Our thanks to Paul Irvine for his careful and complete planning of our amazing southern Brazil excursion!
When we docked in Rio at the conclusion of a two-week cruise, Patricia met us at the terminal and we immediately began two intensive days getting acquainted with the city and its surroundings. She adapted the tour to our interests and covered the must-see features of Rio along with delightful morsels that most visitors probably don’t experience — hidden vistas overlooking the city, a walk through one of the favelas, and much more.
We moved on to Paraty for a complete change of pace, beginning with a private tour of Paraty Bay on a converted fishing boat. We relaxed on the boat as we visited many of the beautiful small bays and islands. We made a stop to swim in the warm Atlantic water and another to enjoy lunch at a great restaurant where all the patrons arrived by boat.
Also near Paraty, we enjoyed a forest hike with Rodrigo and Felipe with a restful stop at a waterfall. After the hike we enjoyed an excellent lunch at Fazenda Bananal prepared from ingredients grown on the farm where it is located. A highlight was a demonstration of produce grown on the farm including the various uses and how some of the exotic fruits and vegetables are opened and eaten.
We finished with our bucket-list item — a visit to Iguazu Falls! What an incredible place! Unfortunately, the only sun we saw there was as we were leaving our hotel for the airport at the conclusion of our visit. But our guide showed us both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls and we thoroughly enjoyed hiking the walkways that brought us to amazing views, despite the need for umbrellas. On our last morning, because our stay at the Belmond Hotel offered us early-morning access to the Brazil-side walkways before the influx of visitors, our guide took us on a hike when almost no one else was on the walkways, all the way down until we stood only a few feet above the crest of one of the nearly 300 individual waterfalls that make up this complex — followed by an elevator ride up to where our driver waited for us.
The entire excursion was a wonderful experience! Our Zoom conference with Paul kicked off the planning and we exchanged emails as the details came together. The resulting plan with the hotel and transportation facilities it included couldn’t have been better crafted. Paul and his staff were available throughout the tour to support us, including messages to greet us at each hotel, having boarding passes for our flights delivered to us at the hotel, and assisting us with airport check-ins since we didn’t speak the local language.
My wife and I have recently returned from a trip to South America. We were gone from October 5th till October 19th. Paul and his team did an excellent job in planning our trip to Brazil and Argentina. Paul developed an itinerary that fit into our flights we had to and from South America. When we had to make a change to the itinerary for our first night, Paul was able to make the adjustment immediately. Paul listened to our requests, such as keeping our tours to no more than four hours a day to give us time each afternoon to relax.
The guides that Paul was able to arrange for us in each location (São Paulo, Paraty, Rio, Iguaçu Falls and Buenos Aires) were all excellent. They were all top-notch and we enjoyed learning about each location from them. Getting to know them and their personal stories was very interesting.
One of the highlights was the fact that Paul arranged for us to stay in Iguaçu Falls at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, which was located in the national park overlooking the falls. Based on our guide’s advice I was able to see the falls early in the morning before the park opened and after 5PM when the park closed to the public. Seeing the falls without the crowds was truly special.
We had an outstanding trip and would highly recommend Paul and his team to anyone looking to visit South America.
Desert, city, jungle, beach, and pampas all in one fantastic itinerary. My husband and I spent a month sampling the wonders of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Paul organized a great itinerary with activities, free days and travel days that went seamlessly. Plus, we had a surprise WOW Moment/anniversary boat trip to one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Paul took great care of us, including checking us in for our flights and having the hotels print our boarding passes. He made restaurant recommendations and reservations for us. His hotel choices met all the needs we requested. The activities were varied, interesting, enjoyable and perfect for two people in their 70s.
