Galapagos Santa Cruz and around Trip Notes

Galapagos Santa Cruz and around

Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016
Galapagos Santa Cruz and around
Trip code: GGHS-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Relax and unwind on this week-long tour from Ecuador’s beguiling capital to the Galapagos Islands. Be charmed by Quito, learn about the incredible conservation efforts on Isla Santa Cruz, sail turquoise waters, stroll along sandy white beaches, visit faraway islands, get up close to the island’s unique wildlife and lose yourself in the tranquillity of this alluring archipelago. Stunning scenery, surreal landscapes, spectacular sailing – this is about as blissful as it gets.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodationWhat to take
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesClimate and seasonal information
Why we love itMealsHealth
MapMoney mattersTravel insurance
ItineraryGroup leaderA couple of rules
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyResponsible Travel
Physical ratingJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsFeedback
Important notesFinish point
Group sizeFinishing point instructions
Style
Original
Themes
Wildlife
Is this trip right for you?
- This Short Break Adventure is a 'join in' group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader and you may travel alongside other Intrepid or non-Intrepid travellers.
- Daily departures are offered on this trip, therefore which two incredible islands you’ll visit will depend on your departure day.
Why we love it
- Quito's World Heritage-listed Old Town is best explored on foot. Wander through its streets and plazas to discover old churches, colonial architecture and vendors selling local delicacies
- The Galapagos Islands played a profound role in forming Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Visit the Research Station named after him and learn about their important conservation work
- Explore two of four islands filled with incredible wildlife, and snorkel through underwater worlds replete with colourful marine life
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Arrive in Quito and meet with your local Intrepid representative in the evening. Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings – there are more than 30 churches to explore – not to mention the fascinating museums. In any free time, pass by the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco, and see Ecaudor’s most impressive church – La Compania de Jesus – with its ornate facade and intricately decorated and gold-gilded interior. Look out for the 30-metre-high statue of ‘La Virgen de Quito’, which sits atop ‘El Panecillo’ hill. There are also many day trips outside the city if you have time or arrive early, such as Cotopaxi National Park, Papallacta Hot Springs, or Bellavista Cloud forest. Maybe find a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for dinner tonight.
Optional Activities
  • Compania de Jesus - USD4
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Ballet Folklorico Ecuatoriano de Jacchigua - USD40
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Bellavista Cloud forest – Day trip from Quito - USD110
  • Quito City Tour - USD35
  • Otavalo Indian Market Full Day from Quito - USD70
  • Papallacta Hot Springs Day tour from Quito - USD70
  • The Equator Line - USD45
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2-4 Santa Cruz
    Early in the morning, transfer to Quito airport and then see the Galapagos Islands dotted like pearls in the ocean as you fly to Santa Cruz Island (approximately 3.5 hours). Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am, depending on flight schedule time. The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card. This costs US$20 and must be purchased by every person travelling to the Galapagos Islands after checking in at Quito airport. Your flight stops once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers. Upon arrival, you need to go through immigration and then pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 in cash (small bills please). Once you arrive in Baltra airport, your guide will be waiting to take you to the Hotel in Santa Cruz. After lunch, your guide will take you to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you'll learn about the foundation’s efforts to protect the fragile ecosystem of the islands. You might see the breeding program and get up-close to new born and young giant turtles.

    On Days 3 and 4 you will visit two of the below islands (one island per day). The islands you visit will depend on the day of the week you travel.

    Bartolome:
    Bartolome is the most recognizable and photographed island in the archipelago thanks to its distinctive pinnacle rock. You’ll walk along a wood trail to the top of this once-active volcano, seeing the different lava rock formations that were created during the formation of island on the way. At the top you’ll have a fantastic panoramic across to Santiago Island’s Sullivan Bay – look out for the surrounding plants like lava cactus, as well as Darwin`s finches. After the walk, take a zodiac ride along the island to meet the cheeky Galapagos penguins, and then disembark on the beach for some snorkelling. This is a great place to see white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, many fish, and maybe swim alongside sea lions. You’ll then return to Puerto Ayora.

