Galapagos Luxury Cruises
ROAM has been operating a variety of trips in Galapagos for more almost two decades. Our all-inclusive charters have been the most adventurous and active trips available in the archipelago. Now we offer the most luxurious adventure. The M/Y Grace is 147-feet long and accommodates 18 guests in 9 staterooms. Originally owned by Aristotle Onassis and given to Price Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco as a wedding gift, the M/Y Grace now plies the turquoise blue water so Galapagos and houses ROAM guests! Be part of history and join us in week long adventure in style.
The ship has spacious cabins, a main saloon for daily briefings, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, sun decks and lots of space for private reflection. As exciting as it is to explore the magic of the Galapagos, we’ve found that our guests are almost as excited to sit down to delicious meals at the al-fresco dining area while enjoying to panorama. ROAM trips always stay away from the crowds and this luxury yacht is more personal than a massive cruise ship. The boat has even been equipped with a rolling keel so it minimizes rocking during rough seas.
Both the northern and southern itineraries offer hiking and snorkelling everyday. We travel in small intimate groups so you will spend time seeing the marine life instead of hordes of human flippers. The yacht is equipped with sea kayaks, which are an excellent way to discover the Galapagos on your own. When you travel in a small yacht, you minimize human impact and not the islands. Your presence will almost be unfelt by the wildlife. For this reason the more fragile visiting sites are only available to small group vessel like ours. The chances for unexpected wildlife encounters increase the further you are from populated towns.
With such intimate group sizes, we can turn the yacht to follow a humpback whale or stop to snorkel with a school of dolphins. Scuba divers can arrange dives (with advance notice) on the main islands and no Galapagos trip would be complete without classic ROAM hospitality both pre and post sailing in Quito. Customized extensions are available in the highlands, jungle and coast and these trips easily dovetail with our legendary Ecuador multisport weeks utilizing haciendas and unique lodges. ROAM also customizes nomadic surf safaris and owns and operates a rustic bamboo surf house on the west coast of Ecuador.
We have the knowledge, expertise and ground staff in place to ensure you will be immersed in Ecuador’s landscape and culture for a meaningful and wonderful experience.
|Trip Length||8 days|
|Meeting Place||Quito, Ecuador|
|Gateway City||Quito, Ecuador|
- Itinerary at a Glance
Batra to San Cristobal:
- Saturday arrival to Baltra, circumnavigate Daphne Major
- hike snorkel and kayak at Sante Fe
- journey across the equator to Genovesa Tower, hike Prince Phillips steps and explore Darwin Bay b foot, snorkel and kayak
- round the northern tip of Isabela island to Fernandina, the Galapagos’ youngest island, explore Urbina Bay
- hike, snorkel and kayak at Tagus Cove and take a panga ride at Punta Vincente Roca or Punta Albemarle
- boat, snorkel, kayak and hike on Santiago at Espumilla and James Bay
- visit the famous Darwin Centre and tour lava tunnels on Santa Cruz
- tour the San Cristobal interpretation centre
San Cristobal to Baltra
- Saturday arrival to San Cristobal Island, snorkel and panga rides at Isla Lobos and Kicker Rock
- hike, snorkel, kayak and panga rides at Espanola also known a shooed Island
- visit Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez
- travel to Floreana Island and visit Post Office Bay and Baroness View Point
- snorkel at Cormorant Point and Champion Islet
- tour the highlands of Santa Cruz, Dragon Hill and visit galleries in Puerto Ayora
- Kayak, snorkel hike and/or boat at Bachas Beach and the amazing aquarium like Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino)
- explore Jervis inlet at Rabid Island with opportunities to kayak, hike and snorkel at Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island
- hike to the top of Pinacle Rock before exploring its marine rich waters
- look for sharks at North Seymour Island
- float through Black Turtle Cove
- Accommodations 7 nights/8 days
- All meals and snacks during the trip
- All transfers while in Galapagos
- All guided services through the sailing
- Non-alcoholic bevergage consumed onboard
- All snorkelling gear (mask, snorkel, fins, shortie wetsuit)
- Sea kayaks
- Detailed Itinerary
Because of the Galapagos’ famed natural history and remarkable creatures, these remote islands are revered the world over. In an effort to protect and preserve these “enchanted isles”, that literally changed the world, access is restricted and regulated. Our itineraries only visit one sight every 14 days so we run two versions on alternating weeks. Here’s a sample itinerary for Baltra to San Cristobal.
