Robin, Just returned from Golapagos yesterday. The Anahi - Golapagos Journey I was a super boat and great crew. Exceeded all expectations. Everything went great. Thanks for your assistance to make this happen! Cheers! Brad & Sandy March 25, 2009
Onward we went, to Quito, where you set us up with Hector Clavijo, our guide for the next 5 days. You gave us “the best” again.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, been on the road it seems constantly since the cruise, anyway here goes some comments on the cruise.
My girfriend and I did a 7 night cruise on Samba and had an absolutely fabulous time. We chose the boat mainly because of the itinerary it took, it seemed to take in more islands than any other boats of touring for the same no of nights and in the same price range. As it turned out we think the itinerary was fabulous we saw so much and never felt like we were rushing it – making the effort to get over to Isabela and Fernandina is definitely worth the effort. In terms of the boat and crew we also were very pleased with it; the boat was spotlessly clean and we thought the berths were very comfortable (plenty of space for a couple and good hot water showers) and not at all noisy. The food was first class, three large meals a day as well as snacks and drinks available throughout the day, and the crew were friendly and accommodating at all times.
We are a couple in our early 30’s and are very active and this trip suited us perfectly, but our group included a couple of teenagers and a lady who was 70 and everyone was able to participate in almost everything, and everyone had a good time. We had come off a few months backpacking in S America so were blown away by the luxury of the boat, but i think even coming over just for a short vacation the boat would also be very acceptable (naturally space is somewhat limited but it was way bigger and better than our expectation as long as you don’t expect something the size of a suite in a 5* hotel!)
In terms of our guide we didn’t get the normal guide that Samba uses as his wife had just given birth. We heard that apparantly he is one of the best on the islands but of course we can’t verify that. All i can say is that we got a backup freelance guide who was amazing; his English was perfect and knowledge of everything first rate, he also loved snorkelling so fitted in additional trips for that because he knew that our group loved it too. Also interestingly it was his first time on Samba and he said how blown away he was with the itinerary it does, the best he’d known on a 7 nighter (of course that could be his spiel but he seemed genuinely very excited throughout).
The only criticism we all had was that the boat charged an additional amount for wetsuits and snorkelling equipment, everyone thought this was just penny pinching given the cost of the cruise; but if that’s all we came up with its not bad.
I don’t think its possible to really have a bad experience in the Galapagos islands but we thought Samba was amazing and have already to recommended it to all of our friends who are interested in visiting. Obviously all trips to the Galapagos are very expensive and we were a bit worried about forking out that much for a week, but it was worth every penny to us and Samba was a big part of that. So far this was the most memorable week of our 15 months travelling the world. Big thumbs up!
Hope this is useful to you….thanks again for organising, we were very happy to have booked through your agency too.
January 16, 2009
You asked for some feedback on Samba after our trip so here it is:
- Guide – Fantastic (Juan Salcedo) – a local from Puerto Ayora, extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, partook in all the activities (unlike some we saw from other boats who didn’t snorkel with the guests) & genuinely appeared to be enjoying the experience himself.
- Crew – Excellent in all aspects – courteous, skilled & eager to please.
- Boat – Good facilities, clean, comfortable ( thanks for getting us the double room cabin!).
- Itinerary – I guess this is partly dictated by the length of the cruise & the geography but it appeared very well constructed with a wide cross section of the islands/landscapes covered.
- Safety – As should be expected.
- Food – Of unbelievable variety & quality given the somewhat limited kitchen facilities.
I think you can maintain your “Highly Recommended” status!
Thanks again for organising the trip – it was a wonderful experience.
Andy Fisher & Carolyn Childs
Hi Robin, we are just back from the Galapagos.
We cant thank you enough, the whole trip was magical from start to finish and we thought the Samba was excellent. If you want us to fill in a recommendation form, or comment form let us know. We would happily tell everyone to book with them.
Matt and Lynda
December 23, 2008
September 1, 2008
How are you? Sorry for the delay in the trip report. You can use this report any way you want.
Many thanks for your help.
My Wife and I took a trip on the boat M/V Samba on May 5-12, 2008. This trip was booked with Robin Slater through Sangay Tours. Robin was very helpful in getting us on this boat as I heard it had a great route and was a good boat. We wanted a small boat (<20 passengers) with an active group. M/V Samba was everything we had hoped for!! The Samba was the perfect size for us -13 passengers in 78 feet of boat, it was very comfortable, clean and ran like a charm. The guide Juan Manuel Salcedo was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable of the biology, ecology and geology of the Galapagos. He was very enthusiastic and spoke with perfect English. The food on board was plentiful and very good. Captain Guillermo and crew were very professional and helpful. We had a fantastic time on the boat. Juan and the crew had us hiking and snorkeling both morning and afternoon. They worked hard to make sure we were the first ones at the landings. We were amazed at the wildlife, there were so many sea lions, iguanas and birds. While snorkeling, we saw many kinds of fish, sharks, turtles, sea lions and our favorite – penguins. We can’t say enough about our trip, it was truly a trip of a lifetime.
