• I don't know if any of you will be arriving early in BA, but I came in two days early and hired a private guide to take us (two other people were there from the tour and we shared the guided tour) around. She was marvelous. I wish I could remember her name and contact information. I'll see if I can find it. It was very inexpensive and we used cabs to move to or from a place that had any type of distance.

  • rogfam: We will be traveling with our friends who I met on the Cruise Critic ‘Xpedition’ website. He had been to the Galapagos four times, and we had gone three times. So we all became the ‘web masters’. After a couple years we decided to travel together. We have done three trips so far, and we have two more planned, so I guess the gamble worked out. They live in New Jersey, and we live in northern California. I don’t think we would have done a trip with only the four of us for a starter. I have a friend who arranged a small river boat trip for them and two ‘friends’ of theirs. After the trip, they never spoke to each other again.

    I don’t think we will be interested in any ‘extra’ touring of BA. I’m sure Tauck will do a good job showing us things that I might have missed in thirty or forty visits. We arrive a day early, but for us that is a ‘rest’ day.

  • edited September 2021

    Cathy - With your limited time in BA, you may just want to cover the city. it really is a beautiful place.

    Here's a pic of a flower statue in one of the city parks. The petals close when it gets dark (sorry for the sideways pic-it's right-side up on my PC):

  • Sealord I will be traveling with of friend from Seattle. My wife bowed out of this adventure due to the sea voyage from to Antarctica . We had cruised from BsAs to Valparaiso and Drakes Passage was an adventure. Could be be a sheet of glass when we go, but she isn’t taking any chances.
    BKMD Vina and Valparaiso are quite far away in Chile, half day excursion would be difficult.

  • Cathy and Steve since this is your first visit, you should visit Cafe Tortoni, a famous cafe in downtown BsAs. since the mid 19th century Breakfast is great, lunch is casual, or just for coffee. Waiters still wear black bowties! Like stepping back in time. Expecting to see Evita walk in the door any minute.

  • edited September 2021

    There is a world famous opera house that you might be interested in Cathy.
    There is a really nice Japanese gardens, we walked to it down the big side avenue
    If you are there on a Saturday, there is a really nice craft fair in the square.
    You have to try dulce de leche ice cream!
    Out tour director warned us all repeatedly to remove all jewelry and watches before we arrived in the city whether they were fake or not…we were on a tour that ended in BA…..Carry just one credit card with you and little money while walking around the city. This is what we did at the craft fair and the walk to the Gardens
    BKMD, Aren’t Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar in Chile?

  • edited September 2021

    Vina del Mar and Valparaiso are not half day trips from BA. You must be thinking about a visit to Santiago. Among other things, Acongogua is in your way getting to Vina del Mar or Valparaiso. That is the highest mountain in South America at 22,000 plus feet. I think the name of the movie was “Alive”. When we crossed going into Santiago we had to come down like a stream lined safe. It was a short distance from the minimum cruise altitude to the elevation of Santiago near sea level.

  • Sealord
    Vina del Mar and Valparaiso are not half day trips from BA.

    Oops, you're right. never mind... I'll go back and edit my post above.

  • Just checked the Reuter's vaccine rate for Argentina this morning. I had read it wrong earlier. As of yesterday, 46% of the population has had the full 2 doses. 64.3% has had 1 dose. ....but I'm sure the 'double-dosers' will easily hit the 50% requirement very soon, so not to worry...

    ...and BKMD, that cool flower sculpture also "follows" the sun - from East to West - all day long. It's in front of the museum and very near the Recoleta Cemetery. Anxious to see it all again...

  • Just paid Tauck. Booked my flights on AA nonstop from JFK. Very excited!

  • How come everyone is paying later than my ‘final’ date … and we are with rogfam? (;-).

  • Ours is "60 days out". That's Oct. 7th for us. We'll pay a couple of days early just to be safe..... ....Now we've got to shop for Health Insurance......

  • Ok. I may have missed something. You don’t have Tauck’s insurance, or there is something else ‘required’?

    You can set up automatic final payment, and not worry about being late … hmmm.? (;-)

  • Sealord when my TA called the day when our payment was due early last week, was told it was pushed back till when there was clarification about when Argentina was opening to foreigners. As you know that date was announced later in the week. She spoke to Tauck today and was told payment now is due Thursday, September 30.

  • Understand all that, but not what kennetro is saying about shopping for insurance. St. Maartin had special insurance requirements, but I’ve not seen anything about Argentina having such a requirement?

  • No, Sealord, medical insurance is NOT a requirement. We just feel more comfortable traveling internationally with it, because Medicare is not honored "over there". It's also not that expensive for a trip as short as this one.

