Pure Galapagos (Grand Daphne)

8 Days from $5,280

START: Isla Baltra

FINISH: Isla Baltra

AGES: 15 - 99

THEME: Sailing, Wildlife

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Few destinations rival the Galapagos for up-close encounters with wildlife, and this adventure focuses on the stars of the show. Enjoy a pure boat trip that’s free of detours, overnight stopovers and passengers joining or leaving throughout. Stay on the boat and venture to the remotest parts of the archipelago – the west coast of Isla Isabela and Isla Fernandina – and see almost all of the wildlife the Galapagos is famous for. Take the chance to swim and snorkel with sea lions and reef sharks off Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Bartolome; spy frigatebirds, boobies and pelicans soaring above North Seymour or Cerro Dragon; and stroll among land iguanas and flightless cormorants on volcanic Punta Espinosa. When it’s all over, why not stay on for a surf, dive, eco-lodge stay, or some ultimate relaxation on sleepy Sunset Beach.

Start: Isla Baltra

Finish: Isla Baltra

Ages: 15 - 99

Theme: Sailing, Wildlife

Accommodation: Overnight boat (7 nights)

Destination: Isla Baltra

Highlights

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If there’s one ultimate Galapagos adventure, this is it. Combining off-the-beaten-track gems with iconic sights like the Pinnacle Rock, this trip is a microcosm of the Galapagos
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This unique, stand-alone sailing adventure shares its itinerary with no other Intrepid trip. Enjoy minimal contact with other travellers and boats
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Explore the remote west coast of Isabela on a small Panga boat, and venture to the far-west Fernandina, home of the highest density of marine iguanas
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Beach-lovers will be in heaven. The turtle-dotted Las Bachas is about as idyllic as they come, and the richly coloured sands of Espumilla on your feet feel like nothing else
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Volcanically active, steeped in myth and flanked by gorgeous cliffs, the old pirate haunt of Buccaneer Cove has something for everyone, from birdwatchers to geology enthusiasts to history buffs
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Las Tintoreras is like one big wildlife party. Snorkel among the iguanas and turtles and effortlessly spot sea lions, penguins and frigate birds

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Isla Santa Cruz

Welcome to the Galapagos! Today you will be meeting other travellers arriving from Quito at Baltra Airport. Please be at the airport by 09.30am. The guide cannot wait for you so you need to make sure that you are there on time. Once you have met up with the rest of the group, a 10 minute transfer will bring you to the Daphne which will be anchored in Baltra. Once on board, you’ll be assigned a cabin, meet the crew and get to know your fellow travellers over a delicious lunch. Sail from Baltra to Las Bachas (approximately 30 minutes; 4 nautical miles). The lush sands of Las Bachas, on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, are a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. Marine iguanas are also commonly spotted. The sand here, made of decomposed coral, is particularly white and soft. The rocks make for excellent snorkelling and are populated by Sally Lightfoot crabs which are plentiful on the island. A saltwater lagoon just near the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel – you might also see a great blue heron. Remnants of a floating pier, a testimony to the US presence in the Galapagos during World War II, can also be seen. PLEASE NOTE: If you are not spending any extra time on the islands, we recommend that you book these flights: Day 1: Flight AV1632 from Quito to Isla Baltra Day 8: Flight AV1633 from Isla Baltra to Quito If you are arriving to the islands earlier and spending extra time here, you will need to make your own way from Isla Baltra (airport) to Santa Cruz (Puerto Ayora) for your accommodation, please see instructions below. Walk out of the arrivals hall and look out for the buses leaving Canal. From here you take the bus to the Canal (Itabaca Channel) the journey is approximately 10 minutes (USD5). There will also be buses to Muelle, which should be avoided as they will not take you to the Channel. Once at the Itabaca Channel you have to cross by ferry, again the journey is approximately 10 minutes and about 1 USD per person to the other side (the northern side of the Santa Cruz) From here you have two options: Public bus – they only depart when they are full and you might have to wait for a while (3 USD per person) – 50 min ride Taxi – the cost is approximately 20 USD for the whole taxi and you reach Puerto Ayora within 45 min. To make your own way back to the airport to meet the group on day 1, you will need to follow the above instructions in reverse. Please allow a minimum of 1 ½ hours to get back to the airport. If you are not there by the meeting time, the guide, and therefore the boat, will leave without you. Boats in the Galapagos need to adhere to strict departure times from the ports.

