Galapagos Islands Pre-trip
Frequently Asked Questions
the best time to book my
Galapagos vacation? How will I find a Galapagos hotel? What should I
bring for my Galapagos island tours? These are common questions because
the Galapagos is such a unique destination, and travelers have many
inquiries about scheduling a vacation here.
We’ve assembled a list of the most frequently asked questions about our
island tours and listed them below. We’ve included most of the
information you’ll need to get started planning your Galapagos vacation.
From questions about the weather to making travel arrangements, we’ve
been helping people have extraordinary experiences in the Galapagos
archipelago for more than 30 years and we can’t wait to help you get
here as well!
more about how much your trip will cost and how to arrange a
for your stay. If you don’t see the answers you’re looking for, please
contact us today. In the last three decades, we’ve seen just about
everything so we can help you with any specific questions you may have.
Q: Where are the Galapagos Islands?
A: The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) is a Province of
Ecuador located 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast.
They lie directly on the equator.
Q: What is the climate like?
A: As the Galapagos Islands lie directly on the equator, you can expect it to
be warm for most of the year. The hottest season is generally from
January to April with average temperatures ranging from a low of 70 to a
high of 84 F (22 - 31 C). It is during this period that you may expect
afternoon thundershowers. During a severe El Nino, you can expect rain
or thundershowers at any time. From April to December is considered the
"cool" (and dry) season with average temperatures ranging from a low of
68 to a high of 82 F (19 27 C). During this time of year you may
encounter "garua" (misty rain) early in the morning and in the highlands
of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
Q: When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos
A: Anytime is a good time! During the "hot" season with
it's frequent afternoon rain showers the islands are generally much
greener and the land birds most active. It is also during this period
that the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling.
During the "cool" season the land birds and sea mammals are
most active. This is the best time for observing courtship displays in
the sea birds. No matter what time of year you visit the islands, you
will always find the wildlife activity to be absolutely amazing!
Q: How do we get there?
A: From North America there are daily flights via Miami and Houston
to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Q: Can you arrange our air to Ecuador?
A: We do not arrange any international air from North to South
America. We recommend that you check for these flights directly with
Continental or American airlines.
Q: How do we get to the Galapagos Islands from Quito and Guayaquil?
A: Flights to Galapagos depart daily from both Quito and Guayaquil.
We will arrange the Galapagos flight for you. The owners of the boats in
Galapagos block book spaces on these flights to ensure our passengers are on the
flight to meet the boat. You will fly to Galapagos in the morning of
first day of the cruise and return to the mainland in the afternoon of
the last day of the cruise.
Q: May we fly to Galapagos from Quito and just back to Guayaquil
(or vice versa)?
A: Yes, we would be able to arrange that for you.
Q: Are all your prices in US dollars?
A: All of our rates are quoted in US dollars.
Q: When do we have to pay?
A: A 20% deposit is required at the time you decide to confirm your
reservation and the balance is due 60 days before departure (with a few
Q: What form of payment do you accept?
A: We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Payment may also
be made by electronic bank transfer (wire).
Q: How often do the sailing yachts sail?
A: The sailing yachts will sail when there is enough wind to do so,
but will usually travel under power (with or without sails). Please bear
in mind that from January to March is the doldrums on the equator and
there is usually not enough wind to set the sails. In any case, all of
the sailing yachts will travel under power most of the time and cruise
as fast as most of the motor yachts.
Q: What is included in the rates for the yachts and ships?
A: The rates for
the ship or yacht includes accommodation aboard the ship or yacht, all
meals, island sightseeing, all guide and lecture services, transfers in
the islands and between the airport and yacht in Galapagos. Itineraries
are subject to change without notice (for safety, environmental or any
Q: What is not included in the rate for the yachts and ships?
flights, Galapagos Entrance Fee (includes the municipal tax, currently
$100 US per person payable in cash to the national park authorities in
Galapagos), tourist transit card ($10 US), tips (it is customary to tip
the guide, chef and crew) soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and any
other extras not specifically mentioned. There is also a $41 US per
person departure tax from Quito and $28 US per person from Guayaquil on
all international flights. All prices are subject to change without
Q: Can you make hotel and other tour reservations for us in
A: Yes! We are able to assist you with hotels and tours throughout
Ecuador and into Peru and Bolivia. We can also help you to plan an
efficient itinerary that will make the most of the time you have
available and at a price you can afford.
Q: Can we purchase trip cancellation and travel insurance for this?
A: We offer trip cancellation, travel and medical insurance through
Travel Guard International.
Q: How do we receive our vouchers and tickets for the Galapagos?
A: We will e-mail (and/or fax or mail if requested) a travel
voucher and receipt that is valid for the ship or yacht and for the
Galapagos. The ticket for the Galapagos flight is held by the ship or
yacht owners and will be issued to you by our associates once you are in
Q: What level of Naturalist Guide will be aboard the boat and do
they speak English?
A: All of the boats we use employ highly experienced and qualified
level II and III naturalist guides who are fluent in English (and often
other languages as well).
Q: How much should we tip the guide and crew?
A: We recommend that you consider tipping 1) the guides, and 2) the rest of the crew. As a general rule-of-thumb, we
recommend between $10 - $15 US from each passenger to each group per
day. If you have received very good and exceptional service, please be
Q: Will there be time for snorkeling?
A: There is plenty of time for snorkeling for those who are
interested. Snorkeling gear is provided aboard most of the boats. For
personal hygiene, we recommend that you bring your own gear.
Q: Is there a rental charge for snorkeling equipment?
A: Some boats offer the equipment at no charge and some charge a
nominal rental fee of up to $25 US for 8 days.
Q: Is a wetsuit necessary for snorkeling?
A: No, a wetsuit is not necessary, but we suggest that you bring a
2mm "shorty" to help keep you warm in cold water.
Q: Will we have to exchange any money before we travel to Ecuador
or once in the country?
A: Not if you have US dollars. Ecuador has adopted the US dollar as
its official currency.
Q: What should we bring?
A: A "What to Bring" list is located online at http://www.discovergalapagos.com/bring.html
Q: What shouldn't we bring to Galapagos?
A: A list of items NOT ALLOWED to be brought to the islands is
http://www.discovergalapagos.com/sicgal_products_list january 20091.pdf