Below is a sampling of Trip Critiques. As time permits, we hope to post more Explorations's trip reviews and comments.

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Jodee B. - Cuba Cruise

1. The best part(s) of the trip was... Just about everything! I really enjoyed this - loved the ship - the people were amazing (wait staff, crew, tour guides, entertainment, etc)

2. I think that the trip was: a) too long b) just about right c) too short B

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much b) seemed about right c) seemed low
Seemed a bit high - but it really was very nice

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were Of course the rough water, which can't be helped.
Considering the situation it was handled well.

5. The accommodations were amazing

6. The airline(s) Not good! My only complaint is that the flight from Miami to Cuba was delayed 7 hours and we sat in the airport. I know things like this can't be controlled; however, I also feel they probably knew it would be several hours and had we known that at 7:30 am we would have gone back to the hotel and sat by the pool instead of sitting in the cold airport until 2:30 pm. Also for a trip like this that is very expensive - every day counts. So technically we lost a half day - about $600 worth of vacation - sitting in an airport - and even though I give kudos to the coordinator for still fitting everything in we were supposed to do during that time frame, it made the trip a bit hectic at the beginning by combining schedules.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name) Both were amazing (Ned and Vladimir)

8. I have travelled out of the USA: a) over 20 times b)10-19 times c) 5-9 times d)2-4 times e) only this trip D

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are: a) more adventurous b)more comfortable c)about like this past trip
C except maybe a little more relaxing time - not so intense on the education side

10. The pre-trip literature and information were: a) good b)adequate c)inadequate
(Comments) Good communication

11. The personal service provided by the office was: a) good b)adequate c)inadequate A
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will: a)wish I had not done it b)always remember it as something special c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life d)consider it B

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as: a)very good b) good
c)fair d)poor and inadequate B as far as value

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again? Yes__X_ No___

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James & Romayne F. - Peru: Amazon Cruise and Andean Inca Exploration

1. The best part(s) of the trip :
The entire trip was absolutely fantastic. Everyone who we had the pleasure to work with did a very professional, very informative and helpful. All three aspect of the trip (Amazon river cruise, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca) exceeded our expectation.

2. I think that the trip was:
Just about right

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:
Seemed about right

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was:

5. The accommodations were:
Great. The La Estrella Amazonica was fantastic. The crew and staff did a great job making us comfortable and enjoyable. Clever (Cruise manager) did a great job taking care of our needs, great food and enjoyable accommodations.
Casa San Blas Hotel In Cuzco as did a great job, very helpful and friendly

6. The airline(s) were: Good (Lan)

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name):
River Cruise:
Angel (Group Leader), Did a great job keeping us informed, organized and happy.
Our guides ( Juan and Usiel) were unbelievably well informed and informative. We learned so much on this trip.
The skiff drivers ( Jair and ??) did a great job driving, keeping us safe and how they saw the birds, monkeys and , etc hiding in the trees was amazing.
Machu Picchu:
Luis was equally well informed, professional and very pleasant to work with. His educational background gave us insights that I think proved to be invaluable to our enjoyment.
Willington ( Organizer) was also helpful, informative and did a great job. We always felt we were in good hands.
Lake Titicaca:
Willi was great as well. He gave us great information, had good rapport with the locals and gave us a great day at the floating islands and Tequelle.
Richard (organizer ) was equally good keeping us informed. We had him as a transfer to the Juliaca airport. His "Guide" abilities was not polished and seem to be a memorized speech. We would not recommend him as a guide but he did a great job as an organizer.

8. I have traveled out of the USA:
Over 20 times

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are:
Like this trip. We enjoy meeting the local people, seeing how they live and person to person interaction. This trip gave us this. The adventure aspect is always great too.

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:
Good. It gave us a good representation of we actually went thru.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
Good, Charlie is great !

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:
Always remember it as something special and consider it the one of the best trip we have taken.

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
Very, Very good

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?
Yes, Absolutely

OTHER COMMENTS:
Words can not express the gratefulness we have for Charlie Strader and Exploration Inc for making our trip so wonderful. We always felt we were dealt with respect,caring and was very informed all throughout the planning and during the trip.

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Rani N. & Brian G. - Callelya Amazon River Cruise & Nazca / Paracas


1. The best part(s) of the trip
was(were) everything. From the moment we landed in Iquitos to the moment we took off in Lima! __Unbelievable experience!

2. I think that the trip was:  too short. We would've stayed longer.

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:  seemed about right

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were): there were no bad parts to this trip.____I can think of nothing negative.

5. The accommodations
were___wonderful. Definitely recommend Casa Morey to anyone planning on staying in Iquitos. The rooms were beautiful. The little swimming pool, refreshing & relaxing._
La Hacienda in Paracas was a beautiful resort. Wish it had been a little warmer so we could've enjoyed the beautiful swimming pool.
Antigua Hotel in Lima was very comfortable and beautiful.
The CATELAYA-wonderful boat! Comfortable, luxurious cabin. Delicious food.

6. The airline(s) were typical of large airlines and were OK.   The flight over the Nazca Lines was great & so much fun.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)
_Charlie met us at Iquitos airport. He gave us a tour of Iquitos in a motorcar the next morning. Lots of fun. We saw the markets, the junction of the Nanay & Itaya rivers, and a good overview of the city.
Ricardo, the guide on board the Catelaya was friendly & knowledgable. He brought us to great places. He was great with the local villagers-especially the children.
Bratzo, on the Paracas part of the trip, was great. Very friendly & knowledgable. Great driver. Made good recommendations on places to eat.suggested great places to see.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  a) over 20 times
9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} I would like trips that
are:   c)about like this past trip. Perhaps a bit more adventurous-but only a little.

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:
 a) good  (Comments)__Good overview of the area. Enjoyed keeping track of some of the things we saw on the checklist.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a) good (Comments)__Always willing to answer questions. Returned calls & emails quickly.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on
it, I will:  b)always remember it as something special d)consider
it amazing.
 
13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  a)very good    
 
14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc.
again?  Yes_X__ No___
 
15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in
the future?  Yes_X__  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS We had such a wonderful trip. I am determined to save up for a repeat. We would like to visit during the high water. Ricardo recommend April. We think the contrast would be so amazing to experience.
We loved the boat. The chef was superb. Everything he cooked was delicious! time we left our cabin we would return to it all straightened up with crafty animals keeping watch. Nothing I say really gives justice to how wonderful a time we had.

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Diane & Logan B. - La Estrella Amazon River Cruise & Ceiba Tops


Thanks for everything. The trip was great. Your gal on the ground in Lima is an incredible doll, and I’d love to see what she’d have done with Lima for us. Really really regret that I didn’t have the days in Lima I’d hoped for, or even a full 24 hours (as the plane fares had doubled for Sat or Sun departure by the time we had to cut the trip short).

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)
Learning…seeing...interacting with wildlife, learning about life in the Amazon for the indigenous people… Contrasting the inhabited Amazon (and luxury boat) with the uninhabited Manu (and rough travel)…

The few other intrepid amongst the boat travelers (sadly, minority….forgot that cruise based tours often include people who aren’t very adventurous and can’t walk 5 blocks, though the most impaired aboard was a truly delightful person...surprised that most travelled only for the week cruise, though a few took the 3 day -for real???? 3 days total??? Cusco/ Machu Pichu extension…)

Dennis, IE tour leader, and Secundo and Julio, naturalists on the Amazonia- really went out of their way to maximize the experience for all of us- learned a lot, spotted a lot (of what remains) wildlife and felt totally educated…. That Dennis took great photos, and shared them on a thumb drive, PRICELESS! Dennis had a tough job, as an Andean marshaling the Amazonians to cater to Americans, but he did a spectacular job, and negotiated the cultural gaps with aplomb!

AE Boat staff really worked hard to meet my dietary needs/restrictions (I eat q 3-4 h, with vegetables at every meal, no dairy, eggs or wheat) and were extremely gracious… AE 4 x day room service is really over the top (!) , but wonderful….who could want more???

Dennis was superb in letting us know plans, what to wear, what to bring, what to expect, what could go wrong…. in other words… for enquiring minds, he was a godsend….

School visit and shaman from AE….(though liked the Shaman presentation and ceremony at ReNuPeRu more, and would have bought the remedies he was selling if I though I’d have been able to get through customs with them)

The excursions out of Iquitos to Butterfly Sanctuary (though that German woman is wacko!) Monkey Island, Manatee rescue center.

The housekeeping and front desk service at the Hotel Dorado, especially helping us to arrange excursions after Julio from the boat - who’d asked to be our guide in Iquitos- backed out of day 2 when he was called last minute for another trip leaving the next day :-( . The first person they suggested (called and handed me the phone to make arrangements) tried to rip us off big time, US $60 for 2 hours in Belen Market, and the expression on their faces when I reported back- having failed to get him below $40- told it all… they got us a great guy who was surprised I didn’t try to negotiate when he quoted 50 soles! Knew that was high, but at that time I was too tired to bother

Canopy walk and other monkey/assorted mammal and snake sanctuary

The hotel in Lima. of the 3 we’ve stayed in in Miraflores, this was the least centrally located (i.e. longest walk to the Ave, Larcomar, Kennedy Park) but my total favorite- loved the place, enjoyed the size, and loved the quiet, feeling like part of the neighborhood location, neighborhood cafe on the corner, good breakfast…. took an hour walk 6-7am, passed joggers, around 100 dog walkers (1/3 with winter coats on dogs! LOL) , assorted locals of all ages and sizes along the Malecon, gordo’s and seniors using the park equipment, exercise groups jumping rope, doing Tai Chi ...passed one of our other hotels, and had to smile at what we’d missed staying closer in… I love walking, and especially after the week on the boat, where there was no way to get in my 10000 steps (couldn’t budge the elliptical in the work out room - Logan laughed, said, didn’t think you could, it was really frozen!) so that hotel will be my choice for the next time I hit Lima (will do when I pick up Brazil or Columbia or Venezuela).

