Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family pin

South America is a fascinating continent to visit especially for families from Europe and the States. Although most of the South American population originates from Europe and has similar traditions like the United States and European countries, we as Americans did notice some things that were surprisingly different. Here are six main things we suggest those traveling to South America should watch out for when visiting with family.

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Recycled Plastic Water Bottles

Some countries like Uruguay recycle bottles multiple times. This fact is great for the environment but less for the customers since after a while the bottles don’t open well. When we bought a bottle and could not pry it open even after hitting it against a tree, the vendor did not want to replace it. We ended up throwing it in the trash. Parents should open any water bottles they plan to buy in the store before they finalize payment to avoid paying for a faulty product.

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family bottles

“Weeds” Everywhere

Many places in South America do not garden the same way as in European or North American locations. Plants in many areas are allowed to grow freely and untrimmed, even in city parks and urban areas. As a result, travelers need to be aware of cracked sidewalks due to tree roots and weeds everywhere. There is also a risk of allergies, especially during the spring season. Parents should pack plenty of allergy medication, especially if anyone in the family suffers from allergies to plant pollen.
Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family weeds

Cabs

Cab drivers in many countries often overcharge their customers when they realize they are tourists. Cabbies can take passengers for a long unnecessary ride to beef up the meter cost, as many tourists don’t know the area. They will also use the tourist’s ignorance to their advantage by switching between the Argentinian and Uruguay dollar. Parents should negotiate a fixed price for their taxi, especially if their driver either doesn’t have a meter or refuses to turn it on during the trip.

 

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family cabs

Pickpocketing

Old-fashioned pickpocketing has taken a different turn in places like the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. There, thieves work their act in pairs. One person spills some form of liquid on the victim while the second jumps to help them wipe it off. In all that hoopla, the victim’s wallet magically disappears.

The best thing is for parents to wear a money belt under their clothes. This way, the money is not readily available to quick hands. They should also bring along another set of clothes to change into on a day trip, so they don’t have to stay in dirty clothes for the rest of the day. Also, travel vests like scottevest can be helpful and safe and offer hidden inside pockets to keep passports and wallets or cash.

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family train

Peddlers Walking on Freeways

The first time we visited Rio de Janeiro, it shocked us to see sellers walking freely along the freeways, sometimes in the middle of the highway, selling merchandise. Especially during rush hour time when the roads get congested and the traffic stalls, this can be quite unnerving. According to a friend of ours, this is pretty much standard practice.

Those planning to drive in certain countries in South America should prepare themselves to not only see things like that but to make sure that all doors are locked, and the family remains safe in the car with valuables out of sight. They should also be careful when driving to make sure they don’t accidentally hit a pedestrian on the freeway, a risk that travelers from the United States often don’t need to consider.

Six Tips for Traveling in South America with Family peddlars

Torn Banknotes

Most tourists travel nowadays using a combination of credit cards and cash since the era of traveler’s checks is coming to a close. Unfortunately, the majority of visitors don’t know that torn bills of any sort, especially American dollars, will not be accepted in most stores. Parents need to take only crisp and untattered bills and make sure that they lay flat in the money belt.

 

Have you visited any of the South American countries lately? Do you have any tips to share with our readers?

 

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro pin

In our decade of traveling, our son with autism has created his bucket list of places to visit. Many of the places he has wanted to visit have been inspired by watching movies, like when he wanted to visit Paris after watching the Rugrats movie. When we were finalizing our South American trip, he reminded us how much he wanted to see the city of Rio de Janeiro after watching Rio. He even actively created the itinerary we would explore according to the spots seen in the movie.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro above

Sugarloaf Mountain

Our first stop was Sugarloaf Mountain, showcased in Rio in the scene when Blu first arrives at the city. The Pao de Acucar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, is a popular attraction in Rio de Janeiro – a peak rising up on a peninsula in Guanabara Bay. A cable car takes visitors to the top, who are then rewarded with 360-degree views of the city, the harbor, and the beaches. The cable car stops in two area on the way to the top, first at the mountain of Morro de Urca, then at the head of the taller Pao de Acucar. One can see the Sagui Monkeys, which were the inspiration for the thief monkeys in Rio.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro mountain

 

The day we visited several cruise tours mobbed the place and made the lines rather long. It took approximately thirty minutes to get through both cable cars up to the top of the mountain.

