Active Galapagos Trip Notes

Active Galapagos

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: 22 Sep 2016
Active Galapagos
Trip code: GGTF
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater, is the drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. Tour the Galapagos' outstanding natural beauty and interesting history by foot, boat and bike on this active adventure. Trace Darwin's theory of evolution, spot colourful, bizarre and beautiful creatures and have an experience that is completely out of this world as you discover the incredible Galapagos Islands.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency contact
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
Is this trip right for you?AccommodationWhat to take
Why we love itMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesFinish pointFeedback
Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip 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.
- Wildlife is a big focus on this trip, with activities like bird watching and swimming.
- This trip includes a 17 km hike (approximately 6-7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.
- While you're free to go diving if you 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.
- This trip visits Quito which is at 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.
Why we love it
- Get acquainted with the beautiful churches and graceful boulevards of Quito, Ecuador's capital
- Snorkel the incredible marine life-filled waters of Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido, one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos and an absolute highlight for many travellers
- The Galapagos Islands played a profound role in forming Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Explore the islands on this in-depth adventure, coming face-to-face with some of the most extraordinary wildlife on earth
- Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island, and kayak in beautiful Isabela Bay
- Get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. These nearly extinct creatures are one of the greatest drawcards to the Galapagos
- This is a land based Galapagos trip, we use locally owned hotels on the islands. On this trip you will have more opportunities to interact with the locals as opposed to staying on a boat.

Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask 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.

Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres with a view of Volcan Pichincha on the horizon. On day 1 there is an orientation walk to show the beautiful Colonial style buildings and help you explore the nooks and crannies of cosy Old Town. We’ll be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city.

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 more 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 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:

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)
Included Activities
  • Quito - Old Town orientation walk
    Optional Activities
    • Bellavista Cloud forest – Day trip from Quito - USD110
    • Quito City Tour - USD42
    • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
    • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
    • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
    • Otavalo Indian Market Full Day from Quito - USD70
    • Papallacta Hot Springs Day tour from Quito - USD70
    • Quilotoa lagoon - USD100
    • Quito city tour + the Equator line Full day - USD75
    • The Equator Line - USD55
    • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 2 Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
      Early morning Transfer to Quito airport (approximately 1 hour) for our flight to San Cristobal Island, Galapagos (approx 3.5 hrs). Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am depending on flight schedule time.

      Welcome to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands.
      The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card. This card has a cost of US$20 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.
      Our flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passenger's (approx 3.5 hours 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).

      Please note that this trip is a combination trip, therefore there may be some passenger's joing the trip in the Galapagos.

      We transfer from the airport to the hotel (approximately 15 minutes)
      Soon after we head out together to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve the unique Galapagos wildlife. Next, make our way to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. From here you can also see Kicker Rock, an eroded volcanic formation protruding from the sea which has become an emblem of the island.

      Soon after, travel to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim with sea lions, and maybe even some sea turtles. Continue back to town. Tonight you may wish to head out with the group and enjoy some of the fresh seafood available.
      Included Activities
      • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
      • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
      • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 3 Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
        Your second day at Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride out to Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido (said to look like the sleeping lion that its Spanish name translates to). Two towering volcanic rocks rise 500 feet out of the ocean, and a mild current in the chasm between them attracts hammerhead and harmless Galapagos sharks, as well as manta rays and schools of vividly coloured reef fish. This is seen as one of the best snorkelling spots in the whole Galapagos, and one of the best places on the planet to view marine life. A highlight of many travellers’ visits to the Galapagos, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes and along the way you can seek out famous wildlife like nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. When you arrive at Kicker Rock, strap on a mask and jump into the water, seeing sea lions do graceful cartwheels, reefs sharks drifting along the canyon floor, sea turtles effortlessly propelling themselves through the water and if you're luck hammerhead sharks.
        This snorkeling is in open sea, on occasion the currents can be quite strong so it's particularly important you are a confident swimmer for this activity. If you have any concerns, please ensure you speak with your leader.
        Included lunch today is a packed box lunch on board the boat! Unfortunately it is against National Park rules to eat on the beach.
        We'll return to town in the afternoon where you will have some free time to enjoy your final night in San Cristobal.
        Included Activities
        • Isla San Cristobal - Snorkeling at Kicker Rock also known as Leon Dormido (6 Hours)
          Hotel (1 nt)
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch
          Day 4 Isla Floreana/Isla Isabela, Galapagos
          Take an early morning boat ride today towards Floreana Island, which should take about 2.5 hours. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins and whales.
          On arrival to the island, snorkel in the clear blue waters and then break for lunch. Afterwards venture to a black sand beach which belongs to the Witmers, decedents of some of the first settlers on the Galapagos. The town here, Puerto Velasco Ibarra, has about 150 residents and an intriguing history involving deaths, disappearances and murders. Later in the afternoon, wave goodbye to Floreana and continue to Isabela Island (approximately 2 hours)
          From Isabela Port it's a short transfer to the hotel where we will spend the night (approximately 15 minutes)
          Please note when you arrive at Isabela, you'll need to pay a port fee of USD 5.
          Included Activities
          • Floreana - Snorkeling (1 Hour)
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch
            Day 5 Isla Isabela, Galapagos
            Start your second day on Isla Isabela with a short bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own. After our visit we take a short bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to a brackish lagoon where we will be able to observe flamingos.