2. I think that the trip was: c) too short

We had enough time in Iquitos and the Amazon… but I really missed the opportunity to spend time in Lima and in the islands… Don’t like going that far for fewer than 3 weeks, and hate landing in a place (LIMA) and not being able to tick items off the must see list (the two museums that were closed for Independence Day last year, and one pm show)… But that was due to Logan’s university transfer orientation and registration issues…. so…suspected going in that I’d feel that way, and definitely do…..

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: b) seemed about right


4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
Ceiba Tops issues-


5. The accommodations were
ship lovely, with incredible service of room about 4x day
Iquitos fine, great location, room not really up to international 4* standards (tepid hot water, floor to ceiling windows with no safety bar, safe deposit box light weight and not bolted- a pet peeve of mine after an experience in India with a portable “safe") but a la carte food fantastic, breakfast buffet ok, bar, pool and common rooms wonderful, service good
Ceiba Tops- room fine, great hot water, AC solid, nice to have option of fan…loved Cynthia, the independent tapir


6. The airline(s) were_
fine, if you don’t count a totally chaotic unexplained flight delay Lima to LAX which resulted in tight connection and lost luggage after clearing LAX customs (as of 1pm Sat, located, 4pm not yet delivered- delivered 9 pm Saturday without a text, call or even a ring of the doorbell… my other son though it was me struggling, so went to the door and found our suitcases)
but otherwise, LAN was fine, service is very good, planes new with adequate leg room, recline, food, and great entertainment system

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)
see number 1

8. I have travelled out of the USA: a) over 20 times

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}

I would like trips that are: a) more adventurous

but I can also go for total creature comfort luxury… from Amazon, expected more hardship, more kindred spirits, but given this part of Amazon (as you said to me, if you started out saying you want to see wildlife, we’d have gone about this a very different way), guess I got what I signed up for

10. The pre-trip literature and information were: a) good

11. The personal service provided by the office was: a) good
very good, prompt, responsive, informative, really helped with all the planning, thank you Charlie, you are a gem

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:
remember it fondly, with particular appreciation of the struggle to preserve the Amazon, rainforests, and biodiversity when governance and natural resources are such that people are so hungry and undereducated that preservation seems a luxury

In some ways, I wish we’d have gone back to Manu, which was totally magical in terms of nature encounter, no doubt due to the absence of population and the paucity of tourists... and with less rain, clear, stupendous night skies (only had one on this trip)

Although Ceiba Tops would have been a great base from which to explore when the children were way younger, it seemed to draw more citified, less adventurous, less wildlife savvy crowd (i.e., loud talking on night nature walks, screaming and shouting when spotting creatures)

Unlike the two other small boat cruises I’ve done (Galapagos and Haida Gwaii), and themed cruises (larger boats, Smooth Jazz) harder to find life long friends or ready travel companions amongst other passengers….

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as: a)very good

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again? Yes Absolutely

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future? Yes, happy to help

OTHER COMMENTS

totally appreciated all your input, Charlie… Had great meals at Dawn of the Amazon, and also at Fitzcorraldo… really glad to see the Indigenous Museum, but confess totally pained to see all the animal and bird personal accoutrements, though of course, done sustainably at the time…..

really hard to see more caiman, anaconda and jaguar parts in the meat and tourist markets than in the wild….and all the bush meats in the markets… even protected species… and all the logging boats…. and bank to bank gill nets…..eye opening, sobering, distressing and sad, but when one is hungry, and the government doesn’t meet the needs.. and 50-60 park rangers who are given no salary to patrol over 2 million acres…….well…...

In Iquitos, we did meet a number of young people from Europe, Australia, NZ on 10 wk Ayahuasco retreats, who weighed in on that issue… the guys seemed to thrive, the gals looked spent…. but they were very interesting…. Doubt I’ll go that way soon…..did see a couple paintings I loved, reminiscent of Peter Max and the whole psychedelic era, but didn’t have the time to try and negotiate a decent price….and don’t have much wall space anyway….

If you’re serious about pictures, I’ll send you the dropbox link where I’ve put all Logan’s and my photos, as well as Dennis’s from IE. Don’t have time to select or sort, so it’s over 1000 images, but….. anyway, link will be up about a week, then I’ll have to clear it …..

Thank you for everything!!!

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William D. - La Amatista Amazon River Cruise


I received your follow-up note and survey but for some reason my computer does not permit me to use the form to respond.  A mystery!  I will, however, answer the questions you asked.

Let me first say the Don and I had a truly outstanding experience. The trip gave us some excellent insights into the Peruvian culture and your guidance and preliminary planning were right on the money.  I thank you very much for that.

Regarding your specific questions:

Best Part of the trip:  Visits to the villages
Length of trip:  seemed about right
Cost of trip:  about right
Worst parts of trip:  Side trip to Pisco facility;  Food on board
Accommodations were: adequate   Recommended hotels were very good
Airlines:  Made our own reservations
Quality of guides:  Outstanding.  Robinson was quite good.  Juan Carlos was superior.
I have traveled out of the USA over 20 times
Adventure level was good...about all I could handle at 82
Pre-trip information was very good
Personal service provided by the office was good
As a life experience I will remember it as one of the most interesting of my trips
A unique vacation experience combining enjoyment and education
Would certainly travel with Explorations again.
Would be happy to provide references
Future travel plans uncertain.

As a P.S. I should point out that I was deeply impressed with the Amazon people.  They seem to be very much in harmony with their surroundings and have tied together their religious beliefs and their habitat in a simple but
sensible way.  They are very friendly and have produced some of the cutest kids on the planet. I really enjoyed meeting them.

That's it , Charlie.  I thank you very much for all your help.  It was a great adventure.

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Lorren, Marilyn & Sandra - Costa Rica Getaway, 17 Days

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were) the guides.
All were personable, knowledgeable, and very well trained. We saw and learned a lot.

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long    
b) just about right   c) too short 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much  
b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low 

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was (were)
the amount of time it took to get from place to place. Our itinerary stated “free afternoon” in several places, but by the time we arrived, it was late afternoon. It would have been helpful to know this in advance, since we might have built in more time to some locations. The trip to and from Tortugero was particularly difficult – a lot of time waiting at Ceibo while they sorted everyone out. And, the access point to the boats was treacherous – steep, muddy hill with no one to help with the luggage! As feared, the weather in Monteverde was very bad so our trip to CuriCancha was disappointing. In retrospect, we might have preferred going to the Monteverde Biological Reserve.

5. The accommodations were
generally very good. We particularly liked the Bouganvillea, the Pachira Lodge and Azania Bungalows. Both resort hotels (Arenal Springs and Parador) were lovely, but the onsite restaurants were overpriced and had limited choices. Since no other restaurants were within walking distance and taxis fares very high ($10 each way in Manual Antonio) it got very expensive to go offsite. Breakfasts at all the hotels were very good.

6. The airline(s) were NA

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)
excellent. However, some of the hikes could have been longer – felt a little rushed. Guides whom we particularly enjoyed were Fernando (Tortugero), Donald (Arenal), and Randall (Damas Island). The hike through Manuel Antonio Park was less comprehensive than we’d hoped because the tour had to be conducted in both English and Spanish (we had a mixed-language group). Since time was limited, we did not see all of the park.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  
a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    
c)about like this past trip 

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a) good
b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a) good
b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it    
b)always remember it as something special  c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d)consider it___________________________________ 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
a)very good     b) good c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes_X__ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes_X__  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS
All of our transfers worked perfectly. The drivers were punctual, helpful, and excellent drivers. Given the condition of the roads and the length of the trips, they really earned their keep. Most notable about this trip was the friendliness of all of the people we met – both locals and fellow travelers. We really admired the pride Costa Ricans take in the beauty and uniqueness of their country – it’s a wonderful place. Thanks, Charlie, for putting this trip together for us. We thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Rick & Elizabeth R. - Amazon Jungle Safari & Amazon River Cruise

 
The trip was awesome and we would recommend it to anyone wanting to see the Amazon.  It will be remembered as a special trip. A best part…there were many best parts.  Such as the windy tributary coming back from ACTS; it lived up to what we envisioned the Amazon to be like. And, of course, the canopy walkways were over-the-top great. We also loved the visit with the shaman (the one we had during the first week) it was very informative and interesting.  Once on the boat, an unexpected highlight which we actually looked forward to every single night was the band on the Amatista -Edgar, Herbert &  Blumer (who had a voice like Pavarotti).  In addition to being attentive crew members, they there fantastic musicians (we all bought their CD).
 
A worst part...don't really think one existed.  The ants on the boat were a little annoying but other than that, this trip had no downside.  We even loved the poisonous snakes, the poisonous spiders, the poisonous this, that and the other thing.  I will say we liked the jungle safari better than the boat, probably because it was more intimate, jungley, and we had greater freedom of time and to move at our own pace.  If we had only done the boat, we would have been thrilled (as Debbie was) because we would not have known how wonderful the deeper jungle was.
 
This trip was just about the right amount of time.  Any longer, the many chiggers
and biting flies might've been annoying; and any shorter we would've felt  we had shortchanged ourselves.
 
Accommodations... Jungle lodges and boat, absolutely fantastic.  The El Dorado
in Iquitos, well let's just say it was quite leaky when it rained. The jungle lodges seemed to become more primitive as we went deeper and deeper into the jungle which we loved. Mosquito netting, pit toilets complete with poisonous spiders, cold showers, kerosene lamps…aaah, all the comforts of the jungle. And there is no boat more romantic than the Amatista.  In fact, we would sit on the deck and sing "Our boat is red hot, your boat is diddley squat" whenever any other riverboat went by because none of them compared.
 
