Galapagos Family - Enchanted Islands Trip Notes

Galapagos Family - Enchanted Islands

Last Modified: 16 Dec 2013
Galapagos Family - Enchanted Islands
Trip code: FGA
Validity: 01 Oct 2012 to 31 Dec 2013
The enchanted islands of the Galapagos are a wonderful place to explore with children. The inspiring archipelago is a world away from anything else the family may ever get to experience and its magical marine environment perfect for exploring by kayak or with snorkels. From volcanic landscapes to unique wildlife, experience evolution up-close on a leisurely cruise soaking up the islands’ charms. Get a taste of mainland Ecuador with a tour of Quito’s colonial heritage and a visit to the equator, then set sail into the Pacific on the boat journey of a lifetime.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency funds
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
Also available to purchaseMeals introductionHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point descriptionFeedback
Departure taxFinish point instructions
Important notesEmergency contact
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Family, Wildlife
Galapagos Family - Enchanted Islands
Days 1-2 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
Your trip starts in Quito. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. For information on when the trip ends please refer to the itinerary as described below.
You'll have the next morning free to relax before heading out with a local guide to explore the colonial heart of the city. Quito has spread along a valley sandwiched in by volcanoes. The old colonial section has some fantastic buildings and churches. From the foot of the angel on top of the Panecillo hill, you get a fantastic view across the city. You will then continue to the Mitad del Mundo (centre of the earth). This monument marks the spot declared to be the equator. This point was determined in 1736 Charles-Marie de la Condamine, according to his measurements. It is possible to see how water drains clockwise on one side of the equator and anti-clockwise on the other. You then drive back into Quito.
Included Activities
  • City tour
Dann Carlton Hotel (2 nts)
Day 3 Galapagos cruise
This morning you make an early start to fly down to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and economic dynamo. After a short stop, your flight continues almost 1000km directly west to San Cristobal. More importantly for you, it's the starting point for your voyage through the so-called "Enchanted Islands". On arrival in Galapagos, you head straight to the harbour and you immediately board the boat that's to be your floating home for the next few nights and set sail.
Upon arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island, your crew is waiting at the airport to escort you to your anchored yacht. After the welcome briefing, buffet lunch and safety drill, you travel by bus into the interior of San Cristobal to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, where the National Park has established a breeding program for the tortoises and set up an information centre for visitors. Along the trail, you find the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to this island. Here, you will see the terrestrial tortoises living in their natural habitat but also learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals.
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (1 nt)
Day 4 San Cristobal
This morning you visit Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white powder-sand beach, one of the most spectacular in Galapagos and have an opportunity to snorkel or kayak right from the beach.
This afternoon, you visit the northeast tip of San Cristobal, Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds and considered to be a first class site for birds including blue-footed, Nazca and redfooted boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and storm petrels.
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Isla de Lobos & Cerro Brujo Beach Boat trip
M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (1 nt)
Day 5 Punta Suarez, Espanola
This morning you have a dry landing at Punta Suarez, Espanola, where you witness the highest rate of endemic species in Galapagos. Sea lions noisily greet you as you land on their beach. Curious hood mockingbirds peck at your shoelaces. From April to November, the waved albatross, found only on Espanola, perform their wild mating ritual. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in 'sky-pointing' to show off to potential mates, Nazca boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls are the only nocturnal gulls in the world. Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. You also find Darwin's finches, Galapagos doves and Galapagos hawks. Observe a unique species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colourings. Colourful Sally Light-foot crabs crawl along the shoreline near the famous "blow hole".
In the afternoon, you have a wet landing at Gardner Bay, Espanola (Hood). Walk along seemingly endless stretches of this white sandy beach where you'll find large colonies of sea lions. There is no trail to follow so this is a chance to explore and you may find a Galapagos hawk, Darwin's finches or hood mockingbird. Swim with sea lions right from the beach, explore by kayak or just relax. There's an excellent snorkelling site off Gardner Islet with a colourful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock, explore caves covered with invertebrates
Included Activities
  • Espanola Island tour
M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (1 nt)
Day 6 Floreana Island
This morning you step ashore at Punta Cormorant, Floreana (Charles) one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos. Floreana presents a history rich with mystery and intrigue. Set foot on a green-sand beach alive with the sounds of sea lions. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home to pintail ducks, common stilts, and the pinkest flamingos in the world. Despite the name, there are no cormorants nesting here! Out at sea, tropical fish and starfish can be seen. Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including Morning Glory, Cut Leaf Daisies, Palo Verdes and Scalesia leading to a beach with power soft sand. Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, you have an opportunity to snorkel at Devil's Crown, a shallow sunken crater colonised by a brilliant array of colourful fish and coral.
