Ecuador on a shoestring Trip Notes

Ecuador on a shoestring

Last Modified: 12 Jan 2016
Ecuador on a shoestring
Trip code: GGRU
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Get an insight into the wonderful South American country of Ecuador on this week-long journey. Discover the culture and charisma of the famed Otavalo Markets, explore the incredible Amazon while guests of a local family, relax in the laidback town of Banos and soak in the charm of Quito, one of South America's most beguiling capitals.
Table of Contents
StyleSpending moneyEmergency contact
ThemesTippingEmergency funds
Is this trip right for you?Important notesVisas
Why we love itGroup sizeIssues on your trip
MapYour fellow travellersWhat to take
ItinerarySingle travellersHealth
We also recommendAccommodationSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionTravel insurance
Culture shock rating MealsResponsible Travel
Physical ratingTransportA couple of rules
Physical preparationGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel projects
Optional activitiesArrival complicationsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeFinish point Feedback
Style
Basix
  • Our Basix style trips are designed for travellers who want exceptional value, plenty of free time and having the flexibility to choose where and how their time and money is spent. By working plenty of free time into the itineraries and keeping many of the activities optional, we aim to make travel possible for those on even the most slender of budgets. After all, why pay for an activity or excursion you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in? Or a level of comfort you don’t require? As a wise person probably once said, a bed's just a bed when there's exploring to be done.
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
-This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
- During your stay at the community lodge in the Amazon Jungle, accommodation is multi-share and quite basic (bed and linen are provided). You’ll possibly be sharing your living quarters with mixed genders and the bathroom facilities are also shared.
- Temperatures in the Amazon can fluctuate. It can get really hot, humid and sticky during the day and cold at night. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle the heat during the day, and base layers are ideal for keeping warm at night.
-Insects, especially mosquitoes, abound in the Amazon. Bring tropical strength insect repellant and wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.
- There will be a moderate hike during the trip, which usually takes between 4-5 hours. Although it’s not too strenuous, the terrain can be unpredictable and good quality hiking boots are recommended. There will also be a couple of stops on your journey for water and food breaks.
- The itinerary isn’t packed full activities so there’s quite a bit of free time in certain places. This is a great chance to take part in optional activities. Please note that any optional activities that you decide to do will be at your own expense.
Why we love it
- Quito's World Heritage-listed Old Town is best explored on foot. Wander through its streets and plazas to discover old churches, colonial architecture and vendors selling local delicacies
- A walk through the Amazon Jungle with an expert guide reveals valuable extraordinary wildlife and insights into the area's importance to the local community
- Staying within a remote rainforest community in the depths of the Amazon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is truly off the beaten track
- Enjoy plenty of free time in the chilled out town of Banos, which is set into the foot of an active volcano. Hike to nearby waterfalls, get active with a range of optional adventure activities or soak up the mineral goodness of the town's thermal springs
- Spend a full day browsing the hand-woven textiles and fresh produce of the colourful Otavalo Markets
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. 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.
After this important meeting, join your leader on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito. Stroll through Plaza Grande (main square) and by the Archbishop's Palace. From here, walk about 800 metres uphill to reach the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Time permitting, you may wish to spend more time exploring this church and its views from the top towers. Finally, walk to La Ronda Street and pass by La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches. At the end of the walk, your leader will recommend a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for an optional group dinner.
Quito is located 2,800 metres above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, 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).
Included Activities
  • Leader led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Basilica del Voto Nacional - USD2
  • Compania de Jesus - USD4
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Equator Monument Entrance fee - USD3
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Ballet Folklorico Ecuatoriano de Jacchigua - USD40
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD35
  • The Equator Line - USD45
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Culinary Experience Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Accommodation
San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 2 Shiripuno Community Stay
Today will be an early start, as the group will be on the move by 7 am. Catch a local bus from Quito Central Station to Tena, which will take around five hours. There’s no toilet on-board, but the bus will stop for one toilet break during the journey. From Tena, travel by private vehicle to Misahualli and then by boat to your lodge for the next two nights - arriving by 1.30 pm. Lunch isn’t included today and, depending on travel times, you may pick up some snacks, have lunch at a local restaurant in Misahualli or hold on for fresh fish at the lodge.
