Ron Philpot(Cotopaxi Multisport + Mantaraya Lodge, Dec 2012)
Last November I gave Adventure Life a call telling them that I had purchased a ticket to Quito for the Christmas holidays. Typically it is best to book your activities and then purchase an air ticket. After talking to their Ecuador specialist, she suggested the Cotopaxi Multisport and Mantaraya Lodge, two five day packages, all inclusive, allowing me to enjoy the mountains and the coast. I had a great experience at the Hacienda Porvenir located close to the north entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park. My bi-lingual guide took me hiking, mountain biking, horse back riding, and zip lining. Even though Pablo was bi-lingual we frequently spoke in Spanish allowing me to improve my language skills. (An added bonus at no extra cost). The Hacienda was comfortable and food excellent. The staff demonstrated that they wanted me to have a good experience. Pablo taught me about Ecuador, challenged my world view, and taught me the skills I needed to do the outdoor activities. After a night in Quito it was short flight to Manta and 1 hour drive south to the Mantaraya Lodge. My guide and driver picked me up and led activities during the next five days as we visited different beaches and local communities. Just like Pablo, Ruben was bi-lingual and more then willing to talk to me in Spanish. We visited local communities. Ruben and guides in the local communities taught me about the history of people in the area. The Mantaraya Lodge had an ocean view, served good seafood, and when I was not out exploring I could kick back by the pool. I will definitely book with Adventure Life in the future. My two guides, Ruben and Pablo, were in the late 30's to early 40's, knowledgeable about their country, and well traveled themselves. Both have traveled throughout Latin America, the United States, and Canada. Through Adventure Life I was able to have a Spanish speaking holiday (don't fear- the guides also speak English) and do physical activities that I might not normally do when traveling. I was able to travel to a foreign and actively take part in adventure activities in that country. The Adventure Life website is filled with travel options. You can click on a country and pick and match activities that interest you. Unlike other small group operators (I have traveled twice with Intrepid and once with Gap or G - never again with either!) the Adventure Life staff will tailor those activities to meet your needs. Unlike other small group tour operators the guides are older and more experienced and well traveled. From what I can tell, the accommodations are both unique and comfortable. By unique, those accommodations have character. If you are ready to travel check out Adventure Life.
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