Day 1 (Saturday) Arrive Quito, Ecuador
This morning we fly into Baltra island in the Galapagos. The flight is approximately 1.5 hours. Upon arrival we board the M/Y Grace where you will have lunch and a quick briefing en route to our first visiter site: Daphne Major Islet. We will circumnavigate Daphne Major Islet which is home to a variety of birds including Galapagos martins, blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies, short-eared owls, red billed tropic birds amongst others. (lunch, dinner)
Day Two (Sunday) Santa Fe Island & South Plaza
Morning visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago, and to some of the best snorkelling – with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus.In the afternoon we visit South Plaza Island and its land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed. We will see swallow tailed gulls nesting around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays.
Day Three (Monday) Genovesa Island: Prince Phillip’s steps & Darwin Bay
Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southwestern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as “Bird Island,” a name it lives up to in a spectacular way!Day Four (Tuesday) Fernandina Island: Punta Espinosa & Isabela Island: Urbina bay
In the morning we visit Fernandina Island, home to La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in May 2005). We visit Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity.Afternoon visit to Urbina Bay, directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo, where we will make an easy, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water). We walk on a stretch of three miles (5 km) of the marine reef that has been uplifted by as much as 13 feet (4 meters) out of the water. A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling amongst marine creatures, or just relaxing on shore.
Day Five (Wednesday) Isabela Island: Tagus Cove & Punta Vicente Roca
Morning visit to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of our anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes.In the afternoon we head north to Punta Vicente Roca. Snorkelling is incredible here as a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current that bathe the western side of the archipelago. We will have a chance to see colourful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water. This is also a great spot to take an interesting panga ride to spot wildlife along the shores and cliffs.Day Six (Thursday) Santiago Island: Espumilla Beach & James Bay
The short walk up the beach leads inland to a mangrove typically inhabited by the Common stilts. Beyond the mangroves is a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white cheeked pintails wade in search of mollusks. The trail makes a passes over a tiny hilltop through a sparse Palo Santo forest before looping back to beach. Galapagos finches and Vermilion fly catchers inhabit the area. The tuff formations that form the cliffs that surround the cove have created a natural sculptor gallery rising from the sea with formations including the Monk and Elephant Rock.Afternoon visit to James Bay, where we land on a black beach with intriguing eroded rock formations. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos formed of broken lava tubes, which are home to sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas and tropical fish. Snorkelling in the late afternoon to at one of the best sites on the islands to see Green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Penguins swimming.
Day Seven (Friday) Santa Cruz Island: Highlands andthe Charles Darwin Research Station
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the morning we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. Here we used to find Lonesome George (now deceased), the last of his particular race of tortoise.Afternoon visit to the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have chances see these animals in the wild.
Day Eight (Saturday) San Cristobal Island: interpretation center
Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the Grace we visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre that presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna. From the Centre, a short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both “magnificent-frigates” and “great-frigates” can be seen in the same colony. Next we return to the airport where we began our journey in the Galapagos for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.
- Pre-trip Accommodations in Quito
Featuring comfortable and luxurious suites, an on-site restaurant with cozy fireplaces and an extensive garden, Hotel Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita offers free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast. The suites in Casa de Hacienda La Jimenita feature private bathrooms with vertical hydromassage showers, fireplaces, hand-made furniture and splendid scenic views. La Jimenita has a 90,000 square metre private natural reserve, natural trails and an archaeological tunnel on-site. The friendly staff at La Jimenita provide tourism information and tips to explore the area.
- About the Region
In 1835 Charles Darwin sailed on the British ship H.M.S. Beagle and visited the islands. His theory of the origin of species, which shook up the scientific world, was inspired by the evidence he found in this unique volcanic archipelago. The islands provide a living museum of evolutionary changes that profoundly affect all those who witness their splendor. In 1936 the Galapagos was declared a National Park to preserve its unique vegetation and wildlife. UNESCO declared Galapagos a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978 and subsequently a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985. Protection was further strengthened in 1994 with the creation of the Reserva Marina de Galapagos, which was recently extended to cover the 130,000 square kilometers within a 40-nautical mile radius of the islands making the Galapagos the second largest marine reserve in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The archipelago is purely volcanic in origin and features beautiful volcanic formations not found on the mainland. The islands emerged from lava eruptions that came from the bottom of the ocean and rise as much as 2,600 feet above sea level. Lava from more than 2,000 craters has continually altered the terrain of this region. Currently the archipelago contains 13 large islands, 6 minor ones, and more than 40 islets. Some of the younger islands still have active volcanoes. Many variables, such as isolation, climate, altitude, and the unique terrain account for the archipelago’s distinct flora and fauna.
