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curiousx

Tour with Ellis

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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/

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, curiousx said:

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/

 

Wondering how long are the tours and  the cost per person?  Couldn't find website?

Edited by grammyprf

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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

 

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I have seen many good reviews with Ellis and after the hurricane, I was excited to see when he was able to start giving tours back to el Yunque. I'm hoping some day we will get to tour with him.

 

You mentioned you didn't want to have to rent a car. Where did you stay and did he pick you up? Like if you were staying in OSJ would he pick you up there since it's a little distance from that area? We have stayed in PR several times, and even down in the area past the forest, so we don't have an issue with renting a car (if we go that far away to stay) but I never thought to contact him if we stayed closer to the cruise port. I guess I just assumed he didn't drive that far for pick up.

 

 

 

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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. 

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would he be able to handle a tour of 4 people all adults. 

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His tours are one the best I have ever been on. Ellis is a local that really loves his island. My wife and went on a all day tour and loved every minute of our time with him.

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Ellis is the best tour we have ever taken anywhere....we spent a whole day and evening as he took us to farado for the bio-luminescence tour,waited for us and drove us back to sju to our hotel...he set up a fab hike for my husband who didnt stop smiling all day....we visited friends living a simple life in the jungle...i think he has numerous ideas and puts a distinctive day together for folks...could not recommend him highly enough...this was 3 years ago and his vehicle was a comfy suv holding 4 passengers...be sure to communicare what your preferences are and you'll be lucky to meet such a kind and knowledgeable man...

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I was looking for a tour for our upcoming cruise!  I went on FB, and there are a lot of posts to go through! 


1/ Is there a section on FB that lists the tours he offers?  I see several rain forest tours, not sure if that is the only type of tour he does?  I was looking for a city tour, but then again, I've never been to San Juan.  I would need a tour that is less than 5 hours to ensure we make it back to the ship on time.

 

2/  I'm not sure what this means for example?

The cost is $ 60 pp. minimum $180

 

Thought I'd check with you all before I message him.

 

Thanks!

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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.

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Asking in the most recent Ellis thread after trying to search.  It seems every San Juan tour thread is for Ellis.

 

Any great alternatives to Ellis?  He is out of town when we are there.

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On 9/4/2019 at 9:55 AM, GoGreenMSU said:

Asking in the most recent Ellis thread after trying to search.  It seems every San Juan tour thread is for Ellis.

 

Any great alternatives to Ellis?  He is out of town when we are there.

There is a FB page for Old San Juan City Tours, with a guide called Tomás. He seems to get positive reviews from his customers. 

 

We are also looking for a guide for the day before our cruise leaves San Juan.

 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/osjcitytours/reviews/?ref=page_internal

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