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Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

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Palmerston North...
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Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

I had one of the most amazing days of my life thanks to Leo. He was totally amazing and I cannot rate him highly enough. He is professional, friendly and his English is wonderful.

Leo picked me up from the Hotel Orly which I can also highly recommend, and on discovering that it was my first day in Chile took me on a brief tour of Santiago before we set off for Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar. He gave a good comentary through the wine valley, and was always asking if I wanted to stop for anything. On arriving at Valpariso, he parked and took me on a brief walking tour to the harbour, then took me to the funicular, where I discovered that he is also an amateur photographer, and he gave me hints on both shots and took me to the best spots. After that, he took me to Vina Del Mar where we had lunch at a small place owned by friends of his. Lunch was amazing, the empanadas were the nicest I've ever had.

After lunch we drove back along the coast, stopping to take photos of pelicans, seals, and spending an hour taking photos of the waves crashing on the rocks. He then took me to see the Moai, then on a quick tour of the gardens, then returned me to Santiago. He also collected me and took me to the airport on my last day.

I cannot recommend Leo Highly Enough. Leo, Please accept my humblest apologies that it has taken me so long to post this recommendation. You were totally amazing, and the favour you did me will never be forgotten. You are one of the world's genuninely nice people, and if I am in Santiago again you can guarentee that I will be in touch. Thank you for one of the most amazing days of my life. You could not have been a better guide, and I will never forget the time and effort you put into giving me such a magical day, Sian.

London, United...
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1. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

Unfortunately Leo was unable to take us on our tour but he arranged for FErnando to take his place. We had a delightful tour of VAlparahiso vina del MAr a nd a winery. he was very knowledgable and charming and we had a very good day. When we decided not to eat at the winery (it was a bit expensive and poncey for our taste) he took us to a very good local restaurant where we had enormous and delicious empanadas - and that was only for starters. A very reliable outfit.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

can you tell me how long this tour was sandra. could you be kind of enough to give me a price idea. either here or pm. thanks.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

Leo's name crops up a lot here, mainly by people posting for the first and only time. Do a search and get a broad range of opinions on him. It's not all good.

NYC
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8 posts
24 reviews
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4. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

I agree! I never took a tour by this guy but I can speak for what is going on in TripAdvisor lately. Many tours & guides are practically begging people to write good reviews of their services and it honestly makes me so uncomfortable after I take a tour, that the person asks 10 times to make sure you write a review for them. It's terrible! TripAdvisor is supposed to be about the voice of the people! In Uruguay, I was bribed two times and offered a discount on my hostel stay in turn for a good review on Tripadvisor.

With the growing popularity of this sight, it's turning businesses and their customers ugly. Makes me sick. If I want to write a friggin review, I will, I don't need to be told once or ten times or offered discounts.

Just saying, be careful what you read. All that glitters is NOT gold.

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
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10,334 posts
27 reviews
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5. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

They do it, superhorsefeathers, because it works. Sandra has 1 post and has praised Leo and Rachel is interested to know more. It potentially brings in business. This, and other guides, do get genuine reviews from people with a lot of posts and/or reviews as well as these one off testimonials. There are also guides who post with different screen names posing as satisfied customers. Or the travel agencies which pretend to be a tourist asking whether anyone has heard about them and then they answer themselves saying how wonderful they were. There are all sorts of variations. There is even one thread on the Chile forum with everyone singing the praises of the good services they received from a company when they were in Argentina. They must have been given the wrong URL when they were asked to post a favourable comment. It takes more sifting now than it used to if you want to find the gold nuggets.

NYC
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8 posts
24 reviews
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6. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

I was that naive to actually believe that TripAdvisor was a place for and by the people! I have been reading TripAdvisor reviews for a long time & its only recently I have written more reviews of my own but now I stopped when I realized what is going on. I guess it's just human nature and people want their businesses to be successful, I get that. But to ruin this space for people who are honestly just coming for some good advice is just terrible!

I think what makes me sickest is that the businesses are offering discounts for good reviews! I was shocked when I was offered this! It is one thing for the travel agencies to make fake profiles but bribing tourists!! Geez!

If I want to write a review, I do it because the place is good and I had a good experience. If any of you business people are reading, stop harassing your customers to write good reviews for you!! If you that good, don't worry, people will review you on their own!!

I recently took 2 cooking classes here in Valparaiso. The first one didn't mention TripAdvisor at all. When they sent us the recipes, they mentioned at the end, if we had a good experience & would like to share it they would appreciate that. I thought that was very tasteful.

