about Ecuador 2010 - Present
Comments posted here are editorial in nature, are the views of the people who wrote them, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the management and
owner of LARC - Latin America Reservation Center, Inc. ® - which
accepts no responsibility for their contents.
June 25, 2014
La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa
- Blog and Photos by Ashley Rogers
- (Originally Published: June 10, 2014)
There’s very few boutique hotels
in the world where one can say they truly experienced first-class
elegance. But recently, Michel Blanchard and I had the distinct
honor and pleasure of doing just that, when we checked into the
ultra luxurious La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa for two days of
[ Originally published at
http://ecuadoratyourservice.com/author/admin/ - reposted here
with permission of the author. ]
|April 01, 2014
Bueno, mi querida
Saludos y abrazos
te manda Macario. La Pinta... fenomenal! love it!!!! los
hikes y el snorkeling son un poquito fuertes but worthwhile!
Want to go back
for the long itinerary. Los guides buenisimos. La cabina
perfecta! Acabamos de terminar de cenar en La Mirage... just
when you think it couldn't get any better.... La Mirage is the
cherry on the sundae! El Sr. Colemere esta in heaven!!!!! The
driver and guide, Antonio and Rafael... fantastico!!!! Despues
te cuento!! I am tired and I am going to enjoy the fireplace
:) Gracias un millon por todo! Another dream vacation thanks
Besos y abrazos!
names withheld in compliance
January 17, 2014
We returned from
Ecuador on Sunday evening.
After we left the Hilton in Quito, we spent 8 days in the
We had a wonderful time and appreciate your excellent service.
If you provide other travel-related services, we would certainly get
in touch when the occasion arises, so let me know.
Thanks for everything,
names withheld in compliance
December 28, 2013
Arrived back in KS this
afternoon, all 6 of us healthy and happy. The upper Amazon,
the Galapagos, and Quito were all simply highlights, each the best
in their own way. The combo was a kind of delicious sweet/sour
The jungle itself was much like Blue Creek site in rain forest
Belize, but the addition of the Sacha Lodge was delicious. I
have a real good hypothalamic feeling about jungle, so this was like
coming back home. The guides, mostly indigenes, that took us
around were simply superb: friendly, knowledgeable, energetic, yet
patient with tenderfeet. There was a nice mix of hiking and
boat travel. Views from the two towers, lifting us above the canopy,
were inspiring. Food was excellent. We felt like we left
Miguel, who you had mentioned,
turned his Quito guide duties over to Jon Paul, a very intelligent,
low key, good humored guy, with stateside time in DC, and other
places. We did go the the restaurant you recommended. It was the
beginning of "Quito Days", and it was full of celebrating folks.
We were serenaded by a quartette musicians, and heard lots of
singing on the main floor. Gail did find some nice things at
the Mercato. Jon Paul spent more than his share of hours with
us on the "half day trip" around the Old Town and the 00:00 line.
Jon Paul arranged for us to cancel our last nite at the hotel, due
to an airline glitch having us change planes in Guayaquil, coming
from Galapagos. The plane switch got our baggage lost, including
several hours of time. We decided to spent the remaining hours
(before the flight back to US) in the airport. This
compromised the promised meeting with our Quito driver, who had
planned to take us around. But he magically appeared with some
cash returned from the hotel, so we ate our last meal with the it.
Galapagos was the true
biologist's Mecca! The Beluga ship and it's staff, i.e., guides,
boatman, were truly faultless. Darwin (given name, how nice!)
Alvares was superb: very smart, with an extensive fund of knowledge
and experience, very patient and good humored with duffers like us,
who needed to hear an answer numerous times to the same question.
As you likely know, we were given opportunities for at least two
activities each morning and afternoon, hiking and snorkeling
alternatively. Again, this took lots of energy and we all
wished we were in better physical condition. Guide Darwin was
in great shape, keeping us from falling into the sea with every
transfer from ship to panga. The stark life and physical
character of the islands was actually a shock, even after having
read a lot about it.
It was great to see Greater
Daphne island, the site of the Grant's research. I was
impressed to see the Grant's 2008 book in the book collection of
lounge of the Beluga. Darwin, our guide, said it was his
personal copy, a reflection of his depth of interest and commitment
to continued learning. Reflecting my teaching of genetics and
evolution, one thing I found lacking in much of tourist-oriented
literature about the Galapagos was more on the role of mutation,
genetic heterogeneity and evolution in population genetics terms.
There is plenty of discussion and talk using the term "adaptation"
but often it was couched in language of physiological, not genetic,
terms. Thus, the essence of evolution in populations, it
seemed to me, easily escaped the attention travelers to the island.
