Encounter the island chain that has enchanted explorers since Darwin first weighed anchor off its shores. Spend eight days exploring the incredible wildlife of the Galápagos archipelago in the company of an expert naturalist guide. In the evenings, return to the well-equipped ship to reflect on the day’s adventures. Retire to air-conditioned cabins with lower berths and private bathrooms. As one of the region’s largest operators, we understand the importance of controlling the onboard experience. That’s why you’ll never end up on another operator’s ship.
7 nts in the Galápagos Islands aboard the San Jose. Arrival transfer on Day 1. Flights to and from the Galápagos Islands. Certified Galápagos National Park Service guide. All landings, excursions, and transportation. Snorkelling equipment. Visit to a wildlife interpretation centre.
Seven nights cruising the Galápagos National Park aboard the San Jose, send a postcard from Post Office Bay (and take one home with you), explore massive colonies of boobies and frigatebirds on Genovesa, snorkel throughout the islands to discover sea turtles and other unique marine wildlife, hike over lava formations and dramatic volcanic features
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. G Adventures requires your passport number, full name and date of birth at the time of booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.
2. Once you have confirmed your booking please give us your international flight details and advise us if you have any important issues such as allergies, special diets, etc.
3. The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galapagos Islands Park entry fee of $100 USD per person. This is payable at the airport upon arrival in the park. It is not included in the cost of the tour, and must be paid in CASH. This fee funds Park maintenance and supervision in Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.
4. The Consejo de Gobierno (local government council) have implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $10 USD per person. This card is to be purchased in CASH at a counter in the Quito airport before boarding the flight to the Galapagos. Please retain this card along with your passport as you will be required to present this upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands. Please note that this applies to all tourists entering the Galapagos Islands and is a supplement to the existing entry fee to the National Park and is not controlled by tour operators or travel agencies. It is the first of a number of initiatives to track, control and maintain the sustainable tourism targets set out by the Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to preserve the fragile environment of the archipelago.
5. Please note that the rooming on our Galapagos yachts is done on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we are not able to guarantee the specific cabin you will receive on board. The cabins are comfortable and clean, all with private bathrooms. Due to the specific location of the cabins on board, the window sizes vary as well as the noise at times when the boat is navigating, given the proximity of the cabin to the engine room. Our friendly and competent crew will ensure the smooth and comfortable journey for the duration of your tour.
Group Leader Description
Your G Adventures group trip is met in Quito by a G Adventures representative. The aim of the representative is to give you the
required information for the rest of your journey and to assist with changing money, restaurant and excursion suggestions and general information about the city. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds. For your shipboard voyage we have a highly experienced shipboard staff and crew, including a Galapagos CEO who is a local naturalist guide certified by the Galapagos National Park.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12.
8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. On our Galapagos yachts, food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. Dining is casual, tables are unassigned and the dining room is capable of seating the entire passenger compliment at one time. There is always a selection of different meals available, and vegetarians will find plenty of options. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice, please advise us at time of confirmation. Coffee, tea and water are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic are not included and can be purchased at the bar.
Local flight, San Jose motorized yacht, van, Zodiac, private bus.
All local flights to and from the Galapagos aare included in the cost of your tour. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
Flights to either of the airports in the Galapagos leave early in the morning on Day 2 and get you into the islands in the early afternoon. Flights back to the mainland depart between 10:00am and 1:30pm arriving in the early evening.
Please note that all flights to and from the Galapagos make a 1 hour refuelling stop in Guayaquil.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotel (2 nts), aboard the San Jose in twin-share cabins (7 nts).
