Galapagos Islands Adventure
GALAPAGOS TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
The Galapagos Islands, you’ve watched them on David Attenborough documentaries for years, teeming with wildlife and extraordinarily beautiful scenery. And now you can visit them for yourself! Travelling to these islands is a truly once in a lifetime experience, and with only 230,000 visitors a year, these magical islands remain one of the world’s best preserved destinations. On this trip we’ll be travelling to the islands of Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela. We’ll snorkel with the hopes of seeing and swimming with sea lions, turtles, reef sharks, marine iguanas and lots of tropical fish, we’ll do a gentle hike to the rim of the world’s second largest crater on the Sierra Negra volcano, we’ll kayak in the crystal clear waters these islands are famous for, and of course we’ll venture to the highlands to see the giant tortoises in their natural habitats, as well as learning about the breeding process at the Charles Darwin Research Centre. The Galapagos is one of the most magical places on earth, join us and see for yourself.
Stay on & explore 3 magnificent islands
Get up close to underwater wildlife as you snorkel
Hike the rim of the Sierra Negra – the world’s second largest crater
Watch the beautiful giant tortoises in breeding centres & in their natural habitat
Once in a lifetime trip to an incredibly well-preserved part of the world
Day 1 – Arrive Quito
When you arrive in Quito, make your way to the hotel for check-in, which will be from 2pm onwards. Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities. If you arrive in time, you can join your guide and the rest of the group for dinner to get to know your fellow travellers! Overnight in Quito.
Day 2 – Quito
Today we will be given a city tour of the Ecuadorian capital, Quito. Perched at 2850m above sea level, this city is well known for its beautiful colonial centre and stunning mountainous backdrop. Highlights of today’s tour will include the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Old Town’, packed with historical monuments and architectural delights from the 16th and 17th centuries. Overnight in Quito.
Day 3 – Quito / Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Today we will take an early morning transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Baltra Island and then make our way to the island of Santa Cruz (flight time is approx. 3 hours). Upon arrival we will be transferred to our hotel for check-in, and shortly after we’ll head off for our first excursion at the Charles Darwin Research Centre to learn about conservation in the area. This is a great place to see the famous Galapagos giant tortoises. Overnight in Isla Santa Cruz.
Day 4 – Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
This morning, we’ll be heading out on a kayaking excursion down the Itabaca Canal, followed by a spot of snorkelling in the clear blue waters. Look out for turtles, sea lion pups and maybe even a small, white-tip reef shark – harmless of course! In the afternoon, we’ll be visiting the higher part of the island to see the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The highlands are also famous for their amazing lava tunnels! Overnight in Isla Santa Cruz.
Day 5 – Isla Santa Cruz / Isla Floreana, Galapagos
After breakfast you will have some free time to further explore the Island of Santa Cruz (we highly recommend visiting Las Grietas – a deep pool of fresh and salt water that lies between a crack in the landscape… it’s beautiful!), before taking the speedboat to Isla Floreana (approx. 2-3 hours). Depending on the time of year, watch out for dolphins and albatross on the way! Upon arrival we’ll get checked-in to our guesthouse before heading out on a snorkelling excursion at Black Beach. Overnight at a guesthouse on Isla Floreana.
Day 6 – Isla Floreana, Galapagos
After breakfast, we will take a short walk to La Loberia beach for more snorkelling or swimming. Currents can be strong in this area so please be sure you are a confident swimmer. Afterwards, we’ll venture up to the islands highlands for amazing views and to learn about the first settlers on Floreana. The rest of the day will be spent at your leisure. Overnight on Isla Floreana.
Day 7 – Isla Floreana / Isla Isabela, Galapagos
This morning we’ll be taking a speed boat to Isabela Island, where we’ll enjoy a kayaking excursion near Tintoreras to observe the whitetip reef sharks that are often found swimming here. Afterwards, we’ll be able to go snorkelling in the area – look out for manta rays, sea turtles and marine iguanas! Overnight on Isla Isabela.
