We just returned from a wonderful trip to the Galapagos aboard the Eclipse. We booked through Columbus Travel. Columbus also arranged terrific day trips from Quito (cloud forest, Otavalo market, and many interesting sights along the way) with a superb guide. All our transfers and logistics were smooth and easy, and the Columbus people were unfailingly courteous and helpful.Edited: 18 April 2012, 23:00
I am also just in the process of paying for a quite expensive trip to the Galapagos on the Ocean Spray, i have been booking thru GalapagosIslands.com.
they have been more than helpful, but i am just a little concerned about paying lots of $$ to a company with the beneficiary address in Panama.
I have opted to pay by credit card.
I will keep you posted.
Hi Judy - Rest assured this is normal. Many companies opt to use banks in Panama because of increased efficiency and security, often passengers feel more secure making payments to Panama rather than to South American / Ecuadorian banks. Feel free to contact us directly if you have further questions about this. - Customer Service, GalapagosIslands.com
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I'll give a shout out to Happy Gringo - they were patient in answering my questions promptly and when my flight times changed, they immediately sent me an email.
Another couple who was on our trip booked through another company and while they got good service while considering who to book with, once the company had their money, the service level went considerably down. I'm sure there are a couple of good companies (and several not so great one) - scroll through the forum and see which names consistently pop up from forum members who have posted multiple reviews, contributions - I'm always suspicious of contributers who have just 1 review - I guess you have to start somewhere but I am wary of self promoting businesses who hide under the guise of a contributor.
You're right, Spahkee, everyone has to start somewhere. But, as I'm sure you know, most people already have a track record of asking questions on the forums or posting reviews before writing the glowing reviews--and then never contributing again.
We booked through Safari Tours Ecuador and have been happy with them. They aren't over the top with their service but they had the best price by far over several other agencies we contacted. For us, we weren't booking a whole tour so we really just wanted the best price we could find with a reputable company. They always reply to our e-mails within two business days and they have been very friendly. The cruise boat we are booked on has our money and reservation. We really don't need anything more than that.
Thanks everybody, I still have some time, so writing with different agencies. I will let you know who I have booked with!
good!Edited: 20 April 2012, 16:21
We just got back from a trip through Columbus Travel. Good price, but it does not include stuff like transfers and other things. I also did some tours through Metropolitan Tours and liked them very much. I would probably book with them if given another chance. Good luck.