South America, Antarctica & Cuba

Travel to Latin America & Antarctica

Testimonials

Tour: The Wonders of South America | Reviewed by: Adrian Vanzyl

We had a fantastic time in Peru (including Macchu Pichu) and Bolivia (including Salt Flats). Everything worked flawlessly, tours were excellent quality, accommodation and meals superb. Overall a zero stress, highly enjoyable trip. Would highly recommend Bolivia - visually the whole salt flat experience is one of the most photogenic trips we've ever done.

Tour: Essential Patagonia | Reviewed by: Caroline Oesterheld

We had a wonderful experience in Southern Patagonia. Scenery was amazing and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. The whole holiday went seamlessly and Tara was very clear with her communications. All the transfers knew exactly where we were going and we felt confident the whole time. We would recommend Viva to everyone. Caroline

Tour: A Taste of South America | Reviewed by: S Lacey

Just wanted to say a BIG thank you for organising our trip. The itinerary was perfect and everything ran very smoothly. I was very impressed how helpful and responsive you were when we encountered any issues. As well as the accommodation in Rio, particularly impressive was the strike in Ollaytambo, where the protestors halted the train and our guide personally made the trip out to Ollaytambo and escorted us back to Cusco. I would not hesitate to recommend to friends and book again with you and your company.

Normally on our trips we like to do organise things ourselves but you have opened my eyes to booking through a company, from upgrades at hotels, to guides to explain about the city when you arrive, to being at the airports at the best times for checks in and of course when things go off track a little, there a people on hand to help you out which is very reassuring, particularly in a foreign language. The service provided is exceptional.

Yes we are very excited about the engagement. Thank you. It was a very nice surprise. He got down on one knee on the first night when we got back to the hotel in Lima and we celebrated with the champagne on the beach in Rio.

So many fantastic memories from the trip, which we will treasure forever.

Tour: Grand Tour of South America | Reviewed by: Geoff Ineson

My wife and myself had a fantastic five weeks' trip through South America. Everything went so well with excellent guides and drivers that took us to many wonderful places. Transport was well coordinated with the tours that we undertook. Accommodation was of a high standard and located in the centre of the cities that we visited. A special thanks goes to Emma of Viva Expeditions, who provided sound advice throughout the planning of this trip, which made our travels such a memorable journey.
Geoff and Imelda

Tour: Grand Tour of South America | Reviewed by: Tim Norris

We used Viva Expeditions to plan our honeymoon and couldn't recommend them highly enough.

Having spoken to a few other companies we felt that Viva were the most accommodating a very fast to respond with options or amendments to our trip.

Emma was great at suggesting things to do for our 5 week trip and planned a packed itinerary for us making sure we made the most of our time.
We had a stress free trip with all excursions, transfers and accommodation planned, we literally just had to be at reception the time we were told and we were taken to the next thing. It was brilliant.

Out of the 5 weeks we only had one minor slip up with a tour not picking us up in Argentina but this was resolved within 30 minutes of getting in touch with them!

We were first slightly un-sure about using Viva as we were based in the UK and they are based in New Zealand but this was not an issue at all. All correspondence was clear and thorough.

We would definitely used Viva again.

Tour: Cuba - classic cars and cigars! | Reviewed by: M & J Cooper and J Coyle

We are back home and thought we would follow with you on our experience in Cuba.

We had a great time and everything went very well. We were met as promised every time and taken right to where we had to go. Everyone treated us well and did everything they had promised.

The accommodation was as good as can be expected. The hotel in Havana was right in the middle of the old town so very handy as was every hotel you booked for us.

While the facilities are not quite world class, everything was clean and everything worked. I don't think anyone could fault it if they think things through, this is what you go there to experience.

All the places we visited had some significance to the locals and some were a way off the beaten track. In some towns we went through there were barely any cars, just carts and donkeys/horses. They are still very poor there but they sure know how to re-cycle!

The only issue we had was the flight from Santiago to Havana. When we got to the airport we were told we were booked on the evening flight. There was no changing it. We called the local travel people and they sorted it out very quickly and efficiently. They picked us up, took us back to the hotel and arranged for us to have our rooms longer at no cost, picked us up later in the day again and took us back to the airport. Couldn't ask for more.

Mexico was great as well. Ancient history well presented and preserved. The accommodation there was superb, especially the first few days!

I would have no hesitation recommending people visit these places, and thank you for your help in organising everything for us, we really appreciate your efforts.

Thanks and regards...

Tour: Incredible Iguacu Falls | Reviewed by: Alex and Erika Gorodetsky

The trip was wonderful! We really loved Argentina so much. The Iguazu tour worked out perfectly. We were met very easily at the airport by the driver and then we went to meet our guide, Carlos, before heading to the Brazilian side. It was a great 1/2 day tour in Brazil where we got a nice overview of the waterfalls, followed by a relaxing late afternoon at the hotel. The next day was a packed touring day with Carlos on the Argentinian side. Carlos was a great tour guide and we really enjoyed our time with him. The transfer back to the airport was perfect on the last day. We are very glad we were able to use you and Viva Expeditions for this trip. We look forward to using you in the future as we further explore South America. Thank you for all your help!

Tour: Colonia & Montevideo | Reviewed by: Geoff & Pauline Gough

We had a marvelous time thank you!
The arrangements you made were impeccable and everything ran perfectly. We were picked up on time and the ferry crossing was amazing. The accommodations in Montevideo were good and the city tour very informative.
We caught the bus to Colonia and had a wonderful time there also. The hotel was just what we expected and we did get the room we requested. The guides and drivers were great and the whole trip very worthwhile. I’m so glad we did it. Thanks for arranging such a great trip! We’ll definitely use you again.

Tour: Lakes District Discovery | Reviewed by: K Mcintire

The trip was great - Franco and Mel were fantastic and really make a difference to the trip. The truck was great - it was my first time travelling overland style and it was really comfortable and even the longer days of travel were easy to cope with, especially as there were plenty of stops. We would have loved to have continued on the trip but had other plans - I'm sure they all loved the rest of it just as much!

Tour: Ultimate Latin America Group Tour | Reviewed by: Ian Winters

Toured South America on a personalized tour , everything was extremely well organized and was tailored to our interest . Guides and drivers were superb and the accommodation that was arranged was stunning no more so than the Singular Hotel near Torres Del Paine National Park , what a place to stay.
Visited Santiago, Patagonia ( Chile and Argentina ) Iguazu falls - if you go there stay at the Hilton in the park so you can have the falls to yourself absolutely brilliant , Lima , Lake Titicaca , Cusco , Machu Picchu , and Peruvian Amazon staying at the Inkaterra reserva amezonia which was a wonderful experience - A big thank you to Tara from Viva Expeditions for arranging what was a fantastic holiday and it was all arranged by e-mail

Tour: Incredible Iguacu Falls | Reviewed by: Romana Owen

I just wanted to write to let you know that I had a great time on the Iguazu falls trip, it was a great way to end my trip in South America and I would like to say a big thank you for assisting with my booking and for being very helpful.

Tour: Buenos Aires, Iguacu Falls & Rio De Janeiro | Reviewed by: L. Penuela Duque & S. Beattie

The trip was absolutely amazing, we had the time of our lives! A big thank you to you and the team for organising everything for us, we had a beautiful experience and didn't have to worry about anything.
Buenos Aires was one of the biggest highlights for us, my husband even said that he wants to move there!
I have heaps of photos, so I have attached just a couple.
Also, if you want to use my email as a testimony that is also fine with me.
Thanks again for being so wonderful and easy to deal with, it's hard to think but there are not many good travel agents out there.

