(Day 1, Guayaquil Airport) It is Saturday morning, Feb 17. We are waiting to board our flight at José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
So far, all is very, very well. Credit goes to the Lindblad Expeditions ground staff.
They certainly are highly coordinated and communicate details well.
I think this will be a case where you “get what you pay for.” Had I done arranged this journey on “my own,” I would have needed to arrange many details. Not impossible. But it does add a tax on your psyche, particularly for your first venture into an entirely new geography. Lindblad folks…
- Met us at our gate in MIA to check off who had arrived for the connecting flight to Ecuador
- Received us again outside customs and immigration at GYE.
- Accompanied us on a chartered bus ride to the hotel in Guayaquil, during which time a friendly, casual guide outlined the rest of the evening and tomorrow morning, all of which was simply outlined in writing also.
- Had a refreshing fruit drink waiting in the hotel lobby (a tradition on our return to the vessel after each expedition.) Along with the room key: it was simply handed to us, no ponderous check-in process.
- Arranged a super easy checkout after a restful night at Hilton Hotel more modern than the one in Seattle, a full breakfast, and a ride to the airport.
- Again, removed complexity: they handed us our boarding passes for a chartered Avianca flight. No need to visit the ticketing desk, etc.
No foolin’ around. So far, they are running a very smooth trip on our behalf. Their warmth & experience come across loud and clear. Organized but not regimented.
I have an even better feeling that as ephemeral, as fleeting as the upcoming week will be, Lindblad and specifically the people running this voyage will help us make the most of it.