Reviews

Reviews

Australia

“Taking a trip in a faraway land can seem daunting to plan – Ponte took care of every detail that we could think of.  Marta was calm when I called in a panic about this or that before we left.  In our other travels something always went wrong with our transportation pick-ups, hotels, tours. This trip with Ponte Travels as the planner, not one thing was a problem.  It was the most stress free trip we have ever taken.  We are now going to take our adult children to Africa with Ponte Travels. Thank you ever so much for a trip Karl and I will remember forever.”

—Michelle, Seattle


Bhutan

“Ponte Travels is extremely professional and just the best. They created an amazing itinerary in Bhutan and walked our group carefully through every step necessary in preparation for the trip.”

—Moriah, Seattle

“Ponte Travels organizes interesting tours, pays attention to detail, and responds in a timely manner.”

—Jane, Vancouver, BC

“This was the only way I would ever want to go to Bhutan: with like-minded individuals, glorious kind thoughtful like-minded guide(s), planned by a glorious like-minded travel person (that being Heather).

Highlights were watching people in the group get “hits” in various different places (the place with 21 Taras for me) determined by what resonated with their particular life journey. Also meditating UNDER the giant Buddha, WITH the nuns, and amongst the monks, with the most lovely and knowledgeable of teachers. Getting our prayer flags blessed before hanging them…

Heather, you did a superb job and even when we were still there, we were all saying, “where can we get her to take us next?”

—Blair, Seattle


Botswana

“We were very pleased with Ponte Travels. We were initially impressed with how carefully Mara Rabins listened to our description of what we wanted on our trip. She then came up with a plan which perfectly incorporated what we had asked for. Her choices turned out to be excellent. We felt safe and secure, having been provided with local contacts should any problems arise as well as knowing that Marta was tracking our progress. All details were beautifully carried out so that we were moved along seamlessly from one location to another, a complicated matter as we stayed at many camps, lodges and hotels and used many small jumper flights. We re so grateful for a favulous adventure that, thanks to Ponte Travels, went well beyond our expectations.”

-Jean & Jack, Bainbridge Island


Brazil

“Ponte Travels, and in particular Heather, was a joy to work with. Heather’s knowledge and love of Brazil was evident in every detail. She was patient, caring, and made sure our entire family was included in the details. We had a wonderful trip thanks to Ponte Travels…they, like the people of Brazil, are warm and welcoming!”

—Holly, Potomac

“My trip to Brazil with Ponte Travels was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Heather and Marta created the perfect itinerary, found boutique hotels, and great tour guides in each place that we visited. Their attention to detail and planning made the trip wonderfully unique, from staying in the beautiful Santa Teresa district in Rio, organizing different entertainment nightly, to making sure that each day had a good mix of cultural and fun outings that gave a unique taste of city life as lived by ordinary Brazilians.”

—Siobhán, San Francisco


Ecuador

“Our trip to Ecuador was truly memorable. When asked to identify the best part of our trip, I was at a loss. How do you choose among experiences which started at an exceptional level? The best that I was able to do was identify the two most memorable qualities of the experience which were the richness and variety. One example was a three day “home” stay in the Imbabura area. Our “family” was open, gracious and we enjoyed some of the best food we had in Ecuador. We thoroughly enjoyed their sharing of their life on the farm, their community and some of their skills and traditions.

We really appreciated that Heather listened to our wishes and was responsive yet creative. She truly went way beyond the norm to ensure that our travels went smoothly. I would recommend Ponte Travels to anyone with a similar travel “bug.”

—Ed, Seattle

“We worked with Heather and were very impressed with her thorough approach.  She wanted to know what we wanted to do on our month long trip to Ecuador and she tailored the trip to meet our needs.  I was especially happy because she listened to our request to not spend too much time in the cities.  Our goals were to experience the culture and the biodiversity (animals, their habitats and the different ecosystems of Ecuador).

We also asked Heather to avoid expensive hotels so that we could experience the culture in a manner where we weren’t perceived as “Rich American Tourists”.  Heather and her partners did all this and more!  Our guides and drivers were all very personable, professional, knowledgeable and on time; they worked to make sure that our experiences were the best.  Our hotels were charming and comfortable (often family run businesses) and our entire experience exceeded our expectations.

