OAT tour of Galapagos and Machu Picchu

Old Oct 31st, 2005, 08:23 AM
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OAT tour of Galapagos and Machu Picchu

I'm booked on a March 2006 Overseas Adventure Travel 19-day tour that goes to Peru and Ecuador, and would love feedback from others who have taken that trip.

In general, was it too much moving around for you to understand and enjoy what you were seeing? Did it go to enough islands in the Galapagos? (The tour is 3 nights on a small boat and two nights at an island hotel with day boat trips.) What would you have preferred OAT to handle differently?
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:24 AM
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I just came home from the OAT trip that went to Amazon Wilds, Galapagos, with the Peru extension. Overall, the trip was good, esp the Peru part. There is a lot of moving around, though, esp, in Ecuador. We had 3 nights on the boat but not the 2 nights in the hotel. The extra two nights sound good to me. OAT did a very good job, but there were a few things I did not expect. I thought we would see more Amazon wildlife, but the focus is the indigineous people, which is great, but don't expect to see a bunch of monkeys and caymen. There was just too much plane changes as well. But overall we enjoyed it.
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Old Dec 11th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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Thanks for the info. What boat were you on and what islands did you visit? Were there snorkling opportunities?

In terms of packing, was there anything you wish you had taken?
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Old Jan 1st, 2006, 07:08 AM
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Sorry for the delay in responding - the holidays got in the way. Our Gal. boat was the Archipel, which we liked. There are two Archipels, and we were on the older one, but it was nice. We visited San Cristobel, but just the town. Also Esplannola, South Plaza, and Santa Cruz. Honestly, I don't think we had the best itinerary. We went all the way to Esplanola to see the waved albatross, of which we see 2. End of season for them. Did not get to see penguins, nor tortoises in the wild. I also was not too impressed with our Gal. naturalist - I felt it could have been much more educational. We did snorkel two days. The first was off a beach, and not too eventful. But the second opportunity which was off the boat was fun, with the sea lions and sea turtles swimming around us. Also saw sting rays and lots of fish that day. We did not use wet / dry suits (whatever you call them) and I was fine, but could have been the time of year. We used the boat's equipment, which I thought was fine.

Regarding packing, we brought all we needed, but a good hat and sunglasses were important, though of course you can get a souvenir hat there. Bathing suit, of course, and hiking shoes for some of the rockier areas. Sneakers would not be good enough.

Anthing else, just let me know.
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Old Jan 1st, 2006, 05:16 PM
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We are considering the OAT trip to Peru. We are in our 40s and very active. Did this trip cater to older clientele? Not much of a group tour person please tell me if you would recommend this company.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 02:50 AM
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Do a search for OAT on this forum and you will see the problems I had with them. Briefly, I was booked (and had final documents) to go to Peru. They bumped me off the trip just two weeks prior to departure.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 01:38 PM
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This was our first tour. We usually travel independently to Europe. I shy away from large tours, but was attracted to OAT because of the small groups and because we were nervous about going to So. America on our own, not really knowing the continent. In Peru, we only had 6 in our group.

I am 48 and I was the youngest on the trip. The others were in their 50's - 70's. All were active - did hiking, snorkeling, etc. In Machu Picchu we split up where some of us did the difficult hikes and others did the more gentle ones. All were pretty well traveled and interesting to talk to.

Would I recommend this trip? Depends on your budget. We chose OAT because of the relatively low cost. I think it was a good value and the Peruvian section and our tour leader in Peru, Anna, were great. We did cross paths with the Real Affordable Peru group who 1)looked younger overall 40;s and 50's, 2) was a larger group, and 3) had, IMO, a rather obnoxious tour guide. But from looking at their itinerary after we returned, I would have preferred it. Less jumping around. More activities like rafting, etc.

We were not that happy with the Ecuador and Galapagos sections of the tour. If you have questions on that part, let me know.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 03:52 PM
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I haven't taken an OAT trip, but here are my thoughts on the Galapagos. In just the first few days, we saw just about everything - blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, tortoises, birds, etc. We weren't seeing much new stuff later in the trip, but it's one of those vacations you could stay there a long time.

I would have loved to stay on an island - you're lucky to have that experience!

Here is my review of the Galapagos:
http://www.epinions.com/content_214393130628

I also have photos in an online album:
marysaandpeter.shutterfly.com

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line!

Marysa
[email protected]
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Old Jan 14th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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megdean, thanks for the details. I hope I don't regret the decision to use OAT. I will post a full report upon my return. There's no excuse for having a mediocre Galapagos naturalist.

