Galapagos Islands Cruise

"It is not the strongest of species that survive...but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin

Galapagos…The mere mention of these islands conjures dreams of adventure, intrigue, and excitement. It’s a place of mystery that millions know about, but only a handful have explored.

Our excursion of the islands begins on a first-class, luxury catamaran. With a limit of sixteen passengers, this state of the art vessel provides an intimate yet extravagant seafaring experience. Cabins built with relaxation in mind also offer spectacular balcony views of the surrounding ocean as far as the eye can see. Have a drink while basking under the sun’s rays on the sundeck or pop into the jacuzzi for a soak and sip on your drink of choice to unwind. The Alia is a ship built for a trip of maximum comfort on an adventure of a lifetime.

The sights in store for you during this 5-day cruise include wonders like the famous Galapagos tortoises, which helped inspire Charles Darwin to write his infamous On the Origin of Species. These beloved animals live hundreds of years and are gargantuan rulers of their domain. Seeing them in their natural habitat is not to be missed.

These islands are special thanks in large part to the strong currents from Antarctica flowing towards the Galapagos bringing with them an abundance of plankton : the main food source for many ocean creatures. The billions of microscopic plankton which feed the huge shoals of fish also attract penguins, a rare vision this far north. Further up on the chain, larger species come to dine on these fish, creating a perfect ecosystem, as Darwin would say. The wonders underwater are equally impressive. Beneath the pristine waters you can explore an untouched haven of natural beauty swimming alongside reef sharks, manta rays, and tropical fish. If exploring the ocean depths is out of your league, don’t fret because above the waves the exotic birds of the Galapagos await. Here your eyes will feast upon blue footed boobies, flamingos, albatross, and the strange frigate bird. Also worth exploring are the many lava tubes on Santa Cruz Island. Formed from the flows of molten rock these tubes prove to be a fascinating, but haunting adventure. And for those wanting to soak in the sun and float in the clear blue seas, then Tortuga Bay will make for a relaxing afternoon to while away the day.

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Day 1 : Quito

Welcome to Ecuador! Today you arrive in Quito and settle into your hotel in the city. Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, nestled high in the Andes Mountains and the home of what is considered to be the best-preserved historic center of both of the Americas. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to numerous 17th century Spanish colonial sites and architecture. Quito’s Old Town is full of ornate religious edifices, stimulating museums, aristocratic houses frozen in time, and lots more for you to discover.

Most of you will arrive in the evening, so once you have checked in to the hotel, you can explore the neighborhood and get a good night’s rest for tomorrow’s activities!

Included :

  • Activities : Free time
  • Meal : None
  • Accommodation : JW Marriott Hotel

Day 2 : Quito

After breakfast at the hotel, we will take a guided walking tour of the historic center of the city after which you will have some free time to wander around on your own.

After lunch, we will head to the middle of the world : the Equator. In 1736, the location was determined to be the spot where the two hemispheres were divided. However, modern technology has proven that the actual Equatorial line is 240 meters north of the indicated line that we will see. Nonetheless, you will be close to and in one of the handful of inhabited cities in the world that the Equator passes through! Once we have finished our tour at the Equator, we will head back to our hotel for a group dinner and then some R&R or more free time to explore the city on your own.

Included :

  • Activities : Guided walking tour of Quito Old Town, Guided tour of Equator, Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast (Lunch and dinner not included. Tour leader will recommend a local restaurant.)
  • Accommodation : JW Marriott Hotel

Day 3 : Quito – Baltra Island – North Seymour Island

Today we will depart for a flight from Quito to Baltra Island to begin our adventure in the Galapagos Islands! Once we collect our luggage at the airport, our guide will meet us and we will transfer to our luxury-class catamaran : The Alia, to commence our 5-day cruise around the islands.

The Alia is a brand new, top of the line motor cruise catamaran with nine rooms, each room with a private balcony offering spectacular views of the ocean. Additionally, each room is air-conditioned with its own private bathroom. The Alia also has a beautiful dining room where we will have our meals together each day. For some R&R, there is a spacious lounge area as well as a bar and jacuzzi located on the sundeck with panoramic views.

We will get settled into our rooms and in the afternoon, head to North Seymour Island where Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds are abundant. The island was formed by lava containing layers of sediment that was uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone. As we explore North Seymour Island, we will have the chance to see some of its amazing land and marine iguanas, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions. If you are up for some snorkeling, you can swim among rays, reef sharks, fish, and garden eels.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Galapagos by bus, plane, and boat,  North Seymour Island visit, 1 guided hike, Snorkeling
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : The Alia Luxury Catamaran

Day 4 : Genovesa Island (Darwin Bay & El Barranco)

In the morning we will head to Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island. There is a white sand coral beach that heads a half mile trail that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff. Once we get to the island via dinghy, we will go for a 1 mile hike to see the local fauna and flora among mangroves and coral pebble beaches. You will also be able to go kayaking or snorkeling where you can see rays, colorful reef fish and if you are lucky…hammerhead sharks!

In the afternoon, we will head to another part of the island known as El Barranco. Also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, El Barranco’s steep, rocky paths lead up to a high cliff-face where marvelous views can be appreciated. This site is also home to red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galapagos swallows, and Galapagos doves. Bird lovers will be delighted at the vast array of bird life at El Barranco.

At the end of the day, we will head back to the catamaran for some down time after a long day. Lie back on the deck and see an infinite number of stars, have a drink at the bar, or take a dip in the jacuzzi!

Included :

  • Activities : Darwin Bay visit, El Barranco visit, 2 guided hikes, Kayaking, Snorkeling
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : The Alia Luxury Catamaran

Day 5 : Santiago Island (Sullivan Bay) – Bartholomew Island

To start our day, we will head to Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island on a pristine coral beach that will lead us towards a lava field as far as the eye can see. There are two distinguished types of lava, pahoehoe and ‘a’a, and we will walk over the lava to look for signs of plant life that have managed to emerge over the past 100 years since the most recent volcanic explosion. A truly amazing volcanic experience…up close and personal! Here you can explore the island by foot, snorkel or go for a leisurely swim.

After lunch, we will head to Bartholomew Island, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock. Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. We will hike just over 1 mile along this moon-like landscape as we enjoy panoramic views of the island during the ascent. A trail of wooden stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling or swimming and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.

Included :

  • Activities : Santiago Island visit, Bartholomew Island visit, 2 guided hikes, Snorkeling, Swimming
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : The Alia Luxury Catamaran

Day 6 : Santa Cruz Island (Dragon Hill & Black Turtle Cove)

This morning we head to Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island, which is one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galapagos Islands. One of the lengthier Galapagos walking trails will lead us along a beach and up a trail to the lagoon lookout where bright flamingos, pintail ducks, and land iguanas can be spotted. Here we will spend the morning walking and hiking as we admire the land iguana nesting spot, Galapagos flamingos, common stilts, palo santo trees and cacti forest.

In the afternoon, we will make our way to Black Turtle Cove, which is situated in the northern part of Santa Cruz. This inlet is surrounded by mangroves and is only accessible by dinghy. However, we won’t actually be landing, but rather riding around on the water via dinghy. The shallow cove is a safe haven for young marine life. Black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of rays are often spotted here as well as baby hammerhead sharks and various sea birds.

Included :

  • Activities : Dragon Hill visit, Black Turtle Cove visit, 1 guided hike, Dinghy ride
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation : The Alia Luxury Catamaran

Day 7 : Santa Cruz Island (Highlands) – Baltra Island – Quito

On our last day cruising around the Galapagos, we will be on our way to the highlands of Santa Cruz. Reachable by bus from Puerto Ayora, the highlands are a deep green contrasting beautifully with much of the dry, lower islands. The dominant vegetation in the highlands is the forest of Scalesia trees creating the lush green color. The lava tubes, over half a mile long, are underground and walking through them is a unique, surreal experience. We will explore all of this verdant landscape during a guided hike. It is also here where we will have the chance to see the wild turtles and tortoises breeding center.

After our adventure on Santa Cruz Island, we will say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands and all of its inhabitants as well as our catamaran crew as we head toward the Baltra Airport to catch our flight back to Quito.

