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Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

Perth, Australia
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220 posts
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Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

My husband and I were in Ecuador in March and did Andes tour 10-16 March organized by Zenith Travel. Before contacting for quote, I read all the reviews of Zenith Travel in this forum that affected and worried me. There are lots of good reviews and also many bad ones from all over the world but mainly by first time posters. These reviews were not good enough for me to do the judgement of Zenith Travel and making decisions to use this company was really hard. Now we are back at Perth Australia and I would like to send here my true voice of our experience with Zenith Travel and our wonderful Andes Tour.

PLANNING IN ADVANCE – We already decided majority of what we wanted to do before asking for a quote to several companies. Cotopaxi (1 night) – Quilotoa Lagoon – Banos (2 nights) – Chimborazo – Riobamba (1 night) – Devils Nose Train – Ingapirca Ruins – Cuenca (2 nights) – Cajas National Park. Total 6 nights. As our schedule in Ecuador was packed, there was no flexibility to change days. Although asking travel agency to organize our tour, I wanted to choose hotels by ourselves. We don’t need luxury 5 star hotels but only want to stay in the tourist class hotels. I am a review reader and already chose hotels before contacting travel agencies. My desire to choose our own hotels was very strong as I know exactly what we want and what we don’t want. By this way, if the hotel fails, we don’t have to complain to travel agency as it is my choice.

PLANNING WITH LILIANA – Liliana was the only person I dealt with. We first contacted Zenith Travel 10 months in advance in May last year. To get a quote, I used their 5 days Andes Tour package by adding 2 more nights and telling her our choice of hotels. At this stage, after having read all the reviews of Zenith Travel, I was a bit suspicious and very careful. Her email response was very fast, normally she replies within same day. I started to like the way she replies my questions. I always present my questions as dotted points or with the numbers. She always put her answer just next to my questions, simple way but very efficient. So she never missed my questions and always gave me a direct answer. My questions went on and on but she had patience to answer until I was satisfied. I started to feel very comfortable to communicate with her. Also it was a surprise that the quote she gave us was cheaper than their standard option for 5 days. But I became more careful because another tour agency gave me 50% more expensive quote to the same itinerary and hotels. Is it too cheap? Something wrong? These things were always in my mind but I decided to trust her. By that time, I could see she was a well-organized person, smart, genuine and honest.

DEPOSIT PAYMENT – When we finally decided to take her tour, we paid 50% deposit in September. I could pay with PayPal with 4.2% charge and that was very convenient. Soon after we paid, she sent the contract by email. The balance was due in January, 2 months before the tour.

AFTER PAYMENT – There were still nearly 6 months between deposit payment and the actual tour. I read in the review that once we pay, communication stops and it is hard to get a reply. I was very scared of it. So what I did was, as we had a long wait (6 months), I gathered all the questions and one day in December I sent them to Liliana by email. It was a relief that she responded right away without any delay. I was very glad.

BALANCE PAYMENT – We paid the balance with PayPal in January. Zenith Travel (Liliana) sent the final contract including itinerary, e-ticket (Cuenca – Quito), contact details of the hotels and name of the guide.

We kept communicating to each other after January because I also asked her to book our day cruise tour in Galapagos. By this time, I believed Liliana’s professionalism and honesty but I had to admit I still had a concern about if all the promises were going to be met and also if we have a good guide/driver. We committed ourselves with such a big money with the travel agency in the other side of the world, I couldn’t stop worrying. My decision of choosing Zenith Travel was also going to be judged.

We had a very nice week in Andes. We also had a good guide and all the promises that Zenith Travel put in the contract were all met. We had a wonderful time. I will write details of our trip in Part 2.

Edmonton, Canada
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1. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

We also dealt with Liliana for our one month trip to Ecuador in May/2010. Our trip included Galapagos, Ecuador highlands, Napo Wildlife Center and Kapawi Lodge. Everything was organized by Zenith Travel and was as promised and on time. I look forward to Part 2 as I know it will bring back fond memories of our time with Rodrigo our guide for the highlands portion of our tour.

Hamden, Connecticut
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1 review
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2. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

Zenith Travel Is GREAT!!! Marcos Endara of Zenith Travel in Quito asked that I write a letter of recommendation to you. It is my pleasure to do so. I am the co-director of the Ludlowe Corps, a student/parent/teacher group from Roger Ludlowe Middle School in Fairfield CT that organizes service learning opportunities. I am also the co-executive director of Humanity Now, a 501C3 whose mission it is to help schools in the states make connections to community projects in the developing world.

We have traveled to Ecuador 4 times in the last three years. On each occasion, we used the services of Zenith Travel to make all travel arrangements. Marcos Endara served as the contact person for all our efforts which included bringing groups of 36 or 37 middle school children and parents to Ecuador. The experiences were very favorable and each year the trip got better and better. Marcos is extremely available and manages his staff to ensure that his clients get the best possible experience. Each trip, we were met at the airport at the scheduled time with transportation readily available, never any waiting! It has gotten to the point that I would now say that I have a personal relationship with Marcos that goes beyond what one would expect from a travel experience.

During our trips, we travelled to the Ecuadorian Amazon, throughout the Andes, and to the Galapagos Islands. Zenith Travel made sure all details were looked at and that travel is as smooth as possible. All requests made by our participants were thoughtfully considered by the Zenith guides. Zenith is a professional travel group that knows how to pay attention to small details. They are friendly and courteous. They are responsive and flexible. It has been a pleasure to work with Marcos of Zenith travel for the past 3 years, and I look forward to working with him again in the future.

One area that Zenith could improve is with travel to Galapagos. Zenith’s strength is definitely on the main land. During our first couple of trips, travel got disconnected upon our arrival in Galapagos, but they addressed those concerns during later trips to the point that we were satisfied with what Marcos put in place.

