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★★★★★

“Mindo Cloud Forest and Galapagos Islands. ”

Written on: 02/05/2013 by sophmay (1 review written)

My partner and I had been offered a trip, by my father, to the Galapagos islands. From the moment he spoke to them Rachel was in regular contact to discuss the trip. I told her I'd love to go to the Cloud Forest in Ecuador and she arranged this for us before we visited the Galapagos. Rachel was absolutely wonderful; always on hand to answer any questions and sorted absolutely everything. She arranged for someone to meet us at the airports to pick us up and to take us to the terminal to catch our flight (which was wonderful since we had no idea where to go and our Spanish wasn't good enough to ask!). We stayed in Casa Aliso in Quito for two night between places and I have to say what a fabulous choice! The hotel was beautiful and the manager was helpful: he even took our washing to a laundrette and bought it back for us as he said it was cheaper than washing it at the hotel! In Mindo Cloud Forest we stayed at El Monte lodge which was beautiful. Open plan main building with wooden lodges and a beautiful view. Our guide Natalia was fantastic; she could pick out a bird from a mile away! The food was delicious; tree ripened fruit, fantastic soups and narajilla - my new favourite fruit, sad since we can't get it in the UK! The butterfly farm was an experience; I have never seen anything like it! And the Rupicola peruvianus (since the website won't let me type the common name of the bird as one of the words is "banned"!) lekking was such an experience (even if we did have to wake up at 4am!). During our time in the Galapagos we stayed on the Cachalote and we had a wonderful time. The food was tasty and there was always LOTS of it; 3 courses for lunch?! The rooms aren't overly spacious but you spend barely any time in them anyway! Our guide, Juan, was so knowledgeable and friendly; he knew exactly where to go to see certain things. Every evening we went through a list of what we had seen that day and discussed the plans for the next day. Our highlights were catching the Waved Albatross coming back to the island to breed (occurs only for two weeks in the year) and swimming with the Fur Sea Lions (they are such playful and curious creatures). We went snorkelling everyday and you only had to describe a fish to Juan and he would tell you what it was! We even saw the Galapagos penguins while snorkelling; only briefly though as they are very fast swimmers! Our trip ran smoothly with absolutely no issues at all (other than my other half losing his hat!) and we both agreed that it was an amazing adventure and we would love to return one day. Thank you Think Galapagos for a wonderful and very special adventure.