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Cruise on the Angelito boat around the Galapagos Islands, a fantastic superior tourist yacht for your holiday.
The Angelito is one of the best value and friendliest boats in Galapagos.
It is always skippered by a family member, making Angelito one of the top in its superior tourist range.
All cabins are twin or double (no bunks) after its renovation.
Add in two fantastic and wide ranging week-long itineraries, and it’s easy to see why the Angelito gets such great reviews.
One week can be spent in the remote north, central islands and southern gems, enjoying great snorkels and land visits.
Or choose the second week, sailing around the younger and larger western islands, seemingly barren yet teeming with wildlife.
Baltra (Santa Cruz): After landing in Galapagos, you first pay the national park entry fee and then leave the arrivals hall to where your guide will be waiting for you.
After getting the group together, the guide then takes you to the boat to settle in. The island of Baltra is the only island in the entire Galapagos archipelago that is not completely included in the National Park Area. Parts of the island were used by the Americans during the Second World War as an air force base, from 1941-1948.
The airport and harbour are Ecuadorian military territory, but the military presence has left its mark on Baltra.
In the afternoon, we head to North Seymour, a flat uplifted island in the “rain shadow” of the island Santa Cruz. This gives it dry vegetation.
We walk a loop trail. It’s a dry landing on a peer which depending on the swell, can be a little tricky.
Upon arrival on the rocky coast we find sea lions, Swallow-tailed Gulls, sally lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas. The trail leads you through the nesting area of the Blue-footed Boobies and Frigate bird colonies.
We then snorkel along the rocky coast, to observe sea lions, large schools of fishes, some sharks, rays, and sea turtles.
Return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner.
Only a 200m wide channel separates the small island, known as Chinese Hat, from the bigger island of Santiago.
So called because of the shape of the island, Chinese Hat is a very attractive island, with fragile lava and very little vegetation.
We make a wet landing on a small white coral beach, often with sea lions lazing on the sands. The easy, short trail leads along the coast with lava and lots of lava tubes. Pillow lava can be found on the turning point of the trail.
Next we snorkel along the rocky coast, with sea lions, parrot fish, angel fish and perhaps a penguin – with luck!
In the afternoon, with the dinghy, we go along the coast of Bartolomé to look for Galapagos penguins. The penguins live and nest in the lava tubes of the rocky coast, where they also fish.
Next it’s a dry landing on a jetty. The summit trail goes first over sand and then leads to the top of Bartholomew on a wooden staircase. The view from the top across Bartholomew, Santiago with Sullivan Bay and the surrounding islands is wonderful. All the secondary cones, lava flows and lava tubes make it feel like a lunar landscape.
Our last activity for the day is to snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, the famous landmark of Bartholomew, where you have the chances to swim with colourful fish, sea lions and Galapagos Penguins.
Return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner.
Genovesa is considered to be one of the most spectacular islands in Galapagos for bird species and is home to the Red-footed Booby.
It’s a wet landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where Swallow-tailed Gulls and Lava Gulls gather near the tide pools. A trail leads us through red mangrove and salt bush, then we enter a forest of Opuntia cactus where colonies of Great Frigate nest. The males of this species inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead.
A few Nazca Boobies nest on the ground, and the trail leads along small tide pools up to a cliff with a spectacular view over the caldera. At low tide there are thousands of Galapagos Fiddler Crabs to see on the sandy shore.
In the afternoon it’s a dry landing by a cliff to find Prince Philip’s Steps, which offer the only possibility to climb the steep basaltic cliff.
The following easy trail leads first through a small nesting colony of Masked Boobies and crosses a low and dense forest of palo santo trees where the Red-footed Boobies have their nests.
Arriving on the edge of the island there are thousands of the Small Petrels nesting in the crevices and tubes of the fragile lava. They are the favourite food of the Short-eared owls. On both sides of the trail there is a big Masked Booby nesting colony.
After a wet landing on a black beach, we stroll along the shoreline at Puerto Egas, Santiago Island (James) looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, you can catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great Blue Herons, Lava Herons, American Oystercatchers and Yellow-crowned Night Herons.
Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter Galapagos fur seals once on the verge of extinction, and a great place to snorkel. Dolphins are often spotted here too.
We return to the boat for lunch.
Considered the geographic centre of Galapagos, nested between Santiago and Santa Cruz, Rabida (Jervis) sports the most diverse volcanic rocks.
We disembark near James Island. Rabida is quite a dramatic site, the oxides in the lava making it appear red, with a dark red sand beach attributed to the high iron content in the stones.
Strolling along the trail, you may find marine iguanas, Mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers and several species of Darwin Finches. Eventually, the trail leads to a saltwater lagoon where Greater Flamingos migrate to.
After the walk, there is not-to-miss snorkelling option with a large colony of sea lions.
The visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz gives you the opportunity to get to known the scientific work that’s currently taking place in the National Park, particularly projects raising the different subspecies of Galapagos tortoises.
Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. It is also a good opportunity to observe the Galapagos tortoises close up.
In the Van Straiten Exhibition Hall, there is plenty of great information about the Galapagos Islands, replete with with photos and diagrams. The vegetation on the hike is an exuberant green colour and it’s a great place to spot Darwin’s Finches – those famous wee birds.
From the dry landing at Santa Cruz, we hop into a bus and drive up into the Highlands of Santa Cruz. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos.
Here more than anywhere, on the most populated islands on the Galapagos, the problems of introduced animals and plants are quite obvious and this part of the island is not National Park.
