Ivette Santaella, the owner of Santaella Legal Group in San Ramon, CA, hired YExplore for a private guided hiking tour in Yosemite National Park on April 24, 2021. Ivette called our business on April 22 with a very belligerent tone and demanded that we provide a free lunch for the tour. Santaella stated that their hotel offered a (non private) tour with a free lunch for "much less money". Ivette then accused YExplore of "false advertising" and attacked my character stating I was "taking advantage" of Yosemite visitors. When I asked for her to show proof of the "free lunch advertising" she saw, Santaella was silent and could produce nothing to support the claim. Ivette still had the option to cancel the tour after the conversation but chose to continue with the booking.
Ivette, her son, and one other friend booked an Intermediate Yosemite Falls tour that travels on the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail and around the Valley floor. It is a tour that typically lasts approximately 5 hours. Her tour was to begin at 8am and end around 1pm. Her guide's next assignment was to begin at 1:30 pm to accommodate another group affected by an incoming snowstorm so there was no conflict at all. This is just one of Ivette's untruthful statements in the review.
Ivette emailed YExplore on the morning of April 24 because she was going to be late to the tour. The group did arrive late for the tour, but the guide remained at the meeting location to accommodate them. Ivette's son immediately apologized to the guide.
While on the way to Columbia Rock up a very steep rocky trail, our guide witnessed Ivette Santaella, her son, and her son's friend eating an edible gummy controlled substance during a snack break. Despite the guide's warning, they each ate their gummy and admitted it was a recreational drug. Almost immediately after that, Ms. Santaella's condition to complete the hike declined rapidly. The guide described her as "staggering and walking like an infant". The group requested and were granted an extraordinary amount of rest breaks for under three miles of hiking. Ms Sanatella's physical condition was so bad that she had to be helped down the steep trail by her son as they were forced to take many more rest stops. After another extended break on the floor of Yosemite Valley, Ivette got up and informed the guide that she wished to end the tour. It was much earlier than the 1pm end time. Santaella's action to terminate the tour was voluntary so her statement in this review and her characterization of our guide's comments to her are patently false.
Since the tour ended, Ms. Santaella has been smearing our company on every review site she can find. After reading the first fabricated review, we contacted the guide to give her account of the day. We received the guide's shocking report and contacted Ms. Santaella immediately. We requested that Santaella withdraw the negative review, and that we wished for an amicable resolution to this issue. Santaella then offered "If you want to pro rate the fees I will consider updating my review." When we declined, Ivette only grew more combative. We asked why someone would want to cause so much damage to the reputation of a small family run business who has suffered inconceivable economic hardship in the past two years during park shutdowns and lack of ability to work while enduring a global pandemic. But Santaella was uncaring and even vindictive. It is unfortunate that small businesses are subject to the type of people who believe they can inflict harm on their ability to earn a living because the disgruntled guest felt like they overpaid for their trip. I will not let that happen to YExplore and will defend our reputation vigorously.
The incident on the trail was reported to the authorities of Yosemite National Park.
John P. DeGrazio