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Puerto Montt-Magdalena Island Penguin Tour


daju22

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Judy: We took the excursion to Magdalena Island last December-it is at Punta Arenas. From the ship, we boarded greyhound-type bus which drove to another port in town and the bus then drove onto a ferry. I think we had about 6 or eight buses total on the ferry. Once on the ferry, you can get off the bus and walk around the ferry-there are restrooms and a small cafe-type section-very small, however, that is enclosed from the weathe-these are at "ground level" so to speak.

 

Getting around the ferry anywhere else, might be difficult for a handicapped person, however, as it reqires ascending and descending narrow ladders. Some people remained on the bus to catch a nap or to read. It is about a 90 minute trip each way, and it was pretty chilly and breezy enroute.

 

Once on the island, the ferry lets down the ramp and you walk off the ferry onto the island. There is a path that is bordered on both sides by little fence posts suporting a wire about 2 feet high-that is the "border" between humans and penguins-it is just high enough that the penguins can cross the path without ducking. The path is hard-packed sand and it leads to an operational lighthouse and small museum. The path ascends somewhat steeply at times up to the lighthouse and is about a half-mile long.

 

I hope this helps you and your friend. :)

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Bill in Las Vegas as you were a past passenger seemingly happy passenger on this same cruise last year, have you any suggestions ads to the best port excursions.

 

Incidentally, was your sailing well booked as I seem to find very little response to my roll call?

Perhaps I would have been better off at the Bellagio!

 

Meanwhile ," gracias" for any info.

 

John,

 

Marbella, Spain

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Thanks Bill for the correction. The tour seems to be ok for my friend, except for the ladders on the ferry. Are there lavs on the bus? I assume there are if it's a greyhound type.

 

Do you think this was a great excursion or so-so? I'm really excited about seeing the penguins! It doesn't seem too far to walk. We can walk a mile uphill but slowly.

 

Are there any other excursions that we shouldn't miss?

 

Thank you so much for all your help and thoughts!

 

Where are you cruising next?

 

Judy

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John: the Amsterdam was not full for our voyage. I heard that there about 1100 to 1200 guests on board and the ship has capacity for over 1,400. I had trouble finding other Cruise Critic posters until a couple of months before departure and I think we wound up with about 5 couples, but only one of whom were arriiving in Santiago early and wanted to share a transfer to Valparaiso. But we all had a good time getting to know each other during the cruise. Hang in there, it is still early yet.

 

Judy: I thought it was one of the better excursions we took on the cruise. You can get really close to the penguins. We never saw anymore penguins that close up for the rest of the cruise. I think the buses had lavatories on them. Your friend should not have any problem with the lavatory in the ferry-no ladders to climb for those restooms.

 

Other excursions:

 

Puerto Montt: I was ill so we stayed on the ship, so will have to pass on that port.

 

Puerto Chacabuco: We took the Lake Elizalde excursion-probably one of the worst choices we made-cannot recommend that one-very, very long bus ride and brely got to see the lake-a rushed and crowded lunch. A significant portion of the bus ride was on an washboard dirt road and our original coach broke down and we were transferred to a city bus that had no sound insulation with a transmission that was not designed for highway speeds.

 

Punta Arenas: probably enough said on this one-but it was very enjoyable.

 

Ushuaia: tons of choices - hard to choose. We opted for the shorter Beagle Channel catamaran cruise and it was good-saw lots of wildlife and circled the well-known lighthouse. We then just strolled around the the town. It was Christmas day, so only about half the stores/shops were open, mainly the ones that cater to tourists.

 

Falkland Islands: we took the Stanley City tour and enjoyed it mainly due to the entertaining guide we had-a friendly and funny fellow and it gives you the flavor of living in Stanley. I recommend this excursion and it is only a couple of hours and gives you time to walk around and/or to take another excursion. We took a second excursion to the Long Island Sheep Ranch-we really enjoyed that one-got to see the boonies of the island and the stone fields and the ranch is the real deal-sheep, herding dogs, shearing shed with demo, shoveling peat demonstration and a chance to try it yourself. The owners/hosts let you come into their home to enjoy tea and snacks and to see how they use peat to heat and cook. The route takes you through areas that were battlefields during the Falklands War and there are aircraft and helicopter wrecks and mine fields still out there. The Argentinian forces actually occupied the ranch and held the owners hostage for a time.

 

Motivideo- we took the day trip to Punta del Este. It was interesting to see a jet set resort in a place you would least expect it.

 

Buenos Aires-another place with lots of choices-we opted for the day on the Estancia -it was a long but comfortable bus ride, but the it was a real estancia and with a good bbq lunch with Argentine beef and all kinds of gaucho activity demonstrations, horse and coach rides, etc. We enjoyed it. We passed on the dance show but those who went said it was very good.