Day 8 – Isla Isabela, Galapagos
We will be spending today at the Sierra Negra Volcano, the second largest crater in the world. Weather permitting, a gentle hike up the rocky mountain will reward you with incredible views of the caldera and surrounding landscape. You’ll head back downhill on bikes, visiting the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre on the way. Spend the afternoon relaxing or head down to the water for a swim before dinner. Overnight in Isla Isabela.
Day 9 – Isla Isabela / Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Today will be spent at your leisure. In the afternoon we’ll head back to Santa Cruz where we will spend our last evening on the Galapagos!
Day 10 – Isla Santa Cruz / Quito
After breakfast, we’ll be heading across Santa Cruz Island to Baltra Island, where we will say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands and fly back to Quito (approx. 3 hours). Upon arrival in Quito, we’ll get checked-in to our hotel. A group dinner will be arranged for your final night in Ecuador.
Day 11 – Depart Quito
Your tour has come to an end! Depending on your flight schedule, you may have some free time to further explore this intriguing city. Transfer back to the airport for international flights home.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE TOUR
- Sharing a twin room at 3-star hotels and guesthouses (please note that accommodation in the Galapagos is basic but always clean and comfortable)
- Transportation throughout (includes airport transfers if travelling on suggested flights)
- City tour of Quito
- All excursions as mentioned in itinerary
- Internal flights
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR
- International flights
- USD$100 per person Galapagos Islands Park Entry Fee (payable at the airport upon arrival to the park – must be paid in cash – funds go towards park maintenance, ecological study, conservation projects)
- USD$20 per person Transit Control Card (payable at the airport in Quito before boarding flight to the Galapagos)
- Up to eight weeks before departure, a place can be reserved on payment of a deposit of £250.00, after this date it would be the full amount of the trip.
- Click the book now button and fill in the details and tick the box confirming you accept booking conditions.
- The outstanding balance is due 8 weeks before travel.
- International flights into and out of Ecuador are not included in the cost of the tour and will need to be organised separately. Please get in touch for recommended flights, and do not book anything until we give the go-ahead.
- Please ensure you have checked visa requirements. Get in touch if you are unsure.
- Ensure you have purchased travel insurance, as this is mandatory for all trips.
ESSENTIAL TRIP NOTES
You will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry and that you have a couple of blank pages. Please ensure the name on your booking and flight match your passport.
It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they obtain the correct visas for travel. British passport holders do not need a visa to enter Ecuador, as long as travel dates do not exceed 90 days. Information can be found for British nationals on the FCO website. If you hold another nationality passport or originate from another country, please check the relevant embassy website.
You may want to take a copy of your passport and flight confirmations with you – if you lose the originals it is easier to get replacements if you have copies.
FLIGHT TICKETS AND ACCOMMODATION
Please ensure you have proof of return travel tickets and hotel accommodation to hand for arrival as you may need to present details of this.
Travel insurance is mandatory for all trips and you need to carry a copy of your certificate with you. If you haven’t purchased It already, we have partnered up with Columbus Travel Insurance and you can buy your policy through us.
MONEY & COSTS
The currency used in Ecuador & The Galapagos is the US Dollar, so it’s recommended to change up your money before you leave. Try to bring small denominations as larger bills can’t always be changed. We also recommend taking a credit or debit card with you as a back-up. ATM’s are available in Quito, and on the island of Santa Cruz and Isabela.
You will be required to pay the $100 (USD) Galapagos Islands Park Entrance Fee on arrival at the airport in Santa Cruz (this must be paid in cash – funds go towards park maintenance, ecological study, and conservation projects). All travellers must also pay the $20 (USD) Transit Control Card fee at the airport in Quito before boarding the domestic flight.
We recommend budgeting $20 – $30 a day for meals, water, and drinks (not including alcohol), but this is just an indicative amount and can vary from local restaurants to more western style, so you may end up spending less or more. You will have a better idea of how much you usually spend when you’re on holiday so please budget accordingly.
Tipping is customary in this part of the world and rewards good service. In restaurants it’s recommended to tip your waiters 10% if you feel you have received good service. You can tip your local guide and drivers during the trip if you wish. As a guideline we would recommend tipping between $5 – $10 (USD) per person, per day for your guides and between $2 – $3 (USD) per person, per day for your drivers, depending on length and quality of the service you receive.