Tours start around R$71 per person, and many include a stop at the Metropolitan Cathedral, while individual tickets are R$62 for adults and R$31 for children.

Cristo Redentor Statue and Corcovado Mountain

The famous Cristo Redentor statue was our second stop. In the movie, the sculpture was featured in the scene when Blu first escapes with Jewel and tries to learn to fly. Cristo Redentor, or Christ the Redeemer, is a giant Jesus Christ statue on top of Corcovado Mountain. This statue is one of the most famous features of Rio de Janeiro. Travelers can get to the statue by taking a taxi to Cosme Velho Station and taking the train from there. They can also book a tour and ride up to the statue in a van. Admission to the statue is R$36.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro statue

Rio De Janeiro Beaches

For our third stop, we explored the Rio De Janeiro beaches, seen in the movie when Blu and Jewel land on a glider and hit the sand. There are twenty-three beaches in Rio De Janeiro to experience. There is no way one could visit them all, but we got to see the most well-known.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro beach

One of the most famous beaches in the world, the four-km Copacabana Beach is in the south of Rio de Janeiro and was one of the Olympic Zones in the 2016 Olympics. The beach is clean, and visitors can get umbrellas and chairs, but it is also one of the most crowded areas in the city. The lifeguard stations along the beach are open daily from eight am to eight pm. They offer free first aid and changing and toilet facilities for a nominal fee.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro vendor

Located in the south of Rio de Janeiro near Copacabana, Ipanema Beach became public thanks to the famous “Girl from Ipanema” song written by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. It is a favorite beach in Brazil, where visitors and locals alike sunbathe or play soccer or volleyball. It is also one of the safest districts in the area, likely because it is a more residential neighborhood. There are restrooms and showers, but these can get very busy during the hot season.

Copacabana’s Atlantic Beach Front Boulevard

Multiple scenes from the movie decided our fourth stop, such as when Blu goes missing. Along the length of the beach is the Atlantica Boulevard, where we got to see its famous black and white mosaic sidewalk. This location is perfect for those looking for a nice restaurant or souvenir from a street vendor. There are also impressive sand sculptures created by local artists, and sometimes kids can help build sand art alongside them.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro beach

Santa Teresa Tram and Neighborhood

Our fifth stop came from the scene when Blu and Jewel go to Luiz’s garage to remove their chain. We took the historic tram ride to Santa Teresa, a neighborhood on top of Santa Teresa Hill. The Tram ride has run since 1877 and is one of the oldest street railway lines in the world. The tram has only been suspended once in 2011 after a serious accident, but service resumed in 2015 with the installation of new tramcars.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Rio de Janeiro wire

Santa Teresa is an artist’s neighborhood featuring winding, narrow streets, galleries, and art studios. Near the cultural center, travelers can check out Parque das Ruinas, a mansion turned museum that houses artwork from Museu da Chacara do Ceu.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Rio can get hot during the summer months. Parents should pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellant.
  • There are no barriers around the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, so families should be careful, especially with younger kids.
  • Visitors on Ipanema Beach should look for Posto 8, where they can find a fun play area for younger children.
  • The ocean does see unyielding currents. Parents should make sure kids know how to properly swim in the sea, even if they are playing shallow water
  • The Christo Redentor statue has lots of lines depending on the time of day, and there are no accommodations for autism. The best time to visit is early in the day.
  • At the Christo Redentor statue, parents can review the interactive digital information board on the platform under the figure’s left arm. This board displays information and fun facts about the statue and its history.
  • We highly recommend that parents download a translator app, as most of the signs are in Portuguese and not many of the locals speak English.
  • Credit cards are not as commonly used in Brazi as they are in the United States. Parents should bring cash and carry it in a money belt for safe keeping.

Exploring Peru’s Machu Picchu with Family

 

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family pin


Machu Picchu
is a well known UNESCO World Heritage Site in Peru, voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. This archaeological site is a must see for anyone visiting Peru. It is a fascinating piece of history for any traveling family to explore.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family steps

History

Originally, history books stated that American Historian Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. This fact is not true. Local farmers and Peruvian natives always knew of the site, since they lived and worked right next to it. Bingham just brought attention to Machu Picchu to the rest of the world through his book, Lost City of the Incas.