The animals themselves, of course are interesting, but their key
significance was often left hazy. Again, the guides planned a
nice mix of activities, and worked us pretty, and there were no
complaints, but we finally needed to go home to KS to rest up!
Lisa brought along an underwater
camera that did stills and video. She is a high frequency shooter,
so there are on record miles of video she took but has not seen much
One general gripe about our air
travel was that the midnight flight Quito to Atlanta was trying,
especially with the tiny passenger space on the AirBus model used by
Delta. Sleep was difficult. Different flight times and
plane models might be considered.
Michael, if there are specific
items you would like me to reflect on, send me questions and I would
be happy to give you my response by e-mail or telephone.
Thanks so much for your being
the real stimulus to realizing this great adventure. Our
group, with ages from 16 to 81, was agreed it was a delightful once
in a life time trip. Although it was the second visit for
Lisa, and she sounded like she is already planning another trip
I hope we can keep in touch occasionally on items of common
interest. Gail, the printmaker and painter, has mentioned
plans to do some art derived from the trip and that a piece of work
might make its way to your address.
In sincere appreciation, Wayne
names withheld in compliance
October 28, 2013
Back on Wednesday but has taken
to this point to get time to send emails.
Trip was unbelievably incredible.
Angel was unbelievable like
being able to live in a museum from another time.. Our Quito guide,
great and was able to get us to the changing of the Guard at the
Presidential Palace on Monday. Lunch at the Volcano was great
but the mist
The trip on the
was awesome. itinerary was fabulous and the boat and
crew great. Would highly recommend to anyone who wanted to
The find of the trip was Su
Merced in Puembo where we stayed on our return.
Not sure if you are familiar. 20 minutes from the airport
which was great
but the B&B is a 300 year old hacienda restored to its original
Made us feel like we were staying at a colonial governors residence.
was great and made sure anything we needed was provided. Had
said was one of the best chicken dishes for dinner she had ever had. The
only thing that we regret is we didn't schedule an extra day to stay
Merced and enjoy its garden, hammocks and restful environment before
back on a plane.. Next time.
Thanks again for all of your
wonderful help. We will be talking to neighbors
who want to do the Galapagos and I told them I would put them in
with you. When we go to Machu Picchu we will certainly call
name withheld in compliance
January 28, 2013
Just wanted to drop you a line
and let you know that Vicki & I had a fantastic time in
The crew on the Letty was great!! Our guides were great,
enthusiastic and full of information. The accommodations on
Letty were very nice. The
meals were excellent.
We also had a wonderful time at
lodge. It was a fantastic introduction to the
Amazon rain forest. Our guide was very knowledgeable and truly
enjoyed introducing us to all of the animals and plants in the rain
forest. The lodge was very comfortable.
Thanks Again for all your help.
We will definitely recommend you
to anyone interested in going to
Ecuador and the
Mark [Last name(s) withheld in compliance
January 10, 2013
This is late but as the saying
goes: "Better late than never".
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip
to Quito, the
Galapagos, Chinchero and
vicinities, Machu Picchu , Cusco and Lima.
Thank you for making the
arrangement for us to try the roasted "cuy" in Quito,
We liked the
La Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel in
Peru. For us, it was in the
middle of nowhere but the view was fantastic. The mountain,
flowers and fruit trees around were just lovely.
The cruise to the
Athala II was a lot of fun and adventure. We met 14
well traveled and friendly people from U.K. We were just like
one big family. The
Athala II crew and the guide, Jorge
Garcia, were all wonderful. They all pampered us for the
duration of the cruise.
We were met by the affiliates
there on time and we were taken to the airport
promptly. The services were excellent except for some problems
staff at the Sonesta Hotel in Cusco [and] our group guide in Cusco,
were beyond your control.
We were, also, very impressed
with the short amount of time it took you to make all the
arrangements. As you know, we travel independently and it was
such a pleasure to have everything pre-arranged for us everywhere!
We have told our friends about
you. We hope that they would give you a call
one of these days.
We were so lucky to have found
Deven and I hope to travel to
some other South American countries in the future.
Thank you so very much, Judy.
Tess and Deven [Last name(s) withheld in compliance
December 23, 2012
I just want to let you know that
my trip was fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everything went according to
plan, not a single hitch. I loved the
and loved Peru!!!!!!
Mansion de Angel as well as Sol y Luna! CAPC was
lovely in both Cusco and Puno (not sure why the on-line reviews were
not good). Inkaterra was lovely too (especially the grounds).
I can't wait to have you help
organize my next trip!
