Galapagos Islands- Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) is a Province of Ecuador located 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast. They lie directly on the equator.
What is the climate like?Full Climate Details Page
When is the best time to travel to Galapagos?When To Visit Details Page
Are there any required and/or recommended immunizations?
There are no immunizations either required or recommended for the Galapagos Islands. However, if you intend to spend more time in Ecuador, especially in the jungle, immunization is highly recommended. As this changes from time to time, please check with your local health office or Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | Ecuador/Galapagos Islands a few weeks in advance of your trip.
How do we get there?
From North America, there are daily flights via Miami and Houston to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador. From there, you take a flight to the Galapagos.
Can you arrange our air to Ecuador?
Yes, our Tour Operators can handle these requests for our clients.
How do we get to Galapagos from Quito and Guayaquil?
Flights to Galapagos depart daily from both Quito and Guayaquil. We will arrange the Galapagos flight for you. The operators of the ships in Galapagos block spaces on these flights to ensure our passengers are on the flight to meet the ship. You will fly to Galapagos in the morning of first day of the cruise and return to the mainland in the afternoon of the last day of the cruise.
May we fly to Galapagos from Quito and back to Guayaquil (or vice versa)?
Yes, we would be able to arrange that for you. However, we do suggest Quito as the best city to stay in before and/or after your trip.
Are all of your prices in US dollars?
All of our rates are quoted in US dollars.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Payment may also be made by check.
Will we have to exchange any money before we travel to Ecuador or once in the country?
Not if you have US dollars. Ecuador has adopted the US dollar as its official currency.
What is included in the tour package?
The package rates include accommodations and all meals aboard the cruise ships, island sightseeing, all guide and lecture services, transfers in the islands and between the airport and ship in Galapagos, and your flight to the Galapagos (unless otherwise noted).
What is not included in the tour package?
The Galapagos Entry Tax to Protected Areas (includes the municipal tax, currently $100 US payable in cash to the national park authorities in Baltra); gratuities (it is customary to tip the guide, the chef and the crew); soft drinks and alcoholic beverages; and any other extras not specifically mentioned. There is also a $25-45 Airport Departure Tax from Ecuador on all international flights which as of 2010 is included in your airfare pricing, however this is subject to change.
How much should we bring for gratuities?
Tipping is always a courtesy; however, if you find the service to be pleasing, then use the following general guidelines: Restaurants and coffee shops - 10% of the bill; Hotel/airport porterage - $1 per suitcase; Guides on Mainland - $3 per person, per day; Drivers on Mainland - $3 per person, per day; Cruise ship Crew and Guides in Galapagos - $20-25 per person, per day
Can you make hotel and other tour reservations for our stay in Ecuador?
We are able to assist you with hotels and tours throughout Ecuador and into Peru for Machu Picchu. We can also help you to plan an efficient itinerary that will make the most of the time you have available.
Can we purchase travel insurance for our trip?
We offer CSA Travel Protection; and Travelex Insurance Services for trip cancellation, travel and/or medical insurance. Alternatively, you can purchase travel insurance through one of our Tour Operators. Purchasing deadlines do apply for full coverage, so be sure to inquire at at the time of your initial trip deposit.
How do we receive our vouchers and tickets for the Galapagos?
We will mail you a package of information. The ticket for the Galapagos flight is held by the ship owners and will be issued to you by our associates once you are in Ecuador.
How experienced are the Naturalist Guides onboard the ship and do they speak English?
All of the ships we recommend employ highly experienced and qualified naturalist guides who are fluent in English (and often other languages as well).
Will there be time for snorkeling?
There is plenty of time for snorkeling for those who are interested. Snorkeling gear is provided onboard some ships or for rent at a cost of $10 for other ships. Alternatively, you can bring your own gear.
Is a wetsuit necessary for snorkeling?
No, a wetsuit is not necessary, but we suggest that you bring a 2mm "shorty" to help keep you warm in cold water if you are in the Galapagos during the June to December season.