Classic Galapagos - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz) Trip Notes

Classic Galapagos - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

Last Modified: 08 Apr 2015
Classic Galapagos - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)
Trip code: GLKA
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesVisas
ThemesGroup sizeIssues on your trip
MapYour fellow travellersWhat to take
ItinerarySingle travellersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationSafety
Culture shock rating Meals introductionTravel insurance
Physical ratingMealsResponsible Travel
Physical preparationTransportA couple of rules
Included activitiesGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
What's not includedJoining point Responsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point Further Information
TippingEmergency contact
Departure taxEmergency funds
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Sailing, Wildlife
Map
Classic Galapagos - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)
Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport you are met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. There is a pre-departure meeting in the evening at 6pm when you meet others travelling on your cruise to the Galapagos Islands.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
As this trip spends very little time in Quito, we recommend you spend a few extra days before or after your trip to experience all the city has to offer.
Day 2 Isla Santa Cruz
This morning we transfer to Quito Airport for our early morning flight to the Galapagos Islands. Be prepared for an early start as this could mean leaving the hotel as early as 4.30am. A US$20 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as using credit cards can be time consuming.
On arrival in the Galapagos we are met in the arrivals hall and then transferred to our catamaran, M.C. Queen Beatriz, anchored a short distance away. Once on board we'll be assigned our cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over a delicious lunch.
In the afternoon, you will visit Punta Carrion, located in north-eastern Santa Cruz. This is a shallow and protected cove, ideal for snorkelling and swimming. Wildlife is plentiful; keep your eyes peeled for blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons, great blue herons and underwater swim among rays and white-tipped reef sharks.
Included Activities
  • Snorkelling Punta Carrion
Day 3 Isla Isabela
Las Tintoreras is a little peninsula at the entrance of Isabela Island’s Port. We visit Las Tintoreras, where from the viewing walkway you can look down into this narrow channel to see a colony of white-tipped reef sharks swimming and sleeping, and the occasional playful sea lion among them! Blue-footed boobies and penguins, marine iguanas and crabs also make their home here, and the waters provide further opportunities to swim with turtles. We enjoy a nice long walk on a gravel path through ‘Ahh-ahh’ lava flow and see plenty of Marine Iguanas. The natives of the islands call white sharks “tintoreras”, hence the name of this spectacular site.
We might also have the opportunity to snorkel off the panga, to observe sharks, sea lions and Galapagos penguins.
Please note that there is a US$5 per person, port fee to be paid on arrival at Isabela Island.
We visit the Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise breeding center. Here you can see the five sub species of tortoises from Isabela Island, some of which are bred in captivity.
Included Activities
  • Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise breeding center
  • Las Tintoreras visit
Day 4 Isla Floreana
Discover the quirky maritime history of Post Office Bay which is the oldest postal system in the Americas. Steeped in history, in 1793 a post office barrel was erected for mariners to post their mail and assist in delivery of mail to the United States and Europe. This custom continues today with Galapagos visitors leaving letters and postcards to be collected by the next passing boat – send one of your own and check if there are any you can deliver back home. Snorkeling and a panga ride will be also included in this outing.
We go ashore at Punta Cormorant where the sand is made up of fine olivine crystals, a glassy volcanic mineral, giving the beach an olive-green colour. It is the best place to see Galapagos sea lions. Today is also one of our finest opportunities to see pink flamingos and other water birds wading in the lagoons, including pintails and stilts. The walk continues to a white flour sandy beach to an Eastern Pacific green turtle nesting site. Young diamond stingrays are commonly found in the shore line and enjoy the view of the turquoise crystalline ocean. Just offshore, the famous Devil’s Crown is an old eroded volcanic cone and a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates. Red-billed tropicbirds can also be seen nesting in the rocky crevices. The centre of the cone is an outstanding snorkelling spot and many people find this one of the best snorkelling experiences of their trip. We might see rays, sharks, sea lions and turtles.
Included Activities
  • Post Office Bay
  • Punta Cormorant and Devil's Crown
Day 5 Isla Santa Cruz
Today we visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos.
The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic hub of the archipelago and is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museum are essential stops for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history, and keen to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. It also offers our best chance for close-up encounters with giant tortoises, and we can see many newborn and young giant turtles - part of the breeding program to reintroduce them to their natural habitat. Observe the giant opuntia and jasminocereus cactus trees. Leisure time to explore Puerto Ayora, check email or have a drink at a local bar and see the local’s way of life.
