Looking for recommendations for transportation from Santiago to Valpariaso for our S. American cruise on 3/20/07. We would also love to hear about private tours while in Santiago as well as Rio de Janerio. Have poured over old posts and noted some web sites to check out. Appreciate any and all information!!
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08
You are going to love your cruise. Having two full days in Buenos Aires is a real plus. Holland America is the only cruise line that gives you two full days in port at Buenos Aires, then onto Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy!
Appreciate the information! A little apprehensive about this trip. Rio particularly does not make me want to venture out with just the two of us. We are staying at the Intercontinental Hotel. Grey line tours have always been satisfactory with us in other spots so will certainly check them out. Thanks!
The two of us were quite apprehensive about Rio before we went for the first time. We loved it instantly and I feel certain that you will too. It is physically beautiful with lush, green mountains going all the way down to beautiful, sandy beaches. There is an energy and a vitality in Rio that is infectious. It’s a good feeling. People living in Rio tend to be happy. The local people are friendly. We were there last February. We're going back in March of this year. That should tell you something.
The Intercontinental Rio is a fantastic hotel. It’s in the beautiful Sao Conrado District of Rio. The rooms are large and clean with nice sized balconies. The staff is professional. Every room has a breath-taking view of the hills and the ocean. You’ll definitely want to get a photo op standing on your balcony with majestic Rio in the background. The views facing the front of the hotel are more dramatic than the views facing the back of the hotel. The pool at the Intercontinental Rio is huge with all sorts of nooks and alcoves, so you can select your degree of shade and privacy. There is a spa located at the pool. You can get a massage right there. The cabana boys make sure that you have a drink if you want one.
You might want to take either Grey Line City Tours or Luciano at Rio VIP Tours. Some highlights are: Sugar Loaf (you ride a cable car up one mountain, walk around and enjoy the vistas from there, then get on a second cable car to take you up to the second mountain). Also, try to see Corcovado (with Christ the Redeemer Status on the top). You ride a train to the top of the mountain. Grey Line will drive along the most famous beaches: Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Ipanema is perfectly safe to walk on the beach. A great, safe side trip is to cross the wide boulevard where Ipanema Beach is located, over to the side where the hotels are located. There are nice shops in some of the Ipanema hotels and outdoor restaurants too. If you walk five blocks in from the beach, you’ll come to The Lagoon a beautiful, upscale residential neighborhood with restaurants, park benches, and jogging trails.
The Samba Show is a tourist trap, but it is also great fun. They have dancers, musicians, and singers from all parts of Brazil and it’s very high energy. It puts the ship-employed Production Crew to shame. I highly recommend it although you won’t see any natives there who aren't in the show.
You’ll love Rio and all of the surprises of discovering that fascinating city. There is crime there. But, that doesn’t have to stop you from having a great time. Don’t wear jewelry, watches, or carry important papers with you (leave them in your hotel room safe). Carry plenty of Real (in small denominations) and one piece of photo ID. Stay away from Copacabana if you’re not in a taxi or on a tour bus. Don’t even think about going into the favellas. Travel in twos and stay aware of your surroundings. These few simple things can allow you to relax and enjoy Rio just as the locals do. Have a terrific time.
One more thing about Intercontinental Rio: It’s in a quiet neighborhood. But, it is removed from the main city sights. You can easily get around by taking taxis from the front door of the hotel to anyplace you want to go in Rio. The hotel offers private cars with drivers. They are much more expensive than just taking a taxi. Also, the Grey Line Tour Desk is located on the 2nd floor of the Sheraton, not in the hotel where you will be staying. The Sheraton is just a couple of miles down the beach road toward Ipanema and Copacabana. You will probably want to check with them to see if they have pick-up service at the Intercontinental or if you will need to take a taxi down to the Sheraton. If you do need to take your own transportation down there it will only take you five minutes or so.
The lunch buffet at the hotel is good. For dinner, I’d suggest taking a taxi to an Ipanema restaurant or going to the shopping center located about four blocks to the left of the front doors of the hotel. The shopping center has several good, inexpensive restaurants for dinner. I know that sounds weird, but if you don’t want to go into town, I think the restaurants in the shopping center are better (and much less expensive) than dinner at the Intercontinental.
You’ll remember Rio. It’s wonderful and unique. Enjoy!!!
Wow! Thank you so much for all this information! I feel much better. You are very nice to spend so much time relieving a stranger's fears. I really appreciate it! We are on the same cruise! Can my husband and I buy you and yours a drink onboard?
My pleasure regarding the information. I know that you will have a good time in Rio and I didn't want you to worry for nothing. Thanks so much for the invitation. We'd love to have a drink with you and your husband.
We're on your deck on the other side of the ship in cabin 6158. Looking forward to meeting the two of you. We're both so excited. Those poor people on the Rotterdam right now are having terrible weather.