Galapagos Venture Trip Notes

Galapagos Venture

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016
Galapagos Venture
Trip code: GGRR
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
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
StyleGroup sizeVisas
ThemesYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Is this trip right for you?AccommodationClimate and seasonal information
Why we love itMeals introductionHealth
MapMealsTravel insurance
ItineraryMoney mattersA couple of rules
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyResponsible Travel
Physical ratingJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesFinish pointFeedback
Important notesEmergency contact
Style
Basix
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip visits Quito which is at a high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
- The itinerary involves a lot of travel by speed boat between the various Galapagos Islands, the rides can be quite bumpy at times. The good news is that seasickness can often be managed with medication. Consult a health professional before your trip.
- This trip includes a 17 km hike (approximately 6-7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.
- Wildlife is a big focus on this trip, with activities like bird-watching and snorkeling.
- While you're free to go diving if you so choose, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity. This is part of Intrepid's internal safety policy.
- The sun in the Galapagos islands is incredibly strong due to its close proximity to the equator, ensure you are well prepared with suncreen, sun hat, sunglasses and a rash guard if desired.
- This trip does include snorkeling on multiple days throughout the itinerary. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this tour.
Why we love it
- Arrive early and discover Quito’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage, filled with colonial era buildings, boulevards of multicoloured mansions and gracefully ageing cathedrals
- Learn about the unique habit of the marine iguana. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands
- Many come to Isla Santa Cruz just for the giant tortoises. Get up close and personal with these enormous animals, as they drag themselves through the sand
- Birdwatching at the Galapagos is quite an experience. Watch the aerobatic routines of blue-footed boobies and the death defying stunts of the frigate birds, as they whizz through the air
- Get your blood pumping as you scale Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. 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 contact our 24 hour emergency number which is located on these trip notes.
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.
At the meeting you will be offered a duffle bag to use for the duration of your time in the Galapagos, please see the packing section in the trip notes for more information.
Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha. With Colonial style buildings, a cosy Old Town and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you may like to take a stroll this evening and see some sights. We will however be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city, depending on when you are flying out ofcourse!

Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.

Optional Activities in Quito:
Quito is an incredible city with loads to see and do. This trip doesn’t include much time in Quito, so a few extra days to explore it is recommended. Great activities are available through our local office – just email quitodaytours@peakdmc.com before departing or, once you’re in Quito, give our office a call +593 9 94014877 and they will happily assist you.
Urban Adventures: If you are interested in any of the Urban Adventures listed you will need to contact Urban Adventures directly. Contact information for Quito can be found here: http://www.urbanadventures.com/contact-us

City Tour & The Equator Line, an in-depth half-day city tour, including a trip to the equator line to see how it feels to be in the middle of the world, literally. If you’re short on time You can choose to do just the city tour or Equator line (we’ve listed separate prices below)

Otavalo Market, a full day tour of the biggest Indian market in South America in the northern town of Otavalo, full of local handicrafts to take home for your friends, and the Cotacachi leather market.

Cotopaxi Volcano, for something more active, head out to the 5,897 metre high Cotopaxi Volcano – drop by the National Park museum, then hike for around 2 hours and visit the picturesque Limpiopungo Lagoon.

Quilotoa Lagoon, if you’re into lagoons, maybe take a full day trip to the stunning Quilotoa Lagoon. Early in the morning, drive 3 hours south through the local communities and Andes views of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Then hike (2 hours return) to the beautiful Quilotoa volcano crater lagoon, before returning to Quito. Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.

Cloud Forest, maybe get in touch with the region’s incredible nature with a shared services trip to the Cloud Forest – take a guided hike through a reserve on the edge of the Choco Bio-region, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, and get acquainted with the exuberant vegetation, bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment.

Papallacta-Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.

Please note, the prices listed below include entrance fees, however these are paid separately by you during the tour. Some tours require a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
(Please note prices listed are subject to change)
Optional Activities
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Quito City Tour - USD42
  • Otavalo Indian Market Full Day from Quito - USD70
  • Papallacta Hot Springs Day tour from Quito - USD70
  • Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD35
  • Quito city tour + the Equator line Full day - USD75
  • Saquisili Indian Market & Cotopaxi National Park Full Day from Quito - USD95
  • Bellavista Cloud forest – Day trip from Quito - USD110
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Isla Isabela, Galapagos
    Today we have a long travel day ahead and it begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight of about three hours to Baltra Island, Galapagos. Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to purchase a Transit Control Card before checking in to your Galapagos flight. This card costs about USD 20 and grants you access to the islands. Departure time will be between 8.20 am and 10.30 am depending on flight schedule time. Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil for a about 45 minutes to pick up more passengers.
    When the flight lands in Balra, you’ll go through immigration and need to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 in cash (small bills please). We then transfer from Baltra to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island, which takes about two and a half hours. Once we arrive at Isabela Island, you’ll need to pay an additional port fee of USD 5. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Isabela Island. The rest of your evening is free.