Thanks again Robin for all your help. I would recommend your services and this boat cruise to anyone!!
Bill and Gaynor Hoyne
June 29th, 2008
December, we booked a Galapagos cruise through your agency, on the Angelito.
We would like to thank you for the perfect organisation of the trip – the choice of the Angelito was really perfect.
It’s a great boat to travel on. The crew is very polite and helpful. The boat is big enough to have enough space for 16 people, you don’t have the feeling it’s crowded. They also take into the preferences of the people on board. We could snorkel a lot, and the fact that they have wet suits on board is really good (the sea is not that warm ;-)). The food is also very good & varied. Really nothing negative to say about the boat trip!
It’s a boat you can recommend to your other customers!! We had a time.
Thank you again,
May 20th, 2008
I have spent some weeks in Ecuador in August 2007 having organized the trip directly from Italy, without the support of an international tour operator.
At that time I selected Sangay Touring after having done an internet research and after having received their program for a Galapagos cruises [Galaxy]; they were able to select and to propose me a top class cruise in one of the most crowded periods of the year, even if I was very late in booking.
When going around in Ecuador by myself, I faced some logistic problems (flight cancellations, etc.); even if that part of the tour had not been organized by Sangay, they have helped me several times, reorganizing the itinerary and looking for new flights and hotels. Robin Slater, in particular, has demonstrated to have a very huge experience on this business; I have to thank him for the success of my journey in Ecuador.
Having said that, the Ecuador and the Galapagos in particular are fantastic places to visit and a cruise on a nice boat is an fascinating experience.
DON’T try to organize the trip by yourself, call Robin !!!
Andrea, Torino – Italy
I hope you are well.
OK, some feedback re Tip Top III for you. Also, in case you don’t know, it went into dry dock after our trip – I don’t know for how long.
To be honest, although I have no comparison with any other boat, I couldn’t fault it, apart from when two of the cylinders (or whatever) of the engine went down so it was travelling slowly for the last two days.
The boat totally lived up to expectations. Spacious, smart, clean and comfortable. The captain/crew were also excellent – attentive, helpful and polite. The guide was also very good, slightly naggy at times but knowledgeable, friendly and helpful (and only naggy when we transgressed park rules which some people did accidentally now and again). She was a bit ‘off’ with someone at one point for no apparent reason but that was a one off. Liz and I had no problem with her at all.
Overall I would totally recommend Tip Top III.
Thanks for organising everything. I’m now trying to encourage other people to go to Ecuador, though it a pain to get to from the UK! Needs a direct flight.
April 28th, 2008
Since we are more or less back in a normal routine,I want to thank you for your gracious help with the Rabida trouble. I appreciate your concern and the Vieja Cuba hostal was delightful. Our galapagos cruise was magical and just about perfect. I cannot in good faith recommend the hostal Rabida, even after my return home I found out that my daughter in london repeatedly left an e-mail message at the rabida about my sons emergency hoepitalization in the states.nobody informed me about this! I know that this is not your responsibility, but just wanted to let you know.
May 4th, 2008
June 27th, 2008
Thank you so much for all your assitance. We had a wonderful time [Archipel II] and the kids want to go back. I will definitely recommend you to any friends who are thinking of a trip. I want to apologize for being a pest about the details. It made me anxious to do things over the internet.
All my best to you and your family.
Hi Robin, Here is a more detailed response. The guide was very knowledgeable and responsible. he clearly wanted us to have a wonderful experience and we had minimal contact with other boats. At only one stop was there a large boat, but that was the time we got to swim with penguins. Some times there were two other small boats, some times we were the only ones on the islands. The itinerary seemed great with lots of different types of wildlife. The crew was very attentive and the cook/wait staff always accommodated the dietary restrictions of those on board. The rooms were clean and spacious (for a boat). We had a grand time.
Robin was so helpful with excellent advice.
July 21st, 2008
The Cormorant II is a wonderful boat for touring the Galapagos Islands. Given a choice of any boat in the Galapagos, I would definitely choose the Cormorant.
