accommodating. Thank you for making the arrangements for us. We would definitely recommend Optimundo to friends and hope, in the future, to plan another trip with you!

Thanks again!
Joan and Sandy

The holiday exceeded our expectations

Hi Andrew

I apologise for the delaying in getting back to you. I thought I had replied and just found the email in draft.

In answer to you questions:

1) The holiday exceeded our expectations. We fell in love with Peru.
2) The MLP trek was wonderful. The main guide (Leo) was superb, very comfortable lodges and healthy plentiful fresh quality food, stunning scenery and varied trekking. We were pleased we decided to spend 3 days in Cusco - we found day 1 tough with the altitude but by the time we did the trek we felt fine and didn't suffer. The other 2 days in Cusco allowed us to get a good feel of the city and we experienced the Sun festival as a bonus! The suggested restaurant list was useful for the cities. We felt the time spent in Peru in each place was about right.
The
downtime in the Sacred Valley worked really well. Swimming with the turtles was our highlight in the Galapagos.
3) The only slight disappointment in Peru was when we first arrived at the Rio Sagrado hotel. Reception took a while to find our room key and to take us to the room, when we arrived the room was full of flies (they had cleaned the room at night with the door open) and the bed was very small (not much bigger than a single). We went back to reception to request a room change which they organised quickly, we ended up with a larger bed (king size I think) at higher elevation, we were very pleased with this room. In the Galapagos The Charles Darwin research centre was a bit underwhelming - we had already seen tortoises in the wild and at a breeding centre so to see them again in captivity wasn't really a new experience. The horseriding which was advertised on the itinerary didn't happen because they don't have insurance for it - my suggestion would be for them to remove it from their marketing materials.
4)Yes, I would recommend Optimundo to a friend. If we ever go to South America again which we very much hope we do, we would book again with Optimundo.

Thank you for all of your help in making it a very special holiday that we will always remember with a big smile.

Best wishes

Helen

We had an amazing time

Hi Andrew,

Just a quick note to say we had an amazing time in Chile. Everything was better than expected (except the weather). Will write to you with more details once we shake of the post-holiday blues.

Best Wishes,
Jane Hartfield

first class and five star all the way...thank you

Hi Andrew,
home safe and sound but we still have that "wish we were there" feeling.

1) Did the holiday meet your expectations?

Exceeded all our expectations

2) What were the main highlights?

we have agonised over this ...each and every location was special in itself...a classy itinerary packed with super sites...however Atacama has a slight edge due to it being so diverse.

3) Were you disappointed by any of the arrangements, tours, hotels or guides?

Generally the answer is no...not enough to detract from the overall experience... however I have submitted a resume detailing our overall impression and actual experience for each location which outlines some glitches which arose for your information and intended as positive feedback...

4) Would you recommend Optimundo to a friend?

Unreservedly and with pleasure through the confidence gained from our experience....it goes to show the value of good communications and gaining an insight into the prospective clients requirements, wish-list, timeframe and realistic budget.


BA - All arrangements were to plan....excellent guide... Hotel Fierro excellent with the added bonus of a superb restaurant, amazing food great value, unique. Hotel located a wee bit out of city centre but it suited us perfectly.

El Calafate - excellent , nice hotel and good food...very good guide...all arrangements to plan.....long bus transfer to Puerto Natales due to both boarder crossing formalities.