    Important Notes:
    Please note, there are no ATM's on Isabela Island so it's important you bring along enough cash for the next few days.
    Please note that this trip is a combination trip, therefore there may be some passengers joing the trip in the Galapagos.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 3 Isla Isabela, Galapagos
    Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well learn about the preservation program of this unique species.
    Next is a visit to the Sierra Negra Wetlands where you can observe exotic migratory birds like sandpiper, common stilt, plovers, flamingos and American oystercatcher. Soon after take a bus to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between five and six hours, but at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the rocky climb.
    During the rainy season it can get quite muddy. There is an option to hire gumboots locally, should you wish to do so. During the hike it can get quite hot, there isn't much shade along the way so be sure to come prepared with your hat and sunscreen etc.
    Included Activities
    • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
    • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
      Optional Activities
      • Kayak rental - USD30
      • Wet Suit rental - USD10
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 4 Isla Isabela, Galapagos
        Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. You may like to visit Las Tintoreras one of the highlights of the Galapagos and where you are likely to see the rare Galapagos penguin and "shark alley" where white tipped sharks hang out. You can also see marine iguanas here, as this is a popular nesting site. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling, relax on the beach or visit the Wall of Tears which was built by the prisoners once kept here.
        Optional Activities
        • Isla Tintoreras - USD47
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 5 Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
          Wake up early for a morning speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two and a half hours. After settling into the hotel, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Learn about the repopulation of the islands once-endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.
          Return back to town where you'll have some free time.
          Included Activities
          • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
          • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Day 6 Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
            In the morning, you’ll have some more free time to make the most of Isla Santa Cruz.. You’ll have some free time to pursue optional activities of your choosing, such as snorkelling with rented equipment or taking at dip in the pure waters of Tortuga Bay.
            Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal, which takes about 2.5 hours. In the afternoon, go on a casual orientation walk of San Cristobal.
            Optional Activities
            • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit (45 Minute walk, one way) - Free
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 7 Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
              Today is a free day to experience the best of San Cristobal Island. Perhaps go for a hike to Frigate Bird Hill for panoramic views of the Pacific Islands and some bird watching. You may find it hard to leave Mann Beach, with its luscious setting and the opportunities to swim with adorable sea lions. Perhaps the most popular optional activity is an excursion to Kicker Rock. Go snorkelling and see swarms of Galapagos colourful marine life. Sea turtles, eagle rays and harmless sharks all live in these waters.
              Optional Activities
              • Kicker Rock excursion - USD120
              • Frigate Bird Hill - Free
              • Mann Beach - Free
              • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
              • Isla Lobos. - USD70
                Accommodation
                Hostel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 8 Quito
                Our last excursion today is a guided visit to the Interpretation Center, which houses exhibitions on natural history, human history and conservation. Learn more about the conservation movement and the process of sustainable tourism on the Galapagos Island. After the visit, say goodbye to these enchanting islands. The flight back to Quito leaves at midday, we get back to Quito in the late afternoon. A representative from Intrepid will take you from the airport to your hotel, then you’ll be free to explore more of Quito. You may like to get out and enjoy the nightlife of this vibrant Latin city.
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 9 Quito
                There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.

                As there's little time spent in Quito, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of your time in here. Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Compania de Jesus which is decorated with seven tonnes of gold and the pale art filled La Merced. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, including tours of the town, markets and culinary delights (see urbanadventures.com).
                Optional Activities
                • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
                • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
                • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
                • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
                  Itinerary disclaimer
                  OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                  Physical rating

                  Included activities
                  Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
                  Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
                  Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
                  Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
                  Important notes
                  SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS
                  A single supplement is available on this trip.

                  STARTING IN THE GALAPAGOS
                  This trip has a shorter version GGRX which doesn't include flights to and from Quito and starts in the Galapagos.

                  GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA PORT FEES
                  A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
                  When booking, please ensure that your details are correct and they match your passport.
                  Your passport must match the booking details provided to us; otherwise it could cause issues with your transit card and internal flights resulting in purchasing a new
                  card and flights at your own expense.

