Galapagos - Remote Northern and Central Islands Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Small Ship Cruises, Platinum, Guided Group
Destinations:
Ecuador
Programmes:
Small Ship Cruises
Trip Code:
WAVA
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

The Galapagos Islands are a treasure meant to be experienced with a group of true nature enthusiasts. The Evolution is the perfect haven for relaxing between daily hiking and snorkelling excursions, or for joining fellow travellers for a briefing by our knowledgeable naturalists. During our intimate Galapagos Islands cruise, find yourself just inches away from giant tortoises, comical Blue-footed boobies, Sea lions, penguins, iguanas and many other animals, and gain an appreciation for how remarkable life on Earth can be. Voyage the famed waters of Galapagos amid the spectacular landscapes and distinct endemic wildlife that so intrigued Charles Darwin. From the spouting whales crossing the Bolivar Channel to the Waved albatrosses nesting along the cliffs of Espanola, you'll experience the undeniable wonder of these enchanted isles.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights in twin or double cabins on board the Evolution
  • Islands visited: San Cristóbal, South Plaza, Sombrero Chino, Santiago, Genovesa, North Seymour, Santa Fe, Floreana, Santa Cruz
  • Group normally 26-32 passengers plus crew. 

Trip Highlights

  • Snorkel, kayak, hike and even enjoy an intimate picnic in the highlands with Giant tortoises
  • Sail on the Evolution, featuring the most public space and largest cabins of any yacht in her class
  • Visit a family-run coffee and sugar cane farm
  • Enjoy the archipelago's best guest-to-guide ratio
  • Learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station

Is This Trip for You?

This trip has been graded 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 5.

This trip is great for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history or geology. Though you do not need to be particularly fit, you should note that due to the volcanic nature of the Galapagos islands there will be some walking on rough ground and sharp volcanic rocks. The ability to withstand high temperatures and to swim will maximize your enjoyment. Due to local regulations in the Galapagos we have specific time slots for making our landings and site visits. There is usually very little disruption to the schedule, but this can mean little room for deviation in the event of poor weather or other circumstances.

In the Galapagos, each day will feature a mixture of walking, snorkelling and exploring the islands by boat. To get closer to the designated landing sites on each of the islands we disembark into small pangas (motorised dinghys). Landings on the islands are divided into two types - wet and dry. For dry landings, the panga will take you right up to a landing stage or rocky outcrop where you can disembark without getting wet. However, in some places where there is no landing stage the panga will stop close to a beach and you will be expected to walk through shallow water (generally no more than ankle-deep) to the shore. The leader will always advise conditions prior to leaving and it is possible to skip any particular excursion if you would rather relax on board the boat.

There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling in the Galapagos and this is one of the best ways to experience the marine life. A mask and snorkel will reveal an exciting underwater world with Sea lions, rays, turtles, Marine iguanas and a colourful array of fish. On most days of the itinerary there will be one or two snorkelling sessions.  Snorkelling in the Galapagos does not require any special skills, however, at times you will be snorkelling in open water where there are fairly strong currents. Before going into the water, the guide will evaluate the strength of the currents and the general condition of the sea to make sure they are right for this to be a safe and enjoyable activity. The dinghy will remain very close at all times; if you get tired or feel like coming out of the water you only have to raise your arm and they will come to pick you up so you can rest for a while before going back in or stay in the dinghy until it is time to return to the boat. Snorkelling equipment (snorkel, fins and masks) is provided, however, is advisable to wear a wetsuit which not only protects you from the cold but also makes floating much easier without as much effort.

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company International Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, International Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award-winning customer service that you would expect. International Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

Islands Visited on this Itinerary:

San Cristóbal: The easternmost island of the archipelago and the first landing point for Charles Darwin in 1835. The Galapagos Islands' provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is on San Cristóbal, and the town is home to the excellent Galapagos Interpretation Centre. Popular sites for visitors to the island include El Junco Lake (one of the archipelago's few freshwater lagoons), Frigatebird Hill (unsurprisingly named for the large colonies of magnificent and great frigatebirds), and Kicker Rock, a towering split rock that rises over 100m from the ocean. The highland cloud forests provide a natural habitat for giant tortoises. Huge numbers of Sea lions are also present on San Cristóbal and nearby Isla Lobos, reachable by boat, is a big nesting site for Blue-footed boobies.