What was the pattern of the days at sea? Marysa's review talks about several shore excursions per day, starting at 6 am, but that may not be the case with OAT. I assume the boat does all its traveling at night--did the engine noise or smell bother you? Did anyone get seasick? I know our Archipel itinerary will differ from yours because we're spending 3 nights at a Santa Cruz hotel and will do boat excursions to North Seymour and Plaza from there.

Marysa, did you use a one-time underwater camera to get such great snorkling shots?
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Old Jan 14th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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Lorraine,

Re. the ship - it was very nice. No smell or engine noise problem. Yeah, one or two people, including me, did get seasick, mainly because the trip to Espanola crossed some rougher seas, but nothing too major. I felt a little queasy the first night and then I was fine, but I am very susceptible. Most people had a patch on.

From what you are saying, your itinerary sounds better than ours, with a couple of days in the hotel. I think you should be fine. We did have shore excursions each day, though not at 6am. Breakfast at 7 and then about 8 for the shore excursion. Also had two opportunities for snorkeling during our three days. I think OAT itself would have been fine if 1) we had more time to see more varied sites, 2) the naturalist was better. When are you going? I look forward to your post-trip report.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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We took the 10 day OAT Machu Picchu/Galapagos trip and loved it. I had a lot of trepidation since we have never taken a group tour before, but travel a lot independently. However, we had two excellent tour guides: Tomas in Peru and Christian in Ecuador.They were smart, friendly, helpful and really gave us the knowledge we needed to appreciate these areas. The hotels were all very nice. There was a luxury hotel on Santa Cruz that I wouldn't have thought we would stay in given the relatively reasonable cost of the tour. Yes there was a lot of moving around--and we never like to do that, but given all we saw, I have to say it was worth it. There was also extra time in Lima that we all could have done without, but, apparently, because of the flights out of Lima, it had to be this way. We are "foodies" and I must say the food was great in Ecuador--on the boat (the Carina) and hotel. In Peru, our best meals were on our own (just a couple)--but mainly because there were a lot of repetitive menus that we were offered. I loved having baggage and other details attended to. I would absolutely travel with OAT again on a trip of this sort, although we are still independent travelers when it comes to Europe.
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Old Feb 16th, 2006, 05:17 PM
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Thanks, Genoise. That is reassuring, although I'm sure we'll have different guides, hotels, etc. (the boat is definitely different). Did you happen to stay at the Monte Real in Lima? They just switched the hotel booking to there, from the Maria Angola.

By repetitive meals, I assume it's because they pre-ordered a standard meal for the group at each stop?
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Old Mar 21st, 2006, 06:25 PM
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ttt
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Old Aug 9th, 2006, 06:23 PM
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We will be an OAT tour of Peru at the end of August/beginning of September. There are a few questions that the US representaives, who have never been on this tour, couldn't answer. Any help would be much appreciated.

--They highly recommend duffle bags. We were thinking of checking one duffle bag with wheels and bringing a roller bag to carry on (total for the 2 of us). Do you think the roller bag would be acceptable, or is there something critical about a duffle?

--They suggest that we might want to bring a small gift for the family we are visiting for a dinner. Did you have a dinner like that? If so, what kind of gift do you think makes the most sense?

--They suggest amounts to tip the guide, with the amount given in US dollars. I assume we can do this in Peruvian soles rather than having to carry a lot of dollars around?

--I assume the guide will advise us, but did you eat seviche and/or drink Pisco sours--everywhere, nowhere, or only at classier restaurants? Did people on the trip tend to have intestinal problems?

--I gather there is a time for an optional walk/hike at Machu Picchu. Any recommendations on that? We are in reasonably good shape, but my wife does not enjoy feeling like she is about to fall or slip off a mountain.

Thanks!

Len
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 04:56 AM
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To RCLCOLPB

I wasn't on an OAT tour but can answer a couple of your questions......

We drank Pisco sours everywhere - but were very careful about seviche. We took the oral vaccine for food borne illnesses called DUKoral - I don't know if it can be creditted but we were in South America for 10 weeks and didn't have any problems. A travel doctor told us about it.

Re gifts - we stayed overnight with a family on Lake Titicaca and were advised to bring things for the children.......jeans were very popular plus school supplies like pens, pencils, paper, etc. Also batteries were appreciated. We also took some souvenirs of Canada.

Re walking in MP - some of the longer walks/hikes do involve heights (i.e. Huyana Picchu) - we walked to the Inca Bridge and it wasn't too bad for heights (a drop off on the right but fairly well covered by bushes, trees so you didn't have a sense of it).

You might want to pick up this self guided tour book before you go and then you can follow it once you're there - it's a really good book - here's a link to Amazon

http://tinyurl.com/pt58q

Have a great trip!
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