Galapagos - In the Steps of Pirates & Darwin Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Small Ship Cruises, Platinum, Guided Group
Destinations:
Ecuador
Programmes:
Small Ship Cruises
Trip Code:
GPV
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

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

9 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

The Galapagos Islands are a treasure meant to be experienced with a group of true nature enthusiasts. The Evolution is the perfect haven for relaxing between daily hiking and snorkelling excursions, or for joining fellow travellers for a briefing by our knowledgeable naturalists. During our intimate Galapagos Islands cruise, find yourself just inches away from giant tortoises, comical Blue-footed boobies, Sea lions, penguins, iguanas and many other animals, and gain an appreciation for how remarkable life on Earth can be. Voyage the famed waters of Galapagos amid the spectacular landscapes and distinct endemic wildlife that so intrigued Charles Darwin. From the spouting whales crossing the Bolivar Channel to the Waved albatrosses nesting along the cliffs of Espanola, you'll experience the undeniable wonder of these enchanted isles.

At a Glance

  • 1 night in Guayaquil and 7 nights on board the Evolution 
  • Islands visited: San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Bartolomé, Santiago, Española, Rabida, Baltra
  • Group normally 26-32 passengers plus crew. 

Trip Highlights

  • Snorkel, kayak, hike and even enjoy an intimate picnic in the highlands with giant tortoises
  • Sail on the Evolution, featuring the most public space and largest cabins of any yacht in her class
  • Enjoy the archipelago's best guest-to-guide ratio 
  • Learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station

Is This Trip for You?

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

This trip is great 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 to 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 this 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.

Booking Conditions:

Please note this tour is excluded from our standard booking conditions, and instead the following conditions will apply:
Deposit:              25%
Balance:             Due at 90 days 
Cancellation within 90 days:     
89 days to 71 days: 50% of trip costs retained
70 days of less: 100% of trip costs retained

Islands Visited on this Itinerary:

Isabela: One of the youngest and most volcanically active islands with stark lava fields blackening the landscape, Isabela is larger in size than all of the other islands put together! Isabela was formed when six volcanoes merged. The lunar-esque landscape of its interior is perfect for an unusual trekking experience, and the island's cloud forest is home to five distinct subspecies of the giant Galapagos tortoise. Marine life here is rich and varied, and it's possible to see stingrays, White-tipped reef sharks and turtles in the mangroves and submerged lava tunnels, as well as playful dolphins and the odd glimpse of breaching Humpback whales

Fernandina: The third-largest island, Fernandina is an active shield volcano that is noted for its fine examples of Aa and Pahoehoe lava flows. The ecosystem on Fernandina is remarkably untouched, and the island has never been invaded by foreign species and predators. As a result, the cormorants here had no real need to fly in order to find ample fish stocks, and gradually evolved into flightless birds with small wings and feet that are extremely well-adapted to swimming. Land iguanas have also flourished due to the lack of predators, and the island is home to the largest colony in the Galapagos.

Bartolomé: One of the most photographed of all the islands! Bartolomé is an extinct volcano with many interesting geological features and a semi-lunar landscape. The famous Pinnacle Rock, seen in countless photos, is actually a tuff cone – a column of hardened volcanic ash formed when molten rock fused together after coming into contact with seawater. It's possible to swim with Galápagos penguins here, and the island is home to Sea lions, nesting marine turtles and White-tipped reef sharks.

Santiago: Home of the Galapagos Fur seal, which likes the rocky shoreline and shady spots of Santiago. Around 30,000 to 40,000 Fur seals live on the islands, and the majority can be found close to Puerto Egas, either on the rocks or on its black beaches. The island is a good place to see Galapagos hawks and Darwin finches, and there’s a popular snorkelling site called Chinese Hat where penguins, rays, turtles and playful Sea lion pups reside.

