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Holiday review by Ross Nevin

Name: Ross Nevin
Date of trip: 24/08/2013
Number of people: 2
Country: Galapagos Islands

Overall level of Satisfaction

 
Tribes Overall: "An amazing experience from start to finish and huge thanks to Paul Cook for tailoring an excellent itinerary! The holiday exceeded all expectations and our 9 day cruise on the Cachalotte was the absolute highlight for me personally!"
 
Tribes Service: "Our travel organiser Paul was an absolute gentleman and had arranged everything and it all worked like clockwork...this is despite my very very last minute request and choice to go to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands..."
 
Guides: "The guide we had on the Cachalotte, Darwin Alvarez(yes quite fitting considering he's a guide on the Galapagos, but we were told it was his real name) was fantastic, his knowledge and love of his job and the Galapagos was very inspiring and he made the whole trip very special indeed!"
 
Social & Environmental Responsibility: "Both the Galapagos and Hotel Zuleta paid respect to the general flora and fauna of their respective environments; Hacienda Zuleta has done tremendous work in the area where it is situated providing jobs and homes to the local community and also the selling of it's products, particularly it's cheeses is a wonderful thing and the community gains as a whole!"

Accommodation

 
Hacienda Zuleta
Hacienda Zuleta is a most wonderful charming hotel about 2 hours north of Quito. It was described to me as like been a privileged guest in someones home....what can i say that is exactly how it was. You are taken to the main living room where a beautiful huge open log fire is gently burning with lots of comfy sofas and a selection of cheese from the Hacienda itself are there to eat with teas/coffee/softdrinks or from the bar. The rooms are excellent with a lovely log burner and I loved the let down service where you are greeted by a hot water bottle in your bed...it's the small tings in life that please us most I think ;) There are lots of activities to do from a tour of the cheese factory, a lovely hour walk (or by horse) to the Condor reserve, you can milk cows, help bring in the horses at 6:45am and lots of horseback trails. Sebastien, was of great help and very friendly and made our stay very special. We booked Hacienda Zuleta at the end of our 2 week trip to the Galapagos as a chill out place for a few nights before returning to the UK and I would highly recommend this to anyone doing something similar in Ecuador to relax. Also the food and staff were excellent and on one day I believe we were the only couple staying at the Hacienda; very special place indeed and I really hope to return one day to it!
 
Cachalote
The highlight of the trip for me was our 8 day cruise aboard this magnificant scooner. We were joined by five other people which made it 7 passengers and 7 crew! The service by the crew was remarkable and we cannot fault anything; we had excellent meals served by the charming yet very entertaining Richard who would dress in full waiter tails for dinner; the room was actually larger than I had expected and was fully functional with en suite bathroom/shower which is used a lot considering all the swimming and activities we did! We had a great guide and itinerary and things were pretty much done to a timetable that seems to have been carefully planned and executed brilliantly! There were some choices to be made re hikes which we were briefed on every evening after dinner such a the excellent 16km Hike to the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabella which is a must I agree but of course it depends on the type of traveller you are. There is also ample space on the decks to relax/sunbath and most navigation takes place in the evening after dinner, we had generally calm seas and the gentle rocking may take a bit of time to get used too but it was fine and we actaully enjoyed it hugely as did the wonderful people we met on board whom we are all now in contact with :)
 
Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge
If you want to see Hummingbirds, this is the place to go to! Having stayed here for 2 nights we really got to see a huge variety of different species of birds and amazing hikes in the primary cloudforest where you will see a huge variety of plants. The food was delicious and the rooms were basic but fine. We also got to see a rare new species of mammal called an Olinguito which was very special indeed.
 
La Casona de la Ronda
A lovely charming colonial building in the Old Town in Quito; The reception by staff was excellent and the rooms are beautifully decorated; hints of old and modern and of course in a great location....be sure to try the Empanadas on the small side streets close to the hotel, very addictive ;))

Our Memories

"Without doubt snorkeling with White Tip Reef Sharks, penguins and a cheeky baby seal lions was really something very special; not to mention been woken up at 6am to see an amazing pod of killer whales all around our boat!"
"Horseback riding at the Hacienda Zuleta riding through the town and high up into the hills ;)"

customer rating

5/5 from 49 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT - 6 hours

Flight time: Flights to the Galapagos Islands leave from Quito and touch down in Guayaquil en route, taking about 3 hours from Quito or 2 hours from Guayaquil. The flights land either at Baltra or San Cristobal.

Language: Spanish is the official language in the Galapagos Islands.

Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.

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Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499

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