My favourite quote “A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. can be related to so many things in life however there’s no substitute for truly experiencing the world yourself – travel teaches, and exposes you to cultures, religions and communities that you’d never encounter on the streets of your hometown. It helps you see the amazing differences between people – and the universal qualities we all share.
On my travels, I’ve met wonderful souls that have opened my heart to philosophies and shown me that there’s always more than one way to look at life itself.
Having been lucky enough to call Chile my home for a while I’ve fallen in love with the incredible landscape of this diverse country and the warm and kind hospitality of the Chilenos. I’ve travelled most of this breath-taking country and the continent and look forward to help creating some authentic experiences for anyone that wants to learn about the South American way of life – whether it’s to make beautiful memories with your family or an adventure or a deeper understanding of the local culture, this is a place you won’t forget.
Ask me about mountain biking in the lake district, star gazing in the driest place on earth, hiking and horseback riding in the Andes mountains, Peruvian cuisine, swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos and wine tasting in the Chilean and Argentine wine regions.
Our trip was spectacular. It was action packed in the short time we had with seamless transfers and pickups; everyone was on time. All of the hotels and activities were top-notch, unique and informative. The highlights of our trip: the long drive from San Pedro Atacama through Bolivia to the salt flats; the scenery was some of the most gorgeous and remote. We really felt like we were on top of the world, close to heaven. It was a very special experience. The salt flats themselves were other-worldly; we loved visiting the islands, the local people, the mummies in the cave. Titilaka hotel was an exceptional hotel and we wish we would've had an extra day. Visiting the reed floating islands, learning about the expeditions facilitated by the Aymara and their reed boats was so cool. Bolivian food was simple but well cooked and had awesome fresh vegetables and salads. Peruvian food did not disappoint - we savored every dish at Titilaka and at Central sister restaurant in Lima. Some things for improvement: my husband is vegetarian (though he will eat fish/ chicken in a pinch) and both Matetic and Alto Atacama had a hard time fully accommodating this. At Matetic, the chef seemed a little flustered when my husband said no fish or chicken, so he ended up saying fish was OK and ate fish for two meals. Alto Atacama had vegetarian options but the menu for lunch and dinner was very limited and the exact same for all three days (only 2 veggie main options and one was plain marinara spaghetti, which was disappointing). As Alto was far from town, it was somewhat burdensome to go to town to eat so we felt stuck with our dining options. Both facilities focused a lot on presentation - the food looked gorgeous on the plates- but not enough on the content and the preparation. The fish was over-cooked at Matetic and undercooked at Alto (I actually got food poisoning from the trout/salmon there for 15 hours- violently sick with diarrhea/ vomiting that took me out of a morning activity. I know this comes with travel but it is exceedingly rare for me. I was happy that it happened on a good day and didn’t mess up our over-all travel plans :) We were also quite disappointed that in the 6 days we had in Chile, we didn’t have one real Chilean dish- it wasn’t offered on the menus! The focus was on western food and artsy plates. Tipping was stressful at Matetic and Alto. Although I carried $500 from the States, it wasn’t adequate by the end. We had sometimes 2-3 different drivers and 2-3 different guides each day- how do you tip each for half, or less than half, day? The hotels didn’t carry change for us. They were both in remote locations (and our days were filled with activities) so it was hard to find an ATM or bank to get change. We didn’t realize that the restaurants at Matetic were not staffed by the hotel so the idea of tipping at the end of our stay didn’t work. We didn’t pay / tip anything for a lunch one day and the following day the waiter actually asked us to tip (which made us feel terrible since I’m a usually very generous tipper but we didn’t know! and without a bill, how do you figure what the appropriate tip should be?!) I would have loved to have the tips included or an option to pay by CC or a tip jar for everyone at the end. In Bolivia it was easier because we had continuity with guide/ driver and we could tip at then end. At Alto, there were different guide qualities. We had a couple guides who were excellent and a couple who were a bit lazy. It was an eerie feeling because there were almost no guests (off season, full moon maybe?). We were looking forward to meeting other travelers but found ourselves alone on most tours. We met an awesome Singapore couple who requested a private guide and they were lucky to have the same guide/ driver for three days, while we had different guides/ drivers for all activities because we wanted the group activities (yet there was no group!). We would do some activities in parallel with them (i.e. have 2 big vans for the 2 couples). Just a bit of a weird feeling… Oh- and I mentioned to our Bolivian guide already but, as you know, obtaining a Bolivian visa for Americans requires many separate documents (if we get it at the border). I screwed up and didn’t have passport copies (you gave us good instructions but I stupidly looked at a website, which did not indicate I needed a passport copy, instead of your email). We paid the guy an extra $20 at the border and all was fine but, in the future, it would be best to have the guide check all the documents in Chile before leaving the hotel because most of the documents are easily obtainable at a hotel with internet access but impossible to get at the checkpoint shack at the top of the mountain :) Over-all, we had a truly fantastic trip and the inconveniences were minor. We would definitely book with Jacada again!