 

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family walled

The real history of Machu Picchu started in the year 1450. Modern archaeologists think the city was an estate for Emperor Pachacuti. Some theories state the city was a key hiding spot from Spanish invaders since the Spanish never mentioned the city in documents during the Colonial Period.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family inca

Today, the site is a famous tourist destination. Visitors can climb the mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley to see this fantastic site.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family famed

Getting There

While adventurous travelers can try to hike up the Inca Trail as part of a guided tour, most visitors take the train to reach the ruins. The train departs from three locations – Poroy, Ollantaytambo, and Urubamba (which only departs once a day). Travelers can choose from three train companies: PeruRail, Inca Rail, and Machu Picchu Train.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family blue

 

PeruRail offers various classes for different budgets. The Expedition is the most budget option at $77 each way per person. The Vistadome at $90 per person includes complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. The Hiram Bingham is the most expensive option at $475 each way and includes a brunch, dinner, a selection of Peruvian alcoholic drinks, and other fancy additions. All options feature cars with panoramic windows.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family red

The absolute cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu is via the Ollantaytambo train, with tickets as low as $52 one way.For those who do want to hike the Inca Trail, they will have to reserve a guided group tour costing about $450-$650. The hike is a four-day experience.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family hiike

What You Will See

The layout of the city divides an urban and agricultural sector as well as an upper town and lower town. The upper town was where the temples and royalty resided while the lower town was for common folk and warehouses. There are 200 buildings in this city and also three structures, the Inti Wantana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of Three Windows.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family wall

 

The Inti Wantana is one of the many ritual stones in South America. The stone is positioned and arranged to point directly at the sun during the winter solstice. It is seen as a tool to tie up the sun and is believed to have held the sun in its place along its annual path in the sky.
Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family peek

Another spiritual section is the Room of Three Windows. This room is considered to be a sacred place that represents the origins of the Inca civilization. Inside the chamber, visitors will see a stone carved with engravings that represent the three levels where the Inca civilization divided the Andean world. These are the levels of the sky spirituality (Hanan-Pacha), the earth surface (Kay-Pacha) and the subsoil or inner life (Ukju-Pacha). In the Room of Three Windows, people have claimed to have felt great spiritual presences as well as clarity.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family grass

 

The Temple of the Sun sits at the highest altitude in the entire city. It was purposely built this way for the temple to be as close to the sun/heaven as possible. In this temple, the most important and meaningful events of the city would happen here such as sacred rituals, religious sacrifices, and astrological events.

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family fog

Location, Cost, and Hours

Guests cannot buy Machu Picchu tickets at the entrance gate and must book them in advance. Visitors can get advanced tickets from the official government of Peru website. The government limits entrance to the ruin to 2500 people per day. We suggest booking early as visiting days frequently fill up two weeks in advance. Guests have to bring their original passport to show at the entrance.

 

Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family llama

Tickets to enter the city cost between $50 to $70. There are discounts for children, students with an ISIC card, and Peruvian nationals.Travelers can book packaged tours to Machu Picchu, such as the four-day Inca Trail Hike ($450-650), the half-day Cusco city tour ($10-15) or the Sacred Valley tour ($12-20).
Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family sitting

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Peru can get hot, especially during the summer. Parents of heat sensitive children should pack water, insect repellent, and a mini-fan.
  • Traveling through Machu Picchu involves lots of hiking on unstable slippery  ground. Furthermore there’s hunderds of steps to climb! Parents should make sure everyone wears comfortable and closed-toe shoes appropriate for hiking.
  • Traveling families should be aware there’s no shade or resting areas in the actual site.
  • Exploring Peru's Machu Picchu with Family us
  • Peru sees frequent rains. Traveling families should pack a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
  • Parents should book trains online in advance as they fill up quickly, especially the evening return train.
    Parents need to prepare their kids to the fact the train can get somewhat noisy with a ‘fashion show’ and musicians coming around entertaining the guests.

Visiting Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia

Situated on the banks of the “River of Silver” Platte River is the capital city of Argentina – the amazing Buenos Aires which in Spanish means “fair winds.”
In the 1700s, cattle ranching in the expansive grasslands around this metropolis was an important tool for survival because trade in leather hides between Europe and Latin America had become standard.
Just like in other countries, the history of this predominantly Spanish-speaking country is wealthy and varied. Its people, including the farmers, have experienced dictatorships, coups, massacres, droughts, famines, floods, and recessions.