Paul Irvine planned a whirlwind tour of Brazil in December for me and my husband. This was my 2nd time trusting a Wendy Perrin travel partner with my vacation; Paul Irvine and his team did not disappoint. Paul was extremely patient and responsive throughout the entire process from planning, last-minute changes, to quick assistance during the trip when we had weather issues, both in Brazil and back home in Texas. Paul picked perfectly appointed hotels at every destination, and we really enjoyed all of our English-speaking guides and drivers throughout the trip. In Rio, we had Lais for two days of the city and art. She was one of the best, and most likable tour guides we’ve ever had — truly great, full of fun facts, history, culture and just a super interesting person. On to Paraty. It was a long (4+hour drive) to get to Paraty. We had an excellent driver who filled the time with great stories, info about Brazil etc,
While we found Paraty to be a quaint little village and our boutique accommodations at Casa Turquesa were seriously AMAZING; the tiny town itself wasn’t the highlight, not quite for us. The weather was cold and rainy, so unfortunately our tours were canceled. But, our driver picked us up early from Paraty and we squeezed in a day in São Paulo, which more than made up for the downtime in Paraty. My husband got to see a few art galleries on his list, and we did a fabulous neighborhood tour full of murals from local artists. We loved São Paulo! Unfortunately a bad freeze came through in Texas and the U.S. while we were traveling; my husband opted to go home early to winterize our home, while I continued on to Trancoso solo. Paul’s team helped us tremendously with these last-minute changes — they were flexible, accommodating and professional. The AXUS app Paul’s office uses was an invaluable tool to have. My time in Trancoso was nice, it’s a cute place and the tours, accommodation and food were great. No complaints at all, just a huge thank you to Paul and his team for all the help. We ended up being a high-maintenance client given our unforeseen issues. Thanks again to Paul, his team, and Wendy Perrin!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had a fantastic month-long trip to Brazil which we planned with Paul Irvine. Working with Paul was great – he listened very carefully to how we like to travel, and what activities we enjoy doing, and then he blended all of that into a wonderful itinerary. His choices were perfect – the hotels were amazing, the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, our drivers were safe and professional, and the locations were delightful. Paul and I worked on the specifics of the plans for several months until it was precisely what I wanted. Before departure, we downloaded the app that he and his team use to send messages, keep us informed about the plans, to view our boarding passes, and any updates or notices. That was an extremely useful feature for our travels.
The first three weeks of our trip was just my husband and me, and it was a combination of vacation and working remotely. Paul was careful to book us in places with reliable wi-fi and a desk in the room. We stayed in each location for 3-4 days, which allowed us the opportunity to better understand the area before we moved on. Paul arranged guided tours in each place for the first day or two, and then the remaining days in that location we spent exploring (or remotely working) using the suggestions and information that Paul provided to maximize our time.
The third week of our trip was a family wedding – our nephew was getting married to a lovely young woman who was born in Brazil. The American family members flew to Brazil from all over the United States to help celebrate. And after those festivities, my husband and I, my sister and her husband – and all of our grown children! – stayed on for another 10 days of travel in two different locations. Paul arranged that portion of the trip as well, coordinating hotel rooms, transportation between locations, activities, guides, and drivers for all 10 of us. It was a very complicated task, and Paul handled it beautifully.
The added value of using Paul and his team is incalculable. At each hotel, we were greeted with notes from both Paul and the hotel staff, and welcome gifts in our room. I am convinced that we were upgraded to the best room in the hotel everywhere we stayed. Our room rates always included breakfast, teatimes, and other amenities not offered with regular bookings. Our guides and driver were always on time, the details of attraction tickets and lines and logistics were seamlessly attended to in advance so we never had to wait for anything. The pre-planning allowed us to maximize our time, and it reduced the stress of traveling for such a long period of time and with such a large group. We had a wonderful experience, and it is because of the superior work done by Paul and his team.
RE COVID: Most of the places we traveled in Brazil were very off the beaten path, and much of our exploring was outdoors, in smaller venues, and done privately. All of us were double vaccinated and we all had our booster shots — plus several of us had actually gotten very mild cases of COVID in the winter. We were not nervous about COVID exposure.
Paul also arranged for us to have the required departure COVID tests privately done by lab professionals who came to our hotel rooms. As it turned out, the requirement to test before returning to the USA was dropped the weekend we flew home, so it wasn’t necessary. But we certainly appreciated the effort.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Re: COVID. This trip was pretty similar to one that we would have taken pre-pandemic. The trip planner did suggest appropriate experiences that attended to our COVID concerns, specifically having private tours and hotels with good COVID policies that felt safe/generally outdoor dining etc. Also, we had private taxis to and from airports although the drivers did not mask, which would have been more comfortable if they had been told to do so. Being from NY, we have been hit hard by COVID and are more cautious than most.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My wife and I just returned from a trip to Uruguay and Argentina. The entire trip was arranged by Paul Irvine. Paul did an exceptional job. He arranged for drivers and guides to meet us at both ports and airports. The guides were exceptional. I initially wanted to stay in Montevideo, but since our time in Uruguay was short, Paul encouraged us to stay in Jose Ignacio, a delightful beach town about 2 hours from there. He arranged our accommodations, dinners and tours. Paul followed up regularly to make sure everything was going to plan. He also arranged for our Covid tests at our hotels, which was a real convenience. I would recommend Paul Irvine without any reservation.
I had Pneumonia when I went to Paraty from São Paolo, though I didn’t really know it. An angelic driver picked me up from my hotel and drove me the four hours to Paraty. He was so good I fell asleep immediately. The hotel Paul had picked out for me Casa Turquesa was beautiful, luxurious and immaculate. A small hotel, just friendly enough so I never felt lonely. Paul arranged for a trip on a schooner with a charming captain. I also took a tour of the city. In spite of the fact that I was sick, it was the best medicine I ever had. I rested when I had to, was pampered, and it was a perfect trip.
