Complete Galapagos - Itinerary A Trip Notes

Complete Galapagos - Itinerary A

Last Modified: 21 Oct 2013
Complete Galapagos - Itinerary A
Trip code: GLSA
Validity: 07 Feb 2013 to 01 Oct 2013
Steeped in natural history and teeming with wildlife, the Galapagos Islands serve as the ideal destination for both exploration and relaxation. Climb aboard a comfortable, modern boat and sail smoothly around the blissful waters of the Galapagos, leaving no stone unturned. With land iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs scuttling across the volcanic-affected landscape, and giant tortoises, manta rays, sea lions and tropical fish swimming in the surrounding blissful waters - and a multitude of brightly coloured bird life in the skies - there’s a thrill around every corner. Experience the Complete Galapagos on this ultimate adventure around these vibrant and rugged South American isles.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Geckos Adventures. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency funds
ThemesImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationSafety
Culture shock rating MealsTravel insurance
Physical ratingTransportResponsible Travel
Physical preparationGroup leaderA couple of rules
Included activitiesAlternate Joining point The Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyAlternate Finish point Feedback
TippingEmergency contact
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Sailing, Wildlife
Map
Complete Galapagos - Itinerary A
Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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.
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 acclimatising 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
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Baltra/Isla Santa Cruz
This morning we transfer to Quito Airport for our early morning flight to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. A US$10 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 at Baltra Airport. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as using credit cards can be time consuming.
On arrival at Baltra Airport we are met in the arrivals hall and then transfer to our boat, the M.Y. Pelikano, anchored a short distance away. Once on board you'll be assigned your cabin, before we set sail. Our stop this afternoon is the beautiful beach of Las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island. This beach is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles. Marine iguanas can be found ashore whilst pink flamingos are commonly seen in the lagoon. Remnants of a floating pier can still be sighted, and it is a testimony to the US presence in the Galapagos during World War II.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 3 Genovesa
The archipelago's north east outpost, it takes an overnight sail to reach Genovesa, but it is undeniably worth the voyage. Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while the island itself is one of abundant beauty, with varying landscapes and wonderful wildlife. It is also a twitcher's paradise, with all three kinds of bookies, including the rare red-footed booby, and numerous other species such as tropic birds and frigate birds. Walking the steep path known as Prince Philip's Steps get us into the heart of the seabird rookeries, with birds overhead and nesting among the cliffs. On the island's rocky plains we look out for storm petrels - Genovesa is the only place in the world where they can be seen on the wing during the day.
Elsewhere, Darwin Bay is another superb site with large breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates, while the island's magnificent marine life makes for spectacular snorkelling and the chance of encountering manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels along with many fish.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 4 Isla Santiago/Isla Santa Cruz
On Santiago's eastern coast sits Bahia Sullivan, which we visit this morning. We walk across a 100-year-old lava flow, a black carpet of intricate markings and patterns, where iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs crawl. As we walk, our guide will inform us of the geological history of the islands.
This afternoon we sail to Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), on Santa Cruz's north coast. From our dry landing we walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoon birds including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation makes for a rewarding location for birdwatching, with Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers all regulars here.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 5 Isla Santa Cruz
Today we visit Santa Cruz itself, 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 visitors their best chance for close-up encounters with giant tortoises, and you can see many newborn and young giant turtles - part of the breeding program to reintroduce them to their natural habitat.
Afterwards we take a bus to the Santa Cruz highlands, where the lush humidity makes it seem worlds away from the island’s arid coastal regions. The interior of the Santa Cruz contains inactive volcanic cones, the rich soil home to many crops, miconia bushes and scalesia, a species that has been called ‘the Darwin’s finches of the plant world’. We visit the largest lava tunnels in the Galapagos and observe great local bird life, including the vermilion flycatcher, Galapagos rail, Galapagos dove and paint-billed cake. The highlands are also the natural habitat of the Galapagos tortoise and there's a good chance we may see them here.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 6 Isla Isabela
Today we land at the archipelago's largest island, Isabela. The island is located in one of the youngest geological areas in the world, having been formed less than a million years ago. We spend the morning at Punta Moreno on the south west coast. This coastline has some of the most beautiful blue lagoons and rocky terrain in the Galapagos, with a backdrop of 3 active volcanoes, flamingos, and incredible lava formations. In the afternoon we visit the jagged rocky islets of Elizabeth Bay with their abundance of life on land and underwater. The sheltered passages and coves are fringed with mangrove forests and rays and turtles can often be seen, as well as sea lions resting on fallen trees. Elsewhere trails through the sharp lava terrain get you among penguins and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Elizabeth Bay is also the best place in the Galapagos for seeing shearwaters.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 7 Isla Fernandina
This morning we visit nearby Fernandina Island, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. The northeast tip, Punta Espinosa, is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano. Here we walk on the lava and can see lava cacti. It is also a great place for encounters with marine iguanas and flightless cormorants, drying their atrophies wings among the stark volcanic landscape.
Returning to the main island of Isabela we explore Bahia Urbina, located at the foot of the Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. This is a great place to spot colourful land iguanas and giant tortoises.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 8 Isla Santiago
Today we visit some great sites on and around Santiago Island. We start at Puerto Egas, a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay. South of the beach is Sugarloaf Volcano, which has deposits of volcanic tuff. The walk along the beach provides many opportunities for encounters with the locals - hundreds of marine iguanas, fur seals and sea lions. We can also see amazing tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow and home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish.
Our next stop, Espumilla Beach, is a well-known beauty spot. Located on Santiago Island's northern coast, in James Bay, this idyllic beach is an important nesting site for sea turtles. Nearby are fine lava formations, and the beach is backed by mangroves through which a short trail leads to a lake where flamingos, pintail ducks and stilts can be seen. Turtle nests are often found under the mangrove trees in the sand.
Our third site for the day is Caleta Bucanero (Buccaneer Cove); a natural monument of rocks caused by sea erosion, and a place of local legends and stories, where pirates used to careen their ships, and where later Darwin camped for a few days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife.
Accommodation
Motorised yacht (1 nt)
Day 9 Isla Daphne/Baltra/Quito
This morning we visit Daphne Island, where we have the opportunity to do some bird spotting - masked boobies, finches and even the beautiful frigate birds with their vibrant red pouches. We then cruise back to Baltra where we say goodbye to the amazing Galapagos Islands and take our return flight to Quito. Upon arrival back at Quito Airport we will transfer back to our hotel for an overnight stay.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 10 Quito
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Complete Galapagos - Itinerary A - Single Supplement (GLSA)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    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 recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
    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.
    Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.
    Snorkelling equipment is available on board the boat at no extra cost. Wetsuits can be hired for an additional fee if required.
    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 US$100 per day.
    It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
    VERY IMPORTANT:
    US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
    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.
    Tipping
    BOAT CREW:
    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 crew and US$7-10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.
    Departure tax
    Please allow US$44.30 for international airport departure tax in Quito.
    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 (USD20) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). This amount is in addition to your trip payment.
    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.
    MINIMUM AGE:
    The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
    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.
    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.
    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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). 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
    Motorised yacht (7 nts), Hotel (2 nts)
    The M.Y Pelikano is air-conditioned with 8 twin share cabins, all with bunk berths and private facilities. Single supplements are available on request should you require a cabin to yourself; however, be warned, they are expensive.
    Please see the deck plan images below for a layout of the boat.


    Meals
    No meals included
    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
    Boat, Plane
    M.Y. PELIKANO: The M.Y. Pelikano was built in 1986 and refurbished in 2012. It can accommodate up to 16 passengers on board, and carries 7 crew plus an English-speaking naturalist guide. The boat's layout is a two-level wraparound deck with a comfortable seating area, bar and indoor dining room. Electricity on board is 110/220 AC.
    Group leader
    For our Galapagos trips we have a highly experienced shipboard staff and crew. Our guides are registered and trained in conservation and natural sciences by the Charles Darwin Foundation and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service.
    Alternate Joining point
    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
    02 Nov 2013 (GLSA131102), 16 Nov 2013 (GLSA131116), 30 Nov 2013 (GLSA131130), 14 Dec 2013 (GLSA131214), 28 Dec 2013 (GLSA131228), 08 Feb 2014 (GLSA140208), 22 Feb 2014 (GLSA140222), 08 Mar 2014 (GLSA140308), 22 Mar 2014 (GLSA140322), 05 Apr 2014 (GLSA140405), 19 Apr 2014 (GLSA140419), 03 May 2014 (GLSA140503), 17 May 2014 (GLSA140517), 31 May 2014 (GLSA140531), 14 Jun 2014 (GLSA140614), 28 Jun 2014 (GLSA140628), 12 Jul 2014 (GLSA140712), 26 Jul 2014 (GLSA140726), 09 Aug 2014 (GLSA140809), 23 Aug 2014 (GLSA140823), 06 Sep 2014 (GLSA140906), 20 Sep 2014 (GLSA140920), 04 Oct 2014 (GLSA141004), 18 Oct 2014 (GLSA141018), 01 Nov 2014 (GLSA141101), 15 Nov 2014 (GLSA141115), 29 Nov 2014 (GLSA141129), 13 Dec 2014 (GLSA141213), 27 Dec 2014 (GLSA141227)
    Hotel San Francisco de Quito
    Sucre oe3-17 y Guayaquil
    Quito
    ECUADOR
    Phone: +593 22951241
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) 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 in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    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.
    Alternate Finish point
    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
    02 Nov 2013 (GLSA131102), 16 Nov 2013 (GLSA131116), 30 Nov 2013 (GLSA131130), 14 Dec 2013 (GLSA131214), 28 Dec 2013 (GLSA131228), 08 Feb 2014 (GLSA140208), 22 Feb 2014 (GLSA140222), 08 Mar 2014 (GLSA140308), 22 Mar 2014 (GLSA140322), 05 Apr 2014 (GLSA140405), 19 Apr 2014 (GLSA140419), 03 May 2014 (GLSA140503), 17 May 2014 (GLSA140517), 31 May 2014 (GLSA140531), 14 Jun 2014 (GLSA140614), 28 Jun 2014 (GLSA140628), 12 Jul 2014 (GLSA140712), 26 Jul 2014 (GLSA140726), 09 Aug 2014 (GLSA140809), 23 Aug 2014 (GLSA140823), 06 Sep 2014 (GLSA140906), 20 Sep 2014 (GLSA140920), 04 Oct 2014 (GLSA141004), 18 Oct 2014 (GLSA141018), 01 Nov 2014 (GLSA141101), 15 Nov 2014 (GLSA141115), 29 Nov 2014 (GLSA141129), 13 Dec 2014 (GLSA141213), 27 Dec 2014 (GLSA141227)
    Hotel San Francisco de Quito
    Sucre oe3-17 y Guayaquil
    Quito
    ECUADOR
    Phone: +593 22951241
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, our partner for this trip, Peregrine Adventures, can be reached on Tel: +61 417 808 800. The local Ecuador operations office can be reached on +593 9 4014877 (from outside Ecuador) or 09 4014877 (from within Ecuador). For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest 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
    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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    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.
    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.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. 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.
    WET SUIT HIRE
    It is possible to hire a wet suit locally for USD5.00 per day.
    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
    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. 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 group 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 group 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:
    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.
    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    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 group 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.
    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 group 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.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.