Picture it: the Galápagos, viewed from the deck of the comfortable Monserrat as she cuts through blue waters bound for another island paradise loaded with natural splendour. But it’s not just a “look but can’t touch” situation – on this trip, you’ll get up-close and personal with aquatic wildlife like sea lions and turtles, hike over volcanic lava flows to check out the landscapes of Bartolomé, and relax on the stunning white-sand beaches of Santiago. Get out onto the high seas and start making better memories. Best of all, you’ll get expert guidance in photography and adventuring from our Wanderer-in-Residence Gary Arndt, founder of Everything Everywhere, and travel photographer of the year for both the Society of American Travel Writers and the North American Travel Journalists Association.
7 nts in the Galápagos Islands aboard the Monserrat. Arrival transfer on Day 1. Flights to and from the Galápagos Islands. 2 Certified Galápagos National Park Service guides. All landings, excursions, and transportation. Snorkelling equipment. Visit to a wildlife interpretation centre. Learn travel photography tips from host Gary Arndt. City tour in Quito.
Seven nights cruising the Galápagos National Park aboard the Monserrat, hike over the dramatic volcanic flows to a viewpoint on Bartolomé, snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles, hike the Sierra Negra Volcano – the largest basaltic caldera in the Galápagos, choose to search for sea turtles or simply relax on the white-sand beaches of Santiago. Expert guidance in photography and adventuring from our Wanderer-in-Residence Gary Arndt.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, 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 Trip Details document 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. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. G Adventures requires your passport number, full name and date of birth at the time of booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.
2. Once you have confirmed your booking please give us your international flight details and advise us if you have any important issues such as allergies, special diets, etc.
3. The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galapagos 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 Galapagos, 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.
4. The Consejo de Gobierno (local government council) have 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 Galapagos. Please retain this card along with your passport as you will be required to present this upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands. Please note that this applies to all tourists entering the Galapagos 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 Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to preserve the fragile environment of the archipelago.
5. Please note that the rooming on our Galapagos yachts is done on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we are not able to guarantee the specific cabin you will receive on board. The cabins are comfortable and clean, all with private bathrooms. Due to the specific location of the cabins on board, the window sizes vary as well as the noise at times when the boat is navigating, given the proximity of the cabin to the engine room. Our friendly and competent crew will ensure the smooth and comfortable journey for the duration of your tour.
6. We recommend this tour for people with a keen interest in photography. Gary Arndt will be doing ad-hoc workshops on photography throughout the trip and providing insight into the world of travel blogging. The pace of the tour will also be focused on spending more time getting “the perfect shot”, lighting and composition. See checklist for specific recommended photography gear.
7. Please note that this trip is a combination of multiple G Adventures tours. As such, the staff may change between tour segments. You may also expect some group members to join or leave the tour, between tour segments. There may be a few hours between segments of the trip, where you will get to stretch your legs on land, and explore independently while your crew prepares the vessel for any passengers who will be joining the tour.
8. All travellers are required to pay the tax on domestic flights in Ecuador. Foreign travellers are exempt form this, and proving you are indeed a foreign traveller can be done by providing us with your international ticket number (ITN). Travellers who do not submit international ticket numbers at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.
Group Leader Description
Your G Adventures group trip is met in Quito by a G Adventures representative. The aim of the representative is to give you the
required information for the rest of your journey and to assist with changing money, restaurant and excursion suggestions and general information about the city. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds. For your shipboard voyage we have a highly experienced shipboard staff and crew, including 2 Galapagos CEO’s who are local naturalist guide’s certified by the Galapagos National Park.
Group Size Notes
Max 20, avg 14.
10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Local flight, Monserrat motorized yacht, van, Zodiac.
All local flights to and from the Galapagos are included in the cost of your tour. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
Flights to either of the airports in the Galapagos leave early in the morning on Day 3 and get you into the islands in the early afternoon. Flights back to the mainland depart between 10:00am and 1:30pm arriving in the early evening.
