Galapagos Explorer: Central Islands (Grand Queen Beatriz)

Trip Code: GMQF

Why we love it

As you board your vessel, M.Y Grand Queen Beatriz, and follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, you will encounter nature at its finest., Explore the islands from on deck, on foot and in the water, no doubt with your eyes open for your next unique sight., This is indeed the Galapagos journey with something for everyone.

Is this trip right for me?

This trip involves lots of active adventure and we ask that you read through the itinerary carefully to ensure that this trip is right for you. You’ll need to feel comfortable with the included activities and with moving about the boat. The cabins and communal areas of the boat are spread over four decks and the steps between the decks are steep.

You will be entering and exiting a Zodiac boat (panga) during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling. Although the waters we sail are usually calm, there are times when the sea can get rough and choppy. Steady sea legs (and a sturdy stomach) are needed when walking around the boat during bad weather. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.

A typical yacht/boat for sixteen travellers is equipped with eight cabins each with ensuites. They are designed to maximise living area space, so sleeping quarters can be a bit cramped. That being said, the adventure and exhilaration of an authentic Galapagos trip more than makes up for any discomfort.

While at sea and when exploring the islands, you may be exposed to the sun for large parts of the day. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water.

Please note that while there is an itinerary in place, some changes may occur due to the weather or because of direction from the local authorities. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for potential modifications to the route or activities. 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.

All of our Galapagos tours begin and end in Quito which is located approximately 2850 metres above sea level so you may experience some altitude sickness.

Important information

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
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.

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA ISLANDS PORT FEES:
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. If your voyage visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$10 fee to be paid on arrival at the island.

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, The cabins on the Grand Queen Bea are quite spacious and come equipped with wardrobes. If you are visiting the Galapagos at the end of a longer South America holiday and have a number of larger bags with you, you can store them in our hotel in Quito, the Le Parc Hotel. The hotel offers a luggage storage service. If you choose to leave your bags at the hotel we recommend that you bring a small backpack/daypack with you so you can transfer the clothes you wish to take with you into this back. We also highly recommend that you don’t leave any valuables [money, credit cards, electronic goods such as lap tops etc].

Below is a suggest 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, fins and some wetsuits are provided onboard the vessel and are for use by all passengers. Some passengers choose to bring their own, however this is a personal choice. Beach towels are also provided., 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

No particular level of physical fitness is required for our Galapagos voyages, although you should be reasonably agile and enjoying good health. We do ask that you read through the trip notes to ensure that this trip is right for you. Please keep in mind that there are a number of shore excursions on your cruise. This involves boarding a small dingy or zodiac from the rear transom of the cruise boat. Disembarkation at some locations will be at steps or a small pier (dry landing), whilst at other locations you may be required to disembark on the beach (wet landing). This can involve having to wade ashore a short distance through shallow water. A degree of agility will be required for this. Once you are on shore you will undertake several walks, some across volcanic rock. For this a reasonable level of fitness is beneficial, as is a pair of good walking shoes or boots.  You are more than welcome to opt out of activities or talk to your guide about tailoring a less physical option for you.

The cabins and the communal areas of the Grand Queen Beatriz are spread over 4 decks:

From the zodiac to the main deck there are 6 steps
From the main deck to the first level there are 10 steps
From the first level to the second there are 10 steps
From the second level to the sundeck there are 10 steps

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 Le Parc, República de El Salvador N34-349 & Irlanda, Quito, ECUADOR, Phone: +593 22276800

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Hotel Le Parc, República de El Salvador N34-349 & Irlanda, Quito, ECUADOR, Phone: +593 22276800

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 6

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 4

Breakfast is included at the Hotel Le Parc (as you have an early departure to the Galapagos on day 2 the hotel prepares a packed breakfast).

All meals are included onboard the Queen Beatriz, 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.

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Ecuador Operations Office can be reached on:

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

Accommodations

The stylish modern design of the Grand Queen Beatriz features large en suite cabins all with individual air conditioning and ocean views. There are 4 Standard twin cabins on the main deck and on the upper deck there are 2 Junior Suite cabins  and 2 deluxe balcony cabins. The upper deck cabins all have private balconies. All cabins are equipped with a safety deposit box, hair dryers and toiletries.

Transportation

The Grand Queen Beatriz is a modern motor yacht. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, a jacuzzi 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 and yet, at 41 metres, she is small enough for us to offer an individual level of service. She's just perfect for a more personal look at this great marine reserve.
Cabins:
4xStandard twin cabins
2xJunior Suite cabins 
2xDeluxe Balcony cabins 

All cabins are fully air-conditioned with private facilities
Specifications:
Built: 2017
Length: 40.96 m
Beam: 9 m
Engines: 2
Speed: 12 knots
Passengers: 16
Crew: 8 + 1 English speaking naturalist guide

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 Grand Queen Bea 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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