 

Rio-on day one, we took the all day city tour including Sugarloaf and Corcovado-must see sights, in our opinion. We passed on the dance show there as well. On the second day, we took the day trip to Petropolis and would recommend this - another long bus ride but up into the mountains with beautiful views and cool air. The palace there is huge and interesting.

 

I hope all of this helps you both!

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I appreciate all the time and insights you've given us!

 

I'll be looking at your post in the future days to plan more of out excursions.

 

I may have more questions in the future.

 

Best of luck to you!

Judy

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Just got our booklet and have marked the "Bill recommended" tours in it.

 

We aren't going to Port Chacabuco so won't need to worry about the poor trip there.

 

Bill, at the Estancia tour in Buenos Aires is there alot of walking? It only shows a "one person icon" which means easy. Hate to keep asking this, but are the lavs close to activities? Takes us a little extra time to get anywhere!!

 

Hope I'm not taking up too much of your time.

You're the only expert tour guide in town!!!

 

Thanks again,

Judy

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Appreciate all the useful information, some excursions sound less than thrilling, but recall your enthusiasm for the Antactic experience, so will stick with my booking and hopefully enjoy it as you both did, despite your unfortunate bout of illhealth.

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Judy: not a problem to respond to your inquiries-glad to do it-just repaying the favor from those before me. You do not have to do a lot of walking at the Estancia. They have tables and chairs under a covered patio which is very close to the obligatory gift shop and restrooms. While we were watching the gaucho demonstrations, many people just sat on the grass. Also, as a part of the bbq lunch, there is a stage and they had a group of young people performed Argentine folk dances. It was a relaxing day, not fast paced at all. I think we had 2 buses in all and the bus makes a pit stop on the way to the Estancia at a service station/cafe. At the estancia you are free to stroll around on your own or just sit back and enjoy the surroundings.

 

John: hang in there on this cruise, especially if it is going to Antarctica. We would have enjoyed this cruise immensely even without Antarctica but seeing it was just the icing on the already delicious cake. Our worst day, weatherwise was while we were sailing in the Chilean fjords and the ceiling was very low with drizzle, so we did not get to see the real splendor of the fjords.

 

I am in the process of creating a photo album of our SA/Antarctica cruise at a photo sharing site and when it is done, I will post a link to it, so you can get a taste of what is in store for you all.

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Bill,

Thanks for the good news. Will consider this trip, but I would also like to see the tango show. Why are two great trips in one port? Oh well, I'll let my husband decide since I picked the penguins.

 

Read one of your posts about your wife losing her mother just before your cruise in August. I hope she is doing a little better. The pain never goes away with loved ones.

 

Let us know as soon as you have the pictures of your cruise posted. Hope you are planning another cruise soon. You certainly have helped alot with mine.

 

Judy

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Judy-thank you for your thoughts about DW. She is doing much better, still an occasional sad moment, but doing well. Planning future cruises has helped her, along with seeing our 7-month old first grandbaby 2 weekends ago. She is going back up to Reno this weekend for another "fix".

 

I will be sure to post the link when I have the pics and albums set up. I hope to be able to finalize it this weekend-about 100 photos involved from that cruise.

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Depending on this person's disability, I would just interject that in Rio, if you take a bus tour to Corcovado or Sugarloaf, you have to be in pretty good shape (and definately ambulatory) to get right to the top of these areas as there are many stairs. For Corcovado you must get off the bus and onto a narrow gauge funicular rail to to to the base of the stairs. It is not accessible, and you may have to stand the whole way.

 

My mother does not walk or stand at all. We arranged a private tour in a van. Cars and vans only (no buses) are allowed to drive up the mountain to the base of the stairs without having to use the rail route. Although she could not ascend the stairs, our driver stayed with her and showed her all she could see from the parking area (a lot) while my dad and I climbed up the steps (130 as I remember). The driver and guide also were wonderful about lifting her in and out of the van, and when we went to the dance show in the evening they got strangers to pick up her wheelchair and carry it up and down from the second story. I love Brazilians!

 

Petropolis was lovely and cooler than Rio, and there is even a wheelchair accessible elevator in the Imperial Palace here. I highly recommend that trip.

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Splinter,

 

Thanks so much for the heads up on the tours of Corcovado and Sugarloaf!

 

My husband is disabled in that he tires easily and walks slowly. We're like the dachshound in the cartoon "Drabble". We get there, but behind everyone else. Also, we're concerned that restrooms are available as it also takes a while to get there!

 

"For Corcovado you must get off the bus and onto a narrow gauge funicular rail to to to the base of the stairs. It is not accessible, and you may have to stand the whole way." How long is standing? 10 minutes? Don't know if my husband can do the steps-maybe some but not all. We're training now for the penguin excursion-walking a mile uphill.