icon check Day 2 : North Seymour - Bartolome

Sail from Isla Baltra to North Seymour (approximately 45 minutes; 5 nautical miles). This is one of the most visited islands of the Galapagos. First up is a solid walk, the highlight of which may well be blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship, sharing the same nesting area on North Seymour. Blue-footed boobies nest on the ground while the frigate birds nest just above them in the saltbushes. As you walk, look out for land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions and the endemic incense tree. After the walk, go snorkelling and encounter a great variety of fish – perhaps white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions. Next it’s off to Bartolome (approximately 2.5 hours; 18 miles), one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes in the Galapagos, full of parasitic spatter cones, lava flows, Galapagos penguins and lava lizards. Bartolome is a relatively new island in the archipelago. Put on your walking shoes and climb over 360 wooden steps to the summit, where an amazing view of Pinnacle Rock awaits. This is one of the photographed sights in the Galapagos: an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, near two back-to-back golden bays. Hike to the top of a once-active volcano and enjoy superb views across to Bahia Sullivan on nearby Isla Santiago. If you’re in luck, you might catch a glimpse of the Galapagos hawk. There’s also the opportunity to go snorkelling among the colourful tropical marine life.

icon check Day 3 : Isla Santiago

Head to Puerto Egas (approximately 4.5 hours, 35 nautical miles), a black-sand beach on the west side of James Bay, northwest of Isla Santiago . It’s home to some amazing volcanic tuff formations. Take a stroll along the beach where marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals are known to frolic. You can see the amazing tidal pools, formed from ancient lava flow, providing a home for sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. Snorkelling in the midst of seals always offers the possibility of thrilling encounters. After Puerto Egas, sail to Espumilla Beach (approximately 45 minutes; 5 miles), located on the northern coast of Santiago Island. Experience the texture of its unique soft sand on your feet. The waters are tranquil, yet can also form large waves, making it a favourite among beach lovers. The vegetation is a vivid green. Not only is this island a nesting site for marine turtles, it’s also a place to see ghost crabs, blue-footed boobies (often plunging for fish) and brown pelicans. There’s also the chance to see Galapagos hawks up close. It is also well known for its palo santo forest and some extraordinary lava formations. Next you will visit Buccaneer Cove (approximately 15 minutes; 2 nautical miles) and witness its spectacular geology of volcanic ash (tuff). Here you might find the remains of objects used by pirates in centuries past. This is where Darwin camped for nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are favourable, you can enjoy some more snorkelling.

icon check Day 4 : Isla Isabela - Isla Fernandina

Visit Tagus Cove, where pirates and whalers used to collect tortoises for their travels. Enjoy a short visit here (approximately 2 hours), perhaps snorkelling or checking out the ancient graffiti on the walls (the oldest of which is from 1836). Witness flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies and a variety of waterfowl and penguins (the most northerly penguins in the world). You will walk to a lookout point for a stunning panorama of the north of Isabela Island and the Wolf volcano. This morning you will also visit nearby Isla Fernandina, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. It’s also volcanically active and the most westerly island, making it one of the least visited. The third largest in size, it erupted most recently in 2018. The absence of introduced mammals gives it a unique landscape, and it boasts the highest concentration of marine iguanas on the archipelago. The northeast tip, Punta Espinosa, is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano. You will take a walk around the beautiful peninsula, which boasts such wildlife and plant life as lava cacti, marine iguanas, barking sea lions, tiny penguins and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep a lookout for that marvellous Galapagos predator hunting from the treetops – the Galapagos hawk. Top-notch snorkelling opportunities await in the clear waters, and turtles and sea lions can be seen swimming around and feeding on the shore. This is a great spot to see flightless cormorants drying their atrophied wings amid the volcanic landscape. Estimated travel time/distance: Buccaneer's Cove to Espinosa: 45 mins (6 nautical miles) Espinosa to Elizabeth Bay: 4.5 hours (37 nautical miles)

