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F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

Find all the answers for your Galapagos tour:

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Galapagos Travel:

Q: When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos?

A: Since the climate is nice all year round, there is no "best" or "better" time to visit the Galapagos. However, you might take other factors, such as high season, low season, and other things into account. Take a look at our "When to go" page to give you a better idea of the best time for you to travel.

Q: Where do I have to go first to get to the Galapagos?

A: You have to fly to Ecuador first, either to Quito or Guayaquil, and from there you will fly to Galapagos.

Q: Which city is better to stay for a few more days: Quito or Guayaquil?

A: Both cities have tourist attractions that can be visited before or after the cruise. However, Guayaquil is more of a passing or business city where you can visit the following attractions: Malecón 2000, Seminario (Iguana) Park, La Rotonda Monument, and Barrio Las Peñas. While in the city of Quito you can visit more places like: Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, Colonial Downtown, Cotopaxi Volcano, Mindo Cloud Forest, Otavalo Market, and Papallacta Hot Springs.

Q: How many days do you recommend I stay in Ecuador?

A: The number of days depends on the time you have to make your trip. In the event that you want to visit an attraction in Quito or Guayaquil, it is recommended at least two days before or after your trip to the Galapagos Islands. We offer programs up to 8 days in the mainland. In the event that you want to visit the Amazon Rainforest you will need a minimum of 4 days.

Q: How many extra days do you recommend for Galapagos?

A: It depends on your time and budget, and also on the length of your cruise. We recommend you discuss this with your trip advisor who will be able to guide you and work on a detailed proposal for you.

Q: How far in advance should I arrive in Quito or Guayaquil before my trip to Galapagos?

A: Since the climate is nice all year round, there is no "best" or "better" time to visit the Galapagos. However, you might take other factors, such as high season, low season, and other things into account. Take a look at our "When to go" page to give you a better idea of the best time for you to travel.

Q: How do you get to Puerto Ayora from Baltra airport?

A: You have to take a bus from Baltra airport to Itabaca channel, then take a water taxi to cross the channel, and once there, you have to take a taxi to Puerto Ayora.

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How to go to the Galapagos

How to go to the Galapagos:

Q: How long is the flight from Ecuador to the Galapagos?

A: It depends from where you depart. Flights o the Galapagos leave from both Quito and Guayaquil. If you travel from Quito there will be a short layover in Guayaquil, which is normally about 30 minutes and you do not have to exit the plane. It takes 30 minutes to fly from Quito to Guayaquil and roughly 1 and 30 minutes from Guayaquil to the Islands.

Q: Are there luggage restrictions on airplanes?

A: One checked suitcase (44 lbs/ 20kg) and one carry-on bag are allowed. Thank goodness bathing suits and shorts don't weigh that much!

Q: Why does the flight make a stop in Guayaquil?

A: The flight will make a stop in Guayaquil to pick up passengers.

Q: For flights to and from the Islands, can I depart and return from Quito or Guayaquil on either trip?

A: Your flights to and from the Galapagos are completely up to you. You can fly to and from either Quito or Guayaquil.

Q: Can I take an immediate international flight once I return to Ecuador from Galapagos?

A: It is recommended to take the international flight back home, 24 hours after you return to mainland Ecuador. We recommend this option due to possible flight delays. However, if you prefer to travel back the same day, it is possible.

Q: How do I get to the city from the airport?

A: QUITO: The Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located in the town of Tababela, about 11 miles east of Quito. It takes approximately 45 minutes from the airport to the city of Quito. You can either take a taxi or book a private transfer through our company.

GUAYAQUIL: The Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport is located inside the city of Guayaquil, is pretty close to most of the hotels, and taking a taxi is easy.

Q: Which airline is the most used for flights to the Galapagos?

A: Most of the operators in Galapagos prefer to book the local flights with Avianca, however there are other airlines like LATAM or TAME that offer flights to the islands.

Q: Which airline do you recommend for my international flight to Ecuador?

A: It depends on where you are flying from, we recommend you check with your travel agency to learn more about international flights to Ecuador.

Q: Can my flight route be changed before my second payment?

A: Yes, it is possible to change your flight route before you send the final payment.

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When to go and What to bring:

Precautions and What to bring:

Q: Do you offer travel insurance?

A: We don't offer trip insurance, but we highly recommend purchasing it before your trip.

