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$3039 $2888

Available: 7+ spaces

Secure your place on this trip with $350 deposit. Final payment due 60 days before departure.

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      • Hotels: Standard Class

      • 06/09/2024 - 06/17/2024

      • Max Participants: 16

      • 9 Days / 8 Nights

      Overview

      This 9-day adventure is perfect for those who want to experience the incredible wildlife and scenery of the Galápagos Islands but prefer to sleep on shore – so your time on the water is limited to commuting between islands. We'll take care of your flight bookings in and out of Quito — with the cheapest flight cost possible. That way you’ll be secure in knowing you've saved money, giving you plenty of time to explore the islands of Floreana, Isabela, and Santa Cruz as you spend your days with playful sea lions, giant manta rays, and the Galápagos giant tortoise. Visit the Galápagos with us, all while earning professional development credit with other educators.

      What's Included:
      • Charles Darwin Research Center visit (Santa Cruz)
      • Visit to Las Grietas
      • Snorkeling at Loberia (Floreana Island)
      • Flamingo Lagoon visit (Isabela Island)
      • Sierra Negra volcano hike (Isabela Island)
      • Giant Tortoise Breeding Center visit (Isabela Island)
      • Isabela Municipal Tax
      • Quito to Galápagos return flights
      • Local Naturalist Guide while in the Galápagos Islands (certified by the Galápagos National Park)
      • G Adventures representative in Quito
      • 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners – allow $185-$240 USD for meals not included
      • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities by local flight, speed boat, van, pickup truck, local buses, panga boats
      • Hotels (6 nts), G Adventures-supported community guesthouse (2 nts)
      What's Not Included:
      • International air travel
      • Incidentals
      • Travel health and cancellation insurance
      • Applicable visas
      • Tips or gratuities
      • Airport taxes
      • Beverages
      • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
      • Optional tours and admissions
      • Airport transfers

      Itinerary Download PDF

      Arrive in Quito at any time. Due to the potential for flight delays or cancellations, we highly recommend that you plan to arrive in Quito at least a day in advance. If you expire flight issues and do not arrive before your group departs for the Galápagos Islands on Day 2, it can be very difficult and likely impossible for you to catch up with the group during the island hopping. We can book extra hotel nights for you in Quito before and/or after the trip, as well as optional day tours and excursions in and around Quito. Please note that check-in at the hotel is usually around 2:00-3:00 p.m. There are no planned activities until an intro meeting around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., usually in the hotel lobby. Check for a sign or ask at the reception desk about the exact time and location of the group meeting. Please make every effort to arrive in time for this meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up tomorrow. After the meeting, you might choose to get dinner at a nearby restaurant with your traveling companions and your tour leader to further get to know one another. Located 2,850 m (9,348 ft) above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate even though it is only a few miles south of the Equator. The old city is full of historic buildings and churches. We recommend spending an extra day or two in Quito. See our optional activities information below for a better idea of what there is to see and do.

      We begin our trip with an early morning transfer to the airport in Quito and a flight to Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, where we meet our friendly staff and check into the hotel in the town of Puerto Ayora. The Galápagos Islands are located about 1,000 km (620 miles) off the Pacific coast of South America. Covering nearly 5,000 square km (3,100 square miles), the Galapagos Islands are now a National Park. The archipelago is comprised of 13 major islands and scores of islets that served as a living laboratory for Charles Darwin, the renowned evolution theorist. We visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a science organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos’ ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. It also provides a study location for international scientists and training for naturalist guides. Tour the exhibition center to see photo displays of recent volcanic eruptions, charts outlining geological formations, and drawings of the evolutionary development of endemic species. The station is also a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, brought back from the brink of extinction. See the famous Galápagos tortoise up close – a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age 3 when their shells have hardened. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by plane

