Galapagos & Amazon Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Ecuador
Programmes:
Wildlife
Trip Code:
WAJ
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Spend a week up high and down low in the Amazon jungle, looking for Giant otters, sloth, monkeys, caiman and many colourful species of bird. By contrast, the volcanic islands of the Galapagos offer a very different encounter: Sea lions scatter the beaches, fearless Marine iguanas find camouflage on blackened rocks and countless birds nest in the cliffs above.

At a Glance

  • Travel by internal flight, motor yacht, canoe and minibus 
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus local naturalist guide
  • 7 nights on board a First-Class Boat in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, 4 nights comfortable hotel and 3 nights comfortable jungle lodge

Trip Highlights

  • Stay in the Napo Wildlife Centre, a community-owned lodge within the UNESCO Biosphere of Yasuni National Park
  • Visit parrot clay licks, explore the lake by dug-out canoe and walk through primary rainforest
  • Seven nights aboard a First-Class Boat exploring the Galapagos Islands - a maximum of 16 clients on board
  • Snorkel with iridescent fish, playful Sea lions and turtles 
  • Fantastic on-board service with experienced naturalist guide

Is This Trip for You?

This trip has been graded 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 5.

It is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and those with an interest in history or geology. Though you do not need to be particularly fit, you should note that due to the volcanic nature of the Galapagos islands there will be some walking on rough ground and sharp volcanic rocks. The ability to withstand high temperatures and swim will maximize your enjoyment. Due to local regulations in the Galapagos we have specific time slots for making our landings and site visits. There is usually very little disruption to the schedule, but this can mean little room for deviation in the event of poor weather or other circumstances.

In the Galapagos, each day will feature a mixture of walking, snorkelling and exploring the islands by boat. To get closer to the designated landing sites on each of the islands we disembark into small pangas (motorised dinghys). Landings on the islands are divided into two types - wet and dry. For dry landings, the panga will take you right up to a landing stage or rocky outcrop where you can disembark without getting wet. However in some places where there is no landing stage the panga will stop close to a beach and you will be expected to walk through shallow water (generally no more than ankle-deep) to the shore. The leader will always advise conditions prior to leaving and it is possible to skip any particular excursion if you would rather relax on board the boat.

There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling in the Galapagos and this is one of the best ways to experience the marine life. A mask and snorkel will reveal an exciting underwater world with Sea lions, rays, turtles, Marine iguanas and a colourful array of fish. On most days of the itinerary there will be one or two snorkelling sessions.  Snorkelling in the Galapagos does not require any special skills, however, at times you will be snorkelling in open water where there are fairly strong currents. Before going into the water, the guide will evaluate the strength of the currents and the general condition of the sea to make sure they are right for this to be a safe and enjoyable activity. The dinghy will remain very close at all times; if you get tired or feel like coming out of the water you only have to raise your arm and they will come to pick you up so you can rest for a while before going back in or stay in the dinghy until it is time to return to the boat. Snorkelling equipment (snorkel, fins and masks) is provided, however, is advisable to wear a wetsuit which not only protects you from the cold but also makes floating much easier without as much effort.

We offer the Galapagos cruise in conjunction with our Ecuadorian partners, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than Exodus' minimum age for this trip.

Although there is electricity 24 hours a day at the Napo Wildlife Centre, you are requested to conserve it wherever possible. Hot showers exist in all en-suite bathrooms in the lodge.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

At the Napo Wildlife Centre a wildlife guide or biologist will act as your main leader and be accompanied by a leader from a local tribe who may not speak English.

In the Galapagos you'll be accompanied by an English-speaking guide registered with the Galapagos National Park service. In Quito there will be a local, English-speaking guide.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Quito
End City:
Guayaquil

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Quito.

    The group flight usually arrives into Quito this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. A local guide will welcome you to Quito and explain the schedule for the next few days.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Quito city tour.

    Today is free to relax, recover from the flights and explore the fascinating city of Quito. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, standing at 2,850m on the western cordillera of the Andes. It is one of the smaller and more attractive of the colonial capitals of South America. Because of the altitude visitors to Quito are advised to take it easy at first.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Coca; canoe excursion to Napo Wildlife Centre.

    Transfer to Quito airport this morning for a 40-minute flight from Quito to Coca. A short drive takes us to the dock where we board a large motorized canoe for a two-hour ride down-stream. At the entrance to the Napo Wildlife Centre reserve we transfer to smaller, paddled dug-out canoes so as not to disturb the wildlife. This paddle can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on what sightings we have (we may have the chance to spot Giant otters, along with monkeys and countless bird species including toucans, parrots and macaws). The final part of the journey involves crossing the spectacular Anangu Lake and arriving at the lodge to receive a welcome drink and briefing.

