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Testimonials

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Tanzania

The safari was great, although very busy and lots of driving.  Food at the lodges was very good.  The variety in accommodation was nice - the tented camp was prob my favorite.  I saw more animals than I thought I would - everything you would imagine! Being a single traveler, it is difficult to find set departure safaris to join at a reasonable price.  I also liked the variety in accomodation offered. 

Zayna R.
California, US
5-day Safari, March 2015

The guides for both Kilimanjaro and the safari were more knowledgeable and experienced than we could have imagined. The porters do a miraculous job. Since we were just two trekkers with a guide and assistant guide (himself actually also a guide), we each had our own personal hero to help us out when we had our inevitable individual low point or crisis. And they always knew the right thing to say to keep our confidence up. Thanks to them we made it to the top!

Chris W.
Zurich, Switzerland
7-day Machame Trek + 5-day Safari, February 2015

My Kilimanjaro guide, Rashid, was extremely knowledgeable and competent. His guidance was key to my successful summit. It was clear that his group of porters worked together very well, and were a good team.  They were supportive of my trip and always positive. The food was good, especially the soup each evening. Summiting at Uhuru Peak was a great feeling!! Loved the Kilimanjaro song the guide and porters sang on the last day.

My husband really liked the hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. And of course, all the animals were amazing. Our safari guide, Charles Goodluck, was wonderful in spotting animals, and took the time to explain the reasons for the animal migration and many characteristics we would have missed had he not taken the time to point them out.

Robin Paschall was very responsive to my questions, both by phone and by e-mail.  Her availability and openness was definitely a factor in my decision.

Lilian C.
Florida, US
7-day Machame Trek + 5-day Safari, January - February 2015

Exceeded expectations - much more high end than expected, great accommodations and good food!

Gilana L.
New York, US
5-day Safari, December 2014

More Tanzania Testimonials >>

Peru

A great trip, Barbara and Robin!  Lots of wonderful memories, thanks to your planning and the terrific guide. Celinda is absolutely the best--she fit into our group of 8 as a life long friend.  I've already passed on yours and Celinda's contacts to several friends-- "journey proud"!

Dennis A.
Colorado,
USA
5-Day Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu Trek + Huayna Picchu Climb + 1/2 Day Cusco City and Nearby Ruins Tour + 1-Day Sacred Valley Tour
- May 2015

The [4-day Inca Trail Trek to Macchu Picchu] exceeded all expectations in terms of beauty, historical education, food, and guide. Such a magical pilgrimage!!! [The private Sacred Valley tour was a g]reat way to get introduced to the Quechua culture and history. Ollyantambo was another stunning site. [We] appreciate[ed] the historical context of the Inca Trail and that feeling of solitude in the vastness of the Andes.

The kids found the trip to be amazing. They were so liberated to climb and enjoyed the mountain terrain immensely. They had no problems on the trek and I would recommend the trail to anyone who has adventurous 10 year old kids.

[AWR] was [v]ery knowledgeable on pre-trek questions and always responsive. [We w]ill be booking more adventures through AWR soon!!

Chirag G.
New York,
USA
4-Day Inca Trail Trek to Macchu Picchu + 1-Day Sacred Valley Tour
- April 2015

Just wanted to send a quick thank you for your help with this trip. It was truly an adventure. Even though it was the end of the rainy season, not once did the rain impact my plans. I was able to do everything I wanted to do, and most of it with sunshine and perfect weather. I feel super lucky in that regard.

Nic (the Explorandes agent/guide) and Max (the driver for the Tipon and Cusco area trip) were both exceptional. Max was such an old fashioned gentleman, and he was so patient and sweet about driving me around and dealing with my less than perfect Spanish. He managed to be a tour guide and driver and Spanish teacher all in one. It's a rare person who can be genial/warm and also extremely service oriented almost to the point of deference, but he manages to combine both traits. And Nic was clearly educated, intelligent, and sophisticated - very professional and good at his job. In addition to handling every detail of my stay in a way and with a manner that engendered absolute confidence, he also gave an amazing tour of the cathedral, with detailed art history information and massive amounts of original historical research combined with an entertaining manner and a true gift for story telling. And he even took it upon himself to call my contact for the Choquequirao trek and iron out the details of that for me, although I had arranged it on my own, and not through you/Explorandes. Oh, and he said how amazing you were, when he was able to meet you last year!