On to our guides...there's something to be said about experience and our guide in the jungle, Celso, had 30 years experience.  He could spot a toucan in the distance, a sloth in the tree, and while pointing out numerous small birds and critters, all the sudden he would find a poisonous dart frog no more than a half inch in size on the ground. As he only had the five of us, Celso was able to take time answering our many questions, pointing out flowers, trees, plants, and explaining their significance within the jungle culture.  We noticed that other guests coming through the lodges often listened in on what he was telling us.  Afterwords, they would say our guide gave so much more information and background than they got from their own guides. Celso is a great guide, and we would highly recommend him to anyone who would be going to the Amazon.  We don't think you could do better.  He made that first week an utterly enjoyable adventure for us.
On the boat, we had two great guides as well, Juan Carlos and Hulber.  You can tell both of them are very passionate about the Amazon.  They had a lot of knowledge, enthusiasm, and were great fun to be around.  Even after the trip, Hulber went above and beyond what was required of any guide.  In Iquitos, he gave us directions to a fantastic restaurant; guided us through the choices on the menu; and then went off to buy rosaries for Susan. At this point in the trip, Janice was pretty ill.  Hubler was constantly checking in on her to make sure that everything was okay.  You would expect when a trip ended so would your guide’s involvement, but in this case, Hulber was committed to ensuring our comfort and well-being up to the time we were on the plane heading back to Lima.  One observation, I guess we had been spoiled by the jungle safari where we had Celso all to ourselves.  Once we got to the boat, we had to start sharing our guide(s) with others.  It was difficult for us to start going at the “group” pace.
 
All of our guides had great patience for the kookie Americans they had to deal with and each deserves a metal for the effort.
 
I believe we should also recognize the crew of the Amatista.  We have never been anywhere where the staff was so polite, happy, considerate of our groups every needs and just plain FUN to be with.  Edgar, Blumer and Herbert were as important to us as the guides; the skiff drivers were always ready to jump in to help; the Captain even way on a few excursions.  This is a happy, smiling crew – all of them – and we cannot thank them enough for making our stay on their boat such a wonderful experience.
 
Suggestions for things to do or see…it would be great to actually have a gourd carving demonstration.  The gourds are wonderfully carved and we bought several. I (Betty) would have liked more deep-jungle hikes, but not sure the rest of the group would go for that.
 
We flew Copa airlines down, nice and roomy but flight staff cold and indifferent.  Food flying down was great, food flying home sucked.  I think if we could redo it, we would bypass going to Panama City.  We had no time in Panama to see anything.  But the main reason was when coming back through Panama to the US, we found that we could not buy Pisco at the airport in Lima without it be confiscated in Panama.  Maria Teresa advised us to wait to buy Pisco at the duty-free shops which turned out to be bad advice for us.  So we missed out on buying any Pisco, much to my dismay. 
 
I have traveled all my life and love adventurous destinations that are off most Americans’ radar.  Rick started traveling about 20 years ago.  Primitive and/or third-world vacations are taxing on the traveler, but so worth the effort. Comfort is what you to make it to be.
 
The literature you sent was informative and the list of animals/birds to see was always close at hand.  From our experience with this trip, we would suggest the following:
 
§         A high-powered flashlight for night viewing, not just one to get you to the bathroom
§         Exchange US dollars into Sols.  We had a very difficult time making purchases because although we believed our money to be in good condition, the Peruvians rejected every folded, creased or ever-so-slightly worn dollar.  It was very frustrating.  Sols are better.  When we wanted to change money in Lima, Maria Theresa said to only change a little because we could use dollars…we found Sols would have been a better choice.
§         And no more wanted to make exchanges of goods for goods.  Trinkets to hand out to children and school supplies to donate are one thing, but anything else was a waste.  In Africa, we were able to trade, but the Peruvians only wanted money.

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Susan M. - Amazon Jungle Safari & Amazon River Cruise

1. The best part of the trip were our guides, but they have their own section below, so I’ll focus on activities. The best part of the Jungle Safari . . . that’s a tough one. I really liked visiting the village to deliver school supplies. I also liked the Canopy Walkway, but I think what I liked most was just the feeling of being in the jungle, and the deeper we went, the better the feeling. ACTS was really a highlight, because we were the only ones staying there, and we were able to go on the walkway four times! Two daytime, one sunset, and one sunrise. I definitely enjoyed the activities on the jungle safari more than on the cruise, but I think that’s because a lot of the activities were repeats, and on the safari, there’d only been five of us, whereas on the cruise, there were more people. However, the Amatista crew was just so fantastic, I wish I could have combined them both. Having live music on the ship each evening was such a great way to unwind – the band was outstanding. The food at Explorama and on the ship was outstanding. I just think the safari felt more like going deep into the Amazon. However, on the Amatista, one of the highlights was when Hulber took us swimming in the . . . Ucayali??? Not sure of the name – in a black water tributary, while whole bunch of pink dolphins were swimming nearby. I hadn’t planned to go swimming – just take pictures. In the end, only about six of went, but I was one of them! Very neat!

2. I think that the trip was just about right length, but I could have gone straight back and done it all again. I really was not ready to leave.

3. The cost of the trip for the value was about right. When we saw the prices for Ceiba Tops and the Canopy Walkway and the Amatista, we were surprised at how little trip cost in comparison with separate pricing.

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was not being able to get out of the heat on the jungle safari. But I’d known it would be like that, so I brought many, many light-weight undershirts so that I could change my sweaty undershirt a couple times a day, while re-using the blouses (although even the blouses got drenched a number of times, too). After Celso mentioned he took 4 showers a day, I started doing the same, and it made a huge difference in keeping me cool and feeling fresh. I also brought a battery-powered, hand-held mini-fan/spritzer. That was very helpful. The other “worst” part was seeing so many scraggly and sick dogs in the streets. I’ve been to India and Egypt, so I’m used to it; but it’s still hard to see and something you might want to warn other travelers about.

5. The accommodations were great. It was a very good idea to start us off at the Explorama Lodge I, which was not so rustic, but still fairly so. Then we went to Napo and onto ACTS, both of which were much more rustic. But they fit perfectly the idea of what I’d wanted to experience. It was also nice that we were the only people at Napo and ACTS – kind of a special feeling. Ceiba Tops was, of course, exceptional – although I actually preferred the first 3 places we stayed, because they were more remote and had fewer people. The Amatista was very nice. It was certainly the most beautiful boat on the Amazon. I had been expecting something a little bigger room-wise, but it was still very nice. The dining area was great with that 180-view. And when we needed to cool off, the lecture room was a good gathering place. Explorama and Amatista had unbelievably good food – some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Very healthy and light. The Antigua in Lima and the El Dorado in Iquitos were both very nice hotels with excellent staff. Their food was nowhere near as good as Explorama or Amatista.

6. The airline(s) were fine. We flew COPA via Panama City into Lima. They were a little late opening their check-in counters, but once open, they moved pretty quickly. The planes definitely had more leg-room. The food going down was good. Coming back, so-so. LAN from Lima to Iquitos was fine. Short flight. I think I would have rather flown COPA directly into Iquitos. We did have a delay on the flight back, leaving Lima – but that was a mechanical problem with the aircraft. But the pilot made up the time, so we didn’t miss our connection.

7. The quality of the guides was unbelievable. Celso from Explorama, and Hulber and Juan Carlos from the Amatista were fantastic. Being that the Amazon is a pretty wild place, it was important to feel safe, and the guides really made sure that happened. I never felt in danger, even with boa constrictors crossing our paths at night, poisonous spiders in the bathroom, and tarantulas on the pathways. I also have to commend Celso at the ACTS Canopy Walkway. I have a terrible fear of heights, but I really wanted to do it. He stayed with me the entire time, so that I was actually able to do it TWICE during the day and go up halfway for the sunset. Others in our party went four times. All three guides were great when some of the travelers complained about this or that – they always remained professional, smiling, and friendly. They also knew how to make each traveler feel special, not just part of a big group. They knew their stuff and were uncanny when it came to finding things for us to see. Celso had 30 years of experience, and so he was much more – shall we say, calm and collected when leading us. Hulbur and Juan Carlos were like mini-Indiana Jones. They would go chasing stuff through the jungle, jumping off the boat with their machetes to hack through the grass. It was great!

8. I have travelled out of the USA over 20 times.

9. I would like trips that are about like this past trip with regard to adventurousness. It was a perfect combination. Nothing that felt dangerous or life-threatening, but lots of new and different things to see and try.

10. The pre-trip literature and information were good. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to know too much before I leave. I like to be surprised by things. I didn’t read everything that was sent until after the trip was over. Two things I would emphasize: Money. I know you mentioned bringing single dollars in good condition, but I think it’s important to bring singles in excellent condition or they get turned down. I think that’s something you might want to hammer home. Same thing for larger bills that might be used for guide tips. Raggedy $20s are no more welcome than raggedy $1s. And I would definitely suggest converting money into soles to buy stuff from the locals. That seemed to be much easier than trying to get change back. Second – the humidity. I’d heard from a number of people who’d travelled to Iquitos (they seemed to come out of the woodwork around here when I told them I was going there), and they all warned me about how heavy the air was, hard to breath, oppressive. I had fairly freaked myself out about that, to the point where I was dreading getting off the plane in Iquitos. Incredibly enough, I had no issues at all (my sinuses even did so good down there that I only needed half of the jugs of distilled water they got for me). I know some people might have that same concern, especially if they look on the internet and find all the warnings about it. Maybe it’s worse for people with lung conditions, but maybe somewhere in your literature, you could include something about how, despite what you may read or hear, it’s not likely you’ll experience difficulty breathing, barring some pre-existing condition. Not sure if you want to get that down in the weeds, but some reassurances might be nice. I was very concerned about it, and it turned out to be nothing.

11. The personal service provided by the office was excellent. Considering all my arrangements were last minute, you did a great job, and I think I may have enjoyed it the most of anyone else in my group!

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will always remember it as something special. The scenery and activities made it special, but the people made it something I am seriously considering doing again.

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as excellent.

