We enjoyed our recent trip to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu. The yacht cruise was well organized and comfortable, the meals were very good and the naturalist guides were good natured and informative. Our guides in Quito, Puerto Ayora, and Cusco were excellent. However, with the exception of Marie Elena, the guides in Lima were fairly inept. We were not met at the Lima airport during our late night arrival en route to Cusco and eventually found our way to the Wyndham airport hotel. Approximately 30 minutes after checking in, the phone rang and we were told that our guide was in the lobby with information for us. A young man claimed to have been waiting to meet us at the airport with a travel company sign. I suggested that a sign with our names, as used by all of the other guides, would have been more visible. On our return to Lima at the end of the trip, the guide who was scheduled to meet us at the airport was instead waiting at our hotel in Lima and the first guide met us at the airport. This time he was at the front or the crowd and easily spotted, though with a travel company display on an iPad (without our names). The guide who met us at the hotel was very apologetic for not having been at the airport. The young woman and driver who escorted us to the Lima airport for our late night departure were a disappointment. The airport parking was full and they drove us to a site distant from the terminal, let us out and said goodbye. When we asked where we were and how we were to check in, the young guide walked with us through the traffic to the airport, but did not seem to know her way around once inside. These situations were minor annoyances and, overall, we had an adventurous and enjoyable trip.
The yacht excursions with naturalists in the Galapagos, spending time in Puerto Ayora with a day at Tortuga Bay, seeing parts of Quito with our guide and visiting Machu Picchu. I am now interested in visiting other areas of Equador in the future.
I would strongly advise against scheduling scuba diving excursions with the tour company we used in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. The dive master gave an orientation talk regarding the dives that was difficult to follow and left all 12 of the divers on board rather confused. The boat and equipment were adequate but there was a limited number of face masks and the one I used leaked during the first dive, which was uncomfortable and distracting. When I asked the dive master if there was another mask that I could use for the second dive, he seemed to ignore my request. Following the surface interval, as we were suiting up for the second dive, I asked again for a different face mask and he told me that I would find extra masks in the raft that ferried us to the dive sites. There was one mask on the raft, but it was an improvement over the first one and did not leak. There were 3 divers and the dive master in my group. Twenty minutes into the dive, I stopped to take a 12 second GoPro video of some fish (I have the video so know the exact length). When I turned back to follow the group, they were gone. The visibility in the water was poor due to rough surf and I realized that I had been abandoned. I am an experienced diver who has been diving since the 1980's and knew that I could surface if I didn't find the group, so did not panic. After waiting in the area for 5 minutes, I surfaced into rough surf and floated for about 10 minutes until the person in the raft spotted me waving and came to get me. Once we were back on the boat and the other divers returned, one of them told me that the dive master had seen a shark and sped up to try and catch up with it. He did not notice that I was missing. After the dive, he did not acknowledge what had happened or speak to me about it. I have been on more than a dozen dive boats in different parts of the world and found this experience to be disappointing. There are many dive shops in Puerto Ayora and I would recommend against using this one again!
Travel Company Comments
Dear Stephen, Thanks so much for your review and comments. We are so sorry to hear you encountered some issues during your trip. We were sad to read your response since our operations team was constantly checking with guides and services and all the reports were positive during the trip. We did a follow up with the diving company and shared your review with them. They provided the comment card where you gave them positive marks, so they were shocked as well. We have been working with this provider for a while, and this is the very first time we have a complaint from them. However, we totally understand your concerns with regards to the mentioned immersion. They reassured use they will make sure they are even more careful with all divers next time.
In the case of Peru, you are absolutely right to be upset about not having your names on the signs. We have standardized this for Ecuador and Peru, so there is no excuse for this. Your comments have helped us to take some immediate actions to avoid this from happening again. The same goes for the driver and guide and wanted to drop you off at the parking lot.
Thanks again for taking the time to provide such detailed feedback. This helps us to make the right amendments immediately and keep improving our services. We hope you can come back again to Ecuador and Peru and give us a new opportunity to show you the best of our services.
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