Galapagos Explorer - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz) Trip Notes

Galapagos Explorer - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz)

Last Modified: 23 May 2016
Galapagos Explorer - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz)
Trip code: GLKI
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2017
Explore the Galapagos and its native wildlife on a sailing trip around the central islands of the archipelago. Meet the green turtles that inhabit Isla Santa Cruz, watch blue-footed boobies dance the booby two-step and marvel in awe at the unfamiliar beauty that characterises these far-flung islands. Encounter the very same creatures that sparked Darwin’s imagination when he formulated his theories of evolution. There’s no spot on earth that is closer to the origins of the planet, where every step feels as though it’s through uncharted territory. Prepare to depart on the adventure of a lifetime and become a Galapagos Explorer.
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.
- This is indeed the Galapagos journey with something for everyone.
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.

There is a Welcome Meeting in the evening at 6 pm when you meet others travelling with you on your cruise to the Galapagos Islands. As today is an arrival day, you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the meeting will take place.
If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

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.

Quito is an incredible city with loads to see and do. This trip doesn’t include much time in Quito, so a few extra days to explore it is recommended. Great activities are available through our local office – just email quitodaytours@peakdmc.com. Activities include:
- City Tour, an in-depth half-day city tour, including a trip to the equator line to see how it feels to be in the middle of the world, literally.
- Otavalo Market, a full day tour of the biggest Indian market in South America in the northern town of Otavalo, full of local handicrafts to take home for your friends, and the Cotacachi leather market.
- Cotopaxi Volcano, for something more active, head out to the 5,897 metre high Cotopaxi Volcano – drop by the National Park museum, then hike for around 2 hours and visit the picturesque Limpiopungo Lagoon.
- Quilotoa Lagoon, if you’re into lagoons, maybe take a full day trip to the stunning Quilotoa Lagoon. Early in the morning, drive 3 hours south through the local communities and Andes views of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Then hike (2 hours return) to the beautiful Quilotoa volcano crater lagoon, before returning to Quito.
- Papallacta Hot Springs, take a scenic drive reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.
- Cloud Forest, maybe get in touch with the region’s incredible nature with a shared services trip to the Cloud Forest – take a guided hike through a reserve on the edge of the Choco Bio-region, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, and get acquainted with the exuberant vegetation, bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment.

Please note, the prices listed below include entrance fees, however these are paid separately by you during the tour. Some tours require a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.

Note: 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.
Optional Activities
  • Bellavista Cloud forest – Day trip from Quito - USD110
  • Quito City Tour - USD42
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Otavalo Indian Market Full Day from Quito - USD70
  • Papallacta Hot Springs Day tour from Quito - USD70
  • Quilotoa lagoon - USD100
  • Quito city tour + the Equator line Full day - USD75
  • The Equator Line - USD55
    Accommodation
    Hotel Le Parc, Quito (1 nt)
    Day 2 Baltra - Charles Darwin Research Station
    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 arrival hall of the airport (look out for 'Queen Beatriz' signs) by a transfer guide and transferred to our catamaran - ‘M.C. Queen Beatriz’, anchored on the other side of Santa Cruz Island. Our transfer guide will take you on an airport public bus for a short distance (5 minute drive) to where you board a public ferry across the Itabaca Channel. The ferry crossing takes only 7 minutes. (Please note that all public transportation costs are included). Once you reach Santa Cruz Island, a private bus you board a private bus for a 45-minute drive to Puerto Ayora, the main port of the island. Here, there will be two dinghies to transport you and your fellow travellers to the 'MC. Queen Beatriz'. Once on board, cabins will be assigned and there will be a welcome briefing and safety drill. You will then get to meet our crew members and get to know your naturalist guide while enjoying a delicious lunch.

    Your first stop in the afternoon is Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You will also observe baby tortoises and land iguanas.

    ** The Charles Darwin Research Station is currently undertaking maintenance and therefore some areas are restricted or closed. The duration of the visit might be of a shorter duration.

    Estimated travel time/distance:
    Puerto Ayora to North Seymour: 4 hours (35 nautical miles)

    ** Please note today is predominately a long travel day with an early morning start. Your first activity on the islands will not commence until after lunch. **
    Included Activities
    • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Station (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
      Accommodation
      MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
      Day 3 Isla North Seymour - Isla Mosquera
      Today you will take a morning excursion to Isla North Seymour (North Seymour Island) which is one of the most visited islands in the Galapagos. The trail on North Seymour crosses inland through the island and then explores the rocky coast. Along the way the trail passes colonies of blue footed boobies and frigate birds.

      The magnificent frigate bird, a large black bird with a long wingspan, and a hooked beak, is extremely fast and has excellent vision. Frigate birds are known for the large red pouch on their necks. During mating season the males throw back their heads, inflate the pouch (sometimes to the size of a soccer ball), and shake trying to capture the attention of female frigates.
      Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship. Sharing the same nesting area on North Seymour, blue-footed boobies nest on the ground making their nests from the twigs of the palo santos trees, while the frigate birds nests just above them in the saltbushes. Your walk is followed by snorkelling where you will find a great variety of fish and possibly white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions.

      After lunch you will visit the small sandy island of Mosquera, a relaxing, picturesque stop situated between Baltra and North Seymour. Along the rocks and in the tide pool, Sally Lightfoot crabs (red lava crabs) scamper back and forth, skipping across small pools of water in search of food. These crabs with their bright red shell tops and blue under shells are stunning against the black lava. The island also has a very large colony of sea lions as well as a sizeable resident brown pelican population. Depending on the tides and visibility, you may have a chance to go snorkelling here.

