As of July 15th, 2020, it is not recommended to travel to Ecuador for touristic reasons.
Airlines are allowed to fly to Galapagos again, but have a very limited flight schedule and flights are still being cancelled at the last minute.
Tourists flying to Ecuador will be asked for a negative COVID tests done max 96h before and again when flying to Galapagos islands (if you have just one night layover, this will be ok). Tourists will be given a "salvoconducto" paper that will avoid them the 8 days isolation at arrival in Galapagos, currently mandatory for its inhabitants.
In Ecuador the virus is unfortunately active, check for your local government to see when it is advisable to travel again to Ecuador.
It is important you check with your airline, and travel insurance if you are covered in case you are denied to board a plane to the Galapagos islands or to take part to an excursion because of high temperature (temperatures will be checked all tour long at different points)
As you see it is not easy now to travel to Ecuador & Galapagos islands, we recommend you plan your trip for at least September now, do feel free to plan your trip with us now for later, we won't charge any deposit at the moment until the situation clarifies.
Travel information about Ecuador
AIRPORTS: There are 2 international airports inEcuador: Guayaquil (biggest town of the country,in the coast) (code: GYE) and Quito (capital, in the Andes region) (code UIO)
CURRENCY: Official currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar. You can find ATM’s easily in towns, and no access to ATMs in remote places like jungle or rural areas. Always carry a bit of cash to pay restaurants and buy souvenirs as you cannot always pay with a credit card and fees are charged sometimes when you use it. We recommend you take cash at the ATM’s and then use cash on a day to day basis.
VACCINES AND MEDICAL ADVICE: To travel to Ecuador, you have to be up to date with all your vaccines. In addition it is recommended but not mandatory to get the vaacines against Heptatitis A and Typhoid. Please check your local goverment travel advise page before travelling, such as the CDC for US travellers. Food or water poisoning can happen though : do not brush you teeth with tap water, do not drink tap water unless you have a waterbottle equipped with a special filter. Always listen to the guides or our staff recommendations of restaurants, they know the places that have good hygiene protocols. Wash your hand regularly, avoid street food except of recommended spots by our staff or guide. If you get food poisonning, hydrate a lot and contact our staff that can bring you to the hospital or doctor. Bring all your prescribed medication with you as you cannot find the same medication sometimes in Ecuador. Bring also the usual traveler medication from back home such as cream to relieve mosquito bites (can happen even though in Galapagos there is not an excessive amount of mosquitoes), diarrhea (in case of light food poisoning), cream against sun burnt, medictation against headaches etc.
CLIMATE: You can travel to Ecuador all year long. In the Andes mountain region, the summer is from June to September, it is then dryer than the rest of the year. October to May you can have very sunny days, then rain in the afternoon, and again sun (we often say you have the 4 seasons in one day!). Temperatures all year round vary between 8-10 º C (46 FH approx) and in the day 20/22 ºC (71 FH) In the Amazon region you have a warm and tropical climate all year round, with some months dryer than the others but mainly same climate all year round. It rains almost once a day in the jungle ! Average temperature is 25 ºC (77 FH). In the Pacific coast you can have strong rains from end of December to end of May usually (usually a strong tropical rain that does not last long, and then the rest of the day is hot and very sunny). From June to early December the sky is cloudier and you can some days have a light rain called « garua » and it is less hot generally. Average temperatures are 21ºC in the night and 29ºC (84 FH) in the day.
TIPS: Tips are a good reward if you feel your guide/chauffeur. went out of his way to make your trip memorable! A usual/reasonable tip is around 5$ - 10$ per day for the guide and 5$ per day for the chauffeur if there is one. In the restaurants or for the hotels staff, check with your guide as in some hotels and restaurant category (first class usually) tips are included already.
TRAVEL INFORMATION ABOUT THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
AIRPORTS: You have 2 airports that have flights from mainland in Galapagos: San Cristobal (code SCY) and Baltra (code GPS). Many of our tours begin in one island and end in another, please check with our sales agent before buying your flights to make sure you are buying the right tickets. Currently 2 airlines only fly to Galapagos: LATAM (code XL) and Avianca (code AV). We can help you book the flights if you wish. The flights to the Galapagos islands ONLY depart from Quito or Guayaquil.
CURRENCY: Like in mainland Ecuador, on the Galapagos island the US Dollar is the official currency. You have ATM’s in the main ports San Cristobal and Santa Cruz, and just one on Isabela – we recommend you to take money for extra drinks or non included meals though more and more restaurants offer credit card payments on San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. On Isabela very few restaurants accept credit cards, and there is only 1 ATM that does not work all the time so we recommend you take cash from San Cristobal or Santa Cruz before you arrive on Isabela. There is no souvenir shop there really so the cash will be for drinks and non included meals mainly.
