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Galapagos

This ten-day adventure is perfect for those who want to experience the incredible wildlife and scenery of the Galapagos Islands but prefer to sleep on shore—so your time on the water is limited to commuting between islands. Go ashore on the islands of San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz as you spend your days with playful sea lions, giant manta rays and the Galapagos giant tortoise. This adventure offers a great balance of guided excursions and free time—and optional activities abound.


Itinerary

July 2 : Quito

Arrive at any time. Group meeting scheduled somewhere between 5-7 PM.

July 3 : San Cristóbal Island (B,L,D)

Fly to San Cristóbal. Included downhill biking excursion and visit to Mann Beach and to see the sea lions and frigate birds.

July 4 : San Cristóbal Island (B,L)

Snorkeling trip to Kicker Rock to search for marine life like sea turtles, manta rays and sharks. Visit the Interpretation Center in the afternoon to learn about the natural history of the area.

July 5 : Floreana (B,L,D)

Travel by boat to Floreana Island with opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Free afternoon in Puerto Velasco Ibarra.

July 6 : Floreana Island/Isabela Island (B,L)

Morning excursion to the highlands of Floreana. Continue by boat to Isabela Island for a visit to the Wall of Tears and a nearby lookout point.

July 7 : Isabela Island (B,L,D)

Full-day tour to Sierra Negra Volcano to see the second-largest crater in the world. Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on the way back to town. Optional surf lessons on the nearby beach.

July 8 : Isabela Island/Santa Cruz (B,L)

Excursion to 'Las Tintoreras', otherwise known as 'Shark Alley' to observe white tip reef sharks and a variety of bird life. Travel by boat in the afternoon to Santa Cruz Island and free evening for exploring the town of Puerto Ayora or shopping.

July 9 : Santa Cruz (B,L,D)

Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to see the Galapagos Giant Tortoise's natural habitat and the lava tunnels. Afternoon walk to Tortuga Bay for kayak excursion to explore the mangroves.

July 10 : Santa Cruz / Quito (B)

Visit Charles Darwin Research station before transferring across Santa Cruz Island to Baltra. Fly back to Quito.

July 11 : Quito (B)

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 2 : Quito

Arrive in Quito at any time. There are no planned activities, so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. When you arrive at the hotel please look around reception for a note from G Adventures which will inform you of the time and place for your group meeting, which usually takes place in the lobby of the hotel around 5-7 PM. At this meeting you will be asked to fill out paperwork and show proof of travel medical insurance. Make sure you have your travel medical insurance information, passport and some US cash (About $10) to pay for local taxes.

If you are not able to attend the welcome meeting, our representative will leave all important information at your hotel’s reception indicating what time to be ready on Day 2 of your trip. If there is any confusion on arrival, please do not hesitate to call the contact number listed on your voucher.

Please note, you can store souvenirs that you purchased in Quito at the hotel while you are on the Islands. The maximum weight allowable on the flight to the Galapagos is 46 pounds, which is lighter than the standard for international flights, so make sure your bags are light enough.

Now some information about Quito!

Located 2850m (9348 ft) above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate, despite the fact that it is only 22 km (14 miles) south of the Equator. Nestled in a valley flanked by mountains, on a clear day several snow-capped volcanoes, including nearby Pichincha, are visible from the city center. Add to its beautiful location a rich history and well-preserved colonial district, and you begin to understand Quito’s appeal to thousands of tourists every year.

In 1978 UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage site, and any new development in Quito's old town is now strictly controlled. Life in Quito tends to be peaceful, though the drivers are fond of using their car horns! There are approximately 2,000,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, but the pace is relaxed and the residents hospitable.

Since pre-Columbian times, the site of Quito has been inhabited by the Quitus, the Shyris and the Puruhas. The Inca reached this city before the Spaniards, but levelled it to the ground rather than give it up to the Spanish. The present capital was founded by the Spanish on December 6th, 1534. Quito is separated into two basic sections, the old and the new cities. The old city is full of historical buildings and churches. One of the more noteworthy is the Catedral de Quito, located on the Plaza de la Independencia. Built between 1550 and 1562, it was one of the first neoclassical works in Quito. La Compañía de Jésus Church is considered one of the most beautiful in the Americas. The decorations in the Compañía contain approximately one and one-half tons of gold, and construction of the church took 170 years (1605-1775).

There are several excellent museums scattered throughout the city. The Casa de la Cultura Ecuadoriana has an interesting display of traditional musical instruments and Ecuadorian traditional dress, a large art collection, and a small natural history museum. For archaeology the best museum to visit is the Museo del Banco Central with its well displayed pottery, gold ornaments, skulls showing deformities and early surgical methods, a mummy and many other objects of interest. The small, rounded hill dominating the old town is El Panecillo or 'the Little Bread Loaf,' a major Quito landmark. From here there are marvellous panoramic views of the entire city and surrounding volcanoes. You can easily take a trolley (streetcar) or a cab between the Old Town and New Town.