Over the centuries, its population have banded together and are proud of their accomplishments despite the hardships they endured. Nowadays, the country is doing much better and has become attractive to tourists from all over the world. The capital of Buenos Aires still has its fair winds, but the dramas and crises seem to be a thing of the past.

The city has become a hub of class and culture; there are museums, theaters, art galleries, restaurants and a very active nightlife with clubs, and bars.However, if you are willing to go off the beaten track for something a little bit different, you need to try to visit an Argentinian estancia.

 

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip peacock


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip cutouts

About Don Silvano Estancia

An estancia is a farm or ranch, and the ranch hands or gauchos being the Cowboys of the grassy plains or Argentinean pampas. In recent years, it has become standard practice for the ranchers to open up their homes to invite guests and tourists to experience a day on their estate as not only as a to spruce up diminishing profits but as a way to boost local tourism too.
Some owners have converted their estancia into flourishing resorts and destination getaways while others strive to introduce their guests to the more authentic parts of ranch day to day life in a ‘día de Campo – a day in the countryside.’
The Don Silvano Estancia has a long history, and the ranch has been handed down through the years and been kept in the family for four generations. The property is about 380 hectares in size and as renovated rooms for the guests who opt to stay there for a few days as well as a large hall that can comfortably seat over 300 diners, some of which come as day visitors.
Being a ranch, it, of course, has stables and other farm buildings which you can see when you arrive and do a tour. They encourage you to feel at home on the estancia and take part in various demonstrations like cow-milking, horse-saddling, and empanada-making! The staff offers tractor rides and have gaucho shows;  where the cowboys demonstrate how skilled and talented, they are on horseback.
The ranch even has its store for souvenirs and a museum detailing the history and development of the property that offers a lovely tribute to the family.

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip barn


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip kitchen

Our Estancia Experience

We decided to take the visitor day trip from Buenos Aires that offered a  chance to sample the Argentinian countryside.
The tour operator picked us up from our hotel for the hour long car ride which was very convenient since one can enjoy the scenery of the flat grasslands without needing to concentrate on the driving. 

On our arrival at the ranch, we were welcomed by the estancia welcoming committee farm;  the peacock strutting his stuff and a beautiful show rooster that made a point of staying in the bus loading area to watch the guests’ arrival.
Next, we were shown to one of the original dwellings where the hosts welcomed everyone with cold libations ( wine for the adults, sodas for the kids) and empanadas that were made right there in a makeshift coal oven.The staff also makes cookies and bread which compared with the farmyard smell outside smelled quite heavenly. I would have love to pocket the aromas from this kitchen as a souvenir to bring home.

 

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip geese


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip flamingo

As guests walk around the farmyard, they get to see the different aspects of farm life including the cooking and artisans making handmade tapestries and clothing items while traditional music is played in the background.The ranch featured miniature cows with their short, stumpy legs, plenty of foul in the form of chicken ducks and geese; even a hen and her cute chicks walking about nonchalantly on the BBQ coals that were scheduled to be used later on that day.We came across a pitiful-looking lone donkey twitching its tail and abdomen because of flies surrounding it and plenty of horses that were used both for the farm staff and the visitors. We couldn’t stop giggling at the farm dog who thought he was a horse and followed them around like he was one of them. 

Guests get seated for their fix menu BBQ lunch included in the tour price in the big hall at a set hour.   There are salads on the table as well as wine and cola. They have attractive décor with old children’s toys hanging from the ceiling which you look at while you wait for them to bring the traditional grilled meat. Following this is the dancing to classical music with guitars and an accordion. They bring out live entertainment, flamenco-style dancers, and singers all in traditional costume. They even had a comedy act in the form of an American song. They encourage all the guests and visitors to the farm get up and dance, join the performers on the stage. After the meal, the guests are free to go and enjoy the outdoors, take a leisurely walk by foot or horseback and be back in time for the shuttle to return them to Buenos Aires.

Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip turkey


Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip horses

 

Autism Travel Tips

  • Both the links to Don Silvano Estancia’s website and The Don Silvano Facebook page are in Spanish, but you can give your English-speaking child a good idea of what to expect by showing them the pictures.
  • Have everyone wear closed toe shoes and pack an extra pair of clothes for everyone since it is rather easy to land in the mud or get dirty from the different animals.
  • Pack plenty of hand sanitizer to use after touching the various farm animals as well as insect repellent and sunscreen!
  • The lunch hall is large with long tables that seat twenty some people each if your kid is noise sensitive make sure you sit at the end of the table away from the entertainment.
  • *For those who are sensitive to smells, it is critical to prepare them that it is a ranch with animals, and some of the smells in the farmyard are extremely potent and offensive.
  • For those who are sensitive to sounds, inside the dining hall with sometimes over 300 people and all the dancing and music, it can be overwhelming and loud. Tell your child to let you know if it is too much for them so that you can retreat to a quieter place outside or bring headphones to be able to block out the sound.
    No special menu is currently offered, but those on a GFCF  diet can eat the large meat dishes offered.
    Furthermore, the gaucho show is outdoors and can be noisy. If your child is sensitive, then don’t sit in the front rows since there is quite a bit of dust flying from the horses galloping about
  • The ranch isn’t wheelchair user accessible through the main areas to the entrance, the dining hall and restrooms are paved.Don Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip dogDon Silvino Argentinian Estancia Day Trip lunch

 

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton

 

The Sheraton Buenos Aires Convention Center Hotel, featuring 740 rooms and 33 suites, is located at 1225/1275 San Martin Street in the Retiro neighborhood of  Buenos Aires, Argentina, a twenty-mile cab drive from EZE Buenos Aires’ international airport.
The hotel is part of a larger complex housing another luxury Starwood property ‘The Towerz’ and boasts three restaurants, a coffee shop, and a mini shopping mall.

Several blocks from Puerto Madero for easy access to cruise ships terminals, the Buquebus system, and the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, Calea Florida; the Sheraton Buenos Aires is a sound choice for visiting families.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton clock tower

Fellow Guests

Most of those making a stop here are couples or business travelers, but families and other groups traveling together are not unusual guests at this establishment.

The chain’s policy of offering one child per family free accommodations if they will be using the beds that are already in the rooms and suites is helpful for families traveling with small children that are looking for budget friendly options.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton lobby
Décor

The hotel’s spacious lobby with comfortable furnishings gives the property an airy uncrowded feel even when it is full to capacity.
Moreover, the marble columns and flooring, granite counters and dark colored wood furniture as the backdrop to neutral colored sofas, lounge chairs, and curtains throughout the public areas give the establishment an elegant, classy and inviting look.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton beds

Rooms

We stayed in rooms 1807 and 1809, which were standard connecting rooms with lovely harbor views. The queen sized bed in our room was comfortable and clean.The room, decorated in dark toned browns, also contained a work desk area, an enormous flat screen television, a sitting area, and a nightstand beside the bed.Our sons’ connecting room held two double sized beds, but otherwise had much the same furnishings as our bedroom.
A family of four probably could get by with booking a room like our sons’ that had two doubles sized beds, if folks don’t mind doubling up and sharing with young kids to cut on lodging costs.

Each room came with a closet area and small safe and small coffee maker. As SPG members, we were given free water bottles for the rooms daily,  free wifi and access to the executive lounge.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton rooms

The moderately sized bathrooms came with a commode, bidet, sink and tub shower combo separated by a curtain, which unfortunately didn’t prevent the floors from becoming slippery after taking a shower. Parents should remember to ask housekeeping for extra towels to keep the floor dry!

Our tan marble bathrooms come with the usual amenities that included shampoo, conditioner, soap and body lotion. The bathrooms were equipped with the quintessential hairdryer and a small mirror that was helpful to apply makeup or shave.

The hotel does provide complimentary robes for guests to use during their stay however unlike other places we’ve stayed in; the robes were in the room closet.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton kit

Facilities

The reception desk, open all hours of the day and night, made it a breeze to arrange an airport shuttle or car rental at even the oddest times.
Guests staying here should keep in mind that they are in a Spanish speaking country and, as a result, not all of the hotel staff is fluent in English. However, most of them were quite happy to assist us in any way they could after we explained how our son with autism could be accommodated.

The hotel also has a heated swimming pool indoors and an unheated one outdoors, allowing guests the option of using whichever one they prefer. This hotel additionally features a tennis court, a sauna, a spa, and a gym. All these facilities were quite clean though we didn’t get a chance to use them since it was raining on the days we stayed.

