Ecuador Highlands & Galapagos

Trip Code: GGSIC

Why we love it

Stay on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest in eco lodge-style accommodation on the banks of the Arajuno River and enjoy a special evening walk through the jungle under the night sky., Walk in the rainforest with an Indigenous guide by your side to lead the way, point out local birds and teach you about the incredible plant life that thrives here. Then, visit an Amazon animal rescue centre., Marvel at the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano – one of the largest active volcanos in the world – while hiking through Cotopaxi National Park., Live like a local as you’re welcomed into a family home in a sustainable community high in the hills of Ecuador, getting your hands dirty and helping with everyday tasks like reforestation projects, organic gardening or jam making, to name a few., Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island, then get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. These nearly extinct creatures are one of the greatest drawcards to the Galapagos.

Is this trip right for me?

This trip involves a lot of travel by speed boat between the various Galapagos Islands, the rides can be quite bumpy at times. The good news is that seasickness can often be managed with medication. Consult a health professional before your trip.

This trip includes a 17 km hike (approximately 6–7 hours) on rocky terrain. It's recommended you bring comfortable walking shoes that offer good support. This trip also includes jungle hikes, which can be strenuous due to the humidity. A decent level of fitness is required to feel comfortable when exploring the jungle.

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

This trip visits Quito which is at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information. 

Temperatures in the Amazon and on the Galapagos Islands can fluctuate. It can get really hot, humid and sticky during the day, and cold at night. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle the heat during the day, and base layers are ideal for keeping warm at night.

Insects, especially mosquitoes, abound in the Amazon. Bring tropical strength insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.

While accommodation in the Amazon is clean, comfortable and ideally located, it can seem pretty basic. Please remember that this is a very remote part of the world.

Important information

1. 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!

2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 5 and 6 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

3. 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.
4. 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 and especially not removing anything from the environment ( shells and corals for example) – all these rules will be explained in more detail by your Leader on the ground. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can result in Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in being removed from the trip without refund.
For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/
5. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
6. Ecuador has implemented COVID-19 testing requirements for entry to the country, including special conditions for Galapagos. Please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.

What to bring/pack

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 www.kropla.com)
- 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

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., GALAPAGOS SPECIFIC
In addition to our packing list above, you may want to consider bringing the below items when traveling to the Galapagos:

Sandals (something with a hard sole that you can get wet)
Rash Guard to prevent sun exposure

Beach Towels: It's not necessary to bring a beach towel as all of our hotels provide them for the duration of your stay.

Physical rating

3

Joining your group

La Cartuja Hotel, Leonidas Plaza N20-08 y 18 de Septiembre, Quito, ECUADOR, Phone: +593 2523577

La Cartuja Hotel is a charming boutique property with spacious rooms, wifi and a central courtyard to relax in. It is located within walking distance to restaurants, shops and attractions.

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

Please make sure that you provide your flight details no later than 14 days before departure to book your arrival transfer with us.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met at Quito Airport International Arrivals by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact our local office on the number in the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section.

Finishing your trip

La Cartuja Hotel, Leonidas Plaza N20-08 y 18 de Septiembre, Quito, ECUADOR, Phone: +593 2523577

La Cartuja Hotel is a charming boutique property with spacious rooms, wifi and a central courtyard to relax in. It is located within walking distance to restaurants, shops and attractions.

Alternate Finish Point


If you have a confirmed departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends.

Alternatively, please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi or instructions to reach the airport by public transport

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 16

Lunches included: 7

Dinners included: 4

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader or local representative 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. 

PRICES IN THE GALAPAGOS
Please note that prices for food and beverages in the Galapagos are generally more expensive than Ecuador mainland and other parts of South America.

Climate & seasonal information

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.

In case of emergency

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 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 or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative 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.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid’s Local Operator Ecuador: +593 9 94014877

Intrepid’s Local Operator Ecuador: +593 9 94014877 / +593 9 99469636

Accommodations

Transportation