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Please have a look at a little of the feedback we have received from clients over the years...

Here at Brazil we firmly believe in the feedback of our clients, be it good or bad, as it really is the key to us moving forwards and improving our service and the overall experience. With the price of hotels and flights only on the increase we feel it is important to know where we have gotten things right and where wrong. In the below, please see what our clients are saying about us and judge for yourself. (please note that ALL of the reviews we feature are 100% real and unedited. If you would like to speak to any of our past clients please let us know).

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Hi Holly-

We had a wonderful time in Chile and your recommendations were spot on. The glitch we had with Upscale was on our arrival to Santiago from the U.S.

Despite your explicit advice to meet the driver at the designated location, we waited 30 minutes with no one showing up.We ended up taking a taxi and were told to save the receipt to present to Upscape. Fortunately, the company did reimburse us the following day on our departure to Punta Arenas but we were less than confident going forward.

Some thoughts:

Singular Hotel Santiago - Excellent location, great rooms and delightful experience.

Tierra Patagonia - Definitely the highlight! Exquisite architecture, great food and wine and wonderful excursions. Perhaps should have extended our stay for 2 nights. The other guests were fun to hike with and swap stories.

Grand Hyatt Santiago - Beautiful rooms, restaurants recommended by receptionist were in nearby shopping mall (should have taxied or Ubered to better district)

Tierra Atacama - Great service and excursions. Food not as good as the Patagonia property (Meats were overcooked but the fish dishes were superb). Guides were passionate.

Casa Higueras - Great locale and fun area to wander. Our Upscape guide Carolina and driver Pablo changed our opinion of Upscape. Their dinner recommendation was spot on. They were flexible in letting us wander in Valparaiso for a few more hours before driving us to La Casona. Both extremely knowledgable on culture, food, and wine.

La Casona - before visiting the property, I was skeptical as to the high-end quality based on their website . However, the experience surpassed my expectations. The 4 course lunch with wine pairings and dinner at the hotel were decadent beyond belief. A great way to end the trip. Pablo and Carolina drove us to the airport and once again, their knowledge of biodynamic wine making was top-drawer.

Overall thoughts -

Great itinerary! I hope the airport in Puerto Natales will be built soon (2017 or 2018) to make a return trip more efficient. I'd like to visit Chiloe and Patagonia again. It would be nice to be able to fly from Punta Arenas to Atacama in one day to maximize the Tierra experience.

I'd be more than happy to recommend the Chilean Specialists! My bucket list trip was superb. My wife's bucket list trip is to Machu Pichu, so no doubt we will be using your services in a year or two!

Cheers-Kevin


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Kevin and Carol

Thank you for your email, Holly . . .

You were on my list of people to contact to tell you thank you for all you and your company did to make our trip to Argentina and Chile a memorable adventure.

We were so incredibly fortunate to have you organizing all our transfers, hotels and in-country travel. It made that part of the trip worry free and allowed us the comfort of knowing that timing and organization of the coming and going details were taken care of and dependable.

Hotels: We loved the Mine Hotel in BA. The Palermo Soho neighborhood was alive and ‘rockin’ with restaurants, boutiques, ice cream stores (!) all walkable. The hotel
staff was super. They even loaned us an electric conversion cord that we could take with us for the entire month. The Peninsula Petit Hotel in Bariloche was perfect and we
loved being outside the city where it was calm and peaceful. (We hit Bariloche during the height of the summer holidays. The traffic and throngs of under-30 types was staggering!)
So being out of the hustle bustle was fortunate planning. Also, having the car rental for those short 2 days was advantageous as we could ‘escape’ and take drives out of town.

The Estancia La Bamba was a treat. They pampered us and we enjoyed the laid back
2 days before the next few weeks of go-go-go.

We took the Australis cruise line from Punta Arenas, Chile to Ushuaia, AR on a 4-day trip thru the straits and around Cape Horn. That was a highlight especially with the calm seas we encountered.

All in all, we had a wonderful time and much of the stress of travel was relieved thanks to
your efforts.

Susanna and John

Susanna and John

Dear Holly,

you beat me to it! Our trip was A-mazing, truly the trip of our lifetimes (so far!).

The itinerary you put together for us was exactly what we needed and I wouldn't change a thing. We had a good balance of free days and days with excursions. We had pretty much the right amount of time in each location to do what we wanted to do and we had time to relax and take it easy if we wanted.

I'll give you now a bit more details in the hotels and the excursions so you can use it as feedback.

Hotels
Hotel Clasico - BA
Very good. Great location, lovely and very helpful staff, nice room, abundant breakfast. We'd give it 4 stars on Tripadvisor.

Hosteria De Leyendas - Ushuaia
Very good. The hosts (Sandra and Seb, the chef) were very friendly, the highlight was the amazing breakfast and the view from the dining room, breathtaking. Location is good and having to get a cab into town is not a big deal. I loved the little notes with facts and history of Ushuaia they left in our room each day and on the breakfast table. On the breakfast table themselves there were artefacts from Yamana (the indigenous people from Ushuaia), old coins and notes and other historic objects. The shower was very powerful and hot, which we loved. We'd give it a 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor.

Esplendor Hotel - El Calafate
Very good location, this was the largest hotel of our trip, and probably the one we felt had a bit less personality. However, the room was comfortable, the views spectacular (from the hotel reception, not our room) and breakfast abundant albeit quite busy being a large hotel. Staff was helpful too. Overall we'd give this 3.5 on Tripadvisor.

Indigo Hotel - Puerto Natales
We liked this hotel very much. The room and the whole interior design of the hotel were fantastic. We liked the almost Scandinavian feel to it. The hot tub on the top floor with the view of fiord at sunset was pretty spectacular. The staff was friendly, although not as helpful in giving us information on excursions but in all honesty we got there quite tired and didn't really plan ahead very much. We went for dinner at their restaurant once, the service was a bit slow and the meat I got was cold, but they were super apologetic and were indeed quite busy that evening, so not a big deal but worth pointing it out to future customers that the experience at the restaurant can be disappointing. In fairness the view and the wine made up for the slow service :) We would give it 4.4 on Tripadvisor

Hosteria La Estepa - El Calafate
The hotel staff were super nice!! The girl at reception (don't remember her name sorry) was brilliant. She was very welcoming and she gave us very helpful directions and recommendations for things to see on our last day at El Calafate, we went to see the Laguna Nimez reserve thanks to her directions. We had a very nice dinner at the restaurante there too, again, with stunning views, this time of Lake Argentino. One thing however ruined a bit the experience. We had left the window open on arrival and we got back to our room we found it full of fliers. There were at least 30 or 40 if not more. So we spent a good 30 minutes to get rid of them. i guess in the summer, guests may need to be made aware of this risk if they open the windows. The hotel's location is a bit far off the town centre; much further then our hotel in Ushuaia, so the taxi ride would have been more expensive. Luckily we still had the hired car. We'd give it 3 on tripadvisor but only for the flies thing, with no flies it would have probably been 4.3 at least! :)

Cantera Hotel - Iguazu'
We liked this hotel very much. It was different from anywhere else we have ever been, for sure! It was nice to have a swimming pool too and air conditioning in the room. The staff were friendly and helpful. The highlight was that on the 2nd night we discovered we had dinner included! :) We'd give it 4.8 on tripadvisor.

we loved the excursions too.

