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“Exceeded Expectations!”

Galapagos Alternative
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: At Galapagos Alternative we specialize in personalized land-based tour packages. We offer unique experiences of the islands the way we see them: as locals. Choose the sights and activities most interesting to you, stay at local places, eat at local restaurants, and of course, get up-close experiences with the amazing animals that make the Galapagos Islands so special. We can help you find the best options to fit your timeframe, budget and preferences. We can help with all aspects of your trip, from booking unique accommodations to daily activities and transport between the islands. We are Jill and Javier Moreno, and we'd like to welcome you to our home. We look forward to treating you like family, showing you our favorite places, and ensuring that you have the experience of a lifetime in the amazing and beautiful Galapagos!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Reviewed January 14, 2013

From our first contact with GA to our driver delivering us safely at the airport on Baltra we were consistently delighted.
Rita was waiting for us at the airport and she accompanied us to our hotel Verde Azul where we were greeted by the proprietors. She met with us every night to go over the next day's activities and give us tips on things to do on Santa Cruz (including suggesting that we buy a lobster at the fish market and take it to a local restaurant to have them grill it for dinner - which my husband LOVED).
Our tours were personal and our guides were passionate about the islands. Several activities included only our family and a guide.
We were very leary about organized tours as my husband and I have traveled extensively and we have never made arrangements through a tour company. We prefer to explore and make arrangements on our own as we discover the countries we visit.
We are very happy we made the choice to engage GA for this trip. We would not have had the same experience trying to explore the Galapagos Islands on our own. The best way I can describe our experience is that it was like having family on the islands. Time on our own and time with people who lived there and love the islands.
Trip of a lifetime! Thank you GA

1  Thank DMHDetroit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"land based"
in 31 reviews
"day trips"
in 33 reviews
"local economy"
in 12 reviews
"los tuneles"
in 9 reviews
"santa cruz"
in 94 reviews
"la casa de marita"
in 8 reviews
"vip lounge"
in 8 reviews
"every evening"
in 13 reviews
"small plane"
in 6 reviews
"restaurant recommendations"
in 6 reviews
"great trip"
in 14 reviews
"sea lions"
in 31 reviews
"blue footed boobies"
in 17 reviews
"baltra airport"
in 12 reviews
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in 16 reviews
"kicker rock"
in 9 reviews
"planning process"
in 4 reviews

183 - 187 of 292 reviews

Reviewed January 10, 2013

It's hard to not love a vacation in the Galapagos. Great weather, nice people and wildlife everywhere. We were very happy that we did a land-based tour. I think GA took on too many clients during the busy season between Christmas and New Year's. Other customers of theirs and we commiserated that a lot of things fell through the cracks: pick-ups, activities too difficult for a woman with bad knees, long stretches with no activities planned, two restaurants they recommended were closed, and dietary requirements forgotten. Some members of our group requested scuba diving and the others snorkeling but we didn't realize that we wouldn't be spending the day together. Highly recommend the tour of North Seymour Island. Would not recommend Las Grietas because there are other things that are much more interesting to see. The Darwin research station is sadly overrated. Guides ranged from very good to poor. We spent four nights in Puerto Ayora which was one night too much. Isabella is worth three nights.

4  Thank LisaAnn61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jilapagos, Owner at Galapagos Alternative, responded to this reviewResponded January 12, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to provide information about your trip to the Galapagos. The Christmas-New Year holiday season is the peak of the high season in the Galapagos Islands. We apologize for not being able to give you the individual attention that you desired. We did not have enough staff to accommodate the number of customers that we had during that period since a couple of our experienced staff members requested the holiday period to visit their families.

Because the holidays are very popular and many of the local operators and hotels also close we will now limit the number of clients we take on during that period. We also realize that we must all work through that very busy period in order to maintain the high level of quality that we want to provide to our customers.

Thank you also for giving your feedback on the different activities. Your comments will help others to make more informed decisions on how to spend their time in the islands.
We apologize again for not living up to your expectations. Though the holiday season is extremely busy, it is not an excuse for lower quality and we will take the steps necessary to prevent that from happening in the future.

Thank you again for your time.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Although we found the staff very friendly and helpful.....we had some complaints. First off....the person who was suppose to meet us at the airport when we first arrived was an hour late.....so we were a tad panicked (not a great way to start a pricey vacation in a foreign place). When we did get to the hotel we were told a Galapagos Alternative rep would arrive within the hour to introduce herself and give us some paperwork. She didn't show up until 6 hours later....so we went out and walked around Puerto Ayora and went out for dinner. So the first day we were getting a little concerned.

We also went to Isabela....and when we arrived....no representative again. We waited around for a while and then hitchhiked into town in the back of a truck. Walked into town ourselves, went for lunch, went back to hotel and laid on beach (lovely) and had dinner at the hotel (horrendous). Rep arrived after dinner....for 5 minute hello.

The rest of the trip went quite well....but not ideally.