      In the morning of our first full day on the Islands, we walk through a cactus forest looking for Darwin finches and lava lizards on the way to Las Grietas, a local swimming hole, where the cool, bright turquoise water separates two volcanic cliffs. Fed by the ocean from one end and a river from the other, this unique, brackish pool is perfect for swimming. In the afternoon, we hop on a speedboat to nearby Floreana Island. The history of Floreana Island (also called "Charles") has gradually evolved to reach near mythic proportions. The story begins when a baroness and her two lovers, a German doctor and his mistress, and a German couple and their young son all came to settle on this land. Their dalliances and disasters, shrouded in mystery, were chronicled in John Treherne’s book The Galapagos Affair. Descendants of the German family, the Wittmers, still live on the island in the small community of Puerto Velasco Ibarra. Mrs. Margaret Wittmer has also written a book entitled Floreana, which can be purchased at the airport in Baltra or at a local bookstore. Floreana Island is a small, isolated island. Many of its residents have been living there for the past three generations since the islands were first colonized. Its 150 residents have tried to benefit from the tourism boom, but since most tourism is marine-based and the boats don't stop in the village, they have struggled to find any opportunities. Our partner tour operator G Adventures is investing in community training and infrastructure to develop the first ecological, community tourism program in the Galápagos Islands that sees both the island's small entrepreneurs and its unique wildlife as the primary beneficiaries of this project. To further benefit the community on Floreana Island, G Adventures has provided training to residents for all aspects of tourism, including food preparation and service. The community will provide your meals while staying on this small island. The meals are rotated between different community members in order to spread out the benefits of tourism. While eating at the community restaurants you will be contributing to the self-sufficiency of the first community tourism operator in the Galápagos. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs by speed boat Please note: Seas can be rough during this voyage, so please bring sea sickness medication to use as necessary.

      Today, we start by walking along a black-sand beach to Loberia, where we enjoy snorkeling immediately off the beach and get up close to the diverse wildlife in the waters around the Galápagos. Please be aware: the water here can be rough and the currents strong, making swimming difficult (but not impossible!) for even the strongest swimmers. We then head up to the seldom-visited highlands of Floreana, where we will hear tales about the pirates, whalers, seal hunters, and buccaneers who once lived in this isolated and unique landscape. We will also learn about the birds, plants, and animals found on this small island.

      After a tranquil night, we bid farewell to the mysterious Floreana Island and set off by speed boat to Isabela Island, where we check into our hotel. Shaped like a seahorse, Isabela is the largest island in the Galápagos archipelago and stretches over 100 km, though it is also extremely narrow. It is also a very active island, with six active volcanoes found on Isabella - Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra, and Wolf. All of these volcanoes, except Ecuador, are still active, and two of them are over 1,700 meters high - Wolf and Cerro Azul. In the afternoon, we lace up our hiking boots in order to explore the Sierra Negra Volcano. As we reach the summit, we will circle the rim of the volcano, looking down into the largest basaltic caldera in the Galápagos. We will see smoking fumaroles and the "sulfur volcano" (large amounts of sulfur deposited around the fumaroles) along the way. This hike can be muddy and difficult, so if you aren't in good shape, ask your tour leader whether they think you should go on the hike. Approximate travel time: 2-2.5 hrs by speed boat Please note: Seas can be rough during this voyage, so please bring sea sickness medication to use as necessary.

      This morning, you can spend free time as you wish, with the option (for $45-50 USD) to take a wildlife boat excursion to "Islote Tintoreras," a large crevice with clear, calm waters where marine iguanas swim and white-tip reef sharks (tintoreras) take their daily rest on the bottom. Spot pelicans, frigate birds, and diving blue-footed boobies, and keep an eye out for manta rays and rare Galápagos penguins, of which only 800 pairs of these lovable birds exist. You can even take the opportunity to snorkel to see Isabela's underwater world up close. Later, we walk through the town’s wetlands to visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center. We will pass basking iguanas and flamingos and head into the forest to see the gentle giants in their natural habitat. As the giant tortoise faced extinction, this program was established in the late 1950s to protect these noble creatures. You can further explore the surroundings with a short walk to observe pink flamingos in the wetlands and catch a stunning Isabela sunset on the beach. Along the way, stop at a lookout point, and visit natural pools, beaches, and mangrove swamps. In the evening, relax at the bar or on the beach and, if you want, enjoy a drink at sunset.

