A friend who is currently in Thailand just e-mailed me a few lines about a recent experience. All I can say is be careful is using a tour company
some are great but others ruin it for the rest
Take care if you book a Galapagos trip at 'We are the Championstours' company in Quito.
I had a very bad experience with the company 'We are the Championstours'; that is run by Patricio Daniel Castro Martinez and his sales manager George Proaño.
The company has an offices in Quito at Joaquin Pinto 431 and one in Puerto Ayora on the Galapagos island Santa Rosa, the offices have a professional look on the outside, but do not be misled by appearances. The people who run the company are very friendly, but are only after your money.
George is a very good sales man, but as soon as you arrive on the Galapagos Islands it works out that the company does not deliver the package what was sold to you. I bought in October 2001 a one week Galapagos trip on the boat 'Guantanamera'; inclusive a 10 dives package. The total amount of money I paid for this was US$ 1150 this is exclusive air-ticket and park-entrance fee. Arriving on the boat it occurred that the Guantanamera was not equipped for diving at all.
I talked with our guide about my package and one day later a compressor and diving gear was arranged to the boat. This was arranged by a man called Rafaell. The diving gear did not have the quality level what you may expect. Out of 5 regulators I was able to select one set that did not leak. After a few days, when I had made only 5 dives the whole equipment was taken of the boat again.
So I was not able to consume my pre-paid dives. The least I wanted was to get back my money. From that moment on every body I talked to was concerned with my problem, but directs me to somebody else. My last day in Ecuador (a Sunday, so banks were closed) it was promised to me that the money would be transferred to my bank. So I was not able to get my money back before flying back home.
The last two month I had a lot of E-Mail communication with the Travel company, the boat company, Patricio and George, but the same play is still going on by redirecting my complaint to other people.
My last information I got from Patricio, says that George was not employed (only free lancing) by the company but only selling trips on his own account. So they try to put me off with the story that I booked with George and not with them. Of course I realize now that I will never get my money back, but I feel it as my responsibility to worn my fellow travelers for these way of acting by inferior companies. So my advise is: Do NOT book any trip with 'We are the Championstours', because it is bad business with these people. As soon as you have a claim on them, they start hiding themselves