Mario is a true professional, i.e. knowledgeable, in tune with his guests and picked up on little things. He communicated well in advance. Likely most important is how well networked and respected he is. As a result, we were able to see fully how a banana farm operates - farms don't readily permit guides into their operation. The cocoa farm experience was fabulous, the lunch yummy and he added a special treat over and above what we were expecting. Mario is so enthusiastic about what he does.
Chuck M.United States
Mario is likely the best guide we have experienced with ToursByLocals !! He is well-spoken, knowledgeable, and most accommodating. The tour he has developed of a family cacao farm north of Guayaquil will remain one of the highlights of our recent South American trip. We appreciated that it was not "touristy" but relaxed and extremely educational -- plus, we had the fantastic ride through the Ecuadorean countryside. It was great that he segued this with an airport pickup followed by a hotel dropoff.
Jaime ZogmaisterUnited States
The tour was even better than we had expected! Mario goes above and beyond to accommodate and to better the experience. He has bits of information about the area, the cocoa process, and other things that make the experience that much better. The whole process was smooth and the chocolate was delicious!!
Kristin WiseUnited States
You can not go wrong with Mario! His English is excellent, he is very responsive to email & he makes you feel like family!! Our first day in Ecuador was like meeting up with family. Mario is flexible with requests and is extremely personable.
Joanne AronsonUnited States
We had two days in Guayaquil following a trip to Quito and the Galápagos Islands and weren't expecting much until Mario picked us up at the hotel and shares his love and enthusiasm for his city and country. The tour to the Cacao and Mango Finca was amazing! We learned so much, saw beautiful flora and fauna and enjoyed an excellent and traditional lunch. To top it off, we made chocolate from the cacao beans and then drank a traditional "tea". This was an incredible day!
Barbara GilliamBaton Rouge, LA, United States
The Cacao Trail tour is not to be missed. Mario did an excellent job, and our group of seven thoroughly enjoyed having him as our guide. He went out of his way to make the tour work for our time frame, even getting us a tour when the cacao factory was closed for the day. We all felt very safe traveling with Mario and would highly recommend his services.
TOUR GUIDE RESPONSE: Thanks for the review Barbara. I am glad you enjoyed the tour. It was great to spend the Sunday with you and your group. Say hi to everyone there, specially to uncle Bill! =)
Patrick McCabeUnited States
Mario was an excellent tour guide. We toured the Hacienda el Castillo, which is the site recommended by our Lindblad / National Geographic coordinator (we continued on to the Galapagos). Mario also took us through the old Downtown district, including a stop at the Iguana Park. Mario picked us up at our hotel in a new rental SUV, and was very chatty sharing local knowledge the 45 minute drive west to the plantation. His English is excellent, and he is super friendly and outgoing.