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Take a Bow - Central Islands

Introduction

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Geckos.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


Your Trip

Nuts and Bolts

The services of an expert English-speaking naturalist guide and a crew of eight onboard the Galapagos vessel.

Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.

Accomodation on board the Nemo III

All Zodiac and shore excursions during the voyage.

All meals aboard the Nemo III.

Use of snorkelling equipment including a wetsuit during the voyage

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Meals

Not Included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, entrance fees, US$10 Galapagos transit card, US$100 Galapagos National Park fee, other meals, drinks, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.


Preparing to Travel

Visas and Permits

Ecuador

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.

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Visa requirements for Galapagos Islands are the same as Ecuador.

Government travel advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
U.S. Department of State New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Medical preparation

We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended

Vaccinations

Yellow Fever: This vaccine should be administered at least 10 days prior to travel and must be recorded in an official certificate book. You may be asked to produce this certificate by immigration and health officials both whilst travelling overseas and upon your return to your home country so you must carry this booklet with you at all times.

Other vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up to date information.

Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return.

For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

Copies of key documents

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you in case of additional visas, permits or other unforeseen paperwork.

Fitness

Galapagos Voyage

No particular level of physical fitness is required for our Galapagos voyages, although you should be reasonably agile and enjoying good health. Please keep in mind that there are a number of shore excursions on your cruise. This involves boarding a small dingy or zodiac from the rear transom of the cruise boat. Disembarkation at some locations will be at steps or a small pier, whilst at other locations you may be required to disembark on the beach. This can involve having to wade ashore a short distance through shallow water. A degree of agility will be required for this. Once you are on shore you will undertake several walks, some across volcanic rock. For this a reasonable level of fitness is beneficial, as is a pair of good walking shoes or boots.

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.

What to take

General Packing List

Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A soft-sided duffel or sausage bag is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option, but preferably one without a frame.

When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Keep in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.

Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

- Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Peregrine travel itinerary and this document
- Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
- Spare passport photos
- Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
- Money belt and small padlocks
- Small first-aid kit.
- Daypack
- Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
- Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
- Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes/ tissues
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
- Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
- Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
- 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain) and dry bags
- Refillable water bottle
- Phrase book
- Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates
- Wind and waterproof rain jacket
- Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
- Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
- Binoculars
- Swimwear

 

Special Items required for this trip

- There are many opportunities for snorkelling during the voyage. Diving masks, snorkels, fins and some wetsuits are provided onboard the vessel and are for use by all passengers. Some passengers choose to bring their own, however this is a personal choice. Beach towels are also provided.

- Underwater disposable camera

- During our time in the Galapagos we are usually sailing and anchoring in sheltered waters. However, it is possible we may encounter some movement in open waters - if you are prone to motion sickness, and you might wish to bring some preventative medication.

 

Duffle Bag

As storage space is limited on the Nemo III, on day 1 of your trip you will be offered to borrow a duffle bag for you to consider using instead of your main luggage. The rest of your gear can be stored at your starting point hotel. The duffle bag will then be returned when you collect your luggage at the end of your trip.
The duffle bags have a capacity of 50 litres (measure 73x30.26 cm) and can carry between 12 and 15 kilos.

Medical Kit

It is a good idea to take a small medical kit with you, and you should consider packing the following items:

Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.

It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.

Diarrhoea Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24 - 48 hour 'bug') and this may cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple of sachets of rehydrants with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium.

Sunstroke It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates. You should take sensible precautions such as wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen. Finally, drink plenty of fluids - preferably water.

Water In general, water is not safe to drink in the areas through which we travel. Bottled Water is widely available and most travellers prefer to drink this. Your guide can assist you in regards to the relative safety of tap water and the availability of bottled water on each tour. When walking, or in hot conditions, you must make a conscious effort to maintain your hydration, drinking as much water/tea as possible to offset fluid loss.


Money Matters

Currency

Ecuador

Ecuador uses the US dollar (US$). US$1 = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of US$100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of US$1 and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Ecuador uses the US dollar as the national currency. The US dollar is therefore the only valid currency on the islands.

Exchange rates

Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Ecuador

The US Dollar is the official currency of Ecuador. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and at exchange houses (casas de cambio), the latter being generally the best option. The rate of commission varies between 1 per cent and 4 per cent, so it is worth shopping around. ATMs are available in large urban areas.