VACCINES AND MEDICAL ADVICE: If you travel only to the Galapagos islands (with just one overnight in the mainland to connect your flight) you do not really need special vaccines, just be up to date with usual vaccines. Food or water poisoning can happen though : do not brush you teeth with tap water, do not drink tap water unless you have a waterbottle equipped with a special filter. Always listen to the guides or our staff recommendations of restaurants, they know the places that have good hygiene protocols. Wash your hand regularly, avoid street food except of recommended spots by our staff or guide. If you get food poisonning, hydrate a lot and contact our staff that can bring you to the hospital or doctor. Bring all your prescribed medication with you as you cannot find the same medication sometimes in Ecuador. Bring also the usual traveler medication from back home such as cream to relieve mosquito bites (can happen even though in Galapagos there is not an excessive amount of mosquitoes), diarrhea (in case of light food poisoning), cream against sun burnt, medictation against headaches etc.
CLIMATE: You can visit the Galapagos islands all year round. December to May Average Temperatures: 80ºF to 90ºF (27ºC to 32ºC) Water temperature 70ºF to 80ºF (21ºC to 26ºC) June to November Average Temperatures: 70ºF to 80ºF (21ºC to 27ºC) Watertemperature 65ºF to 75ºF (18ºC to 24ºC). There are two seasons: The Garua season goes from mid-June to mid-October (more or less): the cold current of Humboldt enters the island so the water is colder (around 17 degrees Celsius, wetsuit is needed), cloudy days and a small drizzle. This actually makes the climate fresher - so don’t expect all sunny days, a cooler weather for the hiking, no need of A/C or fan during the night and almost no mosquitoes. The colder water brings more plankton and more wildlife; this is the best time of the year to spot whales during the boat transports. The Warm season is from November to Mid-May: days can be really hot (more than 30 degrees) and the water is warm due to Panama current entering in the islands marine reserve. No need for a wetsuit, sunny days- this is the perfect season, if you need to warm up from the winter back home! Due to the tropical rains in this season, all the islands are greener. In between these two seasons would be the transition time where you can have a bit of both seasons!
ITINERARY: The program and activities can be changed without prior notice if the National park closes a site for research or maintenance or if meteorological conditions require it.
FEES: TCT CARD: The migration card of 20$ - subject to change, is a card that you have to buy in Quito or Guayaquil from where you will begin your journey to the islands. The counter of the “Consejo de Gobierno Galapagos” is easy to find at each airport. They will check your luggage to see if you don’t bring any forbidden food to the islands: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and of course animals. They will give you a tourist card that you have to return at the end of your trip. If you book the tour with us we will do the online registration for you. NATIONAL PARK GALAPAGOS ENTRANCE FEE: Once arrived on the islands you will have to immediately pay the National Park fee of 100$ (or 50$ if less than 12 years old) (subject to change without prior notice of the local authorities. The fees has to be paid CASH. There is an ATM in Quito or Guayaquil airport, but there is NO ATM at any of the 2 airports in Galapagos, be sure to bring cash with you!
TIPS:Tips are a good reward if you feel your guide/crew went out of his way to make your trip memorable! Same as in the mainland: A usual/reasonable tip is around 5$ - 10$ per day for the guide and 5$ per day for the boat crew. In the restaurants or for the hotels staff, check with your guide as in some hotels and restaurant category (first class usually) tips are included already.
SPECIES: You can never see all species of the Galapagos unless you do a 15 day-tour, visiting all the possible islands: some animals just live on specific islands and sometimes just in one part of an island. SPECIES YOU CAN SEE ON OUR TOURS: sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, swallow tailed gulls, tropic birds, marine iguanas, sharks, dolphins, rays, penguins, giant tortoises, turtles, darwin finches, mockingbirds, lava lizards, If your tour includes Española from late April to late December. (January – February and March they are not on the islands for sure): Albatrosses. If you tour includes Seymour or Plazas or Santa Fe: land iguanas. If your tour includes Punta Pitt: red footed boobies. SPECIES YOU CANNOT SEE ON OUR TOURS : flightless cormorants (only on cruises or on a special and long charter boat excursion on Isabela, worth only if you are REALLY fond of these birds 😉 , pink iguanas (nobody can see them they are in a totally restricted area of the National Park)