If you would prefer to have your own room on this trip, the additional cost would be £309. Please let us know at the time of booking as it cannot be guaranteed closer to the time.
There won’t be much driving involved on this trip, but when we are on the road, we will be in private air-conditioned vehicles.
We will be taking domestic flights between Quito and Baltra Island in the Galapagos, and the flight time is approx. 3 hours. The baggage allowance on your domestic flights will be 23kg of checked luggage, plus one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 8kg. You can take either a suitcase or a rucksack – whichever you find easier to carry. We also recommend a small backpack for daily excursions.
We will travel by boat between the islands of the Galapagos; from Santa Cruz to Floreana (approx. 2-3 hours), and from Floreana to Isabela (approx. 2-3 hours), and from Isabela back to Santa Cruz. These journeys will be on a mixture of private and public boats.
WHAT TO PACK
- Comfortable walking shoes or trainers, as well as sandals and flip flops
- Teva-Style Sandals/Water Shoes
- Sportswear for activities
- Galapagos Islands: Lightweight and waterproof clothing is recommended during the warm and wet season (DEC-JUN). Daily temperatures are between 22-33°C with very high humidity and average water temperature will be in the mid-20’s. During the cool, dry season (JUN-NOV), we recommend lightweight clothing during the day and a few more layers for the evening/early morning, daily temperatures that range from 18-24°C and water temperatures below 21°C
- Quito: Lightweight and waterproof clothing is recommended during the warm and wet season (OCT-MAY. During the cool and dry season (JUN-SEP) we recommend lightweight clothing during the day and a few more layers for the evening or early morning starts.
- Adequate sun protection – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Swimwear and/or wetsuit depending on time of year
- Waterproof jacket
- Insect repellent
- Re-fillable water bottle
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – you’re going to want to take some photos!
- Power bank
- Plug adaptors – These can be viewed via the links: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/ecuador/ and https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/galapagos-islands/
- Flashlight or torch
- Biodegradable toiletries
- Small travel towel (fast-drying towels are best)
(You will be able to get your clothes washed at certain hotels (for a fee), which may help when deciding on what you actually need to take with you.)
WEATHER & CLIMATE
The warmest time to visit the Galapagos is between December & June when daily temperatures are between 22-33°C and average water temperature will be in the mid-20’s. If you are visiting between July & November, you can expect slightly cooler daily temperatures that range from 18-24°C and water temperatures below 21°C. The rainy season, December – May, strangely brings the warmest weather, sunniest skies and calmest seas, which is perfect for snorkelling and swimming. This season also marks breeding season for the sea turtles and sea lions, whilst March & April especially sees newborn wildlife all over the islands, as well as blossoming flowers and plants, so the whole area appears full of life.
We never recommend taking more luggage than you can personally carry as there might not always be someone on hand to help you. One suitcase ideally that can be wheeled, and a small day pack will be more than enough. Please be aware that as the Galapagos is a protected National Park, your luggage will be checked on arrival and departure. Please don’t take any foods or other organic materials that may damage the ecosystem.
Whilst travelling around the Galapagos is very safe, we recommend you don’t bring anything you won’t really need – expensive jewellery and watches are not necessary, you can leave them at home. Be vigilant in Quito and avoid carrying large amounts of money around with you. You could invest in a money belt to go under your clothes to keep cards, money or air tickets in for extra safety.
HEALTH & MEDICAL
By now you should have all been to see your doctor or travel nurse and made sure that your vaccinations are all up to date. Please check the government website if you need more information.
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands. Although it is clean and safe for locals to drink, what you are used to at home will differ and you could end up with an upset stomach. You should keep hydrated whilst you’re out there, so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you. Your accommodation will provide drinking water, so you don’t need to keep buying bottles.
If you take medication for anything or think you may need something whilst you are away, it’s better to take it with you from the UK as items may not be as readily available as they are here.
If you are travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever, you will need to take a valid certificate with you to prove you have had the vaccine.
We recommend you read the travel advice for any country you are visiting ahead of your visit. This can be accessed on the FCO website.