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Suggestions for Shore Excursions


ilovhywd

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Valparaiso: I recommend Leo Silva at www.rutavalparaiso.cl (note cl not com)

Look on the website at the photographs for 19th November and you will see us. Leo takes you by foot, trolley, bus, elevator, funicular all over the town. It was an active day. We really enjoyed being able to ask him countless questions.

 

We were on the Veendam with Photofoot, but we took the 35 day trip San Diego to Rio. I will try to answer any questions about the following ports: Manta, Salaverry, Lima, La Serena/ Coquimbo. Then the usual ones around Cape Horn.

Jill (and Joe)

 

Jill, Thanks for the interesting info for Valparaiso, please relate your experiences for Trujillo(Salaverry) and Coquimbo. Thanks in advance, les

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Coquimbo: Four of us took the #1 local collectivo bus to La Serena. I found the information by doing a search for "La Serena" in this thread. It goes by near the port entrance. I asked the port gate guards where to go and had some difficulty understanding their Spanish reply. However suddenly I saw a bus with a La Serena sign in the window. I just waved at him and he stopped. He accepted a dollar bill for each person. In La Serena we used Holland America's map to find the museum (closed the day we were there), the market, a supermarket for wine and the main pedestrian street. We also found an ATM then had lunch and walked back to find the bus. Walked a bit around Coquimbo too. An inexpensive day seeing local every day life but those who took a tour to the Elqui valley raved about the scenery there.

 

At Salaverry we took an all day ship's tour to Huaca del Sol, Trujillo, Chan Chan, Huanchaco beach. This was expensive and the restaurant was crowded with 5 tour buses at once. It looked much better to get a small group private guide. With enough Spanish you could negotiate an all day taxi at the port, but you would need to read ahead on what you want to see. The Huaca del Sol was an amazing example of a Moche temple.

On both these days we did a lot of walking and it helped to have read a Peru guidebook ahead for the Trujillo area as there is more than you can fit into one day .

 

If you don't speak fluent Spanish it would be worth learning some as little English is spoken. However people don't bother you and I felt safe. I don't think they get a lot of foreign touristsor cruise ships in either place.

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Fredr, most of what you say i agree with and hope you can recommend tours and guides for the ports, Valparaiso and north to last port in Peru on your voyage. Thanks in advance, your advice on Argentina was good for our plans there, here's hoping you can help once again.:)

 

Hi, we just returned from a 16 day cruise from LA to Valparaiso, and we used tours and guides for the ports of Valparaiso, La Serena, San martin and Callou/Lima. We were very pleased indeed and we only spent about 1/3 to 1/2 of the price of the ship's land tours. In fact, we saw a lot more than the ship's tours because we specified the combinations of sights - e.g. in Lima, the ship only offered the ruins with horse show, but we had wanted to see the ruins along with the city of Lima (including the cathedrals and the catacombs of Franciscan church). We were able to get to the Ballestas Island ahead of every one else, while the ship's tour involved waiting in groups for a long time before getting off the ship.

 

I am sharing our experience, hoping that would increase your information base to evaluate your interests and needs.

 

In Valparaiso/Santiago, we used South Excursions (nfo@southexcursiojns.com (he also serves la Sererna area)

 

In San martin -- This is our highlight, we visited Ballesta Islands with support from Enrique of mystery Perus Adventure Tour (info@mysteryperu.com

 

In Lima - we used Renato of Taxi Lima Perua (renato80b@hotmail.com)

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Thank you for the info, we will check on these suggestions. Could you briefly describe those sites you visited that you thought were definitely worth visiting?

 

For San Marten, we took a boat ride to Ballestas Island which is part of the Paracas reserve. You will ride on a road with desert landscape by the side. Ballestas island is also called the poor man's Galapagos because it is more accessible and you will see the island covered with birds of various species. You will also see sea lions, penguins, and interesting rock formations. The boat will take you close to the island. If you search on google or check on Mystery Peru adventure tour web site, you will find descrptions.

