This trip was very difficult to rate. We had amazing guides and excellent tours-- esp in Peru. Unfortunately, half the trip was mired in issues and we struggled to get details about our trip in advance, leaving us feeling stressed and worried both before and during the trip. If you are going on a pre-built (no customization) tour in Peru (no other countries), this travel company will likely be great for you. If you are customizing and/or going to other countries, I strongly encourage considering other agencies or booking yourself.
Past negative reviews had noted difficulties with customized trips & sub-par hotels as themes. I would echo those concerns. We requested 4-star hotels, fast-paced, and tours in the Galapagos that limited boat time (avoiding sea sickness.) More than half of our trip was spent at 2-star motels/hostels being used by Spring Breakers. Our travel company sub-contracted the Ecuador part of the trip and that sub-contractor provided no information on tours in advance, had us stay at low-end motels, gave us our schedule (day-of) in Spanish (we don't speak), and totally disregarded our request re boat time putting us on 2 tours back-to-back requiring 6+hrs on a boat straight. It was this company's responsibility as the travel agency we booked through to ensure all of their sub-contractors met their standards and provided us with what we requested. They did not do this.
Despite me repeatedly asking for more information about our Galapagos tours in advance of the trip, we were never provided. We were repeatedly assured "you speak with someone on arrival and pick the best tour for you then based on interest and weather." This was 100% false. We were put on pre-booked tours, which we had not appropriately packed/prepared for, and were given no opportunity to change. We ended up having to skip the 2nd full-day tour to avoid sea sickness. We were given no alternative option or refund.
We complained in the middle of the trip regarding our experience with the Ecuador sub-contractor. While I do appreciate our travel company's effort to resolve our concerns (they were able to re-book a tour for us that the sub-contractor had cancelled due to a plane delay), it was too little too late in my opinion.
Overall, despite great guides, we were extremely disappointed with this trip due solely to poor communication, planning, and management from the travel agency.
Edit: Update from 2 to 3 stars. As mentioned by our agent in their response, following our trip and review, they did reach out and provide a partial discount. We do truly appreciate this gesture (thus improving score from 2 to 3), but recognize it does not "fix" our experience on what will likely be our only trip to the Galapagos. Thank you for the follow up and doing what you can after the fact to try to resolve!
Machu Picchu was incredible!! Views are unreal. Bring altitude sickness medicine for Cusco and Sacred Valley and be sure to take it easy walking around your first couple days. Totally worth it, though!
I'd plan it myself. Tours recommended to us were all available on Viator and booking ourselves we would have been assured better hotels and all the info we needed to appropriately pack and prepare.
I'd also recommend doing two separate trips (one week Galapagos and one week Peru) if at all possible. We didn't have vacation time to do this, so this was our choice, but not recommended if it can be avoided. Flight paths between these locations are super inefficient and we had to take 9 flights in one week in order to see both places.
Travel Company Comments
Dear Whitney & Family
Thank you very much for sharing your feedback about your experience during your trip in Peru and Galapagos.
On behalf of our team and myself, we would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you experienced during your trip in Galapagos, in this particular case we are very sorry that the supplier did not cover the high the standards that we strive for. We would also like to confirm that we are no longer contracting or giving business to this company.
I am glad to know that you received the special gift that we sen to you. We've also sent an $800 USD refund, as well as some extra money to cover any extra charges or commision.
We have a long relationship with Zicasso, and this is something that affects us a lot in terms of our reputation and compromise to deliver service, and please know that we take your feedback very seriously.
Finally, I am really sorry that after your trip, you felt that you could have planned this trip by yourself. We work very hard to provide all our customers with the best experience in our country and we regret we were not able to be up to your standards.
I hope that you and your family give us the opportunity to plan another trip to Peru and the Galapagos in the future.
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