      Estimated travel time/distance:
      North Seymour to Baltra: 4 hours (35 nautical miles)
      Baltra to Caleta Tortuga: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
      Included Activities
      • Isla North Seymour - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
      • Isla North Seymour - Snorkelling (1 hours)
      • Isla Mosquera - Beach Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
      • Isla Mosquera - Snorkelling (1 hour)
        Accommodation
        MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
        Day 4 Black Turtle Cove - Cerro Dragón.
        Today you will take a morning excursion on a 'panga' to Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) - a red mangrove wetland on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. You will paddle among the cove’s peaceful waters, for your first taste of the underwater riches of this region – it’s a wonderful place to see green turtle and is a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks. There is also abundant birdlife, such as the yellow warbler and lava heron. This is also a breeding area for turtles, so it is not uncommon to see them mating.

        In the afternoon, cruise over for a walk on Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) this afternoon - one of the best places to see land iguanas in the islands. From our dry landing we walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoon birds including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation makes for a rewarding location for birdwatching with Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers all regulars here. The path can be challenging but you will be well-rewarded with a spectacular view of the bay!

        Estimated travel time/distance:
        Caleta Tortuga Negra to Cerro Dragon: 2 hours (12 nautical miles)
        Cerro Dragon to Sombrero Chino (Chinese hat): 1.5 hours (9 nautical miles)
        Included Activities
        • Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)
        • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
        • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Snorkelling or swimming (1 hour)
          Accommodation
          MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
          Day 5 Isla Rabida - Sombrero Chino
          Sombrero Chino is a small islet located near the south-east coast of Santiago. It's shaped like a Chinese hat (Sombrero Chino) when seen from afar, and is geologically fascinating, with many lava tubes leading from the cone to the coast. We approach Sombrero Chino via a beautiful crescent-shaped, sandy beach that is home to sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Opposite Sombrero Chino, on the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago, Galapagos penguins are often seen. We follow a trail that circles the cove and passes through a sea lion colony and innumerable marine iguanas. The cove also offers some great snorkelling opportunities, hopefully with penguins and sharks.

          Isla Rabida, also known as Jervis Island, is a tiny island sitting roughly five kilometres south of Santiago and is one of the most striking of the archipelago. Introduced species were eradicated in 1971, meaning that the indigenous wildlife has now been returned to a state of splendid isolation. Additionally, volcanic activity here has produced vivid, fantastical colours, not least the beaches of red sand and cliffs of scarlet.

          From the shore, the trail leads through to what is one of the finest lagoons in the Galapagos for viewing flamingos. Rabida is also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans. Elsewhere, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions are all present. There is an opportunity for snorkelling in a place where sea stars, damsels, gobbies and surgeon fish are numerous.

          Estimated travel time/distance:
          Sombrero Chino to Isla Rabida: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
          Isla Rabida to Bachas Beach: 1 hour (7 nautical miles)
          Included Activities
          • Sombrero Chino - Walk and Panga ride (2 hours) - Wet Landing
          • Isla Santiago - Sombrero Chino - Snorkelling (1 hour)
          • Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
          • Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
            Accommodation
            MC Queen Beatriz (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
            Day 6 Las Bachas - Baltra - Quito
            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.

            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.

            Today you will take an early morning excursion to Las Bachas, which was so named after the barges abandoned by the American Navy here in the 1940s. The sandy, white beaches of Las Bachas on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island are a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle, and marine iguanas are also commonly seen. The sand here is particularly white and soft as it is made of decomposed coral.

            The rocks provide great snorkelling and are the perfect habitat for the Sally Lightfoot crabs, which are plentiful on the island. A saltwater lagoon near the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel, and look out too for great blue herons. This is your final excursion before you return to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to Quito. The flight will stopover in Guayaquil to drop off/pick up new passengers.

            Upon arrival in Quito Airport (approx. 4pm) you will be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay. Our local representative may stop by at your hotel this evening to get your feedback on your Galapagos experience.

            Estimated travel times/distance:
            Queen Beatriz to Baltra: 15 mins
            Flight time Baltra to Quito: approx 3.5 hours (including transit in Guayaquil)
            Transfer Quito Airport to Hotel: 1 hour (depending on traffic)

            ** Please note 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. **
            Included Activities
            • Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing
              Accommodation
              Hotel Le Parc, Quito (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 7 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.

              ** Please note ** all travel times/distances and activity durations are approximate only and subject to change.
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Itinerary disclaimer
              Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of 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.

              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.

              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, whilst at other locations you may be required to disembark on the beach. 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 - Charles Darwin Research Station (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
              Isla North Seymour - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
              Isla North Seymour - Snorkelling (1 hours)
              Isla Mosquera - Beach Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
              Isla Mosquera - Snorkelling (1 hour)
              Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)
              Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
              Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Snorkelling or swimming (1 hour)
              Sombrero Chino - Walk and Panga ride (2 hours) - Wet Landing
              Isla Santiago - Sombrero Chino - Snorkelling (1 hour)
              Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
              Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
              Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet 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.
              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 (2 nights), Overnight boat (4 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.

              Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Peregrine 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.
              Meals
              6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
              Transport
              Minibus, Boat, Plane, Zodiac

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

              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.

              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.

              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 and 12% tax will be added to the total of your bar bill.

              Please refer to the tipping section for additional information with regards to recommended amounts for tipping.

              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.

              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).
              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.

              OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
              The optional activities noted are subject to availability. The prices are a guide only and subject to change.

              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.
              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
              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

              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.
              An underwater disposable camera is also recommended.
              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 reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

              You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

              ALTITUDE SICKNESS
              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

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