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

US dollars cash is the easiest option for purchases on the islands. In Galapagos there is only one bank and you can only get cash with MasterCard. There are no official money exchange businesses in the Galapagos. MasterCard is widely accepted in Galapagos and Ecuador, however there is a 10% service charge on all credit card payments.

Personal Expenses

South America & Central America

You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals/drinks not included in your tour cost. You will also need to budget for bottled drinking water plus such things as tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing, optional activities and excursions, and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that can happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement is made later by the insurance company. This is a situation where a credit card can be useful.

Entrance

You must pay US$110 entrance fee to Galapagos Islands National Park upon arrival at Baltra or San Cristobal Airport in the Galapagos (this includes the $10 transit card fee). This has be paid in US dollar cash (credit cards are not accepted). If your trip visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$5 park fee to be paid upon arrival in some sites.

Spending Money

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 Nemo III does not have credit card facilities.

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

Airport Taxes

Ecuador

There are no international departure taxes to be paid at Quito airport.

Tipping

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 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.


While you are travelling

On arrival

If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival. You should use an official taxi, identified by a sticker on the windshield and number painted on the side. Agree to your price before you set off, and ensure the taxi meter has been turned on. Expect to pay between US$27-US$35.

If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer, please ensure that we have been advised of your correct flight details into Quito airport by either yourself or your travel agent. A transfer guide (or our local representative PEAK Adventure Travel) will be there to meet you after you clear customs and transfer you to your hotel. Please look for your transfer guide at the airport immediately after exiting the customs area - they will be holding a sign with your surname on it and/or our company logo. If you are unable to find them, please call our local operator for assistance: 

Office Hours: 02 2560419 or after hours: 09 94014877

In the evening you will meet our local representative and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. Please check the noticeboard at reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting which is normally held at 6 pm.

Hotel Check In / Check Out

Generally, your room will be available from around midday. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until your room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's pre-tour accommodation that will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.

Local Prices

Ecuador

Costs in Ecuador are quite low by Western standards – among the lowest in South America. Tourists do pay more for certain services as there is a two-tier pricing system, a cost for the locals and a cost for the foreigners. This is not applied in all places, mainly just higher range services. 1 litre of water US$1 30cl bottle of soft drink US$0.70 30cl bottle of beer US$1.20 50cl bottle of beer US$1.70 Budget meal US$1-US$3 Mid-range meal US$3-US$10


Other Important Information

Please note

This trip is operated by our sister company, Intrepid Travel

Gecko's Community Trust & The Galapagos Conservancy
If, after having visited this unique and precious region of the world, you would like to make a donation towards the protection of the Galapagos, the recently launched Gecko's Community Trust is the easiest and most convenient way to do so.

The Trust supports the Galapagos Conservancy, an organisation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Galapagos conservation. It is a membership-based organisation and the largest source of private support for conservation efforts. The 11,000 Friends of Galapagos are individuals and institutions who care deeply about the Galapagos Islands, and understand the scientific importance of preserving this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

Funds raised by the Galapagos Conservancy support the core operations of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS), both located on the island of Santa Cruz.

Please see below for details on how to make a contribution to the Gecko's Community Trust or refer to the Pledge Card provided at your pre-cruise briefing which contains details for making a donation.

Meals & Dietary requirements

All meals are included whilst on the Nemo III. There is a chef on board who cooks up local and international cuisine daily, including a buffet breakfast.

Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Peregrine 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.

Partner organisations on the ground

Peregrine works with partner organisations in each country we visit. This ensures we provide employment opportunities within local communities, including our experienced local leaders. We minimise the negative impacts of travel and maximise the benefits to the regions we travel, through working with our ethical services providers.

In case of emergency

For any assistance prior to travel, please contact your travel agent. For assistance whilst you are travelling, please contact the local numbers listed below, as your call will be received in the same time zone by an English speaking representative. PEAK Adventure Travel Ecuador: When calling from outside Ecuador: +593 94014877 When calling from inside Ecuador: 094014877 Alternatively, if you have already joined your tour, please direct your enquiries to your local tour leader.