Tour: Quito City and Surroundings | Reviewed by: J Easson

The Ecuador trip was wonderful as were the guides in Galapagos and at Sasha lodge in amazon.
Tara Sutherland from VIVA did an excellent job organising our trip and transfers. Everything went to plan.
Jane

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: V. Webb

I am home.
What a fantastic, fabulous trip.
I can keep on and on about how great the trip was but you would have probably heard it all before.
Mel and Franco - what a pair. The best guide and driver (and spotter of all animals and fauna).
I expected to loose weight with all the walking and trekking but no chance, what with Mel kept coming with all the amazing lunches.
The most hilarious was seeing Franco (all 6ft+) suddenly stopping the truck and giving chase to an armadillo on Carretera Austral! Picture it in slow motion!
The itinerary for the whole expedition was spot on and I am glad to have the opportunity to trek some of the famous peak ( even though I didn't make the summit on some).
The group got on so well from the very start and my room mate Janet (from Toronto) is a gem.
I have no regrets taking the Stella Australis Cruise.
It was expensive but worth every dollar.
We were blessed with the most favourable weather which can make or break the cruise.
Landing on Horn Island was a highlight. That was what I was most looking forward to.
The photos that I have taken does not do justice to the real time which we experienced.
The diverse landscape, flora and fauna, volcanoes, glaciers, lakes, etc.
Thank you for organising the whole trip.
Everything went so smoothly.

Tour: Grand Tour of South America | Reviewed by: Jon & C Burgess

Don’t worry, we got back in one piece! We had a great time and apart from one hiccup everything went according to plan. If I’m going to give you some proper feedback though, I’d better get a bit more organised:

Overall organisation: Everything went like clockwork! All the planes (that’s 13 flights) took off on time, our bags always arrived and there was always a smiley face to greet us when we cleared customs. All of your ‘partners’ out there were really good and took great care of us.

Quito/Ecuadorean Highlands: The guide (Andres) was very well informed but very anti-government, so could be in prison by now. Hotel Patio Andaluz was very pleasant and of the three Haciendas Alegria really stood out, with a lovely location, incredibly helpful owners and breath-taking horse rides in the hills. Oh, and I got to ride a lhama! By the way, four days after we stood at the base of Cotapaxi, it erupted. I seem to remember that Villarica has also erupted. I think we’ll stay away from volcanoes.

Napo Wild Life Center: Fantastic! We were in our own little group of four with an extremely knowledgeable guide and two boat paddlers and we felt very special. The accommodation was jaw-droppingly beautiful and the ‘huts’ and food were of a very high standard. We saw a wide range of animals and birds.

Cuzco - Puno: You may remember that I questioned the sanity of a 10 hour bus trip from Puno to Cuzco but Tara assured me it would be good...and it was! We saw a lot of the country that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen, including the dreadful poverty on the outskirts of Cuzco. Most people only see the sanitised centre, held together by and for the western visitors.

Cuzco: I mentioned one hiccup earlier and this is where it happened. Clare had been feeling off colour for two or three days and thought it must be the altitude. However, during our half day trip around the city she was suddenly very sick and from there it was downhill all the way. After a dreadful night of sickness and diarrhoea I rang the local Coltur manager to say that our trip to the Sacred Valley would have to be called off and that I doubted we would be able to make the Salkantay Trek either. He sent round the guide from the previous day (Lisbeth) and she called the doctor. Within half an hour, Clare was whipped into a local hospital (for westerners with health insurance only, I think) where she spent the whole day on a drip and oxygen. Lisbeth was brilliant and stayed with us all morning (we needed her to translate), while the care and attention given in the hospital was second to none. Tests showed that Clare was suffering from a stomach bug called Giardia and fortunately this responded really well to treatment. So she was out of hospital that evening and we even made it to the Mountain Lodges of Peru meeting at the El Mercado. (The hotel was very good, by the way).

Salkantay Trek: Somehow Clare managed to haul herself round the trek, improving with every day. We had a great time: an excellent head guide, wonderful lodges in amazing locations and a really nice group of people. The distances travelled every day were mostly quite short, particularly for fit young chaps like me, but the guide was at pains to ensure that nobody suffered from altitude sickness (they didn’t).

Iguazu Falls: And so to the finale. And what a hotel! The food there was the best we had on the whole trip and we stuffed ourselves accordingly. Obviously the Falls are spectacular and we enjoyed both sides of the river over the next two days. The crowds were enormous during the day but we got up early and visited our Brazilian side of the river (two minutes from the hotel) and had the view of the falls entirely to ourselves. The bird park near the park entrance is also well worth a visit if you want some good photos.

So there you have it...are you still awake? In conclusion, then, we had an excellent time with everything happening exactly when it should have done and we met some lovely people and saw some spectacular sites. We came away with some great memories and thousands of photos, which will take months to sort through. So a very big THANK YOU to you and your team for arranging all that. Where to next? Hmm, we shall have to see!

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: J & P Brandham

The cruise expedition was just sensational. The crew were astounded by the quality of the weather that we experienced and were out taking photos themselves because of the near perfect conditions. Top class facilities on the ship, top class meals, top class expedition staff who had a depth of knowledge that was impressive to say the least.
The Southern Explorer trip was also first class.
Trish and I have been on many holidays over the years and this was most definitely one of the best.
During our 2 weeks with Mel and Franko I managed to do and see everything that I had hoped to do and see in Patagonia and more besides. I don’t think that it could have gone any better to be honest.
We had fantastic weather when we needed it, saw some of Patagonia’s wild weather when we it did not stop us doing stuff and when one plan was not able to be fulfilled, the guys had a plan B and C ready for us (In fact a plan B enabled the group to see 3 pumas off to the side of the road one afternoon about 40 meters from us).
And Mel and Franko are an absolute asset to your company. They were the best hosts that we could have hoped for and nothing was too much trouble for either of them. In fact the whole trip ran like clockwork with Mel and Franko doing a load of work behind the scenes to make sure it ran smoothly.
The truck is great, the accommodation was a bit better than what I expected in that part of the world, restaurant / hotel breakfast meals were great and lunches were fine.
I would and will definitely recommend you guys to anyone who wishes to travel to South America in this manner and I will most definitely travel with your again in the future.
All the very best for the future and thanks again for this trip
Best regards
John and Trish Brandham

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Mary Noy & Bill Vincent

You were after some feedback, and our feedback is nothing but positive. We enjoyed the entire trip. Every day was a new experience for us. Our connections to catch up with the group went like clockwork. Thank you for that.
Our accommodation was comfortable, the route was fantastic, the scenery was magnificent, the food was good, and every day there was an unexpected surprise.
Of course what made the trip so enjoyable was the effort put in by Mel and Franco. They were friendly, courteous, fun, informative, caring, and put in more than 100% to make the trip so memorable. They went beyond the call of duty.
We felt safe, they spoke the local language, knew their territory well, and there was a magnificent driving effort put in by Franco some days, when the weather turned, or there was a long distance to travel.
Well done Viva.

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: Heather Lees & David Sage

David and I very much enjoyed our recent Southern Explorer trip with Viva Expeditions. The trip had the combination of hiking in stunning scenery, with the comforts of travel and accommodation and all coordinated for us by two exceptional people, who made all arrangements appear effortless. Mel and Franco are a fantastic team and I admired how with a diverse group of people they connected with, and made each person and their respective interests appear a top priority, while also managing the group and the itinerary. The extra mile was also evident in little touches like the personalised encouragement messages handwritten on lunch bags before the longer hikes.
This was a great first experience of an organised tour for us.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Mary King

Walking in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. I'm higher up than it seems from the photo.
Well clearly the scenery is stunning, so I'll just write about Mel, the tour leader, and Franco, the driver.
They were completely considerate and flexible and accommodated participants varying abilities with total acceptance. Everything seemed friendly and relaxed, but it is clear much behind the scenes preparation was done to make it so.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Hank & Felice Cavallera

We have now taken 10 trips with five excellent companies. This was the best of them all. Pataqonia speaks for itself. The reputation of the people of Argentina and Chile for kindness and helpfulness is well deserved. Esperanza is the appropriate vehicle for the varied terrain. Mel and Franco (Marco to my wife Felice) are just great guides. They have so many skills. At our last dinner I gave the thank you talk on behalf of your clients, now known as “Grupo I Viva Expeditions 2015”. The quality control committee of Grupo I had to confess that we, as 16 somewhat experienced travelers from around the world, combined, did not have the knowledge base or the skills that our new friends, Mel and Franco, possess to make this trip what it is for the traveler. Ten plus! Please share with Rachel. Thanks for your help.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Brian & Rosie Mellor

Our Wild Patagonia Adventure
Viva Expeditions – you were our choice,
- the online Reviews had a loud voice.
For our Patagonia adventure, we had researched, read, and noted that many satisfied customers had “voted”
- Viva – the best!!
Well, we put “Viva” to the test.