My Own Room
Hotel Hilton Colon
Avenida Amazonas N19-14 y Avenida Patria
Tel: (593-2) 2560-666
Please note, if you are on the March 17, 2014 departure, your joining hotel will be:
Av. Gonzalez Suarez N 27 142
Tel:(593 2) 2 544600 or (593 2) 543631
Please note that the July 21 departure will commence at the following hotel:
Foch E6-12 y Reina Victoria
593 2 2557845
An arrival transfer is included with all Comfort-level tours when you arrive on Day 1, or when you arrive up to three days prior to the tour, provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through G Adventures in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned other then the welcome meeting which takes place in the late afternoon/early evening. You may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
A representative will be waiting at the airport to meet you holding a G Adventures sign with your name, directly in front of the arrivals section. There are often many people holding signs so we recommend to take some time to locate the rep with a G Adventures logo and sign with your name. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, you can go directly to the H.A.T.S. counter (Hotel and Airline Transportation Services) which is situated directly in front of the international arrival area, next to the taxi stand, and they will be able to assist you. In addition you may call our local support line at 0999 506 000. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi and report the issue to a G Adventures representative at the welcome meeting.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time and your transfer times back to the airport the next day. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
From within Ecuador: 022 506 610
After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
From within Ecuador: 0999 506 000
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential. If you don’t wish to take all of your luggage with you to Galapagos, please ensure you have an extra bag you can leave behind at hotel storage and pickup on your return.
Please note that Galapagos is a protected National Park so your luggage will be checked before arrival and departure to and from the islands. Don’t bring any food, seeds or other organic material that could affect the delicate ecosystem of the islands.
Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. Please remember that you can leave unnecessary articles in your joining hotel storage room.
Please do not bring any alcoholic beverages aboard, as your boat has a bar offering a variety of alcoholic drinks and prices are reasonable.
LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE ON THE BOAT: Please note that the amount of luggage you can bring on the boat is LIMITED due to small cabin size. We recommend travellers use soft sided duffel bags of 40-50 litres in capacity. We will accept luggage types onboard, however if you are a single traveller sharing with another traveller, it´s especially important to keep in mind that cabins are small in size and it´s best to pack light. Luggage storage facilities are available at the start hotel for anything you don´t need while you are exploring the Galapagos.
Please note that the electric outlets on this boat are 110v and will have either 2 flat prongs or two pin-like prongs. If necessary please bring an adaptor with you for your electric devices, ie, battery chargers.
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Credit or debit cards (see personal spending money)
- Cash in US Dollars for drinks, souvenirs and tipping – please note credit cards are not accepted onboard Galapagos vessels.
- G Adventures vouchers and trip details
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Reading/writing material
- Small Daypack for landings – for water, camera etc
- Cover for backpacks
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Insect Repellent
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Laundry facilities are available at the start and end hotel at a charge. Full laundry facilities are not available onboard our yachts in the Galapagos. If you do want to do your own laundry we we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Detailed Trip Notes
G Adventures YACHT
Enjoy your cruise on the g5; it offers a clean and casual setting with all the necessary comforts. It is staffed by experienced crew members, including a certified naturalist guide. Your comfort is ensured by our helpful, cheerful staff who will attend to your every need. Additional vessel features include outside decks and dining room and bar. Comfortable Cabins are all on the upper decks with all lower berths, WC, shower, hot water and air-conditioning. All meals are provided and are served aboard the vessel. You may purchase alcoholic beverages, water and soft drinks on the boat.
At times, when the g5 is being serviced, we will use another boat of equivalent standard and size.
LIFE ON BOARD
The daily schedule consists of a shore excursion immediately following breakfast, lunch aboard and perhaps a siesta before the afternoon shore excursion. In the evening after dinner, your naturalist guide will brief you on the islands to be visited the following day. You are ferried from the yacht to shore via small boats called pangas. Landings are either “dry” or “wet”, where you may have to wade ashore in shallow water. Your naturalist guide will accompany you during all excursions.
This is a G Adventures Classic tour, all accommodation will be Tourist Class and of a Standard service level.
Located on the Equator, the Galapagos climate is tempered by the Humboldt Current, so you do not experience extreme heat found elsewhere at this latitude. The warmest weather is December to June, when temperatures range from 22-33°C (72-90 °F), and the water temperature is in the mid 20s (mid 70°F). From July to November, temperatures are cooler and range from 18-24°C (60s -75°F), when average water temperature rarely reach 21°C (70°F).