Pluses: There is plenty of room on this boat; I never felt like I couldn’t get away from other people. There are lots of outside lounging areas, both shaded and unshaded. The captain stayed pretty darn close to the schedule which was important. Cold, pure drinking water was always available in the dining room. Its sailing was smooth, the food was plentiful and tasty, and the crew was fantastic, even accommodating one woman’s last minute request for vegetarian meals. The cabins are large and comfortable with nice-sized bathrooms. The first day on the boat, we had no water because of a mechanical problem, but after that the water was abundant with good pressure and temperature. We felt completely safe and well taken care of. I never worried about anything happening to my belongings. The crew was very safety conscious and the boat was spotlessly clean.
Suggestions: Because cabins 7 and 8 are located over the engines and generators, they were quite noisy and very, very hot. I would not recommend them unless you have ear plugs and can handle sleeping in an 85 degree room. The air conditioners in the dining room couldn’t keep up so it was sweltering hot during meals, especially lunch and dinner. It helps to keep the sliding doors open rather than closed. If I were to cruise on the Cormorant again (which I would do in a heartbeat), I would urge the guide to make at least some meals happen on the upper deck where the ambiance of the open sea heightens the pleasures of good food and company. The bar on the upper deck was never open. After paying a great deal of money for the cruise, it felt tacky to be charged for a soda. I can understand charging for alcoholic drinks, but sodas should have been included in the price. If you have to, raise the price $10 per person and make sodas “complimentary”. The itinerary should include some beach time to just relax. Our group mutinied on a particularly sweaty day and jumped in the ocean en masse instead of getting in the dinghies to return to the boat. We played in the waves and surf for over an hour which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The web site of our tour company erroneously advertised that satellite Internet is available on the boat. It was not and none of the crew even knew what we meant.
Guide: The main thing I liked about our guide, Leonidas, was his passion for the islands and their wildlife. He was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. Although he kept to schedule, I never felt particularly rushed. My only criticism has to do with the last day of the tour when Leo uncharacteristically showed up 90 minutes late with no apology or explanation. Everyone was quite angry about it and worried that we would miss seeing giant land tortoises because of it. Had this occurred I have no doubt that his tips would have been significantly affected. It worked out okay but it was a stress on the passengers that shouldn’t have happened.
Just a quick note to thank you for all your help. It was a great trip [Galaxy]!
Just arrived in Quito today from the Galapagos, will have 3 days here and go home on Saturday.
Many thanks and good wishes.
August 20th, 2008
Sorry for the delay in sending this but it’s been a bit hectic since returning home.
Many thanks for all your help in arranging our short visit to the Galapagos. We very much enjoyed the Angelique. We thought the food was excellent and we found the staff very friendly. The boat rolled quite a bit at times but this was to be expected with a small boat. The itinerary was good for the 4 days with a good mixture of walks, snorkelling and time to relax. The guide was very knowlegable and friendly. All in all an excellent trip.
We will recommend Sangay to our friends.
December 4th, 2008
August 16th, 2008
We made it home safely.
This is a note to thank you for everything. We had an incredible time on our cruise to the Galapagos. The Diam[a]nte was more than we expected. The crew and our guide were terrific. Everyone on the Diamonte was continually surprised at the beautifully displayed and tasting platters of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We would recommend the Diam[a]nte anyday.
The kids loved it too. They had a fun jumping off the side of the boat as well as jumping from the rope. This first class vessel is meant for kids as well as adults.
We ended up with really interesting people on our cruise. With only 12 people that could be trouble. For us, it was terrific.
Thank you for arranging our trip to Machu Picchu. Your “Peru Experts” didn’t let us down.
You were also free with info on things to do around Quito.
Thank you for everything.
August 15, 2007
Just wanted to thank you for your help in setting up our trip to Ecuador. We had a wonderful time and all went well. It was truly a family experience that we will cherish. Again, many thanks for making reservations and recommendations. It was a pleasure working with you. I hope to return to your beautiful country again.
Diane and Rob Cappa
June 25, 2007
Back to real life now! Thanks again for everything. I will not hesitate to recommend Sangay and I plan to post our trip on fodors.com with an endorsement. I am sorry for your troubles and I know you are working extremely hard to avoid affecting your clients, which makes the smoothness with which the trip cam of from our perspective even more impressive.
I know we mentioned it to you, but Carlos was a wonderful guide. Especially in Quito, I think we significantly altered his itinerary for us and he took it in stride and was very gracious with his time. He spent a lot of extra time with us with no apparent expectations of extra compensation – though I hope we did adequately compensate him in the end.
Anyway, I’m off to a meeting, but I did want you to know how much we appreciated everything.
All the best,
June 7th, 2007
March 21st, 2006
Just a note to say that the cruise was truly wonderful for Erin and me.
Loved the Encantada and its ambience. We had a great group of people, an excellent guide, fine meals. The reality exceeded our fantasies. Thanks for all your assistance in getting it booked, etc.
April 3rd, 2006
Just a quick note to thank you for your assistance during our wonderful holiday in Ecuador. Everything went according to plan but the driving was a nightmare at times because of the state of the roads; I’ve never seen so many potholes – and deep too! But I got the hire car back in one piece (Japanese reliability).
We broke the journey in two sections with a stop in Santo Domingo which, incidentally has a wonderful hotel “Zaracay” this is highly recommended. We called in at the “Tinilandia” but were not impressed by the accommodation and it cost $85 pn so we went on to the Zaracay. There is no way I could do the whole trip to Puerto Lopez in one go. The Mantaraya Lodge was superb but not many guests when we were there.
The Eden was fine albeit a little cramped with a small double bed but the guide, crew and the food were wonderful. The islands are fully up to their reputation; incredible.
We have been recounting our experiences with friends and will have no hesitation in recommending the services of your company to potential travellers.
John and Margaret Thompson
May 29th, 2006
Just a quick note from me. We really enjoyed our trip with the Eden, the guide was good, the cabin(5) was nice, but the double bed very narrow, maybe for a young loving couple, the food was good, the staff was very nice. Tangara was very nice with Lidia and Antonio extremely helpful.
Only one thing was a bit confusing. When we arrived in Galapagos we looked for our luggage but didn´t find it because there was a plane that had landed before us. Nobody said anything about this but I asked and told other people.Maybe a sign telling the flight number so people knew. We also went to Kapawi with Canodros and really enjoyed that to, a great project!
As you can understand we will definitely recommend your agency in the future.Thanks!
April 27, 2006
Te escribo para saludarte y agradecerte por los 5 dìas maravillosos que hemos pasado a las Galàpagos (estuvimos muy bien con la Golondrina y con la nostra guìa Priscila). Espero que para otras vacaciones de poder contar con tu servizio.
May 2nd, 2006
Hi Robin –
Just a note to express appreciation for your expeditious handling of our seemingly intractable airline problem in Quito preceeding our Galapagos vacation.
Even with her good Spanish, Gia couldn’t make any headway in straightening out the problem (because she couldn’t figure out what was awry). In any event – even though the problem was in reality between the boat operator and TAME – ultimately it was your problem to fix, and to your credit, you did so promptly.
Once aboard Cach[a]lote, the experience (seasickness and the need to develop “sea legs” notwithstanding) was marvelous. The boat and crew were grand. The food was superb, not fancy – but healthy, tasty and quite varied from day to day. The pace of the travel was just right – not too demanding, yet appropriately challenging to me (I’m not atheletic nor an outdoorsman, but I love wildlife). Our guide (Juan Tabia) was extraordinary, a 20 year veteran of the guide service. He knew just how to balance our pace so that everyone could get questions answered and pictures taken (plus he could sing and play guitar, as well as teach salsa dance after dinner!)
My greatest delight about the Galapagos has in large measure to do with the Ecuadoran management plan for the islands. It is clear that every small boat visits the specified official landings on its itinerary, and that visitors always traverse regulated, marked trails on the islands. But this regimen exposes visitors to almost all of the extraordinary wildlife that we have become acquainted with through television documentaries and reading. It is an excellent system, and very rewarding for the visitor.
We had two days in Quito after our return from the islands, which could easily have been stretched into 3 or 4 additional days (to visit the hot springs and Otavalo). The B&B (Casa Sol) that Gia chose in Mariscal was superb – it would be a great place for you to put guests – and we enjoyed great food at Boca de Lobo and Milano nearby, as well as overlooking the city at Mosaica another evening. We managed a visit to Mital del Mundo (and the marvelous cultural museo next door) as well as a morning over the city via the Teleferique before returning to the US.
I’m now busily researching ceviche recipes!
Thanks for facilitating our wonderful family trip.
June 12th, 2006
Just wanted to drop you a quick note to THANK YOU! I had an awesome time on board the Beagle. You were quick to respond to all my questions… and I don´t know of any other travel agent who gives out his personal contact information in case of an emergency. If any of my friends decide to visit the Galapagos, I will be sure to refer them to you.
July 6th, 2006
June 25th, 2006
I did say I would drop you a line, but just now got a few moments to do so.
