Galapagos-Recomendations2018-11-29T17:48:40+00:00

Recommendations and important information regarding travel to the Galapagos Islands

Time difference

The time in Galapagos is six hours earlier than Europe and one hour earlier than the Ecuadorian mainland (GMT, -6).

Documents

Every tourist must travel with his/her original passport to Galapagos. In order for us to organize your trip, please send us the following information, which is of utmost importance: your passport number, nationality, date of birth, full name and any special requirements. This information must be provided when you confirm your reservation.

Weather

The Galapagos Islands are cool from June to November and hot from December to May. The temperature varies between 18 ºC and 35 ºC.

Taxes

Tourists are required to pay three types of taxes: the Galapagos National Park charges $80 and the Municipality charges $20. Children pay half the adult rate. The transit control card costs $20. There are no discounts for students, children or senior citizens. Tourists traveling from a country that is a member of the Andean Pact pay a special rate. Taxes are subject to change without previous notice and function according to national and local governmental regulations. The dock tax is $10 on Isabela Island, and the airport tax is $15 for flights between islands. Please reconfirm this information with our office before starting your trip.

Airports

There are two intercontinental airports: one is on Baltra Island and the other is on San Cristobal Island and is also known as the Baquerizo Moreno Port. At this time, Galacruises operates from both airports. On Isabela Island there is a landing area available only to inter-island flights for small planes.

Flights

The fastest way to reach the Islands is by air. TAME, AVIANCA/AEROGAL and LAN are the airlines that fly to the Galapagos Islands. At present, there are several flights a day to the Islands. EMETEBE is another company that fly’s between Baltra, San Cristobal and Isabela. This company is not an airline –it is an office that sells seats to individual passengers and charter flights in small planes (9-passenger limit) but does not guarantee service.

Baggage Allowance

In regard to luggage, airline regulations recommend traveling with a suitcase having a maximum weight of 20 kg. Plus, one small lightweight carry-on bag (8kg). Trading boats (dock -to-dock) accept one 40-lb. suitcase plus one carry-on bag, and inter-island flights accept 20 lbs. plus a small carry-on bag.

What to Take Along:

Remember that the Galapagos Islands are out of the mainland and include a number of very interesting activities such as walking, swimming, and snorkeling. Consequently, we recommend taking comfortable lightweight informal clothing appropriate for changes in the weather. We also suggest taking a bathing suit, T-shirts, shorts, sunglasses, hat or cap, insect repellent, sun block, sport shoes good for walking over lava and rocky surfaces, and sandals for walking in water. For the cool months, a water repellent jacket or poncho and lightweight pants (not jeans) are essential.

Other important items to take are lip balm, eye drops, and plastic bags to protect cameras or electronic equipment, medicine (pills or patches) to counteract seasickness, a camera, binoculars, and any medicine recommended by your personal physician for specific medical needs.

Water:

The water supply system in the Islands is not made of potable water. Although the water is desalinated, it serves only for showers and baths. Therefore, it is not appropriate to drink it straight from the water tap. Visitors should buy bottled water in order to drink, as well as refill these bottles in the water dispensers that some hotels may have available for their guests.

Smoking is prohibited in the cabins of all ships and hotel rooms.

Additional Activities: “Diving, Multisport and Adventure”

If you are willing to take a diving cruise, you should reserve it with anticipation because diving boats have a maximum capacity of 14 to 16 divers. Diving equipment is not included nevertheless; you can rent it with anticipation at good rates. (Ask for rates before you travel).

You can also ask for diving tours with inland accommodation (2 immersions a day) for this package the diving gear is included (wet suit, mask, fins, etc).

When engaging in any water or adventure sport (snorkeling, sea kayaking, biking, walking, surfing, etc.), please comply with the guide’s instructions and respect the signs placed by the Galapagos National Park. Galacruises Expeditions offer soft adventure packages from 4 to 15 days, running around the populated and interesting islands.

How to contact us before leaving Quito or Guayaquil

Before you leave Quito or Guayaquil for the Galapagos Islands, you should check all your travel documents related to the cruise: travel dates, flight times, hour to check in at the airport (1½ hours before flight time is recommended), name of the Galacruises representative who will assist you at the Quito airport, and an emergency number. Our representatives at airports wear company identification so you will recognize them easily. When you reach the Galapagos Islands, one of our representatives will meet you and ask for your service voucher, which contains the complete information of your trip.

If you need special or extra assistance, do not hesitate to tell us beforehand. We will be happy to set up the assistance you need.

Emergency numbers

In case you need assistance any time of day or night, there are two emergency cell phone numbers you can use to contact our sales and operations department. These numbers will be on your service voucher. 24/7 emergency phone numbers: +593 998-563802 / +593 999931606. Operations Department: +593 991376867

Purchases in towns and on board

Cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted in towns. On board ships, it is best to pay in cash. Only on Santa Cruz Island at Puerto Ayora it is possible to obtain cash at a bank or an ATM. This service is not available on other islands. If you need to use credit cards for on-board purchases, please ask about this beforehand.

