Ecuador Mainland & the Galápagos Islands
If you’re already exploring Ecuador on terra firma you’re this close to the eco-lover’s paradise: The Galápagos, so we’ve brought both together in one 14-day tour. Start with all the on-land highlights like the Amazon, the stunning landscapes in the Ecuadorian highlands, and get an unforgettable experience at a jungle homestay. Experience the Galápagos aboard the Xavier III where comfy cabins, giant tortoises, and sea lions will have you wanting to jump ship – but only to go snorkelling, of course.
Local Living: Amazon Jungle Experience, Tena
Recharge: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta. Baños stay. Amazon Jungle homestay and cooking demonstrations (2 nts). Papallacta Hot Springs stay. Cruise the Galápagos Islands aboard the Xavier (3 nts). All meals aboard the Xavier. Certified Galápagos National Park Service Guide. Overnight on Santa Cruz Island. Snorkelling at Isla Lobos, North Seymour, and Sullivan Bay. Visit to North Seymour to see nesting seabirds. Hike to the Bartolomé Island viewpoint overlooking the famous Pinnacle Rock. Visit the Charles Darwin Foundation (Santa Cruz). Academy Bay tour. Excursion to see giant tortoises in the wild. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities. Internal flights. Snorkelling equipment and wetsuits while aboard Xavier.
Get your adrenaline pumping in adventurous Baños, feel like a local at an Amazon homestay, soak in the hot springs at Papallacta, explore colonial Quito, three nights cruising through the Galápagos National Park aboard the Xavier, snorkelling excursions searching for sea turtles and rays, hiking through the lava fields of Bartolomé to get an amazing view, learning more about the ecology of the Galápagos with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, one night in Santa Cruz with included visit to see the giant tortoises
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
1. G Adventures requires your passport number, full name and date of birth at the time of booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.
2. Once you have confirmed your booking please give us your international flight details and advise us if you have any important issues such as allergies, special diets, etc.
3. The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galapagos Islands Park entry fee of $100 USD per person. This is payable at the airport upon arrival in the park. It is not included in the cost of the tour, and must be paid in CASH. This fee funds Park maintenance and supervision in Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.
4. The Consejo de Gobierno (local government council) have implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $20 USD per person. This card is to be purchased in CASH at a counter in the Quito airport before boarding the flight to the Galapagos. Please retain this card along with your passport as you will be required to present this upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands. Please note that this applies to all tourists entering the Galapagos Islands and is a supplement to the existing entry fee to the National Park and is not controlled by tour operators or travel agencies. It is the first of a number of initiatives to track, control and maintain the sustainable tourism targets set out by the Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to preserve the fragile environment of the archipelago.
5. Please note that the rooming on our Galapagos yachts is done on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we are not able to guarantee the specific cabin you will receive on board. The cabins are comfortable and clean, all with private bathrooms. Due to the specific location of the cabins on board, the window sizes vary as well as the noise at times when the boat is navigating, given the proximity of the cabin to the engine room. Our friendly and competent crew will ensure the smooth and comfortable journey for the duration of your tour.
6. All travellers are required to pay the tax on domestic flights in Ecuador. Foreign travellers are exempt form this, and proving you are indeed a foreign traveller can be done by providing us with your international ticket number (ITN). Travellers who do not submit international ticket numbers at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.
8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
Private van, public bus, walking, motorized yacht (Xavier), plane, panga.
All local flights to and from the Galapagos are included in the cost of your tour. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
Flights to either of the airports in the Galapagos leave early in the morning and get you into the islands in the early afternoon. Flights back to the mainland depart between 10:00am and 1:30pm arriving in the early evening.
Please note that all flights to and from the Galapagos make a 1 hour refuelling stop in Guayaquil.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (8 nts), simple village cabañas/homestay (2 nts, multi-share), aboard the Xavier in twin-share cabins (3 nts).
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
The Quito International Airport is approximately one hour outside of the city centre where your joining hotel is located. There are a number of routes the driver may take depending on time of day and traffic, however, the route often seems long and indirect. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by organizing a taxi at the desk within the airport (approximately $30 USD). Private transfers generally cost more as the cars will need to drive from Quito, to the airport, and return. Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find a taxi stand. We strongly recommend you pay for the car at set rates from the taxi stand and therefore won’t need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, where the situation tends to get more chaotic with many drivers vying for few clients. The taxis outside the airport area do not belong to the Taxi Airport Union and may charge higher fares.
There is also a shuttle available with the bus company Aeroservicios. Aeroservicios charges 8 USD to board a bus which will take you from the new airport to the old airport. The buses are new, comfortable, and often include wifi. From the old airport, a taxi to get to your hotel would generally cost $5 USD depending on the distance and location.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
From within Ecuador: 022 506 610
After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
From within Ecuador: 0999 506 000
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential. If you don’t wish to take all of your luggage with you to Galapagos, please ensure you have an extra bag you can leave behind at hotel storage and pickup on your return.
