Frequently Asked Questions
Please click here
to go to our general FAQ
, which has essential information that applies to all of our programs.
Resources to Learn & Teach about 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.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- SEA SICKNESS: The water is unpredictable (sometimes choppy, sometimes not), so definitely bring motion sickness pills for the boat rides between islands.
- 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.
- HIKING: There are some long hikes on this trip. If you can’t hike 6+ miles easily, ask your tour leader before the hike for how long the hike will be, how difficult, etc. You can always opt-out of a hike if you wish.
- LUGGAGE: You can store souvenirs that you purchased in Quito at the hotel while you are on the Islands. The maximum weight allowable on the flight to the Galápagos is 46 pounds, which is lighter than the standard for international flights, so make sure your bags are light enough.
- 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.
- 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
On day 1 of the trip, a representative from G Adventures will meet you for the welcome meeting at the hotel and get you to your flight to the Galápagos Islands the next morning. You will then be met at the airport in the Galápagos by the group tour leader. This naturalist guide is certified by the Galápagos National Park. On Day 8, you will fly back to Quito and be met there by a G Adventures representative, who will get you to the group hotel.
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 5 hours without difficulty. 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 Galápagos have strong currents.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here
where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening. You can arrive at any time. Similarly, the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time and your transfer times to the airport the next day. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.
The Quito International Airport is approximately 1 hour outside of the city center, where your joining hotel is located. There are a number of routes the driver may take depending on the time of day and traffic, however, the route often seems long and indirect. The easiest and cheapest way to get there 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. 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 at set rates from the taxi stand and therefore won’t need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, 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 have paid 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 with a G Adventures logo and sign with 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 joining point hotel via taxi and report the issue to a G Adventures representative at the welcome meeting.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to call their local office in Quito first. 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.
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
From within Ecuador: 022 506 610
After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
From within Ecuador: 0999 506 000
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office in Quito, they have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with their Toronto office:
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Outside North America: +1 416 260 0999
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 downstairs, 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.
There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this program. Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.
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!”
- 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 40’s Fahrenheit!
- Light hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals or flip-flops
- 2 Bathing suits and small quick-dry towel
- Sun hat
- Water bottle
- Watch or alarm clock
- Small flashlight
- Toiletries – Important: Some hotels do not give you soap and shampoo
- 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
- Underwater camera
- Snorkeling mask (If you love snorkeling. There will be times where you can go snorkeling, but there might not be a mask rental available)
- Wetsuit (The water can be chilly. Some have said in the past they wish they had brought their wetsuit)
- Rubber boots – optional; the hikes can be really muddy
- Travel pillow
- Money belt
- Phone/Tablet for internet – most hotels have WiFi
- Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters, if needed
- Packing cubes
- 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
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- EUR/USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information, and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- GEEO Classroom action plans for your group – this is sent 10-30 days before departure
Laundry facilities are sometimes offered by the hotels. You can also use a local laundromat if need be.
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
Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Ecuador. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.
They use USD in Ecuador, so no need for money exchange. Just make sure you bring plenty of cash to the islands – we recommend around $700-$800 – as ATMs can be hard to find, especially on Floreana. Small bills are better so bring lots of singles. Credit cards are rarely accepted.
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 your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. 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 are several times during the trip when there is an opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service.
Also, at the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference. As a guideline, however, $30-$40 USD per person can be used.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who has travel clinics throughout the United States. Please take this seriously!
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course, this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights.
Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here
Your trip begins and ends in Quito. Please double-check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Quito. You can arrive at any time of that day that you choose. You can depart any time on the final day of the trip.
Plugs and Converters
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two- to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Ecuador uses the same plug design used in the United States, a type-A plug. Their voltage is 120 Volts, the same as U.S. outlets.
Before you decide on traveling 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!
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.
Advice From Past Participants
“Bring school supplies to donate. Also, using a rolling luggage is fine, no need for a backpack.”
“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.”
“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.”
Quito, although close to the equator, is at a high altitude. Therefore, the temperature during the day tends to be in 60’s F and at night it can get into the 40’s F. Please make sure you have the proper clothing packed!
The Galápagos climate is tempered by the Humboldt Current, so you do not experience extreme heat found elsewhere at this latitude. The warmest weather is December to June when temperatures range from 72-90 °F (22-33°C), and the water temperature is in the mid 70’s°F (mid-20’s°C). From July to November, temperatures are cooler and range from 60-75°F (18-24°C), when average water temperature rarely reach 70°F (21°C).
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.”