Happy holidays, and all the best
Beverley [Last name withheld in compliance
[ LARC's Response: ]
WELCOME BACK BEVERLEY,
I WAS WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU, JUST IN TIME TO MAKE MY HOLIDAY
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND CAN'T WAIT TO PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP. HUGS,
November 20, 2012
We have arrived from sea level
of the Galapagos back to Quito and over 9000
ft. We are on our way to Cotapaxi National Park. Cotapaxi is
the tallest active volcano in the world at almost 20000 ft. We
horseback ride up part of the volcano tomorrow and then head to the
Galapagos was great - swam with
sharks fish beautiful sea floor and of course playful sea lions.
Saw all types of iguanas the blue footed booby the nasca booby many
finches and the albatrosses were amazing. We saw sting rays,
sea turtles mating (swam with them a lot) giant tortoises mating and
much much more.
Angel and Quito. Miguel and his group have been
Cormorant was first class - really only got two effective days on
ship as were up at 5am on last day for 630 departure.
Galapagos Safari Camp was great.
Couple of notes to pass on to
Miguel - when go to Middle of Earth advise clients to have sunscreen
and a hat when leave hotel or in itinerary. There was a mix up
either by Cormorant company or in the information they received from
LARC - they
apparently had us booked back on Aero Gal on Nov 17 straight from
ship. I had asked Katrien at GSC to confirm our flights on Nov 18
and when we returned back that day she had pulled a rabbit out of
the hat and got us on the last 2 seats today. She saved the
Anyhow all going great - looking
forward to the rest of the trip.
Ken [Last name withheld in compliance
October 19, 2012
[feedback from recent guests at
We can't say enough positives
about all 4 naturalist guides who were part of our itinerary: Ivan
Lopez & Harry Jimenez in the Galapagos, Luis Garcia & Pedro (last
name unknown; our Kichwa guide) at Sacha Lodge. We've not
encountered that quality of guide -- knowledge, people skills, just
plain enjoyable to be around -- anywhere in our other travels.
They had everything to do with making this our trip of a lifetime!
If you're in a position to pass on the heartfelt compliment, please
Cindy [Last name withheld in compliance
with the privacy.asp
March 08, 2012
Sorry about the credit card.. I
did not notify Visa that we would be out of the country and
therefore they assumed it was fraud. I have talked to them this
morning and the freeze has been lifted so the charges should be
permitted. Had there not been a power outage we could have solved
the problem right then. Everyone there was so nice I
feel very badly this occurred. Please let me know if there is
a further problem.
We could not have been happier
with all the arrangements you made. The
Hotel Silberstein worked out well
and as I said , everyone there is so nice. The daily trips
were very good, though the bus ride got tiresome. The hotel in
Quito was so pleasant. I felt like home and Gloria did
everything she possibly could to make our stay there perfect.
Thank you for making all the arrangements and making sure our trip
went off without a hitch!! It was just GREAT!!!
Thanks again, Kathie
[Last name withheld in compliance
[ LARC Travel Tip: Be sure
to notify your credit card company before leaving the USA to avoid
unwanted holds on your credit card purchases or other charges made
while traveling abroad. ]
February 13, 2012
Dear Judy, We’ve been home 21
hours and are re-acclimating. Our flights home went very
smoothly. We thank you so much for arranging the later flight
from Miami (we cleared customs at 4 pm, obviously too late to make
the connection that I made), which was a smooth 2 ˝ hours, boosted
by tail wind.
The highlight was our visit was
the Galapagos. The
Explorer II was better than we
expected, including room, crew, great food, well organized, polite.
The two naturalists we had were pleasant and knowledgeable, and
spoke English very well.
La Mirage was charming and our
local tour by Juan Carlos was quite interesting (including purchases
for Xmas presents at Otovalo). Quito was also interesting and
the Gangotena quite beautiful. We ate dinner there with one
meal (steamed sea bass) great and one meal (pork) awful. The
meals on the boat and at
La Mirage were uniformly good to
great, especially the boat.
We would like you to thank
Miguel, whom we got to meet the last day and to especially thank
Juan Carlos, who hung in there. Please forward this e-mail to
them. We want to thank you again for your patience and
untiring efforts, which we appreciate and got us over the rough
All the best, Mel and Martha
[Last names withheld in compliance
HI MEL & MARTHA,
I WAS JUST ABOUT TO CALL YOU TO
SEE HOW EVERYTHING WENT. I THOUGHT ABOUT YOU NUMEROUS TIMES
OVER THE WEEKEND AND ASSUMED YOU MUST HAVE MADE IT OK. THANKS
FOR LETTING ME KNOW AND THANKS FOR YOUR REPORT, I AM COPYING
EVERYONE THAT WAS INVOLVED IN TAKING CARE OF YOU AND THANKS FOR
BEING SUCH GOOD CUSTOMERS.