Remota -What a great and unique experience, a special hotel with its own special ethos and atmosphere in keeping with its cutting edge design...the staff here have to be amongst the best we have ever encountered on our many journeys... we were absolutely spoiled rotten as we were the only guest staying...so all activities etc on a one to one basis...guides were excellent very attentive and engaging...we were sad leaving not just the luxury but the Torres del Paine region has a special magic about it plus the landscape is stunning

Santiago - Rio Bidasoa ...adequate for our needs and duration of stay no lift could be bothersome for some...good safe neighborhood....great restaurants near by...landed by chance into a fish restaurant a few blocks away from hotel...a fellow diner was astonished that we were able to get a table without a booking as apparently currently it is top of the local reviews...has a sister restaurant downtown with a big reputation or so we were informed...possibly the best meal of our trip ....and that is high high praise indeed.
We did however experience a bit of a glitch with our "Santiago Cultural Tour" was not as outlined in your itinerary ....no visit to fish market nor lunch provided there as outlined...the tour , half day, was a drive around and part walking tour including changing of guard ceremony. it was clear to us that the handling agency appeared under pressure to meet other commitments and the location of our hotel seemed to stretch their resources to much to deliver a first class service... the guide / driver was pleasant enough but was constantly receiving calls from his office...it appears he was also doubling up as their operations manager during our visit. I did note the comment re the tour on their departure questionnaire.

Alto Atacama - a real gem, brilliant in all respects...guides very good very professional and enthusiastic to share their knowledge with us.... Carolina our guide when visiting the altiplano lagoons has to be the outstanding guide we encountered throughout our trip...a native of the San Pedro region...a very special person with a unique insight into the locality, the people and their customs / traditions and general way of life... she has to be the jewel in the Alto Atacama crown.

from Atacama to Cusco / Sacred Valley and then to Machu Picchu - was quite exhausting...a 4 am start in the Atacama, late arrival hotel in Lima 9 PM followed by another 4 am start in Lima to catch the flight to Cusco...this was not helped by an overbooking in the Sonesta El Oliver resulting in us being transferred to another hotel....

Sacred Valley - Sol y Luna .....excellent, guide excellent and same guy for Machu Picchu... lovely location and great food etc

Machu Picchu - a really special place ...we felt privileged to have experienced it...
however our transfer from Aqua Calliantes was very late in the afternoon with a 4:20 pm train departure as a result of which we did not arrive in the Aranwa Hotel until well after 9:30 PM and faced with another 4:30 AM call for flight transfer to Puerto Maldonado. The ambiance and character of what looked a splendid hotel was totally wasted plus we had no opportunity to stroll around Cusco...in hindsight a less salubrious hotel would have sufficed and possibly reduced our costs a bit...( having said that if i was ever back there Aranwa is where I would choose to stay)

Reserva Amazonia - excellent a wonderful experience, fabulous staff, great dining, great humidity.... we really enjoyed the jungle adventures and our guide Moises was a very close second in the guide of the trip award...the humidity caught us out a bit and maybe a little advise to others re clothing and what to expect would be helpful...overall great fun..

Lima - our final destination...Sonesta El Oliver upgraded us to a suite in compensation for the earlier glitch....very enjoyable too!!!
We had no great expectations of Lima particularly after our first one night stop over Callao, overcast Sky and traffic jams as a first impression....but how wrong we were the old city is a real gem, great atmosphere creole and samba. Peruvian food is really special and their Pisco Sours slightly shade the Chilean version..

We started in BA a city of Latin Passion great food, wine, tango and loco taxi drivers and by coincidence we finish in Lima, lovely city (the old centre)Latino passion, great great food and vino,Limenos love their music creole and salsa and to party and yes you guessed it loco taxi drivers n between we visited Patagonia, a region of glaciers containing 25% of the worlds fresh water reserve (in frozen form)....Ate our best meal in Santiago..Then to the Atacama Desert.....the driest place on earth.....Machu Picchu ...possibly the most photographed place on earth.. and finally to the Peruvian Amazonian Jungle....one of the most humid places on earth..Lima a gem .. .It has been an exhilarating experience, the people we met along the way were so hospitable, friendly and enthusiastic in engaging with us...the gold medal is shared between Chilean and Peruvian People ....and all made possible by the professionalism and attention to detail delivered by Andrew and all the team in Optimundo...take a bow...first class and five star all the way...thank you so much for this introduction to South America...hopefully to be revisited and new frontiers awaiting discovery....
thank you

Regards

Derek and Breda

Overall the holiday was excellent

Hi Andrew

Indeed we arrived back safely and thoroughly enjoyed our travels in Chile. It's always a good sign when you come back home, and are already planning a return trip in the future!