In the afternoon, your local hosts will introduce you to the local community and take you on a walk around the farm. Use this opportunity to try some fresh fruit and, if you’re feeling brave, tree worms. Finish the afternoon making chocolate dessert from scratch. With the help of the host, you’ll roast, grind and conch chocolate beans into your own chocolate sauce.
Notes: Accommodation at the lodge is basic and it consists of a bed and linen. Bathroom facilities are shared and showers are refreshingly cold.
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Day 3 Shiripuno Community Stay
In the morning after breakfast, travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The trek is relatively easy and, depending on the group’s pace, should take around three to four hours. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve with flourishing sections of secondary and primary forest. This is also a great opportunity to spot an array of insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Throughout the walk, you’ll come to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community as your guide provides in-depth knowledge and history.
Included Activities
  • Amazon jungle experience
Accommodation
Community Stay (1 nt)
Day 4 Banos
Breakfast will be served at around 7 am today in the lodge. Afterwards, travel back to Tena the same way you arrived and then catch a local bus to Banos (approximately three hours). You should arrive into the city of Banos around midday, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, perhaps use your free time soaking in the city's natural baths or go for a hike to the powerful falls of Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron).
Optional Activities
  • Baños bike rental per day - USD6
  • Steam Baths - USD8
  • Entrance fee Pailon del Diablo waterfall - USD2
Accommodation
Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similar (1 nt)
Day 5 Banos
Today, you'll have a full day to explore Banos and take advantage of some of the optional activities. Perhaps rise early to watch the sunrise over the mountains near to the hot springs. After breakfast, venture to Nuestra Senora del Agua Santa (Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water) and see the intricate murals that depict numerous stories about the virgin. If you have time, stroll around the local artisan markets to pick up a memento of the city. If your trip falls on the weekend or during the holidays, be prepared for carnival-like festivities that take place all over Banos.
Accommodation
Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similar (1 nt)
Day 6 Quito
Use your last morning in Banos to see anything you think you may have missed. In the afternoon venture back to Quito by local bus, which usually takes around five hours. You should expect to arrive at the hotel around 6 pm, with your evening then free. Freshen up and possibly head out for dinner in the city. Ceviche is the speciality in most seafood restaurants or you could even try the Ecuadorian street food star of roasted guinea pig.
Accommodation
San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 7 Visit to Otavalo / Quito
Early this morning, head north out of Quito by local bus to the famous Otavalo Market (approximately 2-3 hours). This day trip will give you ample amounts of time to peruse Ecuador’s most important Indian markets. Villagers from the surrounding countryside descend on the town once a week to sell everything from handmade goods to livestock, fruit and vegetables. Pick up some souvenirs, practice your bargaining skills (halve the price then work your way up) and take plenty of colourful photos (ask for permission when necessary). Head back to Quito in the late afternoon for one last night in town. Perhaps venture out for a final dinner with the group and share your stories of the trip.
Included Activities
  • Otavalo Market day trip
  • Village Tour Otavalo
Optional Activities
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Culinary Experience Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Accommodation
San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 8 Quito
Your 'Ecuador on a shoestring' adventure finishes this morning. Flights can be booked out of Quito at anytime today, as there are no more activities planned.
  • GGRU - Single Supplement (GGRU)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Best of Ecuador & Peru (GGRQC)
  • Galapagos on a shoestring (GGRX)
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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
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.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
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.
The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN).
Peruvian banks are allowed to reject dollar bills which are old, torn (more than one centimetre) and which have too many stamps on them. Please make sure you don't accept bills in such conditions as you may not be able to use them.
