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Old 08-15-2012, 03:08 PM   #1
kristilew
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Change in Ecuador/Galapagos iten...and question for those who have been

So, got a call from ABD today that the itinerary for Andean Highlands/Galapagos Islands Adventure has changed slightly. Basically, they are cancelling the hike to the Peguche Waterfalls and replacing it with....nothing.

In the message left on my voicemail, the rep said it was in response to feedback that adventurers wanted more time on their own to explore Ecuador. But when I called back to ask a few questions, a different rep said that it was to allow for resting up before flying to the cruise. So in fact the group will just be going back to the Hacienda Pinsaqui, not being set loose to explore more places.

One of the questions I had was if the Falls were worth doing on our own during our pre or post days, but he would not answer this question. I also asked about options for activities at the Hacienda, but the only suggestion was to nap. Again, it was stressed that this was based on feedback from the guests in the surveys.

So, my questions for anyone who has done this include

> are you really so exhausted by lunchtime on Day 3 that you must nap? And if so, would this be true even with a preday to rest up??

> are the Falls boring, or would they be worth doing on our own on a pre or post day? And if worth doing, is that even feasible without ABD getting us there?

> for anyone who has been to Hacienda Pinsaqui, are there activities there, like horseback riding, that we could schedule for our downtime? Or is it a convenient base from which to do more exploring of the area?


I know this is only one small change, and maybe it will be for the best. But I can't help but feel that this is a cheap move on Disney's part. Now, if we want to do something that was originally included in the very high price of the trip (which of course hasn't changed with the removal of the activity), we will have to arrange to do it on our own and pay for the privilege. I feel that they should have made the activity (or a substitute activity) optional, not just yanked it and suggested a nap instead.


I would love to be told I am overreacting here....
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:18 PM   #2
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Hey kristilew. Sorry to hear about the sudden change. I can answer some of your questions. I looked back at our Ecuador photos and the morning we went to the Peguche Falls, was also the day we visited Hacienda Pinsaqui. Days before that, we went to the equator, visited a rose farm (not officially part of the tour at that time), flute-making and the Otavalo Market (I prefer the Pisac Market in Peru). Honestly, the days in the highlands were quite slow and I wouldn't call it exhausting at all. It was actually a plus for me we got to hike and see the falls. We were dropped off far from the falls and hiked our way there. I'll post photos of the falls and you can decide if it's worth seeing or not. It's not like Victoria Falls or Niagara by any means but the local indigenous people still hold traditional rituals there. I know Pinsaqui has horseback riding, one of the kids in the group did it while we were there. I'm not sure if there are tours which will take you to the falls on your pre- or post-days.

It does get hectic once you start the cruise in Galapagos. Everyone is awakened at 6 in the morning to start the day and ABD gets off first. I heard one person comment that there isn't much downtime while on the ship. We loved it though!!!
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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Here are some photos of the falls:

This creek runs along the path where we hiked to the falls.



Here is the Peguche Falls.


A closer shot


There are steps on the right side of the falls (facing it) where you can climb and see the top of the falls. This was taken from that sight. The path on the right (where the bridges are) was where we hiked.


You might have to ask the guides how to get about town while in Pinsaqui. I didn't see a whole lot of public vehicles, and it's mainly a residential town.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:19 PM   #4
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Thanks, TufBuf. Just knowing there is horseback riding helps. We loved doing that on the Peru trip, so will look into that for the down time. Your pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing! I think my family must be like yours in liking to go, go, go on vacation. The more we do, the more energized we feel - and we always say we can sleep when we get home!
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristilew View Post
Thanks, TufBuf. Just knowing there is horseback riding helps. We loved doing that on the Peru trip, so will look into that for the down time. Your pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing! I think my family must be like yours in liking to go, go, go on vacation. The more we do, the more energized we feel - and we always say we can sleep when we get home!

Then you will enjoy the Galapagos part of the trip! The itinerary didn't interest me much when I first looked into it since the first 3 days looked really slow (and it was) but overall it's a wonderful adventure!
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:51 PM   #6
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kristilew, I'm with you. Making it an optional activity, with the *option* to nap if you wanted to makes more sense. I almost never nap, and I just can't see that being something I'd want to do. I hope you work it all out. Honestly, you should call back, hopefully get someone else, and see if they can at least help you arrange the horseback riding.

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Old 08-16-2012, 09:52 AM   #7
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I asked my 10 year old DD about this. She did this trip summer of 2011 with her grandparents. She really liked the hike and doesn't remember feeling tired at all. I know we have some beautiful pictures from it.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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Thanks, KandK'sMommy. I am beginning to suspect that it is the Disney Guides who may need the nap!

SayHello, I do think I will take your advice and call back...
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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I think Disney needs to be careful with dropping items on an itinerary. They did it here, and I think I read in one of the France reports that the guides skipped going to Honfleur. It may be for various reasons (I agree that taking a nap is pretty lame), but all it takes is for one person/family to be disappointed that they didn't get to hike and see the falls or didn't get to go to a little village that they wanted to see, and the value of the ABD is diminished for them. I think most understand if there is a natural disaster or unsafe condition that is beyond control, but the reasons being given don't even approach that.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:34 AM   #10
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Hi! We were the ones who just posted about Honfleur being omitted from the Esprit de France trip. I will tell you that if we had wanted to go to Honfleur, during our free night in Deauville, the guides had offered to pay our taxi fee both ways. I don't know if this was at their discretion or if this is an ABD policy. You should follow up on this. I hope this helps!

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Old 08-25-2012, 08:40 AM   #11
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Just returned yesterday!

Wondering if the others who felt that the Hacienda days were slower, we're on the itineraries that still had 3 nights at the Hacienda? I ask this because we just returned yesterday, and we were on the newer version with only 2 nights in the Hacienda Pinsaqui. The pace of the Highlands portion is very accelerated now, and we are very much go, go, go people! We were absolutely exhausted after arriving in the Galapagos and there is very little downtime once on the ship. For my parents ( 70s) they felt they had to skip Galapagos activites in order to get enough rest to stay well, my kids were pretty cranky ( they are teens) and I know we were tired, and nearly every other family we talked to on our trip found it very busy.
Here's what we did:
Day1:Left JW at 8, went to Quitosato monument, visited the Rose Plantation, Lunch at Hacienda Molina, Peguche village visit with the weaver and musician/ flute making (2 groups- then switch), then arrive at HP for check in and dance show, dinner
Day 2: left HP at 8:30, hiked Peguche Falls, visit at Parque Condor, flying kites, lunch at Peurto Lago, visit the Otavalo market, return around 430 and while there is major packing and organization to be done before a very early departure the next day , there are also painting lessons, empanada and ice cream making from 4-6:30, which means to pack during the daylight, you'd need to miss one of those activities, and we needed to pack during daylight, because the HP is very rustic with low light making it hard to see if packing after dinner. Also this was really one of the only times to explore HP grounds. No one in our group had time to ride horses for sure, though, a few of the kids did visit them.

But our experience was that the highlands portion compressed into 2 days is extremely busy with little time currently to explore the HP or the Otavalo market- we barely had time there to do a planned activity, much less shop leisurely on our own. Parents with more than 2 kids struggled just to finish the activity ( which is a great one, I won't spoil the surprise, but it needs more time!)

Which to cut is always a difficult choice. I found the falls to be pretty, but it's really just a walk to the falls and it wasnt much more unique than any pleasant walk to the water in your own hometown. We did enjoy seeing local people there enjoying it, but it was not the ony place we saw them. That said, I was ready for a hike and it was more of a walk. I agree with others- optional- its very close to HP, and an afternoon there instead of painting is what I would have picked! So ideally one afternoon would be choice of; Hike - (DH and I would pick that) Paint and cook ( teens would have picked that) or nap ( D parents would have picked that )

I'll have a full review in a few days, once the pictures and laundry are done...
But if you are going...I dont want to give the idea that it wasnt a wonderful trip, you will have an incredible time! It's an amazing trip!
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:09 AM   #12
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Welcome back, fgb! I just realized they shortened the trip by a day. We had 3 days to do the highland activities. Looking forward to your trip report. Did you have Eduardo as one of the guides?
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:33 AM   #13
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Welcome back, familygoboston! Glad you had a good trip.

Make sure you tell ABD what you thought about the pace of the new itinerary. They really do listen!

Looking forward to your Trip Report!

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Old 08-25-2012, 12:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tufbuf View Post
Welcome back, fgb! I just realized they shortened the trip by a day. We had 3 days to do the highland activities. Looking forward to your trip report. Did you have Eduardo as one of the guides?
Thanks! We had Robbie and Laura...both were excellent! Really, they work so hard and yet, always a smile!
Quote:
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Welcome back, familygoboston! Glad you had a good trip.

Make sure you tell ABD what you thought about the pace of the new itinerary. They really do listen!

Looking forward to your Trip Report!

Sayhello
Thanks...I definately will! We've seen ABD add the Torteguero NP after many of us early CR travelers either did it on our own or requested it, so they do make changes! They were actively "tweaking" the itinerary while we were on it, they let us know the order of events would be based on what they felt worked best as far as having a great experience and what the venue would be like during the time we might be there. So the itinerary did not "follow" the "story" book perfectly, but in my mind, this is partly what you pay guides for! If for instance they take us to the market when they know there will be six other tour busses there just because it's in the itinerary for that time, that wouldn't be good even if it followed the "story". I'd rather have guides experienced enough to change things on the fly if it results in a better experience...that's the whole advantage to the guides! DH is madly processing photos...photo review soon!
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familygoboston View Post
Thanks...I definately will! We've seen ABD add the Torteguero NP after many of us early CR travelers either did it on our own or requested it, so they do make changes! They were actively "tweaking" the itinerary while we were on it, they let us know the order of events would be based on what they felt worked best as far as having a great experience and what the venue would be like during the time we might be there. So the itinerary did not "follow" the "story" book perfectly, but in my mind, this is partly what you pay guides for! If for instance they take us to the market when they know there will be six other tour busses there just because it's in the itinerary for that time, that wouldn't be good even if it followed the "story". I'd rather have guides experienced enough to change things on the fly if it results in a better experience...that's the whole advantage to the guides! DH is madly processing photos...photo review soon!
I totally agree with you! On your own, you'd have no way of knowing stuff like that, you wouldn't have options. The ABD Guides are tops at rearranging things to best deal with the "bumps" along the way. On my Knights & Lights trip, they had to rearrange things because Notre Dame changed the hours they were open! And there was a bicycle race in London when we were there. The way they handle things like that is *definitely* one of the benefits of having the Guides! (I keep thinking of the time that there was a fire in the Chunnel on a day one of the K&L trips was supposed to head to France. The Guides managed to arrange alternate transportation. How hard do you think that would be for the average tourist?)

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