Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands (Grand Daphne)

Trip Code: GMDD

Why we love it

Experience the benefits of small group travel aboard your vessel, M/Y Grande Daphne, sailing through the natural beauty of the Galapagos, day and night., Explore the remote west coast of Isabela on a small panga boat, and venture to the far-west Fernandina, home of the highest density of marine iguanas., Encounter the unique Galapagos wildlife in their natural habitat, from giant blue-footed and masked boobies, pelicans and frigate birds to iguanas, sea lions and turtles.

Is this trip right for me?

The Galapagos Islands are a largely untouched natural paradise. In order to experience the splendour of the diverse landscapes and waters, the included activities on this trip often require a moderate level of fitness. We ask that you read the trip notes and itinerary carefully to ensure that you will be able to participate fully.

Our small ships make cruising from island to island a breeze, so you can spend more time exploring the gorgeous surrounds than stuck onboard. Compact size means that the steps between the decks are steep, and as they are designed to maximise living area space, sleeping quarters are cosy.

For getting to small islets, coves and prime snorkelling spots, it is sometimes necessary to use a Zodiac boat (panga). You will need to be comfortable climbing in and out of one during wet and dry landings.

The waters of the Galapagos are generally calm and serene. However, there is always the possibility of choppy water at sea. Steady sea legs (and a sturdy stomach) will be needed when walking around the boat during bad weather. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.

Things are never set in stone when you’re travelling on island time. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fun, relaxing trip through this beautiful part of the world no matter what happens. While the crew will do their best to follow the itinerary, variations may occur due to weather or under direction from local authorities.

Important information

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD
Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park.

ARRIVAL TRANSFER:
This tour includes a complimentary arrival transfer in Quito. Please advise flight details 30 days prior to travel so that the transfer can be organised.

PASSPORT DETAILS:
When booking, please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform us or your agent of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.

MINIMUM AGE:
The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.

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.

DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to our internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, Although each cabin on the Daphne has cupboard and space to store your bags, space is at a premium so we suggest that you take a back pack or soft sided duffle or sports bag with you. These bags should be easily stored in your cabins. Larger, fixed, sided suitcases are usually too large to store in the cupboard space.
If you are travelling with a larger bag you do have the option of borrowing one of our kit bags [which take approx 12kg] and leave your bag behind at the start hotel. This service is provided by the hotel and although we haven’t had issues with theft in the past we highly recommend that you don’t leave any valuables behind.

Below is a suggested packing list. The weather in the Galapagos is quite temperate all year round. In most cases you will be in water snorkelling or swimming for a portion of the day with the other time taken up with an island visit/walk or time to relax on the boat as you travel between islands.

Daypack [a smaller back pack that you can take with you on island excursions]
Comfortable clothing for warmer temperatures [shorts, t-shirts, light long sleeved tops and pants]
A fleece or warmer jumper for the evenings or early mornings
A light rain coat or poncho
Comfortable shoes [trainers or walking shoes are sufficient for most trips]*
Sandals or thongs/flip flops/jandals
Sunscreen [bio degradable and waterproof if available] and lip balm [to combat the effects of wind burn]
Sunglasses
Sunhat [that can be secured as it can get windy out on the water]
Swimming costume
Water bottle [filtered water is available on board the boat]
Bio-degradable conditioner and cleanser [please do not bring facial or body cleanser with microbeads] - shampoo and soap are provided on board
Dry bag
Pegs [so you can hang your swimming costume or towel out to dry]
Insect repellent [for island visits]
US adaptor/electrical plug
For keen birdwatchers, Binoculars
Camera [underwater if you have one]
Earplugs

Please ensure you travel with all required medicines, pain killers and toiletries that you may need while in the Galapagos. If you are prone to motion sickness, you might want to pack some preventative medication. You are travelling to quite a remote destination and even though there are a number of settlements throughout the islands there are times we it could take a day to reach these towns and even then they may not stock your required medication.

Please ensure you also bring your passport with you as it is an entry requirement for the Galapagos to present your passport on arrival in Galapagos and returning to the mainland [photocopies of your passport are not permitted].