Included :

  • Activities : Santa Cruz Highlands visit, 1 guided hike, Breeding center visit, Transfer to Quito by boat, plane, and van
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : La Casona de la Ronda Hotel

Day 8 : Quito

Take the day to explore Quito and take it easy after your big adventure in the Galapagos Islands. You may consider taking the TelefériQo, a cable car that takes you for a panoramic ascent toward the peak of Cruz Loma and offers grand views of Quito and the snow-capped peaks of various nearby volcanoes. If you are a history buff, we suggest a visit to the National Museum of Quito or Museo de la Ciudad. The city has numerous churches, but we recommend Igelsia de San Francisco, which has an amazingly gold gilded interior. Also highly recommended are the orquideario of the Jardin Botanico or the fair trade handicrafts market of Tianguez for people watching and a little souvenir shopping.

Included :

  • Activities : Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : La Casona de la Ronda Hotel

Day 9 : Quito (Departure)

Today is your last day in Ecuador, so depending on your flight time, you can have some free time to see some last sites in Quito or do some last minute souvenir shopping.

Included :

  • Activities : Departure
  • Meals : Breakfast

 

*Itinerary subject to change.

Regular Season 9-day Tour

$3,900Trip cost (See below for inclusions and exclusions)

I’m a single traveler. Will I be charged a single supplement?

If you would like to be paired up with someone of the same gender on the trip to avoid paying the single supplement, we can arrange this for you. If there is no one with whom to pair you up, you WILL have to pay the single supplement. Pairing with another person of the same gender comes on a first-come, first served-basis. After you reserve your spot, we will send you a questionnaire pertaining to this. Please return it to us immediately, so that we may try our best to accommodate your needs.

If you want a single room throughout the tour, you can purchase the “single supplement”. The single supplement fee for this trip is $1,200. If you would like your own room, you can buy the additional supplement at check-out.

What is included :

  • 4 nights accommodation in Quito
  • Activities as indicated on itinerary
  • Round-trip flight: Quito – Baltra Island
  • Ground transportation
  • 5 day cruise on The Alia (all-inclusive)
  • Bilingual national park guide
  • Use of snorkeling equipment and wetsuits
  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners

What is not included :

  • Optional excursions and activities
  • Some lunches and dinners
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities
  • International flight
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • $100 Galapagos National Park fee *Subject to change
  • $20 Transit Control Card
  • Souvenirs
Cost

The highlight of this tour will be the 5-day cruise among five of the islands. Please be aware that travel to the Galapagos Islands is quite expensive. Each year, only a certain number of passes are available in an effort to moderate the human impact on and preserve these beautiful islands. We have selected a luxury class catamaran that is brand new (constructed in 2017). We opted for this boat because it has one of the best itineraries available and also because it is one of the newest boats to be added to the fleet that is permitted to sail around the islands. Taking into consideration our time in Quito, flights and the top notch quality of the boat, our tour is very reasonably priced.

We have chosen the luxury motor catamaran : The Alia as our means of transportation during the cruise around the Galapagos Islands. It is a smaller sized boat that can accommodate only 16 passengers maximum and has only 9 rooms. On bigger boats, it can take as long as two hours for all passengers to board and disembark from the boat, which in turn, takes away from the time to explore each amazing island. Another reason that we have decided upon a sea-based tour in the Galapagos as opposed to a land-based tour, is that day trips from a base island to other various islands can take three or more hours to arrive at each destination. This leaves only an hour or so to explore before returning to the base island. A cruise is optimal because it allows us to sail to our destination at night and when we wake up in the morning, we will have already arrived at our destination! This means we can explore less visited islands that have a more bountiful quantity of wildlife and plant life and have much less tourists.

To see the layout and specifications of the boat on which we will be sailing, please visit the following link : The Alia.

With all of this in mind, we planned this trip to ensure that you experience the best that the Galapagos Islands have to offer as well as 4 nights in Quito.

While this is one of the more expensive trips we offer, you will not be disappointed in this once in a lifetime experience! You will spend five days in a first-class luxury boat chosen because of its quality as well as its itinerary. Additionally, all in-country flights, most activities and meals are included. Taking of all of this into consideration, you will find that our pricing for this tour is very competitive!

Group Size 

Our tour groups have a maximum of 12 travelers plus Galapagos field guides as we explore various islands. We prefer small group travel because based on our experience, large groups are less easily able to integrate into a society and generally have less authentic contact with the locals. The more people in the tour group, the more the group experiences their own “group culture” rather than the one of the country that they are visiting. 