We found that the itinerary we carefully designed with the company ended up being A LOT more physical than we had requested as we had some limitations (major stairs, extreme unsteady ground, rock climbing....we are able to do moderate activity, just not hardcore!). Some of the itinerary items we ended up not being able to do....yet we paid for them. However what we were able to do was enjoyable.....saw many animals, lizards, birds....had some nice meals in restaurants we picked out ourselves.

Planning on going back to the Galapagos again in the near future....however will be doing it on our own and not using a tour company. We found that the islands had many tour companies right on their main road who could take us to all the places we wanted to see....some lower in price. Made some inquiries and they were all very friendly and reputable....and we have spoken to several people who have done the islands on their own as well and they said it was smooth and very enjoyable...with significant money savings.

Can't say that I wouldn't recommend Galapagos Alternative.....just wouldn't use them again for the various reasons listed. For what we paid....we expected more, thats all.

3  Thank TheFutureIsBright
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jilapagos, Owner at Galapagos Alternative, responded to this reviewResponded January 12, 2013

Thank you for the feedback on your experience. As a small company that focuses on personalized tours, customer satisfaction is very important to us. We pride ourselves on providing top quality customer service that caters to individual needs and we feel responsible that you did not get exactly what you expected.

Due to the nature of the tourism industry in the Galapagos we must rely on other companies for transportation as well as other services. We are not denying responsibility but some matters are out of our control. Sometimes the airlines change their flight schedules without advising the tour operators on the islands, this may have contributed to the delay in pick up. Additionally, the trip from Puerto Ayora to the Baltra Airstrip can sometimes be delayed due to a myriad of reasons. Again we are not shirking responsibility but sometimes things do not flow as smoothly on the islands as we would prefer.

The fact that our representative was late meeting you at the hotel is unacceptable and we have changed our day or arrival protocol to avoid that type of problem in the future.
We have had similar experiences with operators that we have used on Isabella. We have had to change service providers three times in three years and have not been completely satisfied with any of them. Because of this, starting in February we will have our own office in Isabella to facilitate island hopping to that destination. In an ideal world we would be able to dictate the level of service of all of the operators and service providers in the Galapagos. This is not an ideal world, so instead we selectively choose who we work with based on customer feedback.

Regarding the physical demands of our tours, we rely on two-way communication between our clients and our guides in order to provide the best possible experiences. We rate our offerings based on the feedback from previous customers. Our clients select the activities provided on our tours. Due to the wide range of physical abilities it is almost impossible to gauge how strenuous these activities may be for individuals so communication is essential. We never push anyone to do more than they desire. Though some of the excursions were beyond your physical ability to complete there were no activities that you paid for that were not provided.

It is unfortunate that you were not completely satisfied with your tour packages. Fortunately you did have a good enough experience to want to return. Now that you have been here it will be much easier for you to get around and we encourage you to return to the islands and explore on your own.

We appreciate the commentary as it helps us to improve out service.

Thank you for your time.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

Our great experience started working with Susana who did a great job helping customize our trip to our taste and helping us understand what we could see in each tour, as well as setting great appropriate expectations for the hotels and infrastructure.

Once you arrive, Javier and Jill do an absolutely amazing job to make sure every day of your stay in Galapagos is fenomenal. Our family of 4 (kids 10 and 12) just completed a trip to Santa Cruz and Isabella, doing a number of day trips. They organized everything for us, customized to our taste. The hotels were very good and extremely friendly. In both cases the hotel owners (Judy and Manuel) went out of their way to make us feel as guests at their private homes (think B and B).

Javier and Jill organized day trips to several absolutely amazing sites, and we asked for private guides. We were amazed by the quality of the guides that Javier hired for us both in Santa Cruz (Julian) as well as Isabella (Menino). Their love and enthusiasm for the fauna and flora of the Galapagos was contagious and made our trip even more outstanding. They helped us understand how the unique Nature of Galapagos evolved as a whole, including the Volcanic Islands formations, Sea currents, Climate and how it influenced the exquisite vegetation and fauna. They were also very attentive to our daughters when we went snorkeling, making them feel very safe, making them enjoy every minute of it!

When we missed our connection to Quito on our way back home from Isabella, Javier went out of his way to make sure that we would be given a seat on another flight out the next day (keep in mind most flights were oversold due to the high season, so this wasn't an easy task). He arranged with the airline to get us rebooked, he negotiated with the hotel that I had booked in Quito so they would waive the lost night and through his influence we also received some compensation from LAN, since they were oversold. Javier personally checked in with us 3 or 4 times to keep us posted how the arrangements were proceeding and to make sure we were ok. Given how different these things are done in Galapagos (where personal connection is everything and a piece of paper from the airline is basically worthless) his support was key to us so we wouldn't miss our flight back to the US.

Thank you Javier, Jill and Staff for making our trip to Galapagos the most amazing and best vacation we ever had. My expectations were very high already based on the outstanding reviews in Tripadvisor. I must say you exceeded my expectations in every way!

1  Thank SeattleResident999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 1, 2013

We just returned from a great trip with Galapagos Alternative. Jill and Javier and their colleagues were gracious and as helpful as possible. They were able to arrange great hotels and day trips even though we booked somewhat late. I would certainly work with them again, and hope to do so.

Thank MWfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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