The official currency of Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB).
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.
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
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Ecuador & Galapagos Hotel based trips- Tipping
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's 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 per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD4-5 per passenger per day for Ecuador Land and USD8-USD10 per passenger per day for Galapagos.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD4-5 per passenger per day for Ecuador Land and USD8-USD10 per passenger per day for Galapagos.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.
In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Important notes
WEATHER:
The wet season in this region is from December to March when heavy rains can cause disruptions to ground transport. Intrepid will monitor any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to natural weather occurrences.
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.
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 accommodation (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
San Francisco Hotel or similar (3 nts), Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similar (2 nts), Lodge (2 nts), Community Stay (1 nt)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. Multishare includes triple and quad rooms or even dorm rooms.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Meals
7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
USD 350.00
Transport
Bus, Kayak
Our overnight buses have reclinable seats - usually more comfortable than your average economy plane seats. You may be offered a simple dinner on board or stop at a service station to buy snacks and drinks. Before boarding an overnight bus, it's always a good idea to have music, a book, water, snacks and warm clothing ready.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Hotel San Francisco
Sucre Oe3-17 y Guayaquil
Quito
ECUADOR
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Hotel San Francisco
Sucre Oe3-17 y Guayaquil
Quito
ECUADOR
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 4014877
Intrepid's Peru operations office can be reached on (use these numbers if you're in Peru or Bolivia):
Outside Peru: +51 996 055 559
Within Peru: 996 055 559
Intrepid's local operations team can also be reached:
If you’re in Chile or Argentina, please call +54 9 11 5348 8823
If you’re in Uruguay, Brazil or Colombia, please call +55 21 96940 9208
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. 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 (e.g. 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.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Please note that these multi-climate countries can have very diverse weather. Wet season (approximately November to March) is rainy in the highlands (with average temperatures); dry, hot & humid in the central coast; rainy, hot and humid in the jungle. Dry season (end of April to September) can be freezing in the highlands, cold in the coastal zone and could present some 'cold fronts' in the jungle. It is recommended to bring thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period. Most of our guesthouses don't supply heating. This would be a major financial and environmental strain on these hotels and for their local towns.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing 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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
While trekking, boiled or safe water is available for drinking. However, you should also carry a water purification method. Options include:
- purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur.
- 2% tincture of iodine, available from pharmacies, used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes - longer in very cold weather.
IMAGES FROM HOME:
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
PASSPORT COPY:
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
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.
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
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.
WHO REPORTS:
The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.
SUNSCREEN
It's important to always apply sunscreen in Ecuador and particularly when visiting the Galapagos. Beware, the sun is stronger than usual!
Zika Virus:
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
In line with the above, Intrepid recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.
At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus.
More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/”
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:
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.
MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
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 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:
Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). 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:
* FUNDAR Galapagos, based on Santa Cruz Island, is an organization that works with the Galapagos community, to develop alternative and responsible approaches to local environmental issues. A key initiative is an organic farming program on FUNDAR’s Pajaro Brujo Reserve. Most produce in the Galapagos is imported from the mainland, and this program is creating opportunities for locals to grow organic food, encouraging healthier and more sustainable lifestyles within the community.
Through the Intrepid Foundation we are raising funds in support of FUNDAR’s organic farming program as well as its weekly educational workshops for students on farming, reforestation and leadership skills.
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Peru include:
* Living Heart focuses on improving the education, nutrition and health of disadvantaged Andean women and children near Cusco. Currently they provide free breakfasts, assist local schools with educational supplies and organise visits by doctors and nurses. They are also raising funds to build homes for orphaned children and abused women and children.
* Kusimayo improves the living conditions of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in one of Peru’s poorest regions: the high plains of Puno. They provide daily nutritious breakfasts for a number of pre-schools in the area, as well as educational material, hygiene kits and basic kitchenware.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 99.00 kgs per pax.
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.