    Seymour:
    The small island of North Seymour is home to many different species of animals, and is the best place to see the frigate birds with their bulbous red throats, watch the iconic blue footed boobies dance, spot land and marine iguanas, and search for Galapagos sea lions and fur seals. On a two-hour walk around this magical island you’ll also spy other sea birds like swallow-tailed gulls and shearwater, as well as many tropical birds. After the walk you’ll return to the boat for lunch, then sail to Bachas beach on Santa Cruz Island. This is a nesting area for sea turtles and there’s a small lagoon where flamingoes can occasionally be seen. You’ll also strap on your mask again for some snorkelling through the beautiful waters.

    Santa Fe:
    Taking an 80-minute boat ride from Puerto Ayora, cruise to one of the most beautiful bays in the Archipelago. Here the pristine colour of the water allows you to see the bottom, and you might swim alongside eagle rays, sting rays, sea turtles and lots of fish. Santa Fe is known for its large colony of sea lions that lounge around on the two beaches. On the shore there are two trails that can be hiked – both give you the opportunity to see the Santa Fe land iguana, which is found only on this island. One of the trails is into the opuntia forest, home to the archipelago’s largest trees, and you can hike along the cliffs. The vegetation of Santa Fe is notable for the very large Prickly Pear Cacti. After the walk, return to the boat, where it’s time for some snorkelling in the pristine waters – sea lion pups will be eager to swim along too. Then make the return journey to Puerto Ayora.

    Plazas:
    South Plazas is located on the east cost of Santa Cruz Island. It was formed from uplifted marine lava and is one of the smallest islands on the archipelago. It’s one of the most concentrated wildlife sites around through. Disembark at a small dock frequently occupied by sea lions, then walk through a small forest of prickly pear cacti, decorated with their yellow flowers, and look out for land iguanas waiting for the fruits and flowers to fall to the ground. Make your way up to the top of a cliff, where you can often see a shoal of the native yellow-tailed mullet in the waters below. Look up for views of swallow-tailed gulls, tropical bird, frigate birds, and pelicans. At the eastern end of the island bull sea lions congregate to rest and recover their energy after losing their territory; and plot to once again become the beach master. After this enjoyable walk, return to the boat for lunch, and then sail to Punta Carrion for some more snorkelling. This is a great chance for underwater photos of sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, sea lions and many fish. You’ll then return to Puerto Ayora.
    Included Activities
    • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre
      Accommodation
      Hotel (3 nt)
      Meals
      3 breakfasts, 2 lunches
      Day 5 Santa Cruz
      Today is a free day to take your own trips based on whatever your interested in. You might marvel at the underwater world with some diving, or hike to the misty forest highlands of the Santa Cruz. Here you’ll observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat of the scalesia cloud forest and be surrounded by abundant wildlife. You could kayak around Tortuga Bay, strap on a snorkel once more, or head to Las Grietas, a series of volcanic crevices that were formed during the cooling of molten lava and offer an incredible place to take a swim. You could even hire a speed boat and go to Isabela island for the day. This is one of the most volcanically active places in the world, and you can walk from Puerto Villamil through mangrove forests and saltwater lagoons to reach a Tortoise Breeding Centre.
      Optional Activities
      • Tortuga Bay -Kayak Rental - USD30
      • Activity - USD25
      • Santa Cruz Highlands optional - USD50
      • Half day Bay tour around Santa Cruz including snorkelling and Las Grietas - USD45
      • Santa Cruz Highlands & Garapatero Beach - USD85
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 6 Quito
        On Day 6 you’ll be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Quito. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 3-4pm. Spend a final day and night in Quito – you might like to get out and enjoy the nightlife of this vibrant Latin city.
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 7
        There are no activities planned for the last day of the trip and you can depart at any time. Hotel check out is normally at 10am.

        Notes: 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. Leave your feedback here - www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback
        Itinerary disclaimer
        ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
        Physical rating

        Included activities
        Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre
        Important notes
        SHARED SERVICES
        This is not a group tour. You may join like minded travellers that have booked through other companies. Alternatively if there are no other bookings on the same date you may be travelling independently with a guide.