Please note that Galapagos is a protected National Park so your luggage will be checked before arrival and departure to and from the islands. Don’t bring any food, seeds or other organic material that could affect the delicate ecosystem of the islands.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
- Please note that by February 2nd 2018, it will be mandatory for every traveler to show proof of insurance (covering medical, accident, death) to the immigration authority at the airport or border crossing into Ecuador. This insurance must cover the traveler for their entire length of stay in the country.
If you do not carry proof of insurance and/or an insurance assistance card that satisfies this requirement, it is possible that your entrance into Ecuador could be denied.
Detailed Trip Notes
LIFE ON BOARD
The daily schedule consists of a shore excursion immediately following breakfast, lunch aboard and perhaps a siesta before the afternoon shore excursion. In the evening after dinner, your naturalist guide will brief you on the islands to be visited the following day. You are ferried from the yacht to shore via small boats called pangas. Landings are either “dry” or “wet”, where you may have to wade ashore in shallow water. Your naturalist guide will accompany you during all excursions.
Located on the Equator, the Galapagos climate is tempered by the Humboldt Current, so you do not experience extreme heat found elsewhere at this latitude. The warmest weather is December to June, when temperatures range from 22-33°C (72-90 °F), and the water temperature is in the mid 20s (mid 70°F). From July to November, temperatures are cooler and range from 18-24°C (60s -75°F), when average water temperature rarely reach 21°C (70°F).
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available some may not accept all international credit or debit cards. You may need to try at more than one machine if the first does not accept your card. You should also check with your bank before leaving to ensure that your card works internationally. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Please bring USD banknotes in denominations smaller than 100, as they can be hard to exchange in Ecuador. 100 dollar bills of certain series (e.g. CB B2) can be especially hard to cash! CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent). As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. At the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO or and crew did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. There will be two envelopes left in your cabin on the final night of your tour, one for the CEO and one for crew members. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline a per traveller tip of 7-10 USD, per day for your CEO and 10-15 USD per day for the crew can be used.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: SEQG, ID: 24808
Day 1 Quito
There are no activities planned until the evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Quito/Baños (1B)
Travel to Baños and be spoiled for choice with optional outdoor activities like hiking, ziplining, and canyoning. Or, take it easy and relax in the hot springs.
Local bus (4.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Baños
Enjoy another free day to take full advantage of all the activities in this adventurous town.
Day 4 Baños/Tena (1L, 1D)
Descend into the Amazon Jungle region. Notice the scenery change dramatically heading from the mountains into the lush, tropical Amazon rainforest.
Stay with a Quichua family and enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle firsthand.
Amazon Jungle Experience
Local bus (3.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Day 5 Tena (1B, 1L, 1D)
Enjoy a full day in the Amazon learning about local life in the jungle. Enjoy nature walks and visits with the local shaman. Spend the night in rustic jungle huts in a Quichua community.
Amazon Jungle Experience
Day 6 Tena/Papallacta
Take a local bus to Papallacta and relax in the natural mineral hot pools with volcanic views.
Day 7 Papallacta/Quito
Enjoy a relaxing morning at the hot springs before travelling back to Quito for free time to explore.
Papallacta Hot Springs Visit
Local bus (1.50 hour(s))
Day 8 Quito
Enjoy a free day to get out and explore the many sights Quito has to offer.
Day 9 Quito/Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (1B, 1L, 1D)
In the afternoon, transfer to the boat. Continue to Isla Lobos, a small island home a friendly population of sea lions. While snorkelling in the calm clear waters watch as the curious pups blow bubbles, swim in circles and frolic in the waves.
Flights from Quito to Baltra depart between 6:40am and 9:40am depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into the Galápagos between 9:30am and 12:30pm with a short refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane).
Please note: The National Park charges a visitor fee of USD100, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galápagos, as well as ecological study, conservation, and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the national park system are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.
Isla Lobos Visit
Snorkelling (Isla Lobos)
Day 10 North Seymour/Mosquera Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
Explore two tiny islands that are big on wildlife. North Seymour offers great views of nesting seabirds, including frigatebirds and Mosquera is home to large colonies of sea lions.
North Seymour Island Visit
Snorkelling (North Seymour Island)
Mosquera Island Excursion
Day 11 Santiago Island/Bartolomé Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island to witness the giant lava formations contrasting the white-coral sand beach. Continue to Bartolomé Island for a guided tour to see the dramatic volcanic features before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint.
Sullivan Bay Visit
Snorkelling (Sullivan Bay)
Bartolomé Island Landing
Snorkelling (Bartolomé Island)
Day 12 Puerto Ayora (1B)
Disembark in Puerto Ayora and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the giant Galápagos tortoises. In the afternoon, explore Academy Bay on a boat tour. Snorkel with sea lions and walk over a volcanic path to a crystal clear saltwater lagoon.
Charles Darwin Research Station Visit
Academy Bay Tour
Day 13 Puerto Ayora/Quito (1B)
Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Fly back to Quito for a final night in the city.
Santa Cruz Highlands Excursion
Flight (1.00 hour(s))
Day 14 Quito (1B)
Depart at any time.