A small group number also means that tour group members will receive more personal treatment by the tour guide who can more thoroughly attend to the needs of each person. Small tour groups are also more mobile and can be easily integrated into a social scene. In this way, the traveler is more likely to be treated as an individual rather than a tourist ready to be exploited for his or her money.

Small tour groups are more flexible as travel plans can be more easily changed or altered en route. If the group discovers a special event or festival in Ecuador that they would like to attend, and it is not covered in the original tour itinerary, it is possible to change the itinerary. As a small group, it is easier for the group to come to an agreement and for the tour guide to alter the reservations.

Small groups are low-impact because they don’t introduce a large number of foreigners to a local scene where they can have adverse impacts on the local society and other travelers. For example, a large tour group can take up all the seats on a local bus, or book out an entire restaurant forcing locals and other travelers away from their preferences. 

Physical Difficulty

This tour is rated 6.5/10 in terms of physical difficulty with 10 being the most difficult. During most of the trip you will be escorted around in a luxury first-class catamaran, so you won’t have to exert yourself physically very much while traveling. You may find that some hikes in areas with rougher terrain may be more difficult depending on your level of fitness. You may also find walks on hotter days to be a bit exhausting. Other than these things, this trip is pretty accessible for everyone. Remember, if you’re not feeling up for a particular activity, you don’t have to do it!

Currency 

In Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, all notes are U.S. currency, while U.S. and Ecuadorian coins can be used interchangeably. (The Ecuadorian coins are in the same denominations and sizes as their U.S. counterparts). Do not be surprised to receive U.S. Sacajawea $1 coins as change; they are very common, and yes, as they are legal tender. Euros can be changed at a few places, British pounds less so; it’s advisable to have a little bit of U.S. cash on you on arrival. *Please note that traveler’s cheques are not advised and nearly impossible to use anymore.

ATMs are readily available in most towns. They will be part of the Plus or Cirrus systems and use a four-digit PIN. They usually dispense the full amount in $20 bills. Some will include some tens and fives.

If possible, bring at least $50 worth of one-dollar bills to use for tips, cabs, and small purchases in markets. Making change is sometimes a hardship for small vendors and cab drivers. A good rule of thumb for using larger bills is not to use a bill larger than 50% of your tab. (i.e. Don’t pay a $6 tab with a $20 bill). Even restaurants can have a hard time making change for a large bill and you may have to wait while an employee runs out to neighboring businesses to scrounge up your change.

If you need to get smaller bills ($5s and $10s) as well as coin change, the Banco Central (Central Bank of the Government of Ecuador) will make change for you free of charge. Bring your passport to prove identification. Hours are from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday through Friday.

Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted by many hotels, travel agencies, and larger restaurants. Smaller or budget hotels and other vendors will probably not accept cards, nor will many restaurants off the tourist circuit. Be aware that Discover cards and American Express are not widely accepted.

Be prepared to pay a foreign transaction fee depending on your credit/debit card. Check with your bank to find out what their foreign transaction fees are. Also, many places of service will require you to enter a PIN when using a credit card. You can set this up with your bank at home prior to your departure. When using any kind of card, we recommend obtaining a receipt.

Bank hours vary, but generally are from 9 to 4 PM. Some are open on Saturdays for a half day. Lines can be long, so be patient. In general, like most Ecuadorians, the bank’s personnel will be gracious and helpful, so please don’t get upset or insistent if the transaction takes a while or you need to speak with different people.

Souvenirs

There are plenty of souvenirs to be found in Ecuador. Dozens of souvenir shops line the main drags of Quito and the Galapagos’ bigger towns. You can spend hours browsing for that perfect souvenir. Local craft markets are found on several of the islands as well. The Galapagos also have local artists and artisans that craft the Islands’ inspiration into one-of-a-kind works. Their creations will make a special gift for your loved ones – or yourself!

Galapagos National Park regulations prohibit the sale of souvenirs made from banned materials like sea shells, coral, lava rock, animal parts and any endemic species : plants or animals unique to the Galapagos Islands. Please make sure not to buy any souvenirs made from these items.

A good rule of thumb in responsible traveling is to buy locally. Keep in mind the source of the souvenirs. It is obvious that some are not from Galapagos or Ecuador at all, but clearly marked China or some other foreign country.