      This morning, we travel by speedboat back to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Once there, we enjoy a walk along a lava stone pathway to the beautiful white beach of Tortuga Bay. You can relax on the beach, walk along the mangroves looking for marine iguanas and birdlife, or rent a kayak and explore this marine wonderland. Keep an eye out for Tintoreras sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays in the water's shallow areas. You will also have free time to explore Puerto Ayora. Head to the lively fish market where sea lions, pelicans, and other birds drop by to see the daily catch. You also have the option ($15 USD extra) to grab a life jacket and go for a kayak adventure in the mangroves of Tortuga Bay. If you choose to do so, you might catch a glimpse of some of the wide variety of marine life that calls the Islands home, including colorful reef fish, rays, and sea turtles. Relax afterward on the beautiful white sand beach and soak up some sun – you may even spot some iguanas also trying to catch some rays next to you on the shore. In the evening, you have free time to sample some of the local restaurants and bars or do a little last-minute shopping. Approximate travel time: 2-3 hrs by speed boat Please note: Seas can be rough during this voyage, so please bring sea sickness medication to use as necessary.

      This morning, we take a private van to the ferry terminal on Santa Cruz Island, before taking a short ferry to Baltra. Upon arrival in Quito, transfer to the hotel for a final night in town. The G Adventures representative in Quito will be able to arrange many of the available day tours in and around Quito if you have time to spare. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by plane

      There are no planned activities today, so you may depart Quito at any time. If you wish to extend your stay in Quito, consider booking post-tour accommodation with us. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is usually mid-morning, but luggage storage services are available at the reception desk. Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO programs in the same school year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs per year). If you would like to extend your time abroad but don't see another GEEO program that interests you, let us know. We can work with you to find a trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Their tours are open to the general public and not designed specifically for educators, but we can still offer you and your travel companions a discounted educator price on any additional tours that you book.

