They are part of Ecuador and lie 1000 kilometres off its coast. Our trip starts and ends in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, which you can fly to through Houston or Miami. From Quito our group takes a domestic flight to Baltra, in the Galapagos, where we meet our yacht.
We believe everyone should go there, at least once! The creatures that live on the Galapagos Islands and in the waters around them have no fear of humans, so the wildlife encounters are unparalleled. Coming face to face with a waved albatross as it calmly sits on its nest, watching close-up the hilarious courtship rituals of blue footed bobbies, seeing tiny Galapagos penguins zip past you while you are snorkeling and having juvenile sea lions playfully twirl around you– these are unforgettable experiences. And they only scratch the surface of the amazing things that happen and the unique species you observe on this magical trip.
Only 6% of the National Park is open to visitors – a great way to ensure that the wildlife on the islands is properly protected. So you will often see other boats in most of our anchorages. But the National Park goes to great efforts to avoid too many people on one site at any one time, for the sake of the visitors but most of all for the sake of the islands’ fauna and flora. Also, our Naturalist Guide is highly skilled at deciding when our groups should go ashore, avoiding busy times so that you have the best experience possible.
We spend a total of three nights in the beautiful Old Quarter of Quito, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the second day of the trip we have a fascinating walking tour of this area. We stay in a lovely, historic hotel, eat great food and soak in the atmosphere of this fabulous city!
You do not have to be very fit, but a level of agility is important. In the Galapagos Islands we have two on-shore visits a day. Each of these involves getting in and out of Zodiacs – always with the strong arms of our crew members to assist you. On land, each excursion involves about two hours of walking. The pace is slow, as we constantly stop to observe and discuss wildlife, but we are sometimes moving over very uneven ground, such as lava flows and boulders. We also go snorkeling at least once a day for about 45 minutes, and usually get in and out of the water from the Zodiac, with the help of a ladder and our crew.
Please also note that Quito is 9000 feet above sea level, so it’s important to pace yourself in terms of physical activity. If you have a heart or lung condition please check with your physician to make sure you can handle the elevation.
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is required on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
North Americans do not need a visa however you will need a passport that is valid up to 6 months after your trip in Ecuador ends.
You should make sure that your routine vaccinations (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) are up to date. From the time of writing it is advisable to be inoculated against hepatitis A and typhoid. If you are planning a trip to the Amazon, you should have a shot for yellow fever and take malarial medication. Please note that these are guidelines, and it is advisable to check with your physician or local travel clinics.
There is no malaria in Quito or the Galapagos, and few bugs to worry about. In the Galapagos it’s worth having some anti-bug spray along for when you are on the beaches (sand flies) or hiking in areas with long grass.
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation and meals, bottled water in Quito and bottled water and soft drinks on the Galapagos cruise.
International flights, domestic flights from Quito to the Galapagos, National Park fees (US $ 100) soft and alcoholic drinks in Quito, alcoholic drinks in the Galapagos, personal insurance and gratuities.
There are ATMS in Quito airport and close to our hotel. During the Galapagos cruise we will spend an afternoon in the town of Puerto Ayora, where there are ATMS.
When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
One of the beauties of our mothership trips is that they offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of activities. In the Galapagos, if one of you wants to take a break, you can skip an excursion, relax on the boat and enjoy wildlife viewing from the deck. During our Quito tour you will always be in walking distance or a very short taxi ride from our hotel.
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new-found friends.
Of course. Just ask and we will put you in touch with one of our regular Hidden Places guests.