BEST RGDS, JUDY
January 14, 2012
My wife, Janet, and I want to let you know how pleased we were
with the services your staff provided us during our visit to
in November. Your personnel were exemplary, professional,
organized and personable. They made us feel very comfortable
The tours and the administrative matters, including vouchers
and airline tickets, were seamless. We experienced no
disappointments, no frustrations and no disappointments. It's
a credit to your organization that everything worked out so
smoothly. There is no question that we'd use your services
should we return to
Peru and will enthusiastically recommend your services if
the opportunity presents itself down the road.
Wishing you much continued success as you move forward.
Sincerely, Richard [Last name withheld in compliance
January 13, 2012
Judy, we had a great time and
would like to thank you for all the effort you put into making the
arrangements. The guides and tours were great and we were
always picked up on time and never had to worry about whether
someone had forgotten us. Earlier I sent you our comment
regarding the Bartomle island and a couple of other items you may
want to be aware of are as follows:
-The hotel in Cusco (TAYPIKALA)
gave us the absolute worst rooms in the house. We were in the
basement beside a noisy kitchen in rooms badly needed of
re-decorating. Even though it was New Years our booking was well in
advance so I think they could have done better. Overall the
rest of the hotel seemed to be more superior and it had a good
-On our final day the cab driver
taking us to the Quito Airport from the
Rabida was a bit of a problem. We gave him a $5 tip
which was more than we paid for a cab fare to go all the way to the
cable car in the morning and he insisted that $5 wasn't enough.
It was our understanding that the transfer was included. Of
course he conveniently didn't speak English so we gave him an
additional $5 to get rid of him. He seemed to be insisting
that he wanted $5 from each of us ($20) but he only got $10 in
total. I think the staff at
may want to know about this as it was a great hotel and very homey.
Rest assured, if we decide to do
any more Latin American vacations we will be happy to contact you
again or provide a reference to others as required.
Thanks so much. Enjoy your
[Names withheld in compliance
November 09, 2011
Sorry for the late reply.
It was AWESOME!!!! You had the perfect recommendations for us.
La Mirage and the area and
was perfect for us. A step down from the luxury of
Mirage, but equally as perfect. Judy and Sergio
were very kind and welcoming. Feels like family. Haley
spent a good amount of time talking to the staff after the
Earthquake. They were quite shaken up. we thought it was
exciting. Only because no one was hurt and no damage.
You ROCK. I gave your info
to a bunch of people on the trip. A couple from Toronto and
also one from PA who seemed very interested in more South American
We are your biggest fans.
julie [Last name withheld in compliance
September 11, 2011
We returned from
Galapagos / Machu Picchu trip a couple of weeks ago. Here is a
huge thank you to you and the Latin American Reservation Center for
arranging an absolutely outstanding trip.
We were delighted
with the LARC arrangements throughout -- especially the
Angel hotel in Quito (at which we stayed 3 times during
the trip) -- our stay was absolutely wonderful. Please relay
our thanks to the manager, Lupe, and staff – who made us welcome and
superbly comfortable. The hotel is absolutely beautiful and
the service was excellent.
outstanding and we had perfect weather through-out (I’m not sure
whether that was your doing or not). All tour arrangements
were beyond expectations -- we were met at every stop, our boarding
passes, etc. were pre-printed -- we had a private tour bus with
driver and guide and the guides were entertaining and informative.
Please thank David,
our tour guide through Quito, for excellent service.
A special note on
the service by Peru Chasquitur – they were flawless and beyond
expectations in every way.
Our guide in Lima,
Miguel, was terrific. We did not have time for much beyond the
Gold Museum, but Miguel was entertaining and engaging.
Our guide through
Cusco and Machu Picchu, Clara, deserves special attention. She was
absolutely outstanding in every way. My wife was walking with
a cane (we put off her knee surgery for the trip) and Clara went out
of her way to assist and allow time for each tour. Knowledgeable and
informative would be an understatement – she was just wonderful
throughout and handled every detail expertly and a positive
disposition. In short, Clara takes the experience from good to
great. She was outstanding and will be fondly remembered as a
highlight of our trip. Please relay our heartfelt appreciation
and thank you to Clara.
I would be remiss
if I did not also mention Edgar, our driver in Peru. He was
exceptional – after the first couple of narrow, winding roads up the
mountains I knew he was a rare find – always patient, prompt and
providing excellent service. I can’t say enough good things
about him – and was I happy when he showed up at 4:30 AM to take us
to the Expedition Train – great service!
