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Through working at the Secret Garden Hostel in Quito I learned a lot about the people who make up the places and activities that Ecuador has to offer. The Galapagos is the bread winner for those who try and make a living while keeping a healthy perspective about the way they are living.
The learning curve for travellers is steep. Hostels vary in quality and commitment to those staying there. The Secret Garden is a very well regarded hostel because the owners are hands on and make the effort to treat their guests like they would want to be treated. Because of this a lot of people in the hostel business respect and aspire to create simular places. At the Garden, we try and find those people who have like minded philosophy's when in comes to treating thier guests. No small amount of time is spent trying to find honest, helpful people who are passionate about their guests experiencing the best of Ecuador.
Enter Katrien from Hostel Tiana and Llullu LLama. Along with her friends, contacts, and partners who make up the two hostels in the Latacunga loop She is a great person to know if your interested in a great experience. I found her through a campaign to find someone who knew their way around the Quilatoa Loop and were good at giving baclpackers options for thier budget that doesn´t include being regulated to next on the list behind those who want to buy expensive tours.
Katrien is one of those passionate souls that moved to Ecuador and learned the ropes in Quito working in a travel agency and as a guide. She´s got a hip way of helping people and is just good at what she does. Her hostels include a trekking business, A very thought out Galapagos discount site, and options for jungle and climbing opportunities that give people the answers and choices that they look for but often don't find before catching a flight to South America.
She does what she does because she loves doing it. Her hostels are small and they are known for their laid back, comfortable ambiance. Her guests want the experience of rural Ecuador. She provides this through volunteer programs, guided tours of the loop, and backpacking options to tours.
When I sat down with her she astounded me with her expertise and helpfulness. She´s smart where others are pencil pushers. This counts a lot when it comes to tours, cruises, and generally travelling here. The Savvy that She exhibits is what sets her apart from the normal tour operators and makes it apparent that sometimes in Ecuador we get too used to the run of the mill slogans, procedures, and paraphernalia that litters the streets in Quito. She offers complete packages for any kind of traveller one is prone to meet when travelling the gringo trail and gives them the chance for personal, custom designed tours of the Galapagos, the jungle, and the Andes. here
Usually the discounts she offers on cruises in the Galapagos are up to a hundred dollars less that those in Quito. She has a partner in Quito that can meet people and can be reached by phone. References are readily available to ease peoples worries. If you are reading this and want to contact her, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org it will be forwarded to her direct email. This is a precaution against spam and those who want to contact her for less than honorable reasons.