Communication

If you have a smart phone, it will likely work in Quito but coverage may be spotty in the Galapagos Islands. Be sure to check with your provider to get informed about data and call roaming while abroad. You also may consider contacting your service provider to learn about what kind of international plans they offer for calls, texts, and data.

Wifi 

In general, hotels and restaurants in just about any tourist town in Ecuador now offer wifi. There are also Internet cafes in abundance in most cities and towns. Bear in mind that although it’s available, it’s not always as fast as you may be used to, especially on the islands.

There will be no wifi on the cruise ship, so if you don’t have an international plan on your phone, we recommend purchasing a local SIM card for your phone or tablet in Quito for approximately 6 USD. You can add credit so that you will be able to have Internet on your device when you are close to San Cristobal and Santa Cruz Islands. Access to Internet may be limited or completely absent when further away from these islands.

At the airport, you can purchase a SIM card from either CLARO or MOVISTAR. CLARO usually seems to work best, but sometimes MOVISTAR has better reception while CLARO has none. If traveling with another person, we recommend having your companion get one and you get the other.

What to Bring 

Temperatures in Ecuador in the month of November and December will vary depending on the region, but are generally are cool to warm during the day and cooler at night. The month of December is characterized by essentially constant daily high temperatures, with average daily highs in the mid- to high 60s°F throughout the month, exceeding 70°F or dropping below 62°F only one day in ten. December to May are the warmest months in the Galápagos, with the wind dropping for calmer seas. Although there is also a greater chance of rain, these are the best months to visit if you’re spending several days on a boat. The island birds are especially active during this season. The ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling. Great wildlife is guaranteed no matter when you visit.

Below are a few things that we suggest bringing to make your trip more comfortable :

  • Good comfortable walking shoes /hiking boots
  • Deck shoes (i.e. Crocs or flip flops)
  • Snorkeling mask, snorkel and fins (optional as the boat will offer free of charge)
  • Waterproof day pack
  • Rain jacket
  • Light and warm jacket or fleece
  • Clothing that can dry fast
  • Water shoes (optional)
  • Bathing suit
  • Diarrhea/constipation medicine
  • Sunscreen (biodegradable, if possible)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • First aid kit
  • Warm pajamas
  • Seasickness medication

*There is now a new full face snorkel mask that is said to work very well. If you are interested, click on the link below to view and/or purchase one before your trip.

Snorkel Mask

A comfortable and securely closable bag is also a good idea if you have a camera or other travel items while out and about on excursions. Finally, it is advisable to avoid flashy, expensive accessories and/or jewelry that are valuable or precious to you.

Please be aware that if there is rain, wind or any other weather conditions that nature decides to throw at us, all activities and excursions will continue as planned unless the weather is deemed unsafe for any reason.

Outlets

Ecuador’s outlets are like those in North America : two flat, parallel prongs (type A). Be prepared to pack the necessary adapters and converters if you plan on bringing electronic devices. A converter is necessary only if the voltage requirement of what you are plugging in is different from Ecuador’s electrical voltage of 120 (110 is fine). Most modern electronics such as digital cameras, cell phones, computers, and battery chargers are dual voltage, so a converter is no longer necessary if you are visiting from a country that uses 220 or 240v. Check each of your gadgets to ensure that they are dual voltage. This information will sometimes be in raised letters or printed on a tag on the AC adapter or affixed to the device itself; it will say something like “Input: 100-240v.”

Laundry 

The hotels in Quito offer laundry services if needed.

Safety

As with most travel destinations, it is important to exercise caution and to be aware of your surroundings while traveling in Ecuador. We suggest not wearing expensive jewelery when walking around and keeping an eye on your bag while out and about. Wearing your bag on the front of your body is also advisable. Traveling at all times with one other person or more is also a good idea, especially at night. It is always a good idea to store portions of your cash in different places. (i.e. $100 in your purse, $100 in your suitcase, $100 in your carry-on, etc.) Finally, it’s also a good idea to carry a color copy of your passport and keep the original in a safe place.

Take care of your belongings in restaurants or cafes and watch out for opportunists. Petty thieves will sometimes cause a distraction in order to grab your bag. Be aware of your belongings even when seated at a restaurant or cafe.

Most travelers to Ecuador do not have any problems. As long as you remember to keep a watchful eye on your belongings and stay aware of your surroundings, you will have a safe and memorable trip!