Please note that all flights to and from the Galapagos make a 1 hour refuelling stop in Guayaquil.
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE FOR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS TO/FROM THE GALAPAGOS:
Maximum one piece of luggage per person weighing a maximum of 23 kilograms (50 pounds), plus one carry-on piece weighing a maximum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds).
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotel (3 nts), aboard the Monserrat in twin-share or double cabins (7 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
An arrival transfer is included with all Comfort-level tours when you arrive on Day 1, or when you arrive up to three days prior to the tour, provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through G Adventures in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned other then the welcome meeting which takes place in the late afternoon/early evening. You may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
A representative will be waiting at the airport to meet you holding a G Adventures sign with your name, directly in front of the arrivals section. There are often many people holding signs so we recommend to take some time to locate the rep 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.
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 back 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.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm 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 our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential. If you don’t wish to take all of your luggage with you to Galapagos, please ensure you have an extra bag you can leave behind at hotel storage and pickup on your return.
Please note that Galapagos 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.
Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. Please remember that you can leave unnecessary articles in your joining hotel storage room. .
Please do not bring any alcoholic beverages aboard, as your boat has a bar offering a variety of alcoholic drinks and prices are reasonable.
LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE ON THE BOAT: Please note that the amount of luggage you can bring on the boat is LIMITED due to small cabin size. We recommend travellers use soft sided duffel bags of 40-50 litres in capacity. We will accept luggage types onboard, however if you are a single traveller sharing with another traveller, it´s especially important to keep in mind that cabins are small in size and it´s best to pack light. Luggage storage facilities are available at the start hotel for anything you don´t need while you are exploring the Galapagos.
Please note that the electric outlets on this boat are 110v and will have 2 flat prongs. If necessary, please bring an adaptor with you for your electric devices, ie, battery chargers.
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- G Adventures vouchers and trip details
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Cash, credit and debit cards
- Cash in USD
Gary Arndt suggests these items:
- DSLR camera
- Memory cards with high capacity
- Extra camera battery
- Laptop for photo editing assistance and tips (This is a personal call on how comfortable you feel bringing this with you. You will be responsible for its safety.)
- May consider buying or renting a zoom lens with stabilizers for the wildlife shoots, and for shooting smaller animals
- Tripod or monopod
Please Note – no flash photography is allowed when shooting wildlife.
- Small towel and swimwear
- Reading/writing material
- Small Daypack for landings – for water, camera etc
- Cover for backpacks
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Insect Repellent
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Laundry facilities are available at the start and end hotel at a charge. Full laundry facilities are not available onboard our yachts in the Galapagos. If you do want to do your own laundry we we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Due to the remoteness of the Galapagos islands, onboard our vessels, there is no credit card machines therefore only cash is accepted. It is important that you withdraw enough cash for the duration of your trip, once in the islands, ATM machines are extremely limited and unreliable. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
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. At the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO or and crew did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. There will be two envelopes left in your cabin at the end of the tour, one for the CEO and one for crew members. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline a per traveller tip of 5-10 USD, per day for your CEO and 12-17 USD per day for the crew can be used.
- Teleférico (8USD per person)
- Quito City Tour and Equator (50-60USD per person)
- Cotopaxi Volcano – Full Day Trip (70-100USD per person)
- Mindo Cloud Forest – Full Day Trip (70-100USD per person)
- Otavalo Market – Full Day Trip (70-100USD per person)
Trip Specific Safety
Please take care when wandering about the city on your own, as pick pockets and purse-snatchers are common, particularly in the Old Town. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, traveller’s cheques 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!
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy 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. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that you’ll receive a special discount code for free online prints and we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Please visit http://www.gadventures.com/evaluations
Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/ Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
2 Galápagos National Park Service guides while in the islands. Local G Adventures representative in Quito.
PRODUCT_LINE: SEV10NCP, ID: 23478
Day 1: Quito
Arrival transfer is included in the tour.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2: Quito (1B)
Enjoy a day in historic Quito. Take a city tour to seek out photo opportunities, this tour of Quito is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, and historical architecture of Quito. Learn about colonial art, culture, legends, and traditions.