South Plaza: A tiny island formed of lava and carpeted with cacti and plants that give it a luxurious red surface. There is abundant bird life on South Plaza (including Tropic birds and Swallow-tailed gulls), as well as a large number of land and Marine iguanas that feed on the cacti.

Santiago: Home of the Galapagos Fur seal, which likes the rocky shoreline and shady spots of Santiago. Around 30,000 to 40,000 Fur seals live on the islands, and the majority can be found close to Puerto Egas, either on the rocks or on its black beaches. The island is a good place to see Galapagos hawks and Darwin finches, and there’s a popular snorkelling site called Chinese Hat where penguins, rays, turtles and playful Sea lion pups reside.

Genovesa: Renowned for the sheer number of birds living on its volcanic cliffs, Genovesa is a true paradise for birdwatchers. There are large populations of Red-footed boobies, Storm petrels, frigatebirds, Tropic birds and nocturnal Swallow-tailed gulls. Prince Philip's Steps lead to a plateau where the visitor is almost totally surrounded by different species of bird. It's not just the land that provides a great natural habitat – the nutrient-rich waters make for great snorkelling too.

North Seymour: A tiny island with a huge Sea lion colony and a very large colony of frigatebirds – it's one of the best places to see the males displaying their bright red pouches during mating season. You may also get to see one of these relatively aggressive birds performing some aerial tricks as they steal food from boobies or gulls.

Santa Fe: The dense vegetation of Santa Fe is made up of some of the largest species of cactus, including a forest of prickly pear. Large numbers of the endemic Santa Fe land iguana reside here – one of the largest land iguanas found on the islands.

Floreana: One of the first islands to be inhabited, the human history of Floreana is as interesting as its natural history. At Post Office Bay, 18th-century sailors (and now tourists) left mail in a wooden barrel so it could be picked up by other ships and delivered to its final destination. It's still common practice for visitors to see if there are postcards or letters from their home town and deliver them on their return from the Galapagos. Notable wildlife on the island includes large flamingo colonies, the Galapagos petrel and, between December and May, nesting Green turtles. Just off Floreana's coast is the Devil's Crown, an underwater coral-filled crater that offers some of the best snorkelling on the islands.

Santa Cruz: The second-largest island in the archipelago, Santa Cruz is home to Puerto Ayora – where most Galapagos ships are docked for embarkation – and the Charles Darwin Research Station, which conducts tortoise research programmes and is heavily involved in the management and conservation of the islands along with the national park authorities. The Santa Cruz highlands are much greener than the dry lowlands of the other islands and are home to freely-roaming groups of tortoises. In common with the rest of the group, Santa Cruz has many interesting volcanic features such as pit craters and lava tunnels, and there is also a noted flamingo lagoon at Cerro Dragón.

Galapagos Conservation Trust

We are delighted to offer our client’s travelling to Galapagos and Ecuador a six month free membership with Galapagos Conservation Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated solely to protecting the Galapagos Islands. With your membership, you will receive a responsible travel guide, their biannual magazine, invitations to exclusive events and information on GCT’s conservation work and appeals. To redeem your membership, please email [email protected] and quote the code EXO-GCT.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

A Note About Field Staff

Our highly qualified naturalist Galapagos Islands travel guides are authorities on the wildlife, history, geography and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. You’ll learn from an expedition leader and local naturalist who are passionate about the islands and licensed at the highest level — Level 3 — by Galapagos National Park.  Below is just a selection of the Expedition Leaders and Naturalists who may lead your eco-tour.  A particular departure may be escorted by any one of them.  If you would like to find out which leaders are scheduled to lead each departure, please contact our office.

Bolivar Sanchez - Expedition Leader

Bolivar Sanchez is not only an expert in Earth science, earning degrees in Biology, Geology and Conservation, but he is also an IE favourite! Boli developed a strong interest in wildlife and the outdoors as a child and has been learning as much as possible ever since. For the past two decades, he has worked as a certified naturalist and guide in Galapagos National Park, as well as leading expeditions in Cuba, Iceland and beyond. His great personality and wonderful sense of humour make him an incredible travel companion. Boli's other interests include swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and hiking.

Alex Cox - Expedition Leader

Level 3-certified guide Alex Cox developed a strong interest in wildlife and the outdoors as a small boy on the island of San Cristóbal before studying at the Central University of Ecuador, where he honed his passion for Earth science. Alex has spent the past 20 years as a Galapagos naturalist guide in the islands. When not leading our Galapagos Islands tour, look for Alex swimming, hiking or spending time with his two children.

