We're currently going through Christian Jacome at Columbus travel to plan a Galapagos/Amazon trip. (Technically going through Haugan Cruises but it looks like they are all under the same parent company). Experience has been good so far and they seem reputable.
I have just been on an 8 day Galapagos cruise over Christmas 2013 which I booked through Columbus travel. We organised it all over email about 6 weeks beforehand and our agent at Columbus was Maria Soledad Loaiza.
I would definitely recommend Columbus based on my experience with Maria. She was very very efficient and responsive to emails, her English is excellent (I also called her on Skype the day before to confirm something) and she was just generally very pleasant to deal with. All in all a great and easy experience using them.
Also, for the record, our cruise was on the Darwin, a 16 person boat and the whole experience was absolutely amazing - I have travelled a lot and this was one of the best places I have been and the whole boat experience was fantastic, from the boat itself to the Captain, crew and the guide we had (Tamara) who was absolutely great.
Whatever you end up doing, enjoy it! The Galapagos is an amazing place!
We booked an 8 day Galapgos cruise on the Samba through Francisco Vela at Columbus Travel and can't say enough good things about it! Francisco was an amazing help as I have a tendency to ask alot of questions and worry a lot. He helped me through the entire process and helped me save alot of money as well. The trip on the Samba with Juan Salcedos as a guide was beyond words to describe. This trip was for my husband and my 30th anniversary and was simply amazing. I was surprised and delighted every single day!
Trust Francisco, he can help you out!
Francisco, we returned home from Galapagos safely and propmptly without any delay. Our Galapagos trip was most enjoyable. The boat was wonderful and its crew was just very friendly and helpful. We have no eficiency to report. We had two different guides for the week and both were very good, giving us information and answering our questions. In the evening, on a TV projection, both showed us their pictures and videos that they had taken during our day trips. That was very nice reminder of the day's activity.
The transport to and from Galapagos was prompt and without delay.
We spent three more days in the Tandayapa Lodge in the Ecuador cloud forest. The lodge was very much to our liking, simple and clean accommodation, and long trails for walking. The birds were magnificent and the guides as knowledgeable as the Galapaos guides on the Anahi boat. You can recommend this lodge for any nature and real bird lover. One suggestion when booking this lodge is is that you have to hire a guide ahead of time. Without a guide or a car it is difficult to see and identify the many birds.
Should we ever come back to Ecuador we will again ask for your help.
i used columbus travel to equador, they were very prompt and proffesional and available at all times of the day. when travelling to south america it is always better to use a travel agency especially if you dont speak the language. i was travelling with an infant and a 12 yr old. From the time we landed in equador to the time we were dropped off at airport, we were taken care of by columbus travel wonderfully!
i recommend them.
How u handle the transaction of tour fee etc for the trip...Paypal, credit card via phone or...? It seems there is a processing fee in some case. Thx. Frank
We have just returned from a Galapagos cruise aboard the Galaxy arranged by Francisco Vela of Columbus Travel. He was an excellent travel agent helping us to get through last minute issues caused by our inability to speak Spanish. I had been researching the trip for months and the tour led by Roberto surpassed all my expectations. It truly was a trip of a lifetime and I highly recommend Francisco as a travel agent.
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Here is a note I just sent to our agent Francisco at Columbus...
I am writing to express our gratitude for your outstanding service helping us plan for our family vacation to Ecuador.
You were proactive and anticipated our questions and needs. Further, you demonstrated professionalism, responsiveness and expert knowledge of the Amazon and Galapagos. Your colleagues were also extremely helpful with our transfers.
And, of course, you went above and beyond when you retrieved the cell phone I left in a cab in Quito and then you personally delivered it to me when we returned from the Galapagos.
On behalf of the Bard family, we extend a hearty “thank you” for your outstanding service planning a wonderful vacation to Ecuador. Please forward my email to your management team.
I was planning to book our Galapagos cruise with Columbus Travel and have been in contact with Maria Soledad Loaiza. She has provided prompt and informative answers to my many questions and has made excellent suggestions for different cruises, itineraries, and additional useful information. Because the agency is located in Ecuador, I believe they have a better idea of the logistics and how things actually operate in the country. Also, I think it is good to support a local business, as long as they do a good job. Finally, their prices were lower than for the other travel agents I contacted. Unfortunately, I was unable to book the cruise but I am confident that if I had, Columbus Travel would have done an excellent job. Based on my experience and the many excellent reviews (here and elsewhere) I would highly recommend Columbus Travel.