 

For Lima, we visited the ruins - the old shrine for the priests who workship the Sun God. It is located high on a hill next to the sea with impressive ocean view. Then we visit the various districts of Lima, including fishing village, the cross on a hill, a fancy touristy neighborhood, and old town Lima. We watched a water fountain laser show (like that in Bellagio in Vegas).

 

For Valparaiso, it is the sea port. It is also a UNESCO site - we rode the funicular up to a lookout. the guide also took us to a Plaza before we visited the seaside resort. Then we visited a Chilean ranch with a horse show - not grand in scale but demonstrative of the lifestyle on a ranch. In Santiago, it was a city tour, of the plazas, government buildings, and the new development areas.

 

My suggestion is that you do some research on the destinations by entering the key words in a google or yahoo search. You will see pictures etc. Fact finding is important before you decide what to do. When you know what you want to see, you can find out about the prices or obtain quotes and compare with the ship's prices.

 

I hope this would help.

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  • 2 weeks later...

for photofoot or others who did the nat'l park tour in Ushuaia how long was it and what did it cover? We will be there at the end of Feb with port times 2pm to 10 pm and am trying to figure out what will be visible due to the times in port.

 

Also, suggestions for Montevideo. Most CC notes suggest just walking around the town but I'd like to know what else there is to see. We will be in port that day 8am to 6pm.

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for photofoot or others who did the nat'l park tour in Ushuaia how long was it and what did it cover? We will be there at the end of Feb with port times 2pm to 10 pm and am trying to figure out what will be visible due to the times in port.

 

Also, suggestions for Montevideo. Most CC notes suggest just walking around the town but I'd like to know what else there is to see. We will be in port that day 8am to 6pm.

 

Ushuaia: We were on the Veendam with photofoot. The Ushuaia stop was scheduled for 2pm to 10pm. Although we arrived on the ship in sunshine around 1:30 pm the weather turned very windy (40 knots) with rain showers. The captain had huge difficulty coming into the pier with the side on wind. He warned us that we might not be able to land at all. We watched from the Crow's Nest as he made two attempts then had to pull back. We were very impressed that he did not give up. However it was around 4 pm by then and most of the 1280 passengers were more than ready to get off, so there was crowding at gangways and priority to HAL shorex.

I went on the four hour tour "Drive to Tierra del Fuego National Park" $69. We completed the whole tour but after it there was only 45 minutes left for a very quick walk around the town before all aboard at 9:30 pm. The tour guide was very informative and we had 3 stops, the first at the most southerly post office overlooking Lapataia bay, the second for a short walk by Lake Roca and the third to walk to the most southerly point overlooking the Beagle Channel. The sun shone, there was a rain (or snow?) shower and the photo ops were great. My husband took a shorex inland to Lake Escondido. From the photos I think my choice was better! I wish we'd had time to eat at one of the restaurants with grilled lamb and I wish we'd had much longer, two days or one long day, as there are several museums I wanted to see.

 

Montevideo: We were here from 8 am to 6pm, so we were ready to walk off the ship ASAP. We had brought maps and guide book information with us and we obtained a very good map "Montevideo walking tour". I think they were giving them out at the terminal. Apart from crossing the busy road at the port very carefully there were no problems walking the mile to the center, viewing interesting buildings and squares on the way. It is a place where you can take a seat in a shaded leafy square and people watch. I was fascinated at how dressed up the office workers were, lots of dark suits, women in pantsuits and high heels. It was interesting to compare and contrast with Valparaiso, Buenos Aires and Rio. Once we got to Plaza Independencia we carried on down Avenue 18 de Julio (interesting shops) to Museo del Gaucho Y Moneda. This had a very good display of ornate saddles, spurs, and other gaucho equipment. We completed the walking tour back to the ship for lunch and a rest.

Later we went out for two hours to the nearby Mercado del Puerto. The indoor part is full of traditional restaurants/ grills/ bars. We shared a liter (quart) bottle of beer for less than $5.