      Details

      Frequently Asked Questions
      Please read our general FAQs, where you can find essential information that applies to all of our programs.
      Resources to Learn & Teach about Ecuador and the Galápagos
      Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
      Terms and Conditions
      It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
      GEEO Program Confirmation Process
      We require a minimum of 6 participants for most GEEO programs. We officially confirm that a program will run once at least 8 people have signed up, which provides a margin for individual cancellations. Nearly all GEEO programs ultimately meet this enrollment quota, and in the rare event that a program does not meet the minimum requirement and GEEO cancels the program, we will work with you to find a suitable alternative or provide a refund of your deposit if you prefer. We encourage you to sign up for any program that interests you, and we will notify the entire group once 6 people are booked and again once 8 people are booked. We always emphasize the importance of exercising caution when making non-refundable travel arrangements, especially given the unpredictable nature of travel. For example, we typically recommend booking flights with flexible change/cancellation policies.
      Cancellation policy
      All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to travel@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
      • If you cancel 60 days or more prior to departure, all your program fee payments will be refunded besides your $350 deposit which is kept on file for future use
      • If you cancel between 30 and 59 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use
      • If you cancel within 30 days of departure, you will receive no refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use
      Trip Notes
      1. ITINERARY CHANGES: The itinerary is subject to further changes, dependent upon new regulations made by the Galápagos National Park or seasonal points of interest. The Galápagos National Park Service dictates the itinerary to G Adventures and GEEO, therefore the details of this itinerary could change a bit when you arrive. The content will be pretty much the same, but the order of the activities may change.
      2. GALÁPAGOS ISLAND PARK ENTRY FEE: The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galápagos Islands Park entry fee of $100 USD per person. This is payable at the airport upon arrival in the park. It is not included in the cost of the tour and must be paid in CASH. This fee funds Park maintenance and supervision in Galápagos, as well as ecological study, conservation, and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees, and the funds they generate for the National Park System, are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.
      3. TRANSIT CONTROL CARDS AND TAX: The Consejo de Gobierno (local government council) has implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $20 USD per person. This card is to be purchased in CASH at a counter in the Quito airport before boarding the flight to the Galápagos. Please retain this card along with your passport as you will be required to present this upon arrival to the Galápagos Islands. Please note that this applies to all tourists entering the Galápagos Islands and is a supplement to the existing entry fee to the National Park and is not controlled by tour operators or travel agencies. It is the first of a number of initiatives to track, control, and maintain the sustainable tourism targets set out by the Galápagos National Park and the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to preserve the fragile environment of the archipelago. There will also be a municipal tax of $5 USD per person charged locally upon departure from Isabela Island.
      4. SEA SICKNESS: The water is unpredictable (sometimes choppy, sometimes not), so definitely bring motion sickness pills for the boat rides between islands.
      5. INTERNATIONAL TICKET NUMBERS: Foreign travelers are exempt from paying a tax on domestic flights in Ecuador. To prove that you are indeed a foreign traveler, you must enter your international ticket number (ITN) into the Good To Go check-in system. Travelers who do not submit ITNs at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.
      6. LUGGAGE: The maximum baggage allowance for domestic flights between Quito and the Galapagos Islands is one piece of luggage per person weighing a maximum of 23 kilograms (50 pounds), plus one carry-on piece weighing a maximum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds).
      7. ALTITUDE: Quito is at a high altitude and can be chilly in the evenings. Make sure you check the weather and have appropriate clothing. Also, you may have a headache and nausea when you arrive, which might be caused by mild altitude sickness. The best thing to do is to take it easy and try not to be too active. See a doctor in the rare circumstance that your symptoms are severe.
      8. SAFETY IN QUITO: Please take care when wandering about the city on your own, as pickpockets and purse-snatchers are common, particularly in the Old Town. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, and cash you don’t need in the hotel’s safety deposit box. Most Quiteños are honest and genuinely helpful and friendly, but be safe and enjoy the city!
      Group Leader Description
      All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEOs). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
      Fitness Level
      This trip includes light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels. Some of the optional excursions on this trip require participants to be in good shape, capable of hiking up to five hours. You are of course welcome to skip these optional excursions if you do not feel up for it. Those who choose to snorkel must be cautious that they can handle the water conditions, as some parts of the waters around the Galápagos have strong currents.
      Single Travelers