We head to the Highlands of Santa Cruz for a total change of scenery. Beginning at the coast we travel across Santa Cruz through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where we can see the Unique Scalesia cloud forest, dome shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world famous woodpecker and warbler finches as well as vermillion flycatchers.
Included Activities
  • Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Santa Cruz Highlands
Day 6 Plaza Sur & Santa Fe
Santa Fe is home to more sea lions, and these ones are very eager for swimming partners! It’s a lovely place to take a dip, offers a dense concentration of wildlife, and is a fantastic place to see many of the stars of the Galapagos in one relatively small area. Expect to see Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, a variety of finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, sea lions, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. It’s a naturally beautiful island as well with one of the most attractive coves in the archipelago and the jade-green waters are ideal for snorkelling. Our trail follows the coast into the opuntia forest, where we see Santa Fe's trees - the largest in the Galapagos. Hiking into the island you can see a forest of giant cacti and palo santo trees. Once back at the beach we have free time to snorkel in the jade green water. Playful sea lion pups and fluorescent fish make for fascinating company.
A small island, Plaza Sur or South Plaza is nonetheless a place of great beauty, where we get close to sea lions and onto trails past one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations, resting amid cacti and volcanic landscapes coloured bright red and green by sea-purslanes. The island’s rugged southern cliffs are an excellent place to spot tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as ‘the gentlemen’s club’, a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be ‘beach masters’!
Included Activities
  • Plaza Sur
  • Isla Santa Fe
Day 7 Isla Espanola
Today we cruise to the island of Española - the southernmost island of the Galapagos and one of the most spectacular. Because of its remote location this island has a large population of endemic fauna. It is the breeding site for nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses and also home to colonies of blue-footed and masked boobies. Trails from the golden beaches, where sea lions bathe and marine iguanas make their way towards the water, lead us right through the middle of booby colonies, and Galapagos doves and mockingbirds are also often seen. We land at Punta Suarez, one of the most attractive locations in the Galapagos and home to large and varied wildlife population - a walk along its trails takes us to a cliff top viewpoint, where we gain a magical panorama. Boobies line the rocky shoreline beneath us, while frigate birds may be seen overhead; nearby enormous male sea lions can be seen lounging and albatross use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, helping become airborne by the southeast winds that blow across this part of the island. If we’re lucky we’ll see the elaborate courtship rituals performed by albatrosses before the female chooses her lifelong mate.
We head to Gardner Beach which is considered by many as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos Islands and full of sea lions and hood mockingbirds. Enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling which could be great for playing with sea lion pups and lots of fish. The rocks off the coast provide excellent snorkelling opportunities, with reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish, including surgeon and angelfish, often seen. The small white-tipped reef sharks are also often spotted resting under the rocks.
Included Activities
  • Bahia Gardner
  • Punta Suarez
Day 8 Isla San Cristobal
We visit Punta Pitt on the eastern end of San Cristobal Island, one of the most spectacular landscapes that resulted from the erosion of an ancient volcanic ash cone. Walk to the top of the volcanic hill for expansive views of the sparsely vegetated area. A variety of seabirds nest here, including blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies and frigates. From the panga ride we can observe the three varieties of boobies nesting in the Galapagos and enjoy a snorkel from the beach!
Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido) is the magnificent basalt remains of a crater in the middle of the sea, the shape resembling a sleeping lion. The rock rises 150 metres above the surface and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel. We cruise through the channel, with nesting seabirds on either side of the boat, tropic birds overhead, marine iguanas in the water and resting on the rocks and many sea lions also present. Snorkelling gives us the opportunity to see Galapagos sharks, and possibly a hammer head shark among sea turtles and an incredible biodiversity of invertebrates on the wall.
We also visit Isla Lobos, a tiny island almost touching San Cristobal Island. This is the perfect time to witness the always friendly sea lions as they play in the calm shallow waters here. Blue Footed Boobies, frigate birds and marine iguanas are also easily seen.
Included Activities
  • Punta Pitt
  • Kicker Rock - Snorkelling
  • Isla Lobos
Day 9 San Cristobal Interpretation Center
As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid morning, it is an early start for our last morning on the islands. Depending on the time of our flight, our time spent on this final excursion could be limited.
We visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Center. The centre brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonisation of the Galapagos, and the reality of the problems the islands face today is also explored. This is a great way to complete your time in the Galapagos.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and this is our final excursion. We say farewell to the Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay. Our local representative may stop by at your hotel this evening to get your feedback trip on your Galapagos experience.