Tambopata Research Center was worth every minute of travel time! I was a little skeptical as we were herded into the Puerto Maldonado office, made to watch a safety video, given color coded bag tags and a guide who was clearly also to be our babysitter, and then loaded up into a bus with commentary and corny jokes from both tour guides and fellow visitors to pass the time. I was thinking to myself, "This is why I don't do group tours, this is exactly what I try to avoid when I travel" - but once I left Refugio behind (which was quite nice in its own right, just not my vibe) - the tone of the trip and the guides changed. My primary guide was solicitous and aware of my interests, zeroing in on the things in which I exhibited interest. We saw all 7 of the 7 monkey varietals in a single day, followed around the macaw researchers who let me hold the baby macaws, watched wild pigs take over the salt lick to the exclusion of all the birds (which I liked for variety, because the previous day we visited a salt lick that was inundated with macaws), swam in the river and surprised a mama capibara and her three babies swimming past just a few feet from us, and basically just tramped around the jungle experiencing sights and sounds and nature. The hospitality director at TRC was also lovely and welcoming. They must hear the same stories over and over again, but he seemed genuinely interested when he asked each guest about their day and the animals they had seen. Because I would be sharing the return boat ride/bus ride with the group from Refugio I had ridden IN with, the guide instructed me to not mention all the animals I had seen, or how close they were, so as not to make anyone else disappointed. So instead I asked lots of questions of them, and with every answer they gave I became more convinced that I had made the right choice in continuing onto TRC, in spite of the extra travel time packed into a short itinerary. So thank you for your help sorting out the timing details and making it all possible!

All of the connections you set up were flawless. El Presidente was a tidy room with a lovely balcony overlooking the river, and even with the window closed I could hear the river all night long - beautiful!. My Amaru room was well located, and had interior stone wall details and a view into the central garden courtyard. I know that those little extras with regard to room calibre are due to your attentions, so thank you! I will definitely email you again next time I have time off...next up, Kilimanjaro!

Britt
Texas,
USA
4-Day Amazon Rainforest Excursion at the Tambopata Research Center, 1-Day Machu Picchu Tour via Vistadome Train, and 1-Day Andean Market and Ruins South Valley Cusco Tour
- March 2015

We were well taken care of during our entire trip. We did not have to worry about a thing. Everything was perfectly coordinated.​ The trek was a once in a lifetime adventure for us. Everything was perfect from our perspective and exceeded our expectations.

The one day trek was exhilarating and ​exhausting. Overall, well worth the effort. It rained most of the day while on our trek. Cloudy and the trail was very slippery. However, the moment we reached the Sun Gate the weather cleared. A site for sore eyes. Sheer beauty! Miguel was so kind and patient and helped me a lot going downhill, which I fear the most since I had fallen going downhill on one of our practice hikes here in AZ. I broke my arm then so I was very cautious on the Incan Trail.

Elkin was awesome! Both days he was the perfect tour guide. He easily adapted both tours to meet our needs. He and the tours exceeded our expectations. The visit to the school was very rewarding. Elkin was so kind to the students. We do hope that future clients will be encouraged to visit the school.​

Linda B.
California,
USA
12-Day Tour - Inca Trail, Macchu Picchu, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Puno, Lake Titicaca, and Amazon Rainforest,
September - October 2014

More Peru Testimonials >>

Costa Rica

First of let me thank you for this trip, it was AWESOME. We would certainly recommend (already did :-) ) AWR to everybody even people we met there - it’s a 10. It is really hard to say which part was the best, but, probably the sight seeing of nature, the birds, monkeys, snakes, frogs, etc. Every part of the trip had something really special about it. Our trip went perfectly. Mélanie and me want to thank you for the great job you did planning this trip for us, we have memories that will last a lifetime and pictures to prove it :-)