Santa Cruz: The second-largest island in the archipelago, Santa Cruz is home to Puerto Ayora – where most Galapagos ships are docked for embarkation – and the Charles Darwin Research Station, which conducts tortoise research programmes and is heavily involved in the management and conservation of the islands along with the national park authorities. The Santa Cruz highlands are much greener than the dry lowlands of the other islands and are home to freely-roaming groups of tortoises. In common with the rest of the group, Santa Cruz has many interesting volcanic features such as pit craters and lava tunnels, and there is also a noted flamingo lagoon at Cerro Dragón.

Rabida: The striking russet sand differentiates Rabida from the other islands; rich in iron, this is one of the most colourful islands in the Galapagos. Nesting pelicans can be seen amongst the red cliffs, while pink flamingos are found feeding in the island’s saltwater lagoon. 

Española: The southernmost island of the chain, Española is also the oldest. As it is relatively isolated from the other islands, it has developed its own endemic fauna, including the only Marine iguanas that change colour in order to attract mates during the breeding season. The island is the favoured breeding ground for almost the entire world population of Waved albatross due to its easy access to prime fishing grounds and the steep cliffs that provide an ideal place for the large birds to take off. There are also large colonies of mockingbirds, boobies, Darwin finches and doves, as well as Sea lions, which surf the breaking waves.

San Cristóbal: The easternmost island of the archipelago and the first landing point for Charles Darwin in 1835. The Galapagos Islands' provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is on San Cristóbal, and the town is home to the excellent Galapagos Interpretation Centre. Popular sites for visitors to the island include El Junco Lake (one of the archipelago's few freshwater lagoons), Frigatebird Hill (unsurprisingly named for the large colonies of magnificent and great frigatebirds), and Kicker Rock, a towering split rock that rises over 100m from the ocean. The highland cloud forests provide a natural habitat for giant tortoises. Huge numbers of Sea lions are also present on San Cristóbal and nearby Isla Lobos, reachable by boat, is a big nesting site for Blue-footed boobies.

All guides have Level 3 National Park Certification

Guides will join all excursions and activities, providing daily recaps and briefings, and are always on hand to answer any questions. We can’t guarantee which guides will be available on which departure date but some of the guides below may be leading your Galapagos adventure:

Bolivar Sanchez: Bolivar, known as "Boli", was born in Guayaquil and has been guiding groups in the Galapagos Islands since 1993. He is an expert in earth science with degrees in biology, geology and conservation. His other interests include swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and photography.

BoliAlex Cox: Alex was born in San Cristobal Island and has been guiding in the Galapagos Islands for 29 years. Growing up in San Cristobal Island he developed a strong interest in wildlife and the outdoors as a child before going to study earth science at the Central University of Ecuador. When he’s not leading, he enjoys swimming, hiking and spending time with his two children.  

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Cristina Rivadeneira: Cristina was born in Quito and first visited the Galapagos Islands when she was just 11. She has been guiding trips in the Galapagos for 23 years. She studied business and languages. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, French and German. Her other interests are yoga, snorkelling, diving and whale watching. Her friends call her ‘the whale whisperer’. 

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Roberto Plaza: Roberto was born in Guayaquil and now lives with his family on the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island where they own a farm and live off the grid amongst giant tortoises. He studied biology at the Latina University in San Jose, Costa Rica and has been leading trips on the Galapagos for 27 years. He has a huge passion for nature and is also an expert in the natural and human history of the Islands. His other interests include surfing and photography. 

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Walter Campoverde: Walter was born in Santa Cruz Island and has been guiding in the Galapagos Islands for 36 years. He has degrees in tourism management and environmental management. He is a Master Scuba Instructor with over a thousand immersions. In 2004 he became one of the first Naturalist Guides of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. He is very passionate about nature, conservation and his other interests include bird watching and underwater photography. 

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Dolores Villacreses: Dolores, known as “Lola” has been guiding in the Galapagos Islands for 24 years. She is very passionate about the unique Galapagos Islands and truly enjoys everything about them, especially marine life, bird watching, geology and conservation programs. She studied marine biology and runs her own business on marine safety. Her other interests are snorkelling, scuba diving, photography and stargazing. 