The second guy must have asked me no fewer than 15 times to write a review. He even told me to put the photos I was taking on the review several times. At the end of the class, he mentioned it yet again & even gave me his card which said to write the review on TripAdvisor!

Guess who I plan on reviewing?

Luckily in this case, the first cooking class is actually rated #1 on TA. But I took the second one because the guy had rave reviews too. But now I know why.

Can we not escape corruption anywhere anymore?!

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
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10,334 posts
27 reviews
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7. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

There are ways to interpret reviews but it takes a bit more work. It is true that the reviews are victims of TAs success and there have been reports of increasing requests by owners for people to post good reviews. Good businesses which don't ask often lose out to more insistent ones. I suppose offers of discounts for a good review are one side of the picture but visitors demanding discounts or threatening a bad review are the other.

I have not often been approached by PM by a business wanting me to be their guest and I don't even answer them when I get them. I occasionally take tours, ask to see a room in a hotel and, of course, eat in restaurants. I never mention TA because I think that would change the attitude of the owner and perhaps influence my own. Nowhere I have ever stayed or eaten has asked me to write a review, so there are obviously places out there which don't ask.

DC
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2 posts
50 reviews
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8. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

I arranged a tour with Leo Cuzmar of Guides Chile... and while we did not have him as our guide we had an excellent time.

Altamonte Springs...
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for St. Augustine
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15,741 posts
38 reviews
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9. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

Obviously, I have more than one post and Leonardo did not ask me to write anything after our visit last year. Yet, I did post positive comments here and on Flyertalk. We are returning to Santiago next year and plan to use Leonardo again.

Brisbane, Australia
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985 posts
29 reviews
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10. Re: Leo Cuzmar - Guides Chile

I did post a comment about Leo under a different heading but I will comment here as well. Having read a lot of comments about guides I was really sceptical about how sincere the reviews were and how our plans would turn out as I had not previously pre-arranged guides In advance before this trip to Chile and Peru despite many years of travelling. I emailed a couple of guides to discuss possible itineraries. From tripadvisor info I had a fair idea of what I thought we might do and fine tuned this based on how much time we had in Santiago and further emails. Leo always replied within 2 days or advised that he was taking some other clients around and always got back to me at the advised time, except for one time but he had a totally valid reason which he explained. Based on our emails I felt that Leo was the right choice for us and booked his services for airport transfers and some sightseeing tours.

Due to a 5hour delay by LAN we were going to arrive too late into Santiago to do our city tour. It came as no real surprise but unfortunately LAN also rescheduled our flight from Santiago to Lima so we no longer had any sightseeing time on day 3 so we just had 1 full day in Santiago. As a result I had to cancel our full day tour to Valparaiso, Vina del Mar & Casablanca Valley etc and we did the city tour instead. This was all arranged by email during our 7hour wait in Auckland. Leo was really understanding and happily rearranged the tours, which basically meant he lost out on the day trip that we had planned.

Leo met us at Santiago airport - he has excellent English and was extremely polite, courteous and friendly. His car was comfortable and very clean. On our journey from the airport to the hotel he told us about the various suburbs and landmarks that we passed and we discussed everything and anything from language, culture, politics, history etc. He drove around the block where our hotel was located and pointed out the few restaurants that would be open for dinner (Sunday) as well as the small grocery store nearby before dropping us off. We met the next day for our city tour and Leo was always early or right on time. We walked through the markets and parts of the city and tried some local snacks and drinks from vendors that we would not have tried by ourselves. Two of Leo's hobbies and interests are cooking and photography. He took us to good photographic locations, would stop if we wanted to take photos etc and importantly would take a well composed photo of us. Our 20year old son really enjoyed Leo's company as well. Leo was a tour guide before starting his own business so he has experience in this field. If I recall, the cost of the airport transfer for 2 was similar to the price of a taxi. It was a little more expensive to add a 3rd person but it felt like we were being met by a friend. I only speak very basic Spanish so after travelling for about 22 hours it meant an easy arrival and transport to our hotel.

I don't write a lot of reviews (full of good intentions but don't always get around to it) but I am writing reviews on the 3 guides that I pre-booked as they were all good and it may help others travellers who use tripadvisor. Leo did not ask us to write a review, however I wanted post these comments as Leo helped to make our visit to Santiago enjoyable. Based on the positive experiences we had I will book a private guide for our future trips. Feel free to contact me if you have any queries.

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