Holiday review by Mrs. Diane Bryant
Name: Mrs. Diane Bryant
Date of trip: 20/02/2018
Number of people: 2
The whole Galapagos experience was special but snorkelling with Hammerhead sharks, Penguins and Eagle Rays was amazing also walking through islands and standing right beside nesting Nasca and red footed Boobies with newly hatched chicks just wonderful. Seeing a family of Howler Monkeys in trees at the beach beside the hotel in Portrero was an unexpected treat.
The Galapagos surpassed our expectations, our boat ,Beluga, was exactly what we had hoped for friendly staff with relaxed and casual atmosphere, good food and comfortable cabin. All transfers and pick ups went very smoothly and to time. Our stay in Bahia del Sol provided exactly what we requested a few day relaxation at the beach however with hindsight we perhaps should have chosen a slightly less luxurious resort to enable experiencing real Costa Rica.
Rory was very helpful and answered all our enquiries and provided plenty of information. Our one disappointment was that our journey back home was very long and when we arrived at San Jose airport we saw there was a direct BA flight to Gatwick which by our calculation could have saved us 6 - 8 hours in total travelling time home because of waits at Bogata for connecting flights and the extra flight to Bogata. It may be that we couldn't split our flights between Avianca and BA without considerable increased cost but we would have appreciated the chance to choose.
Our guide in Ecuador, Rosario, was very knowledgeable and was quick to assess our requirements on the city tour and informative on general life in Ecuador and Guayaquil in particular.
Our guide in Galapagos, Gabriel, was very good, it was his first tour and he was understandably quite nervous at first but so knowledgeable and always keen to ensure the group got the most out of each activity.
Michael collected us at San Jose and was so friendly and generally informative on Costa Rica.
All drivers were good and attentive to our needs.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
Certainly the Galapagos trip was very impressive in its approach to environmental and wildlife protection and obviously did provide work for local people. It was more difficult to assess in Costa Rica at the resort but the one trip we took to Palo Verde used local people and was run in a environmentally responsible way.
The places you stayed
Very friendly staff and excellent food in the restaurant. A good position in downtown Guayaquil for access to the waterfront, museums, botanic gardens etc but not many restaurants nearby ( not a problem as food in hotel both good and reasonably priced)
Brilliant and knowledgeable crew. We had cabin 6 which had large windows providing lovely views but a little cramped compared to the lower deck cabins but they only had small portholes so we preferred a view to extra space.
Food was of a good standard and plentiful, 1 couple had stated they didn't eat red meat and unexpectedly were provided with alternative meat at those meals. The bar prices were reasonable and there was a good selection of wines and spirits
This was used as an overnight stop only so was very comfortable with excellent ( if expensive) food however if you were staying in San Jose for longer it may not be so suitable.
Did not appreciate that none of the rooms had sea views and most rooms had shared outside space ( ie no private terraces) However the room was very comfortable and clean with good air con and fan. The breakfast was excellent and staff generally very friendly ( some of the bar staff were very grumpy at Happy Hour!!)
There was a good selection of restaurants in the local area offering a variety of food.