Included Activities
  • San Cristobal Interpretation Centre
Day 10 Quito
There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time here before, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito, such as the Cotopaxi volcano, the Cloud Forest, hot springs, the Equatorial Monument or perhaps city tour of the fascinating Old Town. Please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for check-out times and luggage storage possibilities.
      Itinerary disclaimer
      Due to the specialist nature of our holidays, day-to-day itineraries should be taken as a guide only and as statements of intent, not contractual obligations. We regularly update our trip dossiers to take into account changes to trekking routes, accommodation, local transport etc. Such changes are a factor of this type of holiday and when made are out of necessity. Other factors such as adverse weather, unforeseen circumstances and other matters entirely out of our control etc can also lead to enforced changes during the course of the holiday. It is not possible to guarantee that any of our holidays will operate exactly as per the anticipated itinerary
      The maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without previous notice due to such reasons as weather conditions or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes
      Culture shock rating

      At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
      Physical rating

      Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
      Physical preparation
      We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you. This applies to the included activities and moving around the boat. You will also need to enter and exit a zodiac during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling - please note crew members will be on hand to assist you.
      The cabins and communal areas of the Queen Beatriz are spread over 4 decks.
      From the zodiac to the main deck there are 4 steps
      From the main deck to the first level there are 10 steps
      From the first level to the second there are 10 steps
      From the second level to the sundeck there are 10 steps
      The physical activities on this trip, such as snorkelling and hiking, do require some consideration regarding your physical abilities to complete the activity. You are more than welcome to opt out of activities or talk to your Guide about tailoring a less physical option for you.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Snorkelling equipment and wetsuits are available on board the boat at no additional charge
      What's not included
      Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
      Passport and visa expenses.
      Government arrival and departure taxes.
      Galapagos National Park fee and Galapagos transit card.
      Isabela island port fee (if applicable).
      Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
      Excess baggage charges.
      Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.
      Telecommunications charges.
      The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
      Money Exchange
      The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).
      Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.
      With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
      Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.
      It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
      VERY IMPORTANT:
      USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
      ACCESSING MONEY WHILE YOU ARE IN THE GALAPAGOS:
      ATM's are available in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal however there are no ATM's in Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela.
      On board the Galapagos voyage, alcohol [beer and wine] and soft drinks are available to purchase in cash and if you wish to tip the crew this will also be paid in $US cash.
      Credit cards are accepted in some shops and stores in Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo and Puerto Villamil.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      For most of your trip the only additional expense will be the purchase of alcoholc beverages on board the Queen Beatriz. Souvenir shops and internet cafes can be found in Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela.
      Below is a list of approximate costs for onboard beverages. At the start of the voyage staff will create a tab for each traveller and payment is finalised on the last evening.
      All prices are quoted in US$.
      Cocktails $6-$8
      Wine* $35-$60
      Spirits $8-$16
      Beers $3-$5
      Softdrink $1-$3
      *Red, white and sparkling wines are available to purchase by the bottle. Please note that a 10% service charge will be added to the total of your bar bill.
      Please refer to the tipping section for additional information with regards to recommended amounts for tipping.
      NATIONAL PARK AND TRANSIT CARD FEES
      Before you check-in for your flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands you will need to purchase a US$20 transit card [which you will need to hold on to as you will need to present it on your return from the Galapagos].
      On arrival in the islands you will purchase the Galapagos National Park entry fee, US$100.
      On arrival in Isabela there is a transit fee of US$5.
      Please make sure you have clean, unmarked notes to pay these fees.
      Tipping
      If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
      The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      BOAT CREW QUEEN BEATRIZ:
      If you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip would be very much appreciated by them. As a guideline we recommend each passenger consider US$15 per day for the captain and crew [this amount is pooled and shared amongst the crew] and US$10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.
      RESTAURANTS
      Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
      MARKETS AND LOCAL SHOPS
      At local markets, shops and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
      HOTEL PORTERS/LOCAL DRIVERS
      We suggest US$1-$2
      Please use the amounts listed above as a guide. Tipping is entirely a personal preference; of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.
      Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      Important notes
      GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD AND ISABELA PORT FEE
      The Galapagos park fee (US$100), transit card fee (US$10) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). This amount is in addition to your trip payment.
      Please note the Transit Card fee has recently increased from US$10 to US$20 and will come into place from March 1st 2015.