From the world’s only seagoing lizards to flightless cormorants and penguins, flamingos, inflatable frigate birds, wave albatrosses, clownish boobies, giant tortoises, and 13 species of finches, you can enjoy thrilling encounters with animals-up close and in large numbers-who are completely at ease among human visitors.
There are extraordinary opportunities to swim with marine animals such as sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles and manta, eagle, and golden rays, as well as 300 species of colorful fish. The more adventurous may relish the chance to snorkel with the friendly Galapagos sharks, white-tipped reef sharks or even hammerheads.
The plants of Galapagos are equally fascinating. Many species of indigenous Scalesia (“tree daisies”) as well as tree ferns, bromeliads, and orchids are found in the highlands. Giant prickly pear and candelabra cacti abound on the coast while tiny Brachycereus cacti grow on barren lava flows. Vivid morning glories and mats of bright red sesuvium blanket the shores. Galapagos also has its very own native species of cotton, tomato, pepper, guava, and passionflower. Many kinds of plants, particularly those belonging to the daisy family, have evolved into whole arrays of endemic species on the different islands, providing scientists with perfect examples of adaptive radiation
- Trip Planner
Planning Your Trip
This trip planner has been created to help prepare you for your upcoming adventure. We have tried to anticipate questions you might have concerning travel arrangements, what to bring, and getting in shape. If any of your questions remain unanswered, please don’t hesitate to call.
Your trip begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador. You will need to arrange for your international flights. American, Delta, United and Continental airlines offer direct service into Quito from Miami, Atlanta and Houston respectively. We will make the arrangements for your Quito-Galapagos flights.
Upon arrival at the Quito Airport you will clear customs and then take a taxi to your designated hotel. Unless told otherwise, your hotel will be:
Hacienda La Jimenita:
Via Pifo , Sector Barrio Andrango Calle S/N
International Phone Calls 24/7 English Speaker: (593) 998750 972
Local Phone Calls: (593) 22 380 285
We will fly to Galapagos on Sunday morning. Our representative will have your e-ticket itinerary printed and your park card ready for you at the hotel. When you arrive at the domestic terminal, take your bags through the screening system on the right hand side before you check in at the airline desk. You will need to present passports in order to get your boarding pass. Upon arrival in Galapagos you will need to check into the National park. Please be sure to have your cash ready for your park fee because at this time they do not accept credit cards (cash only)
After Your Trip
Following your nights onboard the boat, we will return to Quito where you will spend one final night at the hacienda before transferring to the airport the following morning for flights home.
Ecuador uses US dollars as their currency. Each participant will be required to pay a park entrance fee for the Galapagos Islands ($100 per adult, $70 per child, 12 years and under). Having between $300 and $600 for souvenirs and meals in Quito should be more than adequate depending on how much you like to shop! In the Galapagos Islands, you will most likely need cash as ATM machines are limited and credit cards are not widely accepted. In hotels and shops in Quito you can use credit cards to charge purchases such as food, accommodations, and clothing. American Express, Visa, and MasterCard are widely accepted.
The trip leader is responsible for the safety of all trip members and he or she may evacuate or disqualify a trip member in the field if anyone’s safety is jeopardized. Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may be far away, doctors are not always available and that evacuations can be prolonged, difficult and expensive.
If you are taking any prescription drugs, be certain that you bring a sufficient supply to last through the trip. Do not pack these medications in your checked luggage. You will not find common American drugs in Ecuador. If you have concerns about seasickness, we suggest that you speak with your doctor about available treatments. Scopolamine patches (prescription) or Bonine (over the counter) are common medications for preventing seasickness, while an electro-stimulator worn on the wrist can also be an effective prevention.
Currently, if you fly direct between the USA and Ecuador, no vaccinations are required. However, regulations and recommendations change frequently, so please check with the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm) for up-to-date information.