    Accommodation: Napo Wildlife Centre
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Days 4-5

    Two days at the Napo Wildlife Centre.

    Spend the next two days at the Napo Wildlife Centre (NWC). Choice and flexibility are key at the lodge but hopefully the following information should give you a good idea of what to expect. Rather than fixed programmes, the guide will design the most suitable schedule to match the groups physical condition and personal interests. Early starts are necessary in order to maximise our wildlife viewing opportunities. NWC has one of the best parrot clay licks in Ecuador, located around one hour from the lodge. We aim to arrive at the lick before the parrot activity kicks off fully at around 7-8am. The lodge also has a 36m-canopy tower, which offers a fantastic insight into the various vertical layers of the jungle and their inhabitants. Spider monkeys frequent the higher canopy searching for fruit and the panoramic view from the top is magnificent, as is the bird viewing. Numerous trails from the lodge offer hikes amongst the primary rainforest and we will head out during the day to learn about the trees and the forest and at night in search of caiman and other nocturnal creatures. Naturally, exploring the lake and creeks by dug-out canoe is a highlight and one of the best ways to see larger animals.

    Accommodation: Napo Wildlife Centre
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Fly to Quito.

    Return to Quito the same way we arrived - paddled canoe down the creek, motorised canoe back up the river to Coca and then a short drive to the airport for the flight to Quito.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Discover Quito at your leisure.

    We include a free day in Quito to allow time for any delays coming back from the rainforest. An optional excursion to the cloud forest can be organised for this day at the start of the tour.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Fly to Galapagos; visit Charles Darwin Centre; embarkation.

    Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. We take a short ferry crossing to Santa Cruz Island where we drive to the highlands to look for Galapagos giant tortoises. This afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Centre to learn about the ecology of the islands and visit the centre's tortoise hatchery. After this we board our First-Class boat at Puerto Ayora, the island's main town. For today's excursion it's a good idea to have access to your camera, sun cream and appropriate clothing: comfortable footwear for some short walks (possibly amongst grass), light clothes, a hat/cap and a light waterproof in case of a shower or mist.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    Galapagos Cruise Day 2

    This Galapagos cruise alternates between two itineraries and so for the next seven days your specific itinerary depends on the departure date of the trip (please ask your sales consultant or see the dates & prices section of the website if you're unsure).

    Itinerary A: Walk on tiny Plazas Island to see a cactus forest, land iguanas and seabirds, then cruise to the white sand beaches of Santa Fe.

    Itinerary B: A short walk on the small island of Chinese Hat before snorkelling with Sea lions (and penguins if lucky!); on to the dark red beach of Isla Rabida to walk amongst spatter cones, pelicans, Blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    Galapagos Cruise Day 3

    Itinerary A: A day at San Cristobal Island: the white sand beach, Blue-footed boobies and old cone of Cerro Brujo, Galapagos giant tortoise at Galapaguera and crystal clear waters around the striking spear of Kicker Rock.

    Itinerary B: We start our three days exploring the largest island of Isabela with a walk to the huge 5-mile wide caldera on Sierra Negra volcano. In the afternoon it's possible to visit the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre on Isabela island.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 11

    Galapagos Cruise Day 4

    Itinerary A: Swim with Sea lions and Marine iguanas at Gardener Bay on Espanola Island. In the afternoon, walk amongst Nazca and Blue-footed boobies and nesting Waved Albatross (in season) next to pounding surf at Punta Suarez.

    Itinerary B: Cruising round Isabela's west side, we hope to see whales and dolphins. We land at Punta Moreno's swirling fresh lava flows and also explore the islets of Elizabeth Bay with the largest colony of penguins in the Galapagos.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 12

    Galapagos Cruise Day 5

    Itinerary A: At Floreana Island snorkel in the spectacular sunken crater of Devil's Crown amongst thousands of fish. Visit the lagoon at Punta Cormorant (often with flamingos) and Post Office Bay, the mailbox used by 18th Century whalers.