There were tourist police on the main corners but when we strayed down a side street near the port, a concerned person who could speak English told us please go back to the tourist area. We were wearing money belts and I didn't carry a purse but later a nice old man warned us our cameras could be snatched. I thought it was a somewhat old fashioned city which is making efforts to welcome tourists and look after them.

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In Ushuaia we opted to just go to the National Park with the tour guide we had arranged for prior to arriving. We were very pleased with our choice. Our friends did both the Park and the lake area and were equally pleased. Our impression is that the Park and Lakes were much more interesting then the city itself.

 

We loved Montevideo. Having a personal guide really made the trip. He not only took us to many,many places but even got us into places no one else got into. His information about his city was both informative and interesting. I would highly recommend him. (Jaimegutierrez@adinet.com.uy). It really was full day of touring.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For Ushuaia, remember that if you are there in the spring/summer- remember that it stays light very late!! Visibility from lack of sunlight should not be an issue, visibility from clouds etc may be.

National Park is not that far from town. Most tours take about 4-5 hours, including train.

We left our hotel at 8:30 and were back in town around 1.

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For those who have done independent tours could you give me a little more info such as what your tour fees were and was it based on 2 people or more.

 

I would like to do the Nat'l Park tour in Ushuaia. We are scheduled to arrive at 2pm in March and I know others have said it stays light much later, but what about things being open in town. Do the shops stay open or just a couple of restaurants after 5 pm?

 

For Montevideo, I've read that there's not much to see in the town itself. So what did you see in & outside of the town.

 

I am really disappointed in what the cruise ships are offering these days and don't want to miss out on seeing the best of our ports.

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Here's what we did in those ports.

 

Depending on your own interests, this may or may not qualify for your "must sees". But we were very happy with our choices. :):)

 

MONTEVIDEO: We had a fantastic private tour & tastings at Varela Zarranz vineyard. We were met at the pier by a driver & transported by mini-van to the winery about 1-hr from Montevideo. Upon arrival, we were met by Magdalena, a most gracious & knowledgeable hostess who is also a trained sommelier. Our tour began in the vineyards where Magdalena told us about the various grapes. Then we continued into the production plant which was an interesting mix of modern techniques and traditional wine-making. After the tour, we were welcomed into a beautiful tasting room where we sampled 3 different wines along with artfully-arranged meat & cheese platters. Magdalena described each wine as we tasted. Our tour & tastings including round-trip transportation was $30 pp (group of 10). Everyone also purchased wines to bring back to the ship. Varela Zarranz has won many international awards, yet typical prices at the winery were US$5-20/bottle.

 

The entire excursion took about 2½ hr & then we were transferred back to the pier in Montevideo. We still had enough time to explore the Mercado Puerto, do a little souvenir shopping & have lunch of beef asado.

 

USHUAIA: We took a 3-hr Beagle Channel catamaran ride to see resident sea lions & cormorants. We bought our tickets right at dockside for the old sailing vessel Barracuda. But we were the only passengers at that time (!!) so the trip was cancelled. We were transferred to Canoeros Catamaran. It was a lovely trip with great photo opportunities. Afterwards we wandered around Ushuaia, bought some local wines & got our passport stamped at the Visitor Centre with an “End of the World” stamp. We also had an outstanding meal at Tante Sara, a chic cafe that serves exceptional meals at very reasonable prices. We ordered king crab ravoli & patagonia lamb ragout. Both were off the hook - and waaaay better than meals we ordered at the highly-acclaimed Sotito's in Punta Arenas.

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Thanks for the info on the Montevideo wine tour however as my DH doesn't drink wine at all and I do just somewhat that wouldn't work for us. For now I had just planned on walking around the city on our own, but I wanted to know what other options there were out there besides a city tour.