        Group size
        Maximum of 4 travellers per group.
        Your fellow travellers
        This trip is operated in "Join-In" basis and you may travel alongside other Intrepid or non-Intrepid travellers during included activities.
        Accommodation
        Hotel (6nt)
        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.

        Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for your arrival, especially if you're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible, which means you won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, you can store your luggage and explore the new destination.

        If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
        Meals
        4 breakfasts, 2 lunches
        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.

        SPENDING MONEY
        When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

        If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
        The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
        Restaurants: In Ecuador in some restaurants tax and service charges are included in the bill. If service charge is not included we recommend you a 10% tip on top of your bill.
        Galapagos - Land based itineraries
        Though part of Ecuador, the economy in the Galapagos Islands is different to that of the mainland, which is generally reflected in higher costs of living. As such, a tipping guideline in the Galapagos Islands is of USD 2-4 per person per day for the crew and USD 8-10 per person per day for your Galapagos Tour Leader.

        Budget for meals not included: 180.00

        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
        This Short Break Adventure is a 'join in' group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader - our local representative fills this role - and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.

        The aim of our local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. On this style of trip you might have one person stay with you for the entire journey, or you might get to enjoy the variety of having someone different for each day and/or activity. They will be able to provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and, where possible, introduce you to our local friends. While some may not be guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
        Safety
        Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

        We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

        Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

        For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

        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.

        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:
        Joining point
        Hotel Sierra Madre
        Veintimilla No 464 y Luis Tamayo
        Quito
        ECUADOR
        Phone: 593 22505687
        Fax: 593 22224950
        Joining point instructions
        The new Quito airport is located approximately 37km east of the city. The quickest and most reliable way from the airport to the hotel is by taxi, which costs approximately USD 27.

        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 Sierra Madre, que se encuentra localizado en calle Veintimilla 446 y Jose Tamayo.
        Finish point
        Hotel Sierra Madre
        Veintimilla No 464 y Luis Tamayo
        Quito
        ECUADOR
        Phone: 593 22505687
        Fax: 593 22224950
        Finishing 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, 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:

        While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

        We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

        You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
        What to take
        What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

        Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

        Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

        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.
        We recommend, regardless of the time of year that you travel, that you pack light and pack clothes that you can layer. At all times of year it is suggested you bring a raincoat or rain poncho. You will also need to bring a good pair of shoes, they can be hiking boots, trainers or sturdy walking shoes.
        A small backpack or drysack is highly recommended to carry your camera, water bottle, sunscreen etc on excursions.
        If you are prone to seasickness you may wish to bring some preventative medication with you.
        Climate and seasonal information
        GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD AND ISABELA PORT FEE
        The Galapagos park fee (US$100), transit card fee (US$20) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). This amount is in addition to your trip payment.


        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.

        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.

        INTERNET IN THE GALAPAGOS:
        Some of the hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections however it's often very slow and and may not always be functional.
        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.

        DRINKING WATER:
        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 three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

        ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
        Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

        Before your trip:
        Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

        During your trip.
        While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

        Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:

        http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf

        Zika Virus:

        “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
        In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
        In line with the above, Intrepid recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.
        At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus.
        More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
        World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/”
        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 trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.

        If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone 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:

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
        A couple of rules
        Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader 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 at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
        Responsible Travel
        We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

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

        Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

        The Intrepid Foundation
        Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

        The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

        http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Ecuador include:

        * FUNDAR Galapagos, based on Santa Cruz Island, is an organization that works with the Galapagos community, to develop alternative and responsible approaches to local environmental issues. A key initiative is an organic farming program on FUNDAR’s Pajaro Brujo Reserve. Most produce in the Galapagos is imported from the mainland, and this program is creating opportunities for locals to grow organic food, encouraging healthier and more sustainable lifestyles within the community.

        Through the Intrepid Foundation we are raising funds in support of FUNDAR’s organic farming program as well as its weekly educational workshops for students on farming, reforestation and leadership skills.

        Feedback
        After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback