Galapagos Encounter - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz) Trip Notes

Galapagos Encounter - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

Last Modified: 01 Jul 2016
Galapagos Encounter - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)
Trip code: GLKJ
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 12 Jan 2017
Encounter the Galapagos on a sailing voyage that takes in the very best of the southern islands. Rub shoulders with the local wildlife as sea lions, iguanas, giant tortoises and exotic birds of all shapes and sizes go about their daily business all over this wild slice of paradise. Go snorkelling in the presence of mighty manta rays and lively turtles, and see tropical fish fill the surrounding water with fluorescent colour. Experience firsthand the natural, rugged landscapes of the Galapagos, and see what Charles Darwin saw when he arrived on the isles more than 180 years ago and began formulating his theory of evolution. Prepare to get fully acquainted with the natural wonder of these far-flung islands on this breathtaking Galapagos Encounter.
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
MapMealsCommunications
ItineraryTransportHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Included activitiesSafetyResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Style
Comfort
Themes
Sailing, Wildlife
Is this trip right for you?
- Although we don't ask travellers to complete a Physical Participation Form for this trip, we do ask that you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is right for you. You’ll need to feel comfortable with the included activities and with moving about the boat. The cabins and communal areas of the boat are spread over four decks, and the steps between the decks are steep.
- You will be entering and exiting a Zodiac boat (panga) during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling. Although the waters we sail are usually calm, there are times when the sea can get rough and choppy. Steady sea legs (and a sturdy stomach) are needed when walking around the boat during bad weather. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.
- A typical yacht/boat for sixteen travellers is equipped with eight cabins each with ensuites. They are designed to maximise living area space, so sleeping quarters can be a bit cramped. That being said, the adventure and exhilaration of an authentic Galapagos trip more than makes up for any discomfort.
- While at sea and when exploring the islands, you may be exposed to the sun for large parts of the day. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water.
- Please note that while there is an itinerary in place, some changes may occur due to the weather or because of direction from the local authorities. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for potential modifications to the route or activities. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fun, relaxing trip through this beautiful part of the world no matter what happens.
- All of our Galapagos tours begin and end in Quito which is located approximately 2850 metres above sea level so you may experience some altitude sickness.
Why we love it
- As you board your vessel, M.C Queen Beatriz, and follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, you will encounter nature at its finest.
- Explore the islands from on deck, on foot and in the water, no doubt with your eyes open for your next unique sight.
- You'll encounter giant Galapagos tortoises, blue-footed and masked boobies, pelicans and frigate birds, as well as land and marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals and perhaps dolphins, whales and sea turtles.
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure.

A welcome meeting will be held in the evening at either 5pm or 6 pm when you meet others travelling with you on your cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Please check with hotel reception or check the reception notice boards for the time and place of the meeting for your trip. As today is an arrival day, you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting.

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).

Quito sits at high altitude under the towering Pichincha volcano. It is a beautiful city, arguably one of the most beautiful in South America. The city stretches along the valley and is surrounded by the Andes. The Old Town of Quito is awash with history, with more than 30 churches to explore, and a number of fascinating museums. La Compania de Jesus is considered to be the most beautiful and ornate churches in the Americas. The city's oldest street, Calle La Ronda, is well worth exploring.

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. You may even wish to explore further beyond the city and visit Otavalo, Cotopaxi, the Cloud Forest or the Equatorial Monument.
Accommodation
Hotel Le Parc, Quito (1 nt)
Special Information
Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity. Please see the "Medical & Health Information" section for more details.
Day 2 Baltra - Punta Carrión
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Please note the pick-up time will usually be as early as 4:30 am (a boxed breakfast will be provided), as the airport is a one-hour drive away and you must allow for delays and check-in times. (Your tour leader will confirm this time with you at the Welcome Meeting on Day 1).

A US$20 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival on the islands. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as credit cards are not accepted.

The flight to the Galapagos will make one stop in Guayaquil to pick up other passengers. (Total flight time is about 3.5 hours).

On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met in the arrivals hall and then transferred to your catamaran, M.C. Queen Beatriz, anchored a short distance away in Baltra Island. Once on board you’ll be assigned your cabins, meet the crew members and have a welcome briefing and safety drill before getting to know your naturalist guide and fellow travellers over a delicious lunch.