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again? Yes

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future? Yes

OTHER COMMENTS: I had originally not intended to go on this trip, but when I saw the cruise fare had been cut in half, I decided to do it. I’m so glad I did. It really felt like going to another world, and the sense of isolation was fascinating when we were in Napo and ACTS. Again, while it was nice to see new things and have new experiences, I don’t think it would have been half as wonderful, had it not been for the guides and staffs . . . and the people we met along the way, in the villages, in the city (I got a private tour of the church towers in Iquitos when I went to Mass at St John the Baptist in the Town Square). Lastly, let me say that I did not get stung by a single mosquito until the last day in Lima (of all places). No injuries, no illness. I had one brief bout of Montezuma’s Revenge that lasted one morning. I think if you follow all the instructions about hygiene, clothing, insect spray, medicine and shots, and listen to the guide, you can get through the trip incident-free.

Thanks, Charlie. I had a wonderful time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be going back someday!

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Mary & John B. - Amazon River Cruise & Ceiba Tops

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were) La Amatista. Great for all of the action. Crew and guides were great. The amount of actual ground covered by the boat vs the available areas of the park seemed small...however we note that the dry season was upon us and many of the tributary's were nearly impassable

2. I think that the trip was:
b) just about right

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:
b) seemed about right. We could only have reduced trip cost through class of hotels, and we liked the choices made.

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
We were concerned about the climbing the high banks of the river to the various areas, during the La Amatista portion of our visit, we felt that there was little preparation for the danger of sliding, misstepping or falling. River banks being what they are

5. The accommodations were
better than expected. Cibatops felt lush but was a good choice for winding down and for photography.

6. The airline(s) were________
LAN rules the world.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)_
Robinson. Uber. Roldan Hidalgo. Cicelia ( in Lima) Great folks! _
I have to find emails for Cecelia, Robinson and Uber so I can send them pictures I promised. Can you help me with this?

I felt Robinson was a particularly sensitive guy, and a real asset to his company and a great representative of Peru. Cecelia was a fountain of knowledge, Uber was a hard working guy that loved his job, and Roldan a good and honest man, and very helpful to my understanding of the Peruvian culture from the Amazonian point of view.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:
a) over 20 times

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are:
a) more adventurous

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:
a) good Excellent materials.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
Anna does a great job. She can travel with us anywhere. Charlie...???

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:
consider it_as a launching point for more expeditions

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
we were focused on the experience. life is a vacation.

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?
Yes

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?
Yes 

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Janet & Bruce J. - Lima Mistura

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)____ Mistura

2. I think that the trip was: a) too long
b) just about right c) too short

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much
b) seemed about right c) seemed low

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
Not being able to speak the language to be able to communicate more with the people

5. The accommodations were_____
great

6. The airline(s) were___
NA—I did my own

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)____
All of the local guides were very good. I especially liked the one man who took us into the Mercado both at Mistura and the local market, buying products for us to try and explaining what they were.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:
a) over 20 times b)10-19 times c) 5-9 times d)2-4 times e) only this trip

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are: a) more adventurous b)more comfortable
c)about like this past trip

10. The pre-trip literature and information were: a) good b)adequate c)inadequate
(Comments)______
Very good and thoughtful. Could get better maps than Xeroxing them, however.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will: a)wish I had not done it b)always remember it as something special
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life d)
consider it__a once in a lifetime experience. We do not repeat too many places since there are so many destinations in the world to visit. We make the most of the experience while we are there the first time. ______________________________________

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
a)very good b) good
c)fair d)poor and inadequate

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?
YesXXX___ No___

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?
Yes_XX__ No___

OTHER COMMENTS__
It was great meeting you. By the way, Astrid y Gaston was fabulous and we had the wine/drink pairing which consisted of 12 different drinks (not all were wine). They then gave us a book of what we ate and drank which was personalized. We also got to go into the kitchen and meet the chef.
Also, I really loved the restaurant near the ruins in Lima. Maybe you could incorporate it into a group event for the future. Plus, the book you gave us was a really nice touch and opened our eyes with appreciation to the various Indian groups. It brought the entire trip into perspective.


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Glen M. - SierraQuest Costa Rica

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were) Francisco - hands down.  His expertice, warmth, and obvious love for his country and all it has to offer was wonderful.  He's a great ambassador for his country.  All of the places we visited were incredible, but it was Francisco that brought depth and meaning to all of them.   

2. I think that the trip was:   b) just about right  -
We left wanting more, but that's all the more reason to return some day to see even more. 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:  b) seemed about right   -
We were impressed with the quality of the accommodations and the variety of locations/environments that we were able to visit in such a short span of time.

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were) -
The long travel time to and from Costa Rica and the terrible disorganization in Houston on our return flight.  The fault is exclusively on United and US Customs/Border Patrol for the lack of instructions on how to get through the process smoothly and quickly.  

5. The accommodations were:
better than I had imagined.

6. The airline(s) were: Accommodating when we had an issue with one of our travellers.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name):  
Francisco Munoz-Lopez was outstanding.  It's difficult to say enough good things about him.  His level of education fit our group perfectly, he was warm, genuine, and had a great sense of humor.  Without a doubt it was Francisco that made this trip as special as it was.  We made a friend and we will be keeping in touch with him. 

8. I have travelled out of the USA:   b)10-19 times 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip 
I really enjoyed the fact that we mixed up rural/outdoor experiences with comfortable accommodations.  We got to experience the best of both worlds.

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a) good (Comments)
We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the accommodations, particularly since we travelled through some areas that didn't indicate what was waiting for us at the end of the road.  You might consider adding a checksheet for what to expect when coming through US Customs and trying to make connecting flights.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a) good (Comments)
Thank you for being available to help coordinate connecting with our missing adventurers when they weren't all able to make it in on the same day.  They caught up with us on the road and it all worked out.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   b)always remember it as something special 
We made a new friend in Francisco, gained a tremendous appreciation for what Costa Rica has to offer, and will relish the memories of a beautiful country and awesome people.  I've had more "adventure" but it's hard for me to recall a trip with more variety, hearty laughs, and beautiful scenery.  This was definitely a trip that I'll remember as something quite special.

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:   b) good 
Since much of the expense for the lodging and meals was included, the value was very good.  However, since the resorts cater to a higher end crowd it seemed like their prices for extras were a bit high.  Overall, I was pleased with the cost of the trip for the value recieved.  I hope that Miguel our driver and Francisco were adequately compensated for their services in addition to the tips we provided.

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes X

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes X

OTHER COMMENTS
Thanks for working with Dave to design a trip that fit our groups needs.  Dave and I were very pleased that you "got" us and picked the perfect variety of locations for us to visit.  Francisco also "got" us and was a perfect fit.

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Mary H. - Custom Andean Inca Exploration, Lima

1. The entire trip was so well organized.  It made for a stress-free holiday, no worries!  Also, our guide, Valentin, and driver, Victor,  in Cuzco were just fabulous!  Valentin was a wealth of knowledge about all the historical sites we visited, and the history involved.  He made the trip so very interesting, and fun!

2.  The length of trip was just right.

3.  The cost of the trip for the value was just right.

4.  The worst part of the trip was driving through Juliaco.

5  The accommodations were all mostly wonderful, especially the San Blas in Cuzco.  It is such a lovely boutique hotel conveniently located in the art district.  Good restaurants, shopping, historical sites, and the town center were all within walking distance.  The staff were so friendly and helpful.  The availability of the cocoa tea in the cozy lobby was great, and helpful in adapting to the altitude.  And, the absolute wonderful amenity was the presence of hot water bottles in our beds each night!  The amount of  warmth they provided throughout the night.

6.  The airlines were good, especially the LAN flights we'd booked for within Peru.

7.  The quality of guides:  Valentin in Cuzco was excellent.  He was so knowledgable and patient.  We not only learned a lot from Valentin, but we also enjoyed his company.  He's a very dedicated, professional,  and special person. Our guide in the Puno area was also very good.  In Lima, our guide Arturo, was absolutely fabulous as well.  He kept us smiling, and suggested some wonderful restaurants.  He was punctual and professional and fun.

8.  I've traveled out of the USA 10-19 times.

9.  I would like future trips about the same as this one.

10. The pre trip information was very good and helpful!

11. The personal service provided by the office was very good.  Response to questions, concerns was almost immediate.  Also, the agents, Daisy in Cuzco, and Theresa in Lima, were both so nice and helpful. They both made us feel "at home".  All of our questions and requests were taken care of by them, and in a  very timely fashion.

12.  When I look back on this Peru trip I will always remember it as a very special adventure.

13. As a vacation experience considering the value, and the expectation I will think of it as VERY GOOD!  

14.  I'd definitely travel again with Explorations, Inc.

15.  Yes, you can use me as a client reference.

Dear Charlie,
I can't say enough about how wonderful this trip was.  The itinerary, accommodations, guides, transportation, everything was just great!!!  It's the first time I've traveled with a planned itinerary and guides like this, and it made for such a relaxing way to travel.  You do such a great job, and make it worth the cost.  I have talked up this trip to friends and highly recommend Explorations, Inc. Thank you.

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Gina K. - Custom Andean Inca Exploration

2014 MP Gina K


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Dierdre L. - Custom Andean Inca Exploration, Lima

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were): It is hard to say what was best since it was so varied and all was excellent. The llama farm and weavers were memorable as were all of the Incan ruins and the gorgeous countryside. The train trip to Agua Calientes was fun and Cuzco will always be one of my favorite cities in the world. While certainly Machu Picchu was the highlight of the trip, to discount all of the other experiences in the Sacred Valley and Cuzco, would not be doing justice to the full experience.

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long  
b)JUST ABOUT RIGHT   c) too short         (Just about right)

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low  
 (Seemed about right)

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
Only bad part had nothing to do with Explorations, Inc. It was the problem with LAN Airlines on the way home and their lack of helpfulness. The trip itself exceeded expectations.