Math P.
St-Hubert, Quebec, Canada
15-Day Custom FamilyCosta Rica Trip, February-March 2015

The selected venues, the quality of the hotels, and the efficiency and friendliness of the inter-bus drivers was excellent. As l have said in a previous email, your website, booking, and general care that you were offering what we wanted was also excellent. We both felt the trip represented very good value for money. We would and will unreservedly recommend you in the future.

Nigel B.
Great Britain
15-Day Independent Budget Costa Rica Grand Explorer Trip, January-February 2015

I would be very likely to recommend AWR to friends and in fact I already have. Our arrival in San Jose was smooth and the pickup/transfer was easy. The hotel was very pleasant and I would recommend it. The rooms were pretty and the view was nice. Our transport the next day to Arenal was also easy and good. We liked the Arenal Springs Resort in terms of the rooms, the springs and grounds. The service was great and the facilities were nice. Our favorite part of the trip was Tamarindo. We really enjoyed Tamarindo. The hotel was great and the location was good. And, what's not to love about the beach. I liked Tamarindo because it didn't fee so commercial and stylized.

Edith R.
Washington, USA
8-Day Custom Family Trip to Arenal, Monteverde, and Tamarindo, January 2015

We really liked our guide that accompanied us from the airport to Tirimbina and then from Tirimbina to Arenal.  Excellent English, shared information on the trip on what we were seeing, local culture, so it was not just a drive.  Loved Arenal.  Area is definitely touristy, but we will go back there when we visit again.  Would have loved another 2 days for exploring the volcano and doing some type of wildlife or rafting. My daughter fell in love with the swim up bar at the hotel where they fixed her a banana concoction that she ordered repeatedly. The ride from the boat drop off to Monteverde was beyond words.  Gorgeous. 

Overall highlights:

  • Proyecto Asis visit
  • Seeing my daughter take on the hanging bridges
  • Making it to very top bridge at Arenal
  • Hot springs
  • Vistas on the trip from Arenal to Monteverde
  • Being swarmed by hummingbirds
  • Meals with 2 of our guides

Carla M.
Illinois, USA
10-Day Custom Trip to Sarapiqui, Arenal, and Monteverde, July 2014

More Costa Rica Testimonials >>

Kenya

Guide was nothing short of excellent - went above and beyond in all departments. Excellent safari! Saw all the Big 5 up close plus other exciting animals and sights.

Paul J.
Australia
5-Day Kenya Nakaru and Mara Safari + Mara Balloon Safari, November 2013

Our safari exceeded our expectations from the moment we arrived in Nairobi. Welcomed everywhere we went, friendly people who couldn't do enough to make sure you were happy, beautiful weather and an abundance of every type of animal we could think of. Truly an amazing experience! Eric, our guide in Kenya and Godlisten in Tanzania were awesome! Friendly, funny guys with lots of knowledge of the parks and country. Lodges were really nice and our tented camps in Tanzania were awesome!

Patrick K.
Alberta, Canada
7-day Safari, February 2012

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Himalayas - Bhutan, India, Nepal, & Tibet

I’m very happy with your services. Everything went according to plan and our guide and driver were very nice. I really enjoyed the day when we went to the arts and trade school. It was nice to see how the students were producing wonderful textiles, wood carving and paintings. Also the hike to the Tiger’s Nest was great. 

Overall, Bhutan is a very nice country to visit. The lack of mass tourism makes it a very unique place and the whole country has a very authentic feeling to it. I’d probably recommend people going there to try to do a few short hikes in the mountains, which are really beautiful.