Those hoping to dine onsite will be glad to hear that they can choose from international fare at the El Ajibe Restaurant or Italian style entrees at the Cardinale Restaurant. Likewise, the hotel bar is a great stop for cocktails and other adult beverages. For more budget friendly options guests should venture outside and try the many restaurants and pubs in the immediate area.

Travelers will additionally be happy to learn that the Sheraton has an onsite currency exchange and ATM, so they can stock up on pesos before leaving the building.Alternatively, visitors can exchange money in the nearest bank branch (a five-minute walk) to get a better rate.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton breakfast

Executive lounge

The lounge, on the twenty-fourth floor, is a combo of three connecting rooms with views of the St Martin clock tower.
The breakfast offering included; fresh fruit, cut vegetables, an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses, freshly baked pastries along with the regular American staples of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage ham, and potatoes.
The lounge also offered a delightful spread for their ‘Happy Hour’ as well as scrumptious cakes, mousse cups and petit fours for their afternoon time which needless to say were our kids’ favorites.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton cakes

Service

The service we encountered could be described as patchy at best.
Originally I had called to ask the hotel for connecting quiet and feather free rooms to accommodate our son’s allergies. When we arrived at the hotel after two long haul flights; we had to wait for the housekeeping crew to strip the beds and change the linens because there were feather bedding items on the beds which took over an hour.
Another issue that wasn’t adequately addressed by the hotel management was the fact we encountered several maintenance problems during our stay when the room door locks showerhead, and bathroom towel rack fell off the walls on their own and barely missed hurting us, on three unrelated incidents.It took multiple calls to the front desk to get the items put back, but hotel officials extended no apology.

Family Stay at the Buenos Aires Sheraton view

Autism Travel Tips

  • If travelers need to book a cab from the airport, they should know that many of the cars are small and will not accommodate more than three passengers.
  • The bathtub in our both rooms didn’t have a safety bar on its side, so travelers that have mobility issues may want to ask and see if this feature is available in other rooms before making a reservation.
  • No anti slip mats were supplied, so travelers who are are accustomed to using one should make sure to pack one.
  • Like many other countries, Argentina has both smoking and nonsmoking rooms in hotels so if your kid suffers from asthma or allergies make sure to call the property directly and reiterate your needs.

 

 

The Buenos Aires Sheraton is conveniently located near the city's main shopping areas and the cruise terminals for easy access.

Family Stay at the Sheraton Montevideo,Uruguay

Located at in the Punta Carretas neighborhood in Montevideo, Uruguay, this hotel centrally located hotel boasts 207 guest rooms, nine one-bedroom suites, and aPresidential Suite.

What makes it Family Worthy?

The property is an excellent choice for families that need connecting rooms when traveling with several family members.

As with other hotels in the Sheraton chain, one child per family under the age of 12 can stay free of charge if they will be using beds that are already in the rooms. The Sheraton Montevideo is close to the city’s center, and a large mall that includes several fast food joints, a supermarket, and a drugstore, useful when traveling with kids.The Punta Carreras Mall also has a children play area and a movie theater in the case to entertain the kids.The local beach, less than five blocks away is family friendly with mild waves that even young children who can’t swim can negotiate.

Décor

Overall the décor veers toward neutral hues combined with darker accent pieces to enhance the property’s public spaces appearance.

Family Stay at the Sheraton Montevideo,Uruguay

Our Connecting Rooms

We stayed in Starwood Preferred Guest Rooms number 1817 and 1819 on the eighteenth floor. The rooms were identical in size and layout, but one had a king size bed while the other came with two double beds for our sons.Despite being located near the elevators, our rooms overlooking the Puente Carreras Mall ( a converted prison) remained peacefully quiet.
Both rooms had plenty of safety features. Our exterior door had an additional locking mechanism and the door that separated the connecting rooms came with a heavy duty lock.

The large closet in each room had plenty of hanging space and an in-room safe for storing electronic devices. Each room had a large flat screen television, a large chest of drawers, ample power sockets, and a work desk area. There were also two shelves that pulled out from the wall, which we used to store some of our suitcases and other luggage. The leather chairs placed beside the work desks were more comfortable than the usual wooden ones that are found in so many hotels.
The rooms boasted small sitting areas each compiled of a brown chaise with small, square pillow along with a footrest and a separate standing lamp.
Complimentary slippers, as well as phones and bed lights, were supplies in the nightstand areas.The temperature controls were also located on the wall and were quite easy to find.