      Half of GEEO’s participants travel by themselves, so please don’t worry if you do not have a travel companion for your trip. Our program fee is for one traveler in double-occupancy accommodation, and GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender if you do not have a travel companion. Most of our programs have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that you can pay to have a room to yourself. You will only incur an additional charge if you specifically request a single room. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please find your program on our extra services page. If you want to room alone, please email travel@geeo.org to request a single room.
      Joining Instructions
      Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Please note: Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., during which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details. If you miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need and with instructions for the next morning. Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the hotel in Quito during your tour, if necessary. The Quito International Airport is approximately 1 hour outside of the city center, where the hotel is located. There are a number of routes the driver may take depending on the time of day and traffic; the route often seems long and indirect. The easiest and cheapest way to get to the hotel is by organizing a taxi at the desk within the airport (approximately $30 USD). Private transfers generally cost more as the cars will need to drive from Quito to the airport and return to the city. Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find a taxi stand. We strongly recommend you pay for the car from the taxi stand, which uses a set rate, so that you don't have to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport terminal, where the situation tends to get more chaotic with many drivers vying for few clients. The taxis outside the airport area do not belong to the Taxi Airport Union and may charge higher fares. There is also a shuttle available with the bus company Aeroservicios. Aeroservicios charges $8 USD for a bus ride that will take you from the new airport to the old airport. The buses are new, comfortable, and often include WiFi. From the old airport, a taxi to get to your hotel generally costs $5 USD, depending on the distance and location. If you pay in advance for an arrival transfer, a representative holding a G Adventures sign with your name will be waiting at the airport to meet you directly in front of the arrivals section. There are often many people holding signs, so we recommend taking some time to locate the representative holding a sign with the G Adventures logo and your name. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, you can go directly to the H.A.T.S. counter (Hotel and Airline Transportation Services), which is situated directly in front of the international arrival area, next to the taxi stand, and they will be able to assist you. In addition, you may call our local support line at 0999 506 000. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the hotel via taxi and report the issue to a G Adventures representative at the welcome meeting.
      Emergency Contacts
      Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS G Adventures Office - Lima, Peru During office hours (weekdays, 9am-6pm local time): +51 1 241 1650 After hours emergency number: +51 99 758 2712 (WhatsApp Available) If for any reason you are unable to reach the G Adventures local office, please call the numbers listed below to connect with their Sales team, who will happily assist you. Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000 Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000 Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618 Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
      Packing List
      Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person. The maximum baggage allowance for domestic flights between Quito and the Galapagos Islands is one piece of luggage per person weighing a maximum of 23 kilograms (50 pounds), plus one carry-on item weighing a maximum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the traveler. Please note that Galápagos is a protected National Park, so your luggage will be checked before arrival and departure to and from the islands. Don’t bring any food, seeds, or other organic material that could affect the delicate ecosystem of the islands. That said, a participant in 2013 told us, “You can bring any processed food, even packaged nuts—this was very important for someone like me with dietary restrictions. I brought tons of protein bars, nuts, and granola!” Health & Safety
      • N95/KN95 face masks (at least a few just in case there is an outbreak within your group)
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Rapid Covid test/antigen tests (at least 3)
      Suggested Checklist
      • Windproof/waterproof rain jacket (very important)
      • Personal clothing for cool to hot weather – we recommend packing 7 or 8 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once
      • Fleece top – it can fall into the 40s Fahrenheit!
      • Light hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
      • Sport sandals or flip-flops
      • Two bathing suits and a small quick-dry towel
      • Daypack
      • Sunblock
      • Sunglasses
      • Sun hat
      • Water bottle
      • Watch or alarm clock
      • Toiletries – important: some hotels do not give you soap and shampoo
      • Camera
      • Motion sickness pills – Dramamine, bring both less-drowsy and regular formulas
      • First-aid kit, including contain lip salve, aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, electrolyte powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking
      Optional Checklist
      • Underwater camera or waterproof phone bag
      • Snorkeling mask (there will be times where you can go snorkeling, but there might not always be a mask rental available)