 

For Ushuaia I've love more info on the park and nature outside of being on the water again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

South America Taxi Guides and Tours - NCL SUN cruise 11/22/09-12/5/09

 

We used the following private taxi guides and tours and found them very satisfactory. We would highly recommend them. Their vehicles were all very satisfactory for 4 persons plus driver. We rotated the 1 person in the front seat with the 3 in the back.

 

Puerto Chacabuco, Chile: Patricio Pinilla – email: ppinillagti(at)gmail(dot)com Patricio has a comfortable 4 door car for 4 people + driver and is a most gracious and happy person. He speaks English well enough for our group but we also knew a little Spanish which was also helpful. He sent us emails with information and met us at the dock in Chacabuco, then took us along the road to the villages, waterfalls, national parks and beautiful scenery on the way to Coyhaique where we had a wonderful lunch. Please be sure to buy lunch for Patricio as he doesn’t get anything special from the restaurant. Patricio made a point of stopping everywhere we wanted to take photos, gave us recommendations on places to take photos. He was very helpful and really wanted to share his area of Chile with us. We had a wonderful time for the entire day. His charge for 4 people is $150 US + lunch, small admission fee for the park and tip. It was very well worth it and we had a wonderful time with Patricio.

 

Punta Arenas, Chile: We would highly recommend the Solo Expeditions high speed boat trip to MagdelanaIsland to see over 100,000 Magellanic Penguins. This is not a trip for people that don’t like adventure but is the best chance to see penguins up close in their nests or in the water without spending 7 hours traveling by bus on unpaved roads at Puerto Madryn or the Falklands. The trip starts at their office within a few blocks of the dock then goes by van to their dock location close to the island where you board a very high power and high speed outboard inflatable aluminum large “dinghy”. The boat is covered so you don’t get wet but plan to go very fast and have some “lumpy” seas at times. We are sailors and found it to be a great trip but you have to hold on to your seats at times. It’s definitely safe and the owner’s son was captain of our boat. To see more details about them and book the trip go to their web site: www.soloexpeditiones.com and select “SOLO 5” in the list of trips. To see the boat we used, click on “Crafts” in the top menu bar. We were on the “Isla Isabel”, a fully covered boat. (yellow one) and had a great time even when water was spraying over the boat. Wear warm clothes because it can be windy on the island. Email to Carmen Gloria at canales@soloexpediciones.com for more information and reservations.

 

Ushuaia, Argentina: Sergio Lares – email: serush_(at)hotmail(dot)com" (NOTE: his email address is serush_@... - don’t forget the underscore!) Sergio was a wonderful guide who loved his country and Patagonia and had a great heart. He took us to a great restaurant for fire barbecued lamb and all over Patagonia to see the sights. We went to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, overlook of city, hidden lake, peat bogs, and more. Yes, he drives like a taxi driver but we were comfortable with him and saw more than 2 cruise tours combined! He stopped where we wanted to take photos and suggested good places for shots. He’s an amateur photographer too. His dinner was covered by the restaurant. Yes, he gets this benefit but the place was really special and we walked through the kitchen and into the fire pit where the lambs were being splayed and grilled. After the entire day, he dropped us off at a chocolate specialty store within walking distance of the pier. The chocolates were great too! The entire trip for 4 people was $210 US + dinner (reasonably priced), admission to the park and tip. We all felt it was worth every penny and would highly recommend him to any group of 2 couples that wants a personal exposure to this beautiful area of the world.

 

Montevideo, Uruguay: Ronaldo Steiner – email: rony_49(at)hotmail(dot)com Ronaldo was a wonderful driver who loves his country and city and wanted to show us everything in Montevideo. We had contracted for 3 hours for 4 passengers for $100 US and definitely received our money’s worth on our tour. He said that he spoke German, Spanish, Hebrew and a little English but his English was more than satisfactory for the 4 of us that spoke only a little Spanish. He covered so much more of the city than the walking tour of the main area that we would have never seen without driving. He would have continued for more time than the 3 hours except that we had a deadline to meet others at a wine tasting. More on this below. We would strongly recommend contacting him by email and he will be there at the pier to meet you.