The outcome?
Second to none!!

From Melinda (Mel), Franco, and Esperanza (the truck), we had enthusiastic experience, and “hope”, oh such luck!!
Local guides too, were our leaders
- supporters, and feeders
of information, and insights
about history. (What human rights?).
We learned about landscapes, trees, and flora, the weather, birdlife, and the fauna.

On “Rock and Roll” highways
we enjoyed lengthy “drive days”.
From vineyards, to “fin del mundo”, it was our goal to see lakes, steppe, volcanoes, (passing Border Control).
Lush valleys, sparse plains,
grande rivers, and moraines.
The schedule – well ordered.
Long drives – well rewarded
with views – unsurpassed,
giving visions, to last
a lifetime
sublime.

Passenger numbers - just seven, then, plus one, then, plus eight.
Was our timekeeping ever late?
No. Our group was well managed,
Well fed, watered, (but one was damaged), from a slip on the loose scree
- such adventure is NOT risk free.

We hiked in iconic places,
with big smiles on our faces.
We saw where forests, lakes and glaciers meet.
Oh, the rhythm of nature is ever so sweet.
And in the landscape so rugged, all colours – alive, we were lucky to watch rare Torrent Ducks dive.
Many highlights, all amazing in every way, with special surprises – what a “Happy Birthday”!!

Tasty meat, fish, empanadas, casuella, and “Happy Hours”
with wines, beer, “Iceswan”, and, of course, Picosours.

The experience was more than the sum of its parts.
The memories made will live on in our hearts.
Words cannot express the expertise of this “Team”.
“Viva”, you surpassed expectations, fulfilling our dream.

Melinda and Franco, we thank you.

love, Rosie

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Gordon & Michele Streight

We had a FABULOUS trip though Chile/Argentina/Patagonia in January/February this year, and with so much to catch up on after our 8 week trip, it has taken a while to absorb all we experienced and come back to earth! Thank you for all your support in making it happen.

It was an amazing experience, visited some truly spectacular country and travelled with a great bunch of people. Mel and Franco are a wonderful couple and provided a huge backdrop to our adventure. After 4 weeks we were exhausted. We spent the next 4 days in Ushuaia just wandering around town, watching the harbour from our 5th floor suite in the Cilene Del Faro Hotel (a great place to stay) and cooked & ate in our room except for the last night before boarding our cruise to Antarctica.

We made some really good friends amongst the group who we have planned further travels with.

Long ago, I promised to send you a map of our Patagonia adventures which I was recording via GPS on my phone each day during the trip.

Having little prior experience with the OruxMaps app I was using on my Samsung phone, it took a while to manipulate the huge quantity of data collected into a usable and presentable form. Thanks to Google Fusion Maps, this process ultimately ended up being rather straight forward, after I'd spent many hours playing, experimenting and testing. The next trip will be a piece of cake by comparison!

At first, I thought it would be a relatively simple exercise to filter our photos into a short list that told the story of a fabulous month on the road in Patagonia. Wow, did I ever underestimate that task!

Every photo seemed just as significant as the next and the decision to remove just one, kept getting put off. So it was several months before I was able distil the many memorable events, places, sights, experiences and activities into a story of our Patagonia adventure that didn't involve hundreds of pictures!

I don't want to bore you with our "slide night" but if you're interested, you can see it online here: www.whynot.net.au/travel/index.html

The link to the Patagonia maps is on this page: www.whynot.net.au/travel/patagonia.html

The site also tells the story of our adventures in Antarctic, which started 5 days after saying goodbye to everyone in Ushuaia.

Thank you again for all your help in making it happen. Hopefully we've inspired a bunch of friends & colleagues to do similar trips.

Regards
Gordon & Michele Streight
Sydney Australia

Tour: Inca Heartlands | Reviewed by: Gerryvale Luyun

We enjoyed our Peru Trip and everything was perfect. You have organised it well!
The Peru land transfer staff are friendly and accommodating. They explained how the itinerary will go beforehand. They provided us with all the information that we need and all our questions were answered. Tour guides are very knowledgeable too. They have in-depth knowledge of what they are presenting to us and they are impressive. All of them really knows what they do, their job duties and responsibilities.
It is our pleasure for choosing to travel with you - Viva Expeditions. It was an amazing experience. For our future travels, you will be definitely be my priority.
Good job and well done! Kudos to everyone who made our trip a great success!

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Lynley Russell & Roger Partington

Thank you Viva Travel, especially Melinda and Franco, for a well organised twenty days with you in your comfortable, clean, high viewing truck. Franco's driving on difficult roads could not be faulted, even stopping for us to take photos was done willingly.
Mel's explanations of each area plus anecdotes were excellent as well as personal help to everyone...laundry, food, money,border crossings etc.
We would advise anyone planning an excursion in South America to carefully consider Viva Travel.

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: Janice Mitchell

I just want to thank you for a fantastic trip in South America. Contact with you and your company was perfect. You kept in touch and answered inquiries promptly. The info sheets you sent were very clear and detailed and full of information. Your choice of accommodation was great. Some very nice hotels. The food we ate was a mixture of local and traditional served by our guides at camp, and really great restaurants.
The activities were as the itinerary and kept us all nice and busy. I really enjoyed the hiking (my main reason for being on your tour)It was a delight to see such a lovely country and of course we had the most beautiful weather which of course gave us the great photos! (Winter for me is sorting out a few hundred of these!)
Your bus we travelled in is an asset. So comfortable and roomy and great views. Franco was such a careful driver and Mel was a great guide . Both kept us on track, were very obliging and helpful thus we were able to get as much experiences as possible from our trip. I think you are very lucky to have Franco and Mel on your team.
Thank you for a great trip.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Rachel Symons

My recent trip to Patagonia was my second to South America but my first with Viva Expeditions. It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget. Every day was filled with something new and exciting to see and do.

Mel and Franco were wonderful as our tour leader and driver and made sure that everyone was well looked after. Mel's cooking was great and even her restaurant recommendations on our free nights were spot on.

There were so many highlights that it is hard to pick one. For me hiking is a passion so I would have to say climbing Villarica Volcano and hiking in the Torres del Paine were the main highs as well as the glacier ice trekking. But the scenery was great, the chocolate in Bariloche, the Calafate ice cream.... The list goes on!

I would recommend this trip to anyone interested in travelling to Patagonia. I hope to travel to more parts of South America with Viva in the near future, hopefully with Mel and Franco in charge!

Tour: Lakes District Discovery | Reviewed by: Bob & Chris Adams

We had an amazing tour of Argentina and Chile in February in a comfortable vehicle with our wonderful guides Mel and Franco. We saw so many places we would have missed if we were travelling on our own. The hiking was great showing us some wonderful views, the rafting was terrific and the visit to the vineyard was made special by having us make up our own wine. A lot of fun. We couldn’t fault the restaurants we ate in and there was no fixed menu. A very well thought out trip and a big thank you to Viva.

