Florette Nww
map-marker Floresta, Guayas

Worst Trip Ever

Updated by user Jun 24, 2016

My review has errors. I did like: the service helping me to leave early.

Also the wonderful birds.

Location is also wrong. Trip started in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Original review Jun 24, 2016

Worst Trip EVER..

I will NEVER travel with Holbrook again!

I am an avid birder, so I was really looking forward to this week’s (June 18-29, 2016) trip to Ecuador. I studied the birds in my books for weeks beforehand, as well as the maps. That is why I am so sad, angry, disappointed that I had to leave the trip and fly home after only a few days, on June 22.

I knew this would be a rough trip, but no one told me before I left I needed to prepare myself for a marathon physically, and a camping-style trip. For a cost of $4000!! For that amount I could have stayed in luxury lodges and hired a private guide. No one told me that I needed to be EXTREMELY physically fit to go on this so-called “vacation.” I am 65, and not unfit, but this was extreme. I walk, hike or swim every day. But the others in the group were runners and bikers and play tennis. If I’d known the trip was going to be so physically demanding I would not have gone. It was like a macho birdathon.

For example, breakfast would be at 0530, and we needed to be packed up and on the bus at 6. Then, we would be out birding all morning until noon, with no restroom facilities, and we would be given a box lunch. Peeing is one thing; pooping in the field was horrible. Especially with the runs. THAT was certainly not in the brochure! You need to add toilet paper to your list of what to pack. This was typical of every day. 6 morning hours in the field, in the heat and humidity, standing or hiking. Then, after lunch off birding again until 6 PM. Ten to 12 hours!! Sometimes standing and waiting for 30 minutes to find a single bird. The only alternative was to stay by myself at the lodge or stay in the hot bus. The public facilities we did use were at gas stations, filthy and some without toilet paper or even WATER!

At night my legs cramped horribly. The last night, I tried everything to relieve the pain, and again got very little sleep. I am not used to crying and falling apart on my trips. Birding should be a joy, but instead it was a painful, horrible experience.

The water in the our sink and shower was brown. The towel I had was torn. The bed and pillow smelled strongly of mildew. The food was just OK, and breakfast had to be gulped down so fast I could not enjoy it.

Our guide, Andres, was a good bird guide, but terrible at telling us what to expect or asking about our comfort. At least he helped me get to the airport and leave, so I was grateful for that. And the birds, especially the hummers, were wonderful to see. I just wish I could have seen more. It’s hard to have fun when one feels so miserable. I had no choice but to leave and go home.

Now that I am at home, I am still very sick at both ends. Probably from the food. I tried my best to avoid the filthy water.

I have traveled extensively, and gone on birding and eco-trips with International Expeditions, Naturalist Journeys, and others. It was never like this. We were out 2 or 3 hours at most. We often had lunch at nice restaurants with clean, good restrooms. We even stopped for coffee or afternoon refreshment. They really cared about our comfort. This was nothing like that. It was by far the worst, most uncomfortable trip of my life. I will NEVER recommend Holbrook.

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  • Lack of concern for comfort
  • Poor customer service
  • Lack of attention to detail
Reason of review:
Help getting home early.
map-marker Virginia Gardens, Florida

Holbrook Travel - Review in Travel Agencies category

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Birding trip to So. Ecuador a big disappointment.

Not told beforehand that we should expect to be in the hot, humid, buggy field from 6 to noon, after gulping breakfast at 0530. Bring lots of toilet paper because you will have to do your business out in the jungle.

I spent a lot of time waiting in the hot bus after i could not take it anymore. I spent a lot of time walking back alone to the lodge or bus.

Expect to climb up and down very muddy hillsides. Train for months beforehand so you are fit enough or young enough for this trip.

It feels like a marathon, not a vacation. Almost turned me off of birding forever. I am not an unfit person, although in my 60s, but this amount of effort and discomfort was certainly not worth it.

Not a vacation. Expect torn towels and no soap in the shower.

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Reason of review:
Not as described/ advertised
map-marker Juno Beach, Florida

Beware of Using Holbrook Travel

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My husband and I went on a trip using Holbrook this past March/April with another couple to South America. We went to Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley, Quito, the Amazon, and the Galapagos.

Although we had an amazing time , it was no thanks to Holbrook. We have traveled extensively and used many tour companies. By far, Holbrook is the absolute worst. That is actually an understatement.

They are beyond horrific. There were numerous mistakes that occured from before we left.... and all throughout the trip. The errors were big mistakes...like incorrect information about our flights, where to exit from train stations, receiving incorrect vouchers, receiving someone else's itinerary, sending people to meet us at the airport who spoke no English and on and on and on it went.

They did ultimately compensate us with some money but it was so misniscule and grossly inadequate that it is actually insulting. It is important to note that the companies they subcontacted with in Ecuador and Peru were good to excellent. In particular, Metropolitan who did our Galapagos portion was fantastic.

Overall, the plethora of problems that we encountered was largely due to their incompetence, lack of attention to detail, and and poor execution. Don't waste your time or money!!!

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  • Companies sub contracted in south america
  • Companies they subcontracted with
  • Poor customer service
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Ineffficiecncy
Reason of review:
Poor customer service

Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution

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Latifah Al-Hazza
Latifah Al-Hazza

Latifah Al-Hazza is a travel expert who visited over 50 countries. She is also a co-founder of Women's Travel Company and an Emmy Award-Winning travel journalist.

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