We haven’t had much time to talk about our Galapagos trip yet. But we wanted to feature it in a couple different ways. Check out our tips and tricks for last minute booking post next week, and our Galapagos gallery later in August!
First, we wanted to review our booking company. While trying to find an available yacht last minute, we found Ecuatraveling. They replied to one of our online requests and immediately supplied us with information about our specific request along with 2-3 other possible itineraries and boats.
As demonstrated by their initial response, the best thing about Ecuatraveling was their thorough and quick responses. We worked exclusively with Mike and he was amazing. He replied to emails within hours and ensured we had his cell phone number (WhatsApp) to text him anytime we needed an answer more quickly.
Out of all of their options, we ended up pursuing the Sea Star because it looked phenomenal, only had 16 passengers, took us to Isabela Island, and guaranteed a level 2 or 3 guide*. The icing on the cake was the fact it was a 6 day cruise that occurred over the weekend. A lot of the longer cruises were predominately during the week, so it meant a ton more PTO, which we couldn’t really afford. And, it didn’t help that it was right around (but not over) the top of our budget.
Mike was, as always, quick to reply and offer us a deal on the Sea Star with a cabin that had a private balcony. We went back and forth with various questions (final cost, extra expenses, wetsuits included or not, flights included or not, etc.). He handled Matt’s neurosis and endless clarifications very well.
The original price he offered was $2,500 pp for the 6 day cruise and flights. He was able to decrease it to $2,450 pp when we asked about any discounts. Mike then decreased the price again when we told him another company reached out with a lower rate for the same spot! This brought us to our decreased rate of $2,380 pp. It felt good to know that he wasn’t just looking to charge us the highest price he could and that he wanted to work to keep us as his customer.
Actually completing the payment (albeit discounted), was the most tumultuous part of our booking experience. When he sent us the payment options, it took a couple days to figure out how to pay. Since we weren’t in Quito (where Ecuatraveling is based) we couldn’t just bring cash to the office. All of the other options (PayPal, Credit Card, Wire Transfer, etc.) cost 2-6% more. Which, on $4,760, is not something to ignore. Mike worked with us and ultimately let us use Zelle (via Capital One) to pay them without any fee.
So, we sent the money. And then we waited.
True to our personalities, after sending such a large lump sum, we were quick to follow up. Mike sent an email confirming the money came through as soon as he could. However, he needed to confirm with the yacht before everything was finalized and tickets could be sent.
So we waited some more.
This part took 6 days and was definitely the worst of our experience because we didn’t anticipate such a large gap between sending payment and receiving tickets. Honestly, we don’t think there was anything that Mike could have done to speed it up on his end. But, explaining that we should expect this time-gap before we sent the money would’ve helped with our nerves. During this period, Matt texted Mike regularly just to check in on how things were going. In retrospect, we might have gone a little overboard with the communication, but it’s incredibly nerve-wracking to send $4,760 and not have any tickets to show for it. Mike was gracious, quick to reply, and simply asked for trust, so we gave it.
In the end, we received the yacht confirmation and airplane tickets. It was all set and we were ready to go to the Galapagos!
Ecuatraveling did a phenomenal job of being responsive, they gave us a good deal, and the trip was amazing. It was worth every single penny. We were so happy to have Mike’s customer service throughout the experience.
Stay tuned for our Galapagos Tips and Tricks post and, of course, a ton of photos from the cruise.
We will have both a rainbow rating and a star rating with every review. The rainbow rating demonstrates how LGBT+ friendly the company was. This is based on our experiences, and nothing more. A 3 means that we were comfortable enough to come out as gay and there were no positive or negative results. Under 3 does not necessarily mean that they were homophobic, it just means we did not feel comfortable coming out. We will always document any negative experiences we have so future travelers can be informed before booking. And we will always do the same for the positives as well.
Rainbow Rating 🌈 4/5
Star Rating ⭐ 5/5
*Learn more about Galapagos Guide Levels here.