When we reach the highest point of the road, we are back in the National Park and we head to ‘El Chato’, a farm in the highlands where we can look out for the Galapagos Tortoises in their natural, and free, surroundings. There may be the chance to Los Gemelos, Spanish for ‘The Twins’, a pair of large pit craters where we find the bright red male Vermilion Flycatcher.
Sea lions will usually give a noisy greeting to us as we make a dry landing on a jetty at Punta Suarez, Española, and head to the beach. Curious Hood Mockingbirds may peck at our shoelaces.
From April to December, the Waved Albatross, found only on Española, perform their wild mating ritual. Watching one take off is a spectacle, too.
Colonies of Blue-footed Boobies show off for potential mates, Nazca Boobies care for their young while at night the stunning Swallow-tailed Gull – the only nocturnal gulls in the world that fish at night – take to the air.
There’s more: Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks, plus a unique species of marine iguana with traces of red and green colourings.
A real highlight is the blowhole. Here, the seawater is pushed through a fissure in the cliff under great pressure. Depending on the waves and tide levels, the blowhole can force water up to 80ft (24m) into the air.
In the afternoon there is a wet landing on a wonderful, long, white beach made of coral sand – Gardner beach (Española).
For this visit you won’t even need shoes, it’s so soft underfoot, and there is no trail to follow so you can take a long walk and explore a bit.
Playa Gardner is a very good place to observe Finches and Mockingbirds in the saltbush vegetation, and there is some great swimming and snorkelling from the beach, where curious sea lions are never far off.
Some will even launch with you from the beach and into the water. Gardner Islet is a great site for snorkelling.
Return to the yacht for the evening briefing and dinner.
Wet landing at Santa Fe, with two possibilities of trails, depending on the time and the group’s preferences.
1: Short trail: the trail leads from the sea lion colony on the beach through dry vegetation to a wonderful, forested cliff with high prickly pear cactus. Turn and head to a second beach.
2. Long trail: the trail is, at the beginning, a dry stony creek and you have a steep climb up onto a plateau (difficult trail). The ascent leads to a plateau where there are high trees of palo santo and high prickly pear cactus trees. The view down to the bay is wonderful.
Only the very attentive visitors can detect up there the endemic land iguana of Santa Fe, because it is perfectly camouflaged in the same colours of the vegetation and their territories are quite big.
After lunch aboard, we head for a dry landing on South Plaza, and easy, loop trail.
This is a small, uplifted island with a 25m high cliff on the southern side of the island. The whole flat, rocky northern coastal part of South Plaza has a great colony of Galapagos sea lions.
On the East point is a bachelor sea lion colony. Very attractive are the beautiful prickly pear cactus trees and, of course, the big colony of land iguanas. Depending on the season, the sesuvium ground vegetation changes its colour from intense green in the rainy season to orange and purple in the dry season.
Back to the boat for a farewell dinner!
Up early for our last trip in Galapagos, to Black Turtle Cove.
With the dinghy we go into the big protected mangrove cove. In the far away small corners we turn off the motor of the dinghy, rowing then noiselessly so we can observe the marine turtles.
There are a lot of them in the cove during mating and nesting season (December to February), but even out of season there are always some turtles staying back in the mangrove cove to rest.
Spotted eagle rays, golden rays, white-tipped reef sharks and young Galapagos sharks can often be spotted.
Then, travel to Baltra to the port, and your guide will accompany you all back to the airport ready for your flight back to the mainland.
After getting the group together, the guide then takes you to the boat to settle in. The island of Baltra is the only island in the entire Galapagos archipelago that is not completely included in the National Park Area. Parts of the island were used by the Americans during the Second World War as an air force base, from 1941-1948. The airport and harbour are Ecuadorian military territory, and the military presence has left its mark on Baltra.
Our first trip is to a white coral beach called Las Bachas to the north of the Santa Cruz island, requiring a wet landing then an easy walk along the beach. There are small brackish water lagoons behind the sand dune where occasionally it’s possible to see Flamingos and other coastal birds like Black-necked Stilts, Whimbrels and White-cheeked Pintail Ducks. There is also a wonderful chance to snorkel here from the beach.
Important: don’t walk on top of the sand dunes – they are a favourite nesting site for sea turtles and need to be preserved.
Mosquera is a small sandy island located between North Seymour and Baltra. The wet landing is sometimes a little bit difficult, depending on the tide. Once there, Mosquera offers one of the biggest sea lion colonies in Galapagos. There are different harems and it is a wonderful visiting point to observe their behaviour. Often we have the possibility to see the endemic Lava Gulls and other coastal birds. On the lava rocks we find marine iguanas and sally lightfoot crabs and under the rocks, sometimes scorpions.
We return to the Angelito for lunch.
Afternoon! Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragón aka Dragon Hill, offering great views over the Galapagos.
As we walk towards the viewpoint, the trail passes a saltwater lagoon replete with Pink Flamingos as well as other lagoon birds; Stilts, Pintail Ducks, Sandpipers and more. We’ll most likely see Darwin Finches, Galapagos, Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon Shearwater and the endemic land iguanas en route too. From the top of the hill, we enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu).
Protected Caleta Tagus is a cove on the western side of Isabela and was a favourite anchorage site for the early pirates and whalers who, over the centuries, carved and painted their names in the high cliffs of the cove.
In the zodiac, we can explore the coves here and look for Galapagos Penguins, Boobies, Pelicans and other seabirds. There is a hike here too, and it’s a dry landing, then heading uphill and the scenic hike to a salt-water lagoon with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. At the end of the trail there is a wonderful view over the lava fields of the Darwin volcano. If the water is clear, Tagus Cove is a very interesting snorkelling spot – look out for marine invertebrates on the walls – as well as turtles and puffer fish.