I had been on the search for travel experts. This search spanned over many months but for multiple reasons, it continued on until I came upon Jacada Travel. I was initially drawn in by their website’s aesthetics and its ease of use. Everything was very cohesive, professional in appearance. I was also attracted to the fact that they organize travel to worldwide destinations, whereas most travel agents specialize in one specific region of the world. I decided to submit an inquiry and from there, everything took off. I never looked back. Within a short period of time, Susann Pietschmann contacted me. She was amazing in multiple ways. I never felt pressured to commit to this trip. She was professional, organized. She always followed up and remembered everything I said or suggested. With an 8 hour time difference, she somehow always managed to contact me via phone or email. Did I mention that Susann is amazing? Ha. Anyway, back to the trip. We went to Ecuador/Galapagos. She sent me multiple itineraries, each one tailored more to my preferences. I had done my own research on which cruise vessel I wanted to voyage so she booked it and finalized it for me. She provided suggestions for us based on our timeline. I chose from her recommendations, and they planned everything. All costs were combined and submitted to Jacada Travel, versus multiple vendor for entrance fees, domestic flights, hotels, etc. They tailored our payment plan based on our preferences. Before I got in touch with Jacada Travel, I was attempting to book everything on my own. I’m not sure how Jacada Travel makes their money, but their prices were pretty comparable to the prices when I was organizing it on my own. Closer to our trip date, they reached out via phone and email to ensure we were set. Bernie was our local contact for the trip. She was also very helpful. They also mailed us an information package. I was so impressed with this package! It was nicely bound and super swank. I still have it as a souvenir from my experience with Jacada Travel. All the suggestions I received from Jacada Travel were top notch, great quality. I especially loved our hotel. Our tour guide was very professional and helpful. The private transportation between all our destinations were all luxurious. Jacada Travel made everything super easy. They took the thinking and stress out of everything. I highly recommend them and will be using them for future travels.
Our family had an unforgettable trip to Patagonia and Iguazu Falls thanks to Jacada Travel! Especially our agent Susann Pietschmann, we had been working on this trip since February 2018. She professionally customized our trip from beginning to the end. Their Travel Concierge Berni De Luca, she helped us with every step and detail, she even answered my emails on weekends! Our local guides and drivers were not only good but also very professional. I would not hesitate to recommend Jacada to anyone who is looking for a well arranged trip!
Our first time to travel with Jacada. They made the planning easy and we were lucky we used them because there were several travel and health issues (not the fault of Jacada) that occurred and they made adjustments to our schedule to accommodate those issues. We would recommend their services to all!
Susann and Berni planned the best Galapagos/Ecuador vacation for us. The boat was top notch, transportation was superb, and the hotels were some of the nicest in which we have stayed.
From my first call to learn about Jacada travel to my follow up call after our trip - I have had only first rate professional and personal attention. Traveling at luxury accommodations as a family only group fulfilled our expectations.