This afternoon you visit Post office Bay, not the most scenic, but probably the most famous sites in Galapagos. Here is where a post barrel was put into use in the late 18th century by English whaling vessels. You are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail from your home area.
Included Activities
  • Floreana Island Tour
M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (1 nt)
Day 7 Isabela Island
This morning you visit a hidden gem on Isabela Island called Los Humedales and Muro de Lagrimas which translates to 'wetlands' and 'wall of tears'. This area has trails from which you find all four species of mangroves, secluded sandy beaches with rocky shores with lava tunnels and natural pools. View a wide variety of migratory birds including Whimrels, Short-billed Dowitchers, Wilson's Pharlarope, Common Tern, Osprey, Semi-palmated Plovers as well as mating Flamingos. The national park has released young tortoises from the breeding centre in this area so you may encounter tortoises in the wild. The Wall of Tears was constructed between 1946-1959 when Isabela was a penal colony.
In the afternoon, you visit Sierra Negra Volcano, located in the southwest part of Isabela, the oldest and largest volcano on the island. From Puerto Villamil, you travel by motorised vehicle to Santo Tomas. From here, you continue by horseback to the rim of the caldera, traversing a lava field through a series of craters and fumaroles until you reach Volcan Chico. Along the way, you will usually spot the vermillion flycatcher, Galapagos Martins, Whimbrels, Egrets, Galapagos Hawks and possibly the Dark-billed Cuckoo.
Included Activities
  • Muro de Lagrimas (Isabela)
M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Bartoleme/Santa Cruz
This morning you visit, Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra) where you take a zodiac ride through a series of coves surrounded by mangroves. Here you may view pairs of mating marine turtles (Sep-Feb), white-tipped reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and beautiful yellow cow-nosed rays, provided you remain quiet while the engines are turned off. This afternoon you visit Bartolome, where it seems like you are walking on the moon, an island inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, climb 30 minutes up stairs leading to the summit of a once active volcano. Along the way, you pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the wooden stairs, you can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and "Pinnacle Rock", an eroded tuff cone. Crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach or Zodiac with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos Penguins.
The next morning, you visit South Plaza a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views. After a dry landing, the trails lead you through Prickly Pear cactus or Opuntia and Sesuvium. Here you can find the Galapagos Land Iguana feeding on cactus leaves. Toward the end of the hill, you encounter a colony of bachelor sea lions. The dominant bulls are in various stages of recovery from vicious battles lost over prime beach territory, that have taken lives in the past. You also find swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds who build their nests along the cliffs. Travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as you wind your way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, you visit the tortoise reserve at one of the private farms in the highlands where you encounter giant tortoises In their natural habitat. You visit Los Gemelos, Spanish for 'The Twins', a pair of large pit craters where you find the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. You stop at "the tunnels", the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos.
Included Activities
  • Black Turtle cove
M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Quito
Today you visit the Interpretation Centre opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999. Here you gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. This is your final excursion before returning to the airport in San Cristobal for your flight back to Quito
Trip ends in Quito
Included Activities
  • Interpretation Centre San Cristobal
Optional Activities
  • Cotopaxi National Park (Optional) - USD85
Dann Carlton Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • FGA - Galapagos - Enchanted Islands - Single supplement (FGA)
  • Booby deck supplement (OTGA)
  • Dolphin deck supplement (OTGA)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
    Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
    Culture shock rating

    This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
    Physical rating

    These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).
    Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.
    With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
    Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.
    It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
    US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    If you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip would be very much appreciated by them. As a guideline we recommend each passenger consider US$15 per day for the crew and US$7-10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.
    If you are happy with the services 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 Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    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.
    At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
    Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
    Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Departure tax
    Please allow US$44.30 for international airport departure tax in Quito.
    Important notes
    Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5.
    This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
    This maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without previous notice due to such reasons as weather conditions or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control.
    For your family expedition, note that The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and transit card fee (US$10) are included into the trip cost so that you won't need to pay any additional fee while on tour.
    When booking, please ensure that your details are correct, and double check them on your documents prior to departure. If your passport does not match your booking details, you may be refused entrance to Galapagos National Park. Please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.
