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Beware of G Adventures Galapagos tour guides!

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I'm posting this information on multiple message boards. I don't want anyone else to have to a similarly horrific experience on vacation. This is essentially an edited version of the report that I sent to them... (G Adventures recently changed its name from Gap Adventures.)

I recently embarked upon G Adventures’ Galapagos on a Shoestring trip between October 22 and October 30, 2011. On the night of Wednesday, October 26, I experienced a very disturbing side of your tour guide, Daniel, who took advantage of the fact that I was sick by drunkenly molesting and harassing me.

Earlier that day, the group traveled by boat from Santa Cruz to Isabella Island. Despite taking a motion sickness tablet, I was seasick six times during this particular boat ride, plus the tablet made me extremely drowsy. By the time we reached our camping site, I felt terribly sick and could barely keep my eyes open. I fell asleep right away on one of the extra beds in the cabin while everyone else made dinner, drank, and socialized through the night.

Late that night, I was startled awake by Daniel suddenly “massaging” me. He had apparently lifted up my shirt in the back, and I backed away and told him that I just wanted to sleep. He went back outside to the rest of the group and I fell asleep again.

Later, in the middle of the night after everyone else had gone to sleep, I was awakened again by Daniel’s ominous “massage,” but this time he was clearly drunk – his breath reeked of rum. A bit terrified, I told him that I wanted to sleep and moved away, but he moved in closer. He lifted my shirt away from my back and started doing some sort of perverted biting/breathing on my back and neck. I made it clear that I wanted him to stop. I tried everything from telling him that he was hurting my sunburn to physically moving away from him. It was very dark, I was still feeling sick, we were in the middle of the highlands on Isabella, and I wouldn’t have been able to find my way to the rest of the group without a flashlight, so I was trapped and scared and he knew it.

I’m not sure exactly how much time passed, but over the next hour or so, Daniel reached into the back of my pants/underwear, continued with his disturbing biting/breathing, and climbed into bed with me, wrapping his arms around me despite my protests. I clenched the covers around me to try to keep him away from my body as much as possible. At one point, I heard what I believe was him unzipping his pants, and at another point he climbed on top of me and forced me to open my fist and touch his chest. All this time, he was verbally harassing me, asking me very personal questions about my phyical relationship with my ex-boyfriend, making inappropriate sexual comments, and breathing heavily. He was also essentially criticizing me, implying that I’m too sexually conservative and I should open up and do things like his “people,” and other such nonsense.

Clearly, this was the most uncomfortable, terrifying situation of my entire life. I tried to keep a calm, brave attitude throughout, but inside I was devastated, humiliated, tortured.

Finally, I decided I would try to go outside and find the others in the pitch black of the night – anything to get out of this situation. I got out of the bed (upon which I had moved all the way to the edge while trying to get away from him) and told him that I was going to sleep elsewhere and then he finally got up and backed off. Because it was so dark, I decided it might actually be (barely) safer to stay there, so I laid awake in terror for hours while he slept in his own bed. Eventually, under the influence of the motion sickness tablets, I fell asleep.

The next morning, upon checking into the next hotel with my trip roommate, I told her everything that had happened. She said that she had been verbally sexually harassed by Daniel several nights previous on the beach, and we decided it would be best to tell all of the other girls on the trip about what had happened so that they could avoid being in a compromising situation with our perverted guide. After I told another tour companion about the incident, she revealed that she was also physically and verbally assaulted by Daniel on the second day of the trip. Some of the other girls mentioned that they, too, were the recipients of Daniel’s inappropriate and uncomfortable sexual comments.

This trip to the Galapagos was supposed to be my dream trip. I had wanted to see these islands for years. I work hard for my modest salary, and I saved for a very long time to afford to this trip. Now, thanks to our disgusting guide, my memories of the Galapagos will always be tarnished by humiliation, terror, and embarrassment. I felt that I could not trust the one person who we had paid to guide us around a foreign country. This ought to be the person that we should be able to rely on for help, questions, and assistance. I was too humiliated to ask him questions, and couldn’t even look him in the eye. It was clear that everyone was extremely uncomfortable with him by the middle of the trip, and we spent much of the trip trying to avoid him (although he consistently kept turning up near the group).

My most important concern is that G Adventures should do everything possible to ensure that this will not happen to others in my situation. No one should have to experience this sort of humiliating treatment ever, and especially not while on vacation, inflicted by the person that we are supposed to trust, the person that is paid to lead the group but instead takes advantage of the travelers. The behavior of the guides that G Adventures hires reflects upon the company very poorly.

I reported Daniel’s actions to a G Adventures representative immediately upon returning to our hotel in Quito. He asked me to leave my contact information at the front desk and to send a written report of the incident. I have not yet heard from him. I have also been in communication with a G Adventures "Customer Service and Quality Assurance Representative" representative via email, but so far have only been told, "We are currently reviewing your letter and have taken Daniel off any upcoming tours until we can determine exactly what happened." So far, I have not heard back from the company in almost 2 weeks and this last reply was sent only after sending an additional follow up email after I had heard nothing in response to my report after several days. I feel like they are not taking this seriously enough and need to accept more responsibility for what has happened.

I am currently speaking with my attorney to see if there is any legal action that I can take against Daniel. I am also consulting my therapist to see how deeply this has affected me emotionally, and she suggested that I post on travel forums to help with the healing process and to encourage G Adventures to take further action more quickly. I feel that I deserve some sort of compensation, but have not asked directly for a refund and they have not offered. No one should be expected to pay for an experience with the lack of protection against physical and psychological harm to which I was exposed.

I urge everyone to avoid booking a Galapagos trip (or any trip) with G Adventures for the sake of your own safety. If they have employed one guide with a warped sense of professionalism and a total lack of respect for travelers, especially women, it goes without saying that there must be others like him.

Good luck in your travels.

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