5. The accommodations
were lovely, although Monasterio gave us less than desireable rooms on the first stay (mine were right by the service elevator). When we returned from Machu Picchu we got rooms with a balcony which were what we expected. Nonetheless, the hotel was outstanding and we loved the continuity of returning there after Machu Picchu. The location in the San Blas district was great. Other guests told us the property next store now owned by the same chain is even better. You might want to check it out for future guests wanting a five star experience, but we were very satisfied with Monasterio--especially the bar area and fireplace where we had a libation before dinner each evening. It was a lovely way to end the day and meet other guests to share experiences. We were delighted we got into the Sanctuary Lodge since it made all the difference being able to maximize our time experiencing Machu Picchu. The Country Club Hotel was also lovely, although the damp, mildew smell throughout the rooms (not just my first one) initially put me off. I realize this may simply be due to the damper climate of Lima. If I were to return I think I would prefer to be in Miraflores closer to the shops and ocean. The Hotel Pakaritampu (sp.?) was a very good choice near the train station for the trip to Agua Calientes.

6. The airline(s) were:
American was fine, but LAN (internal flights within Peru also were fine), but they let me down on the return trip from Lima to Miami. Not only did the person at the ticket counter issue me another person's boarding pass which I and three security people failed to notice until I was already on the plane and it was about to take off, but afterwards they were not helpful and misplaced one of my bags in Miami that caused me to miss my connecting flight to Boston. It was a nice agent at the American Airlines ticket counter who ultimately helped me out.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)  
Maria Theresa, Luis, Daysi, Arturo were fantastic--always on time, helpful and flexible. We spent the most time with Luis in the Sacred Valley and Cuzco and he was wonderful (very knowledgeable about Incan culture and history and justifiably proud of his heritage). Viktor was the best of drivers. We felt we were in very safe hands on some pretty scary hairpin turn roads. The whole team deserves an A+ for the caliber of their service.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip  
(Over twenty times)

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip    
About like this last trip

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 

(Comments )
I very much enjoyed the CD on Peruvian cuisine. It literally whetted my appetite for what I was to experience and gave me a sense of excitement about experiencing the culture. All of the other information you sent was good, too. I did not have a lot of time to do much extra reading in advance because of my busy work schedule and the fact that I was transitioning to Martha's Vineyard for six months.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 

(Comments)
The personal service of Carlos' office was terrific. We could not have been treated with more kindness, thoughtfulness and care.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it    b)always remember it as something special 
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d) consider it________________________________________  
I will consider it one of the most memorable travel destinations I have ever visited. I wanted to see Machu Picchu but Cuzco was unforgettable and the people, crafts, culture and biodiversity of the country are spectacular.

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:   a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate  
Outstanding!

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes_X_ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes_X__  No___ 

16. What other travel destinations are you interested in?_Chile and Patagonia; Istanbul, Cinque Terra, Belize, Slovenia

OTHER COMMENTS:
Charlie: Thank you again for meeting with me and understanding why I could not undertake this trip initially until I had my hip replaced. I appreciated your kindness when I had to cancel the first time and have been impressed at how well you modified the initial itinerary with my friend Kay to adapt to Diana's and my schedules and interests. Many many thanks for a job well done!

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Judith M. - Amazon River Cruise & Andean Inca Exploration.

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)__meeting the local people - our guides, naturalists and other workers on riverboat and experiencing their culture, their lifestyles, and their appreciation of their country and region.

2. I think that the trip was:    
b) just about right   We had a little too much time allocated in Cusco itself.  We were there for four days, and that was a little long.  More time traveling in the sacred valley would have been a better use of our time there. 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:  
b) seemed about right   . I feel both parts of the trip were a bargain - great experiences for the money spent.

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were
Some of the pretrip information given was really out of date. IE, taking enough film for your camera.  NONE of the people who were supposed to meet us at various stops were ever the right people.  The people who did meet us were there, but it was never who was mentioned beforehand. 

5. The accommodations were:
Antigua Miraflores was very good choice in Lima.  The Dazzler was not - modern, but sterile, with no food service or bar in the hotel.  Casa San Blas in Cusco was very enjoyable, although our two rooms ( 206 and 212 were both very noisy as the only "windows" opened into the courtyard/stairway area that was also part of the lobby.  Pakaritampa was an enjoyable stop, with a nice setting and beautiful grounds.  El Mapi in Agua Calientes should NEVER be used as a hotel for about two years until they finish their renovations.  The hotel grounds, hallways, rooms were noisy, dirty with airborne concrete dust, we shared hallways with demolition workers and various debris.  It was NOT a good experience there.  Would suggest either staying up at Sanctuary Lodge for the night, or returning to Ollantaytambo for the evening.  Agua Calientes not worth the stay.
 
6. The airline(s) were as airlines are. 
Seat companion on Jet blue over was sneezing, coughing, blowing the whole trip, and I consequently came down with a cold, then bronchitis as a result.  Spent three days of vacation with chills, fever, and distress, and am still taking antibiotics trying to get rid of it.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)
Manuel Usca was outstanding for the Andes adventure. Would recommend his knowledge, enthusiasm for the area, and personality to anyone.  Arturo Rojas picked us up at airport, and we engaged him for a Lima tour All day Saturday.  He was knowledgable, helpful, and very inexpensive ($40 each for four hour tour of many parts of Lima) The naturalist guides Marcos and Luis on the Queen Violeta became part of our extended family.  Knowledgable, enthusiastic, both with a sense of humor, they made our river voyage very enjoyable, along with the working crew of the vessel.  As independent contractors, they all work on several boats at different times.  We highly recommend the Queen Violetta for now - the vessels age very quickly under the operating conditions of the Amazon rainforest!

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  
a) over 20 times  

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:       
 c)about like this past trip , but don't spare the comfort part!!

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  
Okay.
(Comments)

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  
a) good

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:  
b)always remember it as something special . Don't feel the need to revisit the area, as there are so many places around the world to visit.  It was enjoyable, but once was enough.
 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations,
I will think of it as a very enjoyable time, and a great value the time period we went.  Would recommend this time period for anyone, as wet season was about over, but water was very high, allowing skiffs to get back into little tributaries they could not navigate later in the season.
 
14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes__X_ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes_X__  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS: Carlos Milla was very helpful when we reached out to him.  We were able to change some rail tickets and our return trip to Cusco from Agua Calientes because of his help and ability to be flexible with our "ride" from Ollantaytambo back thru Sacred Valley to Cusco.  Geraldine, our G Adventures CEO was also very solicitous and helpful during our Amazon Adventure.

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Judith M. - Amazon River Cruise, Lima, Nazca

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)___(1) I really liked the Ballesta Islands (Poor Man's Galapagos) where we saw the many hundreds of sea lions and pups, and the National Reserve where we saw the beautiful desert coastline of Peru.  (2) visiting the Ica regional museum with the many mummies  (3) Visiting the villages in the Amazon, especially the school where the children sang for us and we gave them school supplies, and the delicious lunch we had in the home (built over water with stilts) of a local villager.  (4)  a impromptu visit along the Amazon bank to see fisherman, and then a visit to the home of a one of them who raises yucca and bananas.  We got to climb up the ladder into his home which is one room built on stilts, with just a hammock, a radio, a big machete and a small place to cook over charcoals.  (5) Having so many amazing travelers on the Amazon cruise, we really had a good time together.  And listening and dancing to the music of the "Chunky Monkeys", who are the naturalists and some of the staff was so much fun.  They used local instruments like the pan flute, and a box for a drum. _

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long    
b) just about right   c) too short   

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much  
b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low 

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)______
when flying over the Nazca Lines, the pilot kept doing constant deep dives/turns to the left and right with the plane and everyone was getting sick.  Evelyn was so sick she did not take any pics.  I had dry heaves twice, but managed to get a few pics.  It took us the rest of the afternoon in the hotel to recover from this.  I think they do not need to dive the plane so much.  If they flew some straight lines we would see just as well.  Or maybe they need to consider using helicopters?

5. The accommodations were__
all very nice.  It was interesting that the Antigua Miraflores had it windows open with no screens and there were no bugs.  Also the hotel is very well located.  We enjoyed easy walking to restaurants, shopping, money changer, parks, etc.  The staff was very nice.  They kept our suitcases for us while we were away for a few days and before going to the Dazzler Hotel.  The breakfast is good, the dark, strong coffee was very flavorable.   I liked that they provide free good water, you just fill up your water bottle.  The Dazzler was also very nice, more modern so a different feel, but more expensive (for water, coffee in the room, etc). It also has a good location.  There is a nice pool and excerice room on the top, but we were so busy we never used them.   Their breakfast is much more elaborate and is very good. _When I return in Oct I plan to use the Antigua for the price and location it suits my needs.

6. The airline(s) were__
I used COPA with my United FF miles.  They were very good.  We did have on problem/mixup with the suitcases when we arrived at IAD.  It seems that IAD is doing some new construction (a new area) and our suitcases where sent to the other area.  There was some argument between the COPA rep and the guards, but it was finally sorted out and the luggage was brought to the new area.  It took an extra 45 minutes to get it sorted out, which was very early in the am, plus we had to carry our suitcases a very long ways and up and down escalators which was an accident waiting to happen (I would say that this is IAD fault not COPA).  

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)___
Bratzo was excellent.  He is starting his own company.  Geraldine Coll from GAdventures was excellent, as were both Louis and Marcos who were the naturalists on the Amazon cruise.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  
a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable  
 c)about like this past trip 

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_
I thought they were excellent.  I liked all the info that you (Charlie) provided, plus the maps with highlights for the hotels, and the Amazon cruise area, were a nice touch.  Being a map person I really appreciated that.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)__
I would say very good.  I was free to contact at any time via email or phone.  Answers were always provided quickly, and useful suggestions (like shoes, clothes, sights, etc) were provided.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it  
 b)always remember it as something special 
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d)consider it________________________________________ 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes (most definitely)___ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?
 Yes  x___  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS___
Charlie, It has been a pleasure working with you and getting to know you.  Thank you for providing a very interesting trip.  By the way, Bratzo says hello and remembered many good times with you.