Essential Travel Documents
Your Passport – If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date. Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement.
Check your passport for blank pages. If you do not have a least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have additional pages added. You also need to make sure your passport expiry has more than 6 months remaining or they may not allow you entry.
Please do not pack your passport in your check-in luggage. You may be asked for your papers not only upon departure but a various times during your trip, even while checking into the hotel in Quito. If you are carrying a customs form, please keep it in a safe place at all times, perhaps in your pouch along with your other valuables. We do not recommend carrying it in the passport because you must often submit the passport at hotels, where the form can easily be lost.
Visas – Visas are not required for US or Canadian citizens to enter Ecuador. For others, please check with the Ecuadorian Consulate.
Travel and Evacuation Insurance
Travel insurance that includes medical emergency evacuation is advised. You may call Travel Insurance Service at 800-937-1387 or visit their website at http://www.travelinsure.com/what/imedhigh.htm?32931. Coverage for baggage loss, medical protection, trip cancellation, trip interruption is highly recommended. When selecting a policy please make sure you are very clear about what it will and will not cover. No travel insurance covers all scenarios. Proof of insurance will be required prior to your trip.
Please let us know if you’re having a birthday or anniversary on the trip. We’ll also need to know of any medical or dietary requirements that you’d like us to consider in planning your trip (i.e. if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or if you have any food allergies.). Please note this on the Guest Registration Form (be specific as to what your needs are) and return it to our office at least 60 days before your trip. If you’re booking your trip less than 60 days before departure, please make sure you’ve discussed any special requests with our office.
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend you check the following web sites: www.weather.com or www.wunderground.com
There are two primary seasons during the year in the Galapagos. Each offers a good time for visiting, but the character of each season is somewhat different.
December through May is the warmer time of year, with the highs in the upper 80s to mid-90s. Although the islands receive relatively more rainfall during this time most of the lower elevations of the islands are quite arid and there is plenty of sunshine and blue skies. The sea is at its warmest, and it is usually calmer at this time of year.
The drier “garua season” lasts from June through November. The garua is mist that forms in the highlands of the islands. Ironically, the garua season provides more moisture at the upper levels of the islands than the so-called wet season. Air temperatures are lower, with highs in the upper 70s. The climate at this time is affected by the strong Humboldt Current, which comes from the south. The water temperature, therefore, is at its coolest during this time, about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Quito, which is about 9300 feet above sea level, the elevation greatly moderates the climate. The temperature ranges from 45 to 70 degrees, with lower temperatures from April to October. Daytime temperatures are warm and pleasant, while evenings are cool and comfortable.
This trip is relatively moderate but hiking, snorkeling and kayaking require a combination of cardiac and strength training. Jogging, swimming, and aerobic exercises will help increase endurance for the activities. Push-ups, sit-ups and other weight training exercises that increase upper and lower body strength will ensure preparedness for getting the most out of your experience. Regular exercise prior to your trip will certainly add to your enjoyment.
The hikes are moderate and allow you to get up close and personal with the magnificent wildlife in the islands. We recommend that your hiking shoes be lightweight, with sturdy soles, and that they are well worn in. If you are buying new hiking shoes for this trip, be sure to walk them in well in advance to avoid blisters during the trip.
Snorkelling will expose you to a new world. You may come face-to-face with baby sea lions as they dart playfully past your mask. Penguins flit by in a trail of bubbles and sea turtles glide beneath you. The ecological diversity characteristic of the Galapagos is on grand display beneath the surface of the ocean as much as it is on land. If you’ve never snorkeled before, you’ll want to try it out here as the experience is not to be missed.
The Galapagos is a wonderful place to sea kayak as you glide over a plethora of marine life. The yacht is equipped with two kayaks for exploring the seashore. In the last few years, they have begun to strictly regulate the areas in which we can sea kayak so it tends to vary by the trip and park regulations. In any case, the paddling is always exceptional!
Suggested Packing List
If you do not already own any of the items on the suggested packing list feel free to call our office for suggestions.
- Duffel Bag: Bring your gear packed in a soft duffel bag rather than suitcase
- Daypack: For day hikes it should be large enough to carry water bottles, camera and rain jacket and can double as your flight carry-on bag
- Spare soft duffel for purchases while in Ecuador (or purchase in Ecuador)
- Plastic Bags: Large trash bag and Ziploc bags to separate clean and dry clothes from wet and dirty.
