This time last year, if you had told me that I could have a great time on a "guided" tour :huh , I would have asked you what you were smoking and politely told you to go pound sand. I have never wanted to be on someone else's timetable or risk my precious vacation days on the hope that a total stranger's interests matched mine and Jen's. But at the recommendation of fellow adventurista Mike Bobbitt, I gave in and signed Jen and I up for a short South American getaway. In hindsight, the "guide" part of it meant that I didn't have to do much of the vacation prep work or figure out how to fit it into my already over-committed work schedule. Fingers crossed it would all work out... So, down payment in March , then seven long agonizing months until October to visit the land of coffee and chocolate!