Our favourite ones were the ones in Ushuaia, with Canal fun. The places were beautiful and the whole experience was so well organised. We were surprised by how well organised they were and by the abundant "packed" lunches, which turned out to be proper meals with appetisers, asado and red wine. But most of all, the guides were brilliant! We still talk about how much fun Norbi and Chicha were, our main guides in the two trips respectively :) They are clearly passionate about what they do and the places they took us, they were extremely informative and looked after us very well. In the Isla Gable trip it turned out that the canoeing was included, which we - and others on the trip - didn't expect and were quite nervous about it, but Norbi took it very easy and very calmly said that it was not a big deal if we didn't want to do it, although it was very easy and super safe. In the end, by the time we got to the island, everyone was looking forward to canoeing! ah ah
Chicha was so funny as well. His trip was the 4x4 off road lakes adventure, which again could have been quite stressful but it was great with Chicha at the drive and we were laughing all the time! So we recommended Canal Fun to a few people we met on the road already whose next stop was going to be Ushuaia :) For us definitely a 5 stars experience on Tripadvisor :)

Our excursions with Huellas del Sur in El Calafate were well organised, they managed to get us on to the minitrekking on the Perito Moreno at the last minute, which was great. Our guide for the El Chalten excursion (Belen) was lovely, but not as engaging as the guys at Canal Fun, she pretty much took us to the various destinations and that's it, didn't say much. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable excursion and we'd recommend it. The Perito Moreno excursion was spectacular; the guide who took us there on the bus (Jose Luis) gave us a detailed overview of the glacier and good suggestions regarding photos. The guide for the minitrekking (Tato from Hielo y Adventura) was fantastic. He took very good care of us, the pace was just right, he gave us a lot of information on the ice, its formation, on the glacier and a very useful lecture on how to walk on the glacier. The whole excursion was carried out in total safety.

For Davide the Perito Moreno was the highlight of the whole trip. I am still undecided between Perito Moreno and Torres del Paine :)

We think that the excursions at El Calafate were done in the right order (I'm not sure if it was intentional or not!). Probably seeing the Viedma glacier AFTER Perito Moreno would have been somewhat disappointing, or rather less spectacular.

Our excursions at Iguazu were excellent too! sorry it's getting boring...:) The two excursions here we felt we also timed well. Seeing the Brasilian side after the Argentinian side would not have had the same impact. It's best to keep the best for last :) Both our guides (Ariel for the Brazilian side and Roberto for the Argentinian side) were brilliant, very informative and answering all our questions. With Roberto we had the full day excursion in the Argentinian side and he managed not to lose any of us along the long walk to the falls, he set a good pace and at the same time allowed us to take some time to appreciate the spectacle and take pictures. He was extremely patient :)

Overall, we felt we had a very good balance of free time and excursions. Also all excursions finished relatively early and by 7-8pm the latest we were back at the hotel, which gave us time for ourselves.

Now, the road trip. That was interesting, shall we say. Here we need to point out an issue, which was by no means your fault. It was Google Maps' fault in fact.

The directions suggested by Google maps below are misleading:
https://goo.gl/maps/SX3cqsg33pH2

It is the shortest way, yes, but there are 65km of rather bad dirt road, with very large stones. In our Renault Sendero we couldn't go faster than 30 km/h, as we couldn't risk to break the car in the middle of the Patagonia steppe.

We feel that the recommended route should be this, more kms but much safer:

https://goo.gl/maps/VbGSdRp9RB62

I must admit, the drive from El Calafate to Puerto Natales was not a pleasant experience at all. We had some scary moments, in the middle of nowhere, each time we heard a loud bang from underneath the car when a stone hit it. We were so happy to see tarmac road again after more than 2 hours on the dirt road!!

What was even more confusing was that Google maps said that the dirt road we were on was Ruta 40, while the paper map we had in our pack from H&T said that it was provincial road 7....

So we think it is important to highlight this for any future customers who will do a similar trip: regardless of the type of car they get, it's best to go via the longer route as it is all with tarmac so the trip will be quicker and safer.

Aside from this, it was great to have the car, it gave us a lot of freedom to explore Torres Del Paine National Park. Probably we'd recommend people to get a 4WD for this trip as it is easier to use in the park as there are only dirt roads there, but not as bad as the one from El Calafate!

We'd love to send you pictures for the website, we are still going through them! Once we have selected the best ones, we'll send them over to you.