Return to the boat for lunch.
The afternoon visit is one of the highlights of a cruise in Galapagos, Punta Espinoza (Fernandina). The dry landing is, depending on the tide, on lava or on the landing platform in the mangrove forest – and can also be a wet landing if the water is lively!
Fernandina is the youngest and most pristine of the Galapagos Islands, with no introduced animals. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. We head off on a hike that showcases huge marine iguanas in big groups. Take care to stay on the pathway because the sand dunes are nesting areas for the marine iguanas. There are also nesting sites of the Flightless Cormorant, and lava lizards, the Galapagos hawk, marine turtles and Galapagos penguins are often seen.
Return to the boat for briefing and dinner.
We disembark at Urbina Bay on Isabela Island, where four miles of coastal seabed were exposed due to a dramatic uplift during a volcanic eruption in 1954.
See the remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, and keep an eye out for the very large and colourful Galapagos land iguanas, as well as marine iguanas, Darwin’s Finches, Brown Pelicans, Flightless Cormorants, and the occasional giant tortoise.If the water is calm, we can snorkel here, before returning to the boat for lunch.
Bahía Elizabeth (Isabela) – This bay is visited in the panga (zodiac) and the boat takes us right up to the tallest red mangrove trees in Galapagos. The entrance is through a very narrow channel, and once through, we’ll turn the motor off and drift/paddle towards “Las Marielas”, where a colony of nesting Penguins, Flightless Cormorants and giant marine iguanas are found.
As we bob noiselessly in the water, keep an eye out for marine turtles and more marine life.
Punta Moreno, part of Isabela, offers a hike on a rough lava field and is place where we can see all three species of cactus of Galapagos: candelabra cactus, prickly pear cactus and lava cactus.In middle of the lava field some brackish water pools with Flamingos, Common Gallinules, White-cheeked Pintail Ducks and Paint-billed Crakes.Return to the yacht for lunch and the say to Puerto Villamil.
At around 10:30 in the morning we start a long (about 6 hours) and beautiful navigation along the shore line around the Volcano Cerro Azul to Puerto Villamil. Depending on the season this navigation can be a little bit rough.
We look out for dolphins and whales and stop to observe them if we see some.
Just before the dark we arrive in the small harbour Puerto Villamil, where we enjoy dinner aboard.
This morning we see a completely different side to the Galapagos. We take a bus, climbing up close to the caldera of volcano Sierra Negra (about 17 miles’ driving) and see the different vegetation zones of the volcano.
Often it rains a bit, or it’s misty and foggy in the verdant climes. It takes is about and hour to hike to the the rim of the volcano and see the huge caldera. It measures 10km/6.2 miles from north to south and 9km/5.6 miles from east to west. We can also see the huge new lava field from the last eruption in 2005, then descend the same route as we climbed.
In the afternoon, we visit the Tortoise Breeding Centre (Puerto Villamil). Here we can see different subspecies of the Galapagos Land Tortoises and the work in progress that aims to restore the population of endangered tortoise populations.
On the walk back from the centre to town of Puerto Villamil, we take a beautiful trail from lagoon to lagoon and look out for Flamingos, Common Gallinules, White-cheeked Pintail Ducks and Black-necked Stilts as well as a forest of button mangroves.
Return to the boat for dinner and briefing.
Floreana is the least populated island in Galapagos and has a rich and mysterious anthropological history.
The mood is set at the wet landing at Punta Cormorant, as your toes touchdown on seemingly green sand with the backdrop of barking sea lions. We’ll leave out the history of the island for your guide to explain, but we can tell you that you will follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home of the Pintail Ducks, Common Stilts, and the Greater Flamingos – the pinkest in the world.
The colour theme continues as we come to the “White Flour Sand Beach” made of white corals. It’s a famous nesting beach for marine turtles and for this it is important to not walk on the sand dunes. Often we see a lot of stingrays in the shallow water.
Devil’s Crown, one of the most famous snorkelling sites in the Galapagos, awaits us. This is a real highlight. The Devil’s Crown is the remains of a volcano some of which has been subsumed by the sea, but with the crater horns still exposed, it looks like a black crown emerging out of the sea. Once in the water, expect to see a brilliant array of colourful fish and corals.
Important: There is often a current here, for experienced snorkelers.
After lunch we head to Post Office Bay one of Galapagos’ most famous sites. Here resides a post barrel, erected and put into use in the late 18th century by British whaling vessels. Following a wet landing we head to the barrel and you can leave a postcard of your own for some other traveller to pick up and help towards its final destination, and pick up any mail from your area for you to distribute once back home. It’s a great tradition to keep up.Return to the boat as we set sail for Puerto Ayora, the start of our return journey, arriving around 17.00. You have a little bit of time to walk in town, unguided, to get souvenirs etc.
Return for a farewell dinner aboard.
Our final trip and highlight and it’s Daphne.
Daphne is a tuff cone with little vegetation. This island is famous for the studies by Peter and Rosemary Grant about the Darwin Finches.
We make a panoramic navigation around the small tuff cone, but not too close to avoid introduction of insects.
It’s time to say goodbye and leave the Angelito in the harbour of Baltra.
Your guide accompanies you to the airport and you fly back to the continent, or stay on for more Galapagos exploration.
Transfers from/to yacht/ Baltra airport, accommodation aboard in double or twin cabin, daily briefing, guided visits to the islands, naturalist-English/Spanish speaking guide level II/III, all meals, free use of snorkelling equipment for adults (mask, tube and fins with sizes 34- 45 included in cruise price), fuel surcharge, treated water, tea and coffee
International flights, Galapagos flights, Galapagos entrance fee (park tax), Galapagos transit control card, alcoholic beverages, gratuities to guides and crew, purchases on board, travel insurance, personal items, Ecuador services, wet suit hire
The Angelito was totally refurbished in the summer of 2013. The high quality of craftsmanship was maintained while the amount of space and comfort level was increased.
There are 4 Decks: sun deck, upper deck, main deck and lower deck.
The 8 double cabins are now on the main deck and include large picture windows, private bathrooms, individual air conditioning, twin beds or a double bed, safety box and hair dryer in each bathroom.
There is an on board library with a good selection of books about the flora, fauna and history of Galapagos.
Angelito was the nickname of the family’s grandfather Angel, who in 1960 helped his two grandsons Leonardo and Hugo Andrade to build their first fishing boat. This boat enabled the Galapagos born brothers to earn a living and support their families.
As pioneers in the Galapagos, they gave up fishing and converted their boat to be able to tour visitors. By leaving fishing, they took the important first step to actively promoting the protection and conservation of the Galapagos Islands.
After more than a decade of working in tourism, the brothers used their experience that they learned from that first small boat to build a new Yacht, the Angelito I, which was launched in 1992.
Today, the boat is always skippered by one of the family.
The crews are “Galapagueños”, guides, captains and crew members were born and raised in the Galapagos Islands.
They know the area well and are prepared to show you the islands only like a native can do it.
The Naturalist, English-speaking guides have studied and been trained at Charles Darwin Scientific Station, and have long years of experience guiding at the Galapagos Islands.
The boat uses as much locally sourced produce as possible, including fish, coffee, eggs, fruits and meat farmed in Galapagos, to reduce carbon footprints and make sure the best ingredients are used.
The chef prepares three main meals a day, with snacks and drinks available after activities.
All dietary requirements can be catered for, vegetarians, vegans, lactose etc and more.
Breakfast usually features a juice, tea and coffee, toast, jams, eggs and pastries.
Lunch will include soups, then a main meal of rices, pastas, fish, omelettes and many more options, and often a small pudding.
Dinner will again be a hearty affair, with a starter, main meal and pudding, with water, teas and coffees available.
There is a bar with beers and cocktails available at extra cost.
Every visit to each island involves an easy or moderate walk, which can last between 2 to 3 hours, and are not considered strenuous. On these walks you will be led by an expert naturalist guides in a small group along clearly marked trails. They will explain in great detail all the wonders of each of our carefully selected itineraries. Most days there are two guided walks on a specific island where you will be able to walk and hike on beaches, lava fields, alongside cliffs and around mangrove estuaries.
Snorkelling in the Islands is the highlight of the Galapagos cruise for many of our guests. You have the opportunity to go snorkelling almost every day – snorkelling with marine iguanas and with playful sea-lions are some of the highlights, as well as with green sea turtles, penguins and an incredible variety of colourful reef fish. On the western islands the water is a little colder but teaming with life. There are beach snorkels for beginners and deeper waters.
Dinghies, or “Pangas” as they are known in Galapagos, are inflatable zodiacs that serve as the main transportation method from our Galapagos yachts to the visitor sites. At several times during your week-long Galapagos travel adventure, you will have the chance to enjoy dinghy (or panga) rides in shores, mangrove estuaries, coves and caves.
Top in the superior tourist range and recently refurbished offering twin and double cabins – rare in this bracket.
Always captained by one of its owners ensuring attention to details and vastly experienced guides.
These magical islands comprise of 50 volcanic islands of varying shapes and sizes, which lie 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador.
Here, unlike anywhere else on Earth, you can enjoy a thousand close encounters with a weird and wonderful variety of ‘friendly locals’, including giant tortoises, fur seals, sea iguanas, frigate birds and blue-footed boobies.
Read our Galapagos Islands Guide and more about diving.
In 1535, Tomás de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, floated into this archipelago and named it Galapagos after the giant tortoises he encountered. Pirates used the islands for refuge and to bury their stolen treasure after that.
The islands’ most celebrated visitor was Charles Darwin, who arrived aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835. The rare life forms he encountered helped him formulate his theory of evolution, which he published in The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
It wasn’t until 1959 when it became part of Ecuador’s national park system that this fragile ecosystem with its rare and endemic species came under protection.
In 1979 the Galapagos archipelago was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Landscapes vary from the drier south to the more humid north.
The Highlands, or sierra, encompass two Andean Cordilleras (the Central and Western), which run north to south through the country. Ecuador’s largest volcano is Chimborazo (6,310m) whose summit, because of its proximity to the equator, is the closest point on earth to the sun. Several of Ecuador’s volcanoes are still active, and it’s a great area for trekking.
Descending the steep, east-facing slopes of the eastern Cordillera, one passes through a transition zone comprising dense cloud forest and humid high jungle, before entering the Amazon lowlands.
This mainly primary rainforest covers a third of the country, accounts for 5% of the population and stretches across Ecuador, from its Colombian to its Peruvian borders.
The Galapagos Islands are simply unique. Lying 600 miles off the mainland, the archipelago comprises the summits of gigantic equatorial volcanoes.
The flora and fauna of the Galapagos, long separated from their continental cousins, have evolved differently. Charles Darwin used his observations there to develop his theory of Evolution.
When to visit Galapagos Islands: weather and wildlife
There is no real ‘best’ time to visit Galapagos on holiday as there is always wonderful wildlife and weather to enjoy. Read our blog for more.
Most animals – tortoises, sharks, sea lions and boobies – are found year round and many of the species here are non-migratory.
The Galapagos Islands are located right on the equator so air and water temperatures do not vary by much.
Having said that, there are two recognised seasons, and each months brings natural marvels for the visitor to enjoy.
Below is our quick guide to the weather and wildlife you can find on the Galapagos Islands.
General weather information
The warm season (Jan-Jun)
Sea temperatures: 22-25°C / 72-77°F
Land temperatures: 21-32°C / 72-90°F
The dry ‘garua’ season (Jun-Dec)
Sea temperatures: 15-22°C / 60-72°F
Land temperatures: 18-24°C / 65-75°F
Air and sea temperatures in Galapagos, month-by-month
Almost all boat cabins are for double occupancy, with only a few boats offering a single cabin with no supplement. Demand is high for these cabins, so you need to plan in advance.
The only other way to guarantee a double cabin for single occupancy is by paying at least a 50-100% supplement of the cruise rate, depending on the boat.
A single passenger can avoid the supplement by sharing a cabin with another single passenger. Most boats offer same gender cabin shares, but some offer mixed cabin shares.
Single supplements for hotel-based trips are usually a lot lower.
You have to arrive in Quito or Guayaquil at least the night before your flight to the Galapagos.
Flights to Galapagos leave from from Quito or Guayaquil early in the morning on the first day of your tour, landing Galapagos around midday.
There are two intercontinental airports on the Galapagos one is on Baltra Island and the other is on San Cristobal Island and is also known as the Baquerizo Moreno Port.
Flights are usually included in your package to ensure all passengers are arriving at the same time on the same flight and into the correct airport.
On Isabela Island there is a landing area available only to inter-island flights for small planes.
Flights from the Galapagos back to Quito or Guayaquil usually leave around midday or later (depends on the vessel).
You can sometimes connect in Guayaquil with a flight home on the same day you leave Galapagos.
Please check times with us before booking any flights – you need to make sure that the Guayaquil departure is in the late evening / night. If you miss the connection in Guayaquil, your international airline may or may not switch you to the next available flight.
Before you fly from Quito or Guayaquil airport, you need to pay USD 20pp for a transit control card. Some cruises pre-pay this and include it in your trip cost.
On arrival in the Galapagos, you will be asked by a representative of the Galapagos National Park to pay the Park fee in cash (currently US$ 100 per person, USD 50 per person for under 12s).
The dock tax is US$5 on Isabela Island, and the airport tax is US$15 for flights between islands.
All National Park fees subject to change without prior notice.
You will also need a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining validity.
British nationals do not need a visa for Ecuador.
Non UK residents please check with the Ecuadorian embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
ALL visitors to Ecuador and Galapagos must have valid health and medical insurance to cover their entire stay. Inability to show a valid policy on arrival at customs will lead to a refusal of entry.
Galapagos park rules
1. Visitors to any protected areas within the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a naturalist guide authorised by the GNPD.
2. Travel only with tour operators and/or boats authorised to work in the protected areas of Galapagos.
3. Remain on marked trails at visitor sites and respect signs at all times for the protection of wildlife, and for your safety.
4. Maintain a distance of at least six feet (two metres) from wildlife to avoid disturbing them, even if they approach you.
5. Never feed wildlife, as this can cause health problems.
6. Flash photography is not permitted when taking photos of wildlife. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorised by the GNPD.
7. Camping is only allowed in a few authorised areas in the Islands. Request authorisation to camp at the Galapagos National Park’s offices at least 48 hours in advance.
8. It is your responsibility not to introduce food, animals, or plants into the Archipelago. Cooperate fully with all environmental inspection and quarantine officials during your visit.
9. Do not take or buy any products or souvenirs made from banned substances, including black coral, shells, lava rock, animal parts, or any native wood or vegetation prior to leaving Galapagos. This is illegal and must be reported.
10. Practice “leave-no-trace” principles in order to maintain the beauty of the environment.
11. Pack out all trash and dispose of or recycle it in the populated areas or on your tour boat.
12. Smoking and/or campfires are strictly prohibited within the Galapagos National Park, as fires poses a serious risk to the flora and fauna of Galapagos.
13. Fishing is only permitted on recreational tour boats authorised by the GNPD.
14. Motorized aquatic sports, mini-subs, and aerial tourism activities are not permitted in the Galapagos National Park or Marine Reserve.
The Galapagos Islands are a suitable destination for most ages and fitness levels. Walks are generally short, although some volcano hikes are more challenging and may involve 2-3 hours of walking. Snorkelling is a real highlight on the Galapagos, so the ability to swim and snorkel is recommended. Snorkelling is suitable for those that have never tried before.
You need to be able to make some wet landings i.e. stepping out of a panga onto a sandy shore, and you may need to ascend or desend small ladders when getting on or off boats at docks or to snorkel.
The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the Islands, but they really are accessible to all. You can choose to skip any activities you do not wish to partake in.
Read more in our blog about a typical day on Galapagos.
Good kit is vital for every trip.
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Galapagos – general advice
Galapagos is warm and humid, and you will need t-shirts (moisture wick-away or breathable t-shirts can be very useful, it can get very hot in the day), shorts, lightweight skirt or trousers and bathing suits.
One or two cotton shirts can be used to protect you from sunburn, especially when snorkelling (not very elegant worn in the water over a swimsuit, but practical – and Galapagos is NOT an elegant place!).
