@mylreapr on Instagram: It was an amazing trip - huge thanks to @aqua_firma and @simonjpierce for the trip of a lifetime. Words fail me to describe the encounters with whalesharks, hammerheads and other big beasts we saw on this trip. It was truly life-changing!
@mylreapr joined Aqua-Firma's Galapagos Shark Research Insights & Photography Dive Liveaboard Aug 2019
We have just returned from an Aqua- Firma holiday: Galapagos Yacht Safari & Andean Cloud Forest & Volcanoes. This holiday was put together for friends from a previous A - F trip and I cannot recommend this company highly enough.
Flights, accommodation and transport went like clockwork. We were shown the best that the Galapagos and Ecuador has to offer.
We will be booking with you again.
The Svalbard Six
That was the most amazing trip! Thanks for your work in making it such a success. The crew were great and the diving was fantastic.
David Lowndes joined Aqua-Firma's Galapagos Shark Research Insights & Photography Dive Liveaboard Aug 2019
"It was an amazing experience… Thanks again for organising such a fantastic trip. I have travelled a lot but it has to be the best experience of my life to date.
The diving was fantastic … Saw Hammerheads, Rays, Turtles, Sun Fish, White Tips, Morays plus every type of fish as well. Swimming with hammerheads was the highlight and we had a small school of around 15 come past us at Gordons Rocks. Watching the turtles being cleaned by the small fish was also a great experience.
Then came the cruise. The pick up at the pier was very simple. I loved the itinerary and would not have changed anything we did during the days. Glad I went west as for me we got away from the crowds and for a few days saw no other boats! I still have the east to do which I would love to do another day, maybe combining with Bolivia and Peru! We saw numerous tortoises both in Sanctuary’s, the high lands of Santa Cruz and also a couple on Isabella. We saw two different Land Iguanas on Isabella and North Seymour. We swam with sea lions and marine iguanas and penguins in numerous places around Fernandina and Isabella and saw numerous sea lions pups at play. Lots of blue footed boobies and frigate birds and other smaller birds on the islands including finches and mockingbirds of course. We snorkelled every day and saw many many turtles, white tip sharks and a few rays and of course stunning colourful fish everywhere. The wildlife was amazing."
Ian Ferdinand, London
"The trip was fantastic with many great moments. When we got to Guayaquil, Peter was there to pick us up and take us to the hotel. He was super friendly, timely, and very knowledgeable of everything including the history of the area and what we needed to know and do. We were very impressed with the boat, the professionalism of the crew, and the busy schedule that afforded us the opportunity to visit a variety of islands/habitats along with the choice to hang out on the lovely boat alfresco decks. And then there was the FOOD, what a wonderful chef, we are still talking about some of the meals and the variety of fresh fruits...
The Isabela add on also worked very smoothly. Our guide was energetic, fun and had a good grasp on the island species and habitats--we enjoyed him very much. He was caring and attentive. It was a treat to have a true local to give us insights into life on Isabela as well as a perspective on living in the Galapagos in general.
The highlights for us were the unbelievable wildlife encounters including the snorkeling, the friendliness of the people/staffs, and learning more about the more recent human history of the islands about which we were generally unaware. All connections went smoothly and we felt in capable hands.
We were very satisfied with the service we received from you at Aqua-Firma, and with the quality of our experience in the Galapagos. We would be happy to recommend your company to others. This is the first time we have done a large trip totally set up by a company and not as independent travelers. It was indeed a luxury that we will look into again!
Thanks so much"
Judy Alderson & Daryl Miller, Alaska
"We had a great time thanks. It was amazing. The Galapagos was the highlight for us, totally incredible, swimming with sharks and turtles, rays and sealions - totally brilliant experience.
All the guides were fantastic .. All the hotels were amazing, esepcially the one on Isabela Island in the Galapagos. It was on the beach and we had a balcony looking out at the sea.
The volcanoes are amazing, Chimborazo was stunning and we stayed in a lodge right at the bottom, such a stunning setting. But it was very remote, I wouldn't have wanted to be there more than more than one night.
