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Tour Operator to Avoid

Pleasantville, New...
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Tour Operator to Avoid

Paul Henderson, tour operator in Granada, Nicaragua (www.nicaraguavacationpackages.com), is a thief and incompetent. You are warned.

In January 2011 he accepted a deposit for transportation and two tours. In his stead, he sent a man who was not a guide. The “guide” said he was to collet the balance of the money we owed and that it would include the transfer and only one of the tours. In order to do the second tour we would have to pay additional money. My correspondence with Paul clearly stated (by him) what was included and the cost. Suddenly Paul was not available to talk to our "guide" and clear things up. We managed to negotiate a compromise with our "guide", however one of the highlights was completely left off. In the end, both the “guide” and I agreed that Paul Henderson was dishonest. Speaking with others, we are not the first tourists with this experience.

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1. Re: Tour Operator to Avoid

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Removed on: 16 February 2011, 00:45
Copenhagen, Denmark
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2. Re: Tour Operator to Avoid

We too had a bad experience with Paul Henderson. Which in a way was also a bad experience with Maria José, who comes highly recommended on this forum.

We had booked a daytrip from Granada to Masaya with her, including her as a guide, and car and driver. She phoned the morning of the tour as she was sick. She said she would send a friend who was also a guide instead, as they often helped each other out that way. So far, so good. People get sick, these things happen.

Choosing to let Paul Henderson do the tour instead of cancelling was extremely poor judgement. He showed up in the smallest taxi ever seen, so no car and driver, which meant we had to lug our stuff around instead of having it in the car. Throughout the day we had to wait while he hailed new taxis - a waste of time.

A minimum of time was spent at sights (of which he had no to minimal knowledge). A lot of time was spent in bars or driving to them. Whenever we entered an establishment, he would order for himself at the door - and let us order later when a waiter came. Beer every time from the morning on.

He didn't have money to pay for anything, never had "change". So we ended up paying for his meals etc.

He then chose to divulge personal details of how he knew Maria Jose and that he thought he wasn't really sick. I have no real opinion on whether she was or not - be he was extremely disloyal.

He (intentionally, I now think) kept us in a bar long enough to avoid going to the Coyotepe Fort, claiming there was "lots of time" to go there before heading for the Volcan Masaya. And then in the taxi, all of a sudden told us we had to hurry, if we wanted to make it into the volcano area before it closed down for night tours (which only went by the bat caves, and not to the rim - another untruth). So we missed the fort as it was too dark to go there after Volcan Masaya.

Looking back, we should have cut our losses early on in the day, but sometimes you are faced with something so appaling that it actually takes time to sink in.

So I would strongly recommend never using Paul Henderson as a guide or tour operator. As for Maria José, who knows? She is by all accounts a very good guide, but keeps very poor company.

Hunbille

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Tour Operator to Avoid

The only note I'd make is that Maria Jose is not in fact "by all accounts a very good guide". I noted in another thread that my group of four had an absolutely horrible experience with her in January. Out of respect for her (she is not a tour guide but is a dental student who tries to make money for school by doing tours on the side), I will not recount all of the details of our experience, but if anyone is thinking of using her please feel free to contact me.

Out of curiosity, I just did a search of the recommendations for Maria Jose. It turns out that out of the 29 recommendations for her on this site, 27 of them were posted by the same person...Paul Henderson. There are only two legitimate recommendations for her, and at least that many bad experiences.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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4. Re: Tour Operator to Avoid

Good point - I hadn't checked from that angle.

Colorado Springs...
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5. Re: Tour Operator to Avoid

These types of postings are very helpful to people. Thanks for taking the time to write and in this case warn. I am planning a trip to Nicaragua and travel alone so I was considering getting a guide this time around. I wanted to see the sights but also be able to practice my Spanish.

Thanks again.

6. Re: Tour Operator to Avoid

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Removed on: 24 February 2012, 05:57