Date of Trip: April 2009
Since we are experienced travellers that continuously make use of guidebooks and other travellers information (internet), we think it is our responsibility to send some important feedback now and then.
We have had a very bad experience with a tour in Pantanal. Please be careful with the Pantanal Viagens Tour Offices in Campo Grande.
Tour specifications : Tour operator : Pantanal Viagens & Turismo - Campo Grande Don't trust the person called Al Date of booking : Saturday, May 10th Date of tour : Sunday, May 11th till Wednesday, May 14th Number of Persons : 3 Location / lodging : Pousada Fazenda Arara Azul (along the Pantanal Parkway) - proposed by the salesman, because we are not so young and there is more comfort (private rooms available) and it's very quiet, the ideal place for people that love to be in nature - more expensive, but more relax Specifications of the offered tour : guided tour by an experienced English speaking guide, 2 excursions per day flexible up to the choice of the customer (us), lodging including full board, small group of at maximum 5 people Excursions available : horse riding, piranha fishing, walking tours, jeep safari's, boat trips, night walks Agreed upfront : not to do horse riding
The tour :
Guide : Only available from the 2nd day, after our demand for an English speaking guide (only Portuguese speaking people available on the Fazenda); He didn't take care of his group to be guided; He was not motivated to act as a real guide; He only showed us the way to walk, joined us during the tractor ride and piranha fishing; He didn't explain about Pantanal, nature, animals, birds, ... in fact he didn't speak a lot with us; He was very young and unexperienced; (e.g. we pointed to some birds that were sitting in trees nearby and asked for the names but he didn't know the answer, we did see a big howler monkey ourselves and pointed to it, he was not sure about it - thought it was a big raccoon sitting high in a tree - till it moved away and it was very clear a monkey to all of us !) His girlfriend was with him all the time, taking all of his attention, both smoking all day long; He didn't want to do a night walk; He seemed not to be a guide after all !
Location / lodging : Very nice and quiet place at the side of a lake. Food and rooms were ok. Friendly staff, but only Portuguese speaking;
Excursions : We have not got two excursions a day, as promised;
Flexibility of the excursions : Horse riding : on the first day we were forced to do horse riding, although it was agreed that we didn't want to do so at the moment we bought the tour > telling this to the guide didn't work; Piranha fishing : only from the side of a lake, in front of the fazenda, because there was no boat available; Jeep safari's : only a very old noisy agriculture motor tractor (with a trailer for passenger transportation) was available, no animals to be seen because of the big noise made by the tractor; Walking tours : nice walking tours in a very beautiful surrounding, but no explanations at all by the guide, almost no animals to be seen, we had to walk fast in order to follow the guide and there was almost no time to look around; Boat trips : no boat available, we asked for it frequently because we were hoping to see more animals and birds out of a boat than on the noisy 'jeep' (read 'tractor') safari's Night walks : our guide didn't want to do so. But because we insisted to, he offered us a replacement excursion : late afternoon safari by 'jeep', coming back after sunset. Again instead of a jeep, it was the noisy agriculture tractor and we didn't see any animals. -> it cannot be said that excursions were flexible, although it was part of the offer / agreement
Small group : The second day of our stay, 3 other people joined us, what means that we were a group of 6 people. No problem for us being one person more than agreed upon (max. 5 people), but including the girlfriend of the guide + for some excursions one other friend of her ... that makes 8 people + the guide.
Our conclusion : We have paid a lot of money for a tour that didn't match our expectations. We were lodged on a very nice location, guided by an unexperienced person that was 'no guide at all', there were no means of material available to make the excursions a success (no boat, no jeep nor pick-up). Afterwards, the tour operator agreed with us that a good guide means 80 % of the success of a tour, the real guide didn't show up because of illness. There was no decent guide to be found for replacement. They knew about this from the first moment on, but the day after we arrived, they sent 3 extra people to join this tour (this we totally don't understand). Those people did have the same feeling as we, they've got the same promises at the moment of buying the tour.
We hope this experience will be at help for future travellers. At least they should try to make the agreement put on paper and maybe pay only partly in advance and the remaining amount at the end of the tour. In this way the selling offices will maybe be more motivated to make there promises.
Don't turn up going with this travel office, it's was mistake we made.
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