Quito’s large foreign population and steady stream of travelers have given it a varied and vibrant nightlife, and salsotecas and other dance clubs abound. For a real Ecuadorian experience though, be sure and drop by a peña if you can; these are great places for meeting locals and dancing, as well as enjoying local cooking.

Just a couple of hours south of Quito is Parque National Cotopaxi, home to Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 m/19342 ft). the beautiful cone-shaped, snow covered volcano is Ecuador’s second highest peak and the highest active volcano in the world. This is a great spot for a days hiking (up to the refuge on the glacier’s edge) or mountain biking (downhill all the way). True enthusiasts attempt the climb to the summit (overnight excursion). Allow yourself an extra day or two in Quito, before or after your trip, if you want to conquer Cotopaxi.

Please note: Quito is at a high altitude and can be chilly in the evenings. Make sure you check the weather and have appropriate clothing. Also, you may have a headache and and nausea when you arrive. That is probably just mild altitude sickness. The best thing to do is take it easy and try not to be too active. See a doctor in the rare circumstance that your symptoms are severe.

Warning: 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, traveler’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!

July 3 : San Cristóbal Island (B,L,D)

Please note: The Galapagos National park service dictates the itinerary to G Adventures and GEEO, therefor the details of this itinerary could change a bit when you arrive. The content will be pretty much the same, but the order of the activities can change.

The trip begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight to San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos. Meet our friendly staff and check-in to the hotel. San Cristóbal is the easternmost island of Galapagos and one of the oldest. The principal town is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos.

The Galapagos Islands are located about 1000 km (620 miles) off the Pacific coast of South America. The archipelago is comprised of 13 major islands and scores of islets that served as a living laboratory for Charles Darwin, the renowned evolution theorist.

Long before Darwin arrived in the Galapagos, seafarers knew these isolated islands as home to some of the strangest and most wonderful wildlife imaginable, including birds that could swim but no longer fly, aquatic iguanas, dragon-like lizards left over from prehistoric times, and the giant Galapagos tortoises for which the islands were named.

Covering nearly 5000 square km (3100 square miles), the Galapagos Islands are now a National Park. The Galapagos National Park is the institution that controls the preservation of this environment, assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. Inaugurated in 1964 and based in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is the one place where visitors can easily see the famous Galapagos Tortoises, which may live up to two hundred years.

After lunch we make our way by bus and foot up the Island of San Cristóbal through the settlements of El Progresso and La Soledad. One we've arrived at the top, enjoy the stunning panoramic view looking out over the Pacific Ocean towards the islands of Santa Cruz, Floreana and Santa Fé. An exhilarating, somewhat rigorous, mostly downhill bike ride takes us back down through the lush landscape of the San Cristóbal, passing through the village of El Progresso once again and arriving into the township of Puerto Barequizo Moreno. Either go for a short walk on the beach or visit the Interpretation Center and learn more about the history of Galapagos, sometimes referred to as “The Enchanted Islands”. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on Mann Beach or swimming with playful sea lions as the Frigate birds glide on the thermals. In the evening we have a welcome dinner, sampling some of the island's fresh fish and produce.

Please note: It is important to carry water with you for the afternoon activities.

Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours (By flight)

July 4 : San Cristóbal Island (B,L)

The day begins with picking up wet suits and gear, then a short boat ride to Kicker Rock, an island also known as "Leon Dormido", which resembles a sleeping lion. It is formed from the remains of an underwater volcano rising 150 metres out of the sea, a truly impressive sight! Enjoy another opportunity to snorkel while you keep an eye out below for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark, just to name a few.

It is quite striking and if conditions are right we may be able to sail through a narrow channel which splits Kicker Rock in half. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe the abundant marine life that Galapagos is renowned for. Back onboard the boat, we sail to the main town and visit interpretation center in the afternoon.

July 5 : Floreana (B,L,D)

This morning we depart San Cristóbal Island and make our way to Floreana Island. Keep an eye out for dolphins and the magnificent albatross along the way. (You may want to take motion sickness medication on these inter-island boat rides as they can be a challenge for all.)

The history of Floreana Island (also called Charles) has gradually evolved to reach near mythic proportions. The story begins when a baroness and her two lovers, a German doctor and his mistress, and a German couple and their young son all came to settle on this land. Their dalliances and disasters, shrouded in mystery, were chronicled in John Treherne’s book The Galapagos Affair. Descendants of the German family, the Wittmers, still live on the island in the small community of Puerto Velasco Ibarra. Mrs. Margaret Wittmer has also written a booked entitled "Floreana" and this can be purchased at the airport in Baltra or at a local bookstore.

Experience some of the best snorkeling in the islands at Enderby Islet and Champions Bay. Please make sure you are a comfortable swimmer, the water here can be rough and the currents strong.