Overall the holiday was excellent, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Chile, and could have done with exploring more. There is so much natural beauty in Chile and we soon realised 2 weeks was not enough. For example, when in Patagonia, the 9 day circuit trek really appealed, and then venturing down further south of Punta Arenas.

We have provided some feedback below as you requested which may help others in future. Some of our feedback comments may sound ultra critical, but that's just the way we are, so please do not take it personally!

The Flights
You will be aware of our frustrations with the flight changes although we accept that was totally out of your control. From memory, from the time we originally booked with you, I think all but 2 of our 10-flights changed to some degree (the return flights from Santiago moved whilst we were in Chile, although there was no advice from CTS or you, which I had been led to believe would be the case?)

If we had been more aware of the likelihood (inevitably?) of changes from the start of planning our trip, we may have done things differently (e.g. not tried to be so ambitious in cramming too much into 2-weeks). Maybe you did say, and we didn't hear?

Having said that, the service from LAN was good, although that from Iberia was distinctly average.

Lake District
We had to cut our time here due to the flight alterations, which was a shame as we enjoyed Puerto Varas. I think we were also fortunate as we heard that it had just stopped raining for the first time in a month!

Your Hotel selection was spot on: accommodation very good, service / food in the restaurant excellent, although we have never come across such a small swimming pool! Great views though.

We appreciated relaxing here for the day after our long journey.

Punta Arenas
We had an afternoon here and enjoyed a long walk on the Magellan Straits. Hotel was fine for an overnight stop.

Eco Camp
Couple of hiccups initially here:
- We received no advice of the pickup time from Punta Arenas so were chasing at 9.00pm to find out information in case it was an early start the next day. In fairness, lady was very helpful and apologetic and came back to us within 10-mins. We subsequently had a letter pushed under our door overnight, and a phone call in the morning from the hotel reception, so not sure whether the communication breakdown was the hotel or the Eco Camp rep?
- We arrived late at Eco Camp in the evening after a full day travelling, and went straight for our meal, so on returning to our Suite Dome at c10.30pm it was disappointing there was no hot water for a shower. After chasing the camp staff, it was resolved by the morning however.

Other than that, the Suite Domes were excellent, and the food and wine plentiful and enjoyable. I think we struck lucky as we had Natalia as our guide for each of the 4-days, who really was top drawer being friendly and knowledgeable. Feedback from other guests on other guides was not as favourable, but we were very happy with Natalia.

Staying at EcoCamp was definitely a unique and enjoyable experience for us.

Punta Arenas
The second overnighter in Punta Arenas on our return from Patagonia was impacted by the severe flash floods that had hit the town 2-days previously. Fortunately, no one was killed although many people lost their homes. From a selfish personal perspective, the hotel remained open despite deep mud on the streets, although service was stretched as it appears it was the only hotel that was unaffected, hence a lot of tourists had transferred in. Without wishing to sound too selfish again, I don't know whether we could have been pre-advised/reassured ahead of our arrival at the difficulties in the town?

Alto Atacama
It appears there was a knock-on effect from the earlier flight changes here, as after 3-flights from Punta Arenas, we arrived at Calama to find there was no pick-up waiting for us. By some fluke, I was asking about a transfer at the public taxis and was overheard by a lady off the same flight who actually worked at Alto Atacama. She was extremely helpful and checked with the hotel, to discover they were still expecting us on the original, later flight. Again, there was presumably a communication breakdown between you/CTS and the hotel, as the latter were not informed of the change?

Anyway, the lady arranged a Tourist taxi for us, although we endured a nervy journey in the dark, down some very narrow mud tracks into what appeared the unknown, but we arrived safely and the hotel sorted the taxi payment on arrival. We learned later that the driver was not familiar with the route and that was the reason for a number of unexpected stops around San Pedro. The hotel were extremely apologetic for the inconvenience on our arrival.

Alto Atacama did offer the luxury we were after, and the service, excursions and facilities were excellent. The only disappointment for us was the food. For a 5-star Hotel we thought the Breakfast was poor and the choice of food in the evening was limited. Certainly not on a par with the other hotels on the trip, or even the communal meals at Eco Camp. We had no complaints on the availability of drinks though.

Andrew, please don't take the above points the wrong way, there are bound to be hiccups with so much travel, it's just that we have very high standards! We really enjoyed the trip and have happy memories already, and as I say, already looking at Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia and of course, we still need to get to Easter Island.

It's difficult to pick between Patagonia and Atacama as the highlight, as both offered different, but equally impressive sights. Lots of magical moments in both. Thank you for organising our trip for us - definitely one of the best. And yes, we would happily recommend Optimundo, and have already done so to one of our work colleagues planning a trip to Argentina/ Chile later this year.

Do you/Optimundo cover Ecuador by the way? The mountains/volcanoes appeal along with Galapagos.

Thanks again

Phil and Manjeet

We are definitely going to return

Hi Jamie

A follow up from my previous email

All services were excellent

The holiday exceeded our expectations
The main highlights were all the trips in the desert that were organised by the hotel, we saw and did amazing things.
Yes we would definitely recommend Optimundo to a friend
We are definitely going to return

Thank you for all your help it was an exceptional trip

Jacqui

We loved Chile

Hi Andrew,

It was a great trip. We loved Chile. As you said, there was a great variety and I am glad we had sufficient time to enjoy.

Specifics.

Atacama
Loved the desert and glad we stayed the 6th day. On the final day Amelia and I did a 4 hour trek at high altitude which is usually the tester for volcano hike. We had an indigenous guide.
The lodge was lovely, guides very good. We got an upgrade so the room was amazing. Liked the hotel, but they had really serious challenges with kitchen execution and serving staff- almost comical. I (and perhaps others) spoke to the manager and they worked hard to correct. It seems as soon as they train someone, they go elsewhere for a little more $. Nonetheless getting you water and a menu should not take 20 minutes.
We saw a baby llama born!

Lake
Nice common rooms in hotel. Room a bit of a come down after Atacama. The first one they brought us to had huge stains in carpet so asked for a change. The second also had stains, but we just went with it.
New Year's Eve dinner very good and biggest surprise was outstanding fireworks over the lake.
Enjoyed our drives and hikes

Chiloe
Beautiful and untouched. Fear it will change. I think I had not realized how long the drives were there, but it was fine. Again enjoyed our activities. Encountered a rodeo which was awesome.
The setting of the hotel is incredible. Food very good. Unfortunately the Trip Advisor reports were accurate. Even being on second floor, we could have been in same room with Argentine couple next door.


Van was good and drop off fine (had to knock on door in restricted area to return car, but he was expecting us)

Transfers. When we arrived back in Santiago, we were among the last out in arrivals lobby as waited for the kids to get bags. Driver nowhere to be seen. Was on the verge of arranging an alternate or calling you when he appeared. (said he had been in toilet)

It would have been helpful if you had reserved seats on flights. Even though we got boarding passes 2 days ahead, for example, on last flight only our 6 scattered seats remained.

Loved Casa Higueras in Valpo. Sat by pool waiting for transfer which was great. Could have stayed longer.
Could have done without the last day in Santiago. Hard to want to be in city after all that gorgeous nature. Plus it was very hot and we had done a lot the first day. And Neuruda house workers on strike:) Just ahd brunch with friends who were elsewhere in Chile. Liked their photos of vina del mar. Had I known, I would have done last day there.