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: William FitzPatrick & Sarah Beaton

We had an absolutely wonderful time on this trip, and as I was mentioning to Bill this morning I can’t think of much of anything in the way of improvements you might make. As the oldest couple on the trip we wondered how we’d fare, and we were very happy that our bodies were able to keep up. The hiking was so terrific, allowing us to see such incredible scenery that we would not have otherwise. Not to say that it wasn’t challenging, but we were prepared, I think and even the small amount of bad weather we encountered didn’t put a damper on anything. It was definitely a more active trip that we’re used to, and frankly, we enjoyed that.

Melinda and Franco were also terrific. They took care of all details and were so attentive to us. Very competent, and they helped make the trip great. They did a wonderful job of keeping up with all of us as, when we were hiking, there was such a variation in hiking skills and speeds. The additional guides that were provided were all good too, especially the 2 on the first day at Laguna de Los Tres. Trekking on the glacier was also a highlight, and the guides there were so attentive. Torres del Paine is just so gorgeous, and despite some rain and super wind, we really enjoyed hiking there. The itinerary was well planned, and I’m not sure what could be done to improve it.

The dinners that were provided were all great too. Seems like with most of our group tours we’re stuck with restaurants having buffets, yet on this trip we went to some terrific restaurants where we could order whatever meal suited us. Was a real treat. We had just enough free time to collect our thoughts and see a few things on our own. The group size was just perfect, and we all got along well, I think. Was definitely fun having people from other countries than the US. Traveling in “Esperanza” was nice too, very comfortable and Franco and Melinda were always stopping to show us things. All in all, a terrific trip. Thanks so much for being there.

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: Margaret Louw & Sakkie Meeusen

Thanks to Viva expeditions my dream of seeing Patagonia came true .
Viva really lives up to its goal " to provide mature yet adventurous travellers with active, exciting, safe and great value for money" tours.

All aspects surpassed my expectations - the extremely comfortable overland vehicle, competent driver Franco, & knowledgeable guide Melinda, quality of the hotels, camp site & refugio.

The local guides we had for hikes in Los Glaciares and Torres del Paine national parks were superb as were the guides on the Viedma glacier.

This became a trip offering more than just the spectacular views of the snow capped Andes, famous climbs of Fitzroy & Torres del Paine, breathtaking glaciers, blue lakes, hiking through windblown forests. Driving through the vast awesome Patagonian steppes watching condors fly was a privilege.

It was also great to share the 13 days with 16 like minded adventurers as well as the evenings over a delicious meal and good bottle of wine.

Southern Explorer is a trip I will recommend to any mature yet adventurous traveller who likes hiking and comfort.

Tour: Route 40 + Carretera Austral | Reviewed by: Sharon Lawlor & George Zubrzycki

Well, we had a wonderful time on the Ruta 40 / Carretera Austral with Melinda and Franco. The accommodation was very good, comfortable and secure. The food along the way including Melinda’s scrumptious shepherd’s pie was nutritious and plentiful. The truck was more than comfortable and for us, 'quite luxurious’ in fact. Both Melinda and Franco were knowledgeable and shared many of their travel experiences with the group. We thoroughly enjoyed the activities and the walking to glaciers and waterfalls and scenery along the route.

Tour: Route 40 + Carretera Austral | Reviewed by: Alessia Gabbianelli & Alessandro Gera

I can just give you extremely positive feedback! Melinda and Franco have been so kind and helpful! I also think that the "carretera austral tour" is a great itinerary, very different from the main touristic attractions (that are obviously very worth to see too) and brings you in the very heart of the country! We had a wonderful time, thank you for everything!

Tour: Lakes District Discovery | Reviewed by: Yael Kabir

I went to Patagonia Lake District over the holidays of 2013-2014. When I decided to go to this area I researched tour companies online. Not only did Viva have the best itinerary, but Rachel also customized for me perfect pre and post tour itineraries, according to my schedule. I was also very impressed with the Chilean company they work with. Everything went according to plan from the moment I arrived to the moment I left, which was very important, since I was travelling alone. The hotels and meals were very good, and I definitely got my money’s worth and more. I warmly recommend travelling to South America with Viva Expeditions. I certainly intend to use their services for future trips.

Tour: Antarctic Peninsula | Reviewed by: Bill & Vicki Prince

Absolutely fabulous. The crew went out of their way to make it a memorable trip. Ship, food, excursions, weather, birds, whales, penguins and other wildlife were all great. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to one of the best cabins on the ship (501), right next to the observation lounge. The weather and catering on Christmas Day were outstanding.

Tour: Grand Tour of South America | Reviewed by: Brian & Tessa Watson

At last I can find a moment to sit down and write to say a very big thank you for a really well arranged trip.

As you know I tried to put it together and it was just too hard. We would never have managed to do such a good job - having all the local knowledge, and such wonderful, helpful guides and drivers made our trip of a life time so special. We visited 10 countries and had 21 flights in our Round the World Adventure getting to South America via New Zealand and coming back to Australia via Africa in 8 weeks. Our time in South America was so well paced, with time to relax and time to see what we wanted to. We enjoyed being able to explore on our own at times and also having knowledgeable guides who were so friendly and helpful to introduce us to their culture, this included learning to make Pisco Sours and Cerviche on the Gourmet Tour in Lima.
We visited Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador and although we missed some great places, we hope to be able to do them at a later date, we will just have to keep exercising. We feel that anyone who has an interest in travelling in South America, would be well advised to use Viva Expeditions to ensure a reliable, efficient and enjoyable experience.

Thank you Rachel, we will certainly recommend you and your company to anyone wishing to visit South America.

Regards
Brian and Tessa Watson

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Mark & Anne Greaves

Wild Patagonia was indeed wild and together with the Inca trail and some sights of Peru we have had the trip of a lifetime.
Our Peru itinerary was organised by Rachel and the selection of tours/guides/travel options and timing were superb, allowing us to enjoy the culture and natural beauty of the country without concern. This coupled perfectly with a wonderful 4 weeks in Patagonia being transported by Esperanza, driven and guided by the delightful Gaetano and in the company of a group of like minded Antipodeans. The hikes and activities were exhilarating, varied and interesting. Even the long drive days were enjoyable as we watched the grandeur of the landscape and the wildlife roll past. Great food was had in well selected restaurants. We would definitely travel with Viva again, hopefully to the northern parts of the continent in the near future.
Thank you Rachel and Brendan for your efforts.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Jane Rogers

I have recently been on a Viva Expedition from Bariloche to Ushuaia. I was keen to see Patagonia and this trip visited all the places that I wanted to see. Also it appealed to me as it was marketed for the mature traveller who wanted an active tour with like minded people of a similar age. I really enjoyed the tramping (hiking) in the National Parks and the amazing scenery.

We travelled in a purpose built vehicle with a maximum of 16 passengers. It was comfortable with large windows along the side and also a large window at the front for maximum viewing of the variety of terrain that we passed through. We also had an excellent guide who was also very knowledgeable about the area.

The accommodation was excellent, staying in a variety of places in comfortable hotels with a couple of nights in tents and 1 night in a Refugio.

