Galapagos Encounter - Archipel I (Itinerary A) Trip Notes

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

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

10 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

This 8 day south-western tour aboard the catamaran Archipel I gives an extensive overview of the Galapagos Islands by combining the circumnavigation of the Isabela Island with excursions in the most southern points of the archipelago. It also gives the chance to snorkel with Sea lions in the Loberia and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz.

At a Glance

  • Travel by internal flight, catamaran and minibus
  • 7 nights on board Archipel I in en suite, air-conditioned cabins, 2 nights comfortable hotel

Trip Highlights

  • Seven nights aboard Archipel I exploring the Galapagos Islands
  • Incredible wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities with near-tame animals
  • High chance of spotting: Booby colonies, Great and American frigatebird, Flightless cormorant, Galapagos penguin, Green Sea turtle, Galapagos Giant tortoise, Whitetip reef shark, Marine iguanas
  • Fantastic on-board service with experienced naturalist guide 
  • Small group - a maximum of 16 clients on board 

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.

Deposit terms

At the time of booking, we will ask you for the standard Exodus deposit plus an extra 10% of the trip cost in order to secure your space on the boat. If for any reason we are unable to secure the space and we have to cancel the trip, you will of course receive a full refund.

Cancellation terms

Due to the nature of this holiday, this trip has slightly different cancellation charges to those listed in the standard Exodus Booking Conditions. After booking, if cancelling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay cancellation charges as follows:

  • From 99 days to 36 days before departure - loss of deposit
  • 35 days or less (or failure to join the holiday) – 100% of the holiday cost

Islands Visited on this Itinerary:

Santa Fe: The dense vegetation of Santa Fe is made up of some of the largest species of cactus, including a forest of prickly pear. Large numbers of the endemic Santa Fe land iguana reside here – one of the largest land iguanas found on the islands.  

South Plaza: A tiny island formed of lava and carpeted with cacti and plants that give it a luxurious red surface. There is abundant bird life on South Plaza (including Tropic birds and Swallow-tailed gulls), as well as a large number of land and Marine iguanas that feed on the cacti.

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.

Floreana: One of the first islands to be inhabited, the human history of Floreana is as interesting as its natural history. At Post Office Bay, 18th-century sailors (and now tourists) left mail in a wooden barrel so it could be picked up by other ships and delivered to its final destination. It's still common practice for visitors to see if there are postcards or letters from their home town and deliver them on their return from the Galapagos. Notable wildlife on the island includes large flamingo colonies, the Galapagos petrel and, between December and May, nesting Green turtles. Just off Floreana's coast is the Devil's Crown, an underwater coral-filled crater that offers some of the best snorkelling on the islands.

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.

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.

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.

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

An English speaking naturalist guide registered by the Galapagos National Park accompanies every departure. In Quito there will be a local, English-speaking guide.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
2
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

WGAA

Land Only

Start City:
Quito
End City:
Guayaquil

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Quito.

    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 Casona de la Ronda (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Discover Quito at your leisure.

    Today is free to relax, recover from the flight 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 Casona de la Ronda (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to San Cristobal Airport & Interpretation Centre

    Morning Fly to Galapagos: Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to San Cristobal Airport in the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival to the Islands, you will pass through the airport inspection point to make sure that no foreign plant or animals are introduced to the island, and to pay the National Park Entrance Fee. Your guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbour where a dinghy will be waiting to take you to the yacht.

    Afternoon Interpretation Centre:  The Interpretation Centre gives a perfect explanation of this unique archipelago. Its exhibition helps you learn what makes this archipelago so unique. Information panels, pictures, documents, maquettes, and dioramas tell background and conservation stories about the islands.

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    South Plaza & Sante Fe

    Morning South Plaza: Popular South Plaza is not to be missed! This bizarre 'Jurassic islet' is the best place to see the emblematic 'Galapagos dragons', which crawl across it. 

    Afternoon Sante Fe: Sante Fe is another crown jewel of the Galapagos, where the pale Barrington land iguana and practically every other creature is unique to the archipelago or this island alone. 

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    North Seymour & Chinese Hat

    Morning North Seymour: North Seymour is another highlight of your cruise. In the archipelago’s most extensive seabird breeding colony you can walk just a short distance from frigatebirds and Blue-footed boobies.

    Afternoon Chinese Hat: Though recently born out of the fire the volcanic islet Chinese Hat does not appear to be any more inhospitable than Bartolomé and lunatic Sullivan Bay. This tiny, rusty-coloured islet just begins to sprout. You arrive just in time to witness the next chapter about colonisation by pioneers!

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Santa Cruz Island

    Morning  El Chato Reserve - Twin Craters: El Chato Reserve is a protected area and official part of the Galapagos National Park. It extends from Cerro El Chato as far down as the southwestern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where females lay their eggs.

    Afternoon Fausto Llerena Breeding CenterA tour at Fausto Llerena Breeding Center you can see the tortoises of Española Island, ending in the tortoise exhibit corral. Tortoises of this corral are accustomed to humans; it is an excellent spot to be photographed with them!

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Isabela Island

    Morning Moreno Point: Fresh, promising greens of pioneer vegetation contrasts strongly with the dead, pitch-black lava flow that once reached the ocean at Moreno Point.