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Due to the remoteness of the Galapagos islands, onboard our vessels, there is no credit card machines therefore only cash is accepted. It is important that you withdraw enough cash for the duration of your trip, once in the islands, ATM machines are extremely limited and unreliable. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available some may not accept all international credit or debit cards. You may need to try at more than one machine if the first does not accept your card. You should also check with your bank before leaving to ensure that your card works internationally. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Please bring USD banknotes in denominations smaller than 100, as they can be hard to exchange in Ecuador. 100 dollar bills of certain series (e.g. CB B2) can be especially hard to cash! CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent). As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. At the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO or and crew did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. There will be two envelopes left in your cabin on the final night of your tour, one for the CEO and one for crew members. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline a per traveller tip of 7-10 USD, per day for your CEO and 10-15 USD per day for the crew can be used.
Quito City Tour:
This tour of Quito is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, and historical architecture of Quito. Learn about colonial art, culture, legends, and traditions.
Quito was designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage Site. The trip takes about 3.5 hours including the visit to the lookout point of El Panecillo where you will find one of the best views of Quito.
Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the churches and Panecillo are not included in the price and are approx $ 9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD
Quito City Tour + Equator Line:
(Combination of City tour and Middle of the World Tour) After the scenic city tour of Quito (described above) we go to the Equator line museum . Here we visit the Inti Ñan local museum where you can see different experiments to prove that you are at the Centre of the Earth. On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line. This trip takes about 5 hours in total and includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation
- Entrances fees for City Tour : $ 6 USD (Churches)
- Equator line fees : $ 6 USD (Museums)
- Price for 1 person : $ 60 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $45 USD
The Middle of the World:
Driving 25 Kms. (16 miles) north of Quito, marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. We will visit the Inti ñan site museum (pathway of the sun) which show the diversity of Ecuador’s native groups. On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line. Later we head up to Pululahua crater view point , which is one of the two inhabited volcanic caldera in the world. Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the Museums are not included in the price and are approx $9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD
Mindo Cloud Forest – Full Day:
Drive northwest for about 2 hours, enjoy the dramatic change of vegetation as we go down the andes to the cloudforest. Mindo is a tiny town set amidst some of the most beautiful and peaceful countryside in the entire country. It is a centre for both nature and adventure activities.
Go walking through the cloud forest and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the different waterfalls, take time to ride up the cable car with amazing views. Time for lunch in a local restaurant (not included) and visit a butterfly farm where you will be able to see an array of colorful humming birds for which Mindo is renowned. In the afternoon there is also the option of an organic chocolate tour which includes a demonstration of the chocolate-making process and of course tasting too! This trip takes about 9 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
Allow : $10 USD for lunch and $ 20 USD for entrance fees.
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
The Otavalo market is considered one the biggest and best native markets in South America. Here you can find an extremely wide variety of handicrafts made in Ecuador. We head north along the Pan-American highway for 2.5 hours. On the way we visit the village of Calderon to see the bread figures and Cayambe to taste the typical ‘biscochos’ (local biscuits). After you have explored the Otavalo market, we go to the leather market at Cotacachi or Peguche the weaving town . The busiest Market Day is Saturday with the most vendors, but the market is open daily.
This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 08h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD
- Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
A spectacular 2-hour drive in private transport takes us to Cotopaxi Volcano National Park , the highest active volcano in the world (5897 m) . We visit a museum in the park and hike around a lagoon at the bottom of the volcano to learn about the flora and fauna found at this altitude. We then continue by car up the volcano to the parking lot, at over 4500m. Then we walk approximately 1.5hrs to the refuge at 4800m, and after a short break, continue to the glacier (if the weather holds out). We head back to the Pan-American highway to have lunch somewhere near Latacunga, or buy a box lunch on the way to have more time in the park. Return to Quito in the afternoon. This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes guide/driver in English and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD
- Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
- Please note. this does not include Cotopaxi Park Entrance fee $35 USD per group (Park fee cost can be split between travellers)
Papallacta Hot Springs:
Two hours drive to the east are the Termas de Papallacta. They are located on the Cinnamon trail, (65km from Quito) which is the same route that Francisco de Orellana took in 1542 when he crossed the Andean mountain range in search of spices and gold, and discovered the Amazon River.
Things to do:
a)Hot springs pools with different temperatures and sizes with views of the Antisana volcano 5750m.
b) Trekking up the river on marked path
c) Horseback rides – extra cost
d) Relax in the new spa recently inaugurated (spa services not Included in entrance fee cost.)
- Lunch not included however restaurant available onsite offering typical Ecuadorian meals with some international options.
- Return to Quito in the afternoon.
- This tour provides transport service only. Your driver will drop you off at the Hot Springs and wait for you when you are ready to leave.
- Full day tour
Tour Price: $100 USD – 1 Person
$50 USD per person for 2+ travellers
$7 USD Entrance fee per person
Between the home stay and Shangrila lodge there is Rafting
Horseback Riding $5/hour
Hot Springs visit $2
Zoo visit $2
Water Falls visit $ 20
Bungee Jumping $20
Horseback Riding $25 (3 hours)
City Tour $25
Ingapirca Ruins $30
Gualaceo and Chordeleg tour $30
Cloud Forest tour $40
Horseback riding $7/hour
Cayambe Volcano tour $20 (subject to change according the the # of pax)
Cochasqui Pyramids $20 (subject to change according the # of pax)
Peguche Waterfall $10
Cotacachi $10 (just transportation)
Cuicocha $10 (just transportation)
Indian Community visit $30
TELEFERICO ( CABLE CAR )
You can get from 2.800 m to 4.200 m in 10 minutes and view Quito at your feet.
Take a taxi from the hotel $3 to get there.
Entrance $8 foreigners. Locals $4
Option for a small hike inside the complex.(bring warm clothes)
Shops and restaurants available
Monday to Friday 9:am to 5:pm
Saturday and holidays 10:am to 5:00 pm
NOTE: These prices are based on 2 clients but if you are a single traveler we can accommodate your trips as well. If there are more than 2 clients booking, the prices may be less than those quoted above. Please note that many optional activities will need to be paid in cash.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude, in Quito. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
Please take care when wandering about Quito on your own, as pick pockets and purse-snatchers are common, particularly in the Old Town. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, traveller’s cheques and cash you don’t need in the hotel’s safety deposit box. Most Quiteños are honest and genuinely helpful and friendly, but be safe and enjoy the city!
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Associated Planeterra Project
With the number of visitors and the population increasing in the Galapagos, so has the number of boats increased, along with the risk for small and large oil spills. Due to a lack of resources within Galapagos park management, the risk of oil spills are increased even further. In 2010 alone, four tourism yachts grounded and/or were sunk. In response, Planeterra aimed to construct an oil spill prevention and control unit on San Cristobal in cooperation with WildAid and the local authorities. Funds are needed to help operate a cargo boat inspection and maintenance program to prevent oil spills in the future. This program includes an inspection station to help prevent future disasters in the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. Planeterra supported this project with $8,000 in 2012 to help build the inspection station and continues to fundraise to support the program over the long term to help protect the Galapagos into the future.
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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
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Galápagos National Park Service guide while in the islands. Local G Adventures representative in Quito.
Allow USD165-215 for meals not included.
PRODUCT_LINE: EV10SB, ID: 21345
Day 1: Arrive Quito
Arrive in Quito at any time. There are no planned activities, so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. A G Adventures representative will greet you at the hotel and brief you on the various aspects of the tour. If you are not able to attend the welcome meeting, our representative will leave all important information at your hotel’s reception indicating what time to be ready on Day 2 of your trip. If there is any confusion on arrival, please do not hesitate to call the contact number listed in this dossier.