We worked with Paul’s team to plan a family trip with our adult children to Bolivia and Peru over Christmas and New Years 2018-19. Tom Robinson arranged great guides for us in La Paz, Uyuni and Cuzco-Sacred Valley-Machu Picchu and beautiful hotels for us to stay in in those locations and Lake Titicaca and Lima (where we did not use guides). We particularly love our guide in La Paz , Nicki, and in Cuzco-Sacred Valley -Machu Picchu, Johan.
Tom was also helpful re-arranging our plans when we lost our first day because of travel delays and missed connections.
We had a wonderful trip.
Paul Irvine and his team did an excellent job in helping us plan a very diverse 2 weeks in Argentina and Chile — and in dealing with the kinds of unexpected twists that can pop up along the way. We went into the process with a range of interests and he did a good job in helping us focus the list on what would prove to be the most memorable elements, with the right amounts of time to do them properly.
The hotels were terrific choices and we have nothing but good things to say about the many transfers at each stage of our holiday. Of particular note, the real test (from my point of view) is always what happens when something goes off the rails. In our case, Paul quickly adjusted our timetable to take into account a missed connection due to weather that meant losing a day at the front end and needing to reshuffle the lineup a little. That led to one scheduling mixup that he resolved as soon as it popped up (and then arranged a nice way to make up for what was a fairly minor issue in real life).
When arranging travel in a part of the world you haven’t been to and dealing with the full range language, culture and legal matters than can arise in crossing borders, it really pays to have someone who can be that “fixer.” Paul is all that and more and we’ve already recommended Wendy and Paul’s services to friends who want a great a vacation as we had.
Paul was easy to work with, informative and his planning turned out to be spot-on. His suggestions (Paraty, restaurants, where to watch the Sambadromo) were excellent. The samba instructor Carla was so much fun!! And my husband’s 2 birding guides were excellent. Cafe Turquesa in Paraty (and especially the owner Tete) was the perfect end to a great trip.
Paul is outstanding from first contact to final post-trip communication. Rarely have we had less need to revise what an agent proposed for our travel. Paul listened carefully to what my wife and I enjoy in travel, and planned the perfect blend of big city (BA), including two outstanding guides, wine country with two guided private bodega experiences, private terrace dinners in the shadows of the Andes mountains, then complete relaxation in eastern Uruguay with its endless beaches, world-class gastronomy, private winery tour with the head sommelier, dinners at the top locations… Paul updated our itinerary for some dinner enhancements, communicated every step of our trip, answered various questions en route (tipping protocol, e.g.), and really made our entire experience exceptional. NOTHING was missed. Paul is the consummate pro. We will return to South America many more times, but only if and where Paul can provide his comprehensive service.
Paul Irvine and his agency were on top of everything. From the planning, organizing the itinerary, laying out suggestions to following up on the day-to-day activities, Paul and his agency were thoroughly involved. I know he contacted our hotels, guides and drivers to make sure they knew our limitations, e.g. Anne is allergic to shellfish. He monitored each and every activity to make sure all was going according to plan.
Throughout the journey, I had some minor questions and he had a response to me often within hours regardless of the day of the week.
For this blue-collar kid from Brooklyn, such luxury, care, and professionalism were beyond compare. It was like having someone remotely looking over your shoulder to make sure all was kosher.
We loved everything about the trip and what Paul was able to organize for us.
We have just returned from a trip to Iguazu Falls organized by Paul Irvine. Every detail of the trip was perfect. The hotels Paul selected were gorgeous; he booked us at the only hotel in the Brazilian side of Iguazu National Park where, after 6 p.m., only guests of the hotel were allowed to remain in the park. We spent one full day in the park with our guide and then two days at a secluded ecolodge, Puerto Bemberg, in the middle of the rainforest. On our final day, a driver picked us up from the local airport in Buenos Aires and took us to a restaurant Paul had selected for our last meal before leaving for the U.S.–a lovely riverside place with great food. Paul was always responsive during the trip to smooth over any little bumps (and there were very few). I recommend him highly for anyone travelling to Argentina or Brazil.
I am so grateful for Wendy’s recommendation of Paul Irvine at Dehouche! He planned an excellent and customized trip for me, my daughter & son-in-law & my 11 year old grandson. The trip to Lima, the Amazon, Iguazu Falls, Rio for Carnivale & Paraty was the grandson’s “special” trip (other siblings had been to Galapagos & Bostwana…so the expectations were quite high!
Unfortunately, in the middle of planning, my husband suddenly passed away. Paul was kind and patient and when I was ready to resume the planning – albeit slightly revised – he was reassuring to me, now leading this trip on my own.