Edited: 1:26 pm, April 30, 2012
Denver, Colorado
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1 post
16 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

We booked a fairly last-minute trip with Liliana at Zenith - finalized the arrangements about 3 weeks before leaving. After one hitch where my emails went into Liliana's spam, and I didn't hear from her for a little, all went perfectly. We told her what we wanted to see, she gave us a program, explained why she put the order as she had, added in the additional things we wanted, and made all the arrangements. I worried that it would feel too harried, with all the ground we were covering, but with people making sure we got to each place, we had no worries and found it overall relaxing despite the schedule! No problems, each connection went well (minor hitches x2, no problems) and we had a GREAT trip that we will remember forever. In 2 weeks we visited Cusco, Sacred Valley, Maccu Piccu, Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands and the Amazon at Muyana Lodge, All at a good price, as well. I am recommending this agency to others interested in going.

Buenos Aires...
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4. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

"Viajamos al Ecuador en julio de 2012 en un tour organizado por Marcos Endara de la empresa Zenit travel. Estuvo grandioso!!!!Los hoteles de muy buena calidad, los guias que nos acompañaron geniales, serviciales. Visitamos las Islas Galapagos, Guayaquil, la ruta del sol y Quito..Todo estuvo impecable!!!! Nos sentimos muy cuidadas por la empresa quien nos acompaño durante la organizacion del tour y luego durante la estadia.

Para recomendar!!!!!! de 10!!!!!!"

Cordialmente Susana

Quito, Pichincha...
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5. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

Amazing how diverse experiences can be. We had an amazing trip with Zenith. Of course, having read many posts before going to Ecuador, we knew that last minute options were the best way to book.

We arrived in Ecuador and booked 3 days later on the most fabulous boat - the Odessey. I would highly recommend this boat - it was huge. Not only did we have an enormous bedroom with a queen size bed, the bathroom had a double shower and a counter longer than mine at home. All the common areas on the boat were wonderful and very well appointed. Lovely woodwork etc.

Zenith came to our hotel and showed a lot of patience as we got our Paypal account working. They then walked us to the airlines and ensured we had everything we needed. We had contact by email for the next couple of days to ensure we were set up. After our trip, we wrote for another service and their reply was prompt and courteous.

We found prices that people paid on the boat varied according to when they booked. Most of us booked within the last week and our prices were very similar, although Zenith and one other travel company were the best.

It pays to do last minute, if you can tolerate not knowing exactly what day and boat you will be on.

Galapagos is wonderful and well worth ensuring you have a large enough boat to feel comfortable, but small enough to enjoy the excursions. 16 was perfect!

madrid
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6. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

Viajamos a Ecuador en Septiembre de 2012 con Zenith Travel y ha resultado una maravillosa experiencia. Estuvimos 16 días incluyendo un crucero de 5 días en Galápagos.

Contactamos con Marcos Endara que diseñó para nosotros un itinerario muy completo que nos permitió en el poco tiempo disponible hacernos una idea de la gran diversidad paisajística, biológica y cultural de ese maravilloso país. Las pequeñas modificaciones que sugerimos fueron atendidas de inmediato y de forma totalmente satisfactoria.

Realizamos los pagos por transferencia bancaria, y posteriormente todos mails que enviamos fueron respondidos de forma tan inmediata como antes de pagar.

El viaje resultó perfecto.Los hoteles, todos ellos con mucho encanto y atendidos por un personal sumamente amble resultaron muy de nuestro agrado. El coche era muy nuevo, amplio y cómodo. Y sobre todo tanto el conductor como el guía unos grandes profesionales y muy ambles.

Muy recomendable desde todos los puntos de vista

Victorville...
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7. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

I just returned from a tour of Peru that was organized by Zenith Travel. I can't speak highly enough of the support and planning that I received from Liliana.

She promptly answered all questions that I had in preparing for this trip. Upon arrival in Lima I was met by representatives to reconfirm my arrangements. All ground and air was well managed. The transfers from hotel to bus station to air port was great. The driver that was with me for all of my transfers in Lima (Fernando) was great. He was on time every time. He was able to answer questions other then just driving. The hotels and tours that were arranged were great. (Titicaca Lake, Nazca with a fly over and Paracas). It was a great trip made better because of the professionalism of Zenith/Liliana. I can easily recommend them as agents for travel in Peru.

Bristol
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7 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

I had a great experience with Zenith, as mentioned above Liliana answered all my questions promptly and with plenty of information and I never felt that I was out of the picture about anything. The price was fantastic and the hotels i stayed in were great in themselves, let alone for the excellent price (I went for the option above budget). All the guides were really nice and knew their stuff. I would definitely recommend paying the extra to do the kayak - i thoroughly enjoyed it! Also loved the restaurant, Honu Ticki in Pueto Ayora; lovely staff, atmosphere and food and a great view of the sea front. I have a mate who did the boat tour and she loved that too.

Would definitely recommend Zenith for those who are on a budget but want great service, guides, comfort and assurance of a brilliant time :)

Perth, Australia
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9. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

I am off to Quito in June 2013 and I just wanted to thank you all for your posts. I have been talking with Liliana from Zenith Travel recently organising my trip. I was a bit sceptical to start off with organising via email but she is very efficient and professional and you have put my mind at ease.

Boston...
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10. Re: Trip Report Part 1 - Andes Tour with Zenith Travel

Marcos Endara from Zenith Travel has done outstanding job with organizing my trip to Quito, Galapagos, Lima and Cuzco. He is knowledgeable, professional, keeps his client's best interest at heart, goes beyond the line of duty to make sure his client is happy and satisfied. All the arrangements were impeccably made by Marcos and they all worked like a swiss clock. I highly recommend his services and Zenith Travel to anyone.