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#147512 - 01/12/03 12:34 AM The Best and The Worst of our Trip
Questions Offline
Again I would like to thank who helped us before we left on our trip. Overall, with one exception (see below) we had an excellent trip and really enjoyed the people we met.

By far the highlight was the day we spent with Patrick Warrior (jahpeople53@hotmail.com). His knowledge, commitment, and personality all contributed to our day with him being simply the best. From what I understand he does everything from Jungle Survival to easy family day trips. Our recommendation is to spend as much time as you can with him. Each day will be its own adventure!

Another highlight was Papi's Diner in San Pedro. A small restaurant, frequented mainly by locals, very basic, and excellent local food. By far much better than many of the more expensive and well known restaurants we tried in town. Incredible Conch Chevice! We fell in love with the place and kept coming back.

On a less positive note, our worst experience was with E'ktun. Although the location is as beautiful as previous postings suggested we were very disturbed and disappointed by the unethical behavior of the owner, Phyllis.
Although initially charming, we were disappointed in many ways. For example, the tours we booked with her were far from what her website suggested. The tours were not with a professional guide, although the rate was comparable to tours with a guide, and we never had a full day, although we were charged as though we did.
We were also hit by “Extra Charges” on our departure day that took us completely by surprise. In other words, although Ektun is priced as a high-end establishment, be prepared to find unexpected items potentially totaling hundreds of dollars on your exit. Be careful to ask the cost of everything and make sure you explicitly hear what you are and are not getting for your money.
We were also disappointed by the “colonial” way she treats her local employees.

Last but not least we also wanted to share with you that Barb (whose name and number we found on this board) was an excellent source of information. She also managed to find us great air-fare.

All for now, wish we could go back tomorrow... Our best to everybody!

#147513 - 01/12/03 12:37 AM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
rickcheri Offline
Call me stupid..but in never heard of Ektun??? C

#147514 - 01/12/03 01:16 AM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
NYgal Offline
Mainland.....stupid lol, you set yourself up for that one, sorry ! wink

#147515 - 01/12/03 05:02 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
Dr Buzzard Offline
I did a cave trip with Patrick and he was a really good guide. Bravo Zulu to Patrick!
Dr Walkabout Buzzard

#147516 - 01/12/03 07:37 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
phyl Offline
I'm very sorry to see this family has taken this route, when I had already blessed them and let go of it the day they left.... being stiffed for US$300.... but I can't really sit by and allow such statements to be made without offering the truth of the matter. While claiming to be accomplished travelers, I can see in their wake, waves of tourism professionals vowing to leave the tourism industry forever.

The only charges that this party had on their tab at departure were for drinks, which are NEVER paid in advance, and for a transfer and tours which had NOT been decided upon and paid when they made their reservation. Absolutely nothing else, no "hidden costs" unless you call tax and service charge "hidden costs." Despite the fact that the website has not been updated in almost 2 years, this party was aware that some prices had increased slightly (for example by $2.50 per person on a local transfer), and it still clearly states that quoted prices "do not include beverages other than juice served with meals".... this party had $56 worth of additional margaritas, which could in no way have been misconstrued as "included" or "on the house." The website also clearly states in the transfer section "quotes for optional side trips are available upon request" ..... though evidently this family expected us to pick them up and use my slave Remo and LandRover the entire day, touring around to different attractions in the area, for the same price as a half-hour transfer from Windy Hills. Our policy also clearly states that we give no refunds for unused tours or services and that we are not liable for the late arrivals of any transportation or any schedule change or delay.... I expressly requested that they not duplicate tours booked with us while they were at Windy Hills, yet they went to a butterfly farm one day with Patrick, so did not want to do it again on our tour as been pre-arranged.... another day they went to Che Chem Hah, and the 4-year old was not able to go to the cave so father and son stayed back while the others went, obviously expecting not to get charged for anything, the whole day.... Anyone who has spent any time here (or has traveled in a developing country) knows that it is impossible to operate without occasional delays... in fact, one of my half-hour delays was due to trying to connect to the Internet and send an email to the husband's father in Israel to inquire about his mother's operation... which I also got blamed for (thank you BTL)! In addition, this was during not only the holidays, but a long, rainy period which made everything ten times more difficult. Border crossings were time consuming, shopping for provisions was a daily necessity, and everyone's resources, both inner and outer, were stretched to the breaking point. It didn't help that the 4-year old was not up to the rigorous schedule the parents had designed, and even though we tried to have dinner early every day of their stay, could not compromise the food quality for other guests to accommodate them. The child was not able to stay awake for a single evening meal. They allowed no time for naps, and I don't know how the poor child survived. Interesting that they didn't mention our willingness to TRY to have dinner early, or to keep his purge medication refrigerated and warm up milk for him every morning and evening. And no mention that I let the lodge laundry lapse in order to do their personal laundry (at no extra charge!!) ... or that while shopping in Guatemala, listening to the poor kids wishing they had some pocket money to spend, I hired them on the spot to help wash the canoe when we got back, and paid them in advance so they could buy something.with their own money (and of course the canoe never got washed, but who cares?). Also in Guatemala, I took them to the place most likely to find something of real value to take back, and as luck would have it, the wife then later found something in the market similar, but not nearly so nice for $5 less... and threw an absolute fit.... practically accused me of taking them to that shop so I could get "kick-backs," so I offered to buy everything from her at the price she paid, so she could buy the cheap stuff, but she declined....