Your first stop in the afternoon will be Punta Carrión, located on the eastern side of the Itabaca channel that separates the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. This is a shallow and protected cove, ideal for your first snorkel and swim in the Galapagos! From a boat ride, wildlife is plentiful - keep your eyes peeled for occasional sights of blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons, great blue herons and underwater swim among rays and white-tipped reef sharks.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail and crew presentation on board.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Baltra to Punta Carrion: 1.5 hours (10 nautical miles)
Punta Carrion to Isabela Island (Puerto Villamil): 9 hours (64 nautical miles)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Punta Carrion - Snorkelling (1 hour)
    Accommodation
    MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
    Special Information
    Today is predominately a long travel day with an early morning start. Your first activity on the islands will not commence until after lunch.
    Day 3 Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
    Today you will wake up on the south Coast of Isla Isabela (Isabela Island), the largest of the Galapagos Archipelago. Isabela was formed by five giant volcanic craters, all of which are still considered active. The island is located in one of the youngest geological areas in the world, having been formed less than 1 million years ago.

    Please note that there's a US$5 fee to be paid upon landing on Isabela Island.

    This southern coast of turquoise blue waters has the largest area of beaches in the Galapagos. You will visit Las Tintoreras, where from the viewing walkway you can look down into this narrow channel to see a colony of white-tipped reef sharks swimming and sleeping, and the occasional playful sea lion among them!

    Blue-footed boobies and penguins, marine iguanas and crabs also make their home here.

    Enjoy a nice long walk on a gravel path through ‘Ahh-ahh’ lava flow and see plenty of marine iguanas. The natives of the islands call white sharks 'tintoreras', hence the name of this spectacular site.

    In the afternoon we visit the Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise breeding center. We have a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon, where you might see Flamingos. This mangrove-lined path leads to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center (Arnoldo Tupiza) where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. Here you can see the five sub species of tortoises from Isabela Island, some of which are bred in captivity.

    You will then have the choice for optional swimming at the beach or out for some shopping in Puerto Villamil.

    Estimated travel time/distance:
    Isabela Island (Puerto Villamil) to Post Office Bay: 6 hours (40 nautical miles)
    Included Activities
    • Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras visit (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
    • Isla Isabela - Concha y Perla beach visit or snorkelling (1.5 hours)
    • Isla Isabela - Arnolda Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center including Flamingo Lagoon (2 hours) - Dry Landing
      Optional Activities
      • Isla Isabela - Beach visit or freetime in town (1 hour) - Free
        Accommodation
        MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
        Day 4 Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Devil's Crown - Punta Cormorant
        The island of Floreana is a highlight of any Galapagos cruise, rich in natural wonders and wildlife. Enjoy a panga ride around the loberia to observe marine iguanas, sea lions and crabs before taking a leisurely walk to Post Office Bay, where 18th century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop. This custom continues to this day with visitors to the Galapagos – post one of your own, or see if there are any you could deliver back home! You will also have the chance to go snorkelling with sea turtles.

        Today is also one of your finest opportunities to see pink flamingos and other water birds wading in the lagoons, including pintails and stilts. Just offshore, the Devil’s Crown is an old eroded volcanic cone and a popular roosting site for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates. Red-billed tropicbirds can also be seen nesting in the rocky crevices.
        The centre of the cone is an outstanding snorkelling spot, perhaps the most remarkable in the entire archipelago, full of sea lions and colourful fish.

        You will go ashore at Punta Cormorant where the sand is made up of fine olivine crystals, a glassy volcanic mineral, giving the beach an olive-green colour. It is the best place to see Galapagos sea lions.

        Estimated travel time/distance:
        Post Office Bay to Punta Cormorant: 0.5 hours (3 nautical miles)
        Punta Cormorant to Puerto Ayora: 4 hours (32 nautical miles)
        Included Activities
        • Isla Floreana - Loberia Panga Ride (30 mins)
        • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
        • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay snorkelling (45 mins)
        • Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
        • Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
          Accommodation
          MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
          Day 5 Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Station
          As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid morning, it is an early start for our last morning on the islands. Depending on the time of our flight, our time spent on this final excursion could be limited.

          Our final excursion will be a visit to the Santa Cruz Highlands. We travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where we can see the Unique Scalesia cloud forest, get up close to the dome shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world famous woodpecker and warbler finches as well as vermillion flycatchers.

          This is your final excursion before you return to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to Quito. As you will be leaving the boat this morning, please remember that 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$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.

