I had already arranged a Galapagos journey with a company with whom I often travel. However, I wanted to experience some of Ecuador beyond the Galapagos experience. I selected EQ from the reviews on Trip Advisor. As has been stated in most of the reviews, this was a wonderful experience, from the planning to execution. Katie responded to all of my inquiries and all ran smoothly. Johanna was my personal guide and made adjustments to accommodate some places I wanted to experience. I, even two months later, remain in awe of her knowledge of her country, from history, to mores, to geology, etc.
I stayed at the Marriott in Quito, a first class property that I have already reviewed. I spent one night at the Hacienda Santa Ana (see my review). That place was so magical and I would recommend at least two nights there. There are activities to do through the hacienda as well as in Cotopaxi. I have already shared with EQ management that i was disappointed with the Samurai resort (see my review) and would recommend another property. Most of my meals were included in the price I paid. My one comment would be that for the price I was paying that non-alcoholic beverages should have been included at each meal. I had to pay extra for bottled water, which I must admit surprised me for a top-tier travel company.
Instead of adding more of the same as in other reviews, I want to share how EQ handled an unfortunate episode. This, to me, speaks volumes about their customer service, and why I would not hesitate to recommend them or to book another journey with EQ. Katie had arranged for me to attend a ballet and for Johanna to drive me there and pick me up afterwards. Johanna checked the web site before picking me up and all was well. She was to return in about two hours. Once I got to the door of the hall, I realized something was amiss. Speaking no Spanish beyond the basic words, I did figure out from another couple that the ballet troupe was in another city and just decided not to return for that night's performance! I had no phone but this nice couple let me use theirs to call the emergency number. No answer, no way to leave a voice mail. I went to the street and found a police officer since i knew the dangers of taking certain taxis. I wrote down JW Marriott and he then understood my destination. He got me a taxi and I made it safely, if not nervously, back to the hotel. The concierge was very gracious and tried the emergency EQ number several times but could not get through. I knew Johanna would call me once she went to pick me up and found out I was not there. So I spent two hours or more worried about Johanna and having "survived" my fear of being stranded in a city where bad taxi experiences are too well known.
So what happened? Johanna called and we both were relieved. The next morning before picking me up, she had made contacts and phone calls and found out what happened. She said that the woman in charge of the emergency phone had turned it off!!! I was leaving Quito that morning to fly to Guayaquil for two nights before my Galapagos trip. At my hotel in Guayaquil, I sent Katie an email explaining my distress over the situation. I received several emails from the company owner and Katie. I then received a beautiful flower arrangement with a bottle of wine and a note of apology. I then received a personal call from the young woman who had turned off the phone, something she will obviously never do again! She had been to a funeral earlier in the day and forgot to turn it back on. I also received a refund of the transportation costs from that night.
The immediate responses from EQ, the gestures of apology, and the concerns they expressed are to me the hallmarks of a company that takes customer service seriously. The young woman learned a lesson and I am certain will be ever diligent in her job responsibilities. I could not have asked for anything more.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.