      • Wetsuit (the water can be chilly, and some have said in the past they wish they had brought their wetsuit)
      • Rubber boots – optional: the hikes can be really muddy
      • Binoculars
      • Travel pillow
      • Money belt
      • Phone/tablet for internet – most hotels have WiFi
      • Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters, if needed
      • AirTags or Tile trackers
      • Packing cubes
      • Earplugs
      • Snacks – packing a few granola bars is a good idea; you can buy snacks when you get there too, so don’t go crazy
      • Ziplock bags
      • Reading/writing material
      • Hand sanitizer/baby wipes
      Document Checklist
      • Passport (with photocopies)
      • Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
      • Travel insurance ID card
      • Flight itinerary/boarding pass(es)
      • USD/EUR cash
      • Credit/debit card
      • G Adventures vouchers
      Laundry
      Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. You can also use a local laundromat, if necessary. We recommend packing enough clothes so you don't have to do laundry.
      Passports and Visas
      All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double-check the information we provide below by searching here. U.S. citizens do not require a visa to travel to Ecuador. Non-American participants should check online to determine if they need a visa.
      Money Exchange
      The local currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar, so there is no need to exchange currencies. Make sure you bring plenty of cash to the islands—we recommend around $700-800—as ATMs can be hard to find or out of service, especially on Floreana. Small bills are better, so bring plenty of $5s and $1s. Credit cards are rarely accepted on the islands.
      Tipping
      It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected, though not compulsory, component of this program and an expression of satisfaction with the people who assist you on your trip. Tipping is also one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the local community. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There will be opportunities during the trip to tip your local guides or drivers. You may do this individually, or your tour leader may offer to collect the money and give a tip on behalf of the group. Recommendations for tipping local guides and drivers range from $5-10 USD per person per day, depending on the quality and length of the service. Ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and expectations. Also, at the end of your program, if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, a tip would be appreciated. The amount is entirely your personal preference, but as a guideline, $5-10 USD per person per day would be appropriate.
      Vaccinations
      GEEO cannot provide any medical advice, so it is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. We recommend contacting Passport Health (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/), which has travel clinics located throughout the United States. You can also check the CDC's recommended vaccinations for your destination. Please take this seriously!
      Flights
      We find the best prices for flights are often available around 90 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You should wait until this trip is confirmed before you book non-refundable flights. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. This program begins and ends in San Jose. Please double-check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Quito. You may want to arrive in Quito one or more days early in case you have flight disruptions. You can arrive at any time you choose, but try to make it in time for our 6:00 p.m. Welcome Meeting on Day 1. You can depart from Quito any time on the final day of the program, or stay longer to see more of the city.
      Plugs and Converters
      Ecuador uses the same plug design and voltage found in the United States—a type-A plug and 120 Volts—so there is no need for electrical adapters or converters.
      Expectations
      Before you decide to travel with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
      • The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury as we are trying to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible. Sometimes the accommodation is not air-conditioned.
      • We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
      • You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack.
      • Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometimes include day hikes with your daypacks.
      • We recommend always carrying snacks with you. Meals can sometimes be far apart.
      • Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring, and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
      Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
      Itinerary Disclaimer
      While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
      Weather
      Quito, although close to the equator, is at a high altitude. Therefore, the temperature during the day tends to be in 60s F, and at night it can get into the 40s F. Please make sure you have the proper clothing packed! The climate of the Galápagos Islands is tempered by the Humboldt Current, so you will not experience the extreme heat found elsewhere at this latitude. The warmest weather is from December to June, when temperatures range from 72-90° F, and the water temperature is in the mid 70s F. From July to November, temperatures are cooler and range from 60-75° F (18-24°C), and average water temperature rarely reaches 70° F.
      Advice From Past Participants