After some great snorkeling, we make our way to the isolated town of Puerto Velasco Ibarra to our hotel located right on the black sand beach. Take a walk around the museum. We may also visit the highlands of the island. For dinner, enjoy the abundance of fresh seafood available!

Approximate Distance: 74km
Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours (By speed boat) Please note: Seas can be rough during this voyage please bring sea sickness medication if you require.

July 6 : Floreana Island/Isabela Island (B,L)

After a tranquil night, we make our way up to the seldom-visited highlands of Floreana. Hear the tales about the pirates, whalers, seal hunters and buccaneers who once lived in this isolated and unique landscape. After lunch we bid farewell to the mysterious Floreana and set off to Isabela Island where we check-in to our hotel.

Shaped like a seahorse, Isabela is the largest island in the Galápagos archipelago, stretching over 100 kms long and extremely narrow. It is also a very active island, with six volcanoes found on Isabella - Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf. All of these volcanoes except Ecuador are still active, and two of them are over 1,700 meters high - Wolf and Cerro Azul.

Explore your new surroundings with a short walk nearby to observe pink flamingos in the wetlands, and catch a stunning Isabela sunset on the beach. Afterwards we make our way to the Wall of Tears (Roughly a 5 mile walk) built by convicts many years ago. Along the way we stop at a lookout point, visit natural pools, walking trails, beaches and mangrove swamps.

Approximate Distance: 37km
Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours (By speed boat) Please note: Seas can be rough during this voyage please bring sea sickness medication if you require.

July 7 : Isabela Island (B,L,D)

A full day tour on Isabela Island takes us up the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos boasting the second largest crater in the world. Keep in mind this trail is mostly uphill and can be muddy at times so a hiking stick is useful. You will want to wear clothing that can get muddy and if you brought mud boots this would be a good time use them depending on the conditions. A rain poncho would also be useful depending on the conditions.

This evening we can relax at the bar or on the beach and enjoy a nice cold beer or cocktail.

Approximate Distance: 55km
Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours 30 minutes (Hike and Bus)

July 8 : Isabela Island/Santa Cruz (B,L)

Today we visit “Tintoreras“ Shark Alley to observe the white tip reef sharks found swimming in the channels between the rocks. Get a close-up view of pelicans, frigate birds and diving blue footed boobies. Watch for manta rays and rare Galapagos penguins, of which only 800 pairs exist. We then set off for Santa Cruz Island and dock at the town of Puerto Ayora. After a late hotel check-in, you are free to explore this bustling little town and sample some of the local restaurants and bars, or maybe do some souvenir shopping in one of the many shops.

Approximate Distance: 46km
Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours (By speed boat) Please note: Seas can be rough during this voyage please bring sea sickness medication if you require.

July 9 : Santa Cruz (B,L,D)

Today we visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to observe the Galapagos Giant Tortoise in its natural surroundings. This area is also famous for amazing lava tunnels, some which are over 1km long! From this elevation the panoramic views of other islands is stunning. Some will find the hiking on this day to be quite rigorous. Later in the day we head to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful beach with fine white sand, to visit marine iguanas do some kayaking, or to soak up some sun.

July 10 : Santa Cruz / Quito (B)

Before bidding farewell to the Enchanted Islands, we pay a visit to Lonesome George at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Inaugurated in 1964 and based in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is the one place where visitors can easily see the famous Galapagos Tortoises, which may live up to two hundred years. This is also the training center for naturalist guides who accompany all visitors landing at more than 40 approved sites on the islands, and members of the international scientific community often come to study at the station. This is a great opportunity to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, brought back form the brink of extinction.

After a bus ride over the island of Santa Cruz, there is a short boat ride to Baltra Island then another bus ride to the airport for our return flight to Quito. These transfers can be somewhat chaotic, and it is important to follow the guide’s instructions. Upon arrival in Quito, transfer to the hotel for one last night on the town. Our representative in Quito will be able to advise you and help with some of the many day tours available in and around Quito.

Approximate Distance: 970km
Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours (By flight)

July 11 : Quito (B)

Depart Quito at any time.

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Peruvian Andes or Belize and Tikal programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Trip Notes

Please note:
1) The itinerary is subject to further changes dependent upon new regulations made by the Galapagos National Park or seasonal points of interest. The Galapagos National park service dictates the itinerary to G Adventures and GEEO, therefor the details of this itinerary could change a bit when you arrive. The content will be pretty much the same, but the order of the activities can change.

2) GEEO and G Adventures require your passport number, full name and date of birth at the time of booking.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) The Galapagos National Park authorities have implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $10 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.

6) There will be a municipal tax of $5 USD per person charged locally upon departure from Isabela Island.