  • I found this general info

    We have annual additional insurance which I know will not cover Antarctica, but everywhere else in the world. We also always take Tauck insurance.
    I would assume Tauck would tell you if their own insurance does not cover anything occurring in Antarctica. The article I posted was,.I’m assuming, for big cruises ships.

  • edited September 2021

    I just noticed that since the announcement about Argentina’s opening, all of Tauck’s ‘winter’ of ‘22 departures are now ‘sold out’. They were mostly ‘available’ before that announcement. Ponant is still selling some rooms, but most are ‘high end’. I still don’t expect the ship to be ‘full’.

    Actually British, I found your article to be informative. Evacuations from King George Island to Punta Arenas cost more than $150,000 per person. When I buy our own insurance I normally buy a half million for evacuation from remote places. Our Protection Plan is $100,000 per person, so I will probably by a supplemental policy that will cover all of our travels including Africa and the Rhine for the year. It does not happen often but we were on a Galapagos cruise when a woman got evacuated from Baltra to Miami by private jet. I can get a supplemental policy that will cover 2022 for $460 dollars. It is just secondary insurance, but will provide peace of mind. I know if you fall down and get hurt going through Drake’s Passage, they are not going to turn around and take you back to Ushuaia. (;-)

  • edited September 2021

    When I was on this trip, a woman fell on the ship and fractured her humerus. We were headed to get inside the Antarctic circle (which is rarely reached on this tour). They had to turn the ship around and take her to a site with a hospital to see if she needed further evacuation. I don't know what all of this cost her, or if she had insurance to cover it, but my guess is it was an expensive adventure.

    She fell because they had some loose rugs over the permanent carpeting to protect it. They were actually pretty dangerous. A whale had been spotted off the bow and she was so excited she took off running forward and tripped over the rug. It created quite a stir, to say the least. Some folks were very unhappy about missing out on getting inside the circle. It was just an accident and she certainly didn't do it on purpose. However, I have no idea if any of her injuries were covered by insurance.

    Response to this accident was completely under the control of the Captain of the ship. Tauck TD's have no say. In fact, to be honest, TD's don't do much on this tour, once you leave Ushuaia and until you return to land. They stand at the back of the theatre and hand out candy after you listen to the informative lectures from the crew. I noticed that they party a lot. Once you are on the water, the ship's crew take care of all of the business, lectures, excursions, etc. It is a great trip.

  • The insurance I’m looking at provides additional evacuation of up to a half million, and additional medical, for an entire year. That will come out to eighty dollars per person per trip. I’ve only made one insurance claim in fifty or more trips, but for the price I don’t think I will pass this up since we have two ‘remote’ trips next year.

  • Re making payments, automatic doesn't work for all. Depends on your credit card limit. The one I prefer to use (that gives us the best travel benefits) has a 10K limit so I'm careful to time payments with that card. That and juggling payments to the card's balance. Had an issue this last time when the payment to the card didn't get credited soon enough and we had to switch to a different one for the last few thousand dollars. Everyone's financial set up is different.

  • Claudia Sails - The one I prefer to use (that gives us the best travel benefits) has a 10K limit so I'm careful to time
    payments with that card. That and juggling payments to the card's balance.

    You have to be quite a juggler when you schedule back-to-back tours like you just completed. That takes several of those 10K limits to pay for the two of you. :D

  • Juggling to get extra points when cards have specials can be fun.
    Does anyone remind when you could cash in points to get either a $500 or $1000 voucher off Tauck tours? We were able to do that for quite a few trips until the offer was discontinued

    We like American Express because there is no spending cap. We learned how valuable that was when we unexpectedly had to fly home from abroad in our twenties after we had gotten there by a bus trip with a group. I think we had just gotten our first credit card, or we would have been in a mess.

  • Sam, most of the juggling was moving the balance from the canceled 2020 trip, deciding which trips the vouchers we had would be applied to and trying to keep the rewards balance for our Citicorp Costco Visa evenly balanced between the years. The 2020 cancellation sort of screwed that up plus then we got our airfare refund directly from Delta back on the card but at least that was a direct check from them vs a reward that could only be cashed at Costco. Now we just have the Douro next year. Trying to decide the best time to start shopping for airfare for that one. Need to make up my mind about what we want to do post tour. Barcelona for sure but what else?

  • I keep reading this thread thinking there will be something about Antarctica. (;-)

  • SeaLord, surely you know better by now😂

  • Ok Sealord , here is a bit about Antarctica from an email that literally just came. Another well know tour company has just let me know that now Argentina has opened up, all their Antarctica tours are definitely a go….and some of those begin in November!

  • I also noticed that Ponant appears to be hedging their bets. They are running at least one of their tours out of Punta Arenas Chile.

  • Does anyone know what time it will be (what time zone we will follow) in Antarctica on the Tauck trip?

  • Looks like GMT minus 4 to me (...or 1 hour ahead of E.S.T.)....just from looking at this map.

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