On our second day
at Machu Picchu, we were guided by Manuel, who hiked Wayna Picchu
with us. We pretty much knew what we wanted to do the second
day and had our day planned, so we did not spend as much time with
Manuel, but he was an excellent companion and we really appreciated
his company and informative dialogue on the hike. I do want to
thank you all (especially Peru Chasquitur) for scheduling our second
day at Machu Picchu – which gave us an opportunity to hike a little
and revisit some of the sites.
I think the best
example of excellent service by Peru Chasquitur was when we boarded
the bus for our trip to the airport in Cusco, the agent (Diego?
I think, but I am not sure) handed us our boarding passes for the
flights to Lima and Quito! This is just one example – the
service was always great.
We had a fantastic
trip and wish we had spent more time in Ecuador and Peru. We found
so many things we wanted to see and do – we will definitely plan a
Again, thank you
(LARC) and Peru Chasquitur very much for the terrific tour planning,
arrangements and guides. We were delighted with the service.
I would definitely recommend LARC!
Walt, Susie, Kiff, and Joy
[Last names withheld in compliance
August 08, 2011
Thanks for a wonderful trip.
La Rabida was super.
Beluga and would highly recommend
Our naturalist was exceptional
thanks again for making this all work so well.
jim [Last name withheld in compliance
IS HE BACK ALREADY? I LOST TRACK OF THE TIME. WELL THAT IS GREAT! I
KNEW THEY WOULD LOVE IT, BUT IT IS ALWAYS NICE TO HEAR FROM THEM,
THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW AND DON'T LOSE MY NUMBER, YOU CAN HAVE
LOTS MORE SATISFIED PASSENGERS LIKE HIM BOOKING THROUGH US! :)
ALL THE BEST, JUDY
August 01, 2011
afternoon. I've been remiss in not getting back to you after
returning to CT. on 07.19. My wife says you're a miracle
worker. Our trip went flawlessly. All the connections and
flights were punctual and Aerogal is a great airline. We
got snacks and drinks on the 45 min flight from Guayaquil to Quito,
and beer and wine was no charge. Our drivers and guides were
courteous, very friendly and especially informative on the sites and
sounds of Quito and Imbabura Province. We actually hired them
for a free day in Cotacachi and surrounding areas. It was
$10/hour. I couldn't believe it. They also, didn't drive
like the local population does. Thanks God for that. The
locals are wacked out drivers.
Galapagos were better than we ever could have imagined.
The crew and food were worth the trip on their own, but our
naturalist, Juan, had to be the best one in the
We, and and the 14 others on board, truly enjoyed our daily trips
onto the islands as well as the snorkeling around the islands and
the insight he provided before, during, and after every trip. Now
that we've been there, I wish they'd close it down so no other
tourists could go.
Kudos again on the
Mansion del Angel. Our first
two nights at the Mansion we were the only guests they had I finally
realized. Didn't matter, they didn't cut back on the staff or
service or not open the kitchen as some other hotel might do, we had
4 or 5 people at our beck and call at all times. The bad part is now
my wife expects it at all times. I'm exhausted. I need a
vacation. La Mirage was just the same. What a beautiful
setting, and the grounds... it's like going to a botanical
garden, and you get to sleep there. Food and service, 1st
class. When we got home I suggested we should go backpacking
for a couple of days. Diane laughed, looked at me and said, go
ahead, I'm calling Judy. Thanks girl. Where to next?
Stephen [Last name withheld in compliance
I am still laughing
at Diane's last comment! You go girl!
I have lots and lots of places to send you, I can keep you busy
traveling to South America for the next ten years and you still
won't have seen it all! Thanks so much for the feedback, that is how
we can assure our future clients of the top notch service we strive
All the best, Judy
June 08, 2011
Hello Judy, hello Caleb,
I am glad to report that I am back in Germany safe and sound.
Well, actually not glad - I had a really really great time in
Galapagos, I loved every minute of it and if it had been up to me, I would have stayed another 3 weeks
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to both of you for your help and support.
Especially with the sudden itinerary-change, really great that you helped me there so quickly!
I enjoyed my time in Isabella, you were very right to recommend it, Caleb!
We did the tour to Los Tuneles and had close encounter snorkeling with the penguins, it was great fun
The hotels were all great; especially the
Aventura was really lovely.
Great to see how well it was all re-done after the blow it took with the Tsunami, really very nice.
Staff there was most helpful and very kind, so I had a great time.