          Upon arrival in Quito Airport you will be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay.
          Included Activities
          • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
            Accommodation
            Hotel Le Parc, Quito (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast
            Special Information
            ITINERARY AMENDMENT:
            This tour was originally advertised as visiting Charles Darwin Station on the morning of day 5. However, due to ongoing maintenance and changed opening hours, until further notice, the Charles Darwin Research Station will be closed from 6.30 am till 8.30am and therefore we will not be able to visit it in the mornings. So we will now visit the Santa Cruz Highlands.

            Today is predominately a long travel day with an early morning start. There will be a short morning activity before our mid-morning flight back to the mainland. The flight back to Quito is not due to arrive until late afternoon getting back to the hotel in time for an optional final group dinner.
            Day 6 Quito
            Your Galapagos adventure will come to an end today after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day so you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito, so please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.
            Meals
            1 breakfast
            Special Information
            All travel times/distances and activity durations are approximate only and subject to change.
            Itinerary disclaimer
            The maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without notice due inclement weather or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control. Any changes to the itinerary will be undertaken with your safety and comfort in mind. There may be some early starts to the day for the scheduled activities to be conducted as per the itinerary due to specific visiting hours for some sites.

            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 this Essential Trip Information 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.

            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

            Galapagos Voyage

            No particular level of physical fitness is required for our Galapagos voyages, although you should be reasonably agile and enjoying good health. We do ask that you read through the trip notes to ensure that this trip is right for you. Please keep in mind that there are a number of shore excursions on your cruise. This involves boarding a small dingy or zodiac from the rear transom of the cruise boat. Disembarkation at some locations will be at steps or a small pier (dry landing), whilst at other locations you may be required to disembark on the beach (wet landing). This can involve having to wade ashore a short distance through shallow water. A degree of agility will be required for this. Once you are on shore you will undertake several walks, some across volcanic rock. For this a reasonable level of fitness is beneficial, as is a pair of good walking shoes or boots.  You are more than welcome to opt out of activities or talk to your guide about tailoring a less physical option for you.

            The cabins and the communal areas of the Queen Beatriz are spread over 4 decks:

            From the zodiac to the main deck there are 4 steps
            From the main deck to the first level there are 10 steps
            From the first level to the second there are 10 steps
            From the second level to the sundeck there are 10 steps

            Snorkelling

            There are many opportunities to go snorkelling on our voyages. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this activity.  Depending on the weather conditions and park regulations, you could be snorkelling twice a day.  If you take part in the snorkelling, you will not miss out on any land activities. For those not wanting to snorkel, there will be time to relax on the boat.

            Altitude

            Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity.
            Included activities
            Isla Santa Cruz - Punta Carrion - Snorkelling (1 hour)
            Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras visit (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
            Isla Isabela - Concha y Perla beach visit or snorkelling (1.5 hours)
            Isla Isabela - Arnolda Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center including Flamingo Lagoon (2 hours) - Dry Landing
            Isla Floreana - Loberia Panga Ride (30 mins)
            Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
            Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay snorkelling (45 mins)
            Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
            Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
            Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
            Important notes
            GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA ISLANDS PORT FEES:
            Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park. If your voyage visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$5 fee to be paid on arrival at the island.

            PASSPORT DETAILS:
            When booking, 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.

            DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
            Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform us or your agent 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.

            MINIMUM AGE:
            The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.

            SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS:
            Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.

            ELECTRICITY, WI-FI & PHONE COVERAGE IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS:
            Electricity in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is 110 - 120V and requires US plugs so you may need to take an adapter.
            Wi-Fi is not available on the boat at all whilst in the Galapagos Islands. There is limited access on the bigger islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela and there may also be internet cafes for you to use if there is time.
            Like Wi-Fi, mobile phone coverage is pretty non-existent whilst travelling around the islands. Again, you may find that you have limited service when you are closer to the bigger islands.
            There is a satellite phone on board, for the use of shipboard staff, in case of emergency.

            DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
            We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to our internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

            Group size
            Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
            Your fellow travellers
            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.

            YOUR FELLOW TRAVELLERS:
            Your group will be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from our sister company Peregrine Adventures.

            Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and if you are willing to share a twin cabin there will be no compulsory single supplement [this also applies to the first and last night in the hotel in Quito]. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in either a Standard Twin or Deluxe Twin cabins. Double cabins are set aside for couples or friends/family who are willing to share a bed.
            If you are a single traveller and wish to have a room to yourself a single supplement is available for this trip.
            Accommodation
            Hotel (2 nights), Overnight boat (3 nights)
            The Queen Beatriz features large en suite cabins all with individual air conditioning and ocean views, There are 3 standard twin cabins, 2 deluxe twin cabins, 2 deluxe double cabins (couples only!) and 1 suite (double bed). The deluxe cabins have private balconies and the suite is more spacious and has a small lounge area. All cabins are equipped with a safety deposit box, hair dryers and toiletries.
            Meals introduction
            Whilst you are on board the Queen Beatriz all your meals are included and breakfast is included at the Hotel Le Parc (as you have an early departure to the Galapagos on day 2 the hotel prepares a packed breakfast).