Thank you!!

Francesca & Davide

Francesca and Davide

Holly and Nick,

We are so pleased that we picked The Travel Specialists to help organize our South American trip during January and February of this current year. It is hard to believe that this trip was one year in the planning stage and the final execution was above and beyond expectations. We were especially pleased with the personal level of attention that The Travel Specialists team extended to us before the trip in research and recommendations - both in providing helpful feedback on local in country establishments / sites.
The hotels that I selected for Argentina included: Legado Mitico in Buenos Aires and Hosteria La Estepa in El Calfate. During my initial research Holly provided services that included checking with hotel management to confirm room size, decor and location on the property; this was very helpful.

A local travel company (our ground handler) in B.A. was contracted by The Travel Specialists to accommodate our logistics and conduct guided tours in the city. The logistics portion for airport pickup and delivery (international and domestic air travel) was handled expertly and smoothly; in city transportation in B.A. was also without a fault during scheduled tours and to Rojo Tango Show. With that being said, there was one unfortunate situation that occurred the evening before our confirmed tour to visit the Hippodrome. We received a last minute call in our hotel room, with notification that the guide was sick [the night before the tour] and that our tour would be cancelled. They were insistent that we chose another tour (without any time to review or determine if it met our criteria) within a minute -- all the while that evening's car / guide to the tango show were downstairs waiting to departure. It was unprofessional at best, but when we advised The Travel Specialists the situation was amended and adjusted. As a special note, Jeremias, our guide, was very engaged with us and conversational in nature. He provided an excellent overview and insights to Argentina's history, culture and the city importance through changes in ages.

The hotel Legado Mitico (in B.A) was especially perfect for us, as we wanted a boutique, smaller hotel experience. We stayed in the 'El Idealista' room and loved it. It included a private balcony and we also had the entire floor of the hotel since no other visitors came to the upper floor lounge area. The morning breakfast was prepared with fresh and healthy choices, not too heavy and wonderful speciality coffee drinks upon request. The secret garden in the back where Malevo (el gato) hangs out casually was a lovely place to escape and read a book and contemplate the day. The staff was super accommodating and offered a unique concierge service level that deserves applause. It was great to also have our cruise ship bags stored by the hotel while we continued elsewhere for an in-country tour in Argentina and Chile. We stayed in the same room (as requested through the staff) for both legs of our trip to B.A. which made re-adjusting after hard journey much more pleasant.

The Hosteria La Estepa (in El Calafate) fit our needs in full and met our expectations. El Calafate, in itself, is a pass-through town so the accommodations were just right for us. The intent to choose a hotel (away from the main drag and tourism) of the town was a good decision and a great relief for us. The staff at the hotel was also attentive to our requests and inquiries, and the lunch that we had there was fine enough with a beer. They did have a nice Argentine wine for cocktail hour, and the views of Lago Argentina were gorgeous with the intense blue.

The logistics arranged from The Travel Specialists from the airport to hotel and back again were executed without flaw. We traveled for an additional week to Torres Del Paine and then stayed again at Hosteria La Estepa overnight before returning to B.A.

The logistics and tour guides arranged with the Chilean tour company really was also a great experience. We were met at our port of disembarkment in Valparaiso by the guide and taken to Lastarria Hotel in Santiago. The hotel again was a boutique establishment, and the feedback in advance from The Travel Specialists was exact to our wants and needs, as we prefer smaller size places and the neighborhood was fantastic. An invaluable service was provided to us on our morning of domestic departure to Pucon, when the guide escorted and navigated us through the airline queue that was backed up for hours. He was able to negotiate and expedite our position in line (to the front) and totally avoid missing the flight south.
Our city guide, Rene, toured us in both Valparaiso and Santiago and made both of us feel that we had a special experience in whatever we did, tasted and saw. He was highly informed, sharing and humorous and entertaining -- what a treat. These kind of memories really helped our understanding of the country and its people.

