Essential Galapagos
from $2720
Duration: 9 Days
The Galapagos Islands have a bit of a reputation – think the wildest wildlife, colourful underwater worlds and some of the most remote beaches and rock forms on earth. Spend nine days discovering this explorer’s dream, staying at the bustling centres of Isla San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz, and top and tailing your island escapade in Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Volcanoes, marine iguanas, playful sea lions and the giant tortoise all await on this animal-focused island getaway – what’s not to love about the Galapagos?
  • Check out the highland haven of Quito – Ecuador’s vibrant mountainous capital. If you’ve got time, why not extend your stay here and discover the historic Old Town and Volcan Pichincha lookout.
  • The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most unique wildlife on earth – many you may not have heard of before! Spot blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, frigate birds and so much more on your island escape.
  • Consider a range of optional activities to enhance your wicked wildlife stops with your small group. Snorkelling at Kicker Rock? Swimming alongside sea lions near Isla Lobos? It’s up to you!
  • Take land-side visits to San Cristobal’s Interpretation Center and Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to discover more about the islands’ history and conservation efforts to preserve this far-flung paradise.
  • By staying on the islands, you’ll get the best of both worlds – discovering the forests, beaches and marine hotspots by day, and chilling out in town by night.
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal -Snorkelling in Tijeretas hill
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Day 1 Location: Quito
    Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5 or 6 pm. Sitting at an altitude of 2850 metres above sea level and under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings – there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
    Day 2 Location: Isla San Cristobal
    This morning, head to the airport with your group leader and fellow travellers to board a flight bound for Isla San Cristobal, with a short stop at Guayaquil. Depending on flight schedules, this flight may be early in the morning – your group leader will provide you with all the details at your welcome meeting. Once arrived, take an included visit to the San Cristobal Interpretation Center and learn about the natural history of, and human impact on, the Galapagos. Afterwards, you’ll have time to explore on your own. Perhaps take a hike up to Frigatebird Hill or head to Mann Beach to spot some sea lions lazing on the shore. If you hit the water for a spot of snorkelling, be sure to keep an eye out for sea turtles, an array of colourful fish and even the odd sea lion coming up to swim with you!
    Day 3 Location: Isla San Cristobal
    Today is free for you to continue to explore the wildlife-rich and naturally beautiful Isla San Cristobal. There are a range of optional activities that are available to you today – your group leader will be able to recommend some and help book them. You might like to take an optional boat ride to Kicker Rock – an incredible rock island that is home to some of the most interesting snorkelling in the islands. Otherwise, you could book a visit to Isla Lobos, which is known for its populations of blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and sea lions. Consider taking a walk down Ochoa Beach on Lobos and soaking up this wildlife paradise.
    Day 4 Location: Isla Santa Cruz
    Early in the morning, take a 2.5-hour public speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. Once in Santa Cruz, have some breakfast and settle into the hotel. In the midmorning, continue onwards to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The visitor centre and museum exhibits house a whole range of information about the islands and the conservation efforts being made to preserve the unique ecosystem here. This station is also an ideal place to meet the Galapagos tortoise. Later in the afternoon, continue your search for tortoises when you and your group head to the higher part of the island to observe these ancient giants roaming in their natural habitat.
    Day 5 Location: Isla Isabela
    Rise and shine again early this morning to travel to Isla Isabela. Check in to the hotel and enjoy breakfast with your group. Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos and one of the most volcanically active places on earth. A worthwhile optional activity today is an excursion to Las Tintoreras – home to the rare Galapagos penguin as well as other unique Galapagos wildlife. The excursion will then take you to ‘shark alley’, where white-tipped sharks rest during the day. This is also a popular nesting site for the endemic marine iguanas.
    Day 6 Location: Isla Isabela
    Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well as learn about the preservation program of this unique species. Afterwards, take a bus to the highest part of Isabela where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between 5-6 hours, and at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to relax up with a book or venture down to the water for a swim before dinner.
    Day 7 Location: Isla Santa Cruz
    Travel back to Isla Santa Cruz in the morning, where you’ll enjoy breakfast on arrival. Consider taking part in some of the optional activities available, such as an excursion to Tortuga Bay – an immaculate natural paradise where you can go kayaking, observe marine iguanas and birds or swim with harmless sharks in a cove. You may also like to rent some snorkelling gear while you're here and discover a whole other world underwater. Today you can choose your own adventure, so be sure to ask your knowledgeable group leader for their recommendations.
    Day 8 Location: Quito
    Bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands and all its inhabitants and head to the airport for a flight back to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito Airport, you’ll be transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. Hit the streets in Quito with some of your travel crew and find a place for some dinner and drinks – you might like to knock back a couple of canelazos (a spiced cinnamon and rum drink)!
    Day 9 Location: Quito
    After breakfast, there are no activities planned, so you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s check-out policy. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to spend more time in Ecuador’s capital, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    14NOV2021
    Return Date:
    22NOV2021
    2720NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    28NOV2021
    Return Date:
    06DEC2021
    2720NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19DEC2021
    Return Date:
    27DEC2021
    2825NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09JAN2022
    Return Date:
    17JAN2022
    2965NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    23JAN2022
    Return Date:
    31JAN2022
    2850NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20FEB2022
    Return Date:
    28FEB2022
    2850NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    06MAR2022
    Return Date:
    14MAR2022
    2850NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    22MAY2022
    Return Date:
    30MAY2022
    2965NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    26JUN2022
    Return Date:
    04JUL2022
    3080NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    24JUL2022
    Return Date:
    01AUG2022
    3080NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Essential Galapagos

