We have been back from our trip a little over a month and I’m sorry it has taken so long for me to write. I am sending this to you instead of Gissela Ledesma because my computer warned me that her email might not be safe, so whatever of this email does not pertain to you will you please forward it on to her.
First of all I want to tell you that we all (10 of us) had an absolutely terrific time on our trip. You know how concerned I was having sailed on La Pinta before and was wondering how Isabella 11 would measure up. As a comparison we found the cabins and the lounge area on La Pinta to be more spacious and nicer than Isabella11 but this trip being in warmer weather ( our previous trip was in Dec.) we enjoyed the fact that the Isabella 11 had a much larger outdoor deck area. Always trade-offs. The main thing was that the crew was amazing. The hotel manager (Fernando, I think) really runs “a tight ship” and every request was met w/ a smile and a “can do” friendly attitude. So important on a vacation!
Cathy, the head naturalist/expedition leader was amazing. You had said you’d get me her personal email so I could tell her so myself but I haven’t received it yet. Please do send it. The kids LOVED Cathy and Jose and Sabina!! Cathy, knowing Bill and I had sailed before, was very concerned that this trip should measure up. It did. Really hard to compare; different ship, different season, different animals and islands. The kids, and the adults, totally loved the fun of jumping off the boat, something not offered on our other trip. One of the kids mentioned that experience as one of the many things she’d never forget about the whole trip.
La Silva was nice but the long boat trip getting there and back was not a favorite. I think part of that is that we live on water so that part of the trip was not as special as it might have been if we lived in middle America. We did appreciate the efforts of the staff and guides, Luis, Dario and Gabriela. Gabriela, bless her, took our bed mattress off the frame to help find an earring that I’d lost in my sleep. It is/was something I wear daily and although not expressive, it had sentimental value. Wonderful service Gabriela.
VERY IMPORTANT: The last night onboard Isabella 11 we were shown a wonderful video of all the photos taken during our trip and were told that we could expect a link to them in two weeks. We were told to leave one email address per family. I left mine but we have not received anything and it’s been at least six weeks. Could you please look into this as we really want to relive our experience and show all our friends. We have a family that we are trying to convince to go to Galapagos (w/ Metropolitan) and this would help.
One more thing: I knew there was a $100.pp entry fee to be paid for the National Park but I did not know or remember and it wasn’t printed anywhere that I remember seeing, that the fee needed to be paid in CASH. In our case I needed to come w/ $1000. in cash and that left me short for cash tips for the rest of our trip. Please included this information in a prominent spot in your trip materials.
We flew home from Quito about five hours AFTER the earthquake. I hope and pray that none of the people who took such great care of us were affected.
Thanks in advance for your reply and for getting the photos to us and our “thank you’s “ to those mentioned.