The itinery was really well worked out as well, doing the low altitude activities first and then gaining height to prepare for the Inca Trail. We met an Italian couple in Galapagos who were going straight on to the Inca Trail with no time to aclimatise, they were really worried. They didn't have such an experienced Agent planning their trip!
Thank you so much for a fantastic trip. I can't wait to go back.
If I hear of anyone looking to go to South America I will recommend you to them.
Take care, Bev"
Beverly Preston Smith & Richard Smith, UK
"I had an amazing time on my trip - couldn't have asked for it better - saw so much amazing stuff. We had 9 whale sharks on our first dive at Darwin and loads of sun fish, hammerheads, mantas, eagle rays and so many fish you wish they would move out your way so you can see the bigger stuff. Oh and dolphins and Orcas :) …. I loved all the sea lions and boobies and the frigates displaying their pouches.
The Amazon was great saw 6 species of Monkey including squirrel monkeys that shot past my bathroom. Luis was great I felt like royalty in his care and he has the highest of regard for you, I guess not many people get the owner of the lodge as their guide.
Thanks for your help with organising it all it made such a difference knowing I could walk at the airport to a pre arranged transfer and that things ran so smoothly. I'm thinking Cocos or maldives next time! Thanks again"
Anna Chouler, UK
"The holiday was truly astonishing. Getting up close to hundreds of sharks, seals, rays and dolphins was something I'll never forget. Crew were terrific too. Thanks for all your help and advice."
Richard Cope, UK
"A very good holiday. A real adventure.
Overall a remarkable experience. Absolutely priceless.
William Perez was a superb guide on our cloud forest experience."
Mike & family, UK - Galapagos, Ecuador, Bolivia & Peru
"Oh my gosh - what an AWESOME trip! Here are my comments.
First of all, our guide. He was EXCELLENT! We give him an A+. He was not only extremely knowledgeable, about the Galapagos as well as a wide variety of other subject but his personality was perfect for the job he does. He was continuously giving us information, but didn't talk "too much". He ran everything smoothly, always preparing us for the next activity, what we were doing next, what we would need to bring, etc. He was always calm and in control, but not "controlling." He was interesting, pleasant and personable.
The trip actually exceeded our expectations. The accommodations were all very nice, and the food always good. We saw all of the animals we expected to see, except the land iguana. Everything went without a hitch. I would say snorkeling with the sea lions was definitely a highlight…. the sea lions were so playful - they would come right at you, like they were going to run into you, and then at the last second, would turn away.
I'm SO glad we decided not to do the cruise. This trip was perfect for us!
If we do a trip to one of your destinations in the future, we will definitely use your services. You have been great!"
Donna & Richard Yorke, CaliforniaOur trip through the Andes in Ecuador was absolutely awesome!!! We haven't been able to stop raving about it to all of our friends. A very big thank you to yourself, Chloe, Marisa and Julian (our guide) for all of your incredible assistance in planning the itinerary. Particularly as so many changes had to be made. It couldn't have been any better!
"We really value all of the time, care, experience and professionalism put into it for us.
We felt as though we had been away for about a month and it was only 6 days! We fit so much in but still found it very refreshing, relaxing and so enjoyable. It was exactly what we wanted.
The trekking, cycling, going to out of the way places, accommodation, food, local guides were all awesome.
Julian, particularly, as our guide really made the experience. He took great care of us, was very knowledgable, organised, enthusiastic and passionate about showing us Ecuador. It was just as though we were on a road trip with a friend but he did all of the organising! It was great that he was so flexible and we all made decisions together as we went along.
We want all of our friends to have the same amazing experience that we had and so we will be very highly recommending Aqua-Firma and Ecuador to all of them!"
Naomi Luck, Australia
"Many thanks for arranging what proved to be the trip of a lifetime that I'd hoped for. A couple of my colleagues have expressed an interest in the trip and I am sure you won't mind if I pass on Aqua-Firma's contact details to them."
Ron Daniel, London UK
"Extraordinary. A trip of a lifetime. The snorkelling was terrific and included a 4 1/2 metre manta ray just beneath the surface by the boat. On another occasion we spotted 100 dolphins and immediately took to the panga to watch them. The rest of the family snorkelled into a cavern only to see dozens of turtles beneath them. It happened to be turtle mating season which led to some rather interesting sightings. I didn't see it, but some others saw a huge mola mola (Sunfish) beautfully backlit with the sun behind. Loved swimming with sea lions and penguins."
"I'm not sure 'Excellent' is quite enough to describe our trip to the Big G!
Though I am equally unsure about what word would do it justice...
Now on the Café Cultura: wherever did you come across this little gem? The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. It was absolutely perfect for what we wanted, and a very good base from which to explore the old-town.
An excellent boat to dive from, very well equipped and properly thought-out. However the boat itself was eclipsed by the crew. It was as clear as the nose on your face, that these boys are extremely proud of their boat. They never stopped polishing/cleaning and generally running around after us. The food and the service was first class…
The diving was phenomenal, the dream of diving with schooling Hammerheads was well and truly fulfilled, although for me it was the Sealions who rather stole the show!
I had deliberately tried not to imagine what the trip would be like in the year or so preceding it, but I think I speak for Stefan as well when I say that ultimately whatever preconceptions I had were exceeded in nearly every respect. We had a brilliant trip."
Rob Prior, Buckinghamshire
"We had an absolutely amazing time and we both want to say thank you for organising a fantastic holiday for us.
... in the Galapagos, we did see whale sharks and orcas (which Paul was lucky enough to catch on film, he's boring everybody with that picture). And finally the Inca trail, that was difficult but well worth the effort, the vistas were out of this world and as the guide told us, the Inca trail takes your breath away (literally in our cases!).
We would definitely recommend the trip we took to others (and have already recommended Aqua-Firma to several people already) and for any other holidays of a similar nature, we would use your services again.
Once again, thank you for a superb holiday."
Louise Bell, Paris
"What more can I add? Except that you forgot the humpback whales (yes - another photo) that we saw on the first day in the Galapagos, as well as dancing with sea lions... An awesome trip, well organised.. All we had to do was show up..
My sincere thanks..."
Paul Bell, Paris
"We have had a wonderful trip so thank you very much!
Andes: Our Guide Julian was the best thing about this bit, he was a joy! Great sense of humour, great English and very knowledgeable. Horse riding was fantastic, we did 5 hours as I lost my camera and the chagra and Julian insisted we went back to look and to our complete amazement we found it.
Galapagos: Utterly wonderful! a really well run boat, immaculate and food excellent. Great advice about staying on Santa Cruz before and after. Worked really well and we liked it there very much. Red Booby Hotel was good, clean and convenient. Transfers to and from Isabela went well for us.
Jungle was excellent, lodge, guides and food very good."
Carol McGillivray, UK
"I had a fabulous trip with everything as per the plan.
I have to congratulate and thank you for the effort that was put in by yourself to make this such a great trip.
… it was a great trip with a great group of people and I definitely had a good time.
Many thanks again and I'm sure I'll be speaking to you again."
Paul Littlewood, UK
"Yes it went really well, thank you. The dive boat had a good mix of people, and everything went smoothly.
The cloud forest trip was good, but the Cotopaxi horse riding was awesome. Apparently we were lucky with the weather and it was just stunning. The guide, Santiago was very interesting and knowledgeable, and the horses well kept.
So as i say, all went really well, we saw loads of hammerheads and multiple whale sharks on each of our 6 Darwin dives, so it ticked all the boxes. Many thanks for you help with the organising it was a big help.
Richard Thompson, UK
"First day back to work after a trip is always hard but after a superb trip, it's even harder.
Thank you again for putting this trip together for us and we look forward to the next adventure."
Peter Brown, Scotland
"Just thought you would like to know that we had an excellent trip and both very much enjoyed it."
Nigel Hopkins, Sheffield, UK