We're proud and happy - this just posted on TripAdvisor bulletin board for the Galapagos Islands (click here to see it for yourself):
Samba, Samba, Samba with Juan Manuel Salcedo as your guide. He made our second trip to these islands spectacular and magical. This is where he grew up and he shares his passion for wildlife, conservation, and the ocean. Every island is special and the snorkeling with Juan was out of this world. You won't go wrong with any itinerary in the islands, but you will not know what your trip could have been unless you visit again and experience the difference. I already said this was our second trip here. We were happy with our initial visit and all aspects of it. But, in comparison and looking back....it would maybe be a 5 to the Samba's 10. There is no way, I would consider any other boat or guide in the islands unless Juan is on it. It's that simple, he's the best guide we've had anywhere.
CNH Tours discovered the Samba in 2004 and has been using it ever since for its ACTIVE GALAPAGOS charters, going from 4 charters a year to 16 charters a year - which all sell out. Word of mouth from previous guests (such as the one who made the comment above), great reviews on the internet is all it takes to fill the Samba on its ACTIVE GALAPAGOS depatures. Juan Manuel Salcedo (whose family owns the Samba) keeps on pushing us to charter more and more weeks on the Samba - he tells us our "ACTIVE" guests are the most fun of all. My son, Emile, got back last week from a 14 day cruise aboard the Samba with Juan Manuel - ostensibly as a deckhand!
In the same TripAdvisor thread, another former guest voted (back in 2014) for the ACTIVE GALAPAGOS trip on the Samba:
4. Re: TipTop III vs Samba
29 October 2014, 18:56
We just returned from 8 days on the Samba and had a wonderful experience. We booked through CNH Tours and they reserve the Samba 12-14 weeks per year.
About our Samba experience...The cabins are small, but very comfortable, and we were only in them to change and sleep. The crew was helpful, friendly and welcoming. We went to all of the islands you mentioned, hiking and snorkeling at least once a day, sometimes twice. The food was excellent. We even had fresh caught lobster one night. The chef buys all of the food locally and fishermen bring their fresh catch to the boat while on the tour.
We saw the Tip Top III on a couple of occasions. It seems like the Samba, at least through CNH, is more active, out earlier and more often. The Samba is an older boat.
You can't go wrong with the Samba.