icon check Day 5 : Isla Isabela

Today you will land at the archipelago's largest island – Isabela. The island is located in one of the youngest geological areas in the world, having formed less than a million years ago. Here you will take a Panga ride along Elizabeth Bay, which is located on the west coast of Isabela Island and does not permit landings. Keep your binoculars and camera at the ready to photograph the second-smallest penguins in the world. You might also spot blue-footed boobies perched on the islets or diving for their next meal. Then you’ll head for the mangrove forest, which is quite unique in the Galapagos, to see sea turtles, sea lions, penguins, lava herons, rays and plenty of colourful fish – pompanos, dorados and mullets. Your destination is Punta Moreno (approximately 2.5 hours; 18 nautical miles) on the south west coast. You’ll spend the afternoon here. This coastline has some of the most beautiful blue lagoons and rocky terrain in the Galapagos, with a backdrop of three active volcanoes, myriad flamingos and incredible lava formations. Landing is impossible here too, due to the delicate ecosystem. Go for an amazing walk on top of the black lava field with the majestic view of Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul in the background. Depending on the season, you can see brown pelicans nesting on top of the mangroves, lava and candelabra cactus, plus lava lizards. You’ll pass brackish water lagoons, covered with several different plants, where pink flamingos, ducks and black neck stills rest. Then jump aboard once again and head out for a snorkel and look out for the elusive sea horse. An overnight sail takes us to Puerto Villamil (8 hours, 64 nautical miles).

icon check Day 6 : Isla Isabela

This morning, visit Las Tintoreras, a little peninsula at the entrance of Isabela Island’s Port. Here there’s a viewing walkway from where you can look down into the narrow channel to see a colony of white-tipped reef sharks swimming and sleeping – and the occasional sea lion among them. Blue-footed boobies, penguins, marine iguanas and crabs also make their home here. Enjoy a nice long walk on a gravel path, heading through lava flows and spotting plenty of marine iguanas. The natives of the islands call white sharks ‘tintoreras’, hence the name of this spectacular site. This is where everything comes together for one big marine and wildlife party. Without trying you will see sea lions, penguins and frigate birds. After breakfast you will take a bus up to Sierra Negra Volcano where you will see the crater and explore the area. This volcano last erupted in 2018. In the afternoon you will visit the Interpretation Center and Humedales, the wetlands of Isabela. You’ll reach them via a complex trail which winds around for some six kilometres. Upon arrival you’ll find an intriguing spread of flora and fauna (including flamingos) and some spectacular scenery. Tonight, sail to Cerro Dragon (5 hours 45 minutes, 45 nautical miles).

icon check Day 7 : Isla Santa Cruz

Wake up this morning on Santa Cruz's north coast and visit Cerro Dragon aka Dragon Hill. From the dry landing, walk to a brackish lagoon that’s frequented by birds such as stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas and is constantly monitored by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation makes for some fine birdwatching. Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, Galapagos flycatchers and yellow warblers are all regulars here. The path can be challenging, but the reward is a spectacular view of the bay. In the afternoon you will visit Punta Carrion in north-eastern Santa Cruz. First sail to the Baltra dock (approximately 2.5 hours; 18 nautical miles), then to Punta Carrion (approximately 1 hour; 6 nautical miles). This is a shallow and protected cove, ideal for snorkelling and swimming. Wildlife is plentiful here – keep your eyes peeled for blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons and great blue herons. Go swimming among the rays and white-tipped reef sharks. Afterwards, sail from Punta Carrion to Puerto Ayora (approximately 4 hours; 30 nautical miles).