The diving was also nice. Just one question concerning that: From what I learned the way this works is that basically every operator connects with the other operators on the island and then one of them does the tour to a certain destination that day, correct?
It's just something we'd need to advice our customers of, that's why I'm asking.
Is there any way of knowing in advance who will operate the tour that particular day?
It's too bad we didn't get a chance to meet personally. But if you do get by Bremen again make sure you let me know - I'll have a large Becks ready for you !
As for the part in Quito, I absolutely loved the
Angel!! Really a very nice place, I'll make sure I'll promote it to by best ability
J. The tour was also very nice and informative, got a good impression on Quito and what to recommend for our clients.
Thanks you very much again!
Best regards from rainy Germany
Melanie [Last name withheld in compliance
April 26, 2011
I just returned from my vacation in Ecuador and ended up being a guest of my friend's old school pal that still lives in Otavalo.
He treated us to a wonderful lunch there as well as insisting we stay as his guest for a spa treatment.
It was wonderful and such a treat. I took several pictures of the grounds and the dining area which were exquisite.
To say the least, it was a memorable afternoon.
I must add that I have been to several wonderful spas - the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Suites of the Gods in Santorini, Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC as well as the Biltmore Spa also in Asheville.
I rank La Mirage the top experience.
Thank you for the information you sent me. I am writing an article of my experiences while in Ecuador and will definitely include my experience at
My best to you and continued success.
Pamela [Last name withheld in compliance
March 21, 2011
Thanks for your patience in arranging our trip.
This is our last night and we are staying in a fabulous room at
Angel. The accommodations at all the hotels have been outstanding.
La Mirage was my wife's favorite.
She loved the country atmosphere and the small towns.
Galapagos was an adventure.
If I can advise another traveler interested in outdoor adventure I would
recommend they do a cruise. The
Royal Palm was great.
Puerto Ayora was busy and fun. Tortuga Bay beach is a must.
The walk to the beach in the sun was tough on the wife. Enjoyed the Colonial Town area in Quito.
Heading out to a couple of museums. Give you more when I get stateside.
Carl [Last name withheld in compliance
F.Y.I. CARL, TSUNAMI WARNING LIFTED FOR GALAPAGOS, NO SUSTAINED DAMAGE-HAVE A GREAT
February 20, 2011
My stays at
Mansion del Angel and
La Mirage were the best yet.
I tried the Cofan spa treatment in addition to the Equatorial Energy
treatment and, of course, Esthela's purification. All were fabulous.
A special menu for Valentine's dinner was the best dining experience that I
have ever had.
Thank you for all your help.
I told Jorge and Michel that I might come back
Nancy [Last name withheld in compliance
February 17, 2011
A VERY belated message to thank you for
planning such a fabulous trip for Phyllis and myself. Has to be one of my best vacations ever.
After being delayed by a day due to the snow storm in St. Louis, it was pretty rushed
and crazy Friday and Saturday. But then the schedule
provided a bit of down time here and there. It was still anything but restful, getting up every
day at 6:30 and not eating dinner until 8 pm (that was my only complaint
with the schedule - it's too late to start a 4 course meal when you have to
rise so early). But we had a fabulous experience on the boat - I would
recommend that one to anyone. The staff were all so pleasant and helpful,
and were lucky enough to connect with a wonderful group of people (mostly
English) in our group - we all bonded and it was sad to leave!
But a week is definitely enough, particularly at that pace.
La Mirage is as
beautiful as you had said, and Mansion of the Angels was
lovely also. Again, we didn't have enough time in either place so it was a
bit hectic, which is probably why I ended up coming down with a nasty
bronchitis the day after I returned home. We needed more time in both
cities, but I needed to get back to class and Phyllis became very homesick.
I am hoping to return to Ecuador in the not too distant future - I loved it!
I had to laugh that all the people we met were going to the jungle, rain
forest, etc before and/or after , and we went to a spa! But I'm not sure
Phyllis could have done those things - she found many of the walks too
rigorous, although she loved the trip also.
The guides, the people who
transferred us, everyone was wonderful and took good care of us.
The young man who took us on our tour of Quito was very sweet, but he didn't seem to know much about what to see and do outside of
the prescribed agenda. It was a little heavy on churches.
I just have to remember to do more homework before doing something like that so I can be
part of planning the tour.
I wish that you were a travel agent for other areas besides Latin America,
but when I'm ready to return, either to Ecuador or elsewhere, I'll be
calling you. Meanwhile I'm passing on your contact info to other people.
Thanks again, Judy - you are fabulous to work with!