We appreciated the fact that each room came its’ private doorbell and a do-not-disturb switch, which is an unusually helpful feature. This feature prevented housekeeping from unintentionally waking up guests in the early morning hours.

The Restrooms

The bathroom facilities in our connecting rooms were decorated in neutral tan marble colors with contrasting black countertops and silver embellishments and included a tub shower combo and a bidet.
The towel racks in both bathrooms were placed rather high up on the far end of the shower, so guests will want to exercise caution as it is easy to drop the entire pile in the still-damp bathtub.
The amenity kit on the sink countertop included the usual shampoos, soaps, and conditioners.
A small mirror was likewise provided so that shaving or applying makeup is made easier for travelers. The area below the sink contained a rack to put hand towels on, which was a nice touch.

Family Stay at the Sheraton Montevideo,Uruguay

Executive Level

The Executive Level on the twenty-third floor was on the small side with views of the city’s coastline.The executive level served a hot breakfast that included made to order sunnyside-up fried eggs (my son’s favorite) and omelets.The ‘Happy Hour’ between 5pm-7pm included an assortment of pastries, cheeses and cold cut with area wines and champagne.

It was disappointing to see the lounge wasn’t open between ten AM and five PM  at all, not even for water or sodas.

Amenities

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the hotel’s public areas along with free parking for travelers who arrive with their cars.For SPG Gold members, WiFi in the rooms is also free.

This Sheraton also has an indoor pool, two hot tubs, a beauty parlor and a state of the art gym for their guests to enjoy.’Las Carretas ‘ is the property’s restaurant that serves a breakfast buffet with international and local dishes worth trying.

The reception desk never closes, which makes it easy for those staying here to get any assistance they might require at all hours of day or night. Room service is similarly available around the clock. The hotel also has a concierge service so that guests can easily arrange for tours of the nearby area.

Autism Travel Tips

  • Parents need to be aware the windows on high floors open so guests that plan to stay with special needs kids should ask the front desk ahead of time about any possible locks they can provide.
  • Those staying here may want to bring along their skid-free shower mat if they need it, but the hotel tubs do have safety handles.
  • There are also double curtains in the room that help block out any ambient light from the surrounding areas so that travelers who are light sensitive can still get plenty of sleep.
  • Remember that this hotel, like many others in the South America, has rooms allocated for people who smoke.Non-smoking and feather -free rooms are available upon request, so make sure you reserve such accommodations in advance!
  • We found the staff quite helpful and autism friendly: especially Sebastian at the front desk who made sure our rooms were feather-free and quiet.

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit, located in the Parque de la Reserva, a historic 19-acre city park is registered as the world’s largest water fountain complex in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The interactive aspect of the park’s fountains provides hours of fun for kids and many adults while its exposition tunnel murals teach visitors about Lima’s water sources and conservation efforts.

We were debating whether to visit the park since we had seen other fountain shows and felt this one might be similar. However, our hotel concierge insisted it is one of Lima’s top five attractions, so we decided to give it a try.
Against all odds, we all ended up enjoying the park more than we thought.
Not only could the unique laser show rival any Disney production but walking through the water jets made us return to our childhood for the two hours we were there.

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

By the end of the evening we even voted our personal favorites:

Most Interactive

The Maze of Dreams( Laberinto Del Ensueño) with its unpredictable vertical fountains shooting sideways or upwards at any given time while you try to make it to the ‘safe’ dry center, this fountain is THE place for those seeking to get seriously wet.

Most  engaging

The Fantasy Fountain (Fuente de la Fantasía) Light and Sound show schedule is Wednesday-Sunday at 7:15 PM, 8:15 PM and 9:30 PM. You might want to arrive on the early side to save a spot since it can get somewhat crowded.

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

Most romantic

The Tunnel of Surprises Fountain (Túnel de las Sorpresas)  is comprised of a  series of water arches that form a  38-yard long tunnel you can walk through without getting wet.

Most sensory

Walk-in Dome (Cúpula Visitable) sports overlapping jets that create continuous water arch visitors can walk under without getting wet unless they touch and disturb the flow.

