South America

Viva's Helping Hands

Melinda Cleaver

Melinda Cleaver  |  22 April 2016

A network of locals who we can count on to lend us a helping hand.

Any good overland crew works hard to deliver a smooth, hassle free tour for their clients. You plan, prepare and organise to the best of your ability but occasionally it doesn't quite work out; a rally or protest shuts down your walking tour, a broken truck spring on the outskirts of nowhere or a border official who has never seen a variety of passports can definitely put a twist in your normal routine.
So when these things crop up and even your crew needs a little help Viva Expeditions is lucky to have a strong network of locals who we can count on to lend us a helping hand.

Our small expedition tour groups have a fantastic introduction to Chile thanks to the expertise and knowledge of our local guide Alwin.  A proud Chilean, he was born and bred in the capital, Santiago and dazzles our groups with interesting information from history and culture to politics and sports; did you know that Chile recently won the Copa de Americas against their arch rivals Argentina?
Alwin goes the extra mile and actually jumps on board our expedition vehicle and heads down to the wine area of Colchagua Valley to continue a personalised tour that our clients thoroughly enjoy. Thanks Alwin.

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Having a reliable mechanic enroute is golden, having a place where you can work on the truck, buy tyres, do an oil change and also have a BBQ lunch is priceless. One of the places our Driver Franco works the hardest but feels the most at home is with Ernesto in Bariloche.


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 His small but well equipped workshop has helped us out on more than one occasion and his generosity extends to allowing us access to all of the heavy tools needed to keep our expedition vehicles running in top conditions. 

Ernesto's passion for mechanics is rivaled only by his love for dogs; he started and supports a dog rescue within his community.  Zeus, Esandi, Gringo and Candela are just some of our four legged friends who welcome us at the workshop and love the attention that our Tour Leader Melinda bestows on them.
Thanks Ernesto.

Monica is a small woman with an enormous Argentine heart. Monica not only organises all our activities in Ushuaia but she is known and loved by the whole overlanding community;  when we arrive at the end of the world Monica (and Homero) make us feel like we're coming home.  She has a wealth of information that assists us when problems arise and she  goes the extra mile to ensure our clients have a smooth and hassle free experience!!  Thanks Monica

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These are just a few of the wonderful people who make our work in Latin America a pleasure and we are very grateful to them all for assisting us and for welcoming us as fiends.

Written by our wonderful & passionate tour leader Melinda (also an avid dog lover)

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