Brazil Travel-Caveat Emptor

Feb 19th, 2009, 04:59 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 57
Brazil Travel-Caveat Emptor

Anyone who travels runs into snags, but our experience getting to Brazil this December beat anything I have experienced.

We booked a tour of Brazil with Brazil Nuts of Naples, FL based on a recommendation in the Washington Post Annual Travel Issue. Began discussions in February and locked in the tour in April, primarily for hotels and travel. Stressed at that time we wanted to fly directly to Manaus from Miami, and that while in the Amazon wanted to do the all-day boat trip on with lunch. That's the way our final itinerary was worded by Brazil Nuts. We were due to fly from DC the morning of 1 December to connect with our evening flight from Miami to Manaus. Received the E-tickets the end of October.

On 26 November, (we were leaving on 1 December) I received an innocuous email from Brazil Nuts with new e-tickets stating there had been a change in the TAM flights, and we were now leaving Miami for Manaus at 6:30 AM on 1 December instead of 5:20 PM. A slight problem with Brazil Nuts ticketing....they had the same domestic connecting flight, which meant we were now leaving DC 6 hours after our flight departed for Manaus! I had to point out this disconnect to Brazil Nuts and got a "we'll get back to you on Friday" (the day after Thansgiving). When I called on Friday, I told Brazil nuts we would adjust to come down early for the 0630 flight, but was told it was too late to change the domestic connections. As a result, we found we were now being routed through Sao Paulo, with a 17 hour overnight trip compared to the 6 hours direct to Manaus. We found that instead of arriving late on 1 December, we would now be arriving Manaus mid-day on 2 December (the day of our scheduled Amazon day-trip).

When I got to Miami I checked with TAM about the short fuze change in our flights. After researching with their rep in Miami, he determined that our Manaus flight had been changed from an evening flight to a morning flight back in September. As Brazil Nuts admitted later, they had been notified of the change, but failed to pick up on it, resulting in our late notice when it was too late to do anything about it. Not a great way to start a trip!

We finally got to our eco-lodge late afternoon on 2 December with some other unbelievable problems I won't belabor here.This was the first time we had to see how we were going to adjust for our late arrival. My concern was the Amazon boat trip which by our schedule we had missed. (When I queried about that before we left I was told, "you can work it out with the guide when you get there.") It was at that time I was informed the day-trip wasn't in the Package requested for us by Brazil Nuts, we were to get the fast boat trip out to the "meeting of the rivers" on the way to the airport for our flight to Iguassu. As much as I had stressed the day-trip as the essential feature of our visit, Brazil Nuts had apparently requested the wrong package.

I reported all this to Brazil Nuts, as well as to the BBB, where Brazil Nuts acknowledged their negligence in the handling of our trip; however, their idea of adequate reimbursement for the way they ruined our once-in lifetime visit differed greatly from ours. Although I engaged a Florida lawyer, he convinced me I would pay alot more to for a lesser amount of satisfaction. Therefore my warning......Caveat Emptor!

BTW, other than the Amazon frustration, we thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the trip in Iguassu and Rio.........even had great weather. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend Brazil to anyone, just check who you're going with.
richard58 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 06:40 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 13,444
My goodness, what frustration.

Glad you enjoyed Iguassu and Rio... of course what is not to like about those two places
Percy is online now  
Feb 21st, 2009, 09:43 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,340
I am SO glad you posted this. I had been seriously considering using them for some of the services on a trip to Brazil in the near future. That is exactly the reason I like to do as much of my own booking as possible. NO ONE cares as much about your reservations as YOU.
JaneB is offline  
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