itinerary Details [+]
In Summary, let me state that our travel arrangements were all spot on, thanks to the quality choices we were given to make our trip selections based on our budget. This is not the first time we arrange our holidays with your website and we are extremely satisfied with the outcome as in the previous occassion. Therefore, we will certainly consider doing it again and have already recommended it to friends.
Following is our feedback for each of the hotels and transportation or transfer arrangements made by you in Brazil for the two of us:
Transfer from Manaus airport: It was a relief to have been greeted by the designated guide at the airport coming out of the arrivals luggage claim area. The guide was very polite and spoke english clearly, he talked to us about the city`s background, the preparations for the 2014 world soccer event and the 2016 olympics. The small SUV used was comfortable, clean (in and out) and looked like new and the driver was careful with traffic, road conditions, turns and us, the passengers.
Tropical Manaus Hotel: although we only stayed one night, it was very appropriate to our needs as a transfer spot and the staff was very attentive to the fact that we did not speak Portuguese. Immediately they brought a staff member that would speak a language we understood to welcome us, do the check in,to answer our questions and quickly helped us to organize an evening event.
The hotel premises and building itself, we felt, must be a challenge to maintain due to the size, aging and climate, but it looks like there is a maintenance plan to keep the rooms, public areas and corridors clean all the time which made a first impression count. We felt it was a good family spot given the ammenities such as pool, small zoo with animals (that looked well cared for) and a Brazilian evening dinner-colorfull-show. Food in the buffet was tasty, well presented and the breakfast very good.
Eco Park Lodge - an impressive hidden jungle lodge with small cabins scattered around the area (about 20 groups) and a very positive first impression (the one that counts). The place seemed to be fully occupied (folks from different countries), but still it felt quiet and calm, everyone was very respectfull and everything was well organized. The air conditioned room was adequate and bed comfortable for two, including its own private bathroom facility. Although warm temperature and high humidity were evident while in the open (we stayed in late July), the vegetation, trees and facilities provided a good shelter and fresh breeze in the reception, dinning and hammock areas. All the areas were clean and footpaths free of leaves or dead vegetation. Staff was very friendly. We particularly liked the fact that we were totally isolated down the Black River and into the forest. We felt very secure, electricity was available by means of power generators which were helpful to recharge batteries for the cameras. The buffet style food was very good, we never missed breakfast buffet. For a place to be in the jungle/forest it was maintained in excellent conditions. NO MOSQUITOES! Yes there were other insects and bugs, but we never felt threatened by any and we easily managed to coexist with them (and we never had to use the repellent we had brought with us). We had no complaints but wish they would have included sugar free sodas or sugarless drinks. Arriving at a lodge`s lobby in a two story boat as the floating Taxi was a different experience. We were returned to land in a small boat, tsince he river was calm it posed no danger. Transfer from the Manaus hotel to the EcoPark lodge and out to the airport was managed by the Lodge adequately.
Transfer from and back to Salvador airport (included a city tour): the guide greeted and welcomed us at airport, was well mannered, polite, formal and very knowledgeable of the city/country history and its social/cultural background. The vehicle, a mid-size car was clean, comfortable and looked like new. The guide conducted the city tour for the two of us, which made it seemed taylored to our interests, was very considerate of our well being. The transfer to the airport was well coordinated by her and accompanied us into the airport terminal to ensure we were able to check in for departure uneventfully.
Casa do Amarelindo: the hotel facility was sparkling clean and extremely well maintained in contrast with all its sorrounding neighborhood. The air conditioned room (mini split) was very spacious, impecable, with a balcony facing the bay and the super-double-king size bed (almost 10ft wide) was so comfortable we could not believe it. The large bathroom facility was sparkling clean (though the bathtub was too high to enter or exit from). Breakfast was a ritual we loved, it was served well presented by the waiter (not a buffet). The staff was very corteous and dilligent. We were glad to have been there to see the Drumming night group passing and performing in front of the hotel which seems to take place every Tuesday night. The hotel had a small but cozy dinning room and bar (and a rooftop bar also) as well as lots of restaurants to chose from along with small bars and shops in the Perrughino area, all in close proximity to the hotel.
As a side note, Police presence was observed in the neighborhood during the day and early evening hours, we infer, as a deterrent, but we did not witnessed nor experienced any mishaps. During the week days and early evenings, the area was quite busy and lively, but past 9 or 10pm it did not make us feel walking around comfortable. We arrived close to midnight and had to walk to the hotel since the cars were not allowed to drive through the street (we noticed truck or car deliveries were allowed during the day). However, a hotel staff member was contacted by the driver and came to meet us at the Plaza /Square to help us with the luggage (it was about a 200ft downhill coblestone stretch).
Porto Bay International: the hotel location was excellent, across the Copacabana beach and close to other parts of interest such as handcraft shops, caffes and restaurants. We were welcomed by a friendly staff fluent in a language we spoke. The air conditioned room had a balcony with a partial view of the beach, was clean and a fresh delightful aroma welcomed our senses walking into the room, this was a particular sensorial experience not felt in other hotels. The rooftop pool and bar offered a magnificent unobstructed view of the whole Copacabana beach front. The staff was very corteous and security of the premises was overseen by well dressed individuals. The hotel offered a "private transport service" in unmarked vehicles and regular yellow taxi services to choose from. The shopping mall was less than 10mins. away in a taxi. We only had a chance to eat the breakfast buffet, which was served on the fifth floor restaurant area facing the beach front across the full length glass window, of course. The choices of freshly cut fruits were excellent to our taste, cheese, ham, pastries, breads, rolls and eggs were abundant. We could have maybe miss the tour bus in the morning, but not the breakfast buffet.
Transfer from and back to Rio`s airport: the guide, who was also the driver, spoke english fluently, welcomed us at the airport, similar to the other transfers. The minivan used by the driver in this transfer was not at the same standard as the previous vehicles, but took us to the hotel and back to the airport reliably.
All four air transfers within Brazil via TAM were excellent (not the same ample leg room as in Jet Blue). We were positively impressed by TAM`s A320 aircrafts fleet cleanliness, maintenance, appearance and well trained/dresed crews.
If need be, we would stay again in these hotels, use the same ground/air transfer carriers and recommend it to friends.
Finally, the website as it was used to communicate to us the options in planning the trip was very helpful in the way its designed, allowing the user to navigate to review specifics, such as hotels and tours, and back to the trip arrangements proposed. Cannot end without mentioning the assistance received from April Stiles in this process, via email /or phone to respond to our queries and to finalize the travel plan details.
Luis G. From HUMACAO, PR