icon check Day 8 : Isla Santa Cruz

This morning you will visit the Santa Cruz Highlands. Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where you can see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, dome-shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world-famous woodpecker and warbler finches. You might also glimpse a vermillion flycatcher. Then it’s time to bid farewell to your fellow travellers as your trip comes to an end after this activity. You will be taken to the airport directly after this activity. If you plan to extend your stay after your cruise in Puerto Ayora you will need to make your own way back to town (your guide can assist with this). Estimated travel times/distances: Bus from Santa Cruz Highlands to the Itabaca Channel: 45 minutes Public ferry across the channel: 5 minutes Public airport bus from the dock to Baltra airport: 15 minutes

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

7 Breakfasts, 7 Dinners
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Transport

Boat, Bus, Zodiac (Panga)
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Accommodation

Overnight boat (7 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Baltra Airport, Galapagos

Isla Baltra

ECUADOR

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Baltra Airport, Galapagos

Isla Baltra

ECUADOR

icon readmoreicon minusPhysical preparation

Galapagos Voyage

We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you. This applies to the included activities and moving around the boat. You will also need to enter and exit a zodiac during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling - please note crew members will be on hand to assist you.

The cabins and communal areas of the Daphne are spread over 3 decks. The steps between the decks are steep however, there are hand railings to hold on to.

Snorkelling

There are many opportunities to go snorkelling on our voyages. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this activity. Depending on the weather conditions and park regulations, you could be snorkelling twice a day. If you take part in the snorkelling, you will not miss out on any land activities. For those not wanting to snorkel, there will be time to relax on the boat.

Altitude

Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity.

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA ISLANDS PORT FEES:

Before checking in for the flight from Quito or Guayaquil,to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid so you will need to make sure you are at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park. If your voyage visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$10 fee to be paid on arrival at the island.

CHECK IN TIME FOR FLIGHTS TO/FROM THE GALAPAGOS:

You will need to allow a 2 hour check in time for flights to/from the Galapagos.

PASSPORT DETAILS:

When booking, please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:

Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform us or your agent of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.

MINIMUM AGE:

The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.

SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS:

Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.

DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:

We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to our internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

ALTERNATIVE TRIP:

If you wish to have flights included to and from the Galapagos Islands, please refer to our Ultimate Galapagos trip - GMDD.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

Our local representative will meet you in the evening of day 1 of the trip and conduct the group briefing. They will then also transfer with you to the airport on day 2 for your flight to the Galapagos. On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met your Guide. Our Guides are registered and trained in conservation and natural sciences by the Charles Darwin Foundation and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service. The Guide will be on board with you for the duration of the trip and will accompany you on all excursions. Our boats are also staffed by highly experienced shipboard staff and crew.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

Petty theft & Personal Safety :

While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

Water Safety:

Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

Life Jackets:

Intrepid will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.

Diving in the Galapagos:

We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

icon readmoreicon minusCommunications

Electricity in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is 110 - 120V and requires US plugs so you may need to take an adapter.

Wi-Fi is not available on the boat at all whilst in the Galapagos Islands. There is limited access on the bigger islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela and there may also be internet cafes for you to use if there is time.

Like Wi-Fi, mobile phone coverage is pretty non-existent whilst travelling around the islands. Again, you may find that you have limited service when you are closer to the bigger islands.

There is a radio on board, for the use of shipboard staff, in case of emergency.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Canadians and British do not currently require a visa for Ecuador. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.

Visa requirements for Galapagos Islands are the same as Ecuador.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

If there’s one ultimate Galapagos adventure, this is it. Combining off-the-beaten-track gems with iconic sights like the Pinnacle Rock, this trip is a microcosm of the Galapagos

This unique, stand-alone sailing adventure shares its itinerary with no other Intrepid trip. Enjoy minimal contact with other travellers and boats

Explore the remote west coast of Isabela on a small Panga boat, and venture to the far-west Fernandina, home of the highest density of marine iguanas

Beach-lovers will be in heaven. The turtle-dotted Las Bachas is about as idyllic as they come, and the richly coloured sands of Espumilla on your feet feel like nothing else

Volcanically active, steeped in myth and flanked by gorgeous cliffs, the old pirate haunt of Buccaneer Cove has something for everyone, from birdwatchers to geology enthusiasts to history buffs

Las Tintoreras is like one big wildlife party. Snorkel among the iguanas and turtles and effortlessly spot sea lions, penguins and frigate birds

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

Although we don't ask travellers to complete a Physical Participation Form for this trip, we do ask that you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is right for you. You’ll need to feel comfortable with the included activities and with moving about the boat. The cabins and communal areas of the boat are spread over four decks, and the steps between the decks are steep.