Jorge C.
New York, US
Bhutan, April 2015

Thank you for helping make our visit of India, Nepal, and Bhutan very memorable.  Everything was well organized from start to finish. (...) We had a great time visiting many wonderful places in India.   We grew quite fond of our driver Manohar over the nine days we spent there.  Our guides in each of the cities were very good and knowledgeable, and we did see a Bengal tiger on our first safari. 

We were very happy with our Everest Base Camp Trek guide Nawong, and Tul our porter. In Kathmandu we enjoyed our guide Dickshya's enthusiasm and commentary, and Surya the driver with his calm and kind disposition.  The sights were incredible (...).

Our Bhutan tour was excellent with lots of interesting sights to see and again a good driver (Sam), and a great guide called Dorgi.  Throughout the trip our hotels were very good without being stuffy or pretentious.  We were happy with the choices.  All were clean and most had a local flavour.  All the included breakfasts were quite good as well.  If we were to do it again, we would plan to spend an extra night or two in the Neemrana Fort hotel.  We were sorry to have to leave so soon. (...) 

Overall, it was a very interesting trip. Thanks again for helping make it all possible.

Jary M.
Canada
India, Nepal Everest Base Camp, & Bhutan May 2013

We had a wonderful time and was probably one of the best trips we have ever taken. The people were amazing! My wife and I have been to several places around the world and we can honestly say our tour guide, Tashi Dorji, was by far the best tour guide we have ever had. On our second day we had "traveler's sickness" and was confined to our room for almost a day. Tashi tended to us like we were in a hospital. He went into town and got us banana's and drinks to get rehydrate us.

The destinations that we went to were perfect for the 7 days we were there. I would not have changed anything. The festival was just amazing.

Stephen L.
Connecticut, USA
Bhutan, March 2011

More Himalayas Testimonials >>

Galapagos/Ecuador

The 10 year old twins had a blast! They were the only children in our group of 16 in Galapagos but assimilated well with the group and provided a lot of levity with their questions. We saw a tortoise in the wild halfway thru our volcano hike in Isabela and they wanted to know how long it took the animal to get up as high as we were. The rest of the group started calling out the variables such as, how far the tortoise can walk in an hour, how many meters we were above sea level, etc. Then a debate ensued because the answer did not factor if they walked straight up or zigzagged their way up or if they even started from town in the first place. I asked them what they enjoyed the most and surprisingly the answer was the hikes and speedboat rides! The middle of the world tour in Quito was also a hit. We started there first, and probably stayed longer than normal because they were enjoying the experiments. Since we were the only group in the tour, Patricia, the guide was very accommodating as long as we didn't mind taking the time away from some of the colonial portion of the itinerary. Thanks again. I already had a couple of inquiries on how I arranged the trip and gave them the link to Adventures within reach.

AnnaLou S.
California, USA
5-Day Galapagos Highlights Tour + 1-Day Quito City Tour and Equator, June 2015

Our Galapagos trip was beautiful! Thank you so much for helping with us to organize this trip for us and being very patient with me. The weather was beautiful during the entire trip and our favorite parts were definitely seeing a sea turtle while snorkeling and playing with the sea lions. Oswaldo is a great guide and the Nemo III is an amazing boat. I think everything was great and the only thing that could've been better was having more time. The food was fantastic too! It was incredible the quality of the food onboard such a small boat.

As for feedback for the booking process, I think you have an excellent help and very patient with my decision making. Also, the promptness of e-mail responses was exceptional, which makes a very large difference. Again, thank you for helping us plan such an amazing honeymoon!

Jun M.
Texas, USA
4-Day Galapagos Cruise, January 2015

I wanted to tell you what an excellent trip we had. Thank you for reservations and recommendations. We have a fabulous time at Sacha Lodge. The expeditions were perfect, the food was excellent and the people were warm and very friendly. Both the hotels in Quito were good. Your recommendation to change to Patio Andaluz is very much appreciated. It was so close to the main center and the food was thoroughly enjoyed. 