I would certainly recommend Viva Expeditions to anyone thinking of a trip to South America and have already recommended this trip to my friends. It is good value for money and hassle free as everything was organised for me.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Bruce Pipe & Jacquie Gluyas

We have recently completed our second trip to South America with Viva.
On our first in 2012 we spent 5 weeks covering the Amazon Basin, Peru and Argentina. This included 23 days travelling on Esperanza, Viva’s custom built expedition vehicle. A very comfortable vehicle providing the opportunity to travel the back country roads. We occasionally encountered other expedition vehicles but none were up to the standard of Esperanza!
Rachel made excellent recommendations for our itinerary both in terms of travel options and time allocations. We were driven / guided by Tony and Dee who together with excellent local guides introduced us to the history, culture and culinary delights of the areas visited.
We enjoyed our experience so much that we promptly asked Rachel to suggest an itinerary for southern South America including Patagonia and the Torres Del Paine National Park. We returned from this 5 week trip in late 2013 having spent 26 days ( 5,000km ) travelling on Esperanza from Santiago to Ushuaia followed by 5 days on a boat around Cape Horn. We were driven / guided this time by Gaetano another great member of the Viva family.
The second trip like the first was very well organised ( thanks Rachel ) with excellent accommodation choices, great restaurants, plenty of outdoor activities plus knowledgeable local guides. Travelling with like-minded people was an added bonus.
We unconditionally recommend Rachel and the Viva experience to anyone who has an interest in travelling in South America.
Regards
Bruce Pipe and Jacquie Gluyas

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Wayne & Gill Butt

Wow. It was true – what our leader and driver, Diane and Tony told us as we completed the Inca Discovery tour with Viva Expeditions 18 months ago. If we enjoyed Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca then, Diane had said, you would really enjoy “Wild Patagonia” in November. So there we were, boarding Esperanza once again. We quickly formed good group dynamics, each with a quirky role. Who could have guessed that we would all climb Volcano Villarrica with ice axes and crampons, see hanging glaciers, sip Baileys topped with glacier ice, and trek for a day in 70km winds. Not all easy, but fun – every moment of it. We are mid fifties, reasonably energetic and moderately adventurous, but the last ones to book a tour bus for more than a few hours, and here we were on a truck in South America.
The highlight for us both was the ascent of the 9383ft Volcano Villarrica. Close seconds were the day touring Ushuaia and the Tierre del Fuego National Park, dolphins in the Magellan Strait, morning light on the granite of Torres del Paine and watching 500 tons of ice fall from the face of the Perito Moreno glacier.
Every day lived up to Rachel’s description - “New Zealand on steroids”. We had a fantastic time and thoroughly recommend Viva Expeditions. Book early – it would be a travesty to miss out.


Tour: Andean Adventure (& the Galapagos Islands) | Reviewed by: Paul & Jane Bullen, Kathryn & Paul Bruggeman

Hi Rachel
We are on our last day in South America and we would like to thank you for the successful organisation and attention to detail provided by your service. Our itinerary was well organised and we were met at every hotel and airport promptly by a representative from your company in a timely manner.

We would like to particularly acknowledge our guide in Ecuador Pablo Nasevilla who was excellent friendly knowledgeable and really enhanced out Ecuadorian experience. we would recommend him highly and if we were to return, we would want his services again.

If we were to return to South America, we would definitely want to access your services we will also be recommending you company to our friends and families

Many thanks

Paul, Jane, Kathryn and Paul

Tour: Inca Heartlands | Reviewed by: B. Gomez

Our experience with Viva Expeditions was great! While searching for touring companies online Viva was able to give us the best price overall. They were able to accommodate the requests we had, given the short amount of time we had to travel. The companies they work with at our destinations were very professional and polite. Our entire trip was detailed and any questions we had were handled by the staff of the tour companies hired by Viva. I highly recommend Viva Expeditions to anyone traveling in South America. They were able to recommend sites to see and attractions to consider at the destinations we visited. I want to personally thank Rachel Williams from Viva Expeditions for helping us make this trip possible. I certainly intend on working with Viva Expeditions on future trips!

Tour: Inca Heartlands | Reviewed by: M. Anton & L. Kathikeya

With the help of Kris and Rachel we were able to customise an itinerary that met our strict timetable. In just seven days we saw so many wonderful places in Peru, such as Cusco city, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu ,the Amazon Jungle and Lima. Machu Picchu was AMAZING! It’s such a magical place and it was definitely the highlight of our trip.
The customer service from Viva expeditions was outstanding and the local operators in Peru matched it. The meet and greets and guides were warm and friendly, especially Natalia! I would definitely recommend booking through Viva expeditions. Thanks Kris and Rachel for all your help! We had a wonderful time!

Tour: Andean Adventure | Reviewed by: Nelson Vaz

After a 23-day tour with Viva Expeditions - crossing 4 countries in South America - we were stunned not only by the cultural/historical sides and the magnificent landscape views, but also with Viva’s detailed and professional preparation/follow-up of the trip. Moreover, all ups and downs (somehow typical in South America – that’s part of the journey!) were addressed smoothly in real time. Outstanding! We knew it would be an amazing but complex experience in terms of logistics, connections and transfers, but never thought it would run that good. This makes a whole of a difference while touring these places and that’s the reason why one should chose a specific tour operator. You’re never alone when you need support. I can’t say enough good about it. Thank you! From now on you have 2 loyal clients here!

Tour: Luxury Trekking to Machu Picchu | Reviewed by: Anne Catley

Of course we had a fabulous trip and the organisation was superb. All of the flights and the meet and greets and guides were fabulous. That side of things was so good that we were met by the guide at the airport on our return to Lima from Cusco to be sure we got from the domestic side to the international. The people were just the warmest, most genuine imaginable. Each of the guides special in their own way.
Some specifics, most of which you will know already:
• Lima - Casa Andina Select Miraflores - loved the location, felt very safe and service good. Found locals very friendly and had fun for our day and 2 nights in Lima.
• Amazon Jungle - Refugio Amazonas. Again guides were fabulous and genuinely wanted us to see everything. Loved the accommodation. Going along the river, the canopy etc was a wonderful experience.
• Cusco - Loved it! Tours were great, hotel very well located and glad we spent the number of days here. Other people were here for shorter time but we were glad for time before and after our trek. We ate in the hotel and at various restaurants and all a good experience. Spent hours traipsing around up to San Blas, down towards San Pedro, around Plaza de Armas, in the shops etc.
• Sacred Valley - this tour was a highlight. The guide was fantastic. He was such an interesting man and wanted us to get a wider perspective on Peru and what we were seeing. The Peruvian buffet was a hit. The location and food was great and Peruvian music wonderful. A long day but worth it.
• Mountain Lodges of Peru trek - I am sure you know this trip is the best! Lived up to expectation and worth the money. Walk was challenging and altitude had greater impact than I expected. Food was very good, very fresh and plentiful. Hotel in Aguas Calientes was fantastic. Meal at the end of trek was a highlight.
• Machu Picchu - All the accolades about Machu Picchu were spot on. The first view we had from the trek was a moment to be remembered and visiting the site lived up to expectations. It is totally a wonder.
• Lake Titicaca - The experience at The Uros Islands and at Tequile were very interesting and such a contrast with earlier sights. Lake Titicaca so unique.
• Santiago. Pleased we stopped off and really enjoyed the day trip to Valparaiso. Lots of things to see and had a great seafood lunch down the coast.
Many thanks to both of you for your organisation and I will be recommending you to travellers. Everyone who likes travelling seems to have Peru on their list. The country was a total bonus. I thought I was going for the trek and Machu Picchu but the experience was way beyond my expectations. The people are wonderful and I would go back. I can see how it gets in your blood Rachel. Lucky you, you have a reason to keep returning!

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: P. H. Cooper

Where do you begin? Patagonia is absolutely fantastic and we are so glad we saw it,especially with Viva.
Wow what a team Tony and Di make. You have struck gold with them in your team. They looked after us superbly and nothing but nothing was too much for them in seeing everyone was happy.They melded a diverse group of people of different nationalities ranging from 20 yrs in age to 70 plus into a single unit with a common goal and I believe we all loved and enjoyed the experience and ambient atmosphere Tony and Di created.
Not only did we tick something off the bucket list but thoroughly enjoyed a huge number of exciting experiences not previously even considered,such as walking on a glacier in crampons and climbing an active volcano.Truly memorable experiences which will be lovingly remembered thanks to Viva Expeditions.
We would without reservation be happy to recommend Viva Expeditions to anyone wishing to experience Patagonia (or any other destination).
Thank you very much for all your expertise and knowledge. It made our trip completely stress free.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Glenys Huggett

Our Viva Patagonian tour was the most awesome adventure that encompassed some of the most amazing natural beauty of this somewhat isolated region - the grand forests, towering snow-capped mountain peaks, stunning ice blue glaciers, emerald green lakes and array of wildlife. From the moment we flew in through the snow covered mountains to land at Ushuaia (the end of the world) to meet our superb guide and driver team, Diane and Tony, plus our great bunch of fellow travellers, we knew we were about to embark on one sensational journey.

