Galapagos Venture Trip Notes

Galapagos Venture

Last Modified: 14 Apr 2015
Galapagos Venture
Trip code: GGRR
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Take a thrilling sojourn around the highlights of the unique flora- and fauna-rich islands of the Galapagos. From rubbing shoulders with prehistoric-looking giant tortoises and marine iguanas, to gazing up in wonder at the spectacular blue-footed boobies’ synchronised fishing technique, the Galapagos offers the chance to see an abundance of rare creatures at close range. There are also heaps of opportunities to explore the underwater world of the Galapagos by snorkelling and diving in the surrounding waters - usually in the good company of playful sea lions and sea turtles. With just the right amount of relaxation, adventure and wildlife-filled awe, this Galapagos Venture is the way to see the very best of the Galapagos.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesIssues on your trip
ThemesGroup sizeWhat to take
MapYour fellow travellersHealth
ItineraryAccommodationSafety
Also available to purchaseMealsTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerTransportResponsible Travel
Culture shock rating Group leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesFinish point Responsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeEmergency contactCarbon offset
Spending moneyEmergency fundsFeedback
TippingVisas
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Galapagos Venture
Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m 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.
La Compania de Jesus is considered by many the most beautiful in the Americas; it's certainly one of the most ornate. It's claimed that seven tonnes of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads and a jungle of carved leaves.
Take a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This quaint street offers the city's best in one place.
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 acclimatising 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
DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS
Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
Optional Activities
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Quito City Tour - USD35
  • Otavalo Market visit - USD70
  • Papallacta Hot Springs Day tour from Quito - USD70
  • Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD35
  • Quito city tour + the Equator line Full day (Optional) - USD70
  • Saquisili Indian Market & Cotopaxi National Park Full Day from Quito - USD95
  • Bellavista Cloud forest – Day trip from Quito - USD85
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Culinary Experience Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Accommodation
San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-4 Isla Isabela
Today begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight (approx 2.5-3 hours) to Baltra Island, Galapagos. 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 card has a cost of US$10 and it must be purchased by every person travelling to the Galapagos Islands. You will need to purchase this card upon arrival to the domestic airport on day 2, prior to checking in to your Galapagos flight.
Please note the Transit Card fee has recently increased from US$10 to US$20 and will come into place from March 1st 2015.
Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers (2.5-3 hrs total). Upon arrival we will need to go through immigration and pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 in cash (small bills please)
Once in Baltra we transfer to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island (approx 2.5-3hrs)
Upon arrival to Isabela Island you are required to pay the Isabela Island port fee of USD5.
While in Isabela Island the Tour leader will take you on a walking tour of the island. The following day you will start with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center for a chance to get a close encounter with these placid giants.
The Sierra Negra Wetlands are where we can observe migratory birds like sandpiper, common stilt, plovers, flamingos, American oystercatcher and many other interesting species. This usually takes up to an hour at the most. Then take a bus and to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located.
Be prepared for a hike that will take you to a spectacular view of the crater, on the hope to see the rare vermillion flycatcher. You will be hiking for approximately 5-6 hours (dependent on weather) along a rocky trail, approximately 13km long. Please ensure you wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes that offer good support.
Another worthwhile (optional) activity is a visit to the Tintoreras Island where you can see the rare Galapagos penguin before heading to the "shark alley" where white tipped sharks rest during the day. This is also a popular nesting site for the endemic marine iguanas.
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano
Optional Activities
  • Kayak rental - USD30
  • Wet Suit rental - USD10
  • Isla Tintoreras - USD47
Accommodation
Hotel Delfin Azul or similar (3 nts)
Day 5 Santa Cruz Island
Today we have an early morning speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz (approx. 2.5 hrs). After we have settled into our hotel we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about the foundations success in repopulating the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise.
In the afternoon we are heading to the higher part of the islands to observe giant tortoises roaming in its natural habitat.
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre
  • Santa Cruz Highlands
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit - Free
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel Lobo de Mar or similar (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Isla San Cristobal
In the morning you will have some free time. You may choose to take part in some of the optional activities on offer.
Later on we travel to Isla San Cristobal (2.5 to 3hrs) to meet the local families that will host of for our two nights here. In the afternoon your leader will take you on a walking tour of San Cristobal.
The remaining of our time in San Cristobal is free for you to explore the island at your own leisure. Opt to hike Mann Beach for a swim where we can observe playful sea lions and frigates or tackle the hills and reach the top of Frigate Bird Hill for panoramic view out over the Pacific towards Santa Cruz, Floreana and Santa Fe Islands.
One of our leaders favorite optional activity is the boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos observing along the way the abundant marine life that Galapagos is renowned for.
Here you have the option to go snorkelling. Make sure you keep an eye out for sea turtles, eagle rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark, just to name a few.
Included Activities
  • Santa Cruz Highlands
Optional Activities
  • Isla Labos - USD70
  • Kicker Rock excursion - USD120
  • Frigate Bird Hill - Free
  • Mann Beach - Free
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
Days 8-9 Quito
Today we will visit the Interpretation Center. Following this we bid farewell to the Enchanted Islands.
A midday flight takes us back to Quito (approx 2.5-3 hrs). An Intrepid representative will take you from the airport to your hotel, a quick change and it's out to enjoy the night-life of Quito.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center
Optional Activities
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Culinary Experience Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Accommodation
San Francisco Hotel or similar (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.
  • GGRR - Single Supplement (GGRR)
  • Ecuador on a shoestring (GGRU)
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 your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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.
Culture shock rating

At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
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.
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 USD100 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.
VERY IMPORTANT:
USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD 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.
Tipping
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 guide.
Important notes
GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA ISLAND PORT FEES:
A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport. The Galapagos park fee (US$100) 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.
DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS
Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
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.
Group size
Maximum of 16 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: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Accommodation
Hotel Delfin Azul or similar (3 nts), San Francisco Hotel or similar (2 nts), Hotel Lobo de Mar or similar (1 nt)
Meals
2 Breakfasts
Budget for meals not included:
USD 270.00
Transport
Plane, Speed boat
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Hotel San Francisco de Quito
Sucre oe3-17 y Guayaquil
Quito
ECUADOR
Phone: +593 22951241
Finish point
Hotel San Francisco de Quito
Sucre oe3-17 y Guayaquil
Quito
ECUADOR
Phone: +593 22951241
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 all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
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 (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
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.
ECUADOR TOURIST VISA
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
Citizens of the Republic of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, require an appropriate visa to enter Ecuador..
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
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.
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.
INTREPID GALAPAGOS DUFFLE BAG
In order to make luggage handling easier when embarking and disembarking speed boats on this trip, on day 1 of your trip you will be offered a duffle bag for you to consider using instead of your main luggage. The rest of your gear can be stored at your starting point hotel.
The duffle bags have a capacity of 50 litres (measure 73x30.26 cm) and can carry between 12 and 15 kilos.
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 proximiity 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.
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.
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.
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 3 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
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:
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.
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:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
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 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.
* FUNDAR Galapagos is based in Santa Cruz Island. It works with the Galapagos community, using alternative and responsible approaches to strive for sustainable development.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 882.00 kgs per pax.
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