You may want to change into different clothes for the evening, but don’t take anything dressy or smart – there really is a very relaxed atmosphere on board.
Pack something warm for going on deck in the early morning or evening a fleece, maybe, and a sweatshirt – and a waterproof for the Highlands.
Strong sandals, trainers, or light hiking boots are ideal footwear – you may like to have something suitable for easy walks and another for tougher terrain – your guide will advise you daily what the walking will be like. Most boats ask passengers not to wear heavy shoes on board.
Do take a hat!
Seasickness tablets if you think you will have problems – i.e. Sturgeon, or Mareol if you buy them in Quito. The sea can be choppy, so it is recommended to take them as a precaution.
Galapagos – detailed kit list
The Galapagos Islands are a very fragile environment and the arrival of more and more inhabitants to the islands, as well as tourist have an impact.
Please try to minimise your impact by:
Pleasantly warm during the day, but can be quite chilly during the morning or at night when you might want a jacket or a fleece, plus a waterproof.
You may want to dress up a little more in the evening here, depending on where you are staying, and what sort of restaurant you like.
Conditions here are similar to Galapagos – hot and humid. T-shirts and shorts in the day, and like Quito, something smarter for eating out in restaurants at night.
We strongly suggest that everyone planning to travel to Ecuador visits their local doctor/travel clinic prior to departure for the latest vaccination information.
For people travelling to the Amazon/coast and regions below 1,500m (excluding Galapagos, which is malaria free):
Official name: Republic of Ecuador
Country population: 15,000,000
Capital city: Quito (2.51 million)
Largest cities: Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Machala
Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua
Latitude/Longitude: 2º S, 77º 30 W
Official currency: US dollar
Major industries: bananas, shrimp, oil, gold, roses
Time zone: GMT-5 (Galapagos GMT-6)
Andean Trails can book all your international and domestic flights for this trip and for UK passengers; we have full ATOL bonding and can book flights with most airlines.
International flight prices are variable and usually can only be guaranteed at the time of booking. If you would like to upgrade to business or first class, or even arrive at an earlier date/depart at a later date we can also arrange this for you.
Typically, you fly to a country’s capital city and then overnight there or make a connecting flight (if available) to your next destination.
Please contact us for flight advice especially if you do make a connection on the same day. It is important to purchase a through ticket and not separate tickets for connections, so that you are covered for any delays. Passengers with separate tickets that are delayed run the risk of having to buy an entirely new ticket to continue their journeys.
Please note all airline schedules are subject to change and are out of our control.
Almost all flight tickets are now e-tickets. Any that are not will be handed to you on arrival in South America – this is most common for flights on smaller planes in Amazon areas such as Guyana/Bolivia.
The final travel instructions we send you some 2-3 weeks before departure will list the latest flight times, flight numbers etc as well as list your e-ticket numbers and booking reference code (6 characters i.e. GB75RK). This is what you will need to check in with.
How do I check in?
Depending on the airline, we can reserve some seats for you at the time of booking your international flights with us.
If we cannot reserve seats at the time of booking, you have to wait for online check in to open (usually 24-72 hours before departure).
To check in online you will need to go to the website of the airline you are travelling with, and have your e-ticket number/booking reference to hand. Click check in online, enter your details, and choose your seat.
Some flights will allocate seats at the check in desk at the airport and some may not allocate seats at all.
Help flying via the USA (ESTA form).
The United States (USA) has an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which all travellers to and via the USA must complete BEFORE travel to/via its airports and shores.
More information can be found on their ESTA website.
Passengers who have not completed the form will be denied boarding.
Before you begin this application, make sure that you have a valid passport and credit card available.
This application will only accept the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club).
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
In large cities such as Quito and Guayaquil, you should guard against bag snatching, bag slashing and pick-pocketing.
Highway robbery should also be guarded against. We strongly recommend you take the following precautions:
Currency & Money Exchange
Ecuador and Galapagos use the US dollar as currency.
On Galapagos, there are a few ATMs on Santa Cruz island and San Cristobal islands, although they do not always work and you may not ever go near them as part of your tour.
Galapagos park entry fees and most Galapagos boats, hotels and restaurants only accept cash payments for food, drinks, tips, kit rental etc, so you need to arrive with plenty of USD cash.
There are ATMs at Quito and Guayaquil airports that dispense USD.
Take small denomination, unmarked and undamaged bills, 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s being the best. You will find it hard to use 50s, and 100s are seldom accepted anywhere.
On the mainland in Ecuador, ATM debit/credit cards are now widely used in major restaurants, hotels and shops (with fees), and there are ATM (‘hole-in-the-wall’) machines widely available in towns and cities.
Don’t forget to read our Guide to Tipping in Ecuador, too.
Eating and drinking
Galapagos has a growing range of places to eat and drink. They are not cheap due to the high costs of living on the remote islands, and almost everywhere will ask for payment in cash. Some more top end places take card payments on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
Prices vary greatly, below is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay in Ecuador.
Beer/soft drink: USD 3-4
Menu del dia: USD 8-15
Coffee: USD 2
Tourist style restaurant
Beer/soft drink: USD 3-5
Main dish: USD 15 upwards
Coffee: USD 3
On cruises, you must take sufficient cash (USD) with you. You will most likely not have an opportunity to get to an ATM and most boats do NOT accept credit card payments or traveller cheques.
On board you will need to budget for drinks (soft drinks from US$1, beer from US$3), extra snacks, souvenirs. Snorkelling gear and wet suits can be hired on most boats if not included in the price, but again anything hired needs to be paid for in cash. Tips (USD 50-100pp) also payable in cash.
Tipping is entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received.
This is a rough guideline – please note that all Galapagos tips must be left in USD cash.
And then throughout mainland Ecuador:
On the coast
Ceviche de pescado Raw marinated fish, served with tostado (roasted maize).
Ceviche Popular everywhere, is best on the coast.
Ceviche de mariscos Marinated shellfish. Most varieties of shellfish ceviche – e.g. camaron (prawn) and langostino (king prawn) – are cooked before being marinated. The exception is ceviche de conchas (clams) which is marinated raw.
Langosta Lobster (Increasingly endangered, but is still fished illegally).
Empanada de verde Ground plantain pasty filled with meat, cheese or shrimp.
Sopa de bola de verde Plantain dumpling soup
Encocadas Dishes prepared with coconut milk. Can be shrimp, fish etc.
Patacones Fried plantain chips
In the Highlands
Locro de papas Potato and cheese soup.
Mote Burst maize.
Caldo de patas Cow-hoof soup (with mote).
Llapingachos Fried potato and cheese patties.
Empanada de morocho Ground maize shell filled with meat.
Sancocho de yuca Vegetable soup with manioc.
Cuy Guinea pig
Fritada/Chicharron Fried pork
Hornado Roast pork
Humita Ground maize meal wrapped in maize leaf and steamed (sweet or savoury).
Quimbolito Similar to humita, but made from maize flour and steamed in a banana leaf (sweet or savoury).
Jugos Fruit juices are very good, including naranjilla, maracuya (passion fruit), tomate de arbol (tree tomato – like a sweet tomato) and piña (pineapple).
Aguardiente Unmatured rum (Cristal is nice). Also known as paico, trago and trago de caña.
Cerveza Lager-type beer is very popular. Several brands, including Pilsener and Club.
Ecuador uses 120 volts, with a frequency of 60 Hz.
Most cameras, phones and computers are dual or multi voltage and probably won’t need a convertor – please check before leaving.
Some items you may bring, such as hairdryers, may need a convertor. They may short if you use them without the correct convertor.
Ecuador and Galapagos boats mainly use two-pin, flat-pronged Type A plugs and some sockets take Type B plugs.
Type A plug
Type B plug
The international code for Ecuador is +593.
Regions have dialling codes, with a 0 prefix – Galapagos is 05.
Galapagos is a very remote destination and your mobile phone will most likely be out of range.
People on cruises will almost certainly be out of contact for most of the time aboard. Some boats are starting to offer Wi-Fi at expensive rates.
People in hotels will be able to access phones and very slow internet.
Ecuador’s landlines have 7 digits, and to call landline-landline in the same city, simply dial the 7 digits.
If calling landline to another regional landline/city, start with a 0 then the regional code.
If using your own mobile phone to call a landline, dial the country code, the regional/city code without the 0, and then the number, e.g. for Galapagos (code: 05), dial +593 5 1234567.
Mobiles have 8 digits, and start with 09 to make a total of 10 digits;
If you are dialling Ecuador mobile to mobile, simply dial the full number, including the 09.
If using your own mobile phone to call an Ecuadorian mobile, dial the country code, then omit the 0 of 09, then the 8 remaining digits e.g. +593 9 1234-5678.
Almost all unlocked phones will work in Ecuador with a local SIM, however – check with your provider before arrival if your phone will work.
Roaming charges may be high – again, best to check.
To send postcards, you can leave them at Post Office Bay for fellow travellers to pick up and send on.
Otherwise, head to the official postal service, Correos del Ecuador, on Santa Cruz or San Cristobal.
Learning a few words of Spanish can really ingratiate you with the locals you’ll encounter, adding to the enjoyment of your holiday.
Below are some basics to get you started.
Good morning Buenos días
How are you? ¿Cómo estás?
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good bye Adiós
Most frequently asked questions (theirs):
Where are you (plural) from? ¿De dónde eres (son)?
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es?
Where have you come from? ¿De dónde vienes?
Give me (frequent, unwelcome question) Dáme / regálame
Most frequent questions (yours):
How much is it? ¿Cuánto vale?
What is this place called? ¿Cómo se llama este lugar?
What’s your name? ¿Cómo te llamas?
Do you have a map? ¿Tienes un mapa?
In the street / places:
Where can I find a currency exchange? ¿Dónde encuentro una casa de cambio?
Where is there a cash machine? ¿Dónde hay un cajero automatico?
Where is the underground/subway station? ¿Dónde esta la estacion de metro/subte(Buenos Aires)?
Where can I find a taxi? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?
Where can I find a Supermarket? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un supermercado?
Where is the hospital? ¿Dónde esta el hospital?
Where can I find a restaurant? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un restaurante?
In the hotel:
What floor am I on? ¿En qué piso estoy?
Where are the elevators/lifts? ¿Dónde están los ascensores?
How do I access the Internet? ¿Cómo puedo acceder a Internet?
How do I call for room service? ¿Cómo llamo para el servicio de habitación?
How do I call down to the front desk? ¿Cómo llamo a la recepción?
In the restaurant:
A table for two/four please Una mesa para dos/cuatro, porfavor
I would like to drink… Me gustaria tomar….
May I see a menu? Puedo ver la carta/menu?
I would like to order.. Me gustaria pedir…
Can you bring me the check/bill please. Me trae la cuenta por favor
I need help. Necesito ayuda.
I have lost my passport. He perdido mi pasaporte.