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

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

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

Please note that while there is an itinerary in place, some changes may occur due to the weather or because of direction from the local authorities. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for potential modifications to the route or activities. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fun, relaxing trip through this beautiful part of the world no matter what happens.

If you are visiting Quito please note the city is located approximately 2850 metres above sea level so you may experience some altitude sickness.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

The Galapagos Islands are located about 1000kms off the coast of Ecuador mainland and many of these islands are uninhabited by humans. The populated islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal have medical facilities however they are limited in what procedures they can perform and have limited medical supplies. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, please ensure you have travel insurance to cover this. Travel insurance should also cover the cost of repatriation or if any additional supplies are needed to be flown in from the mainland.

We know that many travellers have travelled to other parts of South America before the Galapagos and during this time have contracted a stomach bug. If you are feeling unwell at the time of the briefing or at anytime on the voyage, please let our representative or guide know. Travelling on a boat means that everyone is sharing the same common areas which means that if one passenger is feeling unwell, this can be spread to your fellow travellers. We want to maximise your time on the boat and for you to enjoy the experience and the best way to do that is to ensure that everyone is healthy.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS

Please note a very small number of travellers do feel the affects of altitude sickness when they arrive in Quito. Please refer to https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/altitude-sickness

SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS

Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.

YELLOW FEVER

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

SUNSCREEN

It's important to always apply sunscreen in Ecuador and particularly when visiting the Galapagos. Beware, the sun is stronger than usual!

CPAP Machines:

If you are travelling with a CPAP machine there should be uninterupted power throughout the night however we suggest you travel with a fully charged back up battery just in case. If you are travelling by yourself, we highly recommend that you book a single supplement to limit disruption to other passengers.

The sockets on board the Daphne are the two pronged plugs used in the US, Canada and Japan. There is a choice of voltage on board, 220-240 for Australian, New Zealand, UK & Europe, and 110 for US, Canada & Japan. 

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

All meals are included onboard the Daphne, this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Tea, coffee and cold water is available at any time during the day [or night].

Most meals are served buffet style. Here is an example of the typical meals served

Breakfast

Toast, spreads, muesli, eggs with fresh fruit and fruit juices

Lunch

A mix of hot and cold dishes plus salads or vegetables and fruit salad and juice

Dinner

Fresh seafood, chicken or pork, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads and dessert.

If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies please notify us at the time of booking so we can determine the extent to which your dietary requirements can be met. We will endeavour to accommodate all requests but please note that we have limited refrigeration and storage space on board the Galapagos boats and there is very limited (if any) access to shops or supermarkets.

Vegans, coeliacs or those with specific meal requirements might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars. Please note that the Galapagos does have strict quarantine laws when it comes to bringing in goods from the mainland.

The airline we use to and from the Galapagos Islands is unable to provide gluten free snacks. If you require a gluten free diet, we recommend you carry your own snacks for these flights.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).

Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.

ATM's are available in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal however there are no ATM's in Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela.

Credit cards are accepted in some shops and stores in Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo and Puerto Villamil.

For boat trips only:

On board the Galapagos voyage, alcoholic [beer and wine] and soft drinks are available to purchase in cash and if you wish to tip the crew this will also be paid in cash.

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some  travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than others, others prefer to visit more optional sites. Remember that alcoholic beverages are expensive compared to other foods locally. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities.

We recommend you carry at least US$100 to allow for additional meals and snacks. There is a bar on board where the settlement of the bill is by US$ cash only. The Daphne doesn't have credit card facilitites.