The United States State Department offers general travel information about this country. See below for more information.

U.S. State Department Travel to Ecuador

Guides

Your guides are handpicked for their expertise and are an excellent resource for questions about Ecuadorian society, history, and culture. Your guide will work to ensure that each individual has the most rewarding experience possible. Like local friends, our guides show you the best of both countries by providing direct access to the people and places less traveled. While on the various Galapagos Islands, you’ll have various naturalist guides who will show you around the islands and help you learn all about the wildlife on the islands. Most travelers tip the guides anywhere 10 ~ 15 USD per day, especially if you like your guide and you thought that he or she helped you have the trip of a lifetime!

Drinking Water

Most will agree that the drinking water in Ecuador is not safe for consumption. Thus, drinking tap water anywhere in Ecuador is not advisable and drinking only bottled water is highly recommended.

Medical Facilities

Should you fall ill during your trip, there are pharmacies that can be easily located during your stay in Ecuador. If you have specific medical requests, the brand names may be different, but knowing the ingredients’ chemical names would be helpful as most pharmacists worldwide will know these names. Be aware that many medicines that are over the counter in the U.S. may only be by prescription in Ecuador. If you have prescriptions, bring them with you in the original bottle with the prescription from your doctor and in your name.

Altitude sickness is also common among travelers to Ecuador. It usually comes in the form of insomnia, headaches, and/or nausea. To prevent altitude sickness or lessen its effects, try ascent to higher levels gradually so that your body can adjust to the change. As you’ll be flying into Quito, which has an altitude of around 9,000 feet, (3,000m), you can drink lots of water, get lots of rest and take some pain reliever medicine. If you are prone to severe altitude sickness or have pre-existing medical conditions that might cause the effects to have a stronger hold on you, we highly recommend consulting your physician to get a prescription to help with oxygen profusion in high altitude locations.

Tipping

Tipping is commonplace in Ecuador, but the amount of the tip tends to be less strict than what most North Americans are used to. We recommend only tipping what is fitting and what you feel the quality of the service merits. For most family-run restaurants, fifty cents to a dollar is plenty unless you feel that the service exceeded your expectations. It is a good idea to keep spare change in a coin purse as this will come in handy in situations where you leave a tip. Below is a basic guide of who and how much to tip :

  • Bellhops : 0.50 ~ 1 USD per piece of luggage.
  • Taxi : While not customary, it is acceptable to round up to the next USD. (i.e. If the fare is 4.50 USD, give 5 USD)
  • Hotel maid : 0.50 ~ 1 USD a day daily or at the end of your stay in cash.
  • Waiter : 10~15% of the bill at restaurants unless it is already included.
  • Tour guide : 10 ~ 15 USD per day or more, especially if you feel that your trip was enhanced by the guide’s services.
  • Boat crew : 10 ~ 15 USD per day or more, especially if you feel that your trip was enhanced by the crew’s services.
Arrival

In your pre-departure notes you will receive the name of the hotel in both the local language and English as well as pertinent phone numbers.

Visa :

Most visitors to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for less than 90 days in each country DO NOT need a visa. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates. A round/onward trip ticket is needed to prove the length of your stay.

Nationals of the following countries require a visa to enter Ecuador for any reason and should approach the Consulate of Ecuador in their home country before traveling (list may change without notice) : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia.

Vaccinations :

Below is information from the CDC and its recommendations regarding vaccinations for travel to Ecuador.

CDC Ecuador

Flights :

You will need to arrive in Quito, Ecuador by November 28, 2017. Return flights should be from Quito on December 6, 2017 back to your home.

Your tour will begin on the morning of Wednesday, November 29th and you will meet that morning as a group in the hotel lobby to start our tour of Quito’s Old Town. You will be given the guide’s number in the pre-departure notes, so if you have any urgent issues, you can call the guide from the hotel phone.

All of this information will be included in great detail in your pre-departure notes, which you will receive approximately 1~2 weeks prior to your trip start date.

*Please do not book any flights until you receive a confirmation from us, which will be sent to you 24 hours after paying your deposit.

June to November At this time, the Humboldt Current flows to the Galápagos from the south. It carries cold water and cold weather as well as water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds. It tends to be overcast and cloudy, but does not often rain. This period is also rather windy, which lends to rougher seas.

