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Eli's Tours Please give detailed account of what you did


letsgoplaces

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Hi we've been to the southern caribbean several times and have had some great tours through the years ( Silvermoon and Cosol to name a couple) and I've read about Eli's tours for quite some time now but wonder if any of you would please give me a detailed intinerary of your day. We are looking at the Eco Tour which is a calmer experience and my husband is a tad worried about the lecturing of the Flora and Fauna on this trip ( hoping it wasn't a boring time). I havent' read any bad reviews of this excursion so that's great but I do notice that most everyone says it's great and yet they don't elaborate as to why it's great. The website itself is a little unclear about exactly what you do on this trip. How many times do you get to snorkel and how much time do you get in the water? I would so much appreciate anyone letting me know how their day went. Thanks so much in advance. The reason we have had the BEST experiences with excursions in the caribbean is because of all the help I received from you guys.

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I took this trip in Feb. 2007. We were picked up at the pier. We stopped to pick up a family at the Sandals resort. We then went sightseeing for about an hour. We then traveled to bird island and hiked up to the top of it. We took a swim when we got back down. We went to Hell's gate and some climbed to the top of it. I took a swim while waiting for the others. We had lunch and then went to a great reef to snorkel. It was a great trip and we were well taken care of. My husband and I both enjoyed it. Hope this helps.

 

pittypat

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We just did this excursion in Antigua at the end of December and would highly recommend it. We are a family of 4 - my husband, 18 yr old son, 14 year old daughter and me. We met the catamaran at the Antigua dock and were the only ones on the boat for the first half hour. The 3 crew members were great at giving us a history and overview of the island. We then stopped at Sandals and picked up three couples. We loved that there were only 10 of us on the catamaran for the whole day !! In the morning we went all around by boat and saw lots of small islands and very nice resorts and houses. We had a very interested talk about the fauna and wildlife (including lots of info on turtle mating) from the crew.

 

We then stopped at Bird Island and hiked awhile. They gave us enough time to explore and take lots of pictures. One of the crew then gave us a snorkeling lesson and the other crew prepared a tasty lunch. All the beverages are included for the whole day. After lunch we went to Hell's Gate and were given the choice of exploring Hell's gate, snorkeling in the area or relaxing/swimming. Hell's Gate is amazing and not to be missed !! This is the only excursion that goes there. After Hell's Gate, we went to another area for more snorkeling with the crew. They were very helpful and informative.

 

The afternoon includes more boating and touring of the island. Again, after we dropped the group off at Sandals, we had the boat to ourselves for close to 30 minutes and my kids, loved being on the boat and talking with the crew.

 

Overall, a great excursion and we would definately recommend it and do it again if we are ever in Antigua.

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Okay I'm going to be real honest here because your husband seems to have some concerns. Everyone raves about Eli's tours because if it's what you're looking for it's great. We were on the tour with several families with teenagers and many people hated it, especially the kids. I enjoyed the tour, but my husband absolutely hated it except for Hell's Gate which is awesome by anybody's standards. Our problem was we were on a boat surrounded by the most gorgeous clear water you could ever imagine and we couldn't get in it! It was over 3 hours from the time we left dock until we were able to get off the boat and swim. These 3 hours were spent hearing about every luxury hotel on the island, the famous guests that stayed there etc. For some people, this is important but we could care less and we wanted to snorkel or hike or something!

 

We did get to see some neat things-a mangrove area with interesting things in the water and an island where many pelicans where nesting in the trees. The babies were sticking their heads out of the nests which was really cute. Hell's Gate was great fun too. The second snorkel spot was incredibly rough because it was later in the day and the waves were whipping up so don't plan the tour based on snorkeling.

 

On the positive side, the guys on the boat were nice and worked hard. The lunch was also good. If you're someone wanting to basically sit on a boat most of the time or take a walk up Great Bird Island then this is a great tour. If you're leaning toward a more active tour you may want to look at his extreme tour which is more expensive.

 

I would love to do this tour again if they skipped all the hotel lectures which basically took up the first 2 hours or so of the tour. I would've liked to have had more time at Hell's Gate and done the snorkeling first instead of last when the waves were so rough.