Please make additional allowance for bar expenses, however you will find the drinks to be moderately priced.

All prices are quoted in US$.

Cocktails: $6 - $8

Wine*: $30 - $40

Spirits: $6 - $10

Beers: $3 - $5

Softdrink: $1.50 - $3

*Red, white and sparkling wines are available by the bottle only.

It is not possible to take your own alcohol onboard the Daphne.

Please refer to the tipping section for additional information with regards to recommended amounts for tipping.

During stops in Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela Islands, you will have the opportunity to visit souvenir shops and internet cafes.

NATIONAL PARK AND TRANSIT CARD FEES:

Before you check-in for your flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands you will need to purchase a US$20 transit card [which you will need to hold on to as you will need to present it on your return from the Galapagos].

On arrival in the islands you will purchase the Galapagos National Park entry fee, US$100.

If your voyage visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$10 fee to be paid on arrival at the island.

Please make sure you  have clean, unmarked notes to pay these fees.

WETSUIT HIRE:

Wetsuit hire is not included on the Daphne and can be organised on the boat at an additional cost. Depending on the length of time you spend on the boat, the cost will be as per below:

17 day trip (GMDE): US$75

10 day trip (GMDD/GMDA): US$40

8 day trip (GMDP) US$40

7 day trip (GMDC): US$25

6 day trip (GMDB): US$20

TIPPING

If you are happy with the services received, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate.  While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations.

Boat Crew:

If you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip would be very much appreciated by them. As a guideline we recommend each passenger consider US$12-14 per day for the crew (there are 7 crew members) and US$8-10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.

Restaurants:

Please check the bill and if there's an addition of 10% service charge, there's no requirement for tipping.  Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropiate.

Markets & local shops:

At local markets, shops & basic restaurants, leave loose change.

Hotel porters/local drivers:

We suggest US$1 - US$2

Please use the amounts listed above as a guide. Tipping is entirely a personal preference; of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.

Transfers on the Galapagos Islands unless arriving and departing on the start and end day of the tour.

Any additional accommodation and meals on the islands.

Passport and visa expenses.

Government arrival and departure taxes.

Galapagos National Park fee and Galapagos transit card.

Isabela island port fee (if applicable).

Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.

Excess baggage charges.

Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.

Telecommunications charges.

The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.

Wetsuit Hire.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Although each cabin on the Daphne has cupboard and space to store your bags, space is at a premium so we suggest that you take a back pack or soft sided duffle or sports bag with you. These bags should be easily stored in your cabins. Larger, fixed, sided suitcases are usually too large to store in the cupboard space. Below is a suggested packing list. The weather in the Galapagos is quite temperate all year round. In most cases you will be in water snorkelling or swimming for a portion of the day with the other time taken up with an island visit/walk or time to relax on the boat as you travel between islands. Daypack [a smaller back pack that you can take with you on island excursions] Comfortable clothing for warmer temperatures [shorts, t-shirts, light long sleeved tops and pants] A fleece or warmer jumper for the evenings or early mornings A light rain coat or poncho Comfortable shoes [trainers or walking shoes are sufficient for most trips]* Sandals or thongs/flip flops/jandals Sunscreen [bio degradable and waterproof if available] and lip balm [to combat the effects of wind burn] Sunglasses Sunhat [that can be secured as it can get windy out on the water] Swimming costume Water bottle [filtered water is available on board the boat] Bio-degradable conditioner and cleanser [please do not bring facial or body cleanser with microbeads] - shampoo and soap are provided on board Dry bag Pegs [so you can hang your swimming costume or towel out to dry] Insect repellent [for island visits] US adaptor/electrical plug For keen birdwatchers, Binoculars Camera [underwater if you have one] Earplugs Please ensure you travel with all required medicines, pain killers and toiletries that you may need while in the Galapagos. If you are prone to motion sickness, you might want to pack some preventative medication. You are travelling to quite a remote destination and even though there are a number of settlements throughout the islands there are times we it could take a day to reach these towns and even then they may not stock your required medication. Please ensure you also bring your passport with you as it is an entry requirement for the Galapagos to present your passport on arrival in Galapagos and returning to the mainland [photocopies of your passport are not permitted]. *a number of trips include a volcano walk and some travellers may feel more comfortable in hiking shoes or boots.

