2 independent reviews for Ecuador holiday, Darwin's Ecuador

Reviews for Ecuador holiday, Darwin's Ecuador

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review 4 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There was lots of highlights on the way but the Cloud Forest, Guamote, Cuenca and the Rainforest just seem to stand out. Eve was a great tour guide during our visit to the Cloud Forest, our walks through that old and peaceful forest were truly spectacular and our local guide Phil's knowledge was astounding. The scenery was ever changing with the formations of the cloud, the bird life was varied but I believe the humming birds stole the show, you could sit and watch for hours. An excellent start to the holiday. Our visit to Guamote was too short, the train ride is the best way to see the countryside and have a bit of fun, a visit to the school and the Intisisa project gives you lots of food for thought and rounding the trip off with a visit to a local market without the gaggle of tourists gave some wonderful memories. Cuenca was a jewel approximately half way through our trip, it is a very beautiful city and perfect for a two night stay, the visit to the Panama Hat factory and our City Tour was well worth the time spent and it was great to be able to let off some steam in a few bars - sets you up nicely for the long trip to the Black Sheep Inn and Quilotoa. Our lodge in the Raingfores was Yachana all of this was a dream come true for me who never envisaged going to the Rainforest. From the moment we stepped on to the canoe it all became a bit of an adventure. Our excellent local guide Delfin brought the forest to life with his tales of the living in the forest, finding insects/amphibians and explaining plants/trees what they meant to the local people and how they made use of the Rainforest. Making the trip just that little bit special were all the other activities on offer besides the jungle walks: from showing John (Happy Gringo Tour Guide) how to throw a spear and use blowpipes, we also ensured he got a good cookery lesson and learnt how to make a basket, skills I am sure he will find useful. A little siesta time in the hammocks and at the end of the day a nice cocktail to round it all off, perfect.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Watch your packing list, it gets cold up in Andes at night ensure you have long trousers and a couple of fleeces plus a warm jacket you will need them. Otherwise go with an open mind and just enjoy everything on offer.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We used local guides at every location and certainly at Guamote we stayed in Intisisa accomodation which is a great project set up for the local people. Our lodge in the Amazon is also another local project that is helping the local people, they have a fantastic website which is worth visiting before you book the trip.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Brilliant

review 28 Feb 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole holiday was very very good and hugely enjoyable! The time at Bellavista cloud forest reserve was exceptional for me especially as I was able to go back for a few days after the group tour finished and do more walks on my own (saw a sloth even). The rainforest visit was interesting as we had an indigenous guide and saw community school/projects whilst there, unlike most visits. We also visited a school in the Andes and ended up being asked by the children there to teach them some games...not your usual event! The tour operator has a good mix of wildlife and connection with local communities in the places visited.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

No problems really as the pre departure info is very clear and good. This was a "recce" trip i.e. the first one in Ecuador, so we knew to be more flexible, however even when things went ostensibly "wrong" we ended up by having an even better or more interesting time than expected!!! (So THANKS again John!) Travelling in Latin America is always best with an open mind and flexible attitude anyway!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, much more than most trips that claim this, and so I felt more involved and less a spectator than I have previously when visiting local projects. Also we stayed at places where it is obvious that we are supporting the local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It is one of the best group holidays that I have taken, as where possible I do like to travel independently with a friend. I was lucky as there was a very small group on this holiday and they and the guides were great, so it felt more like travelling with a small group of friends!! I would definitely recommend them and would not hesitate to travel with them again.

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