Q: What travel insurance do you recommend?

A: We recommend reviewing the best travel insurance options with your local travel agency, or you can review it with Allianz or Travel Guard.

Q: Are there any immunizations required/recommended?

A: For the Galapagos Islands there are no required or recommended immunizations. However, If you intend to spend more time in Ecuador, specifically in the jungle, immunizations are recommended. As this does change from time to time, please check with your local health care provider (or the Institute for Tropical Diseases) for more specific information.

Q: What do you recommend for motion sickness, can I buy medication in Ecuador?

A: We suggest you check with your doctor before taking any motion-sickness medication. It is possible to buy this medication in Ecuador or purchase the medication recommended by your doctor in your home country.

Q: What should we bring?

A: Since the Islands are situated on the Equator, we recommend that you bring lightweight clothing and of course, don't forget your swimsuits, sunscreen, and good footwear for walking. Take a look at our packing list to get an idea of what else to bring.

Q: Can we bring our own alcoholic beverages with us?

A: On board the plane, passengers may take up to five liters of alcohol with alcohol contents between 24% and 70% per person, as checked luggage. On board a cruise, the amount depends on the boat, however most allow passengers to bring 1 bottle of an alcoholic drink per cabin.

Q: Where can I go shopping?

A: You can buy souvenirs in the main towns at the beginning and end of your cruise.

Q: Where can I buy a cell phone chip?

A: You can buy a cell phone chip at any shopping center in Quito or Guayaquil.

Q: Is there internet or phone signal in Galapagos?

A: There is limited phone coverage in Galapagos, but you can buy a SIM card that will work with the main towns. Once you start sailing, cellphone reception will be very limited/nonexistent.

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Payment regulations

Tour Payments:

Q: What is included in the price of the cruise?

A: Included in the price is: onboard accommodation, three meals a day, purified drinking water, visits/ excursions to the Islands with an English speaking naturalist guide, panga rides, our famous 24 hour client support service, and taxes.

Q: What is not included?

A: Not included in the price are the flight tickets to and from the Galapagos Islands, the National Park entrance fee $100 (subject to change), and the INGALA Transit Control Card ($20, paid in either the Guayaquil or Quito airports), alcoholic drinks on board, tips, transfers, and all other personal expenses.

Q: When do we have to pay?

A: When your reservation has been confirmed, you will be required to pay 30% of the total trip price as a deposit. The remainder should be paid 60 days before departure. In the case of last minute bookings, you are required to pay the total amount stated in your invoice to confirm your reservation. For more detailed information, click here.

Q: What methods of payment do you accept?

A: We accept payments with Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, e-checks, or payments from your PayPal account. To hold your reservation, we need a deposit of 30% of the total cruise price.

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Entrance Fees

Galapagos Entrance Fees:

Q: What is the Galapagos National Park (GNP) entrance fee?

A: All tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands must pay an entry tax to visit the archipelago to the Ecuadorian National Park System. On its website, the Galapagos National Park announces that, "Funds from the entry tax for tourists are used to finance the conservation of biodiversity (...), and benefits the local community (...) and services directly related to tourists."

Q: Where can I pay GNP Entrance Fee?

A: The Galapagos National Park fee must be paid in cash at the airport in Galapagos upon arrival. The amount of this entrance fee depends on the age and nationality of the tourist. Most foreign tourists over the age of 12 pay US$100, while children pay US$50.

Visitors from the Andean Community and Mercosur nations over the age of 12 pay US$50, and children pay US$25. Ecuadorian nationals over the age of 12 pay US$6, and children pay US$3.

Q: Can I pay the GNP Entrance Fee with credit card?

A: It is not possible to pay the entry fee with a credit card, only with cash.

Q: How can I pay GNP Entrance Fee?

A: When you arrive to the Islands, you will find a special counter where you have to pay this fee.

Q: What is the Transit Control Card?

A: The Governing Council of Galapagos uses the Transit Control Card (Tarjeta de Control de Tránsito or TCT) to monitor visitors’ time spent on the islands.

Q: Where can I pay the TCT?

A: The Transit Control Card must be paid in cash at the Quito or Guayaquil airport before you take your fly to the island. Visitors must go to a booth in the airport with their plane tickets to get the card, which costs $20 (cash only).