SNORKELLING ON THE DAPHNE There are many opportunities for snorkelling during your Galapagos voyage. Diving masks, snorkels and fins are provided onboard the vessel and are for use by all passengers. Wetsuits are available for hire at an additional cost. Some passengers choose to bring their own equipment, however this is a personal choice. Beach towels are also provided. An underwater disposable camera is also recommended.

AIRLINE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE: The airline that we use for our Galapagos trips, has a checked in baggage allowance of 23kg per person and a cabin baggage allowance of 10kg.

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

Being located on the equator, Ecuador is a year round destination. In Quito temperatures do not fluctuate that much throughout the year with average temperatures around 19°C to 24°C during the day with lows of 9-10°C in the evening. There are two 'seasons', the wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October through to May. The surprisingly thing with Quito is its altitude and proximity to the equator means that the sun has a little more kick to it so it can feel like it's warmer than it actually is. Even on cooler days, if the sun comes out make sure you use sunscreen.

The Galapagos weather is pretty reasonable all year round, so it is never freezing cold but it can get very hot [February-May being the hottest months]. The seasons are not exactly fixed and weather conditions are changeable around the ends of the seasons. Note that the "wet" season is still drier than many places in the world.

Daily temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C with overnight temperatures dropping to around 10°C. Up in the highlands [which you will cross on your way from Baltra to Puerto Ayora] it is cooler and the garúa mist hangs about as a kind of permanent dampness, and sometimes descends to the coast as well.

The waters surrounding the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Water temperatures sit around 20°C to 24°C from January through to May and drop to 18°C to 20°C from June through to October. Although you may be required to wear a wetsuit at this time of year the same currents that bring the cooler water temperatures also bring nutrients which means wildlife are very active at this time of year.

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands aimed at protecting and preserving its unique biodiversity. Intrepid strongly agrees and supports these rules which range from times of the day that a destination can be visited to the distance kept between people and wildlife – all these rules will be explained in more detailed by your crew on the ground. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can result on Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception.

For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of missed transfers, a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

+593 9 94014877

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

The Daphne features en suite cabins all with air conditioning and a safety box. The airconditioning is a centrally controlled system for the lower deck cabins and the upper deck cabins have individually controlled systems. The upper deck cabins have large windows and the lower deck cabins have portholes. Due to the lower deck cabins being close to the water, the portholes cannot be opened. There are 4 lower deck twin bunk cabins, 2 upper deck twin bunk cabins, 1 upper deck double cabin (couples only) and 1 upper deck twin cabin.

The length of the berths are:

Lower deck bunk 198cm

Upper deck bunk 200cm

Upper deck twin/double 200cm

Please note that single passengers cannot be booked/confirmed in the double cabin unless a single supplement is paid.

** There is a proposal to make all travellers show proof of an accommodation booking if they are doing independent travel or staying on the islands pre-their Galapagos cruise. This proposal will take effect in July.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

The Ecuadorian government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers entering Ecuador. Proof of insurance may be requested at upon entering the country by immigration officials.

icon readmoreicon minusYour fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and if you are willing to share a twin cabin there will be no compulsory single supplement [this also applies to the first and last night in the hotel in Quito]. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in either Lower Deck Twin Bunk cabins or Upper Deck Twin cabins. The Double cabin is set aside for couples or friends/family who are willing to share a bed.

If you are a single traveller and wish to have a room to yourself a single supplement is available for this trip.

Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

The maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without notice due inclement weather or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control. Any changes to the itinerary will be undertaken with your safety and comfort in mind.

There may be some early starts to the day for the scheduled activities to be conducted as per the itinerary due to specific visiting hours for some sites.

All travel distances/times and durations for the activities listed in the trip notes are a guide only and are subject to change.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Overnight boat (7 nights)

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