    Itinerary B: In 1954 Urbina Bay was uplifted 4 metres. Walk here amongst exposed coral heads, wandering Galapagos giant tortoises and huge land iguanas. In the afternoon we visit Tagus Cove and Darwin Lake, directly opposite the recently active Fernandina Volcano.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 13

    Galapagos Cruise Day 6

    Itinerary A: To Dragon Hill, a nesting site for land iguanas with a large lagoon; dramatic Sullivan Bay with a walk on a huge lava flow only 100 years old before swimming from the white-sand beach in crystal clear waters.

    Itinerary B: Land at Punta Espinosa on Fernandina in the midst of a huge colony of Marine iguanas; the sea life is very rich here and supports a large Sea lion and Fur seal colony. Cross the straights and explore the cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 14

    Galapagos Cruise Day 7

    Itinerary A: Less-visited Genovesa Island is home to an abundance of Red-footed boobies, Fur seals, Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls. Here, we look for tropicbirds at Prince Philip Steps before snorkelling, whilst at Darwin Bay, Galapagos mockingbirds are usually seen.

    Itinerary B: Excellent birding on Santiago Island at Puerto Egas followed by an afternoon snorkel and a walk amongst incredible volcanic scenery on Bartolome Island - cones, lava tubes and Pinnacle Rock.

    Accommodation: First-Class Boat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 15

    Fly to Guayaquil; end Guayaquil.

    Itinerary A: Explore the mangroves of Turtle Cove at dawn watching turtles rising for air as herons fish from the trees.

    Itinerary B: An early morning walk on North Seymour amidst Palo Santo trees and colonies of Blue-footed boobies.

    Both itineraries: After a late breakfast we disembark for the journey back to Baltra to transfer to the airport and fly back to the mainland. We fly to Guayaquil airport where it's possible to connect with international flights this evening from 6pm onwards. Alternatively, you can extend your stay for a few extra nights. Land only clients may prefer to organise post-tour accommodation for the night in Guayaquil and organise their international flights for the following day in case of delays coming back from the Galapagos.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels, First-Class Boat & Lodge

7 nights on board a First Class Boat, the Cachalote Explorer, in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, 4 nights comfortable hotel and 3 nights jungle lodge.

Cachalote Explorer: A 16-passenger Motor-Sailer with 8 comfortable double/twin cabins, each with en suite facilities. All cabins are air conditioned and have the following: shower with hot water, toilet, amenities and towels, porthole windows. Max speed 8 knots, size 88ft. Renovated in 2018.  

At the Napo Wildlife Centre, you will stay in individual wooden and concrete cabins. The centre is small with only 12 cabins.

Optional single supplement available in Quito & Napo only. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 988.00 CHF

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 10 dinners included.

On board meals are plentiful with a wide choice of international and local cuisine. Breakfasts will usually consist of cheese, meats, eggs, cereal, toasts, yoghurts and fruits. Snacks are provided mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and for lunches and dinner soup usually precedes the main course. Alcoholic drinks are available on board (approx. US$4 per beer, US$32.50 for a bottle of wine, around US10 for selected cocktails) and the crew request that you do not bring your own alcohol with you. Drinking water, tea, coffee and juice is freely available at no additional charge.

At Napo Wildlife Centre, breakfast is a large buffet of cereals, fresh fruit and breads with cheese, eggs and jams. Lunch and dinner are usually three courses and served by a waiter. The lodge has a well stocked bar.

The chefs can prepare meals for vegetarians and those with other dietary requirements provided advance notice is given - please inform us at the time of booking.

Transportation

In Quito, transport is in private air-conditioned minibuses, and we use internal flights to reach the Amazon and Galapagos.

At Napo Wildlife Centre motorised canoes are used to navigate the main river and paddled dug-out canoes on the smaller tributaries and streams.

In the Galapagos we use a First-Class Boat for our main navigation and small semi-inflatable pangas (motorised boats or Zodiacs) for landings.

There are extensive walks in the Galapagos Islands, as well as a variety of long and short hikes at the Napo Wildlife Centre (all longer walks can be avoided if required).

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

In Quito and the highlands it should be warm by day and generally dry. Maximum daytime temperatures are almost constant throughout the year at 20ºC, nights 8ºC. Some rain can be expected in February to May and October to November but storms, though heavy, are generally short, and Quito is considered to have quite a pleasant climate.

It is possible to visit the Galapagos at any time of year, but seasonal variations do affect what you see and there are climatic changes to be aware of. The weather is controlled by the two main ocean currents of the region, the Humboldt, bringing cold water from the Antarctic, and El Nino, which brings tropical water from the Gulf of Panama. How close to Galapagos they converge (which varies from year to year) is the key to the weather.

