Ecuador on a shoestring Trip Notes

Ecuador on a shoestring

Last Modified: 12 Jul 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
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodationVisas
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesWhat to take
Why we love itMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
MapMealsHealth
ItineraryTransportTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersA couple of rules
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesSafetyThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining pointFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Style
Basix
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 - USD55
    • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
    • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
    • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
    • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
      Accommodation
      (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
      (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 dinner
      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
        (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
        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
          (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          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
          (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          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
          (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          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
            • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
            • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
            • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
              Accommodation
              (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              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.
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Itinerary disclaimer
              ITINERARY CHANGES 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. 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.

              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.
              Physical rating

              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
              Leader led walking tour
              Amazon jungle experience
              Otavalo Market day trip
              Village Tour Otavalo
              Important notes
              SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS:
              A single supplement is available on this trip.


              Group size
              Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
              Your fellow travellers
              GROUP TRAVEL
              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
              Hotel (5nt), Lodge (3nt)
              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 lodgings 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 this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.
              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 dinner 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.

              DIET REQUIREMENTS
              Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stools, markets, etc.

              More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.

              Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.

              SIMPLE BREAKFAST
              Some of the included breakfasts along this trip can be quite simple: toasts, spreads, juice and coffee or tea.
              Meals
              7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
              Transport
              Public Bus, Private Vehicle, Taxi, Canoe

              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.
              Money matters
              When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

              Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

              MEALS NOT INCLUDED
              For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out?

              Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.

              Lunch. If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15.

              Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main.

              These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

              EMERGENCY FUNDS
              We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

              CREDIT CARD & ATMS
              Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

              ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout this trip (note though that charges are made for each transaction). 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.

              Traveller cheques have become less accepted and generally quite cumbersome to exchange. The best “Plan B” is to carry USD100 – USD200 in small notes in case of an eventuality (your bank card doesn’t work, you are unable to withdraw funds, etc.)

              In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Nowadays, these departure taxes are added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase.

              Unless mentioned below, no airport departure tax has to be paid during this trip.


              TIPPING:
              Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

              Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine.
              On our Ecuador mainland trips your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go.

              TIPPING GUIDE

              To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.

              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.
              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.
              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:

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

              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.
              Joining point
              Hotel San Francisco
              Sucre Oe3-17 y Guayaquil
              Quito
              ECUADOR
              Finish point
              Hotel San Francisco
              Sucre Oe3-17 y Guayaquil
              Quito
              ECUADOR
              Emergency contact
              For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

              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.

              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 general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

              Intrepid Ecuador office:: +593 9 94014877
              Visas
              As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking.
              Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.


              Passport:
              As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
              Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

              Visas:
              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

              Also remember to check whether a transit visa is required on route to join this trip or on the way home.
              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. 

              Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although a small suitcase with wheels is ok too. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even short walking distances (max 30 minutes).

              In terms of weight, keep in mind that if you are flying domestically (either on this itinerary or during your personal time) airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage.

              Finally, you'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc. for day trips.

              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


              ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST

              Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document
              Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
              Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
              Money belt and small padlocks
              Personal medication
              Daypack
              Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
              Torch/flashlight (your phone’s may suffice)
              Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
              Toiletries/travel wipes
              Insect repellent
              Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
              Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)
              Refillable water bottle
              Phrase book
              Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates
              Wind and waterproof rain jacket
              Travel Towel
              Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
              Camera with spare memory card and charger/batteries
              Swimwear (dependent on itinerary)
              Emergency fund as mentioned in the Money Matters section
              Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities are widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies between USD1 to USD3 (approx.) per kilo and it can normally be dropped off and picked the same day.

              SLEEPING BAGS
              It’s not essential that you bring a sleeping bag for any of our trips however on some itineraries we will recommend either bringing one from home or hiring one on the ground. If this is the case it will be mentioned in the ‘region specific’ packing list.


              AMAZON SPECIFIC PACKING LIST

              In addition to the general packing list above, please ensure you bring these items if visiting the Amazon Jungle.

              Good binoculars
              Tight-weave, light coloured, long cotton pants
              Long sleeved, tight-weave, light coloured cotton shirts
              Ankle-high hiking boots and or comfortable walking shoes
              Sandals for walking on boardwalks or around the lodge
              Broad-brimmed hat
              Rain Jacket or poncho
              Tropical strength Insect repellent
              Small denomination bills for beverages
              Small day pack to for day excursions

              Luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 15 kilos (32 pounds per piece).

              Please note you will go to the lodge’s office prior to transferring to the jungle lodge. At the office you will be given a duffle bag to pack the things you need for the next few days in the jungle. All remaining items can be securely stored at the office
              Climate and seasonal information
              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.
              Health
              All Geckos 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, Geckos Adventures 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.

              WHO – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
              The World Health Organization has identified the following mosquito transmitted diseases in this region:

              Dengue, Yellow Fever, Malaria and Zika (amongst others)

              For more information, please visit www.who.int


              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, we recommend 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/


              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
              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.

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
              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.
              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.

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

              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.

              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:

              http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

              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.

              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.

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback