Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos vacation

Countries:
Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru
Price:
From US $3849 (14 days) excluding flights
Plus local payment US $500, park fees US $100 & transit control card US $10
Vouchers: not accepted
Dates:
Reviews:
2 reviews4 star rating
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Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos vacation

Responsible travel: Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos vacation

A portion of proceeds from each tour is donated to the Charles Darwin Foundation, Inc. supporting conservation in the Galapagos. Our boat is a chartered, locally owned and operated yacht, equipped to accommodate 16 passengers. Your voyage is guided by a Level 3 (the highest possible rating) naturalist guide certified by the Darwin Research Station.

In Peru we work closely with the Inca Porter Project (IPP) a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives and working conditions of porters on the Inca Trail. Together with IPP we have provided porter communities first-aid and job training workshops and ensure fair working conditions to all of our porters.

We ensure minimal social and environmental impact in the places we visit by traveling in small groups, using local transportation and staying in locally-owned hotels. We also work with experienced local guides who are knowledgeable of local culture, history, flora and fauna. On this tour we visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Galapagos Islands, the city of Cuzco and the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

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The story of the provider of Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos vacation

In 1989, when Bruce went traveling after university, he realised he had limited options, backpacking or a resort stay. Returning to Canada, he created a company bridging the gap, offering young professionals an affordable way to immerse themselves in different cultures. Today, you are helping to fund their charity work across the globe. The company covers administrative costs for their 35+ projects worldwide, meaning that 100% of donor funds go towards helping communities. An average of 10 travelers on every trip ensures that local impact is limited, the community reaps the benefits all without changing their way of life. Company staff in more than 38 countries adhere to Bruce’s original business model of sustainability and happiness.

Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos vacation

Reviewed 29 Jul 2009 by Frances Kidd5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Snorkelling with sea lions and penguins.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Fantastic - go for as long as you can.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Not really.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic. Great crew and guide. Wildlife unbelievable.

Reviewed 31 Jul 2008 by David Weller3 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The opportunity to see close-up the most wonderful selection of animals and birds.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be aware that a "family" vacation doesn't necessarily make any concessions to the fact children are present. The Naturalist's talks were way over their heads, the food wasn't always child appropriate, and we were not able to book a family room in the pre-trip hotel. Thankfully the hotel itself on arrival soon showed that it can be done - easily! Read the dossier carefully which is well-put together and contains all kinds of very useful information. Be aware that there is considerable pressure to tip and to tip well, despite being told that tipping is a "personal choice". We were told about tipping a total of four times and by contrast, we were given just one Emergency Practice talk.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes in that it provides employment. Yes in that measures are in place to minimise the impact on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Despite some serious concerns, overall we were very grateful for the well organised opportunity to see the natural beauty. We sincerely hope our constructive criticisms will be acted upon.

Read the operator's response here:

We appreciate the comments in this regard. We are working with our Naturalist guides to tailor their lectures when children are present. Thank you for your comments, and we are working toward improving upon this. The point raised in regard to tipping is always a thorny issue. It is a personal choice, and if there was pressure applied beyond what one would consider normal, we apologize, and are reviewing.
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Vacation Reviews

You can trust responsiblevacation.com reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations. In addition, we don't run these vacations ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

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Small group vacations

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?

Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.

Who is it ideal for?

Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.

Mythbuster

“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.

Meet a group Leader

As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide

No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.
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