1/23/15 Essence of South America - Not sure if we'll go, after all...

My wife and I were looking forward to this Jan. 23 tour, BUT getting Brazilian visas is really wearing us down. We signed on with Pinnacle Travel Documents Systems in Washington, D.C. , for a $ 540 service fee, to get the visas for us ( Visa fees extra , of course ). We had to fill out all the paper work, mail them , along with our passports to them and now, after several weeks wait, can't get a return call from Pinnacle on our status or other information from them , other than ..."the Consul hasn't had time to sign our papers, yet.."
Very frustrating. Not what I thought this recommended service agency would do. Any suggestions, before we call the whole thing off ?

Comments

  • Don't give up. You will get your visa the day before you are to leave. The secret is to lie and tell them that you need the visa long before you do. We got ours the day before via FedEx delayed one day by a snow storm that shut down the eastern seaboard. Hang in there. The trip is well worth it. You will get it. They don't get in a hurry and they love to make you sweat.
  • Stephen, I feel your pain. It was a bit cumbersome and expensive but we got our visas about four weeks after we mailed everything away. We started the process early enough that we weren't really concerned. I agree, with Doliverga, it's worth it. The tour is amazing.
  • It's so valuable to know that visas for Brazil could take 4 weeks! I would be so nervous to be without my passport for so long. Does anyone know if there is any way one could travel out of the country in an emergency if your passport was in the process of getting a visa?
  • Still have not received our passports, with Brazilian visas, from Pinnacle Travel Services in Washington, DC. They received our passports on September 15th !! Cannot understand the delay. Need our passports back for a cruise we are taking in December. Paid an extra $ 540 for Pinnacle's services. Some service!!
  • Stephen, sorry to hear about your issues with Pinnacle. That would definitely make me frustrated. I remember others posting about bad service from Pinnacle before we used them. We must have been one of the lucky ones. It only took three weeks or so from when Pinnacle received them to us receiving them back. After a week, my husband called and talked to a guy that was very helpful. Can't remember his name. But he told us it would take between four and six weeks. You have been waiting much longer. I agree, with the cost, you would think the service would be better. I hope this doesn't cause you to forgo the Essence of South America. it was a wonderful tour.
  • Stephen, I am curious as to how did you heard about Pinnacle? My husband and I are traveling on the Essence tour in February and when I applied for our Brazil visas in early October Tauck was recommending Travel Documents Systems. I see where Tauck is now linked with a website called Visa Central. The entire process from the time I mailed them the info until I received our passports back with the visas took less than three weeks. They (Travel Documents Systems) received them on Oct. 8, they were process on Oct. 21, and I received them via FedEx a few days later. Everything was trackable online and I was continually updated via email throughout the process. I know this does not help you, but maybe it will help future travelers.
  • edited November 2014
    Sugarcreek wrote:
    Stephen, I am curious as to how did you heard about Pinnacle? My husband and I are traveling on the Essence tour in February and when I applied for our Brazil visas in early October Tauck was recommending Travel Documents Systems. I see where Tauck is now linked with a website called Visa Central. The entire process from the time I mailed them the info until I received our passports back with the visas took less than three weeks. They (Travel Documents Systems) received them on Oct. 8, they were process on Oct. 21, and I received them via FedEx a few days later. Everything was trackable online and I was continually updated via email throughout the process. I know this does not help you, but maybe it will help future travelers.
    Tauck has always recommended Pinnacle for their Visa processing and we have used them several times with no problems, but having read the info for this particular tour Tauck recommend the company you mention. They also say it takes at least 6 to 8 weeks AT LEAST! That is crazy! I guess if you want to see this country one better not want to leave the US to go anywher else for months before a Brazil trip which pretty much excludes traveling there for quite a number of Tauck travelers. Again, Most interesting to know this. Good luck Stephen and be sure to speak with Tauck so they know your problems.
  • Used Pinnacle for 3 Tauck trips. They always come through. DO NOT GIVE UP on South America. The topography will blow you away!
    Got back 5 days ago
  • Dear Steven,
    We're on the Jan.23rd trip also. We used Pinnacle also, applied 9/29/14 and received the visas on 12/10/14. I hope yours came back and we look forward to meeting you in Santiago. A friend of ours who traveled on this trip in 2011 went right to the Brazillian Counsulate in New York. Tauck should present that as well as an additional option.
  • We hope that you get your visas as we are on the same trip. It should be fantastic. We got ours thru CBIT and it took about 6 weeks. You will probably get them at the last minute. We would like to hear from anyone else on this trip.

    Bob & Aletha Williams
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