            All meals are included onboard the Queen Beatriz, this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Tea, coffee and cold water is available at any time during the day [or night]. Most meals are served buffet style. Here is an example of the typical meals served:

            Breakfast
            Toast, spreads, muesli, eggs with fresh fruit and fruit juices

            Lunch
            A mix of hot and cold dishes plus salads or vegetables and fruit salad and juice

            Dinner
            Fresh seafood, chicken or pork, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads and dessert.

            If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies please notify us at the time of booking so we can determine the extent to which your dietary requirements can be met. We will endeavour to accommodate all requests but please note that we have limited refrigeration and storage space on board the Galapagos boats and there is very limited (if any) access to shops or supermarkets.

            Vegans, coeliacs or those with specific meal requirements might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars. Please note that the Galapagos does have strict quarantine laws when it comes to bringing in goods from the mainland.
            Meals
            5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
            Transport
            Minibus, Boat, Plane, Zodiac

            The Queen Beatriz is a modern Catamaran. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, a jacuzzi as well as a sun deck where you can view the wildlife or just kick back and relax. She has eight well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins and yet, at 30 metres, she is small enough for us to offer an individual level of service. She's just perfect for a more personal look at this great marine reserve.
            Cabins:
            3xStandard twin cabins
            4xDeluxe cabins with balconies – 2 x Twin and 2 x Double
            1xSuite
            All cabins are fully air-conditioned with private facilities
            Specifications:
            Built: 2008
            Re-furbished: Aug 2014
            Length: 30.2 m
            Beam: 11.2 m
            Engines: 2
            Speed: 12 knots
            Passengers: 16
            Crew: 8 + 1 English speaking naturalist guide

            Zodiacs (locally known as pangas) are modest-sized, open, outboard-powered boats which are very common throughout Galapagos. The boats are used to get you to and from the Queen Bea when you do activities. Depending on the type of activity, this could either be a wet or dry landing. The boat crew are there to assist you getting into and out of the zodiac.
            Money matters
            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.

            Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some  travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than others, others prefer to visit more optional sites. Remember that alcoholic beverages are expensive compared to other foods locally. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities.

            We recommend you carry at least US$100 to allow for additional meals and snacks. There is a bar on board where the settlement of the bill is by US$ cash only. The Queen Beatriz does not have credit card facilities.

            Please make additional allowance for bar expenses, however you will find the drinks to be moderately priced.

            All prices are quoted in US$.

            Cocktails: $6 - $8
            Wine*: $35 - $60
            Spirits: $8 - $ 16
            Beers: $3 - $5
            Softdrink: $1 - $3

            *Red, white and sparkling wines are available by the bottle.
            Please note that a 10% service charge from the boat and a 14% government tax will be added to the total of your bar bill.

            It is not permitted to bring your own alcohol on board the boat.

            During stops in Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela Islands, you will have the opportunity to visit souvenir shops and internet cafes.

            NATIONAL PARK AND TRANSIT CARD FEES
            Before you check-in for your flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands you will need to purchase a US$20 transit card [which you will need to hold on to as you will need to present it on your return from the Galapagos].
            On arrival in the islands you will purchase the Galapagos National Park entry fee, US$100.

            If your tour visits Isabela Island, you will also be required to pay a US$5 port fee.
            Please make sure you  have clean, unmarked notes to pay these fees.

            ATM's are available in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal however there are no ATM's in Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela.
            Credit cards are accepted in some shops and stores in Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo and Puerto Villamil.
            For boat trips only:
            On board the Galapagos voyage, alcoholic [beer and wine] and soft drinks are available to purchase in cash and if you wish to tip the crew this will also be paid in cash.

            TIPPING:
            If you are happy with the services received, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate.  While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Peregrine destinations.

            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$10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.

            Restaurants:
            Please check the bill and if there's an addition of 10% service charge, there's no requirement for tipping.  Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.

            Markets & local shops:
            At local markets, shops & basic restaurants, leave loose change.

