Written by: Steve Hueston
Item reviewed: Custom South America Tour
I have travelled a lot, independently, never really had any great experiences with anybody else booking stuff for me - I have always been able to do a better job myself. So I was snooping around the SouthAmerica.Travel website, just looking at different things, and I clicked on a button that said click here for a free brochure. What have I got to lose, right? Half an hour later I get a call from Buenos Aires. (Im in Toronto.) On the line was Mariela, saying so I understand you wanna go to South America I thought, well, okay, I'll spend 5 minutes telling her what I want, at worst I've wasted 5 minutes of my life. So I told her what kind of trip I wanted, what my travelling style was, dates, rough itinerary. She calls me back the next day with an itinerary that blew me away. It had everything I wanted, NOTHING (and this is soooo important) that I didn't want, exactly the right style, better hotels than I would have had for the same price, and cheaper flights. I couldn't believe it. It was fantastic. I told her - book it, I'm yours. I changed a couple of hotels - I like the rustic jungle places more than the super modern ones - she got right on that and got back to me the next day with some fabulous options. Other than that I didn't need to tweak anything she had done. She LISTENED. And delivered. I should also mention that she just didn't do everything I asked for. She pointed out where things I had mentioned as possible add-ons (Nazca, Pantanal) were not practical with the time I had. So she gave me intelligent feedback on what would work and what wouldn't.The trip itself was amazing. The destinations were incredible, of course loved the hotels and the transportation was almost flawless. The only thing that really didn't work too well was that my friend came in to Lima from New Zealand and I came in from Canada - that was okay on arrival, but when we left from Iguazu - on different days - it seemed to kind of blow their minds and it got completely messed up. We both managed to make our outbound flights but there was a lot of confusion in the interim. Seems like the different outbound destinations on different days thing was really just too much. Other than that - it was a dream trip - and the first time in my life that anybody else booked for me a better trip than I could have done myself. Love SouthAmerica.Travel. Would use them again in a second. And, of course, Mariela was a superstar.
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