There were so many highlights but to list a few:
• the vast flat treeless windswept Patagonian plains
• cruising the Beagle Channel, so close to Cape Horn, with sea lions, seals and birdlife
• hiking Tierra del Fuego National Park with the spectacular scenery
• visiting Parque Pinguino Rey (King penguin colony) at Useless Bay
• crossing Magellan Strait in a freezing gale straight off the Patagonian steppes
• spectacular snow covered granite peaks of Torres del Paine with the sedimentary rock formations, hanging glaciers, deep lakes and the crashing avalanches tumbling down
• attaching crampons to climb onto Viedma Glacier with its ice caves, crevasses, the amazing vivid blue icebergs and to finish with a celebration drink of Bailey’s chilled with glacier ice
• walking trails through the stunning Fitzroy National Park
• rattling along the famous Route 40
• sampling local cuisine; beaver, rhea, goose, lamb grilled on a rack over an open fire
• meandering around the Argentinian little Swiss town, Bariloche
• and I think my best highlight, climbing the active snow covered volcano Mount Villarica with its awesome views

Thank you so much
Cheers
Glenys

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: Sulabha Panjraton

I did Southern Explorer tour in March 2013. I was not interested in doing long hikes so along with 2 others from the group, I did much shorter hikes lasting a couple of hours when others went on long hikes. The scenery in Torres del Paine National Park was really stunning. I loved 3 glaciers most though - Grey , Perito Moreno and Viedma. My whole trip was arranged to see Perito Moreno glacier and it is the most beautiful glacier in the whole world in my opinion! I have seen glaciers all around the world – Antarctica, Arctic, Canada, Alaska , New Zealand and now Patagonia! We saw huge ice calving during our boat trip along the face of this glacier! The glacier looked magnificent from all the boardwalks! The trek on Viedma glacier was amazing too. I had done helicopter landing on Mead glacier in Alaska but that was nothing compared to the trek on Viedma glacier! Another highlight for me was the visit to the King Penguin colony. I had seen Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins in Antarctica but these ones were much bigger and very beautiful!
I was quite happy with the accommodation everywhere. I have never stayed in the tents, so that was an expereince! Diane cooked good food at the camp site. She let me one day make Pulav and Indian version of salsa. Next day she made a modified version of pulav without my help and made very delicious tomato onion soup. Diane went out of her way to make sure that I had something to eat to my liking ! Tony also played his part apart from being an excellent driver!
All pick ups and drop offs went without a hitch. Orquideas Hotel at Iguassu Falls was very good. I had a good room, breakfast was good and staff were friendly. The gardens were very nice. Iguassu falls tours were great. I got to spend plenty of time at the end of Brazilian falls on Devil’s throat balconies which I had missed last time in 2008 ! Also the upper circuit on the Argentinian side was very spectacular ! The tour companies normally only take you to Devil’s throat on Argentinian side and then Brazilian trail!
All in all I would like to thank Viva Expeditions for fulfilling my dream of Patagonia trip along with a side trip to Iguassu Falls. This was the first time I travelled with an overseas tour company and I was a bit worried but in the end was extremely happy with the whole tour. Being a solo traveller , I have to be extra cautious as to who I go with!

Tour: Torres Del Paine "W" Trek | Reviewed by: Michelle, Sean and Chloe

Hi Rachel, Sean, Chloe and I would like to thank you for proving us with such a well organised tour / itinerary through El Calafate and Puerto Natales / Torres Del Paine. It was smooth sailing from the moment we stepped off the plane in El Calafate with everything being on time and taken care of. Everything was was explained to us and there was no confusion. In our minds, in the time we had, there was no way it could have been organised better, so thank you.
Of particular note, Claudio, our tour guide for the W trek, was absolutely outstanding - we have never had a better tour guide and we will be recommending him / your tour to our friends and families. He was the difference in making our tour an exceptional experience for all three of us. Patagonia is indeed the highlight of our trip so far.
Thanks again
(Tailor made Patagonia tour with W trekking in Torres Del Paine - 2013)

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: B & R Hobson

I wanted to thank you so much for, not only a first class truck trip through Patagonia, but also for all your help with the little extras like airport transfers, extra nights accommodation in Santiago and Ushuaia and a magical 5 days in San Pedro de Atacama. It all worked smoothly and was hassle free.
Tony and Di were welcoming and went out of their way help us ... like photo stops (thanks Tony, never a problem), and the food was fresh and tasty (thanks Di) e.g. I mentioned I like blue cheese and the next day on our salad plate was blue cheese. Apart from that I think we also tasted most of the Patagonian fauna, eg Rhea pate, krill in scallop shells, beaver sushimi. . .
I fell in love with our Viva truck as soon as I stepped inside. It was so roomy and comfortable and obviously well thought out and designed.
Patagonia is ruggedly beautiful and your itinerary made sure we saw all the spectacular regions. All the famous beauty spots like Pucon/Bariloche, Perito Moreno and Torres Del Paine but also sublime gems like Futaleufu and my favourite the Enchanted Forest.
My photos are full of beautiful mountains, rivers and glaciers as well as memories of a very wonderful holiday.
Thank you so very much

Tour: Torres Del Paine "W" Trek | Reviewed by: Tony & Ursula Lampart

Ursula and I truly enjoyed our trip – thank you very much for making it a real memorable experience. Everything worked like clockwork! Your partners did an excellent job – you are working with very good people.
The weather fully cooperated – most of our days were sunny and pleasant. For example, we experienced the Los Torres Hike in warm weather with excellent views – almost too good to be true. We only had one day with some rain with no major consequences, otherwise it seemed to rain during the night when were asleep or when we were inside.
The accommodations were clean and pleasant and always well located – we even kind of liked the hostel environment in El Calafate. The stand-by hotel in El Chalten (Hotel Poicenot) turned out to be a jewel and can be highly recommended.
The guides were either very good or excellent – their thorough knowledge of their respective areas made the trip even more interesting.
We simply experienced too many highlights – big and small – to start mentioning them. It will take us a while to digest this trip.
We will not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone interested in traveling in Chile and Argentina – as a matter of fact I sent a message to my travel agent encouraging him to look at your company should they have other customers looking at Patagonia and the other regions we visited.
Thank you again for all your efforts – they truly paid off. You are a great organizer and you have an excellent team behind you. (Patagonia tailor made itinerary)

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Owen Hayes & Andrea Goldsworthy

The trip was wonderful!!!
Patagonia lived up to all our expectations as a stunningly beautiful place and we certainly got our desired fill of birds, wildlife and glaciers.
Di and Tony were fantastic hosts and constantly went the 'extra mile' to ensure that everyone was happy and our needs were met. Their relaxed, good humoured and easy to get along with approach whilst at all times maintaining the upmost of professionalism and knowledge is a credit to them.
Andrea and I hope that one day we have the opportunity to travel again with Viva Expeditions.
Many thanks

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: Emma Chesterman

I was on the Viva tour of Patagonia, 10-22 November, and just wanted to let you know I thought it was completely amazing. We were so lucky to be guided around those extraordinary places by people who really knew about them, and to have been on a tour where you have obviously really thought about what's worth doing and what isn't, where the hidden gems are and what hype to avoid, and how we can get the best from where we were in the time we had.
Tony and Diane were totally brilliant in every respect - literally flawless! - really, we were so fortunate to have such professional and lovely people organising us day to day. Please pass on my thanks to them once again for being fantastic.