We especially appreciated having a list of the guides names and contact information available to us (in advance) – no other travel agent has ever done this so well.  I would unconditionally recommend Heather and Ponte Travels and will definitely use them again!”

—Ann, Seattle


Guatemala

“Ponte Travels delivered a terrific adventure vacation for our group (two families traveling together with four kids each). Marta put together an excellent itinerary and paired us with a wonderful Guatemalan tour guide who made the trip come alive.

Some of us had been to Guatemala before and wondered if we needed the services of a group like Ponte Travels. After just a couple of days into the trip, the benefits of working with such a professional group were obvious. Transportation was seamless, people in the country who travelled with us were great, accommodation was reliable and the destinations included places we loved but probably never would have visited left to our own planning.”

—Trevor, Seattle

“Traveling with Ponte Travels was like a dream as every connection was smooth as silk, every hotel was a delightful hidden secret and every tourist activity was of the highest quality. It is very comforting to come out of an airport in a country foreign to you, all hot and sweaty, to find a delightful person there with your name on a card. Heather was just a wonder making arrangements, changes and answering our every question and need flawlessly-both before AND during the trip. I liked talking with her so much I wished she had been on the trip with us. This was our first trip with Ponte and we will definitely use them again and have already referred our friends to them.”

—Judy, Carbondale

“We really enjoyed traveling with your guides in Guatemala. Your people there were extremely helpful, very attentive and always on top of the details during our trip. Even driving an hour each way back to our first hotel on their own to retrieve passports that we had left in the hotel safe. Traveling with kids and keeping that sense of safety while also allowing our group to really experience the local culture was not an easy balance to strike and your team did it expertly and always with a genuine smile.”

—Matthew, Seattle


India

Traveling to Kerala, India with Ponte Travel was an unforgettable experience. The experiences we had will forever change my view of the world and how each of us are connected to each other. Kerala is a unique place where the value of spirituality, connection and caring for other humans is palatable everywhere. I’ve made new life long friends on the trip with not only people I traveled with but also people from India

-Carol, Seattle

Ponte Travels provides a thoughtful and sensitive immersion in another culture. For the traveler who wants to get close, to meet local people, and to experience another country safely but with a minimum of limiting filters it is a great choice. Information was provided in a timely manner and every question was answered with respect and regard. Local contacts and friendships made travel with Ponte a rewarding experience.”

-Linda, Seattle

“You planned a beautiful, supportive and enlightening introduction to India. We were always comfortable, well fed and overwhelmed by the warmth of the people everywhere we went. You’ve given us the travel bug and instilled the need to come back to this magical place.”

—Kathy, Seattle

“Thank you for creating a trip that has been perfect down to the level of the finest details.”

—Joanne, Seattle

“India wasn’t on my bucket list, but when I saw Ponte Travel’s Rajasthan tour I was so intrigued I signed up. It was one of the best travel decisions I have ever made. I will always remember watching the sunrise in the holy city of Pushkar and the sunset camel safari in the Thar desert. No doubt, I will join another Ponte Travel’s tour.”

—Marie, Alexandria

“Thank you so much for sharing your wit and wisdom. You move with grace from warm compassion to mindful shepherdess to warrior queen as called upon. This trip has been a life-changer.”

—Bob, Seattle

“Our 3 1/2 week trip to India in November, 2014 was a vivid blend of extraordinary beauty, transformative discoveries and great adventures. Without Ponte Travels, we are quite sure we could never had made this trip. Heather worked diligently with us to craft our itinerary. She helped us with everything from pertinent packing lists, first-hand tips, detailed travel itineraries and then exceeded our expectations with all sorts of extras! She made us fall in love with India.

During the trip we always felt that someone was looking out for us. So much planning went into our trip and ALL of Ponte Travels planned connections worked, from being picked up at airports to hotel reservations, excellent tour guides in every new city and many thoughtful extras. Great attention to detail. They chose for us comfortable delightful hotels. We had cooking lessons, special restaurant meals, amazing music and dance performances. Our expectations were exceeded beyond our wildest imaginations!