I am back to school now, and my classroom obligations are calling very loudly. Anyway, thanks again so much for your help booking our tour this summer. Thanks for all the very professional work in making our tour with the Tip Top II crew exceptionally memorable. My daughter and I had a marvelous time! The Tip Top II crew and guide were, as well, exceptionally professional and made every effort to make our cruise the best ever. It was a very positive experience doing business with your travel agency. Everyone in your office was amiable, helpful, and reassuring. It was a pleasure doing business with Sangay. And again, Robin, I thank you very much for all the other advice and information you gave us about travel in Ecuador.
Calistoga Elementary School
5th Grade Teacher
September 7th, 2006
August 4th, 2006
Just wanted to say a huge thank you for organising my trip on the Nemo II. The boat was lovely, and extremely well maintained and run. The crew were superb and our guide, Juan Carlos, was fantastic. I am delighted that I booked that second week out in the Galapagos, the land tours really were excellent.
I will definitely have to come back and visit again as soon as I can!
July 19th, 2006
Hi Robin, hope all is well in Quito.
Just a quicky to give you a bit of feedback on Nemo 2.
Generally, everything was excellent. On a whole, very very happy with the tour. The boat was great, the crew excellent (especially Rual), and the Naturalist, Juan Carlos was first rate.
Guide: I dont know if you have met this guide, but he is acknowledged in some of the Animals of the Galapagos books. His English was excellent, he had a great sense of humor and was as flexible as possible.
Boat: Boat was generally good, except on the first and forth days, there was really bad diesel fumes down below. Half of us woke up with headaches and sore chests. Really bad. The Captain said that one of the crew had spilt diesel, but as it happened twice, I find that hard to believe.
Crew: Excellent. Made us very comfortable and welcome. Rual, the guy who served meals and cleaned rooms was just amazing.
Food: Top notch. Best food Ive ever had on a tour. Cant say more than that !
Flights: 5 hour delay on the outward flight, so missed the whole afternoon on the first day. Aparently they couldnt close the cargo door and so had to wait for another plane. The plane looked about 30 years old (not exagerating!) so not surprised.
Now sat in Caracas airpost waiting for a flight, and wishing we were back on board !
Hope this helps,
Nemo 2, 2-9th July 2006
Just wanted to let you know that our trip was a great success, and a wonderful time was had by all. We were very pleased with the Nemo II; the staff was great, the accommodations comfortable, and the food was fine. We loved the snorkeling, hiking, and more.
Los Alpes in Quito was fine as well, and we especially enjoyed dinner at Mosaica.
Feel free to give my name as a reference if you wish.
August 10th, 2006
September 9th, 2006
Our Galapagos vacation was fantastic due to the amazing animals and the Fragata Yacht’s attentive, friendly crew. We had fresh sheets and towels everyday and the sand in our shower was cleaned out daily too (you seem to come back with some sand in your swim suit from snorkeling no matter how hard you try not to). The food was very good and there was always lots of it. Whenever I needed something (such as the Ecuadorian equivalent of Dramamine) the crew made sure I got it even if it meant making a trip to a nearby boat to pick up extra pills. When we snorkeled off the pangas, the crew made sure to keep the boats close (but not in our way) just in case someone wanted to get out of the water early. Our guide was incredible. His knowledge and amiable personality made our islands trips even more memorable. The Fragata’s sun deck (on the top of the boat) was our favorite place to read and hang out. If I ever returned to the Galapagos Islands, I would be happy to go on the Fragata Yacht again to repeat our wonderful experience.
June 22, 2007
As you suspected, most of what we have to say is positive. The boat, staff, accomodation, food, etc all met high standards. Some passengers were upset about a couple of things that didn’t happen to us, e.g. fussy a/c units, but the only incident that affected us directly was the bota’s motor breakdown on our last night, which was unfortunate, but came to nothing except a little delay in final arrival (though it would have been nice if a rescue boat had been called a little earlier). It does seem to me that perhaps tourists, especially those without much experience with being on a boat for several days, should be explained the difference between luxury on land and at sea a little better.
Our guide, Kike, was very good in that he made sure his group didn’t break any rules of the national park, and was knowledgeable. He is quite young, and that’s probably the reason why he is not, at this time, very well versed in dealing with stressful situations in which his role is to be a link and an interpreter.
Overall, we were really very pleased, and had a fantastic trip we’ll remember for a lifetime! Thank you again for all your help, hopefully you will hear from some of our family and friends who’ve been treated to our circa 200-picture slide show :) Let me know if you need ay further info.
All the best,
September 14, 2007