The Lastarria Hotel (Santiago) was exactly suited to our tastes. The staff was very engaged in our level of satisfaction, and interested in making our stay a memorable one. The breakfast was a nice spread which was just at the right level, not too heavy, and wonderful coffees. Their tea service in the afternoons was a real highlight and positioned by their secret backyard pool setting made it a great place to unwind at the end of a day. We also hosted a small gathering in this environment and the staff made a beautiful charcuterie tray along with cheese/ crackers and a wonderful wine selection that everyone enjoyed. We stayed at the hotel on the front and back end of our Chilean trip and would definitely return. The neighborhood is in the best location of the city to stay and enjoy.

Overall, I can highly recommend The Travel Specialists, and I can recommend all the hotels that we stayed at. Their strong professional level of service, attention to detail and customer satisfaction is certainly worth it when taking a trip that needs coordination with a lot of moving parts and pieces in a number of locations.

Our motto is: See Life, Travel More!!

Kat and Jim

Hi, Nick,

A fabulous, fabulous trip, Nick, very diverse, you read the brief well and every day was an adventure. A brilliant experience, the places we went, the inspirational guides, the hotels all in such lovely settings, it truly surpassed our expectations. We feel it was also very good value. The experience will stay with us for a very long time.

Added to which luggage allowance was always 23k (Dreamliners to Easter Island!) and we were upgraded to and from London! All flights were virtually on time other than departure from Easter Island – due I think to Iron Maidens plane damaged on the runway at Santiago airport!

Thank you so much for all your help and advice, it wouldn’t have been the same trip without your input.

Anne and Mike

Editor's note: please see their individual hotel feedback on each of the hotel pages. They stayed in each location as below:

Rio - Porto Bay Hotel
Iguazu - La Cantera
Buenos Aires - The Mine Hotel
Valdes Peninsula - Estancia Faro Punta Delgada, Territiorio
El Calafate - Hosteria La Estepa
Torres del Paine - Tierra Patagonia
Lake District - Cumbres Patagonicas
Santiago - Su Merced
Wine Region - La Casona at Matetic
Valparaiso - The Zero Hotel
Atacama - Tierra Atacama
Easter Island - Taha Tai Hotel


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Anne and Mike

Hi Holly,

Please forgive us for the extremely delayed response! We've been really busy since we got back. Our honeymoon was absolutely amazing (Patagonia is a beautiful place) and we had a wonderful time! We're already ready to go back to visit the Argentinian side :)

Anyway, everything went fairly smoothly for the most part. I think the only issues that we ran into were with the Kayaking trip and with our departure from Patagonia Camp. We didn't realize this until we arrived, but Patagonia Camp schedules 3 or so excursions each day that the guests then choose from (we were originally under the impression that we could freely choose what to do each day, rather than pick from a list), so in the future, you might want to let people know the structure. We DID get to do everything we wanted (with the exception of the kayaking trip), but it was a little bit stressful making sure we would be able to get to do everything we traveled to Patagonia for. As far as departure from Patagonia Camp, our itinerary from you said we'd be leaving at 9, but we got a knock on our door at 8 and we had to rush out. Granted, we should have checked with the front desk the night before, but we were a bit stressed about the last minute departure!

Everything else was absolutely wonderful, though. Thank you so much for putting it all together for us! We can't wait to get back!