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

Most Interesting

The Harmony Fountain (Fuente de la Armonía) is an orange pyramid shaped fountain whose water jet sides make it look like a continuous structure.

Most colorful

The Rainbow Fountain (Fuente Del Arco Iris) is a series of colored-lit fountains that create a wall of color when viewed from a distance.
Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

Most famous

The Magic Fountain (Fuente Mágica) is one of the park’s highlight with its mention in the Guinness Book of records.The best spot to see its full vertical jet of 87 yards is from the Walk-in Dome area.

The cute factor

The Tangüis Fountain (Fuente Tangüis) is a mini garden with several flower shaped fountains created as a tribute to  Fermín Tangüis, an agriculturist who helped save Peru’s cotton industry in the 19th century.

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

Autism travel tips:

Consider bringing a poncho, anti-slip shoes and even a change of clothes if your child wishes to run around in the fountains.

For the kids who don’t want to participate in water activities closed shoes are strongly advised as the ground is uneven at times and tricky to navigate in the darkness.

If your child is temperature sensitive, you might want to pack a jacket since the area can get cold at night, especially in winter.

Noise cancelling headphones can be a good option for kids who are noise-sensitive when attending the laser show and the free concerts given on weekends.

Lima’s Magic Water Circuit

 

Circuito Magico del Agua

Entrance  Fee I: S/.4

Opening Hours : Wednesday to Sunday (and holidays) from 3:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Location: Parque de la Reserva (between Av. Paseo de la Republica and Av. Arequipa)

Getting  there
A taxi from Miraflores to the Magic Water Circuit costs about S/.7
Minibuses run up and down Av. Arequipa, for S/.1
Lima Metropolitano bus to the Estadio  Nacional stop, S/.1


I’m participating in the IGTRAVELTHURSDAY blog link-up. Today, I’m linking to @LUXURYTRAVELMOM for inspiration and new travel tips.

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer author of ‘Talon’

 

 

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer- author of 'Talon' mountains

 

What made you choose a special needs person as the main character in your story?

I love birds, so I wanted to write a story about a girl who flies with birds. However, the girl had to be small enough to fly, so she had to be a special needs girl.We adopted twin girls from Fiji as special needs children when we lived in New Zealand. They are not disabled, but they are schooled as special needs because they can’t be separated. I understand the hardships a special needs child suffers – I was bullied in school because I needed glasses at a very early age – and I wanted to bring that out in my book.

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer- author of 'Talon' Andes

Why is South America  the background for your story?

I have always loved condors, and they have fascinated me for a very long time. They are also one of the only birds large enough for Matica – the main character – to ride. Peru was the best location because of the condors.

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer- author of 'Talon' lakefront

Will your heroes be traveling to other countries or continents in the sequels?

Yes, in the course of my five books Matica will travel. She will go to Australia to see her relatives on holiday where she will receive treatment to grow taller. When she comes back, she will be too big to fly on Talon, the condor, anymore. However, Matica will find out that she loves music, and learns the mouth organ in Australia. She will also go on a church trip to India for a year to relieve another missionary, and there she will encounter tigers and befriend one, as she did with the condors.

 

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer- author of 'Talon' church

Do you think your book will encourage special needs people to travel?

Special needs children are not sick, so they can’t be cured. They are people like you and me. They have to learn to cope with what they have and to live like normal people do. My book is about gaining self-esteem and not thinking of special needs as an affliction. It’s about being bigger than your problems, looking past them and being normal. The Condors gave Matica the encouragement to be someone in life. She was rejected in the beginning by the Peruvians because they didn’t know better, but soon they learn that she is a person too. They begin to respect and love her, and her parents encourage her to live like an average person. In the second book, there is an episode from another village, where there is a boy with the same condition as Matica, and his parents and brother have to deal with the natives’ request that they kill him.  It’s a heartwarming story in addition to a girl flying on birds.

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer- author of 'Talon' skyline

Any plans to make your book available as a book on tape or as a read along?

My publisher is producing my book as an e-book for Kindle. I hope it will be soon available; however it is not on tape yet.

 

Q&A with Gisela Sedlmayer- author of 'Talon' profile picture

Gisela Sedlmayer is an author, originally from Munich Germany, currently lives on Australia’s Gold Coast.She has written ‘Talon’ the first book of a five book series about Matika a special needs little girl living with her missionary parents in Peru.


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