 

Montevideo, Uruguay: Casa de Bernarda Castilla Wine Tasting – website http://www.portofcallmontevideo.com/wine-tasting/ email: info@portofcallmontevideo.com (Tim and Amelie Plaehn) We booked this unique wine tasting of Uruguay wines for a small group of about 6 people. It was a truly special event and we really enjoyed meeting our hosts whom we had emailed in advance to confirm details. Seeing the lovely setting in the atrium of a city home built in the early 1800’s, and tasting the unique wines of Uruguay was a wonderful way to spend our early afternoon. The tasting is very reasonable and wines can be purchased there. It’s hard to buy them in the US. We took the taxi tour first, then the wine tasting and finally had a short downhill walk to the wonderful and bustling old market on the way back to the ship to have a late lunch at a barbecue grill restaurant.

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Just wanted clarification on the Ushuaia guide/driver...was the total cost $210 including everything or without the dinner, tip, entrance fees? How long was the tour? Not sure if I can get another couple for this as others have preferred booking the catamaran tour. I still want to do this type of tour so I am trying to figure out what to expect for just 2 people.

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Just wanted clarification on the Ushuaia guide/driver...was the total cost $210 including everything or without the dinner, tip, entrance fees? How long was the tour? Not sure if I can get another couple for this as others have preferred booking the catamaran tour. I still want to do this type of tour so I am trying to figure out what to expect for just 2 people.

 

$210 was for taxi only and didn't include lunch, one park entrance and tip. The tour lasted about 6 hours. You could cut down on the time and probably negotiate a lower rate (about $150) if you didn't continue from the restaurant further up the road to see the hidden lake. We did add it on and enjoyed it but there was still great scenery without that part and you could still enjoy the bbq lamb lunch. As we recall, the lunch was about $15 each and a bottle of red wine was about $10. You can't see that scenery without going by taxi. The catamaran was something we considered but really wanted to see the Patagonia countryside more. If you want to see some of the photos we took of the region send me an email and I'll link you to them. My email is: avemar38(at)earthlink(dot)net

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I posted wrong email address for Patricio in Puerto Chacabuco.

His correct name is Patricio Navarro Rubio. Correct email is pato_rubio66(at)hotmail(dot)com Please contact him by email for a great and reasonable taxi tour.

 

Patricio Pinilla is another person in Argentina. SORRY for confusion!

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Wow, what a great thread - so full of fantastic information !!

 

Can anyone please tell me if they have been to Puerto Montt, Chile and if so, what they did? Any private shore excursions ? Recommendations?

 

Your help would be appreciated - thank you

Heather and Brian

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Wow, what a great thread - so full of fantastic information !!

 

Can anyone please tell me if they have been to Puerto Montt, Chile and if so, what they did? Any private shore excursions ? Recommendations?

 

Your help would be appreciated - thank you

Heather and Brian

I can recommend GV Tours without hesitation. They provided us with a wonderful day of touring.We left the city and visited Fruitillar,Puerto Varas on Lake Lago Llanquihue. After lunch we went to Vicente Perez Rosales National Park and the Petrohue Falls and Rapids. Everything was was planned and enjoyable. You can contact them at:jahdencol@msn.com

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scexplorer,

 

We will be visiting both San Marten and Lima next year on the Royal Princess. I hope you don't mind me asking a couple of questions. Was the excursion to the Ballesta Islands very expensive and did Enrique pick you up from your dock in San Marten.

 

Also, I see that you used a different company or guide when you were in Lima. Was there any particular reason why you didn't use Enrique in Lima or had you been recommended to Taxi Lima Perua.

 

I am just starting to find out about this part of our cruise. We have been to Peru before visiting Cusco and Machu Pichu but have only been in transit in Lima airport, so this is a whole new world for us and any information is a bonus.