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Daniel Jacome: Daniel is the grandson of an explorer who travelled to the Galapagos Islands in 1958.  He has been guiding on the Islands for 27 years. He studied tourism administration and also has extensive training in biology and botany. Some of his favourite experiences on the Islands are swimming with Sea lions and birdwatching. His other interest includes playing music with his band and spending time with his children. 

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Gustavo Andrade: Gustavo was born in Guayaquil and has been guiding in the Galapagos Islands for 17 years. He studied industrial engineering in Guayaquil and then moved to New York. It wasn’t long before he realised that his love for nature was much stronger than his attraction for larger cities and moved back after 9 months. His interests are snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and photography. 

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Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
26
Max group size:
32

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Guayaquil
End City:
Guayaquil

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Guayaquil

    Arrive in Guayaquil and transfer to the Hotel Oro Verde. 

    Accommodation: Hotel Oro Verde

  • Day 2

    Guayaquil / Baltra / Daphne Major

    Fly 600 miles across the Pacific Ocean to the Galapagos Islands and board the Evolution. After a safety briefing, enjoy a circumnavigation of Daphne Major, a paradise for sea birds such as magnificent frigatebird.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Isabela Island / Fernandina Island

    Zodiacs take you on a dramatic ride into the heart of a sunken volcano at Punta Vicente Roca. Take to the water, where we swim and snorkel among sea turtles, penguins and possibly even sea horses. Explore the lava fields of Punta Espinosa, located on Fernandina, the youngest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. Here we spot flightless cormorants and marine iguanas. Whale watch from the Evolution’s open-air decks as we cross the Bolivar Channel.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Isabela Island

    Isabela is the Galapagos archipelago's largest island, and is composed of five volcanoes – Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra, Darwin, Wolf and Alcedo – all of which are actually still considered active! Hike along the uplifted section of sea floor in Urbina Bay at the base of the Alcedo Volcano. Our naturalists point out the tortoises, colorful land iguanas and other wildlife that feed on the vegetation. Board our Zodiacs for an excursion to Tagus Cove, where we look for penguins, flightless cormorants, pelicans along the cliffs before a chance to snorkel and swim.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    Bartolomé / Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

    Visit Bartolomé Island, hiking to the top of a dormant volcano for a dramatic panorama, including famed Pinnacle Rock. The island is dotted with craters, cinder cones, lava flows, spatter cones and broken lava tunnels which run down from the summit. Our Zodiac drivers will take “non-hikers” for a ride around the cliffs, observing a stunning volcanic landscape and Galapagos penguins. Swim and snorkel with sea lions and maybe even speedy penguins. This afternoon, hike across the panoehoe lava of Sullivan Bay, seeing some of the hearty flora colonizing the landscapes. Stroll along the coralline beach spotting black and white oystercatchers.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach / Rabida Island

    Bachas Beach is home to one of the last remnants of the US World War II presence in Galapagos-a floating pier- which we’ll see on our morning walk along with Sally Lightfoot crabs, black necked stilts and whimbrels. Snorkel in the calm waters where sea turtles nest. While exploring uninhabited Rabida Island at the archipelago’s geologic center, watch for up to nine species of Darwin’s finches, doves, yellow warblers and mockingbirds. A small saltwater lagoon is home to white-cheeked pintail ducks and black-necked stilts. Snorkelers may take to the water with sea lions, sea turtles and reef fish such as damsels and pufferfish. During a guided kayaking excursion, watch for brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies while savoring views of the island’s sloping volcanic peak.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Santa Cruz Island

    After a tasty breakfast onboard our Galapagos cruise ship, head to a private reserve in the forested highlands to see and photograph giant tortoises. Stop at a family run sugar cane farm that also produces small-batch moonshine. Since 1970, more than 2,000 tortoises have been hatched, raised and released from the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center at the Darwin Research Center, which was founded in 1959. Learn about the vital work being done here before returning to the Evolution.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Española Island

    As the southernmost island in the archipelago, Española’s relative isolation has resulted in not only an abundance of unusual wildlife, but species and subspecies that are endemic to the island, such as Española (Hood) mockingbird, Española (Hood) racer snake, Española (Hood) lava lizard, waved albatross and brightly colored marine iguanas. Enjoy a Zodiac ride before wading ashore to Punta Suarez through a sea lion colony. Walk along the cliffs looking for waved albatrosses, Galapagos hawks, Hood mockingbirds and the red-colored race of marine iguana en route to Española’s blowhole, where waves spout 90 feet into the air. After lunch on our yacht, swim, snorkel and kayak in the waters off Gardner Bay. You are also welcome to bring along your book or a camera for a relaxing afternoon on this white-sand beach.