Kay [Last name withheld in compliance
October 05, 2010
We are having a most wonderful time thanks to your amazing organizational skills and knowledge... thank you so very much... no problemos con el presidente and todo los tiempo en Peru was wonderful (except for some food poisoning in the Valley-but will chat with you about that after we return)
Young Americo was the best.... the very best guide... and our time in Quito wonderful... Casa Aliso as you know is such a treat... all the lodgings have been special in their own ways..
Just wanted to catch you up on our sincere thanks for a wonderful time.. Off to Galapagos
Muchos gracias Judy..
Maureen and Barry [Last names withheld in compliance
DON'T KNOW WHEN YOU WILL GET THIS, BUT SO GLAD ALL IS WELL! PLEASE GIVE ME A SHOUT WHEN YOU GET BACK AND LET ME KNOW HOW EVERYTHING WAS. HUGS, JUDY
July 20, 2010
The highlands of
Ecuador were as wonderful as we remembered, and it was
nice to spend the time to see things. The schedule worked great, the two
days off at La Mirage was great.
The Hacienda HATO VERDE was wonderful
and we really liked the family that operated it. Cesar, the husband gave
our guide some good suggestions for stop that we would like, so we got to a
native market where we were the only tourists and we also enjoyed a village
bullfight on our way to Crater Lake. Our time in Banos was great, the
clouds cleared the first afternoon and we saw the erupting volcano in all
its glory, not threatening just large plumbs of steam from the top and as
the sun went down we could see some rivers of lava. The trip into the
canyon and to the Devil's Caldron was very nice to realize we were seeing
one of the prime tributaries to the Amazon. We enjoyed the Otovallo market
and happened upon a crazy native celebration in Cotacachi while staying at
Mirage. The rooms, food and
spa at La Mirage were wonderful and the
grounds are beautiful.
Margo likes some of the high quality native art, so our guide took us to
Olga Fische a shop in Quito which was exceptional not only for the
beautiful hand crafted items, but the have a spectacular museum on the second
floor of pre-Columbian and other ancient artifacts that are wonderfully
displayed, we felt very lucky to have visited.
[Names withheld in compliance
June 10, 2010
Mike & Miguel,
We arrived safely back in the US this morning.
I'm catching up on hundred of
accumulated emails, but I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks for all
the hard work you both did in putting the trip together. It was fantastic
and the Hampden-Sydney students were thrilled. Thanks too, Miguel, for all
your help and hospitality in Quito. I can't wait to come back.
Alex [Last name withheld in compliance
May 17, 2010
This is just a quick note from Cotacachi. We are having an *amazing*
honeymoon at La Mirage Garden and
Spa. The staff is treating us better than great and we've had fabulous food, great spa treatments, beautiful room
and grounds, a gorgeous hike around Lake Cuicocha (Laguna Cuicocha), daily
chocolate covered strawberries (and-or other honeymoon treats) complementary
of the staff, a fun day in Otavalo market and generally great time.
Weather has been perfect, too.
If GSC is half this great, we'll be very happy!
Thanks for everything!
Jeff [Last name withheld in compliance
April 29, 2010
Hi Judy -
Well, us girls had a ball!!
She's decided she'll only travel First Class for the rest of her life!!
Was mad about La Mirage which, as always, was a dream!
The altitude got to her at Inga Pirca - no surprise - but she did well in Quito.
Young David was most pleasant and Miguel took us to lunch, on arrival, at Rincon la Ronda - lovely place and such a nice thing to do!
Mansion is most elegant, but I would hope they do something far more agreeable with their little "Bistro".
I know it's just tiny and informal, but the food comes from outside and not at a good standard.
Low season at the moment - we were practically alone there and the stay was really lovely - No complaints, so please don't think I am unhappy!!
Many thanks for setting everything up - it was just a lovely part of the trip - at the end - AND - all flights on time or EARLY!!
What a treat that was!!
Judie [Last name withheld in compliance
April 26, 2010
Thank you so much for helping us organize our stays at
Angel. The hotel was absolutely beautiful. I think we took pictures of every single room.
It was like a museum. The people that work there are extremely gracious and attended to all our needs.
They arranged for taxis when we were in need and they were always very pleasant and priced reasonably.
Our trip to
Ecuador and the
Galapagos Islands was incredible and your
assistance help to make it so.
Barbara and George [Last name withheld in compliance
BLESS YOU BARBARA & GEORGE,
IT ALWAYS HELPS US TO KNOW WHAT OUR PASSENGERS THINK ABOUT OUR PROPERTIES, AND IT IS OF COURSE VERY NICE TO HEAR SOMETHING PLEASANT. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO GIVE US YOUR KIND FEEDBACK. BEST
April 05, 2010
...so here's the update.