 

Jennie

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I can recommend GV Tours without hesitation. They provided us with a wonderful day of touring.We left the city and visited Fruitillar,Puerto Varas on Lake Lago Llanquihue. After lunch we went to Vicente Perez Rosales National Park and the Petrohue Falls and Rapids. Everything was was planned and enjoyable. You can contact them at:jahdencol@msn.com

 

 

Thanks Photofoot - sounds like a great day as we both like the natural scenery which I image would be quite beautiful in that part of the world.

 

One more thing if I may, I forgot to ask about La Serena (Coquimbo) - do you have any suggestions there for tours / tour guides / "must sees"?

 

Thank you again - I really appreciate your help

 

Heather

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We just returned from the Jan. 3 BA to Santiago sailing and had a fantastic time on the following private tours with CC friends.

 

Montevideo - tour to the Varela Zarranz vineyard - the vineyard was gorgeous, and they provided a beautiful luncheon while tasting the wine. We bought several bottles $5-15 range to enjoy on the ship. Even paying the $15 corkerage fee it was still cheaper than most bottles sold on the ship.

 

Port Stanley - Volunteer Point to see the King Penguins with tour guide Patrick Watts. This was one of the highlights of our entire trip. Patrick was decorated by the queen for his reporting during the Falkland War and was fascinating. His price is half of what the ship charges and it was an amazing adventure. It is about a 1.5-2 hour extreme off-road trip to Volunteer Point which was great fun. The King penguins were amazing and you can get up close to them. I HIGHLY recommend this tour for those who don't mind a rugged journey. Here is a link for information: http://www.falklandislands.com/contents/view/74

 

Puerto Chacabuco - we had a group taxi tour with Patricio mentioned in some of the posts below. His tour was very reasonably priced and the trip through the Simpson Valley and to Coyhaique was beautiful. Once in town, we found a small bakery and enjoyed some wonderful empanadas.

 

Puerto Montt - We did the Mount Osorno Volcano Adventure with Jamie Liebrecht of Patagonia Shore Excursion. This included taking a chair lift up the volcano that had some of the most breath-taking views we experienced on the trip. Once up the mountaind we went zip-lining. Then we went to Petrohue Falls and ended up in the town of Puerto Varas for a wonderful lunch before returning to the ship. I HIGHLY recommend Jaime and Patagonia Shore Ex for this location. Here is a link to his site: http://www.patagoniashorex.com/

 

Valpariso/Vina del Mar - We also contracted this tour with Jamie Liebrecht of PatagoniaShoreEx. Our tour included seeing the sites of Valpariso and Vina del Mar and wine tasting. We were supposed to go a local vineyard but it was Election Day and all the area vineyards were closed. However, Jamie's team was able to find the most wonderful restaurant/art gallery that was one of the few places open that day and we had a fantastic time. We then headed to Santiago and were dropped of at our hotel.

 

Hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did!

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Thanks so much for the info Luv4quilting. We are already booked on Patrick's VP tour at The Falklands which looks fantastic.

 

I had a look at the link for Peurto Montt and it looks beautiful. Our ship, the Star Princess will be docked from 7am to 4pm so I'd be a little worried about the 7 hour tour so I think we'll have to opt for a half day tour.

 

Thanks again

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Thanks so much for the info Luv4quilting. We are already booked on Patrick's VP tour at The Falklands which looks fantastic.

 

I had a look at the link for Peurto Montt and it looks beautiful. Our ship, the Star Princess will be docked from 7am to 4pm so I'd be a little worried about the 7 hour tour so I think we'll have to opt for a half day tour.

 

Thanks again

 

Hi Dougo,

I would contact Jamie and inquire if he can fit in the tour in your timeframe. We actually contracted Jamie on 3 separate tours and were very impressed with everything he put together for us. He is also extremely reponsive. We sent him many emails prior to our trip and he frequently was online in the evenings and responded within minutes. I highly recommend Jamie and his company.

 

I hope you have a fantastic time with Patrick and tell him hello! We loved every minute we spent with him. Wish we could go again!

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