                  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.

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

                  Group size
                  Maximum of 15 travellers per group.
                  Your fellow travellers
                  SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                  Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. 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 trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (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.
                  Accommodation
                  Hostel (2nt), Hotel (6nt)
                  Meals introduction
                  While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.
                  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 dinner 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.

                  DIET REQUIREMENTS
                  Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stools, markets, etc.

                  More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.

                  Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.

                  SIMPLE BREAKFAST
                  Some of the included breakfasts along this trip can be quite simple: toasts, spreads, juice and coffee or tea.
                  Meals
                  3 breakfasts
                  Money matters
                  When it comes to money matters 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 drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping 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).

                  MEALS NOT INCLUDED
                  For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out?

                  Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.

                  Lunch. If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15.

                  Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main.

                  These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

                  EMERGENCY FUNDS
                  We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                  CREDIT CARD & ATMS
                  Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

                  ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout this trip (note though that charges are made for each transaction). 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.

                  Traveller cheques have become less accepted and generally quite cumbersome to exchange. The best “Plan B” is to carry USD100 – USD200 in small notes in case of an eventuality (your bank card doesn’t work, you are unable to withdraw funds, etc.)

                  DEPARTURE TAX:
                  In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Nowadays, these departure taxes are added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase.

                  Unless mentioned below, no airport departure tax has to be paid during this trip.


                  Ecuador & Hotel based Galapagos Tipping:

                  Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

                  Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine.
                  On our Ecuador mainland trips your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go.

                  TIPPING GUIDE

                  To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.

                  Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                  Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD4-5 per passenger per day for Ecuador Land and USD8-USD10 per passenger per day for Galapagos.

                  Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD4-5 per passenger per day for Ecuador Land and USD8-USD10 per passenger per day for Galapagos.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.

                  In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                  Please keep in mind that prices in the Galapagos Islands are more expensive than other areas in South America. We have adjusted the budget for non-included meals accordingly.
                  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:

                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                  PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                  While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                  MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
                  In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.

                  SEAT BELTS:
                  Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                  FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                  Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                  LIFE JACKETS:
                  While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

                  SWIMMING SKILLS
                  This trip does include snorkeling on multiple days throughout the itinerary. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this tour.

                  The sun in the Galapagos islands is incredibly strong due to its close proximity to the equator, ensure you are well prepared with suncreen, sun hat, sunglasses and a rash guard if desired.
                  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
                  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.

                  For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                  In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.


                  Intrepid Ecuador office:: +593 9 94014877
                  Visas
                  Passport:
                  As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                  Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                  Visas:
                  Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                  Also remember to check whether a transit visa is required on route to join this trip or on the way home.


                  As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking.
                  Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
                  What to take
                  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.

                  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. 

                  Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although a small suitcase with wheels is ok too. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even short walking distances (max 30 minutes).

                  In terms of weight, keep in mind that if you are flying domestically (either on this itinerary or during your personal time) airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage.

                  Finally, 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:


                  ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST

                  Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document
                  Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
                  Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
                  Money belt and small padlocks
                  Personal medication
                  Daypack
                  Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
                  Torch/flashlight (your phone’s may suffice)
                  Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
                  Toiletries/travel wipes
                  Insect repellent
                  Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
                  Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)
                  Refillable water bottle
                  Phrase book
                  Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates
                  Wind and waterproof rain jacket
                  Travel Towel
                  Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
                  Camera with spare memory card and charger/batteries
                  Swimwear (dependent on itinerary)
                  Emergency fund as mentioned in the Money Matters section
                  Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities are widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies between USD1 to USD3 (approx.) per kilo and it can normally be dropped off and picked the same day.

                  SLEEPING BAGS
                  It’s not essential that you bring a sleeping bag for any of our trips however on some itineraries we will recommend either bringing one from home or hiring one on the ground. If this is the case it will be mentioned in the ‘region specific’ packing list.
                  Climate and seasonal information
                  SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS
                  Please note that on occasions the water can be 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.

                  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.
                  Health
                  All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

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

                  WHO – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
                  The World Health Organization has identified the following mosquito transmitted diseases in this region:

                  Dengue, Yellow Fever, Malaria and Zika (amongst others)

                  For more information, please visit www.who.int


                  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, we recommend 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/


                  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.

                  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
                  Travel insurance
                  Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                  When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                  If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                  A couple of rules
                  Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for 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.

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

                  For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules
                  Responsible Travel
                  We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

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

                  The Intrepid Foundation
                  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.
                  www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/fundar-galapagos/


                  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