Located 2850m (9348 ft) above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate, despite the fact that it is only 22 km (14 miles) south of the Equator. Nestled in a valley flanked by mountains, on a clear day several snow-capped volcanoes, including nearby Pichincha, are visible from the city centre. Add to its beautiful location a rich history and well-preserved colonial district, and you begin to understand Quito’s appeal to thousands of tourists every year.
In 1978 UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage site, and any new development in Quito’s old town is now strictly controlled. Life in Quito tends to be peaceful, though the drivers are fond of using their car horns! There are approximately 2,000,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, but the pace is relaxed and the residents hospitable.
Since pre-Columbian times, the site of Quito has been inhabited by the Quitus, the Shyris and the Puruhas. The Inca reached this city before the Spaniards, but levelled it to the ground rather than give it up to the Spanish. The present capital was founded by the Spanish on December 6th, 1534. Quito is separated into two basic sections, the old and the new cities. The old city is full of historical buildings and churches. One of the more noteworthy is the Catedral de Quito, located on the Plaza de la Independencia. Built between 1550 and 1562, it was one of the first neoclassical works in Quito. La Compañía de Jésus Church is considered one of the most beautiful in the Americas. The decorations in the Compañía contain approximately one and one-half tons of gold, and construction of the church took 170 years (1605-1775).
There are several excellent museums scattered throughout the city. The Casa de la Cultura Ecuadoriana has an interesting display of traditional musical instruments and Ecuadorian traditional dress, a large art collection, and a small natural history museum. For archeology the best museum to visit is the Museo del Banco Central with its well displayed pottery, gold ornaments, skulls showing deformities and early surgical methods, a mummy and many other objects of interest. The small, rounded hill dominating the old town is El Panecillo or ‘the Little Bread Loaf,’ a major Quito landmark. From here there are marvelous panoramic views of the entire city and surrounding volcanoes. You can easily take a trolley (streetcar) or a cab between the Old Town and New Town.
Quito’s large foreign population and steady stream of travellers have given it a varied and vibrant nightlife, and salsotecas and other dance clubs abound. For a real Ecuadorian experience though, be sure and drop by a peña if you can; these are great places for meeting locals and dancing, as well as enjoying local cooking.
Just a couple of hours south of Quito is Parque National Cotopaxi, home to Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 m/19342 ft). the beautiful cone-shaped, snow covered volcano is Ecuador’s second highest peak and the highest active volcano in the world. This is a great spot for a days hiking (up to the refuge on the glacier’s edge) or mountain biking (downhill all the way). True enthusiasts attempt the climb to the summit (overnight excursion). Allow yourself an extra day or two in Quito, before or after your trip, if you want to conquer Cotopaxi.
Day 2: Baltra / Mosquera (B,L,D)
Early flight to Baltra, in the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival meet our naturalist guide who will assist with the transfer to our yacht. Board in the afternoon for an excursion to Mosquera Island in the afternoon to walk along the beach and observe the vast sea lion colonies. You will have an opportunity to snorkel late in the afternoon.
The Galapagos Islands are located about 1000 km (620 miles) off the Pacific coast of South America. The archipelago is comprised of 13 major islands and scores of islets that served as a living laboratory for Charles Darwin, the renowned evolution theorist.
Long before Darwin arrived in the Galapagos, seafarers knew these isolated islands as home to some of the strangest and most wonderful wildlife imaginable, including birds that could swim but no longer fly, aquatic iguanas, dragon-like lizards left over from prehistoric times, and the giant Galapagos tortoises for which the islands were named.
Covering nearly 5000 square km (3100 square miles), the Galapagos Islands are now a National Park. The Galapagos National Park is the institution that controls the preservation of this environment, assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station.
The national park charges a visitor fee of $100 USD, payable on arrival, which funds Park maintenance and supervision in the Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.
Day 3: Genovesa (B,L,D)
Land at Genovesa Island, an old imploded volcano, to observe the massive colonies of Frigate Birds, Boobies and other seabirds as well as striking volcanic cliffs rising from the ocean.
Well to the north of the main Galapagos Island group, Genovesa is the shape of a horseshoe given it’s volcanic history. The island has a volcanic caldera whose wall has collapsed, forming the Great Darwin Bay, surrounded by cliffs. Lake Arcturus, filled with salt water, lies in the centre, and sediment within this crater lake is less than 6,000 years old. Our first excursion in Darwin Bay provides us some fantastic snorkelling opportunities within the a partially eroded crater.
In the afternoon there will be an excursion to “El Barranco,” otherwise known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, on the southern tip of the island. At this place is an extraordinary steep path that leads through a seabird colony full of life, up to cliffs that are 25m high. At the top, the trail continues inland, passing more seabird colonies in a thin palo santo forest. Leaving the forest, you can overview a rocky plain. The storm petrels here are different from any others in the world because they fly around during daytime. To avoid predators, they only return to their nest holes at night. The smallest Marine Iguana in the archipelago lives here. Take an afternoon snorkel in and around the cliffs.
Although no historical eruptions are known from Genovesa, there are very young lava flows on the flanks of the volcano. This island is also known as Bird Island, because of the large and varied bird colonies which nest here and the whole ecology is made of birds as only marine iguanas and no mammals or other reptiles are to be found. There are an abundance of frigatebirds and it is the best place to see red-footed boobies, masked boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, tropical birds, finches, and mockingbirds.
Day 4: South Plaza / Santa Fé (B,L,D)
Set sail and reach South Plaza Island. One of the smallest islands in the Galapagos, South Plaza has one of the largest populations of Land Iguanas. Also a large colony of noisy sea lions, numbering about 1,000 bulls, cows and pups, has its prime habitat on these smooth rocks. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation. The small cactus forest is populated by land iguanas, which can be seen sunning themselves or feeding on opuntia pads and fruits. Swallow-tailed gulls, which nest on the rugged southern cliffs, are usually seen, along with tropicbirds and Audubon’s shearwaters. During the rainy season you can see the red sesuvium turn bright green and the leafless evening-blooming portulaca bursts into large yellow flowers, which are loved by the iguanas.
In the afternoon, we explore Santa Fé, a fairly small and dry island. Also called Barrington, Santa Fé Island is well-known as a great place for watching (and swimming with) sea lions. Santa Fe was formed from an uplift (rather than a volcano) giving the island a relatively flat surface rather than the typical conical shape of the other islands. Goats were eradicated in 1971, and Santa Fe is home to a number of endemic species, which have bounced back from the outside threat. They include the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, a variety of finch and the Galapagos Mockingbird.
Hiking towards the cliffs along the island’s northern shore you can view the forest of giant Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia). A member of the cactus family their name comes from the pear shaped fruit the plant produces. Santa Fe is home to endemic land iguanas. Once back at the beach there is normally plenty of free time to snorkel back in the lagoon. Playful sea lions pups and florescent fish make for fascinating company.
Day 5: San Cristóbal (B,L,D)
We pass through Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), which is a magnificent rock in the middle of the sea, set in a shape resembling a sleeping lion. The rock rises 150 metres above the surface and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel navigable by small vessels. We also visit Cerro Brujo, where there is a chance to go hiking, swimming and snorkelling. The sandy beach is home to Sally Lightfoot crabs, brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies and california sea lions.
The town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal is the capital and administrative centre of the Galapagos Islands. There is a good interpretation centre here that is well worth a visit. The centre focuses primarily on the history and geography of the archipelago, from its volcanic origins to the present-day ecosystem. There will be free time to explore the town and go shopping.
Day 6: Española (B,L,D)
Head to Gardner Bay on Española Island (also called Hood) for a walk along one of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago. Wander the beach to see the sea lions and bird life and take the opportunity for snorkelling in the sheltered bay. The southernmost island in the Galapagos Islands is home to several wildlife species, including masked and blue-footed boobies.