- Sunglasses with securing strap
- Earplugs: It will sometimes be necessary to motor through the night to make it to the next day’s destination
- Sunscreen (Waterproof & SPF 15 or higher)
- Lip Protection (SPF 15 or higher)
- Moisturizing Lotion
- Insect repellent
- Personal First Aid Kit (Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin)
- Spare pair of glasses and/or contact lensess
- Water Bottles: Heavy duty and minimum 2 quart capacity. For day hikes, hydration systems like a “Camelbak” are great too
- Headlamp or Flashlight, extra batteries and bulb
- Camera, batteries, film or memory cards
- Notebook and Pen
- Cash for National Park entrance fee, gratuities and souvenirs
Any clothing you bring should be synthetic, quick drying, and breathable. This is a sub-tropical adventure and you will be exposed to sun, wind, and water. Long sleeves, long pants, and wide brimmed hats are recommended for sun protection. In general, you will need loose fitting clothes for the hotter parts of the trip and some extra layering for evenings. Keep in mind that some of what you bring may get sweaty and wet due to the humid climate. You will also encounter dust, sand, and salt, and may feel a little grubby from time to time. No fancy dress clothing is required.
- Long Sleeved Shirt: Lightweight and light color for sun protection.
- Long Pants: Lightweight and light color for sun protection (jeans not recommended)
- Shade Hat or Visor with tie and a spare
- Rain Jacket & Pants: A hooded jacket is recommended as well as good secure closures around your head, neck and wrists. Rain pants are optional
- Swimsuits: 2
- 1 -2 rash guard tops for snorkeling
- Underwear: Quick-drying
- Shorts: 2-3 pair lightweight, and fast drying
- T-shirts or lightweight fast drying tops
- Sport Sandals: Teva, Chacos or Keen brand
- Athletic Shoes or Lightweight Hiking Boots: 1 pair, comfortable and with good tread
- Hiking Socks: 3 or 4 pair mid-weight
- Casual clothes for evenings and in Quito (Note: evenings are cool)
- Walking Stick: collapsible
- Binoculars: compact
- Shortie wetsuit
- Electrolyte mix for flavoring water
- Personal snorkel gear (we provide gear but many prefer their own)
Bringing the right camera equipment will go a long toward determining the quality of your photographs. If you’re an avid photographer, we recommend bringing a good digital SLR camera that can be used on land and when aboard the catamaran. There are many great underwater digital cameras that are salt-water resistant and protected against sand.
Bring more memory card space than you think you’ll need. And don’t forget to pack spare camera batteries or a charger. You should be ready for bright sunlight, so you may want to bring a polarizing filter. Zip-Lock plastic bags help protect you camera against sand and salt. We strongly recommend you take out a rider on you homeowner’s policy to cover your camera -especially if it’s fine equipment.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. We recommend you bring some sandwich size zip-lock bags. They can be used during the day while you are on the water or hiking and can be disposed of when you reach your overnight lodging. (Hint for tampon users: o.b. tampons are 1/3 the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping). Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes.
Packing Your Gear
We recommend traveling as light as possible! Excess baggage can be a burden to you and to support personnel. On an international flight, you are typically allowed 1-2 pieces of checked luggage at no additional fee but luggage restrictions are changing regularly and vary according to airline – please check with your specific airline to determine luggage allowance. On the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, you will only be allowed 44 lbs. Excess luggage may be kept at the hotel in Quito.
Complimentary bottled drinking water is available at the hotel in Quito. We will provide purified water while in the Galapagos. It is best to bring your own reusable water bottle or hydration pack, in order to limit waste. Do not drink water from the tap as it frequently contains bacteria that can cause stomach problems.
The boats are equipped with a water desalinization machine to provide us with freshwater for daily use. Please limit the number and time of your daily showers, as the machine provides 200 liters of freshwater per hour, and an average shower requires 40 liters. For the same reason, we ask that you do not wash your clothes on the boat.
It is crucial that you stay hydrated while in the tropics, especially when we are hiking, biking and kayaking. Electrolyte powders make water taste better, while replacing salts and minerals lost to sweating.