Aravind N.
California, USA
5-Day Ecuador Amazon Excusion, November 2014

We had a great trip . . . The guides were good and the facilities were very nice. Morning pick-up and travel to the airport went smoothly, the air trip to Baltra (Galapagos) was fine. The cabin on the Coral II was very nice and the crew was great. The daily schedule of trips and snorkeling was well organized and the naturalist guides were knowledgeable and attentive.

The trip back to Quito and hotel check-in went smoothly. Our new guide, Eduardo, was personable and knowledgeable. He gave us some suggestions for the next day's free time and we ended up taking a cab to the Plaza Grande and walking around in the old section of Quito. The next day Eduardo picked us up promptly and we headed to Mindo . . . The local naturalist/guide from the lodge was wonderfu! The two birdwatching walks we took were great for both bird and plant identification. Overall, the trip was great! The accommodations were very good as were the side trips and other attractions. Thank you for the good work in putting this trip together.

Geoff H.
Idaho, USA
Galapagos Cruise and Mainland Ecuador, April 2013

More Ecuador/Galapagos Testimonials >>

Argentina / chile

AWR rocks!!!!! [Our group's] trip was "perfect", other than a couple of things outside of [AWR's] control. The entire trip was wonderful and amazing. [I] loved everything about the lodges, food, and excursions. Patagonia of course had an advantage with the amazing view. Easter Island had the best food although all of the food was great. In Atacama the hiking was a highlight. [We] also loved Antarctica XXI, Uncorked services, and Ilaia Hotel in Punta Arenas.

Joanne S.
Ontario, Canada
Chile - Torres del Paine, Antarcti Classic Fly Cruise, Santiago, Vina del Mar, Easter Island, and Atacama
December 2014 - January 2015

We had an incredible trip and have only positive things to say... We couldn't believe how close we got to the whales - both in our kayaks and on shore. The sea lions were another highlight, we felt like we had a bunch of friends following us. The trekking was an added bonus, we didn't realize there would be so much of it and that it would be so beautiful. We can't say enough about Pablo and Sofia! He was so knowledgeable in history, marine life, the peninsula and provided so many interesting facts. He was also a pleasure to travel with and as a guide. His ability to whip up delicious meals with only 2 pans and a camp stove was incredible. He was also very proficient in packing 5 days worth of supplies in 4 kayaks - with room to spare. From the time that Sofia picked us up at the Trelew airport to the time that Pablo dropped us off ..., we felt like we were in very good hands and that we were among friends. Pablo and Sofia truly made it a very special experience and a trip of a lifetime.

Jeanne L.
Boston, USA
Argentina, Peninsula Valdes Sea Kayaking
October 2011

Antarctica

The trip was outstanding! I honestly can't think of anything I would change! The guides and people we interacted with were outstanding!

Being able to see the Antarctic wildlife was also just stunning. Where else can you kayak and have schools of 30 penguins (or so) cruising and jumping out of the water next to you? Everything is just so beautiful!

One of the many highlights of our trip to Antarctica was the opportunity to go camping on the continent. Being able to have light 24 hours a day eliminated the need for flashlights and the scenery of being able to see the mountains named Snow White and the seven dwarfs was tough to beat anywhere. The double sleeping bags with a bivy cover along with pads kept you plenty warm. And besides where else in the world can you go camping and have penguins strutting up to you and checking you out. If the penguins could talk, what would they say?

Thanks for helping us set up the trip.  It was definitely a trip of a lifetime!

Wes N.
12-day Antarctica on the Plancius
December 2012

Southern Africa

We loved Botswana, the National Parks, and our Safaris.  Camp Linyanti was special because we were the only visitors.  So, we had private safari’s for 3 days with Moses.  He was a great guide and host.  It was a little remote which is why tourists may not go there and it was more rustic (with the shower outside).  There were no electric fences, so animals (elephants, hippos, wart hogs, and baboons) roamed our camp at night which was very authentic. The food was very good and the service is fantastic.  On the last night, the 5 hosts entertained us with singing and dancing, but we quickly joined in the merriment.  We only saw 1 other jeep each day.  We saw elephants, hippos, crocodiles, wart hogs, giraffes, kudu, baboons, etc.

