We dealt with Allie Almario and her staff of experts for planning our trip to the Galapagos & northern Ecuador.
The hotel they picked in Guayaquil prior to our departure to the Galapagos was excellent and allowed us not only to see Guayaquil prior to our departure for the islands, but also eliminated the necessity of flying from Quito to the Galapagos which would have necessitated a VERY early wake up call that morning to get from Quito city to its airport(a 45-60 min trip). All the transfers were handled excellently (its always nice to see ones name on a placard when one arrives in a foreign city!). Our time in the Galapagos was superb, albeit on a larger ship (the M/V Legend holds around 100 passengers), and the organization of the guides/naturalists getting people on & off the zodiacs was incredible as were most aspects of life aboard the ship (food, service, etc.). The rooms were simple but fine each with private bath. We left the Galapagos and stayed one night in a nice hotel in Quito and had a great guide who toured us thru the Old City prior to our van ride north to Hacienda Zuleta near Otovalo, EC. He stayed with us for three nights and four days there and took us to wonderful towns in the surrounding area as well as on a hike to a Condor Preserve and on a terrific horseback ride through the trails & valleys around the Hacienda. The beautiful Hacienda was fantastic and had plenty to keep us busy for 5 days & nights. The food, the rooms and the place were spectacular and the owners, Margarita & her nephew Fernando were wonderful gracious hosts. We were driven back to Quito on our final evening in a nice van with an English speaking driver after a full final day at the “ranch”.
After cancelling a trip to South Africa due to the Ebola epidemic, my daughter and I chose the Galapagos as our substitute destination in January 2015. I had often longingly perused the Myths and Mountains travel brochures, but didn’t feel I could afford the custom travel they specialized in. Instead, I usually planned my own custom travel. Since I knew nothing about the Galapagos and even less about boat trips, I decided to contact Allie Almario, as I knew she was “the” expert in the field. It was the best decision I ever made regarding any travel I have planned.
Allie knows just the right questions to ask to get all the information she needs to plan a trip that matches your exact travel desires and needs. She knew that cost did matter to us, but that we also wanted to be comfortable and well cared for on this adventure. After our initial conversations, I was completely secure in turning all arrangements over to her. She gave us three boats to choose from, telling us the positives and negatives of each one. The Guantanamera fit us to a tee. We loved the crew and the international passengers of all ages. The activities and tours gave us just the right mix of adventure and relaxation. Allie even let the crew know it was my birthday trip, and they presented me with the most delicious homemade banana cake I have ever tasted.
Don’t hesitate to use Allie to plan your trip of a lifetime. You won’t be disappointed. Her great pleasure is to help you find yours.
Allie and her crew were very easy to work with and clearly knew what they were doing. I would definitely use them again.
Allie Almario did a terrific job customizing, planning and organizing our trip to Peru. I described to her what we wanted to see, and she recommended a perfect itinerary, which had a lot of fun activities in it and was well-paced. We have seen everything we wanted to see in a very efficient manner-Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba. The accommodations were well-selected and excellent–ranging from a small exotic hotel, decorated in a wonderful Peruvian way, to a luxury accommodation at Tambo Del Inca. Our driver Carlos was terrific–definitely an expert in driving on very difficult roads, and our trip was very well-organized and planned, with guides waiting for us as planned and on time. It was wonderful, and I don’t think we would be able to see as much without Allie and the expert advice we got.
We had always read about and admired the kind of trips that Allie Almario with Myths and Mountains put together for travelers. We certainly were not disappointed when she helped plan our trip to Ecuador. Allie was wonderful in guiding us in our plan. She was both very knowledgeable and understanding while she personalized the trip to meet our needs for this trip of a lifetime. Our accommodations were wonderful and ranged from an old beautiful Quito family home/now a hotel, to a homestead with a farm family near Otavalo, to a wonderful boat Coral 1 in the Galapagos. If you have never done a homestay, we heartily recommend you try it. We were very comfortable on the farm and loved it when the mother brought us each hot water bottles in a knitted cozy to make sure we were warm when we went to bed. Our homestay was organized through the Karanki Magdalena Indigenous Community. During this trip we saw some big tours and felt so lucky to be traveling with Myths and Mountains instead of a giant tour group! Our guide/driver, Alejandra Mosquera on the mainland was relaxed, very knowledgeable, fun to be with, and a terrific driver! She even provided sun for our days there! Our guides while in the Galapagos were great and taught us a lot about the precious environment there.
