This was my first time working through a travel agency, so I don't have anything to compare it to. We normally like to make our own plans and be more autonomous in our travel, but doing so in Ecuador seemed a bit daunting with all the traveling we wanted to do to very unknown places (to us, anyway) like the Galapagos and the Rain Forest, especially with all the domestic flights and transportation challenges (the Andes, long distances, unknown road quality and safety, etc.). Everyone I communicated with at our travel agency was very nice and helpful, and everything went according to plan. During the trip I never doubted that we would encounter any issues, and we were always well cared for.
Seeing all the wildlife and incredible landscapes. I constantly felt like we were in a National Geographic documentary!
I would have asked more questions about the "guides" and "meals included" actually means. I assumed that tour guides would just be picking us, chatting with us in the car, getting us to where we needed to be while sharing some interesting historical/cultural tidbits along the way, and then leaving us alone, but this was not always the case. Some guides came to pick us up in addition to a driver, which meant we had to tip two people. Some guides (who were also drivers) picked us up every night for dinner and took us to a restaurant, leaving us alone to dine, whereas other guides ate every meal with us for days on end (this was odd to me, and not necessarily desirable, despite the guide being pleasant). As for the meals, I wish we had opted out of the "meals included" concept, because it meant that we were at the mercy of a previously arranged meal with limitations on what we could eat. There were nights that we would have liked something light, or something more local/authentic/casual, but we ended up at restaurants full of tourists every night.
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