The Islands speak for themselves, wonderful to be able to experience so many of them. We trialled the staying at Guayaquil option and that worked extremely well. The meet and greet was extremely efficient. The Grand Hotel an excellent choice in itself and location, and the guided trips very enjoyable, particularly the canoe trip in the Churute Mangrove Forest on our return from the Islands. We had the good fortune to have Darwin Alvarez as our guide. He really contributed to the understanding and enjoyment of the Islands in his depth of knowledge of every aspect , and also his care of us.
The team on board the Cachalote was exceptional. The food was magnificent throughout. Xavier, our tour leader was highly knowledgeable, cheerful and able to resolve minor problems without most people realising that they existed! He was always on hand with help and encouragement. Our National Park guide, Juan, was the star of the show...his evening briefings became eagerly awaited performances. His knowledge of plants and volcanic formations was encyclopaedic and his love of the islands and his respect for the wildlife was obvious. The expeditions to the various island sites were pitched at the right level for us and most of the group. The visit to the Santa Cruz highlands was one of the highlights, and the varying wildlife and landscapes of the islands provided an amazing experience which we will always remember. Both of us enjoyed the day in the Antisana region, and the Sacha extension provided another magical experience. The lodge was superb and the guides again excelled.