            Hotel porters/local drivers:
            We suggest US$1 - US$2

            Please use the amounts listed above as a guide. Tipping is entirely a personal preference; of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.

            There are no international departure taxes to be paid at Quito airport.

            WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
            Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
            Passport and visa expenses.
            Government arrival and departure taxes.
            Galapagos National Park fee and Galapagos transit card.
            Isabela island port fee (if applicable).
            Optional activities
            Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
            Excess baggage charges.
            Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.
            Telecommunications charges.
            The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.

            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.

            OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
            The optional activities noted are subject to availability. The prices are a guide only and subject to change.
            Group leader
            On our Galapagos trips you will be meet on arrival by our experienced local representatives. They will conduct the group briefing on the evening of day 1 of the trip and also transfer with you to the airport on day 2 for your flight to the Galapagos. On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met your Guide. Our Guides are registered and trained in conservation and natural sciences by the Charles Darwin Foundation and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service. The Guide will be on board with you for the duration of the trip and will accompany you on all excursions. Our boats are also staffed by highly experienced shipboard staff and crew.
            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.
            In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with 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 our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
            Petty theft & 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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
            Water Safety:
            Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
            Life Jackets:
            Intrepid will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.
            Diving in the Galapagos:
            We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
            Joining point
            Hotel Le Parc
            República de El Salvador N34-349 e Irlanda
            Quito
            ECUADOR
            Phone: +593 22276800
            Finish point
            Hotel Le Parc
            República de El Salvador N34-349 e Irlanda
            Quito
            ECUADOR
            Phone: +593 22276800
            Emergency contact
            In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Ecuador Operations Office can be reached on:

            Outside Ecuador: +593 9 94014877
            From within Ecuador: 09 94014877

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

            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.

            PEAK Ecuador: +593 9 94014877
            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.

            Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Canadians and British do not currently require a visa for Ecuador. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.

            Visa requirements for Galapagos Islands are the same as Ecuador.
            What to take
            The cabins on the Queen Bea are quite spacious and come equipped with wardrobes. If you are visiting the Galapagos at the end of a longer South America holiday and have a number of larger bags with you, you can store them in our hotel in Quito, the Le Parc Hotel. The hotel offers a luggage storage service. If you choose to leave your bags at the hotel we recommend that you bring a small backpack/daypack with you so you can transfer the clothes you wish to take with you into this back. We also highly recommend that you don’t leave any valuables [money, credit cards, electronic goods such as lap tops etc].

            Below is a suggest packing list. The weather in the Galapagos is quite temperate all year round. In most cases you will be in water snorkelling or swimming for a portion of the day with the other time taken up with an island visit/walk or time to relax on the boat as you travel between islands.

            Daypack [a smaller back pack that you can take with you on island excursions]
            Comfortable clothing for warmer temperatures [shorts, t-shirts, light long sleeved tops and pants]
            A fleece or warmer jumper for the evenings or early mornings
            A light rain coat or poncho
            Comfortable shoes [trainers or walking shoes are sufficient for most trips]*
            Sandals or thongs/flip flops/jandals
            Sunscreen [bio degradable and waterproof if available] and lip balm [to combat the effects of wind burn]
            Sunglasses
            Sunhat [that can be secured as it can get windy out on the water]
            Swimming costume
            Water bottle [filtered water is available on board the boat]
            Bio-degradable shampoo, conditioner and soap
            Dry bag
            Pegs [so you can hang your swimming costume or towel out to dry]
            Insect repellent [for island visits]
            US adaptor/electrical plug
            For keen birdwatchers, Binoculars
            Camera [underwater if you have one]
            Earplugs

            Please ensure you travel with all required medicines, pain killers and toiletries that you may need while in the Galapagos. If you are prone to motion sickness, you might want to pack some preventative medication. You are travelling to quite a remote destination and even though there are a number of settlements throughout the islands there are times we it could take a day to reach these towns and even then they may not stock your required medication.

            Please ensure you also bring your passport with you as it is an entry requirement for the Galapagos to present your passport on arrival in Galapagos and returning to the mainland [photocopies of your passport are not permitted].

            *a number of trips include a volcano walk and some travellers may feel more comfortable in hiking shoes or boots.

            SNORKELLING
            There are many opportunities for snorkelling during your Galapagos voyage. Diving masks, snorkels, fins and some wetsuits are provided onboard the vessel and are for use by all passengers. Some passengers choose to bring their own, however this is a personal choice. Beach towels are also provided.


            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.

            Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

            http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf
            Climate and seasonal information
            Being located on the equator, Ecuador is a year round destination. In Quito temperatures do not fluctuate that much throughout the year with average temperatures around 19°C to 24°C during the day with lows of 9-10°C in the evening. There are two 'seasons', the wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October through to May. The surprisingly thing with Quito is its altitude and proximity to the equator means that the sun has a little more kick to it so it can feel like it's warmer than it actually is. Even on cooler days, if the sun comes out make sure you use sunscreen.
            The Galapagos weather is pretty reasonable all year round, so it is never freezing cold but it can get very hot [February-May being the hottest months]. The seasons are not exactly fixed and weather conditions are changeable around the ends of the seasons. Note that the "wet" season is still drier than many places in the world.
            Daily temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C with overnight temperatures dropping to around 10°C. Up in the highlands [which you will cross on your way from Baltra to Puerto Ayora] it is cooler and the garúa mist hangs about as a kind of permanent dampness, and sometimes descends to the coast as well.
            The waters surrounding the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Water temperatures sit around 20°C to 24°C from January through to May and drop to 18°C to 20°C from June through to October. Although you may be required to wear a wetsuit at this time of year the same currents that bring the cooler water temperatures also bring nutrients which means wildlife are very active at this time of year.
            Communications
            Electricity in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is 110 - 120V and requires US plugs so you may need to take an adapter.
            Wi-Fi is not available on the boat at all whilst in the Galapagos Islands. There is limited access on the bigger islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela and there may also be internet cafes for you to use if there is time.
            Like Wi-Fi, mobile phone coverage is pretty non-existent whilst travelling around the islands. Again, you may find that you have limited service when you are closer to the bigger islands.
            There is a satellite phone on board, for the use of shipboard staff, in case of emergency.
            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 Travel 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.

            The Galapagos Islands are located about 1000kms off the coast of Ecuador mainland and many of these islands are uninhabited by humans. The populated islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal have medical facilities however they are limited in what procedures they can perform and have limited medical supplies. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, please ensure you have travel insurance to cover this. Travel insurance should also cover the cost of repatriation or if any additional supplies are needed to be flown in from the mainland.

            ALTITUDE SICKNESS
            Please note a very small number of travellers do feel the affects of altitude sickness when they arrive in Quito. Please refer to http://www.intrepidtravel.com/sites/default/files/pdf/trips/Altitude_Sickness_Information.pdf for more information

            SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS
            Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.

            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.

            SUNSCREEN
            It's important to always apply sunscreen in Ecuador and particularly when visiting the Galapagos. Beware, the sun is stronger than usual!

            January 2016: ZIKA VIRUS.

            According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika is a mosquito-borne disease. The disease symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

            Recently in South America local health authorities have observed an increase in Zika virus infections in the general public as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull) in northeast Brazil.

            As of January 15, 2016 6 cases of the disease have been confirmed in Ecuador; 4 cases imported and 2 cases locally acquired. The health authorities in Ecuador and neighbouring countries are intensifying surveillance, implementing vector control measures and public education about the associated risks.

            Basic precautions for protection from mosquito bites should be taken by people traveling to high risk areas, especially pregnant women. These include use of repellents, wearing light coloured, long sleeved shirts and pants and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.

            In line with the above, Intrepid (Geckos/Peregrine) recommends all woman pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.

            WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restriction to Ecuador based on the current information.

            More information on the Zika virus can be found on WHO’s website: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
            And the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention’s website: http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00385.asp
            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 our travellers. Our 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 or local representative 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, 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.

            Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands aimed at protecting and preserving its unique biodiversity. Intrepid strongly agrees and supports these rules which range from times of the day that a destination can be visited to the distance kept between people and wildlife – all these rules will be explained in more detailed by your crew on the ground. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can result on Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception.

            For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules
            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

            The Intrepid Foundation
            The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation set up to enable our travellers to help make a difference by supporting local communities, projects and non-government organisations in the places we travel. The smallest contribution can make an enormous difference and all donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched dollar for dollar (yes, we’ll double your donation!). We support a range of initiatives – from wildlife protection and environmental conservation to supporting vocational training for underprivileged individuals – all with the aim of helping to improve lives and empower communities across the world to make meaningful change. All administration costs are covered by us so you can be assured 100 per cent of your donation will reach your chosen project. To learn more about the projects we support, ask your trip leader for more information about projects in the region you are travelling in or visit www.theintrepidfoundation.org

            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