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Evelyn B. - Amazon River Cruise, Lima, Nazca

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)_Not sure I can answer this-enjoyed all of it except Nasca lines tho probably enjoyed the Amazon portion more-never realized the amount of water that we would see-truly amazing-and liked the varied bird life there. The one land based jungle walk we had was interesting too and local guide Segundo very simpatico.__Lunch with local family very tasty and interesting.  Shaman truly creepy - looked more like a bruja - but interesting too._enjoyed the skiff rides too._Other travellers an interesting mix of people and mostly pretty well travelled.

2. I think that the trip was: 
 b) just about right  

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:
b) seemed about right  
 
4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
holding the barf bag while trying to see the Nasca lines and I had taken drammamine, chewed ginger and eaten bread.  Wished there had been more land based walks but realize there isn't much land during wet season and with the racket we made I guess everything would have fled anyway.  There was a mix up in assigning rooms on the ship and we ended up in one of the upper deck cabins which was very nice.  When the mistake was discovered we had to pack everything up again in about 15 minutes  before one of the skiff rides so they could move us during the ride.  We came back and hadn't been moved after all and when they did we ended up in the cabin of the one woman who turned off the AC  so it was very hot initially.  4 cabins were changed - like musical beds abit.  Seemed to be blamed on someone in Lima  screwing up.
Also chewed up by black flies on the skiff that seemed impervious to insect repellant tho it seemed to work pretty well for mosquitoes.


5. The accommodations were good -
much preferred the Antigua Miraflores which had more ambiente, a bar and good restaurant, friendly staff and free drinking water. Dazzler nice too -girl at front desk really helpful, more modern and did have fridge but restaurant would have been nice- didn't have time for pool or gym which I guess are added plusses.  Queen Violetta was nice too tho the bathroom was so small the door had a wedge cut out of it so you could get it past the sink. 


6. The airline(s)
were fine tho the pilots of the Nasca plane could probably make it less_swervy if they really wanted to.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)_
really good. The 2 naturalists (Luis and Marcos) for the Amazon portion really seemed to know their stuff .  Really liked Marcos, the more serious of the 2_who really seemed to know every bird.  They were great at spotting stuff we could hardly see._Bratsko also very pleasant and knowledgeable about the Paracas area._

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  
a) over 20 times  

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:       
c)about like this past trip 

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  
a) good(Comments)The literature you sent was really interesting and good to know before hand - maps helpful also.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  
a) good (Comments)_thanks for all your help and advice.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:  
 b)always remember it as something special 
 
13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
a)very good  

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes__x_

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes__x_  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS___
Glad I found Judy.  There was a single woman on trip who had signed up for roommate but didn't get one.  She was nice enuf but turned off the cabin air conditioning on the boat and always wore a jacket.  I would have died sharing with her!  Kind of reinforced my inclination to pay the single supplement.___People, esp. birders,  should be advised to bring really good binoculars even if they take up space.  I brought a small pair but they weren't that useful. Several people brought really sophisticated cameras - super zoom lenses etc and got beautiful pictures of birds we could hardly see.

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M/M Lundstom - Costa Rica Fun & Sun Tour

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)_ The forest, the various boat excursions , the food,the native people we met, the food, the other travelers, the food, the drivers,the guides, and the food

2. I think that the trip was: a) too long
b) just about right c) too short
Maybe another version of this tour could have an extra day added on at various spots.

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much
b) seemed about right c) seemed low

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)____ _
I think the trip to Eco Termales would have been better in the day time to appreciate the beauty more. Also because we had thermal waters at Arenal Springs and had to get up at 5 am the next day going pack to the hotel after the walk would have ok.

5. The accommodations were_______
Great. Arenal Springs was my favorite room. Lacuna Lodge's rooms were a little spartan but the food, the boat trips, the guide Yuri, and the staff were wonderful

6. The airline(s) were__
Ok. I thought that the San Jose airport was very efficient.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)___
Manfred from Calypso Cruise was great. He and the crew worked so hard all day and made every one feel right at home. I liked the fact that they used real plates and silver ware so very little was thrown away. When the pick up at Puntarenas was a little late Manfred called the driver and waited with us until the driver arrived. The driver to Monteverde was very good too.__ Yuri at the Lacuna Lodge was very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna. He worked very hard too.

8. I have travelled out of the USA: a) over 20 times
b)10-19 times c) 5-9 times d)2-4 times e) only this trip

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are: a) more adventurous b)more comfortable c)about like this past trip
Between a and c

10. The pre-trip literature and information were: a) good b)adequate c)inadequate
(Comments)______________a
I did think we were going to get closer to the to top of the volcano.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate
(Comments)___
As I mentioned before the guides and the drivers were great.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will: a)wish I had not done it b)always remember it as something special
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life d)consider it
a very enjoyable experience

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
a)very good b) good
c)fair d)poor and inadequate

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?
Yes_x__ No___

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?
Yes_x__ No___

OTHER COMMENTS________
This was the first trip where I did not do all the planning and driving myself, even in second world countries. I think I could get used to being picked up and driven around.

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M/M Plagerman - Amazon River Cruise on the Queen Violeta

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)_being able to go with family. I enjoyed the canoeing, swimming, fishing for piranha, and the night excursion, the food was excellent. Just the thought of being on the Amazon River and in the Rainforest was amazing.

2. I think that the trip was:
b) just about right

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:
b) seemed about right

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)__
I didn't realize it was going to be major bird watching. Maybe it was because some of the other guests were avid bird watchers, but it got a little tiring. And getting up early every morning (I'm not a morning person). Living in Alaska we have the wild right outside our front door. So we were hoping for close up animal encounters. Also, being the youngest guests might have attributed to some of the dullness (everyone went to bed by 8:30).

5. The accommodations were_
very comfortable

6. The airline(s) were
_as expected

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)___
Luis and Victor were very knowledgeable and helpful. I liked that every day they went through the schedule and specifically told us what to bring and how to dress on each excursion. I am the type who likes to have a plan and have it all laid out. Renzo was so kind and was willing to meet all of our requests.

8. I have travelled out of the USA:
d)2-4 times

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are:
a) more adventurous

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:
a) good
(Comments)___Maybe mention about all the bird watching (maybe it was just the other guests we were with). And if you don't have good equipment (binoculars or long lense cameras) you won't see much.

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
a) good
(Comments)__Scott and I didn't deal with the office to much, except to get all our paperwork in. I know my parents and Rhonda and Leroy thoroughly enjoyed working with Charlie and thought he was fantastic and so helpful.

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:
b)always remember it as something special

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
a)very good

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?
Yes

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?
Yes

OTHER COMMENTS__
Thank you for all your help planning this trip for my parents anniversary. Besides them missing the boat, we had no issues and everything was very comfortable and enjoyable. I would and will highly recommend and Explorations Inc. to anyone who might be planning a trip.

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M/M Ewing - Amazon River Cruise on the Queen Violeta

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were) : The surprising quality of the boat—rooms, beds, bath, overall layout, food, extraordinary service.
 
2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long     b) just about right   c) too short: 
B.  Fortunately the terra firma and “poison dart frog” walk got included at the last minute, otherwise the trip would have been a total bust.  J  With that included, we saw everything we wanted to see in the time allotted without feeling too rushed.  It fit our travel style of “hit it hard while you’re here” without being exhausting.  The walks and stairs weren’t any problem at all.
 
3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low:
Can we just say it was a very good value?  It let us be reasonably generous with our tips.  There is no such thing as “too low.”  We have noticed on other tours that it is the deluxe cabins which sell out the quickest, for the highest prices (to people for whom money is no object), and that the low cost cabins are very sensitive to price.   If the price isn’t right, most people (like us), for whom money IS an object,  just don’t go.
 
4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were) 
I can’t find fault with anything, in relative terms.  The pluses so far outweighed the few minuses.  I have complained to G Adventures that I thought their CEO was a bit “preachy” about the natives—a concern I share—and that mealtimes were sometimes later than a diabetic like me is supposed to allow, but no problem on either score.  I did suggest that they post the menu before or after meals, because sometimes we were curious.  The food was good, whatever it was.  The engine/generator noise in the dining room bordered on intolerable, but was OK in the cabins.
 
5. The accommodations were:
Superb, considering.  Better than the hotel in Lima, I think.  The little decorative towel-folding every day was really special.
 
6. The airline(s):  were: run by thieves. 
Service good enough, but somebody stole my e-reader and worse, the charger for my camera!  I had to do the whole week’s photography on one battery charge, when I would normally use 1 per day.
 
7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)
Victor was AMAZING!  He could spot wildlife from ½ km away, and identify birds that some of couldn’t even find with binoculars.  We all laughed at his rampant enthusiasm and at his catchphrase “take a picture, my friends.”    
 
8. I have travelled out of the USA:  a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip: 
C.  Europe, China, Chile
 
9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip :  
This turned out about right.  No shortage of adventure in our surroundings, but we never worried about the natives or the wildlife, or that we would miss a meal. 
 
10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments) more than adequate, though on a few points self-contradictory.
 
11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)
Excellent.  Thank you so much for the infinite patience and prompt and helpful responses through this tortuous process.  After the first two trips “came apart” I think we actually ended up on the best one!
 
12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it    b)always remember it as something special 
c) consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d) consider it:
The latest item off the bucket list, and a shining time.  Great memories until the next trip, at the least.
 
13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:   a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate: 
a- everything we expected, and that was a lot.
 
14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  Yes___
So long as you are going where I want to go, when I want to go, and for a price reasonably close to what I am willing to pay.  And with you doing more of the work that I would otherwise have to do for myself.   
 
15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes_X__  No___ 

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Steve M. Custom Peru itinerary

Sorry, but we just haven't taken the time to write a proper review.  The bottom line is all four of us had a great time.  The places we stayed, the sights you helped plan, the folks that transported us from place to place and showed us around were awesome.  If you ever need a positive review from a group that thought a planned package was not for them, we are your go to family.  I'll try and get to trip advisor and do just that.   We've been telling all our friends that if they are going to Peru, you are the guy to contact.  We will try and fill in your critique below when time catches us.
Thanks a million, Steve and family


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Patricia F. & Christine C. Costa Rica Rainforest Canopy tour

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)__All tours were great.

2. I think that the trip was:     b)
just about right  

3. The cost of the trip for the value was:  
b) seemed about right 
 
4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)_________________________________________________________________

5. The accommodations were__
great. Monteverde lodging was beautiful. Food at Jaco beach was very good. Nice helpful staff at all.

6. The airline(s)

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)___
First tour on tram Jimenez was great, fun and very knowledgable.  All others were very helpful and fun

8. I have travelled out of the USA:    b)10-19 times   mexico

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      
c)about like this past trip - the hills and the last zip line were a little tough, wouldn't have made it if we were in any worse shape

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a)
good (Comments)___very helpful

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a)
good

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:  
b)always remember it as something special 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
a)very good    
 
14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes__x_ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes_x__  No___ 

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Sharon G. Amazon Jungle Safari

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)__t
he day and night walks/canoe trips, canopy walk, Xmas eve dinner of pasta and piranha

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long     
XX b) just about right   c) too short 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much  
XX b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low 

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)__________
_no worst part, maybe not having electricity, but that's just because we're spoiled. _____also the flight back was long, but not your problem/fault .  A couple of late pickups that made me nervous, especially going back to the airport, but it worked out. 
 

5. The accommodations were___
most interesting, fun, basic, but clean and totally acceptable.  Always interesting to go to the latrine at 2am in the jungle

6. The airline(s) were_  fine. 
Do hate Lima airport tho - not your problem

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)___R
oldan
TERRIFIC, I would follow him in the jungle anywhere.  Always felt he was in control of any situation, knowledgeable, friendly, great English, funny, and can catch piranha

8. I have travelled out of the USA: 
XX a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable   
XX c)about like this past trip - this was fine, night walks in the jungle is pretty adventurous, in addition to those 2am walks to the latrine!

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  
XX a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_______________________________

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  
XX a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_______________________________

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it  
XX b)always remember it as something special 
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d)consider it________________________________________ 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
XX a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes_X__ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes__X_  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS____
_In general a terrific trip, might consider a different part of the Amazon at some point, but many places I haven't been yet, so those are first.  Eye opening, and more than I imagined.  The camps were good, I would bring more batteries next time and flashlights, but other than that, a great time.  Thanks for your help.  You had cautioned me that I might be the only one in the camps, and I was at the first two, which was FABULOUS!  Quiet walks in the jungle without yapping tourists.  Pasta and piranha for Xmas eve dinner, and a walk in the canopy on Xmas day - what is better than that!?

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Dee L. Amazon Jungle Safari and Andean Inca Exploration

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)_
It was a customized trip just for the four of us at extremely reasonable prices.  We were not put in with another large group.  Also every request that we made happened...the best was
the trip to the reserve to see the anacondas.  Everything WORKED, no problems.  Great guides. I would have like to spend a day in Iquitos....looks like a very interesting place---although did not like the hotel in Iquitos---too modern, no character and
hotel personnel were not very friendly or helpful.  I had been to Machu Pichu and environs before, but the trip through the sacred valley was superior.  We stopped at many different places that when i was there before


2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long   
XXX  b) just about right   c) too short

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   b) seemed about right  
XXXX c)  seemed low

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
The worst part was the trip to Machu Pichu in that we took the first first train there and the last train out. It was a cold and rainy day and we would have like to change our tickets to an earlier train out but could not.
You may not be able to do anything about this because all trains were full.  To me it was just too long of a day.  The other worst part was that we bought a REAL blow gun and darts and carrier from the second place we stayed and they took it at Lima
and I really wanted it.


5. The accommodations were  
EXCELLENT

6. The airline(s) were
EXCELLENT

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)
BASILLIO AND VALENTINE WERE AWESOME GUIDES.  Basillio was extremely responsive to our needs and knew so much about the rain forest.  Valentine was also extremely knowledgeable about
the Incas and he had so much HEART for his people. I was so impressed that he bought many large rolls to give out to his people when going through the Sacred Valley.


8. I have travelled out of the USA:
XXX a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.}
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable   
XXX c)about like this past trip

10. The personal service provided by the office was:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate
(Comments)_None of the above..
EXCELLENT.  I believe that Charlie got back to us immediately (important to me) and he accomodated us on every request.  It was great to work with him.  I have already recommended him and Explorations to friends of mine who may do this trip Next December or January

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Tom R. Custom Costa Rica tour


1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were): visiting various parts of the country, gaining a little insight into the lay of the land and meeting/hooking-up with people on the various activities.  Best specific activities were zip lining, lying on the beach at Manuel Antonio and the chocolate wrap at the 5 star spa

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long    
b) just about right   c) too short 
 
3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low seemed about right with a slight lean toward being a bit more expensive than the overall value

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were): the long van rides especially the first day tour

5. The accommodations were: Accommodations themselves were pretty decent except they were located for the most part away from town requiring somewhat expensive cab rides to get any place.  The location of the lodge at Puerto Viejo was especially disappointing.  Lodge itself was great (although dinners were way over-priced) but it was far from the beach (mediocre beach at that compared to others in the area) and was 4 miles from town.  I had really wanted for my last stop to be able to see/hear the water and walk around the local town. 
 
6. The airline(s) were: Okay

7. The guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name): A couple of good ones, a couple of mediocre ones:  Best one was the one for Cano Negro river tour I booked out of the Lodge at Arenal; Guide who did the first day tour to Cartago, Irazu Volcano and boat ride on the Sarapiqui and the guide (Carlos) at Tortuguero were pretty weak; Others were easily forgettable.
 
8. I have travelled out of the USA:  a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 

I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip 
 
10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
 
11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   Costa Rica is an interesting place, a bit over priced and worth a couple of weeks.  It would not make one of my top tiers of countries that I would want to visit again. 
 
13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:   a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 
 
 
14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  Yes___ No___ 
 
 
15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  Yes___  No___ 
 


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Rebecca C. Costa Rica Getaway tour

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)___overnight in Sarapiqui (Los Viejos).  We had confidence that we would be picked up on time...quality of hotels exceeded

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long    
b) just about right   c) too short 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low 
Seemed about right except for being overcharged for the Balmoral to extend.

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)___
the misunderstanding about Tabacon dinner and thermal springs.  

5. The accommodations were___
wonderful!___La Mariposa ocean view was so great!___Appreciated the beach shuttle.

6. The airline(s) were___
as expected

7. The guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)_
Tortuguero Gerardo very good!  Improvement would be to meet early at the dock to discuss sea turtles as it was too long to stand at the beach.  Curi Cancha Melvin was outstanding!  Arenal can't remember the guie's name but he was the worst.  The hike was too strenuous for the speed he went.  He was very inconsiderate of the group and went at breakneck speed. _Manuel Antonio Andre was very good.
 

8. I have travelled out of the USA:  a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip
 
over 20 times...lived outside the US for 10 years.

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 

I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip 

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 

(Comments)_c needed more guidance for tipping and footwear for hikes at each site_mention that the electrical plugs are the same so no converter is needed. 

11. The personal service provided by the office was: 
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it    b)always remember it as something special 

c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d)consider it___fabulous! 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  Yes_x__ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  Yes___ 
No_x__ 

OTHER COMMENTS_
Sarapiqui:  advertise the chocolate tour as it was an easy hike and great value.  Arenal:  hot springs would have been more enjoyable if by day...treacherous not to be able to see the bottom.  Monteverde:  mention the women's co-op near Curi Cancha, great handicrafts and lunch at "Grandma's" kitchen.  Encourage night tour.  We did Santa Maria and loved it!  Selvatura was NOT a guided tour as in itinerary. We think it would be better to include all the options as they were well worth it and would have been less expensive.  Include that drive is on gravel roads.__Better if no Sunday transfers back to San Jose.  Guillermo drove too fast and this was the only time I felt unsafe.(Interbus). Encourage take swimwear to Manuel Antonio.____Also, there was no "visit" to the banana processing plant....it was a drive by. 

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Alice B, family of 4. Amazon Jungle Safari and custom Peru itinerary

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)__
The trip to the Canopy Walk, spending time with Bascilio, our guide and generally just being there. The folks who managed our time in Cuzsco and Machu Picchu were very thoughtful and careful of Dee who had more trouble with her health than we expected.  They were very kind.

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long     b) just about right   c) too short 
We probably tried to do too much in 2 weeks.  The day at Machu Picchu also was too long--but it might have been easier/better had it not rained so much.   But, I wouldn't trade a minute. 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low 
The cost seemed expensive when it was quoted to us, but in retrospect, I believe we received good value.

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)
I loved it.  Not everyone else was as enthusiastic.

5. The accommodations were___
I loved the Explorama Lodges.  The Rumi Punku Hotel was charming and the early a.m. breakfast was great.  The least liked hotel was the one we stayed at when we went to see the Nasca Lines.  It was elaborate but no 'personality; ' we liked the Rumi Punku or the Mira Flores MUCH better. 

6. The airline(s) were_______
just fine.

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)____
Bascilio was the best.  Bratzo seemed to lack interest.  Valentin was most knowledgeable and intense; but maybe a little too controlling.  But, he did well.  Reuben (Machu Picchu) was sweet, but stiff and I felt he could hardly wait to go home.  I guess that's o.k.  It was Christmas Day. 