 

Petropolis sounds like a beautiful place. Will check it out.

 

Your mom must be a tough lady!!! and also fun-loving!! You must be so proud of her!

 

When and where were you in South America? Do you have any other tips or ideas for our cruise?

 

Thank you sooooo much!!!!!:D :D :D You've really made a difference!

 

Judy

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Judy-thank you for your thoughts about DW. She is doing much better, still an occasional sad moment, but doing well. Planning future cruises has helped her, along with seeing our 7-month old first grandbaby 2 weekends ago. She is going back up to Reno this weekend for another "fix".

 

I will be sure to post the link when I have the pics and albums set up. I hope to be able to finalize it this weekend-about 100 photos involved from that cruise.

Will be looking for your photos. Please post the link on this thread. Want to be sure to see it.

 

Grandbabies do give you lots of joy!! Mine are 13 and 11 years old!! Can't believe that. Anyway, saw that your son is a vice principal and your wife works for a school district. My husband and I are both retired teachers.

 

Any more hints about the cruise or Amsterdam?

 

Thanks for all,

Judy:) :)

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Since we did not ride the train, I don't know a lot about it. Perhaps others can answer that. I do know that it ends at the same parking lot I mentioned above, and that he can still see nearly the whole city and view from here without having to climb the stairs. There are places to sit, a couple gift shops and a snack bar there too.

 

We went in November/December 2001 from Valparisio to Rio on the HAL Ryndam. We took private tours (none through the ship) in all our ports including Santiago to Valparisio (van), Puerto Montt (car), Punta Arenas (van), Montevideo (car), Buenos Aires (van and also taxi) and Rio (vans).

 

We just walked around town in Ushiaia, but could have taken a boat trip as it was easy to walk to where these left, and it was not difficult to get onto the boats. It is hilly with cobblestones so walking is a bit of challenge, esp. if it is windy as it often is. The tendering in Punta Arenas was very rough...a steep stairway from the tender dock up onto the pier was a major and scary challenge in a wheelchair. We could have tendered to shore at the Falklands, but my mother choose to not go ashore. I had a good time there on my own, and there is a wheelchair accessible restroom on the main street not far from the tender pier. Just took the little shuttle bus from the pier to the Penquin Rookery here ($10 at the pier) and then walked around town.

 

Be sure to eat out at least once at at Brazilian barbecue type restaurant. I have been back since on my own (for business) and love Brazil. Drink an Antartica Guarana (soft drink) for me!

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Thanks Splinter,

Your posts always help out!

 

Have been scanning this thread and can't find where you recommended Southstart tours. Maybe on another one? You did recommend this. Right?

 

Did you book any tours on the piers? Or did you book online ahead of time? If so, how far ahead? Never booked tours on our own yet.

 

Will have a drink of Antarctica Guarana for you!

 

Thank you,

Judy

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Splinter -Nevermind this question:

 

"Have been scanning this thread and can't find where you recommended Southstart tours. Maybe on another one? You did recommend this. Right?"

 

Sorry, found it on Rio thread.

 

Thanks again.

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We were in Rio last March, on Marco Polo cruise from Buenos Aires to Barbados. My husband is 91 and we take a lightweight collapsable wheelchair when we travel. We got to both Corcovaca and Sugar Loaf. The weather was terrible and we didn't get the wonderful views that Bill had (BTW, WONDERFUL pictures, Bill. Thanks so much for sharing)

We did get to sit on the train/tram, and then there is an elevator that takes you just below the foot of the statue. In decent weather, I think you would have great views from there. There is an escalator that takes you up to the base of the statue. From there we had a few fleeting ghost like glimpses through the fog, that's of the statue that was only a few feet away. Views down were non existant.

Sugar loaf cable car is in two segments. The first is nearly straight up, then you walk a mountain top to the second cable car, which is suspended between the two peaks. Because we were going through clouds, it wasn't as scary as it might have been if we could have seen where we were going. Again, only fleeting views. We were able to take the wheelchair on both cable cars. It was quite difficult negotiating the distance between the two cable cars, I would say, it's about a long city block.

We also did the Estancia tour in BA. Most of the paths were paved and we had no problems with the wheelchair.

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I'm so glad you told us of your experiences with Corcovado and your husband's wheelchair. You two are amazing! I hope we'll be able to get around half as well as you did. We'll probably be alot slower than you are. I think we'll be fine as long as we don't have to hurry or are holding people up in lines. As long as they can go around us it will be fine. I wish my husband would use a wheelchair just a little bit so we could go faster at times, but then maybe he wouldn't be as physically fit as he is. He's come a long way back.;)

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