Quito City Tour
Day 3: Quito/Puerto Ayora (1B, 1L, 1D)
Upon arrival, meet the naturalist guide, who will assist with the transfer to the Monserrat moored in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island.
Flights from Quito to Baltra depart between 6:40am and 9:40am depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into the Galápagos between 9:30am and 12:30pm with a short refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will generally arrive onto the boat in time for lunch on Day 2 before your afternoon activity.
The National Park charges a visitor fee of USD100, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the 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.
Highlands Giant Tortoises Visit
Early transfer to the airport to catch the flight to the Galapagos.
Private Vehicle (0.50-1.00 hours)
Plane (2.00 hour(s))
Day 4: Sullivan Bay/Bartolomé Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island to see giant lava formations contrasting the white-coral sand beach. Continue to Bartolomé for a guided tour to see the dramatic volcanic features before hiking to a panoramic viewpoint.
Sullivan Bay Visit
Snorkelling (Sullivan Bay)
Bartolomé Island Visit
Snorkelling (Bartolomé Island)
Day 5: Bachas Beach/Cerro Dragón (1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit Bachas Beach in the morning, located on the northeastern tip of Santa Cruz Island. A great beach to stroll on with crystalline waters perfect for swimming, Bachas Beach also gives visitors the opportunity to see frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions.
In the afternoon, visit Cerro Dragón, on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. See land iguanas as well as a saltwater lagoon frequented by flamingos and various species of birds.
Bachas Beach Visit
Snorkelling (Bachas Beach)
Cerro Dragón Visit
Day 6: Black Turtle Cove/Mosquera Islet (1B, 1L, 1D)
Take a morning panga ride and look for marine life in Black Turtle Cove before navigating back to Baltra for lunch. In the afternoon, sail to Mosquera and walk along the beach and observe the vast sea lion colonies.
Black Turtle Cove Excursion
Mosquera Island Excursion
Passage from Black Turtle Cove to Baltra
Passage from Baltra to Mosquera
Passage from Mosquera to Puero Villamil
Day 7: Isabela Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
In the morning, visit Las Tintoreras, a small island in front of Puerto Villamil. Its bay is known to be home to a colony of whitetip sharks. Check out the tortoise breeding centre to see some of the famous giant tortoises of the Galápagos.
Las Tintoreras Visit
Sierra Negra Volcano Hike
Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre Visit
Day 8: Chinese Hat/Rábida Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
In the morning, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see Galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island’s volcano.
Chinese Hat Visit
Snorkelling (Chinese Hat)
Rábida Island Visit
Snorkelling (Isla Rábida)
Day 9: Puerto Egas/Santiago Island (1B, 1L, 1D)
Morning excursion to Playa Espumilla, one of the most idyllic beaches in the Galápagos Islands, which has thick mangroves and flamingo and sea turtle nesting sites. Continue to Puerto Egas to see the salt crater as well as a dark sand beach and tidal pools.
Santiago Island has seen its share of human activity from whalers and pirates over the years, and despite the introduction of goats to the island many years ago, the wildlife of Santiago has otherwise flourished and provides outstanding viewing opportunities. The island boasts marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, among others. Enjoy great wildlife viewing both on land and in the water.
Please be sure you are a comfortable swimmer. The “crown” provides protection from the open sea, but the water here can be rough and the currents strong.
Puerto Egas Visit
Snorkelling (Puerto Egas)
Playa Espumilla Visit
Buccaneer Cove Visit
Day 10: North Seymour/Quito (1B)
Visit North Seymour, just north of Baltra, home to sea lions, marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, magnificent frigatebirds, and blue-footed boobies.
Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for a flight to Quito. Flights from Baltra to Quito depart between 10:00am and 1:00pm depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into Quito between 2:30pm and 5:30pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will arrive back at the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner.
North Seymour Island Visit
Plane (2.00 hour(s))
Day 11: Quito (1B)
Depart at any time.