*a number of trips include a volcano walk and some travellers may feel more comfortable in hiking shoes or boots., SNORKELLING
There are many opportunities for snorkelling during your Galapagos voyage. Diving masks, snorkels and fins are provided onboard the vessel and are for use by all passengers. Wetsuits are available for hire at an additional cost. Some passengers choose to bring their own equipment, however this is a personal choice. Beach towels are also provided.
An underwater disposable camera is also recommended., AIRLINE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE:
The airline that we use for our Galapagos trips, has a checked in baggage allowance of 23kg per person and a cabin baggage allowance of 10kg.

Physical rating

3

Galapagos Voyage

We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you. This applies to the included activities and moving around the boat. You will also need to enter and exit a zodiac during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling - please note crew members will be on hand to assist you.

The cabins and communal areas of the Daphne are spread over 3 decks. The steps between the decks are steep however, there are hand railings to hold on to.

Snorkelling

There are many opportunities to go snorkelling on our voyages. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this activity. Depending on the weather conditions and park regulations, you could be snorkelling twice a day. If you take part in the snorkelling, you will not miss out on any land activities. For those not wanting to snorkel, there will be time to relax on the boat.

Altitude

Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity.

Joining your group

Hotel Reina Isabel, Av. Amazonas N23-44 y Veintimilla, Quito, Quito, ECUADOR

Joining instructions

A Complimentary arrival transfer is included from Quito Airport to your hotel on day one or if you have prebooked hotel accommodation with Intrepid. 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

Hotel Reina Isabel, Av. Amazonas N23-44 y Veintimilla, Quito, Quito, ECUADOR

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 9

Lunches included: 7

Dinners included: 7

All meals are included onboard the Daphne, this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Tea, coffee and cold water is available at any time during the day [or night].

Most meals are served buffet style. Here is an example of the typical meals served

Breakfast
Toast, spreads, muesli, eggs with fresh fruit and fruit juices

Lunch
A mix of hot and cold dishes plus salads or vegetables and fruit salad and juice

Dinner
Fresh seafood, chicken or pork, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads and dessert.

If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies please notify us at the time of booking so we can determine the extent to which your dietary requirements can be met. We will endeavour to accommodate all requests but please note that we have limited refrigeration and storage space on board the Galapagos boats and there is very limited (if any) access to shops or supermarkets.

Vegans, coeliacs or those with specific meal requirements might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars. Please note that the Galapagos does have strict quarantine laws when it comes to bringing in goods from the mainland.

The airline we use to and from the Galapagos Islands is unable to provide gluten free snacks. If you require a gluten free diet, we recommend you carry your own snacks for these flights.

Climate & seasonal information

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 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.

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

In case of missed transfers, a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

Intrepid's Local Operator: +593 9 94014877 or +593 9 99469636

Accommodations

Le Grande Daphne features en suite cabins all with air conditioning and a safety box. The airconditioning is a centrally controlled system for the lower deck cabins and the upper deck cabins have individually controlled systems. The upper deck cabins have large windows and the lower deck cabins have portholes. Due to the lower deck cabins being close to the water, the portholes cannot be opened. There are 4 lower deck twin cabins, 1 lower deck double cabin, 1 main deck double suite cabin and 2 upper deck twin/double cabins.

Please note that single passengers cannot be booked/confirmed in the double cabin unless a single supplement is paid.

Transportation

Le Grande Daphne is a motor yacht. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, as well as a sun deck where you can view the wildlife or just kick back and relax. She has eight well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins each with en-suites.
Cabins:
4x lower deck twin cabins
1x lower deck double cabin
1x main deck double suite
2x upper deck twin/double cabins

Zodiacs (locally known as pangas) are modest-sized, open, outboard-powered boats which are very common throughout Galapagos. The boats are used to get you to and from the Daphne when you do activities. Depending on the type of activity, this could either be a wet or dry landing. The boat crew are there to assist you getting into and out of the zodiac.


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