      When booking, please ensure that your details are correct, and double check them on your documents prior to departure. If your passport does not match your booking details, you may be refused entrance to Galapagos National Park. Please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.
      SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS
      Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.
      DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
      Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Intrepid of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.
      OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
      This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
      MINIMUM AGE:
      The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.
      CHANGES TO ITINERARY:
      This maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without previous notice due to such reasons as weather conditions or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control.
      ALTITUDE SICKNESS
      Please note a very small number of travellers do feel the affects of altitude sickness when they arrive in Quito. Please refer to http://www.intrepidtravel.com/sites/default/files/pdf/trips/Altitude_Sickness_Information.pdf for more information
      DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
      We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
      Group size
      Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
      Your group will be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from our sister company Peregrine Adventures.
      Single travellers
      The Queen Beatriz has 4 cabin types, 3xStandard Twin, 2xDeluxe Twin, 2xDeluxe Double and 1xDouble Suite.
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and if you are willing to share a twin cabin there will be no compulsory single supplement [this also applies to the first and last night in the hotel in Quito]. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in either a Standard Twin or Deluxe Twin cabins. Double cabins are set aside for couples or friends/family who are willing to share a bed.
      If you are a single traveller and wish to have a room to yourself a single supplement is available for this trip.
      Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
      Accommodation
      The Queen Beatriz features large en suite cabins all with air conditioning and ocean views, There are 3 standard twin cabins, 2 deluxe twin cabins, 2 deluxe double cabins (couples only!) and 1 suite (double bed). The deluxe cabins have private balconies and the suite is more spacious and has a small lounge area. All cabins are equipped with a safety deposit box.
      The deck plans below show the layout of the cabins. Cabin numbers are as follows:
      1 - Suite
      2-4 Standard Twin
      5-6 Deluxe Double
      7-8 Deluxe Twin



      We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you. This applies to the included activities and moving around the boat. You will also need to enter and exit a zodiac during wet and dry landings and and while on snorkelling - crew members will be on hand to assist you.
      The cabins and communal areas of the Queen Beatriz are spread over 4 decks.
      From the zodiac to the main deck there are 4 steps
      From the main deck to the first level there are 10 steps
      From the first level to the second there are 10 steps
      From the second level to the sundeck there are 10 steps
      Meals introduction
      All meals are included onboard the Queen Beatriz, this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Tea, coffee and cold water is available at any time during the day [or night].
      Most meals are served buffet style. Here is an example of the typical meals served
      Breakfast
      Toast, spreads, muesli, eggs with fresh fruit and fruit juices
      Lunch
      A mix of hot and cold dishes plus salads or vegetables and fruit salad and juice
      Dinner
      Fresh seafood, chicken or pork, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads and dessert.
      Meals
      9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
      Whilst you are on board the Queen Beatriz all your meals are included and breakfast is included at the Hotel Le Parc [as you have an early departure to the Galapagos on day 2 the hotel prepares a packed breakfast].
      A budget of US$50 should be sufficient to cover you for the meals not included [dinner on the first night and possibly lunch prior to your departure from Quito].
      If you have additional days in Quito pre or post tour our suggestion would be to budget US$15 for each meal.
      USD 50.00
      DIETARY REQUIREMENTS: Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Intrepid of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.
      Transport
      Motorised catamaran
      M.C Queen Beatriz
      The Queen Beatriz is a modern Catamaran. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, as well as a sun deck where you can view the wildlife or just kick back and relax. She has eight well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins and yet, at 30 metres, she is small enough for us to offer an individual level of service. She's just perfect for a more personal look at this great marine reserve.
      Cabins:
      3xStandard twin cabins
      4xDeluxe cabins with balconies – 2 x Twin and 2 x Double
      1xSuite
      All cabins are fully air-conditioned with private facilities
      Specifications:
      Built: 2008
      Re-furbished: Aug 2014
      Length: 30.2 m
      Beam 11.2 m
      Engines: 2
      Speed 12 knots
      Passengers: 16
      Crew: 8 + 1 English speaking naturalist guide
      Group leader
      On our Galapagos trips you will be meet on arrival by our experienced local representatives. They will conduct the group briefing on the evening of day 1 of the trip and also transfer with you to the airport on day 2 for your flight to the Galapagos. On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met your Guide. Our Guides are registered and trained in conservation and natural sciences by the Charles Darwin Foundation and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service. The Guide will be onbaord with you for the duration of the trip and will accompany you on all excurions.
      Our boats are also staffed by highly experienced shipboard staff and crew.