Q: Can I pay the TCT with a credit card?

A: It is not possible to pay the entry fee with a credit card, only with cash.

Q: Can I buy the TCT a day before traveling to the Galapagos to avoid the line?

A: There is an online service, in case passengers do not prepay for this service. You can enter your information online before traveling to the islands. However, it is mandatory to arrive two hours prior to your scheduled flight departure in order to pay and get the Transit Control Card from the Galapagos Government Council, which must be kept with you until you leave the archipelago.

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Money

Money:

Q: Will we have to exchange money before we travel to Ecuador/ once we are in the country?

A: Not if you have US dollars. In 2000, Ecuador adopted the US dollar as its official currency. Just make sure you bring cash bills in good condition with you; if they have tears in them, they are likely to be refused.

Q: How much money should I bring?

A: It depends on the length of your cruise, please note that you need enough cash for the Galapagos National Park fee (~$100), Ingala Transit Control card (~$20), alcoholic and soft drinks, souvenirs, tips, and in some yachts you will have to rent wetsuits and/or kayaks.

Q: What are the tipping standards in Ecuador and Galapagos?

A: In Ecuador, there is no established amount for tipping. However, based on our clients’ experience, and if you think that the service has been excellent, we recommend for tours, US $8 to US $15 per person, per day. For example, if you travel onboard a cruise with your partner and both have decided to tip US $12 each per day, that would be US $24 a day, and US $168 for a 7-night cruise (the crew will divide it equally among them), plus any amount you leave to the guide.

Q: What currency do you use in Ecuador and how can we exchange our money?

A: The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar. If you are coming from the United States you do not need to exchange your money. People coming from other countries are able to exchange money at the international airports in Quito or Guayaquil, located in banks and exchange areas.

Q: Can we get money from ATMs in Galapagos?

A: Only a few itineraries offer free time in the main ports, where you can find a few ATMs; we recommend that you bring enough cash with you, before you arrive in the Islands, for your personal expenses.

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On the boat/On the islands

On the boat/on the islands:

Q: Is it possible to make phone calls to my home country?

A: You can call your family and friends from Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), where you will have access to Internet facilities.

Q: Is there a dress code on board?

A: There is no dress code on board our Galapagos cruises. The only requirement, for lunch and dinner, is that you wear shoes. There are exceptions, such as with these ships: La Pinta, Silver Sea, Celebrity Xperience, Santa Cruz, Isabella II, and Legend that will ask you to wear long pants during meals.

Q: Are single or triple suites available?

A: Most of our cruises will assign double cabins to all passengers, unless you want to pay a single supplement if you are traveling alone. Triple cabins can also be arranged on request, depending on availability and the vessel you choose.

Q: Is smoking allowed on board or on the islands?

A: In the cabins, as well as on the Galapagos Islands, smoking is not allowed. However, on smaller boats, you can smoke on the deck, and bigger ships normally offer designated smoking areas.

Q: Is there internet or WiFi onboard?

A: If you want to do a land based or island hopping tour, it’s possible to have internet access in the hotels and in different restaurants located in the towns on San Cristobal Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Isabela Island. However, connections are often slow and it will not be possible to use WiFi while on board the daily yacht tours.

Regarding cruises, most destinations are too far from the main towns to receive efficient signals for internet use. However, close to the inhabited Islands you may have better signal. It is important to know that just some cruises offer internet service with a slow satellite connection, and some will charge a fee for this service.

Q: What type of outlets are there onboard?

A: There are 110v (2 flat prongs, like the ones in the United States) in all ships and on the mainland. In some of the ships there is 220v on the social areas, we recommend to bring your own adapter if needed.

Q: How much are drinks on a cruise?

A: Most boats will offer free water, tea, and coffee. The prices will differ depending on the category of every boat. Usually a cocktail costs around US $10, a bottle of beer around US $6, a bottle of wine will vary depending on the quality, from around US $30 to $60.

Q: How much are the wetsuits?

A: The rates for the wetsuits depends on the ship, contact your trip advisor for more details.

Q: How much is the uncork fee onboard?

A: The corkage fee depends on the boat. The average price can range from $10 to $40 per bottle, as it depends on the type of alcoholic drink you bring on board.

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Agency Services

Agency Services:

Q: Will you send me a reminder for the final payment?