Ecuador is on the 110V AC system. Sockets are the standard US style, either 2 flat prongs or 2 flat prongs and a round ground. There are sockets on the catamaran for recharging batteries. In order to save power, please remember to switch off the light and A/C when not in your cabin.
The sun is very strong in the Galapagos. Reapply sunscreen often, and wear your hat and sunglasses.
In hot climates, cuts and scratches can easily become infected and take a long time to heal. Prevent infection from coral cuts by immediately washing wounds with fresh water. Use an antiseptic like hydrogen peroxide and an antibacterial like Neosporin. Prickly heat, or salt/heat rash is a common ailment for tropical adventurers. It is caused by salt buildup in the sweat glands. The skin becomes soggy and small red blisters appear. At first sight of the rash, wash with fresh water and apply calamine lotion, dust with talcum powder and change clothes. Until the rash improves, avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Passengers will be transferred from the catamaran to the islands in a panga (dinghy). The landings may be wet or dry. Dry landings mean you step directly onto rock, while wet landings mean you step into the water and wade to shore. Your guide will tell you ahead of time what type of landing to expect. Either way, crew members will be there to assist you.
Your guide will conduct a briefing every evening after dinner. He or she will explain the following day’s activities and talk about what animals and plants might be seen.
Please remember you are visiting a national park, and will be expected to follow park regulations. The instructions you receive from your guide are intended for the preservation and conservation of the Galapagos.
- Stay on marked trails
- Do not touch or feed the animals
- Do not smoke on the Islands
- Clean the soles of your shoes to avoid carrying endemic seeds from one island to another
- Take only pictures, leave only footprints
Each guest will be given a mask, a snorkel and a pair of fins, in an individually numbered bag, to use for the duration of the trip. Please rinse your gear in freshwater after each use. Snorkelers are asked to follow these simple instructions:
- Stay with the group; look up every few minutes to check that you are still close
- Be aware of the location of the panga
- When getting on and off the panga, stay clear of the outboard motor
- Have all your gear on before getting off the panga
- Take off only your fins before re-boarding the panga
- When diving under be sure to look up before resurfacing
- If you feel more comfortable in a life vest, you are welcome to wear one
For those interested, scuba diving will be an option for an extra fee. The dives are offered at times that will not interfere with the land-based activities. Please bring your diving license if you’d like to participate but advance notice is required.
Please inform us of any dietary restrictions when booking the trip. Meals are generally served at these times (subject to change to suit the itinerary):
-Breakfast 7:00 – 7:30
-Lunch 12:00 – 12:30
-Dinner 19:00 – 19:30
Snacks will be offered between meals.
There are a variety of soft drinks, beer and liquor available. The bartender will open a tab for you and settle up at the end of the cruise.
The cabins are cleaned every morning. Towels and sheets are changed 3 times a week. Please do not bring any food or drinks into the cabins.
Your guide will thoroughly explain safety procedures once you are onboard. Please be sure to check exactly where the life vests are located in your cabin. In the unlikely event that the alarm sounds, you will be expected to gather your personal documents, put on warm clothes, and bring your life vest to the lounge where the crew members will be waiting with further instructions.
Smoking On Board
There are designated smoking areas on deck. Please ask one of the crew members for an ashtray and do not throw butts into the water. Smoking on the islands is not allowed.
Everywhere in Ecuador, including Quito, the Galapagos Islands and our catamaran, people are asked not to throw anything into the toilets, including toilet paper. A wastebasket is provided for toilet paper and it is emptied often. This may seem strange to North Americans, but please obey this rule and avoid being the cause of a backed up septic system. Thanks!
Laundry service is available at the hotel and the occasional location in the islands. Before dropping any laundry check for turn-around times. We recommend lightweight, quick drying articles of clothing that can air dry on the boat.
The Galapagos Islands are in the same time zone as Central Standard in the USA (CST). Quito time is the same as Eastern Standard Time.
The tipping of guides is entirely discretionary, and we feel strongly that gratuities should not be offered to them if they lead anything less than a great trip. However, we expect that our crew will do a great job in making your trip memorable and, when they do, it is not uncommon for our travelers to offer a gratuity. The guides very much appreciate it.
In this regard, we are often asked what is appropriate. As a general tipping guideline, we have found that our travellers will each leave $150 (for the crew to split) and another $100 to the naturalist and tour leader. Once again, tipping is entirely at your discretion and varies by culture and situation.