    Accommodation: The Evolution

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    San Cristóbal Island / Guayaquil

    End your Galapagos Islands cruise by returning to San Cristóbal to visit the Interpretation Centre, opened by the park in 1998.

    Fly to Guayaquil, where it's possible to connect with international flights later this evening. If organising your own flights, we would recommend speaking to your sales consultant about post-tour accommodation in Guayaquil so that you can fly home the following day. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

The Evolution

The classically styled Evolution's interior is fully air-conditioned, and cabins on all three decks offer ample storage space, a writing desk, bedside tables and private facilities. The Evolution's spacious cabins are the largest on average in the Galapagos and act as the perfect haven for an afternoon siesta between your excursions. 

While the Evolution may carry a group of just 32 guests, she is generous in size with a host of amenities. From relaxing on the sun deck to reading in the lounge, you're sure to relish the friendly ambiance. Enjoy briefings by your naturalists in the comfortable lounge or spend time with a snack and your fellow passengers at the canopied bar - a superb place for watching the sun set over the Pacific. After excursions, relax in the hot tub or find a cushy deck chair while enjoying more outside space than any other yacht in its class.

Because there is an "open bridge" policy aboard the Evolution, you are welcome to visit the captain and crew and learn all about the ship’s operation and navigation. A convenient boarding platform makes it easy and safe to board our excursion boats.

Cabins

All cabins feature private bathrooms with hair dryers and toiletries, climate controls, writing desk and safe-boxes, plus ample storage space. During every excursion, stewards will service your spacious cabin.

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

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

Meals are served in one seating in the dining room, and each meal boasts international and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, fresh fruit and sumptuous desserts.

Transportation

In the Galapagos we use the MV Evolution for our main navigation and small semi-inflatable pangas (motorised boats or Zodiacs) for landings.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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 be 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 Bartolome. 
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 land only: 9 days starting and ending in Guayaquil

Your trip starts in Guayaquil with overnight accommodation at the Oro Verde Hotel included for your first night, before internal flights to the Galapagos Islands will be taken on Day 2.

On your return to Guayaquil at the end of the holiday, we recommend booking post tour accommodation to give you some more flexiblity regarding your international flight schedule.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

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.

Location start:
Guayaquil
Location end:
Guayaquil

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Sunglasses
Sunhat
Sunscreen
Strong-soled shoes for walking on the islands
Flashlight/Torch

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 and batteries
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, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Ecuador you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. 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.

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 for charging camera batteries etc.

Money

Ecuador's Currency

The national currency of Ecuador is the US Dollar (USD), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2021) of approximately 1.37 to the GBP, 0.78 to the CAD, 1.17 to the EUR, 0.72 to the AUD and 0.68 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs accepting major credit and debit cards are readily available on the mainland, 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

You should carry your money in US Dollars cash, as other currencies can be difficult to change and may incur a poor exchange rate. Please note that obtaining change for larger denomination banknotes (US$100 and US$50) can be difficult. Try to carry a number of small notes (US$1 or US$5) as many small businesses and taxis do not carry large amounts of change.

Extra Expenses

Galapagos Park Tax fee: US$120, this must be paid locally in US Dollars (cash only)

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 the service you have received.

It is also usual for travellers to tip the boat crew in addition to the guide. It would be reasonable for each group member to contribute about US$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 US$5-$6 per person per day would be a good gratuity.

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus 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 14 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.

 

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 & Development 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 our website for online bookings, 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.