    Group size
    Maximum of 20 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our Comfort and Original style trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    M/Y Eric Flamingo I & Letty cruise boat (7 nts), Dann Carlton Hotel (3 nts)
    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in your selected accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
    Families will stay on one of the three identical expedition yachts custom-designed for Galapagos cruising: the M/Y Eric, Flamingo I and Letty. Built in 1991 and refurbished annually, these identical superior first-class sister yachts can accommodate 16 to 20 passengers and has a mixture of twin and double cabins, with small private bathrooms. Most sailing is done overnight to maximise the time spent ashore. You take your meals on the mess-deck; most boats also have a bar and separate resting area. The crew will include an English-speaking naturalist guide trained by the Galápagos National Parks Service. In addition to the required navigational, radio and safety equipment the boats carry dinghies (known as pangas) with outboard motors for going ashore. Snorkelling equipment is carried and is available at no extra charge. However, if you do have your own mask and snorkel, we recommend you bring them with you to ensure the best fit. and feature three decks of spacious staterooms with polished teak interiors trimmed with shiny brass fittings. Rooms are fully air-conditioned with private bathroom (hot and cold water showers). 2 triple rooms might be available on request on Iguana deck. For Triple room discount please check with your sales consultant.
    The boat is not under sole charter to us and, as with all such boats, you may find yourself with fellow travellers of other nationalities - which adds to the fun! The language of the boat is, however, always English.
    NB: We cannot guarantee a single cabin, unless you are prepared to pay a single supplement in order to have sole occupancy.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    10 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
    Budget for meals not included:
    Minibus, Plane, Cruise ship
    Group leader
    All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
    Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
    Joining point description
    Hotel Dann Carlton is located in the financial center of Ecuador's capital city, and only 2.7 miles from Quito Mariscal Sucre Intl. Airport (UIO).
    212 rooms and suites include air conditioning, satellite television, safety box, radio alarm with CD player, mini bar and refrigerator, wireless broadband internet.a pool with a retractile roof, a complete gym and squash court, a restaurant with a varied menu, bar, Jockers, our casino.
    Hotel Dann Carlton Quito is close to Botanical Garden of Quito, Atahualpa Olympic Stadium, and Carolina Park. Also nearby are Guanquiltaqua Metropolitan Park and Chapel of Man.
    Hotel Dann Carlton
    Av. República de El Salvador
    N34-377 e Irlanda San Francisco de Quito
    Tel ‎+593 02 224 9008
    Joining point instructions
    Quito's airport is 10km north of the city. The quickest and most reliable way from the airport to the hotel is by taxi. As you exit the airport terminal there is a pick up area directly in front of you, but don't worry the drivers will have found you as soon as you open the terminal door. Unless the taxi has a meter, and is willing to use it, you will need to bargain - you will likely pay US$10.
    Most drivers will speak a little English and your hotel is well known but in case of difficulty the following in Spanish will help you reach your destination:
    Por favor me puede llevar al Hotel Dan Carlton , que se encuentra localizado en la avenida Republica del Salvador N34-377.
    If you have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer please exit the doors and you will be met by our guide. If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
    593 994014877 (if you calling from outside of the country or an international number) 0994014877 (if you calling from Ecuador local phones)
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point description
    Hotel Dann Carlton is located in the financial center of Ecuador's capital city, and only 2.7 miles from Quito Mariscal Sucre Intl. Airport (UIO).
    212 rooms and suites include air conditioning, satellite television, safety box, radio alarm with CD player, mini bar and refrigerator, wireless broadband internet.a pool with a retractile roof, a complete gym and squash court, a restaurant with a varied menu, bar, Jockers, our casino.
    Hotel Dann Carlton Quito is close to Botanical Garden of Quito, Atahualpa Olympic Stadium, and Carolina Park. Also nearby are Guanquiltaqua Metropolitan Park and Chapel of Man.
    Hotel Dann Carlton
    Av. República de El Salvador
    N34-377 e Irlanda San Francisco de Quito
    Tel ‎+593 02 224 9008
    Finish point instructions
    If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
    If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, The Adventure Company can be reached on Tel: +44 1420 593000. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas 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.
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Not required
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    United States: Not required
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    There is not a lot of extra space on the boat in the Galapagos, so our general advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Life aboard the yacht is pretty informal, so casual comfortable clothing is best.
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    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.
    As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
    If you are taking a taxi from the airport by yourself, agree on the price beforehand and tell the driver to bring you straight to your hotel and that you ALREADY have a reservation. Both the tourist information booths at the airport as well as the independent taxi drivers receive commissions to persuade you to go elsewhere by using any type of argument.
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Ecuador include:
    * The Charles Darwin Foundation protects species in the Galapagos that are on the borderline of extinction. Focusing on the island of Floreana, they hope to re-introduce several locally extinct and critically endangered keystone species that are integral to the ongoing balance and sustainability of the marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
    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.
    Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.