The only problems were ones caused by the numerous errors in the printout we received. It just makes you nervous when you see that sort of thing. BTW, Higueras was breakfast only.

One silly question we never found answer to- not the stilts, but why do other houses on Chiloe have no foundations and set on concrete cones?

Thinking about what another trip might be. As you know, we saw patagonia and ElCalafate in Argentina last year. I would love to see the fijords by boat. Very hard to understand those Skorpio cruises. Guidebooks warn against driving the astral highway, but looks awesome. Do you think that is realistic. Or, can one hire a driver?

Happy new year and thanks again for all your hard work.

Suzanne

Muchas Gracias!

Wonderful. I think we got the balance just right with the amount of time driving.

Rolling through Chiloe

Thanks for following up. We were so please to add the Chiloe drive to our holiday and it was in fact the part of the trip we enjoyed the most. That is some feat considering the stunning locations we visited in the far north and south of the country. The combination of the fascinating local culture and the chance to see "ordinary" daily life is what swung it. Really memorable.

Thanks to Andrew for calling to check up on us on the first day. It was unnecessary, but reassuring to know we were on the radar!

We would love to come back some day and drive down to Aysen - it looked amazing from the shores of Chiloe. Thanks again for all your help.

Saludos,
Sally & Caroline

Short but Sweet

Dear Andrew,
Our 3 day venture in to the Chilean wine country was a wonderful taster and we will come back for more at a future date! The drive out of Santiago was not as bad as you suggested it might be. Driving in the city was quite chaotic but not much worse than at home!

Once out of Santiago there wasn't much traffic on the road. We took a slow detour out to the coast then back in to Santa Cruz. The hotel was good and just the bases we needed. The highlight of course was visiting the vineyards

Warm Regards,
Jackie

Thanks for all your help!

Hi Andrew:
Just got back from our 3 week trip to Patagonia (Australis cruise, Torres del Paine, El Calafate, El Chalten) and Easter Island. Just wanted to let you know that the Australis cruise was fantastic. The crew were wonderful. The naturalists were extremely informative. The accommodation was comfortable. We even managed to circumnavigate Cape Horn, land at the Cape Horn lighthouse island as well as Magdalena Island to see the penguins.
Thanks for all your help!
Cheers Alvin

Very Special

Hi Andrew,
Happy to provide feedback.
Overall the trip was a great success and I would put it up there as one of our favorite all time holidays. The Atacama was just incredible, we had no idea that it was quite so spectacular - the GPS was a big help here. I think 5 nights was just the right amount of time. We managed to cover a lot of ground and I felt we did the place justice seeing the main attractions.

The hotel was basic but met all our requirements. I am glad that we didn't splurge the extra on a luxury hotel as previously discussed. We drove past Alto Atacama and it looked splendid, but we spent all day exploring, so wouldn't have made much use of the luxury. There are also several good places to eat in the village and checking them out was all part of the adventure.

Torres del Paine was of course incredible. We did the hike to the towers, which was enough walking for us. It was a hard hike for us, perhaps not as easy as you had suggested, but it was very worthwhile. What incredible scenery!

The 4 wheel drive was only really necessary once, when leaving the park. Rain had made the road quite slippery and I would not have liked to have done that drive in a small car. I loved the Toyota Hilux and wish I could justify having one in England!

The only hiccup was a delayed flight out of Punta Arenas got us into Santiago 2 hours later than planned and the driver that was supposed to meet us wasn't there. I called the contact number and everything was resolved quite quickly.

The Lastarria in Santiago was very nice and a lively area. We felt we could have spent a few days in Santiago, it seems much more interesting than advertised - maybe next time!

Thank you for looking after us so well.
Best Regards,
Peter

It was a great trip!

Hello Andrew,
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner in response to your query regarding my trip on the Via Australis on 3-7 November 2013.

It was a great trip! Thank you for making all the arrangements. Everything was in order, as you said it would be, when I checked in on the morning of the 3rd in Ushuaia. (I wound up spending 3 days there and saw every museum in town!)

On the ship, my cabin was spotless, the view from the window superb, food plentiful and delicious, crew helpful as can be, and shipmates easy to be with (one turned out to be a woman I take Pilates classes with at our local YMCA). I shared a table with Swiss, Canadian and Dutch couples and have been in touch with them since.

When we arrived at Cape Horn on the first morning it was blowing 80 knots, so we did not disembark. This was fine with me as I preferred being there in weather for which the Cape is known. After that, morning and afternoon excursions went off without a hitch. (The excursion crew was excellent). At the end of the trip, most of us at my table thought the trip would have been better if a little shorter. But now, looking back at it, I think the length was fine.

Thanks again for your assistance.

John

Thanks so much for organising such an amazing holiday.

HI Andrew

Thanks so much for organising such an amazing holiday.

1. The holiday exceeded our expectations by a long way. The accommodation suited or exceeded our requirements at every location, and we were looked after every step of the way, which meant that we never had to look for taxis at airports or hotels to take us to our next destination, we were booked in for flights so we didn't have to worry. We were even taken right up to the booking desk in airports which was particularly helpful in smaller destinations where the system of getting through baggage handling and customs were different from the norm. Our guides and pick ups were amazing and gave us lots of useful information which helped us to enjoy our stay even more. On top of all of that, Optimundo came in at an exceedingly good price for the quality of service and support we had throughout the trip.

2. I find it hard to tell you the main highlights as we had such an amazing time in so many different and fantastic places. However, if I absolutely must, I loved the Canyon walk which ended with bathing in hot springs at the Atacama Desert and some of the evening walks in the Jungle where we saw so many amazing insects, frogs and butterflies. The butterflies were something I hadn't expected and walking through clouds of them on the way to Sandoval lake was something I'll never forget.

3. Everything was planned by Optimundo to the last detail and the whole holiday ran like clockwork. When you have a limited time to visit places, it's incredibly helpful to have things like boarding passes, transport to and from airports, and accommodation already sorted out for you. I can't recommend Optimundo enough for their organisation, with every little detail managed for us, including some extra touches, which we hadn't even thought of or asked for ourselves! I also can't praise them enough for taking the time to find out what we wanted from our trip and being endlessly patient in discussions with us to make sure that our itinerary was planned to match exactly what we wanted to do.

4. I would certainly recommend Optimundo to a friend without hesitation.


muchas gracias por su ayuda!

Hasta luego.

We have had the most amazing time!

Hi Andrew,
Hope you are well.
You beat me to it sending an e-mail as I came back to no phone or internet at home!

We have had the most amazing time!
The holiday was absolutely flawless in its execution - it could not have run any more smoothly than it did. Lima Tours were particularly outstanding.

All the hotels were amazing with excellent staff who were always willing to help. The tours were really great and often Jacks and I just had our own guide and driver which meant we had extra flexibility on what we could see.

The highlights - too many to pick from (we have been trying to pick 5 each) Macchu Picchu was extraordinary, the Tree House in the rainforest amazing, the Andean Explorer was just an amazing journey, Suasi Island was beautiful and the Atacama Desert just breathtaking.

I am sure that I can speak for Jacks too in that there was no disappointments at all! We are also very happy to recommend Optimundo and will be doing so. Also happy to leave our feedback on Facebook for you.

Thanks again for all your help and attention to detail in organising the trip for us.
Claire

We had a wonderful time in the Atacama desert.

Dear Andrew,

just to let you know that we are back in the UK, still a bit of tired after 30 hours on planes and at airports.

We had a wonderful time in the Atacama desert. The landscape, the hotel, the people etc. - everything was very impressive, not to say fantastic.

We would just like to thank you very much for your organisation and continued support regarding this trip.

Best regards

Roland

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