The RealWorld Difference
Firstly, thanks for coming here to the RealWorld website to find out more about us. In a nutshell, we are a UK-based travel company who specialise in tailor-made holidays in South America. We were founded in 2004 by people who had already travelled all over the continent and, quite simply, had fallen in love with it.
Because we know South America so well, we are more than confident that we provide the absolute best South America experience for our customers, both here in the UK and once you arrive in South America.
Even if you choose one of our pre-planned itineraries, we treat it as a totally tailor-made holiday so we can start and end things whenever you like, and change whatever you like as well:
- No fixed departures: You choose the exact dates, flights and airports that suit you.
- No minimum numbers: Once you've booked, we are 100% committed to providing your holiday.
- Specialist knowledge: You can talk to one of our staff right here in the UK who has expert knowledge of your destination.
We don't want you to just be sitting in a tour bus taking pictures, or be herded round in an unwieldy group; we want you to get out there and fall in love with all of the passion and beauty of South America, just like us.
Although we've seen tremendous progress in many areas of South America in the past decade, poverty is still widespread and each country has its own range of development issues to be understood. While tourism in itself is often an important industry, unfortunately not all companies have our strict ethical standards. Wherever possible we use only local suppliers and partners and all the hotels we recommend are locally-owned and run so you can be sure that the money you spend is going right back into the country.
And of course, it's not just about economic matters. Each community in South America has its own traditions, beliefs and needs, and we are fully committed to making sure that local opinions are not just understood and respected, but are built into the fabric of our business.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel, we are a member of Sustainable Travel International, one of the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building awareness, appreciation and respect for local people and our environment through education and outreach work.
We are also members of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, which actively works to preserve and protect the area by promoting responsible, well-regulated, low impact Galapagos Islands holidays and by supporting critical conservation initiatives and scientific research there.
So why are we called RealWorld when we specialise in South America? Well, it's partly because "Real South America" is a bit of a mouthful, but also because some day we would like to broaden our reach. However, at the moment that's some way off and for the foreseeable future our plans are just to continue as the UK specialists for tailor-made holidays in South America.
Meet Our Team
Read on to find out a little more about the people who make RealWorld tick:
Dan Clarke - Director
Dan travelled to Peru several times before ultimately living and working in Lima. He then spent a year travelling throughout South America and has the proud record of having spent time in every country on the continent. Now back in the UK, he still gets back to South America as often as possible.
Rosie Tobin - Travel Consultant
Rosie is the newest member of our Leeds team. She's always been keen to get off the beaten track on her travels, so when we asked her to dip her toes in South American waters she dived right in! She is already using her Brazil experience to freshen up our itineraries there, although it was tricky finding a picture without a caipirinha in her hand...
Elias and Eliu Campos - Peru Operations
We've been working with the Campos brothers in Peru for over a decade now, ever since Dan met them on his first ever trip to Peru. Their dedication to our customers has helped make Peru our biggest destination and we're looking forward to another decade to come, although we have to say the hairlines aren't what they once were...
Julio Cesar - Cusco Operations
Cusco is the biggest of our Peruvian destinations, and we always know our customers are in safe hands there: over the years we have had one piece of solidly consistent feedback from every customer who visits Cusco: "that bloke is amazing". We agree!
Itercia Pessanha - Brazil Operations
You kind of expect Brazilians to be friendly and helpful, but Itercia is really above and beyond even the most generous stereotype. She's been part of the team in Rio for 15 years now and in all that time nothing has been too much trouble, no itinerary has been too crazy, and no-one has managed to secure so many Carnival tickets at such short notice...
Ligia Gomez - Ecuador Operations
When our previous Ecuador team member, Doris Rodriguez, moved onwards and upwards we were nervous about her replacement but Ligia has confounded all our worries. Unfailingly cheerful and helpful, she's helped ensure that Ecuador and the Galapagos are one of our fastest-growing destinations.
Irene Daziano - Argentina Operations
When a volcano erupts in the south of Argentina, and all your customers suddenly need re-routing and a whole new itinerary booking, it's very nice indeed to know that you have someone as capable as Irene on your team... From the moment you land in Buenos Aires, you can be secure in the knowledge that a real Argentina expert is at your call.
Paola Gamboa - Bolivia Operations
Bolivia is certainly not the easiest place in the world to operate: creaky infrastructure, the often extreme climate and an idiosyncratic attitude can have even the most experienced Bolivia hand tearing their hair out. In such situations we're always very pleased to be able to rely on Paola's expertise and local knowledge to be able to get everything back on track.
Travelling with RealWorld
Everything we do is 100% tailor-made, so you can book as much, or as little, of your holiday with us as you like. Whatever you choose to do, we will be there for you both here in the UK and in South America. We pride ourselves on providing a truly personal service, so you have a designated advisor here in the UK to help plan your trip and provide support and advice in the run-up to departure, as well as expert local guides and reps in South America.
Every Journey Begins...
Whether you like the look of one of our pre-planned itineraries, or whether you'd like to start entirely from scratch, your journey begins by contacting us here in the UK. We'll work with you to make sure your itinerary is exactly right for you, in terms of the pace and style of travel, and to make sure that you will see everything you want to on your holiday in South America.