Cristina Rivadeneira - Naturalist

At age 11, Ecuador-native Cristina Rivadeneira took her first Galapagos Islands tour, and realized that this was where she wanted to be! After high school, she studied business and applied languages. Because of her fluency in English, German and French, Cristina worked for a travel agency as a translator, allowing her to visit all of Ecuador's national parks. Cristina began studying to be a Galapagos naturalist in 1996. When not working as a Galapagos Islands travel guide, she enjoys scuba diving, bird watching, hiking, sea kayaking and reading.

Jack Grove - Marine Biologist

2020 Galapagos Cruise - June 19th, 2020

A marine biologist and professional naturalist, Jack has spent much of the past two decades traveling on, and lecturing about, the world's oceans. Co-founder of IE sister company Zegrahm Expeditions and research associate in the Section of Fishes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Jack is a leading authority on the fishes and marine environments of the eastern tropical Pacific. For seven years he lived in the Galápagos, where he carried out extensive marine biological studies. In 1997, Stanford University Press published his comprehensive volume The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands, and he received his Ph.D. from Pacific Western University.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
26
Max group size:
32

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Guayaquil
End City:
Guayaquil

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly Guayaquil to San Cristobal on the Galapagos & Playa Ochoa & Kicker Rock

    Fly to the islands and board the Evolution. Stroll along the beach at Playa Ochoa, where a nearby tidal lagoon plays host to flamingos, finches and Chatham mockingbirds. At sunset, we cruise around Kicker Rock.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    South Plaza Island

    At only 426 feet wide, South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago. Look for Yellow land iguanas on a walk to a grove of prickly-pear cactus.  Non-hikers can enjoy a Zodiac ride, watching for Swallow-tailed gulls, Red-billed tropicbirds and Blue-footed boobies. Since there is no true trail on Mosquera Islands, you are able to stroll at your leisure.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Sombrero Chino Island & Santiago Island

    Morning Sombrero Chino Island: The tiny uplifted island of Sombrero Chino – or Chinese Hat – features a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble and lava tubes. The “land” is made of a few adjacent craters and old, fragile pahoehoe lava flows. Vegetation is just starting to take hold, including colourful carpetweed plants. Enjoy a Zodiac ride and swim before lunch.

    Afternoon Puerto Egas, Santiago Island: This afternoon, search the tide pools of Puerto Egas for sea life. During low tide, we may see Marine iguanas feeding on algae. Our naturalists will point out the birdlife, including Great blue herons, Lava herons, oystercatchers and Yellow-crowned night herons.

    AccommodationThe Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Genovesa Island

    Genovesa is often referred to as “Bird Island” for the vast numbers of pelagic seabirds that come here to nest. And while Genovesa harbours one of the Galapagos’ largest and most diverse bird populations, there are no land reptiles — with the exception of some very small Marine iguanas. This is due to the direction of the ocean currents, which couldn’t carry the terrestrial animals here. Climb Prince Philip’s Steps to an area with colonies of Red-footed boobies. Watch for Short-eared owls which feed on the petrals that fly about. Explore Darwin Bay, home to the rare Lava gull. While anchored at Genovesa, enjoy an opportunity to swim, kayak and snorkel in the calm caldera of this partially eroded volcano.

    AccommodationThe Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    North Seymour Island & Santa Fe Island

    Morning North Seymour: North Seymour is the nesting site for a large population of magnificent frigatebirds and the only place where we can always find males showing their red pouches to attract females. Plus, we are sure to see Blue-footed boobies perform their comical courtship dance in the open areas.

    Afternoon Santa Fe Island: Hike to a scenic lagoon, where we may observe Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds and a variety of Darwin’s finches. You may kayak and snorkel from the beach.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Floreana Island 

    Hike to Post Office Bay, once used by navigators to send mail with homebound messengers. Swim and kayak in the bay before a walk along the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant. After hiking to a flamingo lagoon, spot fish and sea turtles during a relaxing stroll along the beach. Enjoy superb snorkelling at Devil’s Crown, where sea water has filled the sunken cone of an extinct volcano.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Santa Cruz Island

    Begin our day in the forested highlands, with ample opportunity to see and photograph Giant tortoises in the wild. Stop at a family-run farm before learning about the work being done to study and preserve wildlife at Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Centre at the Darwin Research Centre.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Black Turtle Cove & fly to Guayaquil

    Enjoy a Zodiac ride through Black Turtle Cove, drifting silently through this area of mangroves. Fly to Guayaquil, trip ends upon arrival at airport in Guayaquil.

    Ask us about adding our optional Guayaquil package which includes your transfers, breakfasts, and pre- and post-cruise hotel accommodations.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

The Evolution

The classically styled Evolution's interior is fully air-conditioned, and cabins on all three decks offer ample storage space, a writing desk, bedside tables and private facilities. The Evolution's spacious cabins are the largest on average in the Galapagos and act as the perfect haven for an afternoon siesta between your excursions. 

While the Evolution may carry a group of just 32 guests, she is generous in size with a host of amenities. From relaxing on the sun deck to reading in the lounge, you're sure to relish the friendly ambiance. Enjoy briefings by your naturalists in the comfortable lounge or spend time with a snack and your fellow passengers at the canopied bar - a superb place for watching the sun set over the Pacific. After excursions, relax in the hot tub or find a cushy deck chair while enjoying more outside space than any other yacht in its class.

Because there is an "open bridge" policy aboard the Evolution, you are welcome to visit the captain and crew and learn all about the ship’s operation and navigation. A convenient boarding platform makes it easy and safe to board our excursion boats.

Cabins

All cabins feature private bathrooms with hair dryers and toiletries, climate controls, writing desk and safe-boxes, plus ample storage space. During every excursion, stewards will service your spacious cabin.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

Meals are served in one seating in the dining room, and each meal boasts international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts.

Transportation

In the Galapagos we use a First Class boat for our main navigation and small semi-inflatable pangas (motorised boats or Zodiacs) for landings.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

It is possible to visit the Galapagos at any time of year, but seasonal variations do affect what you see and there are climatic changes to be aware of. The weather is controlled by the two main ocean currents of the region, the Humboldt, bringing cold water from the Antarctic, and El Nino, which brings tropical water from the Gulf of Panama. How close to Galapagos they converge (which varies from year to year) is the key to the weather.

'Dry season'

Generally speaking, late May to early December is the cooler 'dry' season. In this period it is not necessarily dry, as there is a persistent light mist (garua) and often light drizzle, and the higher mountain slopes are covered in cloud and fog or rain. At this time the winds are in the southeast and are higher than at other times, so seas can sometimes be choppy and anyone worried about seasickness might be better advised to avoid it. Daytime maximum temperatures lie between 27ºC and 31ºC, the cooler months being July to November. In July and August the fairly strong winds introduce a chill factor, and it can feel quite cold at nights, though throughout the year the official night temperatures vary between 19ºC and 24ºC.

'Wet season'

Depending on how close the convergence of the two currents comes to Galapagos, there may or may not be a wet season from January to April or May. Approximately every seven years the El Nino current actually hits the islands and there will be heavy rains in these months. In other years rain usually falls sporadically from otherwise clear skies. The ocean temperatures are higher, with generally calm seas and strong sunshine: pleasant, but potentially very hot. Apart from an El Nino year, the weather is usually better from December/January to April/May than at other times even if there is some rain, and most people would regard these months as the best time to go.

There are plenty of wildlife highlights throughout the year:

January: Nesting land birds; Green sea turtles arrive to lay eggs on the islands beaches; land iguana’s start breeding on Isabela.
February: Nesting Marine iguanas on Santa Cruz; Greater flamingos start nesting on Floreana. 
March: The bright red throat pouches of frigatebirds are inflated during mating season on Genovesa and San Cristobal. 
April: Huge numbers of Waved albatross on Española displaying courtship rituals; eggs of Green sea turtles begin to hatch; land iguana eggs hatch on Isabela. 
May: Courtship of Blue-footed boobies begins on North Seymour; Waved albatross on Española start laying eggs. 
June: Giant tortoises migrate to the lowlands and start nesting; migrating birds stop in the Galapagos to rest; migrating Humpback whales can often be seen around the western islands. 
July: Dolphins and whales are more likely to be seen around the western islands; Blue-footed boobies on Española start breeding. 
August: Nazca boobies nest on Genovesa Island; Sea lions start giving birth to pups. 
September: Penguins seen in the water when snorkelling around Bartolome. 
October: Galapagos Fur seals start mating; Blue-footed boobies start raising chicks. 
November: Curious Sea lion pups found in the water amongst snorkelers. 
December: Mating Green sea turtles; Waved albatross chicks fledge.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Guayaquil

Your trip starts at the airport in Guayaquil on Day 1 of the itinerary. Please note that travellers need to arrive one day prior and stay one day later than the scheduled itinerary due to the times of the internal flights on Day 1 and Day 8 of our land-only trip. If these flights are missed for any reason, it is very difficult to catch up with the rest of the group.

For your convenience we offer an optional pre- and post-cruise extension package for Guayaquil that includes arrival and departure transfers, as well as hotel accommodation and breakfasts (thus extending your trip from 8 to 10 days in length).

If you choose to book your pre- and post-cruise accommodation independently, details of how to reach your start point will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Please note that airport transfers are not included for this trip. However, we do offer an optional pre- and post-cruise extension package for Guayaquil that includes arrival and departure transfers, as well as hotel accommodation and breakfasts.

Location start:
Guayaquil
Location end:
Guayaguil

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Sunglasses
Sunhat
Sunscreen
Strong-soled shoes for walking on the islands
Flashlight

Due to the limited storage facilities available on the boat, hard suitcases will be difficult to store so we recommend that you take a soft holdall or rucksack for this trip so that your bag can be unpacked into the cabin storage and your holdall stowed away in the small space under the bed.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 20kg.

Optional Equipment

Canvas shoes or waterproof sandals for wading ashore if you don't like wet landings
Swimming gear
Waterproofs
Camera with telephoto lens, spare memory cards and batteries
Binoculars

Practical Information

Passport

Ecuador

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Ecuador

British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy. 

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Programme (most British and western European citizens with a machine readable passport are), you are now required to register in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority (ESTA). There is a US$14 charge for the ESTA, which is only payable online with a credit card. Please see our website www.exodus.co.uk/usvisa for further information. All other nonresidents passing through the US must get a visa in advance. Check with your local embassy or consulate for more details on how to obtain a visa.

Vaccination

Ecuador

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Ecuador you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to Ecuador will be required to show valid medical insurance on arrival and cannot enter the country without it.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Ecuador's Timezone:
America/Lima -05 (GMT -05:00)

Electricity

Ecuador's Electricity:

120 Volts. Plug types A & B; establishments often take two flat parallel pin plugs.

All cabins have 24 hour electricity from sockets for charging camera batteries etc.

Money

Ecuador's Currency

The national currency of Ecuador is the US Dollar (USD), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2019) of approximately 1.23 to the GBP, 0.76 to the CAD, 1.11 to the EUR, 0.68 to the AUD and 0.64 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs accepting major credit and debit cards are readily available on the mainland, but access in the Galapagos is limited. Please contact your bank before travel to ensure compatibility and take more than one card with you as we have had reports of some debit cards not being accepted. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You should carry your money in US Dollars cash, as other currencies can be difficult to change and may incur a poor exchange rate. Please note that obtaining change for larger denomination banknotes (US$100 and US$50) can be difficult. Try to carry a number of small notes (US$1 or US$5) as many small businesses and taxis do not carry large amounts of change.

Extra Expenses

Galapagos Park Tax fee: US$120, paid upon booking

Mandatory internal flights from Guayaquil to San Cristóbal Island return: US$665, paid upon booking

Optional Trip Extension

Guayaquil Pre- and Post-Cruise Package (includes arrival and departure transfers, hotel accommodation and breakfasts): US$250 per couple per night.

 

Tipping

Tipping is an optional but very much customary practice in Ecuador and forms part of the service culture. Due to the dominance of US visitors in the destination, tips are reasonably high and this is likely to add up during your stay. Please remember that you are never under any obligation to give a tip and you should only do so when you are happy with the service you have received.

It is also usual for travellers to tip the boat crew in addition to the guide. It would be reasonable for each group member to contribute about US$20-$25 a day for the crew and staff in the Galapagos.

You may also wish to tip the naturalist guides directly and this is at your discretion, but US$5-$6 per person per day would be a good gratuity.

 

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Single-use plastics have been eliminated from this trip. Plastic straws, single-use disposable soaps and single-serving food packages have been removed from all voyages, keeping your plastic waste to a minimum.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.