Allie Almario was warm, personable and a consummate professional from the start. She listened to what our goals and interests were and then worked to best meet our wishes on this trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands. Allie was recommended by a friend and boy was she right – Allie is the best!
She and her team planned every detail of the trip, suggesting and arranging things I never would have thought of. Then just before we left , Allie called us and we spent a long phone call completely reviewing the itinerary and answering all our final questions. That’s the kind of personal attention Allie provides.
We were totally taken care of from the moment we landed in Guayaquil to when we landed back home. The hotel in Guayaquil was lovely, the tour and tour guide around Guayaquil were just the right amount of information and activity. All the detail of flying to the Galapagos was completely taken care of too – we felt like total VIP’s! We loved our boat that Allie had found and she made sure we got the cabin we wanted! Our Galapagos experience was out of this world – the very best all around! And then upon returning to Guayaquil, we were treated with care and comfort once again.
Allie made all of this happen and we are forever grateful to her!! We will definitely come back to Allie Almario and Myths and Mountains for another trip of a lifetime experience!
Working with Allie and her team at Myths & Mountains was a pleasure. They are highly professional and detail oriented. They were always available to answer questions and it felt good to know everything was taken care of. Visiting the Galápagos is an amazing experience and the Finch Bay Hotel was outstanding!
I have directed an academic program here at Emory University that travels to remote regions of Ecuador since 1999. I find Allie to be utterly reliable about every possible dimension of our travel to the Andes Mountains and to the Amazonian rain forest. Allie is incredibly knowledgeable, quick to respond to my many inquiries, and is on top of every relevant detail of our travel in South America. Put simply, Allie is the most astute travel planner that I have ever encountered, anywhere, any time.
Most recently, the news about the Zika virus became a significant concern for my plans to travel in Ecuador with my class. I spoke with Allie and shared my desire to completely re-work my planned itinerary with her. Within days she had completed rearranged my day-to-day travel in Ecuador to keep us above 7,000 feet where the mosquitoes that carry the virus are not found. And Allie did this in record time and without compromising my academic goals for the trip in any way whatsoever. In fact, her revised itinerary yielded the best travel to Ecuador that I have enjoyed in the eighteen years of our partnership. My sociology program here at Emory is possible only because of Allie’s wonderful professionalism, close attention to all detail, and dedication to a successful travel experience. Allie is simply the best in the business.
Five stars! Allie responded very quickly to my e-mails. The snorkeling was probably my favorite activity, but the whole trip aboard the Coral 1 was incredible for my family. The accommodations were great and everything from food to staff was exceptional. Here are some tips you might find helpful for the Galapagos:
Make sure any shoes you bring are already broken in and comfortable.
Bring more sunscreen than you think you’ll need.
Bring sufficient cash for tips at the end of the cruise.
Always pack some sort of upset stomach medication and Imodium.
Allie was terrific, very quick responses to any questions, very good insight into the pros and cons of different boats. Would recommend her highly.
Allie was terrific. She’s very knowledgeable about Peru and the Galapagos, her itinerary planning and advice were excellent. She was very responsive to my questions and concerns, and her local providers were very good.
Thanks to Allie’s vast knowledge and meticulous planning, our trip to Peru was a true five star adventure. This trip was to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and we wanted something beyond the ubiquitous package trips available. Allie took the time to learn of our interests and travel style. She was always available to answer my many questions as we were planning and preparing for the trip. Every part of the trip ran smoothly. Each hotel was ideal us. All our guides and drivers were first-rate. One of the many highlights was an anniversary lunch that was prepared and served to us at 12,000 feet overlooking the stunning snow capped peaks above. This was truly a trip of a lifetime, and I would highly recommend Allie to anyone planning a trip to South America.
Our family traveled to Buenos Aires and Patagonia for our 2015 spring break. Allie Almario of Myths and Mountains arranged our spectacular trip. We spent a couple of days in Buenos Aires touring the city with a super local guide, taking a cooking class (so fun!) and enjoying the atmosphere. Then we spent several days on an Estancias in Patagonia riding horses, hiking and a day at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Glacier National Park (where we had a fantastic guide). Our trip was amazing! We not only recommend Allie Almario to you, but we will also have her plan our next big adventure!