La Mirage was lovely (not sure if we were upgraded, but the room was beautiful regardless), albeit not an easy lodge to locate.
Driving in Ecuador was a breeze, finding things like the
Mirage, not so easy, but we made it just fine.
As to the
Mangrove...it is a perfectly fine middle-of-the-road hotel group.
I'm not one who likes being on a schedule, so that aspect of it was a nuisance for me, but the trips were well organized, the guides were nice, the food was fresh...it was well done, just not luxe.
The "cabins" on
Floreana were very basic...and hot (no A/C and no electricity after midnight, so not even able to have a fan). The hotel in Isabela was perfectly placed on a lovely beach.
We were upgraded to a suite (upon my request because our assigned room was not nice) at
Aventura Lodge and that was well worth it.
I would encourage your guests to book the ocean front suites for the trip. Worth the extra few hundred dollars to guarantee the best rooms.
Basically, my feedback is that is a perfect way to see lots of stuff in the
Galapagos, be completely directed to do things at specific times, stay in a clean environment d not think.
Personally, my preference would be (and I might just return and do this) to stay at the
Safari Camp (I am SO, SO happy we changed and booked a night there at the end...it was beautiful) and book a private scuba trip for 2-3 days max and relax at the safari camp at the beginning and end.
My favorite part about the entire trip really was being in the water and the tent.
Thanks again for all your help and I promise to reach back out to you next time I head down that way.
All the best,
Carla [Last name withheld in compliance
April 03, 2010
I absolutely agree with Miguel not to send it an expensive way.
There is no rush, so cheap is the way to go.
BTW, we all really enjoyed the trip you arranged for us.
The rooms at the Hacienda Hato Verde were wonderful as well as the meal Maria prepared.
We all talked about her quinoa soup for the rest of the trip!
The MDA was great- (rooms and breakfasts) and the side trips to Quilitoa Lake,
Otavalo, Mitad de Mundo and the Old City were fun too. Richard was a excellent tour
guide, really add some depth (culture and history) to his presentations that
was very educational. The folks at MDA suggested some very nice local
Only complaint would be that we wish Cesar had said something about taking
the north road back from Lake Quilitoa to the PA Hwy. Rye and Greg talked
with him about the best way to go up and he suggested thru
Latacunga, Pujili, and Zumbahua which was fine. Then, they said they didn't want to
come back the same way and wanted to make a "loop" back and Cesar looked a
little funny. I think he knew it would be a long way thru Sigchos and
Toacazo but didn't say anything. I think we drove 10 miles for every one
that took us in the right direction due to all the switchbacks in the
mountains! Took us about twice as long (4 vs 2 hours) and we had to skip
Cotopaxi on the way back to get to the MDA at a reasonable hour.
Minor problem though, the rest was super!
Thanks again for all your help,
Graham [Last name withheld in compliance
March 07, 2010
and Galapagos, and just wanted to say thank you for your
The accommodations were excellent
Inn), and the tour guides and excursions were also great! What a wonderful trip.
Thanks for all you did to make it possible. I would be happy to recommend
LARC and your services to anyone who asks.
[Last name withheld in compliance
March 04, 2010
Judy ... Returned from Ecuador on Sat.
night. Both the Mansion and
Mirage were outstanding.
Thanks for your help.
name withheld in compliance
February 25, 2010
Judy, I cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful experience Kimi and I
enjoyed. Everyone was so nice and the accommodations were way above my
expectations. We have made an agreement that we will return to
every year. The hotel in Quito is also beautiful and the staff is
fantastic, but the spa was the cream of the crop. Thanks for all your help.
I need to write a note to Clemencia and Euphemia and also go to Trip Advisor
and write a review.
What a wonderful way to spend a week or even two.
Peggy [Last name withheld in compliance
BLESS YOU PEGGY! YOU MADE MY DAY!
I AM COPYING CLEMENCIA AND EUFEMIA, THEY WILL BE THRILLED TO KNOW THEIR EFFORTS HAVE NOT GONE UNAPPRECIATED!
WE WILL VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR SPREADING THE WORD! MY VERY BEST RGDS, JUDY
January 16, 2010
Dear Sr. Espinosa,
My husband and I had a very wonderful visit to your country of
Ecuador a few weeks ago.
Mansion del Angel is an elegant and most comfortable hotel. You and your staff were so kind to take care of us making recommendations and assuring us of an enjoyable and safe trip.
We are hoping to return sometime and just wanted to thank you for your part in forming our favorable impression of
Ecuador and its people.
Happy New Year to you.
Angela and Brian
[Last names withheld in compliance
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