Tour: M/V LA PINTA - Luxury Cruise | Reviewed by: Jenny and Erich Oettli

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to experience the wonders of the Galapagos archipelago. Just by pure chance I was contacted by Viva Expeditions with an exciting travel itinerary to these magic islands . My wife and I had extensively toured with Viva Expeditions in South America before with very good results so we decided to take the plunge . The eight day five star cruise far exceeded our expectations. Snorkeling in the clear waters amongst sea lions, turtles, sea iguanas and a myriad of fish life , exploring the unique fauna and flora on different islands and taking in on fabulous cuisine was all part of this exotic, once in a life time adventure. We have no hesitation in highly recommending Viva Expeditions and we will use them again in the future.

Tour: Cuba - classic cars and cigars! | Reviewed by: Erich and Jenny Oettli

My wife and I had the privilege of touring in Cuba with Viva Expeditions. The accommodation, food and transport were exemplary , the itinerary educative and informative and we really experienced a palpable sense of the cultural and social aspects of this much maligned country . Our bubbly tour guides , who are both fluent in Spanish, were helpful , courteous and ensured a smooth seamless experience.. Both of us highly recommend Viva Expeditions and would use their services in the future.

Tour: M/V LA PINTA - Luxury Cruise | Reviewed by: Teresa Johnson

I am writing to thank you for the wonderful job you did of arranging my trip. It could not have gone more smoothly. In the past, I have not liked to be so organised and have always travelled rather "freewheel". I found this new experience of having everything organised quite relaxing and non stressful. I suppose things change with age. Anyway, everything happened as it should without a single glich. All the content was fantastic and awesome. The Galapagos will always be a highlight of my travel life. A privilege to be there as far as I am concerned. I have decided that I am going to save to give all of my grandchildren a 21st birthday present of a trip to Galapagos to make sure that they dont miss it. Once again, thank you for an absolutely fantastic trip. (Tailor made tour to Cuba, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru, Argentina & Chile - 6 weeks - 2012)

Tour: Southern Explorer | Reviewed by: Pam and Dave Ashford

We are just back from our Patagonia trip, and I wanted to express how much I appreciated all your patience answers that got us started on that journey. We had the adventure of our life! Deona and Tony were so attentive to make sure everyone was having a good time. She is a great cook, and we had some fantastic meals while camping. The camping was well done and very comfortable. Our only disappointments were there were only 3 penguins at the penguin colony and not getting to hike the "V" both of which you have no control over. That was more than offset by be many other wonderful experiences, especially our best two: hiking to the towers in Paine and hiking to Mt. Fitz Roy. Oh, and the food was wonderful . . . too wonderful, I gained 5 pounds! We appreciated that you employed your superhero skills and controlled the weather which was excellent.
I also want to mention about our pretour of Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls. Every single transfer was there waiting or on time for the pick up. We were 3.5 hours late because of thunder storms and the guy was there to pick us up. Having all the transfers was a huge worry off my mind. Everything exceeded my expectations and the tour leaders were all very nice and the tours very enjoyable. The hotel at Iguazu was beautiful. I had some security concerns before we went but felt safe. It looked like they had security people who walked around the grounds. Of course, we always used the safe and never left our bags which is just good advise anywhere. There was an employee that took the bags and put them on a cart and stayed with them also. There were only two places where the hotel advised against drinking the water: Iguazu Falls and Cerro Sombrero.
I will be writing a nice review for Tripadvisor. Thank you again for making this wonderful adventure possible.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Lina Lizzi

The tour I did with Gaetano (Viva Expeditions Tour Leader) was fantastic. Well organized, and very well timed. . . The first two days at the Glaciers where unforgettable and the hotels where great, as where the restaurants where we ate. The truck was very comfortable and every one was commenting on the comfort and insulation on the truck. The trip through Chile was a great way to cross to the north as you see a whole different reality of forests and incredible plants with leaves the size of a man. Gaetano took us to walk in the Enchanted Forest as he called it and as remote as it was it was an unforgettable experience. None of us could stop taking pictures, it seemed as if you had dropped into the forests of the movie Avatar, incredible. . . The places that were chosen in Futalefu and before that where magical. We were all impressed. It is so remote that just to find anything is increadible, and to find good accomodation was great.
Now everyone asks me what I will remember of the trip and I have to say quite a few things. The walk on the Viedma Glacier comes top of the list. The noise of the ice breaking off and falling into the water at Perito Moreno. The forests in Chile. And the view from Cerro Campanario in Bariloche. There is acctually a lot more, but too long to list here.
I can only highly commend Gaetano for his knowledge of the places and his handeling of all the situations, difficult and easy. I am a tourist guide here and I have experience, and he really knew his stuff. . .
Well done on the organizing and a great ittinerary. It is unusual and very interesting. It takes in a great number of different areas and interesting places to visit. The vehicle used was comfortable and well organized and the guide was an expert in his knowledge of where to go. He always gave us good advice (we did tease him however about his idea of FLAT hikes). If I go back I will contact you again. Many thanks for everything and keep up the ittinerary, it was really good.
Many thanks for an unforgettable holiday, (Wild Patagonia - El Calafate to Bariloche - January 2011)

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Erich Oettli

Coming from New Zealand ,It is hard to imagine a place which comes close or even equals the splendour of our South Island. It was therefore a real shock to experience the magnificence and scale of the contrasting vistas of wild Patagonia. The sheer size of the Andes intertwined by grand fiords, pristine glaciers and tall volcanoes, juxtaposed by expansive pampas lands stretching miles to an indistinguishable horizon makes this a very special place on our planet . . The diversity of unique fauna and flora is a given in such an unspoilt sparsely populated place and if you are with me so far, get on line and contact Viva Expeditions who made this dream possible .I cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism, courtesy and attention to passenger safety . . I hold no reservation in recommending Viva Expeditions and I intend to travel with them in the future.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Helen & Graeme Laird

My wife & I were lucky enough to experience the Ushuaia to Santiago, "Wild Patagonia" trip March 2010.
"Viva Expeditions" offer small group tours, owned & operated by a nice young couple Rachel ( from NZ) & Brendan (from Australia). They are really professional & well organised. They both speak English/ Spanish & have a real passion for South America. They made it really easy for us to enjoy exploring remote wild places (that many travellers would struggle to find) as well as taking in the more well known sites.
We were transported in a very comfortable purpose built truck. Heaps of space & legroom. Seats recline. Large personal foot lockers under your feet were a great idea to stash your gear etc. Large tinted windows give unobstructed views out the front & sides. Also a toilet on board was appreciated by all.
We were all in awe of Brendan's driving. He could put that truck anywhere, great lunch & picnic spots off the beaten track. We always felt safe.
Our accommodation was comfortable & well located. It varied depending on the location. Even in the really remote areas, we stayed in some really nice places.
The food was always amazing. Very tasty, lots of variety & plenty of it.. One of the great things about this trip is that most of the meals were included in the trip price.
The day we visited the Puerto Moreno Glacier was one of the many highlights. We were lucky to be taken by a back roads though vast open country, stopping to take pics of wildlife, the mighty condor birds etc. We then approach the distant south face of the glacier on foot, walking along the lake edge gives us plenty of time to appreciate the grandeur & beauty of this area. Then we get up close to experience this vast river of ice, & it is awesome ! The colours constantly change in the light, neon blues to every shade of white. Huge chunks of ice occasionally peal away from the front of the glacier with a loud crack & thunderous boom & it is quite mesmerising. Our cameras go into overdrive. We stay for many hours taking it all in, then out in a boat to explore the northern face. It towers over us. Ice burgs from the glacier float past to slowly melt into Lago Argentina.
So many memories… the granite peaks in the Torres Del Paine National Park, the vineyard visits in the north, the snow capped volcanoes at Pucon, and what about……
“Wild Patagonia” is a great trip.
If anyone is considering exploring the wonders of South America we can recommend “Viva Expeditions” as one of the best.