    Trip code

    GGYV

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    The Galapagos Islands have a bit of a reputation – think the wildest wildlife, colourful underwater worlds and some of the most remote beaches and rock forms on earth. Spend nine days discovering this explorer’s dream, staying at the bustling centres of Isla San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz, and top and tailing your island escapade in Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Volcanoes, marine iguanas, playful sea lions and the giant tortoise all await on this animal-focused island getaway – what’s not to love about the Galapagos?

    Style

    Basix

    Themes

    18 to 29s

    Transport

    Plane,Speed boat,Private Vehicle,Public bus

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    Hotel Otavalo Huasi II

    Wilson E10-14 & Tamayo

    Quito

    ECUADOR

    Phone: + 593 2 2503425

    Alternate Joining point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

    14 Nov 2021 (GGYV211114), 28 Nov 2021 (GGYV211128), 19 Dec 2021 (GGYV211219)

    Hotel San Francisco de Quito

    Sucre oe3-17 y Guayaquil

    Quito

    ECUADOR

    Phone: +593 2 228 7758

    Finish point

    Hotel Otavalo Huasi II

    Wilson E10-14 & Tamayo

    Quito

    ECUADOR

    Phone: + 593 2 2503425

    Alternate Finish point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

    14 Nov 2021 (GGYV211114), 28 Nov 2021 (GGYV211128), 19 Dec 2021 (GGYV211219)

    Hotel San Francisco de Quito

    Sucre oe3-17 y Guayaquil

    Quito

    ECUADOR

    Phone: +593 2 228 7758

    Important information

    GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD $ ISABELA PORT FEES: A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$10) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment. When booking, please ensure that your details are correct and they match your passport. Your passport must match the booking details provided to us; otherwise it could cause issues with your transit card and internal flights resulting in purchasing a new card and flights at your own expense. SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS: Single supplements are not available on this trip due to hotel capacity restrictions.  PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes 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. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    MONEY WITHDRAWAL: In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    LIFE JACKETS: While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

    SWIMMING SKILLS This trip does include snorkeling on multiple days throughout the itinerary. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this tour.

    The sun in the Galapagos islands is incredibly strong due to its close proximity to the equator, ensure you are well prepared with suncreen, sun hat, sunglasses and a rash guard if desired.

    SNORKELLING IN THE GALAPAGOS: Like any physical outdoor activity, snorkelling does have some safety risks. While we provide adequate training to our guides and suitable safety briefing information to our travellers, ultimately you must also be responsible for your own safety. There is no official snorkelling guide certification in Galapagos, so your activity leader will not be a professional snorkelling guide. If you have no or poor swimming ability you should not take part and can do alternative activities instead. Please discuss this directly with your guide and only take part in snorkelling if you feel confident that all safety information is clear and that you are competent to partake the activity.

    Communications

    WhatsApp is a popular way to communicate in Latin America. We recommended downloading WhatsApp prior to departure to communicate with by text with your leader and group members during the tour. Once downloaded, please validate your phone number before leaving home as you will not be able to do this once you arrive unless you have international roaming enabled. Connections for making phone calls through WhatsApp are not reliable, so please do not use this app to make calls to our emergency phone line.

    Visas

    If you receive an immigration card upon entry, please ensure you keep this safe as it may be requested at point of exit. For further information regarding country entry and exit fees, please refer to the 'Money Matters' section of this document. 

    Why we love it

    Check out the highland haven of Quito – Ecuador’s vibrant mountainous capital. If you’ve got time, why not extend your stay here and discover the historic Old Town and Volcan Pichincha lookout.

    The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most unique wildlife on earth – many you may not have heard of before! Spot blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, frigate birds and so much more on your island escape.

    Consider a range of optional activities to enhance your wicked wildlife stops with your small group. Snorkelling at Kicker Rock? Swimming alongside sea lions near Isla Lobos? It’s up to you!