Punta Suarez on the western side of Española is spectacular: gargantuan waves break on jagged cliffs and large bird colonies thickly populate the interior of the island; there is a distinct feel of desolate wilderness here. The Waved Albatross is seen here from April to December during its mating/nesting season. This bird leaves land between January and March each year to make its annual odyssey far out to sea. Amazingly, Española is the nesting site to virtually the entire world population of this species, with more than 12000 pairs residing here. Large numbers of Masked and Blue-footed Boobies are also found here, Red-billed Tropic Birds dash madly through the air, and both Marine Iguanas and sea lions are common. A huge blowhole, where the surf is forced through a natural rock formation spouting seawater 15 to 20 m (49 – 66 ft) into the air, adds to the island’s impression of untamed beauty.
Follow the trail through a rookery and learn the geological history of the island from our naturalist, including its dramatic volcanic features, climate, flora and fauna. A hike to the top of the cliff makes for spectacular photo opportunities.
Day 7: Floreana (B,L,D)
Make our way to Punta Cormorant on the northern part of Floreana. The landing is on a beach of green sand, coloured by olivine crystals, volcanic-derived silicates of magnesium and iron. The trail leads to a lake normally inhabited by flamingos and other shore birds and continues to a beach of fine white sand particles known as “Flour Beach”, an important nesting site for turtles. Around the point, Devil’s Crown derives its name from the broken remains of a partially submerged volcanic cone. This is a perfect spot to go snorkelling from the boat, as the waters are home to a multitude of colourful fish and sea lions. Please make sure you are a comfortable swimmer, however, as despite the protection from the open sea provided by the “crown,” the water here can be rough and the currents strong.
Later in the afternoon we stop at Post Office Bay has an older history. A barrel was placed here in the late 18th century by English whaling vessels to be used as a post office. Passing ships would stop to leave mail for loved ones, collecting at the same time any mail destined for ports on their itineraries. Today the box is used mainly by tourists, who may drop off and pick up unstamped letters to be carried to far destinations. The remains of a Norwegian canning factory are the only evidence of the Island’s history prior to its designation as a protected area. A short hike up past the post barrel takes you to an interesting lava cave. With the aid of a flashlight, you can descend about 80 m (262 ft) to the point where the sea enters the cave.
The history of Floreana Island (also called Charles) has gradually evolved to reach near mythic proportions. The story begins when a baroness and her two lovers, a German doctor and his mistress, and a German couple and their young son all came to settle on this land. Their dalliances and disasters, shrouded in mystery, were chronicled in John Treherne’s book The Galapagos Affair. Descendants of the German family, the Wittmers, still live on the island in the small community of Puerto Velasco Ibarra. Mrs. Margaret Wittmer has also written a booked entitled “Floreana” and this can be purchased at the airport in Baltra or at a local bookstore.
Day 8: Isla Santiago / Bartolomé (B,L,D)
Visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island in the morning to witness the striking and fascinating giant lava formations. Very few plants have managed to survive on this island due to the harsh environment and relatively new lava floe. Enjoy a walk along the lava formations before coming to a white coral sand beach, where plentiful sally lightfoot crabs and sea lions can be seen.
Bartolomé Island (also called Bartholomew) has 2 main areas of interest. A hike to the summit of the island provides a clearer perspective of the islands’ not-too-distant volcanic origins, and the panoramic view is one of the best among the islands. From here are visible the double-sided beach of Bartolomé directly below, the volcanic tower rising out of the water next to it, and Santiago in the distance. After the summit hike, stop at the beach to relax in semi-tropical tranquility. There is great snorkelling among the submerged volcanic rock and around the base of the tower. A short hike to the beach on the opposite side is worth the minimal effort. It is not unusual to see sharks in these shallow waters, and marine turtles nest here from January through March.
Day 9: Baltra / Quito (B)
Take an excursion by “panga” to Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island to witness the extensive mangrove system and interesting waterway canals. Sea turtles and different species of rays can often be seen in this cove, offering a peaceful and fascinating glimpse into the diversity of the area.
Disembark in Baltra. Transfer to the airport for the flight back to Quito.
Day 10: Quito
Depart at any time.