'Dry season'

Generally speaking, late May to early December is the cooler 'dry' season. In this period it is not necessarily dry, as there is a persistent light mist (garua) and often light drizzle, and the higher mountain slopes are covered in cloud and fog or rain. At this time the winds are in the southeast and are higher than at other times, so seas can sometimes be choppy and anyone worried about seasickness might be better advised to avoid it. Daytime maximum temperatures lie between 27ºC and 31ºC, the cooler months being July to November. In July and August the fairly strong winds introduce a chill factor, and it can feel quite cold at nights, though throughout the year the official night temperatures vary between 19ºC and 24ºC.

'Wet season'

Depending on how close the convergence of the two currents comes to Galapagos, there may or may not be a wet season from January to April or May. Approximately every seven years the El Nino current actually hits the islands and there will be heavy rains in these months. In other years rain usually falls sporadically from otherwise clear skies. The ocean temperatures are higher, with generally calm seas and strong sunshine: pleasant, but potentially very hot. Apart from an El Nino year, the weather is usually better from December/January to April/May than at other times even if there is some rain, and most people would regard these months as the best time to go.

There are plenty of wildlife highlights throughout the year:

January: Nesting land birds; Green sea turtles arrive to lay eggs on the islands beaches; land iguana’s start breeding on Isabela.
February: Nesting Marine iguanas on Santa Cruz; Greater flamingos start nesting on Floreana.
March: The bright red throat pouches of frigatebirds are inflated during mating season on Genovesa and San Cristobal.
April: Huge numbers of Waved albatross on Española displaying courtship rituals; eggs of Green sea turtles begin to hatch; land iguana eggs hatch on Isabela.
May: Courtship of Blue-footed boobies begins on North Seymour; Waved albatross on Española start laying eggs.
June: Giant tortoises migrate to the lowlands and start nesting; migrating birds stop in the Galapagos to rest; migrating Humpback whales can often by seen around the western islands.
July: Dolphins and whales are more likely to be seen around the western islands; Blue-footed boobies on Española start breeding.
August: Nazca boobies nest on Genovesa Island; Sea lions start giving birth to pups.
September: Penguins seen in the water when snorkelling around Bartoleme.
October: Galapagos Fur seals start mating; Blue-footed boobies start raising chicks.
November: Curious Sea lion pups found in the water amongst snorkelers.
December: Mating Green sea turtles; Waved albatross chicks fledge.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure. Please be aware that flights from London and to the Galapagos usually stop in Guayaquil.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting in Quito and ending in Guayaquil

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Quito in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival transfers for any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients, so no matter which flight you choose to arrive on you will be met and transferred to your hotel. We do not offer free departure transfers on this trip because the tour ends at Guayaquil airport. All those taking advantage of the free airport arrival transfers must provide full flight details in advance; unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel; transfers to other hotels in the same city may attract an extra charge; transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times.

Location start:
Quito
Location end:
Guayaquil

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Sunglasses
Sunhat
Sunscreen
Strong-soled shoes for walking on the islands
Insect repellent (high DEET percentage recommended, inflammable sprays are not allowed by the airline)
Torch/headlamp for night walks in the jungle
Long sleeved shirt and light trousers for the jungle. The lodge provides ponchos and wellington boots for your stay, but has very limited choices for those over UK size 10. If your feet are larger you are recommended to take your own (or good waterproof hiking boots). Bright colours should be avoided, especially in the jungle.

Biodegradable soap and shampoo is available on board the boat and at the jungle lodge.

Due to the limited storage facilities available on the boat, hard suitcases will be difficult to store so we recommend that you take a soft holdall or rucksack for this trip so that your bag can be unpacked into the cabin storage and your holdall stowed away in the small space under the bed.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 20kg.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Canvas shoes or waterproof sandals for wading ashore if you don't like wet landings
Swimming gear
Waterproofs
Camera with telephoto lens, spare memory cards (this is one of the most photogenic places in the world!)
Spare camera battery (batteries can be charged through the onboard power and in all rooms in the jungle lodge)
Binoculars

Practical Information

Passport

Ecuador

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Ecuador

British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy. 

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Programme (most British and western European citizens with a machine readable passport are), you are now required to register in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority (ESTA). There is a US$14 charge for the ESTA, which is only payable online with a credit card. Please see our website www.exodus.co.uk/usvisa for further information. All other nonresidents passing through the US must get a visa in advance. Check with your local embassy or consulate for more details on how to obtain a visa.