If someone offered a round trip ticket (business or first class…), I would be ready to repeat this exact trip tomorrow morning! I can’t say enough about how impressed we are with Ponte Travels and can’t wait for our next adventure! Heather and Marta, you rock!”

—Lynn & Don, Seattle

“Thank you for finding these wonderful places for us. They are really memorable. You have impeccable taste and a great knack for keeping track of everything, which made our experience seem effortless in a land of many challenges.”

—Allan, Seattle

“The highlight of the (India) trip for me was Ranthambore.  I liked being out in a more rural area, and the tiger safari riding in an open jeep on a beautiful day early in the morning was exactly what I pictured.

Seeing the tiger was spectacular. I would highly recommend Ponte Travels to a friend, and I hope to use you again for future travel.”

—Sheila, Seattle

“Marta and Heather have crafted a world travel business to help us ALL celebrate life in its diverse beauty. Cultural immersion, community connections all done with grace and care for people. Last February 2014, eighteen yogis went on a trip of a lifetime to Kerala India. With Marta and Heather’s guidance we gathered before the trip several times and immersed ourselves in foods, literature and cinema of India. We bonded as a group and were well ready to take off on our adventure.

Marta’s arrangements for transport and accommodations, special tours and meals were seamless and fabulous. When I was in my twenties I had no worries not knowing where I was staying the next night…I am no longer a carefree 20 something…now in my fifties as I get the blessed opportunity to travel in some of these far off lands I am able to do so relaxed and oriented toward the meeting of the cultural adventures…no concerns about the arrangements. This makes ALL the difference…..Marta and Heather take care of it all! We are in process planning another trip for 2016. I can’t wait!”

—Annie, Yoga Studio Owner, Seattle


Indonesia

“Cliff and I had such a great time. Our time at Nusa Dua was just amazing. The staff there were exceptional. Thank you so much for that recommendation. Over all we had no difficulties on the trip. Zen Resort was almost as amazing as Nusa Dua. We loved morning yoga, and we went scuba diving. SO MUCH FUN.  I think we had a massage each day. Such a great way to end the trip! Our tour guide was great as well, very prompt, knowledgeable and accommodating. We would recommend that company to anyone. Overall, such a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip (but hopefully not!). Thank you so much for answering all of our questions and helping to coordinate this trip.”

—Doug, Seattle


Ireland

“This was such a well-planned trip concentrating on the Atlantic coastline of Ireland. Thanks for all that you did to make my visit so memorable!”

-Cheryl, Honolulu


Namibia

“My trip to Namibia was the closest thing to a spiritual experience I have had in decades. I would return in a heartbeat. It is a country of vast, ever changing landscapes, of sea and desert, and finally of wildlife I had only dreamt of seeing one day. To see elephants, zebra, giraffes, lions, and many other animals wandering freely through Etosha National Park was magnificent. The food and the service were four star throughout the journey. And I can’t thank Ponte Travels enough for the lovely birthday cake that I was able to share with my fellow travelers one night at dinner. Exceptional service all around. This was my second trip with Ponte Travels and I will be taking more. In fact, I will be on the upcoming trip to Sri Lanka.”

—Marie, Alexandria


Nicaragua

“Ponte Travels made arrangements for hotels, guides and airport pickups during our recent visit to Nicaragua. We were really pleased with everything! The hotels were very good, the tours terrific, and the reliability of guides and drivers was outstanding. There were no glitches in anything, which was really important to us, since we don’t speak Spanish and didn’t want to have to deal with things that weren’t as we had expected. But there were no problems. Great trip. Thanks, Ponte Travels!!”

—Mike & Ellen, Seattle


South Africa

“I will never travel without asking you to do the arranging for me!”

—Patricia, Issaquah

“I’ve been involved with two trips organized by Ponte, and both have been very thoughtfully arranged. Both Heather and Marta have taken a deeply personal interest in making sure that everything is set up to provide experiences that connect us with the people and places we visit. I hope to continue to travel Ponte-style.”

—Mary, Seattle

“The (local) tour company was fantastic from the guide for the whole trip to the drivers doing the airport transfers. They were all top notch, really knowledgeable, friendly, and professional.”