    Take land-side visits to San Cristobal’s Interpretation Center and Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to discover more about the islands’ history and conservation efforts to preserve this far-flung paradise.

    By staying on the islands, you’ll get the best of both worlds – discovering the forests, beaches and marine hotspots by day, and chilling out in town by night.

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the Essential Trip information (ETI) for more important details on this. This trip travels from island to island on speedboats. If you have trouble with motion sickness, we recommend you visit your doctor before the trip to get some motion sickness medication. Wildlife is a big focus on this trip. You'll be taking part in activities such as bird watching, swimming and making visits to museums. It's a great trip for those who love nature and animals. This trip includes a 17 km hike (approximately 6-7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Some regions of Central & South America can experience outbreaks of dengue fever. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent, and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria by taking measures to avoid insect bites. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip. YELLOW FEVER A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule, our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts. Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc. More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you. For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets, we understand your dietary requirements are important, however, sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home. 

    Money matters

    When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).  The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. MEALS NOT INCLUDED: For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out? Breakfast - If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café. Lunch - If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15. Dinner - At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main. These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries. CREDIT CARDS & ATMs: ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities across Latin America. Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only. Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to and what their fees and charges are. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. If bringing over cash, please note USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks. DEPARTURE TAX: In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Nowadays, these departure taxes are added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase. Unless mentioned below, no airport departure tax has to be paid during this trip. Ecuador & Hotel based Galapagos Tipping: Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier. Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine. On our Ecuador mainland trips your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go. Please keep in mind that prices in the Galapagos Islands are more expensive than other areas in South America. We have adjusted the budget for non-included meals accordingly.

    What to take

    Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage. Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:

    ESSENTIAL: - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

    RECOMMENDED: - Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments - Electrical adapter plug (view the following sites for details: https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm or https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/) - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids. - Insect repellent - Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both - Swimwear OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate - Phrase book VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. LAUNDRY Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo)

    INTREPID GALAPAGOS DUFFLE BAG In order to make luggage handling easier when embarking and disembarking speed boats on this trip, on day 1 of your trip you will be offered a duffle bag for you to consider using instead of your main luggage. The rest of your gear can be stored at your starting point hotel. The duffle bags have a capacity of 50 litres (measure 73x30.26 cm) and can carry between 12 and 15 kilos.

    Climate and seasonal

    SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS: Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period. Being located on the equator, Ecuador is a year round destination. In Quito temperatures do not fluctuate that much throughout the year with average temperatures around 19°C to 24°C during the day with lows of 9-10°C in the evening. There are two 'seasons', the wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October through to May. The surprisingly thing with Quito is its altitude and proximity to the equator means that the sun has a little more kick to it so it can feel like it's warmer than it actually is. Even on cooler days, if the sun comes out make sure you use sunscreen. The Galapagos weather is pretty reasonable all year round, so it is never freezing cold but it can get very hot [February-May being the hottest months]. The seasons are not exactly fixed and weather conditions are changeable around the ends of the seasons. Note that the "wet" season is still drier than many places in the world. Daily temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C with overnight temperatures dropping to around 10°C. Up in the highlands [which you will cross on your way from Baltra to Puerto Ayora] it is cooler and the garúa mist hangs about as a kind of permanent dampness, and sometimes descends to the coast as well. The waters surrounding the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Water temperatures sit around 20°C to 24°C from January through to May and drop to 18°C to 20°C from June through to October. Although you may be required to wear a wetsuit at this time of year the same currents that bring the cooler water temperatures also bring nutrients which means wildlife are very active at this time of year.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands aimed at protecting and preserving its unique biodiversity. Intrepid strongly agrees and supports these rules which range from times of the day that a destination can be visited to the distance kept between people and wildlife – all these rules will be explained in more detailed by your crew on the ground. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can result on Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception. For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid's Local Operator: +593 9 94014877

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT NOT AVAILABLE Due to hotel availability a single supplement is not available on this trip.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services The Ecuadorian government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers entering Ecuador. Proof of insurance may be requested at upon entering the country by immigration officials.

    Your fellow travellers

    SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. HEAVY RAIN ON THE INCA TRAIL If it rains heavily for a number of consecutive days, the terrain at the third campsite (Wiñaywayna) can become unstable, increasing the danger of landslides and making it unsafe to camp. This occurs mostly during the wet season (December to March) although it can also happen at any time of the year. Your trekking guide may assess that it's safer to spend the third night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), or if available, to camp at Puente Ruinas campsite. You may need to use your contingency funds to cover any additional costs. An letter can be provided for lodging a travel insurance claim for these costs.

    Accommodation

    Hostel (2 nts),Hotel (6 nts)

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