You'll be able to talk directly to a destination expert, so we can tell you from personal knowledge whether a particular road journey has great scenery, or if you could save time by taking an internal flight; we can tell you whether the sea-view rooms at a particular hotel are worth the upgrade cost, or whether you'd be better off staying put. Once we have the itinerary agreed, we will get everything booked up and then post you out your confirmation pack, with guides to the different places you'll be visiting, city maps, language guides, and lots of other goodies!
The Latest Advice
Because we are constantly researching and refreshing our knowledge, the advice we give will make sure you get the very best from your holiday in South America, right down to which restaurant does the freshest seafood in Barranco, or which steakhouse the locals are raving about in Buenos Aires. And there's nothing we like more than getting off the beaten track and out to the places where most tourists don't venture. There's just so much untapped fun in South America, and we want you to enjoy it just as much as we do.
On Holiday in South America
And once you're actually on holiday in South America, the expert advice just keeps on coming. Our representatives have years of experience and excellent English, so from the moment you land, you'll benefit throughout from their help and knowledge. Rather than having one guide going round with you the whole time, you will have expert local help in each place, and destination-specific guides for all your tours, so you can be sure that you're travelling with real experts.
We should also add that in each country you visit, as well as contact details for the local representative in each town, you will also have our exclusive 24-hour contact number in each country, should you need anything at all, day or night.
Our Responsible Travel Policy
Our Responsible Travel Policy is in place in order to ensure we deliver economically, environmentally and socially responsible holidays to the best of our knowledge. We pride ourselves on supporting local communities by employing local guides and tour operators, as well as using family-run hotels and restaurants wherever possible. Many of our holidays include visits to fragile natural environments, such as the Amazon Rainforest and the Galapagos Islands, so we strive to ensure all our holidays are as environmentally friendly as possible, as well as supporting local conservation projects.
In order to ensure we have a positive impact on local economies we only use local suppliers, which helps keep the money generated through tourism within local communities through employment of local guides, drivers and reps. We always recommend locally-owned restaurants and hotels where possible, aiming to support local communities and give customers the opportunity to ‘travel like a local’. We also provide customers with a list of recommended restaurants tailor-made to their destination and dietary requirements but with a focus on family-run restaurants. We only work with tour operators with similar ethical beliefs, for example, fair wages and appropriate working conditions for cooks and porters on the Inca Trail.
In order to ensure we protect the environment and minimise our ecological footprint we recycle in our UK office and use recycled ink cartridges. We also minimise our waste by limiting the number of holiday brochures we print. Instead, we refer potential customers to our online resources and send most of our holiday information via email. Where possible, we always recommend overland travel using local transportation as opposed to short domestic flights where possible. We are a member of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, which aims to preserve and protect the area by promoting responsible, well-regulated, low impact Galapagos Islands holidays and by supporting critical conservation initiatives and scientific research there.
In order to ensure we provide socially responsible holidays, we encourage our guides to promote responsible purchasing of handmade items and genuine local crafts, rather than buying imported good. We offer a range of cultural activities aimed at supporting local economies and preserving local cultures, including: homestays with local families on Lake Titicaca; visiting community projects in the Sacred Valley; and visiting communities in the Amazon. We provide pre-departure information on social and cultural issues in each location, including language guides, and advice on how to travel responsibly and respectfully.
Your Financial Protection
Although you are more than welcome to come and visit us at our offices in Leeds, unfortunately we don't get to meet many of our customers and like any internet-based business we recognise that you need to be sure you are financially protected when you book with us.
We're happy to say that we have been consistently profitable every single year since we began trading, and we're very confident about our future, but so that you can feel totally confident that any booking with us is entirely safe, we are 100% ATOL bonded and our ATOL number is 10332.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/atolcertificate.
It's very important to us that you feel completely happy and secure in your booking with us, so if you have any questions or need any information from us at all, then please do just ask.
We work to keep our costs low by working directly, so if you want to get in touch with us then the best way is to send us your enquiry through this website. Of course, if you'd rather speak in person then that would be great - you can either give us a call on the number below, or send us a message and ask us to call you at a convenient time.
If you'd like to pop in and see us, then we'd be delighted to meet you. If you can give us at least a little notice then that would be appreciated as we can make sure that someone is available to chat with you as long as you like. Our address is:
Suite 6 Gledhow Mount Mansion, Roxholme Grove, Leeds, LS7 4JJ.
If you are already in South America
If you're already on holiday with us and need to speak to someone, then the best thing is to call the country-specific 24-hour number below. If you are outside the country, you will need to call the international dialing code (usually '00'), followed by the international prefix, and then the full number but dropping the leading zero from the area code.
||see table below
||see table below
|Ecuador / Galapagos
Argentina has its own very weird and wonderful telecoms system, so please use the following for contacting our emergency number in Argentina:
||Any type of phone
|Within Buenos Aires
|Within Buenos Aires
|Outside Buenos Aires
|Outside Buenos Aires
Colombia also has a few peculiarities, which are also summarised in the table below:
||Any type of phone
Press and Media
We've been pleased to work with some of the UK's leading travel journalists and in recent years we have featured in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Independent, as well as appearing on BBC Online and in several national and international magazines and websites.
If you'd like to speak to us about press trips, media opportunities or marketing, then please contact us through this website. For logos and other media resources, see below: