ECUADOR AND GALAPAGOS TRIP REPORT
Galapagos on the Eric, Quito City Tour, and Whitewater Rafting the Rios Toachi and Blanco. Trip Report from Traveler Karen Gardner, who traveled with her husband and daughter in July/August, 2009.
I just wanted to let you know how great our trip was. First of all our arrival in Quito, it was so nice to have David from Metropolitan Touring meet us at the airport. Metropolitan consistently outdid themselves with great tours and guides and service. We had Henry as a guide twice, once for the city tour and once for the Cotopaxi trip. He was fantastic and adjusted the trip to best meet our interests. Richard took us to Otavalo and he was also terrific.
The Patio Andaluz was wonderful. The service and accommodations were superb. We really enjoyed the location and in fact, ate at the restaurant there a couple times. We enjoyed the atmosphere and food. We were in the midst of all the action with the independence day celebrations which went on for a whole week!
The absolute highlight for all of us was the trip to the Galapagos. Ecoventura gave us a fantastic adventure on the Eric. The boat was perfect and for the most part the people we shared the trip with were wonderful people. There is always one exception as we had a family from Vermont along who were owners of a travel company and were extremely critical and not particularly engaged to see, learn and experience the Galapagos. The guides (Alexis and Pepe) were very tolerant of their behaviour and handled their annoying behaviour very professionally. We were all happy to see them leave after the 4th night. It was clearly not the kind of trip they should have been on with their two badly behaved children! I may write a note to Ecoventura (I’ll copy you) to support the guides, who the family complained about almost immediately when they got off the boat.
We’re just looking at our pictures and are still pinching ourselves in disbelief over the experience we had on the Galapagos. My 14 year old daughters favourite was swimming with a playful sea lion for over 30 minutes at a beach the last day. The sea lion was swimming all around us and coming very close to our faces and blowing bubbles at us. It was so cool. My favourite thing was all the snorkeling we did. We saw and swam very close to giant sea turtles, penguins, sharks, sea lions and lots of fish. My husband fell in love with all the colorful fish. On land, it was hard not to love the many birds. My hair ended up looking like a baby Frigate by the end of the week! We have pictures of our daughter up close (within 2 ft) of a Galapagos Juvenile Hawk that was right on the path. He didn’t even put his foot down, he stayed in his relaxed stance on one foot.
I would recommend this sized boat to anyone going to the Galapagos and the extended trip of 7 nights made the trip relaxing as well as worthwhile to get to some of the farther islands and away from the traffic. The food was tasty, healthy and accommodating to any taste. The crew put on a birthday party for my husband’s 60th birthday. I had ordered a cake but they pulled out guitars and various noisemakers/instruments including a cheese grater and sang us some Ecuadorian songs. They even decorated with balloons and streamers. It was great fun.
The other trip we did was the rafting and it was a bit more on the rustic side but turned out to be great fun. It was a long drive but we got to see more of the countryside down to Santo Domingo. The people from the adventure company were great.
Thank you for all your recommendations and help putting the trip together. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We did discover a funky little restaurant in Quito, just a block from the Patio Andaluz. It’s called Vista Hermosa at Mejia 453 y Garcia Moreno, up the elevator to the top floor. It’s really inexpensive and has a great view. The food was really good and it seemed to be pretty authentic and non-touristy although the menu was in English as well as Spanish. We also had a great meal at La Chosa in the new part of Quito and it was excellent.
Let me know if you ever need a reference. I’d be happy to recommend your company and hope to save up some money to book again with you!