A: Each trip advisor is responsible for sending a reminder of the final payment to their customers at least 5 days before the deadline.

Q: Can we send you our renewed passports later?

A: Yes, you can send your renewed passport once you have it.

Q: How do I receive my travel or confirmation documents?

A: The service voucher will be sent via email. However, if you would like a physical copy, we can send it to your hotel if you send us the address at least 15 days before starting your tour.

Q: Who can help me if I need something during my trip?

A: You can get in contact with us through one of our emergency numbers detailed in the final voucher, or you can send an email directly to your trip advisor.

Q: When will I receive my service voucher?

A: You will receive your service voucher 72 hours after the final payment of your tour has been credited, as long as you have sent all the required information.

Q: When will I receive airline tickets and hotel / cruise confirmation numbers?

A: The service voucher will be sent via email once you have sent the total payment for your reservation. The flight, hotel, and cruise reservation numbers will be sent in the service voucher document. Some operators will not send electronic air tickets because they will have reservation numbers for all tickets on the cruise.

Q: Who will be my tour guide? Can you give me their name and phone number?

A: Your guide may change, this is why we do not give you their name or phone number in advance. Generally, your guide will be the same throughout the trip and you will meet them at the beginning of your tour.

Q: Where will the transfer person wait for me? Will they have a sign with my name?

A: A representative from our company, the hotel, or the boat will have a sign with either the hotel or boat name, since most of the time the transfers are a shared service. In the event that you confirmed a private service, the sign will have your name on it.

Q: How will I recognize the ship representative when I get to the airport?

A: Please make sure to look for a sign with the name of the ship or your last name.

Q: What is the physical voucher for?

A: The physical voucher is not necessary, you can have an electronic copy of the voucher without having the physical document.

Q: Why do I need a contact number from the hotel?

A: In case there is a change to your itinerary, we need a phone number in order to contact you.

Q: Why do we have to go to the ship's meeting point if we arrive a few days before in the Galapagos?

A: Each boat indicates meeting points, which depend on the confirmed itinerary. Both the meetinging points and itineraries can not be changed or altered as they are planned and established weeks/months in advance by the operator and the Galapagos National Park. It is not possible for boats to pick up each passenger from their hotels because time would be lost for the first activity that is established in the itinerary.

Q: Is it necessary to print the voucher and show it at the hotel or airport?

A: It is not necessary to print your voucher.

Q: Why do I have to send copies of credit cards and passports to make payments?

A: A copy of the credit card and passport of the cardholder must be sent in order to confirm that the card belongs to the client.

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Trip Extension

Trip Extension:

Q: Can I extend my stay before and/or after my cruise?

A: We highly recommend you do so! Have a look at our entire Trip Extension section where you can find out how to get to know mainland Ecuador and its major cities.

Q: Can I get to Galapagos a few days before my cruise and stay in a hotel on one of the islands?

A: Yes, you can travel Galapagos however many days before your trip and stay in one of the islands; there are hotels in Puerto Ayora, San Cristobal, and Isabela.

Q: What are some hotel recommendations in Quito and Guayaquil?

A: Quito
Luxury: JW Marriott Hotel, Illa Experience Hotel, and Casa Gangotena.
First Class: Swissotel, and NH Collection Hotel.
Midrange & Budget: Vieja Cuba & Casa Gardenia

Guayaquil
Luxury: Hotel del Parque, and Hilton Colon Hotel.
First Class: Holiday Inn, and Courtyard
Midrange & Budget: Hotel Palace, and City Plaza

Q: Can you make hotel reservations for us in Ecuador?

A: Of course, we are happy to arrange that for you! Just have a look at our recommended hotels in Ecuador and let us know where you'd like to stay.

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Diving in Galapagos

Diving in Galapagos:

Q: What diving tours are available in Galapagos?

A: Please check our section for Galapagos Diving Tours.

Q: I'm interested about diving in Galapagos. How do these tours work?

A: Please check our section for Galapagos Diving FAQs.

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Hotel tours in Galapagos

Hotel-based tours in Galapagos:

Q: What hotel-based tours are available in Galapagos?

A: Please check our section for Galapagos Hotel Based Tours.

Q: I'm interested about hotel-based programs in Galapagos. How do these tours work?

A: Please check our section for Galapagos Hotel-based Tours FAQs.

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