Someone stole my money. Alguien robó mi dinero
I have been robbed. Me han robado
I need to call the police. Necesito llamar a la policía
I need to call the (country) Embassy Necesito llamar a la embajada de (country)
Andean Trails believes in Responsible Travel and actively supports several community projects.
Please see Our Advice and Our Ethos for more, and learn about the Projects We Support.
We operate the Inca Trail, our treks and tours with local firms.
We make sure that on our tours and Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages.
With the Inca Trail, We provide free life insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for all trekking staff as well as foam mats, sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided the staff with trekking shoes. We ensure our porters carry a maximum of only 20kg. We offer them backpacks and they generally use back supports.
Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.
Our additional support helps the Huchuy Yachaq project which supports children and families in one of the poorest communities in the district of Cusco.
Responsible Tourism – Code of Conduct:
All our activities are governed by our respect for the environment and the people who live in it. We aim to make a positive impact both in the UK and in the Andean countries we work in (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).
We agree with the principals of sustainable development and specifically promote environmentally aware tourism in the Andean countries, in order to preserve the heritage of the people who live there and to help protect their environment.
In the UK we use recycled paper where possible, recycle what we can and attempt to keep waste to an absolute minimum.
Throughout South America we work together with local people, paying them a fair price, and putting money into the local economy. We do this by using local agents, local trek staff and experienced and qualified local mountain and cultural guides who have an in-depth knowledge of their own country. Our porters on the Inca Trail are fairly paid, carry a maximum load of 20kg and are supplied with tents and food. In other areas we use donkeys or horses to carry loads.
We use locally owned services such as hotels and restaurants, wherever possible. We buy fresh local produce for all of our treks from markets in each departure town. We use public transport whenever possible and feasible.
We have ongoing contact with the teams that we work with and also with local families in the areas we trek through, developing relationships with them and donating goods such as clothes and shoes to their communities, through appropriate local agencies. We also support local Peruvian charities, specifically NIÑOS in Cusco, and CARE in the Huaraz area, plus Huchuy Yachaq.
If you have any suitable (warm) clothes and shoes that you would like to donate to Peruvian children please take them with you and give them to your tour leader, who will ensure they go to a suitable organization.
When out on tour we encourage learning about the countries we travel in, the local culture of the teams we work with and the areas we pass through. Our guides hold informal talks with groups to inform about and discuss with them all aspects of local life. This helps understanding of the area and appreciation of the people who live there.
Our group sizes are kept to a maximum of 16 people, and we encourage smaller groups where possible. This minimises the negative impact we make on the local people, the wildlife and the environment, and increases the quality time spent in contact with the local people and environment.
When trekking we adhere to a responsible tourism code of practice and are also involved in ongoing training of our trek staff.
A full Health and Safety document will be sent to you at the time of booking and before you travel.
You can also read it on our website, or contact us for more information.
It is a condition of booking any of our holidays that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for trip cancellation (by you), activities involved and destination. This cover should include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue.
We work with Travel Nomads, who offer insurance solutions to people in more than 140 countries across the world.
Should you decide not to purchase this insurance, you must provide us with details of your alternative insurance with or before your final payment.
Many of our tours travel through remote areas.
We believe our clients should be aware that the remoteness of some of our tours so very special could also cause certain problems.
Thus, whilst we endeavour to minimise the chances of anything unexpected happening, it has to be noted that no itinerary can or should be rigidly adhered to.
This is the very nature of adventure travel and we expect our clients to be prepared for delays and slight alterations in our programmed events.
Also, shared tours may include travellers from all over the world whose native language is not English.
What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
Prices From $3,140 / £2,512 per person
Dates: From January 2019 to December 2020
Capacity: 16 per person
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Prices From $4,320 / £3,456 per person
Capacity: 14 per person
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $2,217 / £1,774 per person
Prices From $3,352 / £2,682 per person
Select an available date to view pricing and information for that particular trip.
8 days (Sun-Sun) USD 4,090 per person
5 days (Sun-Thu) USD 2,800 per person
4 days (Thu-Sun) USD 1,850 per person
2020 price, per person, shared room basis
Single supplement applies - ask about cabin shares
$4,090 / £3,272
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Prices From $4,090 / £3,272 per person
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Hi Tom - currently at Quito airport waiting for my journey home. Just wanted to let you know that the riding was FANTASTIC and the Galapagos trip was WONDERFUL!
It was all a highlight really! The riding week was fantastic in terms of the setting / organisation/ quality of leadership / quality of horses and group composition.
And ditto in relation to the Galapagos Islands trip!
Sally was an excellent and knowledgeable guide - as was Martha on the Angelito.
Rachel Balen, UK, 2017
» Angelito Cruise Boat, Galapagos Islands
We had a wonderful time. Ecuador is a fantastically diverse country and we will definitely go back. So many highlights! Observing the courtship dance of the waved albatross on Espanola; the magnificence of Lake Quilotoa; Observing a feeding sloth in the Amazon; swimming with sharks and sea turtles; hummingbirds at Bellavista.
All our guides were excellent, extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
J. Hately, UK, 2016
» Angelito Cruise Boat, Galapagos Islands
Which animal might you adopt?
#Galapagos #conservation twitter.com/galapagossip/statu…
14th June, 2020 6:21 pm
THE NORTH OF PERU The north of Peru is brimming with treasures and it is much less travelled than the southern hot spots of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Northern Peru travel never fails to surprise and impress, it is a fascinating part of this wonderful country well worth exploring. There is masses to see and do here so I would recommend a good amount of time. If you can I would dedicate a week as a minimum and ideally two weeks to a tour to the north of Peru. Have a read of “Our Travel Guide to Northern …
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