Vaccination

Ecuador

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to Ecuador will be required to show valid medical insurance on arrival and cannot enter the country without it.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Ecuador's Timezone:
America/Lima -05 (GMT -05:00)

Electricity

Ecuador's Electricity:

120 Volts. Plug types A & B; establishments often take two flat parallel pin plugs.

All cabins have 24 hour electricity from sockets (American 2 flat prong system and voltage of 110) for charging camera batteries etc.  The voltage in the common areas is 220.

Money

Ecuador's Currency

The national currency of Ecuador is the US Dollar (USD), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2018) of approximately 1.28 to the GBP,  0.76 to the CAD, 1.14 to the EUR, 0.73 to the AUD and 0.67 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

You should carry your money in US Dollars cash, since sterling can be difficult to change and may incur a poor exchange rate. Please note that obtaining change for larger denomination banknotes (USD100 and USD50) can be difficult. Try to carry a number of small notes (USD1 or USD5) as many small businesses and taxis do not carry large amounts of change.

On this trip there is a compulsory Galapagos Tax of USD100, which can only be paid locally and will be collected by the National Park Service on arrival at Baltra. In addition, all visitors to the Galapagos are required to obtain an immigration control card in mainland Ecuador - this costs USD20 per person and will be supplied and paid for locally. Please note that Galapagos taxes are subject to increase without notice, and any such increase will be collected in Quito or Baltra. 

ATMs accepting major credit and debit cards are readily available in Quito, but access in the Galapagos is limited. Please contact your bank before travel to ensure compatibility and take more than one card with you as we have had reports of some debit cards not being accepted. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

All food is provided in the Galapagos and at the Napo Wildlife Centre, but for the days in Quito we provide breakfast only and you should budget roughly USD10 - 15 for lunch, and USD15-20 for main evening meals (22% tax included). It is of course possible to eat more cheaply or expensively than this, and the cost estimates don't include alcohol. Tipping is customary in restaurants and cafes throughout Ecuador, and we recommend leaving a tip of between 10 and 15% of the total bill if the service charge is not already included. Drinks and incidentals are quite expensive in the Galapagos as everything is imported from the mainland.

Snorkelling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) as well as wetsuits are available free of charge on board.  Alternatively, you can bring your own equipment to ensure a good fit.

A credit card can be used for incidentals on board the boat although only cash is accepted for the Galapagos tax, the migration card and any tips for staff. Only US dollars are accepted on board.

Optional Excursions (approximate costs, depending on group sizes)

The following optional excursions are available from Quito. Arrangements and payment can be organised on arrival subject to availability.

Otavalo Day Tour (Saturday only) on a sharing basis, approx. USD90 per person
Cotopaxi National Park Day Tour (Thursday only) on a sharing basis, approx. USD90 per person 
Mindo Cloud Forest Day Tour on a private basis, approx. USD226 per person (minimum of 2 people required) 
Quito City Tour on a sharing basis (3 hrs approx) USD 33 per person
Equatorial Monument Tour (3 hrs approx) USD 21 per person
Bellavista Cloud Forest Day Tour approx. USD135 (1 client), USD125 per person (2 clients), USD105 per person (3 clients).

Tipping

Tipping is an optional but very much customary practice in Ecuador and forms part of the service culture. Due to the dominance of US visitors in the destination, tips are reasonably high and this is likely to add up during your stay. Please remember that you are never under any obligation to give a tip and you should only do so when you are happy with a service you have received.

To show appreciation to local guides on the mainland, a tip of around USD3-5 per day from each group member is sufficient. Drivers and other local staff may be given closer to USD1-2 in tips per day. You may want to form and manage a 'tip kitty' with the other members of the group to facilitate tips.

By definition, gratuities are not something we can include in the tour cost. It is also usual for groups to tip the boat crew in addition to the guide. It would be reasonable for each group member to contribute about USD 20-25 a day for the crew and staff in the Galapagos. You may also wish to tip the naturalist guides directly and this is at your discretion, but USD 5 - 6 per person per day would be a good gratuity.

At the Napo Wildlife Centre, you will have two leaders - one is a wildlife guide or biologist who will speak English and the other will be from the local tribe and may not speak English but is highly skilled at spotting and identifying wildlife. The two working together should provide an excellent service and if you think both do a good job, then a tip of about US$20 per person to each leader for your stay would be well received. You may also wish to leave a tip for the other lodge staff and a central box is left for this (US$10-15 per person per day is a good tip).

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.