These people started working with an agent who occasionally books us after they contacted me, and she tried to assist with their other arrangements and finally gave up....this is what she had to say about them (before they arrived) "So, they can figure out what to do. I have to get past this one. It has totally exhausted me and has affected my attitude and enthusiasm."

They have called me a liar, unethical, "colonial" (whatever that means), accused me of purposely having dinner late to make people drink more, and made me think things about people that I've never wanted to think. At this point I can calmly and concisely say that I'm glad they won't be returning to Ek' Tun, and hope that none of their families or friends ever come here, and anyone else out there who is like this can also take this as a loud and clear signal to stay away.

If anyone has any doubts about this, and you'd like to see what 99.99% of the people who come to Ek' Tun think about it, please check out http://www.ektunbelize.com/guestlog.htm

And while I'm at it, politics, religion, sex (not necessarily in that order), as well as many other "taboo topics" are discussed freely and frequently around the dinner table, so if you don't have an open mind, think twice about coming to Ek' Tun.

In Lak'ech

#147517 - 01/12/03 10:37 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
acwatchdog Offline
'Methinks they protest to much?'

#147518 - 01/12/03 11:51 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
susangg Offline
I have heard nothing but good things about Ek Tun, and I have no doubt that Phyllis is telling the truth about the whining "Questions," who did not even have the decency to identify him or herself despite the fact that s/he did not simply complain of unsatisfactory hotel experiences (which is one of the purposes of this board) but also made vicious personal attacks on Phyllis ("unethical.") Perhaps I am old fashioned but if you are going to accuse someone of serious misconduct (like fraud), you ought not do so anonymously. It's cowardly and tacky.

The (nameless) "Questions" reminds me of a woman who, with her husband and adult children, booked one of our condos for a week last year. She dragged husband and children (reluctantly) away after a couple of hours because she said it was in a "bad neighborhood" with "seedy" people hanging about (I guess her idea of an idea Belizean vacation was one with no Belizeans in view!) and went to a resort far from town (presumably to avoid coming in contact with local people).

Phyllis, there are some people who should not travel outside of the white glove circuit...the kind of people who think the world revolves around them and must blame (often nastily) others for their own poor judgment (like taking a 4 year old child on adventure excursions and blaming the host when the poor kid can't keep up or stay awake for adult dinner hour.)

We know your place is gorgeous and you are a most caring hostess.
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: susangg@garcia.mpowermail.com

#147519 - 01/13/03 01:21 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
Mary Toy Offline
I have sent many of my clients to Ek' Tun for the "jungle" portion of their trip, and without exception, they've all loved the place. In fact, for a number of them, it was their favorite part of their trip (except the time they spent with me down here in Placencia, of course).

Phyllis may be the most honest and ethical person I know, so I simply cannot believe the allegations made by the unnamed guests who started this thread.

Ek' Tun is a well-managed and beautiful spot, and I wholeheartedly recommend Ek' Tun to my clients who are looking for a beautiful, quiet and secluded interlude off the beaten track.

Destinations Belize
General Delivery, Placencia, Belize
Email: info@destinationsbelize.com
Website: http://www.destinationsbelize.com

#147520 - 01/13/03 05:38 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
seashell Offline
That's odd, most everyone I talked to said they couldn't wait to come back. In fact, I just got home on the 7th and I return for the 6th time (in 3 years) in late February. I met some people from New York and they are trying to get back by March, May at the latest.

It seems to me that some people just aren't ever happy no matter where they go, there's always something. Tell me this. Were you expecting Cancun? If so, you didn't do your research and you've no one to blame but yourself.
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#147521 - 01/13/03 07:23 PM Re: The Best and The Worst of our Trip
RobertE Offline
Seashell - Some people are just never happy and find happiness in bitc**ng and demeaning people. Gives them a false felling of self worth. I'll get off my soapbox now as I have more important things to think about like what's for Dinner. Got any stewed chicken??

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