    Afternoon Elizabeth Bay: At the remote Elizabeth Bay you will enjoy the best dinghy-ride of the Galapagos, which combines a visit to the Marielas Islets in the mouth of the bay, with the highest mangles in its innermost heart.

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Isabela & Fernandina Islands

    Morning Tagus Cove (Isabela): Tagus Cove is a historical anchorage at the northern entrance of Bolivar Channel (between Isabela and Fernandina).

    Afternoon Espinoza Point (Fernandina): Westernmost Fernandina harbours one of the world's most virgin, untouched ecosystems, and is another crown jewel of the Galapagos.

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    Santiago & Rabida Islands

    Morning Puerto Egas (Santiago): Puerto Egas is historical, and the favourite site on Santiago for wildlife lovers; and it’s even the best place in the archipelago to observe Galapagos Fur seals.

    Afternoon Rabida: Upon landing at this remarkable red beach, you will usually be greeted by a large bachelor colony of Galapagos Sea lions.

    Accommodation: Archipel I

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    Disembark Santa Cruz; fly Baltra to Guayaquil and end.

    Morning Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz): Strolling along its coastline, the blinding white Bachas Beach appears full of natural life. It is one of the most important breeding sites for Pacific Green turtles.

    Afternoon transfer out to Baltra Airport: Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to Baltra, where we will take the airport shuttle. From here we fly to Guayaquil where it's possible to connect with international flights this evening from 6pm onwards.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Post-trip Extensions

Napo Wildlife Centre Extension (XGA)

Spend three nights in a luxurious eco-lodge overlooking Anangucocha Lake, and experience one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet - the Amazon Rainforest. The Napo Wildlife Centre is one of the best eco-lodges in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. Located deep within Yasuni National Park, Napo Wildlife Centre is perched on a hillside in the heart of the forest. Its small number of rooms and large private reserve means that visitors have excellent chances of spotting some of the many mammals living in the forest. In this region over 500 species of bird have been recorded, as well as numerous monkey species, tamarins, tapirs, sloths, jaguars (rarely seen), caimans and lizards. The detailed itinerary can be found here.

Please ask your sales consultant for more details. 

Price from: £1739 (compulsory supplement of £840 for sole travellers) 

Accommodation

Catamaran - Archipel I

The Archipel I is a catamaran with an outside lounge and dining area, an inside lounge/bar area and a spacious sun deck, perfect for relaxing and observing the incredible Galapagos landscape. There are two cabins with double beds and six twin cabins with two single beds. All cabins have air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. Beach towels are provided and there are also two sea kayaks on board for passenger use.

Please note that a lot of the travelling between islands is done overnight, so some cabin noise and movement should be expected.

Boat specifications:

Catamaran
16 passenger capacity with 2 double cabins and 6 twin cabins. 
Crew: 9 + 1 naturalist guide 
Length: 27m 
Beam: 11m 

Virtual 360 Tour - Archipel I - https://catamaranarchipel.com/VR/ARCHIPELL.html

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.

Single supplement from £145.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 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$35 for a bottle of wine, around US$8 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.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

Transportation

In Quito, transport is in a private air-conditioned minibus and in the Galapagos, we use a catamaran for our main navigation and small semi-inflatable pangas (motorised boats or Zodiacs) for landings.

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 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: 10 days starting in Quito and ending in Guayaquil

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Quito in the afternoon 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.

Accommodation check‐in times are normally from around 3pm.

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.

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 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
Flashlight/Torch

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 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 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

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 (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. 

On this trip there is a compulsory Galapagos Tax of US$100, which can only be paid locally in cash (US dollars) and will be collected by the National Park Service on arrival at San Cristobal. In addition, all visitors to the Galapagos are required to obtain an immigration control card (Ingala card) in mainland Ecuador - this costs US$20 per person and will be supplied and paid for locally in cash (US dollars). Please note that Galapagos taxes are subject to increase without notice, and any such increase will be collected in Quito or San Cristobal.

All food is provided in the Galapagos, but for the days in Quito we provide breakfast only and you should budget roughly US$10 - 15 for lunch, and US$15-20 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) is available free of charge on board, but wetsuits are charged at US$8 per day. Additional fees apply if the equipment is damaged. Alternatively, you can bring your own equipment to ensure a good fit.

On board the boat all transactions are in cash only. Only US dollars are accepted on board.

Optional Excursions

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. US$90 per person
Cotopaxi National Park Day Tour (Thursday only) on a sharing basis, approx. US$90 per person 
Mindo Cloud Forest Day Tour on a private basis, approx. US$236 per person (minimum of 2 people required) 
Quito City Tour on a sharing basis (3 hrs approx) US$33 per person
Equatorial Monument Tour (3 hrs approx) US$22 per person
Bellavista Cloud Forest Day Tour approx. US$155 (1 client), US$147 per person (2 clients), US$131 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 the service you have received.

To show appreciation to local guides on the mainland, a tip of around US$7-9 per day from each group member is sufficient. Drivers and other local staff may be given closer to US$5-8 in tips per day.

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 US$15-18 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$8-10 per person per day would be a good gratuity.

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 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.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

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.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country, please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

For this trip the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

Galapagos Cruise - £285 / US$352 / AU$493 / €306

Costs are accurate at time of writing in September 2020

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.