 

Here are a few photos of the tour:

http://www.familytravelfun.com/antiguapicture.html

 

And of Hell's Gate:

http://www.familytravelfun.com/hellsgatephoto.html

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Hi there, in all the years we have been doing this tour since late 1999 I have never heard of anyone saying that they "hated" the tour. That's a pretty strong word. Please use the same email addresss you used to book the tour and fire us of a quick email. We will give you back your money straight away. Thanks and sorry that some in your party were unhappy.

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Hi there, in all the years we have been doing this tour since late 1999 I have never heard of anyone saying that they "hated" the tour. That's a pretty strong word. Please use the same email addresss you used to book the tour and fire us of a quick email. We will give you back your money straight away. Thanks and sorry that some in your party were unhappy.

 

Eli

 

No, no, no that's certainly not necessary. It's been a couple of years anyway and like I said I personally would like to do the tour again minus the hotel lecture part which honestly took up too much time on our particular tour (2 1/2+ hours). I don't know if this is the norm or not. The original poster indicated their husband was concerned about the "flora and fauna" part of the tour which reminded me of my husband who prefers drinking, sun bathing and shopping to learning anything about the ecosystem. The tour was a mismatch with him as well as with the very active teenagers on the tour who were with other families. The teenagers were so anxious to get into the beautiful water and snorkel or hike and they were weren't interested in hearing about all the important people who stayed in each hotel. This is not to say anything negative about your tour but people need to be sure on any tour that's it's a match for their interests.

 

In the past I've given many positive reviews about your tour and hesitated before answering this particular poster. Please don't take it personally. No tour will be a good fit for every person. I'm sorry if you were offended. I truly didn't mean to do that.

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We've done the Eco Tour 4 times, with all ages of folks. We obviously really like it, or we wouldn't repeat it. We're very active, and have enjoyed the boat rides, as well as the other activities offered. We've actually never been on the tour with anyone who didn't like it, and that included teens, younger kids, and adults of all ages.

 

We've also done Xtreme, and had a great time on that, too. There's actually more "boat" time on Xtreme, since you're circumnavigating the island. The boat is awesome! Fast and furious :D. Less emphasis on the "eco" stuff, too, if that's what you're looking for.

 

Neither trip is really great for someone who's expecting a booze cruise - that's not the focus of either tour. There is great rum punch, comes out in the afternoon after any snorkeling is done. The other beverages are non-alcoholic.

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We've done the Eco Tour 4 times, with all ages of folks. We obviously really like it, or we wouldn't repeat it. We're very active, and have enjoyed the boat rides, as well as the other activities offered. We've actually never been on the tour with anyone who didn't like it, and that included teens, younger kids, and adults of all ages.

 

We've also done Xtreme, and had a great time on that, too. There's actually more "boat" time on Xtreme, since you're circumnavigating the island. The boat is awesome! Fast and furious :D. Less emphasis on the "eco" stuff, too, if that's what you're looking for.

 

Neither trip is really great for someone who's expecting a booze cruise - that's not the focus of either tour. There is great rum punch, comes out in the afternoon after any snorkeling is done. The other beverages are non-alcoholic.

 

If you don't mind me asking how are the first 3 hours spent on the tours you went on? Maybe something was "off" on our tour the day we went. We had read all the great reviews too as had the other passengers that day and were really psyched up about the tour. We spent 1/2 hour sitting on the boat at Sandals waiting for other passengers to show up then did the hotel tour thing for the next 2 hours. We had very limited time at Hell's Gate and felt really rushed there. The snorkel stop was very rushed too but that didn't really matter because the water was so rough by the time we arrived. I guess every tour has it's off days like anything else.

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If you don't mind me asking how are the first 3 hours spent on the tours you went on? Maybe something was "off" on our tour the day we went. We had read all the great reviews too as had the other passengers that day and were really psyched up about the tour. We spent 1/2 hour sitting on the boat at Sandals waiting for other passengers to show up then did the hotel tour thing for the next 2 hours. We had very limited time at Hell's Gate and felt really rushed there. The snorkel stop was very rushed too but that didn't really matter because the water was so rough by the time we arrived. I guess every tour has it's off days like anything else.

 

It sounds like you were really delayed picking up the folks at Sandals. The first part of the tour was seeing the off-shore islands and the mangroves, but it wasn't all "hotels" and it certainly didn't take 3 hours - the day is at the most 6 hours long, and we didn't spend the first half of it (none of the 4 times we've done it) sitting in the boat. I'm thinking the time you spent at Hell's Gate might have been affected by the time spent waiting for the other guests. We've never felt rushed there, or on any other of the activities. And there's no guarantee that the water at Cades Reef would have been calmer had you been there earlier - it might have been rough all day.

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Okay I'm going to be real honest here because your husband seems to have some concerns. Everyone raves about Eli's tours because if it's what you're looking for it's great. We were on the tour with several families with teenagers and many people hated it, especially the kids. I enjoyed the tour, but my husband absolutely hated it except for Hell's Gate which is awesome by anybody's standards. Our problem was we were on a boat surrounded by the most gorgeous clear water you could ever imagine and we couldn't get in it! It was over 3 hours from the time we left dock until we were able to get off the boat and swim. These 3 hours were spent hearing about every luxury hotel on the island, the famous guests that stayed there etc. For some people, this is important but we could care less and we wanted to snorkel or hike or something!

 

We did get to see some neat things-a mangrove area with interesting things in the water and an island where many pelicans where nesting in the trees. The babies were sticking their heads out of the nests which was really cute. Hell's Gate was great fun too. The second snorkel spot was incredibly rough because it was later in the day and the waves were whipping up so don't plan the tour based on snorkeling.

 

On the positive side, the guys on the boat were nice and worked hard. The lunch was also good. If you're someone wanting to basically sit on a boat most of the time or take a walk up Great Bird Island then this is a great tour. If you're leaning toward a more active tour you may want to look at his extreme tour which is more expensive.

 

I would love to do this tour again if they skipped all the hotel lectures which basically took up the first 2 hours or so of the tour. I would've liked to have had more time at Hell's Gate and done the snorkeling first instead of last when the waves were so rough.

 

Here are a few photos of the tour:

http://www.familytravelfun.com/antiguapicture.html

 

And of Hell's Gate:

http://www.familytravelfun.com/hellsgatephoto.html

 

I have asked the moderator to remove this post. I didn't think it was so negative but it's causing some people to question or cancel their tours with Eli and this was never my intention. Eli has posted on his blog a detailed account of time spent on the tour if you still have concerns.

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I have replied on another post but want your readers to know that Eli's Tour was the best I've taken in the 16 years I've been cruising the Caribbean. There is not too much talk about the flora and fauna, but in this climate of "green" thinking I feel any bit of education understanding how we humans are effecting our planet and the balance of nature can't be all that bad, can it? I went on the slower catamaran tour in January 2008. The thing I liked best is that I was always given an option to do something a little bit different than the people who wanted to watch birds or climb all over Hell's Gate. On Bird Island I walked across the island, a 1 minute walk to a beautiful secluded beach I had all to myself for more than an hour. That was an experience I never anticipated and probably will never get again. It was awesome. At Hell's Gate I wasn't comfortable climbing all over the rocks and cave so the crew offered that I could swim close to the boat or swim over to the jacuzzi part of the experience, which I chose. Again, the crew was so flexible and open to meeting my level of activity comfort. The lunch was great and very good island fare. The snorkling was fun too, but all too short, not Eli's fault, our ship was just departing too early and he had to have us back. All in all I would recommend the tour. Keep an open mind. You're on vacation! Enjoy!

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If anyone has concerns about Eli’s Eco Tour, I suggest they look at Eli’s blog at antiguaisland dot blogspot dot com. It answered all of my questions and concerns about the trip. The Eco Tour sounds like a fabulous trip. It offers all of the things I look for and like to do, and I’m keeping my reservation for it.

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his tour was great. I was on the extrme tour which gave us about 3 snorkel stops plus a lunch break on the beach. yes, we did some sightseeing near hell gate at nelson 's dockyard.

 

i will book with him again.. please go and have fun.

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My husband and I did Eli's Eco-Tour on our own and liked it so much that we returned on our next trip with our children, who also enjoyed it. We we very sad the following year when our cruise ship was not in port long enough for us to do the Extreme Adventure, as we wanted to book that one. We will be back in Antigua this November and have already discussed booking with them again - we just have to decide between the Extreme or the new sailing trip he has.

 

This is definitely not a booze cruise (believe me, I enjoy those as well!) and they do not advertise themselves this way. We do not hesitate to recommend them and we will continue to do so to anyone looking for an educational, down to earth tour of the island from someone who grew up there and cares about the environment.

 

Eli and Nell - we are looking forward to touring with you - again - in November.

 

Denise & Scott Leach

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My DW and I have done both tours in the past and found them to be two of the best that we have ever done on any island. I just hope that I can go back sometime and do another with Eli. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone that I know.

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I know this thread is mostly about the Eco Tour, but my wife and I did the Xtreme Tour and had lots of fun, despite a nasty squall that moved in on us towards the end. All in all, a good day we both thought.

 

We love this one, too, and can't wait to try Ocean Nomad, his new sailing excursion next January.

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Well thank you to all who answered and really I do appreciate lovetocruise99's honesty from her point of view. I didn't take her response as negative but honest from the way she saw things and from what was expressed to her. I think it helps round out what actually happens on some excursions. That ONE review shouldn't make or break ones decision but it does add another dimension to take into consideration. I really feel a person should be able to express freely, the way they experienced something.

We've been on many many excursions in the caribbean and there have been times when I've been surprised by what actually takes place as opposed to what I've been told. Which is not always a negative. Sometimes things turn out WAY better in my experience than what was related. Also the changing times of ones life can make the difference in what interests you. I think my husband is "excursioned out".

So...

this time around, my husband and I have decided to go to the beach and relax for the day and my four adult kids?

They're taking the Eco Tour.:)

So there you go.

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We had booked Eli’s Echo Tour privately and got off the Emerald Princess a little early to look around. People wanting us to use them for a tour bombarded us. They were all very nice and no thank you was adequate. Especially when I mentioned we had Eli's Echo tour scheduled. They all seemed to respect this tour.

There were all kinds of shops to explore and then we met our tour.

We went out on a boat with Tony and Serge and a couple others, but I can’t remember their names. They were all really good to us, and we enjoyed the beautiful blue water and seeing the island from the water.

We pulled in to Great Bird Island and enjoyed a hike to the top. These were spectacular views. We swam a little and then a wonderful BBQ chicken lunch. My husband said it was the best!

Then off to Hell’s Gate Island and we had a rugged climb over sheer rocks, but it was exciting and amazing. This was one of our favorite things. Then off to snorkel and it was a little cloudy but fun and quite a few fish.

Also viewed the Mangroves in there but not sure the order of events.

We enjoyed our day with the crew and their rum punch had quite a kick. YUM!!!

We did not have to pick anyone else up after they collected us at our meeting point. I would highly recommend this tour!

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My wife and I just did Eli's Eco tour on January 13, 2009 and we had a fantastic time!

 

Great Bird Island and Hell's Gate were excellent, but I actually enjoyed the snorkeling the best! The fan coral was some of the best that I have seen at a snorkel sight in the Caribbean in a few years. The coral was large and intact. There was also an abundance of small and medium sized fish of many different varieties!

 

A few photos should be worth a few more thousand words, so...

 

The Boat and great crew!

 

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Great Bird Island!

 

2806454860080875955S600x600Q85.jpg

 

 

Hell's Gate

 

2046766950080875955S600x600Q85.jpg

 

 

One on one Q&A

 

2257489550080875955S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Without any hesitation, I highly recommend this tour!

 

BILL

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My family and I did Eli's ecotour a few years ago. I am a total beach and sun junkie and I really wasn't looking forward to a day learning about "eco stuff". Let me tell you that this has become one of the highlights of our cruising vacations!

 

Our crew was Ebi and Eli and we could not have had a better time! One or both of them were raised on the island and the history, geography,population, and eco systems are taught with passion and knowledge.

 

The hike and lunch were delightful. The snorkeling and caves were awesome. My husband and daughter climbed to the top but I was happy to sit in a "man made jacuzzi" after swimming from the boat to the caves in rough water. It was FUN! Ebi would never have let me drown.

 

The mangroves were very interesting and thats when the rum punch was served. Kick a--.

 

Bring PLENTY of sunscreen,and a hat.

 

Fabulous trip.

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