Day to Day Itinerary

Take a Bow - Central Islands

Trip Length

Trip Code

6 days GSOFB

Maximum Passengers

16 people

Countries Visited

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Start City

End City

Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Take a Bow - Central Islands

This short journey is the perfect introduction to the amazing and varied wildlife that call the Galapagos Islands home. Starting our journey at the Santa Cruz Highlands, we get to meet the granddaddy of the Galapagos – the giant tortoise. From sea lions, fur seals, boobies and frigatebirds, it is astounding how close our encounters will be with the animals. We also witness the awesome work of nature on a visit to the spectacular volcanic terrain of Bartolome.

Day 1: Quito

Quito was the first city in the world to receive the World Heritage Site status from UNESCO, back in 1978. Nice work, Quito! Give it a high-five as you wander around today before the trip kicks off.

Attend a welcome meeting in the evening, check with the hotel reception for details

Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level and at this altitude you may possibly experience some effects from the high altitude, we suggest that you avoid any strenuous activity on this day

Wander through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and explore the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco, see The Baroque art and architecture when visiting the churches, monasteries and public buildings

Perhpas head for one of the many viewpoints over the city, El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes, the 30-metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city

La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain also offers great views

Day 2: Morning flight to Baltra, Visit Santa Cruz Highlands

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

It's only a short flight to Baltra, then you get to climb aboard your floating home and settle in. Before you get too comfy on that sun lounger, we're going to take you on a quick trip to the Santa Cruz Highlands.

Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to the Galapagos Islands (you may depart as early as 4am)

A US$10 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival - have cash on hand for these transactions to save time
You'll be met and transferred to the boat (the Nemo III) when you arrive

You'll be assigned cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over lunch

Head to the highlands of Santa Cruz for a total change of scenery

Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests, where you'll see 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 as well as vermillion flycatcher

Day 3: South Plaza and Santa Fé

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

You want wildlife, you got it. Potential sightings today include marine and land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, frigatebirds and blue-footed and masked boobies. Not a bad way to start the trip.

Visit Plaza Sur or South Plaza, a small but pretty island

Go for a trail walk past sea lions and one of the largest populations of land iguanas

Spot ropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls as well as gathering of male sea lions called ‘the gentlemen’s club’ from the southern cliffs

Go to Santa Fe, see more sea lions and possibly swim with them

Perhaps see see the Galapagos hawk, land Iguanas, a variety of finches and the Galapagos mockingbird, sea lions, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards

This is a great spot for snorkelling

Go for a walk along a trail along the coast and into Opuntia Forest - see a forest of giant cactu and palo santo trees

Enjoy free time on the beach to snorkel and watch sea lion pups

Day 4: Isla Bartolomé and Sombrero Chino

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Walk off last night's dinner on the Summit Trail, which takes you to the top of Bartolome. The views are awesome, and then we'll reward you with a swim and snorkel at the beach on Sombrero Chino.

Head to Bartolome Island, enjoy the volcanic landscape, see Galapagos penguins and lava lizards

Climb 360 wooden steps to the summit of the island (you'll need walking shoes) - enjoy views of Pinnacle Rock

Hike to the top of a once active volcano with views of Sullivan Bay, on nearby Santiago Island, look out for the Galapagos hawk here

Go snorkelling, see tropical fish, sea stars and hopefully penguins, white tipped reef sharks and rays

Approach Sombrero Chino via a sandy beach with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs

Explore the islands volcanic origin

Follow a trail through sea lion colonies, and past marine iguanas

Snorkel here and hoepfully see penguins and sharks

Day 5: Isla Mosquera – Baltra – Fly Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Some say that Sally Lightfoot crabs were named after a Caribbean dancer, referring to the fact they jump and climb. Even if it's not true, we think it's cute and are choosing to believe it. See plenty of them today before flying back to Quito. 

Sail to Isla Mosquera, a popular place for sea lions and marine birds

See Sally Lightfoot crabs and brown pelicans

Go snorkelling

This is your final excursion, head to the airport for your flight back to Quito

Upon arrival at Quito airport you'll be transferred back to the hotel

Day 6: Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

fter breakfast, it's time to head home. The Galapagos is sure to leave a lasting impression, like when you sleep on a creased pillow and wake up with red marks all over your face, but nicer.

The adventure ends today after breakfast - there are no activities planned for today

About this pre-departure information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Give us your feedback

Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Geckos. At the end of your trip we ask that you to take a few minutes of your time to complete our on-line feedback form. Just go to http://www.geckosadventures.com/trip-feedback for our easy to fill out questionnaire. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Last Updated

16 July 2014


General Contact Details

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