Kendra & Ian

Kendra and Ian

Hi Holly,
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to you- the re-entry into our busy lives after almost 3 weeks away is always challenging!!
First of all- we had a fabulous trip and I want to thank you for your assistance.
We had no problem with any of our flights ( those booked by you and by us).
All of the transportation that you booked were timely/ very professional and helpful. With a larger group it was nice to have those transportation details organized in advance.
We all loved the Hotel Atton el Bosque and would stay there again. The restaurant, Happening, was an easy walk and quite good- a great choice.
The Rio Serrano Hotel was extraordinary!! I think that was the highlight of our trip. The food was great/ the park amazing/ and we loved the set-up of the hotel- lots of comfortable common rooms to relax and enjoy the other guests. We really took advantage of the excursions. The highlight was the Torres Base hike- really challenging but fabulous. We also took the zodiac river trip on the Serrano river and it was amazing- hiked up to a glacier and saw 2 others. The girls went horseback riding and we all did several half day excursions. The guides were excellent. I am still cranky about the cost of the transportation for Will but…The Hosteria Tyndall is really close- it was fine and the boys basically only slept there- ate all meals and hung out with us at the Rio Serrano.
The hotel in El Calafate was fine but too far out of town to walk in ( although 3 of us did just to get some exercise). We did have a nice dinner at La Cocina.
We also really liked Ushuaia. Hotel was great and well located although the breakfast was marginal (Mil 810). The Canalfun excursion was great fun ( liked the guides a lot) although the canoeing was not as challenging as we had hoped, but the hike was great and the penguins were amazing. WE saw 3 types that day. On our own we arranged a boat trip with Patagonia Explorer ( out to the cormorant/sea lion colonies and light house) and I would really recommend that outfitter. Also, took minibus up to Tierra Del Fuego Nat’l. park- great half day hike. The boys are college athletes and found a fun local gym in Ushuaia that they frequented every day we were there. New Year’s Eve dinner- prebooked by us at Gustino was wonderful. Other restaurants that we liked- Bodegon Fueguino and Placeres Patagonicos.
Our last several days in Punta De Este were great. Luckily we were staying a ways out of the Miami Beach- like -downtown Punta on a quiet and beautiful beach, Playa Chihuahua. One day we took a drive to a lovely small beach community- Jose Ignacio that was fun and found a wind-surfing/paddle boarding spot near there.
All -in -all a successful trip with quite a varied group!
Thanks again.
Jennifer

Jen and family

Hi Holly,

As you know, booking travel with a company on the internet, with which I had no prior experience, and no personal referrals, was a little stressful for me. I've got to say that you and South America Specialists came through with everything as promised. The local tour companies were friendly, informed, and professional. The door-to-door pick ups and delivery were smooth and stress-free. The hotels in Santiago, Iquique, and San Pedro were great. Especially the Terrantai in San Pedro - a real 4-star experience. The Pan America hotel in Arica was well located on the beach and an easy walk into town. The facility itself is somewhat "tired" and not quite up to the standard of the other stays you arranged.

During our stay in San Pedro we were able to identify a local guide who spent three days with us - taking us to remote rock art sites which were only accessible through neighboring local indigenous communities. This is exactly the experience we were looking for. For example, we spent an 8 hour day exploring and photographing the Hierbas Buenas petroglyph site at Rio Grande outside of San Pedro - we witnessed the local tour companies coming and going from there, each spending 20-30 minutes before departing to the next place on their agenda..........

The guides you had arranged from afar, were more geared to want to take us along the normal tourist pathway and some "got it" that we had a slightly different agenda in mind and were able to accommodate us. In all, we were pleased with the time spent visiting geoglyph and rock art sites. We want to go back again in the future.

All the best,
Leigh

Leigh and Amy

Our thanks to the South America Specialists for helping plan the holiday of a lifetime; from planning the incredible itinerary to arriving safely home, despite the unexpected obstacles along the way. Lost luggage, a diverted flight, an airport strike and an earthquake were no match for the team as they took care of everything and ensured we had a fantastic and relaxing time every step of the way.

Bests,

Meg

Meghan and Campbell

Hi Nick,

I wanted to drop you a line to say what an amazing time Kate and I had. Rio was good fun but we absolutely fell in love with Argentina.

All of the arrangements you put in place worked well and the local agents were spot on with timingswhich gives great confidence.

The hotels were a good standard and we particularly loved the Nuss and Club Tapiz and most of all La Bamba. We were looked after very ,very well by all of the hotel staff but La Bamba made us feel like VIPS!

A big thank you from two happy customers.

Best wishes
Beverly

Beverly and Katie

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