December Through May — While water and the air are warmer in these months, it is the rainy season. Rain comes and goes quickly though. This is also the sunniest time of year. The end of December to the beginning of January is the high season with lots of tourists.

The waters are warmer in these months, so swimming and snorkeling are more bearable. However, there aren’t as many fish to see. As it is breeding season for land birds, it’s a good time to watch some unusual mating rituals. This is the period in which sea turtles nest on the beach. Sea lions also mate in the rainy season and you’ll be able to see males fight for the females.

Galapagos Islands Cruise : Luxury class catamaran (The Alia)

Constructed in 2017, the Alia is a brand new, top of the line 16 passenger motor catamaran with nine rooms. All of its equipment and safety features exceed the international safety standards and include : life vests, GPS, sonar, naval radars, as well as fire detection and prevention systems.

Each room is equipped with a private bathroom, cold/hot water, air conditioning, hair dryer, telephone for internal communication on board, safe box, and high speaker. Additionally, each room has a private balcony offering spectacular views of the ocean.

The Alia also has a beautiful dining room where we’ll have our meals together each day. For some R&R, there’s a spacious lounge area, bar and jacuzzi located on the sundeck with panoramic views. For your entertainment, there are also social areas such as the library as well as DVD service.

Visit the following link for more information on The Alia : CLICK HERE


Quito 

JW Marriott Quito

First 2 nights

Quito – Old Town

Casona de la Ronda

Last 2 nights

Insurance :

Due to the nature of this trip, it is mandatory to purchase travel insurance and you will be required to show proof of insurance before embarking on the trip. We work with Travelex as our insurance provider. You can click on the link below to get a quote.

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You can also shop around on the internet for a provider that fits your needs.

Once you obtain any insurance, please print out your policy and bring it with you on the trip.

*Globe Drifters Location Number : 05-1327.

Scuba Dive Tour Extension

For those of you who are scuba divers, a trip to the Galapagos would not be complete without the chance to explore the underwater life around the islands. So why not extend your stay to get a day of diving while you’re there? You’ll be able to dive at Gordon Rocks, which is a great place to see various rays, fish and sea lions, it is probably best known for its hammerheads. Please note that you’ll need to have 30+ dives logged to do this dive extension.

Click HERE if you would like to sign up for the scuba diving extension.

The cost for the scuba extension is $600.

If you would like a room to yourself during the extension, the single supplement costs $200. If you would like to be paired up with someone of the same gender on the trip to avoid paying the single supplement, we can arrange this for you. If there is no one with whom to pair you up, you WILL have to pay the single supplement. Pairing with another person of the same gender comes on a first-come, first served-basis. 

 

Scuba Extension Itinerary :

Day 7 : Santa Cruz Island

Transfer from The Alia to your hotel in Puerto Ayora and get rested up for your dives at Gordon Rocks. The hotel is only a couple of blocks from the main drag of the town where there are some places for shopping, eating, and drinking. It is also just a short walk from the water front if you want more beach time.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Santa Cruz hotel
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 8 : Santa Cruz – Gordon Rocks

Today you’ll dive at the best spot reachable from Santa Cruz. The various life under water is abundant and you won’t be disappointed. The pristine blue water hosts a variety of creatures from a myriad of various fish including barracuda as well as sea turtles, majestic eagle rays, and white tip sharks. The most exciting of the wildlife you’ll see is the hammerhead shark and you’ll have a chance to get up close and personal with these unique sharks.

At the end of the day, you’ll return Puerto Ayora and transfer back to your hotel where you’ll have the rest of the evening to relax and explore the area.

Included :

  • Activities : Dives at Gordon Rocks
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 9 : Santa Cruz – Quito

After breakfast, you’ll have the morning at you leisure before you transfer to the airport to catch a flight back to Quito.

Included :

  • Activities : Transfer to Quito by boat, plane, and van, Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Casona de la Ronda Hotel

Day 10 : Quito (Departure)

Today is your last day in Ecuador, so depending on your flight time, you can have some free time to see some last sites in Quito or do some last minute souvenir shopping.

Included :

  • Activities : Departure
  • Meals : Breakfast

Trip Date

NOVEMBER 28
DECEMBER 6
RESERVE YOUR SPOT
USD $3900

Price based on double occupancy. Single Supplement can be purchased for an additional $1,200.


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