I had always booked my own trips. This changed, however, the second I spoke to Allie. She tailored our trip to exactly our adventure level. This was a birthday gift to one of my best friends and Allie delivered on every part of the trip. We arrived into Guayaquil at 4am and there was someone there to greet us with a smiling face and to also get us to our hotel. That’s how the trip started…. From then on, it was amazing. It was almost like she personally picked our guides to match us. The guide in the Galapagos was unreal!!! He opened our eyes to a completely different way of living with a completely different ecosystem. Every day he had us on a new adventure, whether it was kayaking, swimming with sea lions, or learning about the tortoises and land iguanas…. He always blew our minds… And after being blown away on the Galapagos Islands, we were then met with our original guide in Guayaquil and were guided around the second largest city in Ecuador…. All of this was because of Allie and Myths and Mountains. When I’m ready to do another life-changing trip, the first person I will call is Allie! Amazing…. simply amazing!
Last year (June/July 2014) we took our first long bucket list trip to Peru and Ecuador, my wife’s dream vacation, and it was ALL it could possibly have been, including the cherry on top. Myths & Mountains provided excellent TLC from the planning stages through the unexpected call for help we made to Allie Almario from Peru to her cell phone! We were able to see all the major sites we planned for, and the guides that were provided took us to some amazing locals-only experiences.
We loved: Cusco, Sacred Valley (rural elementary school visit/horseback riding), Machu Picchu, Puno, Lake Titicaca (Homestay) and Arequipa/Colca Canyon (Condors) in Peru. When we went to Ecuador, we enjoyed the sights in Guayaquil. We then went to the Galapagos Islands and took an awesome cruise on the Yolita II for mind-blowing snorkeling and hiking! Great boat, a super gracious crew, lots of water, nice cabins, and the food was excellent. Finished our tour in Quito and visited the surrounding countryside with visits to the Equator (the real Museum) and Otavalo Market. Our trip was everything we hoped for and more.
My family and I had a great time in the Galapagos in May 2015 and the ship Allie recommended to us after listening to our preferences worked out really well. The ratio on board the ECLIPSE of 12 passengers per naturalist was a big win, and so was having a professional photographer like Jonathan Green on board. We were able to take phenomenal photos after just 12 hours of lessons with him – the fact that this was a photography expedition was a nice touch. The work Allie did on our behalf, her fast responses to so many of my questions, all of it was just outstanding and couldn’t be more perfect. All in all, it was a memorable Galapagos trip. Thank you, Allie.
When we first starting planning our trip to the Galapagos, all we knew was that we wanted to see the wildlife. Allie was tremendously helpful to us as we decided to see the islands by boat and selected the boat that was right for us. The result was a fabulous trip that exceeded our expectations. Family and friends have oohed and aahed over the pictures of blue-footed boobies doing their dance, huge tortoises peeking out of their shells, penguins and sea lions sitting on the lava rocks, iguanas sunning, and a Galapagos gull feeding squid to her chick. We could not have been happier with the boat and crew that Allie helped us select and truly appreciate her expert and prompt service that made planning easy and efficient.
Our first visit to the enchanting Galapagos Islands in December 2014 was simply spectacular! We’re still talking about it—the wildlife captivated our senses (omg!), the grayish-blackish mysterious landscapes, the impossibly white sand beaches dotted with playful sea lion pups & iguanas, diving the gorgeous aquamarine water, the tiny penquins, the giant tortoises and so many endemic wild ones only found in the Galapagos.
Because of Allie’s clout and exceptional relationship with Ecoventura, we got the best cabin and best seats on domestic flights. My Galapagos detailed itinerary was a surprise hit with my cruise buddies! This trip could not have been stress-free without Allie’s guiding star and expertise of the Galapagos. You are a consummate professional, Allie!
Allie Almario of Myths and Mountains is not only an expert on the Galapagos, knowing them through and through, she also has detailed knowledge of each ship, providing invaluable information we did not know enough to ask, such as which ship has more of a “sailing” vibe, and which has berths rather than beds on the floor. She listened carefully to information about each family member and what was important to each before making suggestions and recommendations. Allie was unbelievably prompt in responding in every instance, always with choices and details, and is just an all-around lovely, gracious person. Our trip unfortunately had to be postponed indefinitely, but when we do go, we are certainly going to use Allie.