      Joining point
      Hotel Le Parc
      República de El Salvador N34-349 e Irlanda
      Quito
      ECUADOR
      Phone: +593 22276800
      Arrival complications
      All Comfort style Galapagos trips include an arrival transfer from the airport to the hotel. Please advise your flight details at least 30 days prior to departure so that this transfer can be organised. On arrival at the airport please look out for our local customer service representative. If you find you cannot locate our representative please contact our local office 09 94014877.
      If for some reason you are not taking advantage of the complimentary transfer you can book a taxi from the taxi kiosk [near the information desk as you exit customs and immigration]. The cost of a taxi is approx US$25-35.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Hotel Le Parc
      República de El Salvador N34-349 e Irlanda
      Quito
      ECUADOR
      Phone: +593 22276800
      Emergency contact
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Ecuador Operations Office can be reached on:
      Outside Ecuador: +593 9 94014877
      From within Ecuador: 09 94014877
      For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      ECUADOR TOURIST VISA
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Canada: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Not required
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      United States: Not required
      Citizens of the Republic of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, require an appropriate visa to enter Ecuador..
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      Being located on the equator, Ecuador is a year round destination. In Quito temperatures do not fluctuate that much throughout the year with average temperatures around 19°C to 24°C during the day with lows of 9-10°C in the evening. There are two 'seasons', the wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October through to May. The surprisingly thing with Quito is its altitude and proximiity to the equator means that the sun has a little more kick to it so it can feel like it's warmer than it actually is. Even on cooler days, if the sun comes out make sure you use sunscreen.
      The Galapagos weather is pretty reasonable all year round, so it'is never freezing cold but it can get very hot [February-May being the hottest months]. The seasons are not exactly fixed and weather conditions are changeable around the ends of the seasons. Note that the "wet" season is still drier than many places in the world.
      Daily temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C with overnight temperatures dropping to around 10°C. Up in the highlands [which you will cross on your way from Baltra to Puerto Ayora] it is cooler and the garúa mist hangs about as a kind of permanent dampness, and sometimes descends to the coast as well.
      The waters surrounding the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Water temperatures sit around 20°C to 24°C from January through to May and drop to 18°C to 20°C from June through to October. Although you may be required to wear a wetsuit at this time of year the same currents that bring the cooler water temperatures also bring nutrients which means wildlife are very active at this time of year.
      We recommend, regardless of the time of year that you travel, that you pack light and pack clothes that you can layer. At all times of year it is suggested you bring a raincoat or rain poncho. You will also need to bring a good pair of shoes, they can be hiking boots, trainers or sturdy walking shoes.
      A small backpack or drysack is highly recommended to carry your camera, water bottle, sunscreen etc on excursions.
      If you are prone to seasickness you may wish to bring some preventative medication with you.
      There is not a lot of extra space on the boat in the Galapagos, so our general advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Life aboard the yacht is pretty informal, so casual comfortable clothing is best.
      SNORKELLING
      There are many opportunities for snorkelling during your Galapagos voyage. Diving masks, snorkels, fins and some wetsuits are provided onboard the vessel and are for use by all passengers. Some passengers choose to bring their own, however this is a personal choice. Beach towels are also provided.
      An underwater disposable camera is also recommended.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      YELLOW FEVER:
      A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
      It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
      ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
      Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
      Before your trip:
      Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
      During your trip.
      While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
      Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
      http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
      DRINKING WATER:
      As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
      SUNSCREEN
      It's important to always apply sunscreen in Ecuador and particularly when visiting the Galapagos. Beware, the sun is stronger than usual!
      Safety
      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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      AIRPORT TAXIS:
      If you are taking a taxi from the airport by yourself, agree on the price beforehand and tell the driver to bring you straight to your hotel and that you ALREADY have a reservation. Both the tourist information booths at the airport as well as the independent taxi drivers receive commissions to persuade you to go elsewhere by using any type of argument.
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      WATER SAFETY:
      Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
      LIFE JACKETS:
      Intrepid will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our 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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Responsible Travel projects
      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Ecuador include:
      * The Charles Darwin Foundation protects species in the Galapagos that are on the borderline of extinction. Focusing on the island of Floreana, they hope to re-introduce several locally extinct and critically endangered keystone species that are integral to the ongoing balance and sustainability of the marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
      * FUNDAR Galapagos is based in Santa Cruz Island. It works with the Galapagos community, using alternative and responsible approaches to strive for sustainable development.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.