Beyond this caring service, he planned an excellent trip that we all enjoyed. The service, logistics and accommodations were spot on.. A slight glitch in taxi arrival was MORE than made up for by VIP seats at Carnivale.. Even though I had been very involved with the planning and asked a million questions and googled until my fingers were numb…I never ceased to be wonderfully surprised at how terrific everything was. As my daughter said: There was something magical every day!!
I would not hesitate to recommend Paul to anyone.
THANK YOU THANK YOU, Wendy, for guiding me and my family to Paul!!
Paul responded to our travel request for special requirements for senior citizens by ensuring all accommodations were suitable for our abilities. In the case of one inn that proved to be unsuitable because of stairs that were too steep he allowed for us to change to a more appropriate hotel at the cost of the agency. He was on the spot and available to help make the decision to change properties immediately. I would most like to commend the efficiency and capabilities of all the drivers who attended to and really made our journey effortless. All were never one minute late, all were courteous and helpful, all were delightful people to know. I would particularly like to recommend Sen. Celso Pereira who was above and beyond in his ability to achieve important transports on this trip. Putting together this group of drivers is an important consideration as a recommendation of your company. I would also like to recommend Luiz Cruz in Tiradentes who was an incredible tour guide full of history and knowledge of the area. All hotels were lovely and personally accommodating to our needs and comfort with gracious staffs. I would particularly recommend Oratório Pousada Boutique, Casa Turquesa Maison D´Hôtes, and Villas de Trancoso Hotel e Pousada.
I looked for an agent to handle aspects of our trip to Brazil because I don’t speak Portugese. I don’t know the country, and the reputation of Brazil as a dangerous place swayed me to organize our trip so that we would always have help near our family or around us if we needed anyone for any reason, at any time. In general, I do not use travel agents and prefer to book hotels and flights and activities on my own. I find it ends up being less expensive and more spontaneous, and I don’t feel disappointed at the end of a trip. Having said that, I have found that the two trips I have booked using Wendy Perrin’s Trusted Travel Experts have both been very positive experiences.
I had a short but useful Skype conversation with Paul Irvine, during which we laid out what I hoped for during our trip, and he also suggested an extra destination, but agreed sounded very much like something my group would enjoy. We paid up, received our schedule, and on the appointed day and time, made our way to Rio. The most important thing for me and for my husband was that the people on the ground were there for us, and they were. There was never anyone who was late, or absent. Even our first guide, who had a personal matter which kept him from picking us up at the airport when we arrived, sent his brother-in-law to get us. This was the most important thing to us and it was flawlessly executed. I also found the enclosed information on restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and useful Portuguese words very valuable and used this throughout our stay.
My only issue was that there was not very much communication between the travel agency and us. Since I rarely use agencies, and had never heard of Dehouche except from this website, I was nervous about saying goodbye to a large chunk of money for services not yet rendered — especially in a tanking economy such as Brazil unfortunately suffers at the moment. I did have a few times where I tried to make contact and could not reach anyone from the agency for a while, which I honestly consider not so great if you are running a business. However, my husband is of the opinion that the company carried out their mission to the fullest degree: be there for the client where it counts, on the ground when you need them most.
Verdict: Yes, definitely when we go back we will use Dehouche again and
We spent 2 weeks in Brazil and took 10 flights during our 2 week stay. Every connection and transfer was on time and very accommodating. Every hotel was first class. I would recommend Paul Irvine from Dehouche to anyone.
We just returned from a six-day trip to Brazil, expertly planned by Paul. My partner and I are usually very independent travelers, so the whole process of using an expert was entirely new to us.
Paul delivered a truly wonderful itinerary within our budget and it only exceeded our expectations once on the ground.
We spent three days in Rio de Janeiro and three days in Paraty. Our driver/guide was fantastic and we loved having the same driver throughout. Every hotel we stayed in was phenomenal, especially our last night at the Hotel Santa Teresa. Paul booked us at hotels that I didn’t think were in our budget otherwise, and we enjoyed wonderful excursions such as a private trip on a schooner touring the islands near Paraty.
We fell in love with Brazil and will certainly use Paul’s expertise for our next trip.
Knowledgeable and efficient. Did an excellent job of tailoring our trip to our interests and needs. His recommendations on hotels and local guides were all excellent. We do not often work with a travel agent, but I would definitely recommend Paul to anyone heading to Brazil.
Paul did an excellent job organizing our visit to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The itinerary he suggested reflected our areas of interest as outlined to him. He responded quickly to questions and offered several very helpful suggestions. His pre-trip package of information was extensive and useful. Our guides were very knowledgable about their respective cities and showed us areas that we would never have discovered on our own. Should we return to Brazil, we would definitely recontact him.