            After an informative visit, board a small pangas for Tintoreras or Shark Alley. On our way we will go along the coast line in the hope to spot blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin who is home on the western part of the arquipelago. On arrival, hop off for a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas. Snorkel in a calm inlet with colourful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom.

            In the late afternoon, return to town in search of your own sandy resting spot and enjoy your first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.
            Included Activities
            • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
            • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
            • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
              Hotel (1 nt)
              1 breakfast
              Day 6 Isla Isabela, Galapagos
              Start your last day on Isla Isabela by heading towards the Sierra Negra Volcano (approximately 45 minutes by bus), one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and the second largest crater in the world. Weather permitting, take a challenging hike of around 17 kilometres up the rocky mountain, which takes between five and six hours.
              Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.
              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, sunscreen and plenty of water (we recommend 2 litres per person).

              After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner. Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you.
              Included Activities
              • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                Day 7 Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
                Begin the day with a kayak excursion in a protected bay. While here, search for the protected Galapagos penguin – the only penguin found close the equator. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Next head to Isla Santa Cruz, the tourist capital of Galapagos. Check in to the hotel and then go for a short walking tour of Puerto Ayora to visit the local fishermen's market.
                Included Activities
                • Isabela Kayak Excursion (1 Hour)
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 8 Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
                  This morning we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. You can even get close to giant tortoises which are being raised for the repopulation program.
                  Soon after we'll visit the higher part of the islands to observe the giant tortoise roaming in its natural habitat. In the afternoon, take an optional walk to Tortuga Bay, a gorgeous beach accessible only by foot. Choose to go swimming or perhaps just chill out on the beach. Finally, make your way back to town for one last dinner on these enchanted islands.
                  Included Activities
                  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
                    Optional Activities
                    • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit (45 Minute walk, one way) - Free
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                      Day 9 Isla Santa Cruz/ Quito
                      We say goodbye to the Galapagos today and take a flight back to Quito (Please note the flight will make a stop in Guayaquil)
                      You'll arrive back to Quito later afternoon. Perhaps head out for a final group dinner
                      Included Activities
                      • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 10 Quito
                        This morning your adventure comes to an end in Quito. As there are no activities planned for the final day, you can depart the accommodation at any time. Because there is little time spent in Quito on this trip, we recommend staying a few extra days to see more of Ecuador. If you choose to stay on, we’d be happy to assist you with booking accommodation.
                        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. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing one of our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, which can include the Old Town, markets and the city's culinary delights (see
                        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.

                        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
                        Quito - Old Town orientation walk
                        Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
                        Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
                        Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
                        Isla San Cristobal - Snorkeling at Kicker Rock also known as Leon Dormido (6 Hours)
                        Floreana - Snorkeling (1 Hour)
                        Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
                        Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
                        Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
                        Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
                        Isabela Kayak Excursion (1 Hour)
                        Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
                        Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
                        Important notes
                        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.

                        SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS:
                        A single supplement is available on this trip.

                        INTERNET IN THE GALAPAGOS:
                        Some of the hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections however it's often very slow 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 12 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.
                        Hotel (9nt)
                        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.

                        PRICES IN THE GALAPAGOS
                        Please note that prices for food and beverages in the Galapagos are generally more expensive than Ecuador mainland and other parts of South America.

                        6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
                        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.
                        Group leader
                        You will be met at the Quito hotel by one of our experienced local representatives. They will conduct the group briefing on the evening of day 1 of the trip and also transfer with you to the airport on day 2 for your flight to the Galapagos.
                        On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met your Guide. Our Guides are registered and trained in conservation and natural sciences by the Charles Darwin Foundation and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service.
                        On your last day in the Galapagos your guide will take you to the airport where you will take an unescorted flight. Our experienced customer representative will be waiting for you upon arrival at Quito airport and will accompany you back to the hotel where you will spend your final night of the tour.

                        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.
                        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:


                        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
                        During this trip we have various boat, ferries and speedboat rides, life jackets are compulsory by law and we require you to wear them.

                        WATER SAFETY:
                        Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

                        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 Sierra Madre
                        Veintimilla No 464 y Luis Tamayo
                        Phone: 593 22505687
                        Fax: 593 22224950
                        Finish point
                        Hotel Sierra Madre
                        Veintimilla No 464 y Luis Tamayo
                        Phone: 593 22505687
                        Fax: 593 22224950
                        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

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

                        Intrepid Ecuador office: +593 9 94014877
                        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 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
                        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
                        Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
                        Torch/flashlight (your phone’s may suffice)
                        Electrical adapter plug (view
                        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.

                        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.

                        GALAPAGOS SPECIFIC
                        In addition to our packing list above, you may want to consider bringing the below items when traveling to the Galapagos:

                        Sandals (something with a hard sole that you can get wet)
                        Rash Guard to prevent sun exposure

                        Beach Towels: It's not necessary to bring a beach towel as all of our hotels provide them for the duration of your stay.
                        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.
                        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.

                        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:


                        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

                        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:

                        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.
                        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.

                        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:
                        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.


                        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:


                        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.

                        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.