Camp Moremi and Camp Xugana were owned by the same company and are run very well.  It is a more elegant experience than Camp Linyanti but not necessarily better.  Just slicker with nicer accommodations.  Again, we only saw one or two of the camp’s jeeps or boats each day.  So, there are never crowded situations.  Since we went on numerous jeep safaris, it was nice to do the boat and walking safaris at Camp Xugana.  They had the best Boma.

In Moremi, we saw lions, wildebeest, and all of the others from camp linyanti.  In Xugana, we saw elephants and hippos from the boat which is a better way to see water animals.  Also, we tracked and saw wild dogs.  We did not see Rhinos or Leopards since they are in dryer areas (maybe Kalahari desert).

The luggage we took was perfect for the small planes.  We bought Duffel bags on wheels from LL Bean measuring 22”x12”x12”. 

The entire trip was very smooth.  The guides, the pilots, the hosts are very pleasant and the service is excellent.

Tony F.
11-day Botswana + Vic Falls
June 2013

Rwanda

OH...MY...GOODNESS!!! WHAT a wonderful trip!!!!!! Glenn and I had an absolutely fantastic visit to Rwanda. Everything went perfectly smoothly. It couldn't have been better. You know, we went there to see gorillas, but the conversations and time spent with our guide Mussa were the most memorable. Mussa should be the next Minister of Tourism. He was so welcoming, fun, charming, had a great sense of humor, an easy smile, and was quick to tease and laugh. We absolutely loved him...
Of course, the gorillas were fantastic. Our group, the Agaysha group, decided to spend a lot of time on the move, so it took a couple hours to find them. That was just what we wanted, a true tracking experience where we (well, the trackers) had to work a little find them in the wild. We would definitely encourage you to promote the golden monkeys. We felt that they were just as enjoyable as the gorillas. We could get so close and they were so beautiful.

Leslie. H.
Rwanda, July 2012

Just back from a very successful trip to Rwanda. What a stunning country, beautiful people and of course the gorillas! We visited Hirwa group which included a 2 day old baby. I'd have to say this will be in the top 5 experiences of a lifetime.

G. G.
Rwanda, February 2012

More Rwanda Testimonials >>

Sri lanka

There was no way to be prepared for the wonders of Sri Lanka.  The country is spectacular--easy to travel, good infrastructure, exceptional tourist facilities, though few Americans were there.  The country is unspoiled by tourism--people are open, trusting, and the environment is safe.

Our guide, PadmaSiri was terrific.  He was knowledgeable about wildlife (a great bird spotter), culture, history, archaeology, religion --Buddhism, in particular--and just about everything.  He was truly encyclopedic in his knowledge and told good stories.  He was sensitive to our needs, and rearranged some of the itinerary to improve what had been planned.

Barbara R.
Texas, U.S.
7-Day Custom Journey to Sri Lanka,
March 2014

Mt. blanc - European alps

As to the tour - enough cannot be said. Your directions, logistical information and clear procedures/instructions made the touchdown in Chamonix painless. Our Chamonix hotel was great and we got off the next day without a problem. The hike with Stefan and his colleague was well-organized, professional and punctual. Stefan and Isabelle really hustled, maintained a pleasant demeanor and kept us moving - all good. The inns at the end of the day were wonderful if a bit far from their respective villages. No big deal as we had great dinners, then crashed out. Little touches like having our luggage in our rooms when we arrived, always there waiting for us with the shuttle and having local products for our lunches meant a lot. We liked the side tour of the cheese factory and the local information on numerous other things along the way from Stefan. The hikes were the right amount of strenuousness. We did not want a cakewalk. The days were the right amount of hiking, breaking and length of time. The weather was perfect which I am sure made a huge difference.

Jeff M.
Hawaii, U.S.
8-Day Tour de Mont Blanc, August-October
2014

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