      “There are not many alternative activities. If you choose not to do something, you have to sit around and wait for the other people (because tourism in the Galapagos is strictly regulated).” “We did a lot of snorkeling, and I think I would have bought a wetsuit top, if I knew the water was going to be a bit chilly.” "Wetsuits are rentable in the Galapagos." “Quito is a remarkable city and touring it and the surrounding area should not be missed. Visitors should be encouraged to plan to add a day or two to see it.” “It gets cold at night on most of the islands!” “It was much hotter than I thought it would be! I packed more warm things. Also, it is important to have a lot – maybe $700 to $800 – of cash on you. A lot of us ran out of cash, and it was hard to get to an ATM.” “A collapsible walking stick might help with hiking but no need for boots. Bring lots of sunscreen. Also, altitude sickness medicine really helped in Quito. I had a much better time there than other group members because I took it. Also, seasickness medicine is a must for the island boat transfers.” “Be prepared for the hike to the volcano! It was long, and I got soaked by the end, which got cold! Dress in layers. Food in the islands is much more expensive than in Quito. “ “Ecuador and Galapagos are essentially a cash-only destination. Very few places accepted credit cards, and extra activities all had to be paid in cash. I think I spent at least $1,000 in cash during my time in Ecuador/Galápagos. It is very important to emphasize the need to have bills in small denominations.”
      Snorkeling and Diving Gear
      You can bring your own snorkeling gear and wetsuit, or rent gear in the Galápagos. G Adventures provides the snorkeling gear for free and then you would need to rent a wetsuit for $5-$10 a day. They sometimes don’t have wetsuits for larger people or petite sizes. The water can be cold in the Galápagos, but one participant told me that she did not rent the wetsuit and was just fine without it. While our itinerary does not list much snorkeling, I have been told by our group that there were lots of opportunities for snorkeling on the trip and that they snorkeled on four separate occasions. Some of the locations have a strong current and are too deep to stand, other locations are much calmer and easier to handle. You must use your judgment and tour leader’s advice to determine whether it is safe for you to go into the water. If you wish to go diving, there are dive shops on the islands and your tour leader can help put you in touch with one of them.
      Time in Quito
      Advice from GEEO’s Executive Director Jesse Weisz: “Quito is a nice city to visit and having at least one day to explore is advised. Quito’s old town is a UNESCO world heritage site and can be explored on foot during the day. You should not miss the Basilica of the National Vow (Spanish: Basílica del Voto Nacional). The building is noted for its grotesques in the form of native Ecuadorian animals, such as armadillos, iguana, and Galápagos Tortoises instead of the typical Gargoyles you find on a Neo-Gothic cathedral. If don’t have a fear of heights, you should climb to the top of the back tower for a great view of the city. Another way to get a great view of the city is by taking a taxi to the top of Panecillo, a hill south of the old town. Please do not attempt to climb this hill, as there are muggings on a regular basis reported in that area. A taxi ride to the top and return to your hotel typically costs about $20. Lastly, if you want to see Quito from above, you can take a cable car (teleférico) to the top of a mountain overlooking Quito. It costs $8.50 and the 10-minute ride takes you up to an altitude of 13,290 feet. If you want a physical challenge you can then hike to the top of Vulcan Pichincha. The hike takes an estimated 2-2.5 hours each way, so this is an activity that could fill a whole afternoon. It is windy and can be cold, so make sure you have the appropriate clothing. The actual Equator is only a 30-45 minute drive north of Quito. At the Equator, you will find a large monument that has an admission fee. This is where the French thought the equator was, but they were wrong and the actual equator is about 240 meters from the Equator Monument. Feel free to visit the nearby Intiñan Solar Museum, which claims to have the real equator running through their property. Just keep in mind that the science experiments they show you there are mostly inaccurate and downright silly. If you are a science teacher, this is a can’t miss attraction for a good laugh. While I did not have time to go, there are three-day trips that have been recommended to me, which we list in the Optional Activities section of this webpage. Saquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park make for a full day of hiking and shopping. I would make sure you have a few days to acclimatize to the elevation before signing up for that one. Bellavista Cloud Forest is at a lower altitude and seems like a wonderful way to see the nature of the area. Another option is Otavalo where you will be able to see one of the largest markets in all of South America. You should be able to book all of these activities at the front desk of our hotel in Quito. Lastly, if you are traveling around the city by taxi, make sure it is an official taxi. Your hotel can hail one for you which can be trusted.” "Recommendations: 1. Take a waterproof bag or backpack for boats and snorkeling. Assume boat rides will be wet. 2. An underwater camera pouch worked fine for snorkeling but definitely not as clear as underwater camera. 2. Consider rain pants if choosing the Cotopaxi hike: There was sleet during our hike up. 3. If you like the water, take your own snorkel and mask. It doesn't take much space and avoids having to adjust a different mask every time you snorkel. (I really appreciated having my $40 prescription mask to see.) Some of the boats have flippers on board. 4. While the water isn't cold in June, I was happy to have brought and used a wetsuit vest and a long-sleeve swimsuit. Made all the difference in enjoying the water." "Check a few weather websites before final packing. Quito is cool in June/July. BUT you only need one or two long-sleeved shirts if you're not in the city long. Bring more shorts and tees because the islands are dreadfully humid."