Air Fares

Our cruises and programs do not include the price of airfare.

There are two seasons:

  • High season: July, August and December
  • Low season: the rest of the year

There are special rates for passengers from countries belonging to the Andean Pact (Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Chile).

There are rates for children and babies. We need clear copies of their passports in order to charge special rates.

If you purchase a cruise or a package with us, your air reservation is confirmed automatically. In case you miss the flight, the airline will charge a no-show fine of US$ 25 plus tax per person.

Schedule Changes in Galapagos

Galacruises and the ship captain reserve the right to change the itinerary of their cruises and packages of land visits due to unforeseen circumstances, changes in National Park regulations, weather conditions, etc. These decisions are strictly related to the safety of our passengers and to protecting the conservation of the Islands.

Accommodations for Passengers Traveling Alone

The prices for a cruise are for individual passengers who share a double cabin on board. If a person is traveling alone, he/she will be required to share a double cabin with another passenger of the same sex or pay the difference of the cost of a single room, depending on the type of ship.

Services Included in our Galapagos Islands CRUISES

All our cruises include three meals a day and non-alcoholic drinks (non-bottled drinking water, juice, coffee, teas), visits, excursions to the islands according to the itinerary authorized by the Galapagos National Park, a bilingual (Spanish and English) naturalist guide, lodging, assistance at the Quito airport, and snacks after each visit.

Services NOT Included in our Galapagos Island CRUISES

Round-trip tickets to Galapagos, liquor and bottled drinks, snorkeling equipment (M/C Archipell includes snorkel equipment), wet suits, personal expenses, extras, tips, entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($100 foreigners, $50 Andean Pact and $6 Ecuadorians), migratory transit control card ($20).

If you need a guide for another language (German, French, Italian or any other), request the service beforehand, at least three months before. We will notify you with regard to the availability and the additional cost of this service.

Services Included in our Galapagos Islands PACKAGES

All our packages include accommodations in a double or triple room, breakfast every day, lunch or box lunch as specified in each program, fast public launches and private launches when the client requires them for boat trips (for groups of more than 10 passengers), excursions to islands depending on the itinerary authorized by the Galapagos National Park, a local bilingual guide (Spanish or English), private land transportation, snorkeling equipment, assistance at the Quito airport, and confirmation of flights (round-trip).

Services NOT Included in our Galapagos Island PACKAGES

Round-trip flights to Galapagos, alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks, wet suits, personal expenses, extras, tips, entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($100 foreigners, $50 Andean Pact and $6 Ecuadorians), migratory transit control card ($20).

If you need a guide for another language (German, French, Italian or any other), request the service beforehand, at least three months before. We will notify you with regard to the availability and the additional cost of this service.

Tips

For cruises, the general understanding is to tip 10% of the cruise cost for the guide and the crew. For a hotel and yacht package (land), we suggest giving your local or permanent guide US$ 10 per person per day. You can find these recommendations in international guidebooks such as Lonely Planet and Handbook.

Keep in mind that the tip is not something you must give unless you have been given a good service in you fell like to; the amount will also be up on you.

Additional Rules on how to behave with the friendly nature of the Galapagos Islands

  • In order to visit the sites of the Galapagos National park, you must always be accompanied by a certified Galapagos National park guide.
  • The Galapagos archipelago is considered a fragile environment as a whole, along its vast diversity of ecosystems. Thereof, visitors are allowed to get closer to the creatures with a minimum distance of 2 meters in order to avoid affecting the wildlife´s natural behavior.
  • Visitors are allowed to take pictures, or record videos within the surface of authorized areas. Professional shooting needs authorization from the Galapagos National Park.
  • Camping is only allowed in specific sites, after obtaining a permit from the Galapagos National Park.
  • Help us to protect the ecosystems in the islands, by cooperating with the local authorities in their inspections, monitoring, and control of conservational nature procedures required by Galapagos National Park. Report any anomalies concerned with the natural development of the flora and fauna in the Galapagos archipelago.
  • For your own safety, as well as conservation of the ecosystems, stay within the limits of the walking trails found along protected areas in the whole archipelago.
  • Please, do not buy any souvenirs which are made from Black coral, sea shells, sea lion teeth, tortoise shell, volcanic rocks, or endemic wood.
  • Do not feed the animals. The Galapagos animals have their own feeding behavior. Never feed them. Feeding them can be detrimental to their health.
  • Protect the beauty of the unique Galapagos´ Landscapes. Do not spoil them by writing or etching rocks or trees.
  • Fishing is strictly forbidden, except on those boats specifically authorized by the Galapagos National Park for that purpose only.
  • Do not litter while on the Islands. Always dispose of rubbish in a safe and appropriate way.
  • Smoking or camp fire in the national park areas is forbidden and can bush fires.
  • Jet Skies, submarines, water skiing, and aerial tourism are all forbidden.