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curiousx

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  1. From a friend on Bequia 19 minutes ago, Sea Dream is currently at anchor in Admiralty Bay. Hope this helps.
  2. We had such a great time on our 3 outings with Ellis this past February. We had used his services last year too and this year was just as much fun, if not more. So I just have to write about him again. This year he took us first to the magical Caguana Ceremonial Grounds. This is a well-preserved archaeological site where the indigenous Taina had their ball courts, performed rites and made astrological observations some 800 years ago. Our visit to this peaceful location way up in the hills was enhanced by the historical and botanical insights of a National Parks Service guide as well as by Ellis himself, drawing on his own extensive knowledge and studies. From Caguana we want to Lago dos Bocas, a very large artificial lake not too far from Arecibo. There, Ellis found a boat that took us across to one of the restaurants that edge the lake. The food was less than memorable but the Pina Colada was the best (and prettiest) we had. Another highlight was the return trip on the lake, where the skipper took us on a leisurely cruise of the perimeter, allowing us to see houses and restaurants set back in the hills. Sadly, a number were in ruins having suffered irreparable damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017. For our next excursion, we had asked Ellis for a Beach Day, and he obliged by showing us a variety of attractive options. The one we chose was a sandy shady bay near Loquillo well served by ‘kioskos’ serving local delicacies like octopus ceviche, salt cod fritters, corn sticks, fish tacos and more. Before reaching Loquillo, though, Ellis helped us cross off a bucket list item from our last trip by locating a traditional vejigante coconut mask-maker. He found him in his colourful workshop in Loiza, one of the two or three towns on the island where the craft is practised. The workshop was tucked away in a back alley. Masks of all sizes, hues and shapes filled the walls. The artisan was generous with his time and happy to have us taking pictures as well as making purchases. Our third and final outing was to the Botanical and Cultural Gardens in Caguas, another beautiful setting recovering well from the hurricane damage which had closed it to visitors last time we were there. Ellis had thoughtfully booked a guide to give us a trolley tour of the gardens’ various zones including its statuary, park areas and botanical treasures. It would have been a hot long walk otherwise. Of particular interest were the traditional ‘grandfather’s home’ or ‘jibaro’ and its herb garden. There were also a little jewel of a museum containing the gravesite of an important Taino woman discovered on the site, and the slave quarters for the old sugar mill that were later repurposed as one of the island’s first public schools. On the way back to Old San Juan, we stopped off in Guavate village to enjoy the local pig roast activity (yum) and salsa dancing. It was Valentine’s Day and the place was hopping, notwithstanding the cloudy sky and deluge that rained down for a while (the only rain that we saw in 10 days, BTW). Ellis, as always, was punctual, courteous and relaxed. His van is extremely comfortable and his driving impeccable on even the twistiest roads. A more thoughtful host we could not imagine. We hope to return to Puerto Rico ready for more adventures with him. Ellis has a new website because his Facebook page has been having some issues lately. So, the best way to contact him is through the website: www.tourwithellis.com. P.S. here is a my review from last year.
  3. Hi, he doesn’t, do tours of Old San Juan. In our experience it is best just to walk around as the area is not large. What the pricing example you gave means is that the minimum charge is $180. If you have just two people you pay $180. If you have 3 people you pay $180. If you have 4 people you pay $240.
  4. 4 people would be no problem at all.
  5. Sorry for the tardy reply...I haven't checked the board for a while. We stayed in an apartment opposite the Vanderbilt in Condado and he picked up up right in front.
  6. Ellis' tours started about 10-10.30 and ended around 4 - 4.30, but Ellis will tailor the timetable to match people's schedule. The Mango Daiquiri tour is the longest one at 6-7 hours. At the time, it cost $85 US per person or a minimum of $225 This is the link to his Facebook page. We used FB messages to stay in touch. He does not have a separate website. https://www.facebook.com/EllisPRTours/ Hope this helps
  7. In February 2019, my partner and I had the pleasure of 3 tours with Ellis. We are usually independent travellers, so why choose a tour? Well, frankly, we did not want to have the hassle of renting a car nor cope with the challenges of driving and navigating in unknown territory. Why choose a personal tour instead of going with a group? We wanted the schedule flexibility offered by a personal tour arrangement, and the ability to tailor destinations to our interests. Why choose Ellis? We read the reviews, looked at the website, and corresponded with him directly. The reviews were enthusiastic, the website was informative, and Ellis always responded quickly and helpfully to our many emails and questions. And his prices were competitive. Where did we go first? We went to the spectacular El Yunque forest only days after the interior roads re-opened. This tour had many beautiful view points...one was an old lighthouse with a tiny museum, overlooking the ocean where an ancient casuarina still struggled to survive. This tour also included a short hike on a well-marked trail to an ice-cold swimming hole where local lads jumped into deep clear fresh water (and we nervous tourists picked our way over stones to the same place!). Ellis’ vehicle was comfortable, air-conditioned, and Ellis was a super driver for these twisty tiny roads. Our second tour was the ‘Mango Daiquiri tour’. Again, many beautiful look-outs, stops at road side snack bars for delicious daiquiris and snacks. We were impressed that wherever we stopped, Ellis was known and clearly popular. Among other places, this tour took us to the village of Guavate. We arrived on the day of one of the famous ‘pig roasts’...savoury aromas throughout the village and salsa music filled the air. Our third tour was to see the part of the island hardest hit by Hurricane Maria. It was a real eye-opener. While San Juan is mostly recovered, the hinterland where Ellis lives is still clawing its way back. Ellis shared his experiences of survival during this time, and told us of the community spirit that helped people pull through. We ended this tour day with a few hours at one of Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches. As a guide, Ellis was informative, thoughtful and very caring. We never felt rushed. We also saw a bit of his tender side...at one stop, he brought some food for a stray dog that he knew had been living there. We plan to return to Puerto Rico and will definitely be touring with Ellis again. We went on one other tour with a different tour agency to a destination not offered by Ellis. This was a small group tour. The tour guide was hopeless and really little more than a chauffeur (although a very good one). He seemed to know very little of the history, politics or economy of the country (in fact we ended up sharing with our little group information we had learned from Ellis). Our only regret is that it took so long to write this review and share our wonderful experiences with others! https://www.facebook.com/EllisPRTours/
  8. This is our first Windstar Cruise, although we have sailed the ship (Pride) before when it was with Seabourn. Unlike Seabourn, Windstar has not provided luggage tags showing our name and the cabin number. My understanding (perhaps incorrect) is that porters at the OSJ cruise terminal take the luggage at the time one arrives at the terminal. Without tags showing the cabin number, how does the luggage get to one’s cabin? Or should we just make our own? We leave soon, so help is appreciated. Many thanks.
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