Customers on Tour: Inspiring South America

April 11, 2024

Sharon and Anthony share their experiences on our 19 Day Inspiring South America tour

What prompted you to book your tour?

My husband Anthony and I are constantly scouring the newspaper travel supplements and trowel through the Inspiring Vacations (IV) website weekly to see what tours can provide us with culturally different experiences. IV’s South America offer was way too good to refuse—it  included an incredible price for international airfares with a reputable carrier which no other tour could compete with. We always look for value for money without detracting from the experiences we crave.

Sharon and Anthony at Iguazu Falls (Photo: supplied)
Sharon and Anthony at Iguazu Falls (Photo: supplied)

Did your expectations meet reality?

Absolutely and more! It was great value for money. Our internal travel connections worked well although a little hectic at airports (some were quite crowded). Our accommodation was clean and comfortable and quite up-market for some destinations. Our guides were experts in their field and provided a very personable service by getting to know us in a short period of time. We research our bucket list destinations to know where and what we want to see, and this tour certainly did not disappoint from start to finish.

Any surprises?

Firstly, we were blown away with the value for money this tour offered. We were amazed at how overwhelmed we both felt when visiting Machu Picchu. It certainly is a must see for bucket list chasers! We were extremely surprised at how impressive Iguazu Falls is—almost grabbing the highlight from Machu Picchu. Others on our tour who have witnessed Victoria and Niagara falls said that Iguazu beats them hands down. And Christ the Redeemer was so much bigger than we thought and the view of Rio—just spectacular!

Sharon and Anthony visiting Christ the Redeemer (Photo: supplied)
Sharon and Anthony visiting Christ the Redeemer (Photo: supplied)

What were the highlights of this tour for you?

All our guides were amazing, spoke English extremely well and clued us up on what we could do in our free time if we wanted to explore more. Their knowledge of their home cities gave us a great understanding of their culture, and how tourism positively impacted their countries. They also ensured we arrived at the popular tourist attractions prior to crowded periods to experience these attractions in reasonable comfort.

Buenos Aires is an interesting place with some interesting history. The visit to La Boca (the artist's quarter) and St Elmo’s Markets and spying a free display of Tango dancing in the street, were amazing; Iguazu Falls was breathtaking! The volume of water was mind-blowing. The Peruvian and Brazilian perspectives of the Falls were completely different; Words cannot describe Christ the Redeemer—this massive sculpture must be seen to believe the enormity of it; the view from this monolith is beautiful. We have had Machu Picchu on our bucket list for quite a while and actually being there was a real ‘pinch me’ moment. The entire site was postcard-perfect and we now have our very own iconic picture. 

Did you do any optional tours? If yes, which ones and would you recommend them?

We did a few optional tours, and most were very worthwhile. 

The boat trip, the Grand Adventura, at Iguazu Falls is an absolute must. What a blast! So exhilarating. It’s very safe, even though it may not look like it. You get a completely different understanding of the volumes of water and its power. And yes, you get drenched but it's great fun!

We walked through the neighbourhoods of Gloria, Flamingo and Laranjeiras on the Eat Rio Food tour.  This is definitely not fine dining, but it’s so much fun! We walked through the most vibrantly coloured fresh fruit and vegetable markets, sampling fruit not readily available in Australia, and tried crushed sugarcane and melted cheese pancakes made from tapioca and pastry. Marcela the guide took us to a restaurant for lunch, eating a local lamb dish which we washed down with some cold local beers. Later, we walked to a kiosk where the owner blocked off the street, allowing us to sit on a chair on the road to sample some of his amazing food. It was like moving degustation—just a great experience!

What do you say to those pondering whether or not to book this tour or destination?

Do some research and work out what you want to see, and if the itinerary fits, don’t hesitate. But if you’re precious, maybe not – you need to accept that all is not the same as ‘at home.’ There are not too many creature comforts, particularly in The Amazon and the long road hauls between cities. Also, work out what time of year suits you for travel in regards to temperatures and rainfall. May was great for us to travel, although The Amazon was still extremely humid, but we knew this. Book now, before more restrictions are put on Machu Picchu and The Amazon. 

Sharon and Anthony recommend their South America tour (Photo: supplied)
Sharon and Anthony recommend their South America tour (Photo: supplied)

Any travel tips you’d like to share? 

At Iguazu Falls, be prepared to get drenched and if you want to take pics, make sure you have waterproof protection for your camera or phone. 

Be sure you get medication to treat altitude sickness. My advice was incorrect and I ended up missing out on Rainbow Mountain. I almost didn’t get to complete Machu Picchu! Lake Titicaca is also at altitude, too. Personal fitness is not a deciding factor in being fine with altitudes—don’t be fooled!

Make sure you get all your vaccinations—including rabies and discuss with Yellow Fever with your GP. Get the correct high altitude sickness meds and take them regardless of how fit you are.

Create a tour group chat on WhatsApp. This can be helpful if you’re lost, and you can also share pics and chat after the tour ends.

Love the sound of Sharon and Anthony's experience? Click here for more information on our tours to South America.

 

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