Tour: Buenos Aires & Iguacu Falls | Reviewed by: Geoff Paddock

We have just returned home after a very good holiday. I must say that your arrangements worked like clockwork, and everything was fine. It is very comforting so far from home to have faith in one's agent especially if spanish is not your first language. I would also say you were right to suggest 3 days 2 nights for the falls, quite draining to do it in 2 days 1 night.
If we plan anything else in south america I will certainly be in touch, and would unreservedly recommend you to anyone planning anything in that part of the world. (Tailor made Argentina tour 2010)

Tour: Andean Adventure | Reviewed by: Jenny and Erich Oettli

We had the pleasure of touring extensively with Viva Expeditions.
Both Rachel and Brendan made it a very comfortable, trouble free trip and their local knowledge and language skills were of immeasurable value. Highlights such as the breathless atmosphere of La Paz, the awesome scenery and history of the Inca trail , the overnight stay with a local family on an isolated island on Lake Titicaca, straddling the equator near Quito and the unforgettable experience in a genuine eco lodge situated on the Napo river in thick tropical rain forest, will stay with us.
We feel that Viva Expeditions presents excellent value for money and we highly recommend them.”
(Tailor made Bolivia, Peru & Ecuador tour 2009)

Tour: Andean Adventure | Reviewed by: Ray and Anja Mansell

In 2009 we had the opportunity to experience an amazing adventure, and at the same time have a lot of fun with Viva Expeditions. We took one of their tours to South America and travelled from Bolivia through Peru to Ecuador, which included the 5 day trek to Machu Picchu.
As a young couple, taking 'older' 50 + clients, didn’t faze them at all. In fact they helped us to venture outside our comfort zones.
They were extremely professional in everything they did, they have a passion for the country and have a real affinity with the South American people.
What a plus that they also speak Spanish!!!!
We had a problem when crossing the border between Bolivia and Peru, when the local bus driver who spoke no English, would not wait for one of us who was delayed at the toilet. Long story!! Luckily Brendan and Rachel were able to explain and negotiate with the driver to wait.
We would not hesitate to recommend Viva Expeditions to anyone who is looking for a fun experience, with a truly professional tour company.
We are planning another journey with them in 2010.

Tour: Andean Adventure | Reviewed by: Pauline Verrall

I would like to say that my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our Trip with Viva Expeditions. I felt that the local knowledge and passion that your and Brendan have for the country enhanced our holiday immensely. We were a more mature group, but this in no way deterred you from providing a fantastic experience catering to everyone’s level of fitness. Our experience on the Inca Trail was great and being a small group had its advantages. The Guides had a great depth of knowledge and where easy to understand, at no time did we feel pushed for times it was a very well organised tour with a lot of side tours that were outside the norm.
Accommodation was good and the local food and wine complemented the whole experience. Our journey through Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador was fantastic and we look forward to doing the Patagonia/Argentina tour in 2010. Would highly recommend this company and felt that Brendan and Rachel run a very professional company.

Tour: Andean Adventure | Reviewed by: Rob & Pauline van Kampen

Just a short E mail to say how much Pauline & I enjoyed our trip with Viva Expeditions. Really I dont know where to begin because there was so much cool stuff to take home as memories and a great bonding time with you & the other trip participants. This trip has changed the way that I view other cultures because of the way that you showed us how they operate as a unified body for the greater good of the whole community and not just for one individual. Our discussions about the salt flats, mining, and the Ecuadorian tribes and their fishing practices really was a opinion changing time for me. The walk through the rain forest in Ecuador was so amazing, although we it was a challenge to achieve the climb up & through the cavern it leaves some unforgettable memories. Even when shopping, which is not normally my thing, both Pauline & I did got some cool bargains. Perhaps one of the highlights for me is bike ride that you organised around the Peruvian highlands.
That brings back some memories from the 70s believe me, dirt bikes, dust and falling off! Bolivia is such a vast place, and somewhere that I never thought to go, but I was fascinated to learn the history of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. Every one knows who they are & to be where they had been & robbed people was so cool, & to think that was where they died, amazing!
Anyway enough for now we will be in touch when we have another group to do another trip and we will see what you can teach this old B------ then!

Tour: Grand Tour of South America | Reviewed by: Darryn Wilkie

South America is an awesome diversity of culture, lifestyles, landscapes, awe-inspiring scenery and adventures. From the coastal deserts and deserted mountain ranges in the Andes to the wonderful colour and wildlife in the Jungles and wet lands in Ecuador, South America is a fantastic place to travel around. There is no better people to allow you to enjoy your experience, make you feel comfortable and ensure you can relax throughout your entire trip than Brendan and Rachel.
They are both extremely competent and very experienced tour hosts and undoubtly would be the best ever tour guides I have had on any trip. This recommendation is coming form someone who has travelled to over 45 foreign countries, and been on tours through Europe, Scandinavia & Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Scotland, Ireland, Africa, Usa & Mexico and South America. I have also worked as a tour guide on weekends out of London running 1 to 5 day coach trips in the UK and Northern Europe. This team will ensure you have an extremely memorable experience. I wish them all the very best with their tours and would definitely travel with them again.”

Tour: Grand Tour of South America | Reviewed by: Lisa Moralee

I had an amazing time travelling round South America with Viva. They make it all easy for you, take you to the best places and make sure you have lots of fun along the way. You'll see many wonderful things and have fantastic experiences that will take your breath away. Go and have the time of your life!

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Roger & Gabi Tayler

This was the best organised tour we ever have done (and we've been on a few!). Rachel is a fantastic organiser, cook and tour leader, and Brendan is a superb driver and all-round Mr Fixit. The truck is beautifully designed to ensure the maximum of comfort and visibility; so much so that it attracted hordes of fans and admirers. The tour is aimed at people who are a little beyond the age where camping every night and spending long days on a crowded overland bus are an attraction; but who, nonetheless, still possess a sense of adventure and enjoy trekking and other such activities. The size of the bus enabled the tour to reach areas that other overlanders cannot reach and the smaller group size meant that it was possible to cater for individual tastes. The hotels, camp grounds and cabanas were all chosen with care and there was not a dud amongst them.

Tour: Wild Patagonia | Reviewed by: Diane & John Ramaldho

John and I had a wonderful time on the tour and hope to join you on the Peru Bolivia tour sometime in the near future. I think you offer a unique and fabulous itinerary . . . We were very lucky to have Gaetano. He is a very personable man and handles people well. He was very flexible and accommodating and very knowledgeable about the areas. Sometimes when we were unsure if we wanted to do something, he suggested alternatives that were appropriate and well worth the effort. His advice for our free time was also very useful. Our little group were around the same age and got along very well.
Regarding meals, the dinners were excellent - the choice of restaurants well above the standard for group tours. Breakfasts of course were dependent on what the accommodation offered and lunches were generally good and more than ample, so much so that we had to ask him to cut down on the quantity as we eating everything he provided and were all gaining too much weight. We really appreciated that the restaurants he took us to for dinner served food that was representative of the area. We also liked that we could order what we wanted instead of a predetermined package. No point going to Argentina and eating at a Chinese or Mexican restaurant.
Besides the itinerary, what impressed us the most was that so many activities were included in the tour package. - the activities and excursions, boat trips, guides etc were all of very good quality. Overall the tour price was very good value.
Regarding the hotels, some were good and some ok but they were all clean and acceptable. . . The coach was very comfortable and the view from the windows excellent. We were all spoiled by having so much room to ourselves. . . I wish you continued success in developing our company.
Kind regards

Tour: Andean Adventure | Reviewed by: Ian Sharp

Hi Rachel, my name is Ian Sharp and you organised a trip for us (ie me, my wife Chris & daughter Katherine), taking us from Cusco in Peru thru Puno and Lake Titicaca to La Paz then overland including the salt flats and deserts of Bolivia to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Thank you, it was an exceptional experience and the standard of tour operator/guide was superb. The natural beauty of the place was enhanced by the great organisation and warm welcome(s) we received. So again thank you for making what was a great time even more special, all the best.................Ian Sharp.