      Costs

      Please keep in mind that this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. The prices below are rough estimates for budgeting your trip.
      Tour Company Fee
      See our price in the top right corner The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galápagos Islands Park entry fee of $100 USD per person. This is not included in the price of our trip. The Galápagos National Park authorities have implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $20 USD per person.
      Optional Activities
      $100-300 USD
      International Airfare from the United States
      $600-1,200 USD If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
      Airport Transfers
      $50-150 USD
      Insurance
      $79-200 USD Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as an add-on.
      Tipping
      We recommend $40-60 USD for your local naturalist guide. Budget another $20-30 USD to tip local guides and drivers.
      Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary
      $185-240 USD
      Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.
      Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
      Vaccines
      Variable. Please consult your doctor.
      Souvenirs
      Variable. At your personal discretion.
      Non-Educator Donation
      $100 USD (suggested donation) This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.

      Optional Activities

      Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally, sometimes in the local currency, and you do not have to decide in advance which ones you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please use them as a rough guide for budgeting your trip.
      Quito
      City Tour and Equator Line: $50-60 USD per person Enjoy a city tour of Quito. Visit the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with stops at the Basilica del Voto Nacional, La Compañia Church, San Francisco Square, Plaza Grande, and the Panecillo, a towering statue of the Virgin of Quito which looks out over a stunning view of the city. Drive 25km (16 mi) north of Quito to the Middle of the World, latitude 0º. Stand with one foot in each hemisphere. Cable Car (Teleférico): $8 USD per person You can get from 2,800 m to 4,200 m in just 10 minutes and view Quito at your feet. Once on top, you might take the opportunity to go for a small hike inside the complex. Bring warm clothes, as it can be chilly up top. A taxi from the hotel will cost $3 to get to the base of the cable car. There are shops and restaurants available as well. The cable car operates Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Saturday and holidays, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. If you add pre- or post-trip nights in Quito (or depending on your flight times at the beginning or end of the tour), you can book any of these activities in advance: Cotopaxi Day Tour: $50-100 USD per person Cotopaxi National Park is one of Ecuador's most spectacular highlights. This full-day tour gives you the opportunity to explore this protected area on foot or by bike. The Cotopaxi National Park is situated in a stunning paramo plateau, where wild horses graze on the extensive plains at the foot of the volcano and gather to drink at the Limpiopungo lagoon which reflects the white peaks of nearby Volcan Rumiñahui. Trek through the National Park you will discover pumice, ash, stone, and other volcanic debris amid the tiny páramos plants. Hiking is for all fitness levels, but mountain biking is reserved for confident cyclists with experience in downhill cycling. Otavalo Market (full-day tour): $70 USD per person Enjoy a full-day excursion to experience the charm and culture of Ecuador's Otavalo Market. Surrounded by the Imbabura, Cotacachi, and Mojanda volcanoes, the vibrant and beautiful city of Otavalo is home to a large indigenous population and is known for its handicrafts. Stop in Cayambe on the way to the market, to try local bizcochos. Spend some time in the Otavalo Market before heading to the Peguche waterfalls. Downtown Foodie and Culture (half-day tour): $59 USD per person Explore the foodie scene of Quito with this half-day tour. Meet your CEO or local guide on the stairs of the Cathedral in Plaza Grande at 2:30 pm. Visit the Palacio Arzobispal where you will have the opportunity to try some traditional sweets, like dulce de higos and some delicious “helado”. Stroll through Quito's plazas and admire the stunning architecture of Palacio Arzobispal as you walk toward San Fransisco Cathedral. The group will stop along the way to partake in a chocolate tasting, which finishes up with complimentary hot chocolate and a brownie. Then, in a local restaurant, the group will experience a class that teaches you how to make the traditional canelazo drink, a specialty of the region. The tour will conclude when you arrive back at Plaza Grande.
      Isabela Island
      Islote Tintoreras Snorkeling: $45-50 USD per person Go snorkelling at the islet Las Tintoreras, located south of Puerto Villamil – it's the perfect place to glide along watching the magic unfold under the water’s surface. Enjoy a small calm turquoise bay to look for the whitetip reef shark, which are fairly common in the archipelago. (The sharks are called Tintorera in Spanish, which is where the site gets its name.) Keep an eye out for sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and rays as well as the sharks. Los Tuneles Snorkeling: $140-150 USD per person Grab your swimsuit, a snorkel, and head out to explore the waters to see what’s living under the sea. Head to Los Tuneles about a 40-minute boat ride away from Puerto Villamil. The lava formations and mangroves make this an ideal place for snorkeling. Keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles, and large schools of colorful fish. Wall of Tears Bike Visit (1h-2h): $20 USD per person Cycle to the "Wall of Tears" and tour this somber historical site that pays homage to the prisoners of an on-island penal colony, who were forced to build a wall out of huge blocks of basalt. Many prisoners died during the wall's construction between 1946 and 1959. Concha de Perla Snorkelling $5 USD per person Visit the calm bay of Concha de Perla for a snorkeling experience. Snorkel alongside up to 20 different species of birds as well as tropical fish, sea lions, and maybe even penguins.
      Santa Cruz
      Surfing lesson: $120 USD per person Grab your swimsuit and get ready to hang ten! Learn how to find and ride the waves with surfing lessons from local experts. Enjoy the fresh sea air, and try to spot local marine life while enjoying the waters. Tortuga Bay kayaking: $15 USD per person Grab a life jacket and go for a kayak adventure in the mangroves of Tortuga Bay. Keep an eye out for a wide variety of marine life, including colorful reef fish, rays, and sea turtles, as you paddle the blue waters. Relax after on a beautiful fine white sand beach, and soak up some sun – you may spot some iguanas also trying to catch some rays on the shore.