Holiday review by Mr Billy Newton

Name: Mr Billy Newton

Date of trip: 26/11/2012

Number of people: 2

Our visit to the Galapagos Islands will probably be the most memorable experience I will ever have! As an animal lover, swimming closely with sea turtles, cheeky penguins, and marine iguanas will be something I treasure forever. Every day was the right side of busy, and the amount of wildlife we saw up close was astonishing - including sea lions, giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, land iguanas and more.

One of the best moments was when we were sunbathing on the top deck of our boat, the Cachalote. The captain, Jose thought he saw something, so we all stood to attention, Suddenly, we were close to about 20 dolphins who were just leaping high into the air and then diving back into the water. It was like they were leaping for joy. The whole spectacle lasted for about 15 minutes and was absolutely incredible!

Tribes Overall:

The holiday was our honeymoon and it was the trip of a lifetime. Billy worked with Tribes to get our schedule organised in advance, and we found Tribes really accommodated our personal requirements and created a schedule specifically for us. One of the excellent things about the holiday was that we always had someone to meet us at the airport. This worked seamlessly and we were never let down. This was such a perk as after a flight into a new place, we personally hate the process of having to find a (safe) taxi, work out where we need to go and negotiate a price (sometimes after a long flight). However, we never needed to worry about that, and all our meets and greets had excellent English, were polite, and even more of a benefit, would tell us about the place we were visiting informally on the way to our hotel, or formally as a pre-arranged tour. We really felt this meant that we had a greater understanding of where we were visiting - including the historical, cultural, social and political elements.

We had several parts to our holiday. The first was the Inca Trail, via a visit to Cusco. We loved Cusco and could have easily spent longer there, had our schedule allowed it. We must admit the Inca Trail was far harder than we could have imagined. We considered ourselves to be fairly fit, and on reflection the literature from Tribes had described things like \"a steep/stiff climb...a challenging day...\" but we had no idea it would be quite as demanding. Also on reflection, we probably should have allowed ourselves more time to acclimatize - this seems very important, which we know for next time!! However, the views on the Inca Trail were stunning. Also we had a private guide, Santiago who was extremely knowledgeable and great company in general. Also his English was superb. We had a fleet of porters (5 plus a chef) just for us and this was amazing and we felt very spoilt. The food that Mario the chef cooked was OUTSTANDING - we couldn\'t believe the quality of the three course meals we were having - all up the side of a mountain! The dining tent and the toilet tent especially were very welcome additions! The porters couldn\'t d enough for us, and one evening, knowing that we were watching a film on our Ipad, they even brought us popcorn! Reaching Machu Picchu was a real achievement for both of us and it was a stunning site! We also loved the luxurious train-ride home - the quality of the train was on another level compared to our UK trains as it is owned by the same people who own the Orient Express!
We hugely enjoyed other visits to our cities, but our next main event was a week in the Galapagos Islands. Our guide David was excellent - very accommodating with excellent English and a great sense of humour. He was also very knowledgeable and very good at spotting the wildlife. Again the crew on board the Cachalote boat were fantastic and the origami with the towels by front of house Richard was a lovely touch! Another lovely touch was that David would take photos of us each day and then show a slideshow at dinner. He also gave us the photos at the end if we had a memory stick, and/or emailed them.

Tribes Service:

Polly and Paul always replied very quickly if we ever had a question. Their responses were always very eloquent and clear. I felt they were always going the extra mile with the information they gave us, and they were always very thorough.

Guides:

All our guides - especially Santiago on the Inca Trail were exceptionally knowledgeable. In addition, everyone spoke excellent English. They all knew a lot about where we were and it was fascinating to hear them speak about the place - even just informally. This made us feel we were understanding far more about each place than we otherwise would have.

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

The local people in Cusco especially in Peru are wonderful. They are friendly, happy and welcoming. We were always alert, but felt we could really relax in Cusco. In addition, people selling things on the street were not at all pushy - if you said no thank you, they would accept it.


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