—Tara, Seattle

“I loved everything, especially the safari. I would go back to Sabi Sabi in a heartbeat. Thank you for making the arrangements, it was wonderful.”

—Christine, Seattle

“Selati was awesome! It was our first safari experience, and it was a great one. Very easy to get to and from, and the service and experience was really amazing—they were attentive, and fed/watered/boozed us more than we knew what to do with. It was nice to be at the smaller camp—it felt more intimate and relaxed without a huge group. I don’t think we had anything negative to say about it! Thank you for everything—it was great working with you on this! So…where do you recommend we go next…?”

—Karina, Seattle

“Everything about our excursions was outstanding. Every aspect of the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge approaches perfection, and you can recommend it unreservedly. We were very happy with both Mont Rochelle and Birkenhead House. I should mention that our dinner at the Grand Provence in Franschoek was maybe the best meal I have ever had. We are foodies, so that is saying a lot. It was very quiet—just one other table of guests that night—and I thought we might be disappointed. Not so! We are most appreciative of your expertise and great service.”

—Catherine, Bellevue

“In regards to Selati Camp—for someone who has never done a safari before, I would say that it was absolutely perfect. As a first timer, the three days at the camp was the perfect amount of time. The food was exceptionally good, the rooms and amenities were very nice (also loved the upgraded room!). The guides were also really great. They did a great job at explaining what they were doing, how they were tracking, and were very patient with any questions that we had. The only complaint I have is the baboon that tried to break into my room at 4AM and climb on my roof. That was pretty scary. Like something out of Jurassic Park. Anyways though…loved Selati Camp, and would return!”

—Derek, Seattle

“Exceptional in every way. I believe we are in your debt—that you must be responsible for our Selati upgrade to the Presidential Suite. It was not necessary, but having said that, for us it was the cap on an unforgettable experience. Like going back to a veritable golden age. It was truly, truly appreciated. Thank you. And also for recommending Selati, which was the right lodge for us.”

—Katherine, Seattle


Vietnam

“My husband and I have used Ponte Travels (Heather Murchison) twice now for extended trips. We had Heather build us a month-long trip to Ecuador a couple of years ago and just completed a 37-day trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand that was also planned by Heather. Both trips were incredible voyages and “once in a lifetime experiences”. Heather did an excellent job finding out what our priorities were (we came with a list both times) and then she built a trip for us complete with experiences, guides, drivers, places to stay, and often times meals. What I liked best about both of our trips is that Ponte Travels works hard to ensure that you have cultural experiences: eating meals with locals, staying in the homes of locals, learning about local crafts and traditions, learning about local history etc. Our time with the local people made for powerful memories and deepened our understanding of what it is like to live in their shoes (history, politics, lifestyle, education systems, financial issues etc). Heather and her partner are VERY organized. They gave us contact names and numbers in advance so that in the event that something unplanned happened during our trip (ie missed airline flight), we had what we needed in order to contact people to help us work proactively around the situation. We thoroughly enjoyed both of our trips planned by Ponte Travels and would recommend them unconditionally to anyone who is interested in overseas travel and rich cultural experiences. We feel very, very lucky to have met Heather and used her services; we will definitely have her continue to help us with our future travels as well.”

—Ann & Ed, Seattle

“The highest praise that anyone can give to a company in the service industry is repeat business, and after the consistent high quality of experiences that we enjoyed during our first trip to Vietnam with Ponte Travels, both my wife and I are eager to join them again in another adventure.”

-Joe & Marilyn, Bellevue

“Our culinary tour of Vietnam with Chef Thierry Rautureau, arranged by Ponte Travels, was a wonderful experience. We are really looking forward to the next great adventure that they come up with.”

-Bob & Rita, Mercer Island

“Jay and I had the most magical journey to Vietnam and Laos. Ponte Travels did a fabulous job arranging lodging, activities and travel arrangements. We would not hesitate to recommend this company to anyone interested in travel.”

-Jane & Jay, Monroe

“This was my first group tour ever. I found the travel arrangements, leaders, guides, group activities, accommodations, and the size and compatibility of the group extremely enjoyable. Plus Susan helped us add a trip to Cambodia highlighting the whole trip! Thank you.”

-Ann, Seattle