8. I have travelled out of the USA:
 a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      
a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip 
However, I like to travel
a la carte; i.e., on my own without a guide. But, I was with colleagues who needed/wanted the guides.  I must admit, I think I learned more with the guides than I would have had I been traveling independently. 
10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
 a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it    b)always remember it as something special 
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life  
d)consider it__quite excellent.  Glad I did it.______________________________________ 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
  a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes___ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes___  No___ 

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Sharon G. Amazon Jungle Safari

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were)__the day and night walks/canoe trips, canopy walk, Xmas eve dinner of pasta and piranha

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long  
b) just about right   c) too short 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much  
b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low 

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were)___________
no worst part, maybe not having electricity, but that's just because we're spoiled. _____also the flight back was long, but not your problem/fault .  A couple of late pickups that made me nervous, especially going back to the airport, but it worked out. 
 
5. The accommodations were___
most interesting, fun, basic, but clean and totally acceptable.  Always interesting to go to the latrine at 2am in the jungle

6. The airline(s) were_ 
fine.  Do hate Lima airport tho - not your problem

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name)___
Roldan TERRIFIC, I would follow him in the jungle anywhere.  Always felt he was in control of any situation, knowledgeable, friendly, great English, funny, and can catch piranha
 
8. I have travelled out of the USA:  
a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times   c) 5-9 times  d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    
c)about like this past trip - this was fine, night walks in the jungle is pretty adventurous, in addition to those 2am walks to the latrine!

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 

11. The personal service provided by the office was:
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 


12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it  
 b)always remember it as something special c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d)consider it________________________________________ 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:
a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes_X__ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes__X_  No___ 

OTHER COMMENTS_____
In general a terrific trip, might consider a different part of the Amazon at some point, but many places I haven't been yet, so those are first.  Eye opening, and more than I imagined.  The camps were good, I would bring more batteries next time and flashlights, but other than that, a great time.  Thanks for your help.  You had cautioned me that I might be the only one in the camps, and I was at the first two, which was FABULOUS!  Quiet walks in the jungle without yapping tourists.  Pasta and piranha for Xmas eve dinner, and a walk in the canopy on Xmas day - what is better than that!?

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Lori T. Amazon Jungle Safari and Peru Mistura

It was such a pleasure meeting you both! It was great to have your expertise and good company on this trip.
 
It only took a few days for real life to swamp the lovely “vacation detachment” I experienced in Peru, but I am still going through photos and journals and can relive the good moments that way. I want to thank you for putting together such a good travel experience. The feedback you requested is below.
 
Looking forward to the photo DVD; in the mean time I thought you both might enjoy the shot I got of that cute little baby llama we saw at the observatory.
 
Also, I will likely be attending the Camelid Conference this January, and last time there was a vendor that sold the alpaca socks you admired so much. Would you like me to send you his name and contact info if he is there? (these really are the best socks in the world; and although mine are far from worn out even after 2 years, I plan to get more ;-) ).
 
Below 
1.      The best part(s) of the trip was(were)_____the small size of the group and the access to sites and experiences that would not have been possible had I been on my own; how all the details worked out without effort (guides waiting at airports, busses arriving on time for transport; reservations honored, checkin for flights accomplished – everyone in the right place at the right time) and never being left to worry that something was forgotten, and that I would have a problem to solve. All details were thought of and considered, like the extra computer and the cell phones (even if they never seemed to work..!) Your company made it easier to travel to this unknown destination than I could have thought possible. Thank you!
 
2. I think that the trip was  b) just about right  
 
3. The cost of the trip for the value was:
b) seemed about right  
 
4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were) t
he nighttime journeys to the pit toilets; and being the only guest at the lodge in the Amazon on a couple of the nights
 
5. The accommodations were –
Expectedly rustic in the Amazon, Ceiba tops being a nice surprise; lovely but chilly in Cuzco; better than expected in Puerto Maldonado; and fabulous in Oyantytambo
 
6. The airline(s) were 
On time, efficient

7. The quality of the guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name )
All excellent: Renillo in the Amazon, Maria in Lima, Valentine in Cuzco, and Leny in Puerto Maldonado
 
8. I have travelled out of the USA:
c) 5-9 times  
 
9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    c)about like this past trip 
Tough choice! I am always up for adventure, but I sure could get spoiled by the comfort as experienced on this trip.
 
10. The pre-trip literature and information were:
 a) very good

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  a)
good
(Comments)____excellent service; it was a key factor in my decision to book with this company in the first place. Emails were responded to in excellent time, information was prompt and thorough; the agent who helped book my flights within Peru was helpful and patient. An ideal first contact experience.
 
12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:      
b)always remember it as something special  
 
13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:  
a)very good    
 
14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  
Yes__x_ No___ 
 
15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  
Yes_x__  No___ 
 
OTHER COMMENTS__
This was a wonderful first experience in using a travel company to plan a trip. It could make me a believer! The quality of the trip and the experiences, the people met, in addition to the very little I had to work to put it together myself, could make me try this path again in future!

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Robyn F. Andean Inca Exploration

I haven't forgotten you how could I with such a wonderful trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When you get caught up, we would love to hear what you thought about  
the trip!
Thanks, Charlie

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Ernie L. Amazon Tapiche Cruise

> 1. The best part(s) of the trip was difficult to say - the entire experience was great 
> 2. I think that the trip was:
b) just about right 
> 3. The cost of the trip for the value was:
b) seemed about right
> 4. The worst part(s) of the trip was (were)_
I caught a bit of a bug just before I left 
> 5. The accommodations were _
perfectly acceptable 
> 6. The airline(s) were _
perfectly acceptable 
> 7. The guide(s) were
excellent
> 8. I have travelled out of the USA: 
b)10-19
> 9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} I would like trips that are:
c)about like this past trip
>10. The pre-trip literature and information were: a) good 
>11. The personal service provided by the office was:
a) VERY good
> 12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will: b)always remember it as something special
> 13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as: a)very good  
>14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?
Yes___>
> 15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?
YES

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Elyse Z. Amazon Jungle Safari and Andean Inca Exploration

1. The best part(s) of the trip was(were):  The rainforest part.  Absolutely!
  Favorite things there:  my guide (Willy), swimming in the Amazon and Napo Rivers, being on a boat in the Amazon, night hikes, the rainforest

2. I think that the trip was:  a) too long    
 b) just about right   c) too short 

3. The cost of the trip for the value was: a) too much   
b) seemed about right   c)  seemed low (obviously it would be great if it were cheaper!!)  Wasn't expecting airfare to be so high...

4. The worst part(s) of the trip was(were):
Not a bad thing, but knowing what I know now, I would have rather swapped the last free day in Cusco for another day in the Amazon.  Also, I didn't get to hike Huana Picchu, because there were no more tickets.  :-(

5. The accommodations were: 
great.  Casa San Blas was cold, but Cusco was cold.  I wasn't expecting it to be so cold.  But quite lovely.  Everywhere I stayed was very nice.  I appreciated that there was wifi and drinking water for free at most of them.  

6. The airline(s) were: 
LAN was fine.  the times that I flew I don't think I'd do again, as I had huge layovers in Miami both times, and flew in and out of Lima around midnight.  I always had a window seat, which I loved!!
 
7. The guide(s) were (please refer to guides by name): 
I always had amazing guides.  Travelling alone, I was kindof worried about being alone (I don't do that often), but everyone was so nice and helpful, and always made me feel safe and included in things.  In order of amazing-ness, Willy was my guide during my stay in the Amazon with Explorama.  He was so knowledgeable, approachable, and put up with me the entire time!  He was willing to do extra things with me (night hikes to look for snakes, go to the market in Manac), and I felt safe and informed at all times.  He was super knowledgeable and passionate, and loves his job (you could tell!)  Everyone with Explorama was really friendly and great, and the bartenders (Anderson and Arturo) both helped me learn more Spanish quite patiently.  In Cusco, Valentine was my guide, and he was incredible too.  We just didn't get as close, since we were only together for 2 days.  He is of Quechuan descent, which was awesome, because he had a true insight into the culture.  He knew a lot about a lot, and was always willing to share what he knew.  You could tell he has a real passion for what he does.  I wish he could have come to Machu Picchu with me!  My Machu Picchu guide was Jaimie, from Pacifico.  He was a good guide too, and on the second day we hiked to the sun gate together (because there were no more tickets to Huana Picchu).  He was the quietest of all of my guides, and we spent the least time together, but he was a fine guide.  
 
8. I have travelled out of the USA:  a) over 20 times   b)10-19 times  
 c) 5-9 times (not really counting driving up to Canada...that hardly counts)   d)2-4 times  e) only this trip 

9. {We are constantly assessing the degree of adventure versus the degree of comfort as we travel into rural/nature areas.} 
I would like trips that are:      a) more adventurous      b)more comfortable    
c)about like this past trip (I liked the rustic-ness of the Explorama lodges, which I thought were completely appropriate for the Amazon.  Ceiba Tops lodge was actually my least favorite and I loved Napo!!  But for city travel, I do like nice hotels, like the ones I stayed at in Cusco and surrounding area)  I did more adventurous when I was younger, and didn't have a kid to come home to...

10. The pre-trip literature and information were:  
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments) A lot of the books on the book list seem to be out of print though :-(  And 
Last of the Incas should be on there.  Great book!

11. The personal service provided by the office was:  
a) good b)adequate c)inadequate 
(Comments)_________________________________________________________________________________ 

12. As a life experience, when I think back on it, I will:   a)wish I had not done it    
b)always remember it as something special  (it was amazing - my favorite trip ever!!)
c)consider it the most adventurous time of my life   d)consider it________________________________________ 

13. As a vacation experience, considering the value, and the expectations, I will think of it as:   
a)very good     b) good 
c)fair   d)poor and inadequate 

14. Would you travel with Explorations Inc. again?  Yes _X_ No___ 

15. Is it OK to list you as a client reference in the future?  Yes_X_  No___ 

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Dallas R. Amazon Jungle Safari and Andean Inca Exploration

DRevord1
DRevord2

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