7) Many of the optional excursions on this trip require participants to be in good shape, capable of hiking 5 hours without difficulty. You are of course welcome to skip these optional excursions if you do not feel up for it. We do not recommend this trip for people who cannot handle daily somewhat strenuous physical tasks like getting in and out of boats and taking short hikes. Those who choose to snorkel must be cautious that they can handle the water conditions as some parts of the Galapagos have strong currents.

8) The water is unpredictable (sometimes choppy , sometimes not), so definitely bring motion sickness pills for the boat rides between islands.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

3:

May include moderate hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and other activities that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

Our Galapagos trip is led by a local naturalist guide (certified by the Galapagos National Park).

Packing List

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a large multi-day backpack, plus a small daypack, like a messenger bag or purse. There are lots of different backpacks out there, but in general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 50 to 80 cubic liters. For an example click here. (Please email jesse@geeo.org if that link does not work)

You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs. Luggage space on public transport is limited so again, smaller is better.

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. That said, a participant in 2013 told us "You can bring any processed food, even packaged nuts—this was very important for someone like me with dietary restrictions. I brought tons of protein bars, nuts, and granola!"

Suggested Checklist

•Motion sickness pills (Dramamine, bring both less-drowsy and regular formulas)!
•Camera
•Fleece top (It gets down into the 40's F!)
•Windproof/waterproof rain jacket (Very important)
•Small towel and swim wear
•6 shirts/t-shirts
•Undergarments
•Sun hat
•1 pair of shorts
•2 pairs of long trousers
•1 pair hiking pants/track pants
•Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
•Sport sandals
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Flashlight
•First-aid kit(should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Portable ice pack, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Optional Checklist

•Underwater Camera
•Rubber boots (Optional. The hikes can be really muddy)
•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Ear Plugs (These are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Washcloth (Most hotels don’t have them and some people like having a washcloth)
•Reading/writing material
•Binoculars
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit cards (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers and trip details
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
•Any entry visas, additional passport photos or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. 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.

Money Exchange

They use the US dollar in Ecuador as their official currency. Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available some may not accept all international credit or debit cards. You may need to try at more than one machine if the first does not accept your card. You should also check with your bank before leaving to ensure that your card works internationally. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

Please bring USD banknotes in denominations smaller than 100, as it can be hard to get change in Ecuador. 100 dollar bills of certain series (e.g. CB B2) can be especially hard to cash! CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to use. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

For all activities inside and outside of Quito feel free to call Miguel Diaz who has guides available to take you to all of these places mentioned below, including Quito city tours. His number is 099506000.

Quito

CITY TOUR
We visit the new and old town of Quito, including the Palace of Congress, Presidential Palace, Independence Square and the Churches of San Francisco, La Compania and La Catedral. After this we go to the Panecillo (a lookout point in the old town), which affords the best view of Quito, then return to the hotel. This trip takes about 3.5 - 4 hours and can depart everyday at anytime.
- Entrance fees for the churches and Panecillo are not included in the price and is about $4USD p/p.
- Price: $24 USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.

CITY TOUR AND THE EQUATOR
After the city tour we go to The Equator line located 45 minutes away from Quito to visit the world monument and shops. Here we also visit the Inti Ñan local museum where you can see different experiments to prove that you are at the Center of the Earth. This trip takes about 5 hours and can depart everyday at anytime.
Optional visit to The Pululahua crater 10 minutes away from the monument.
- Entrances fees for City Tour (Churches): total approx $4USD
- Equator line USD5 Museums Entrance fee: Total approx $9USD
- Price: $32USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.

OTAVALO MARKET
Otavalo market is considered one the biggest and best native markets in South America. Here you can find all the handicrafts that are made in Ecuador. We head north along the Pan-American highway for 2.5 hours. On the way we visit the village of Calderon to see the bread figures and Cayambe to taste the typical ‘biscochos’ (local biscuits). After you have explored the Otavalo market, we go to the leather market at Cotacachi or to Cuicocha Lake for a hike. The official Market Day is Saturday, but any other day is still interesting, and has less tourists. This is a full-day tour, leaving at approximately 8AM any day.
- Price: $45USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.

COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
A spectacular 2-hour drive in private transport takes us to Cotopaxi Volcano, 5897m, the highest active volcano in the world. We visit a museum in the park and hike around a lagoon at the bottom of the volcano to learn about the flora and fauna found at this altitude. We then continue by car up the volcano to the parking lot, at over 4500m. Then we walk approximately 1.5hrs to the refuge at 4800m, and after a short break, continue to the glacier (if the weather holds out).
We head back to the Pan-American highway to have lunch somewhere near Latacunga, or buy a box lunch on the way to have more time in the park. Return to Quito in the afternoon.
The full-day trip has departures every morning at 8AM.
- Entrance fee to the National Park: $2USD p/p.
- Price: $55USD P/P, minimum 2 persons (private services)

SAQUISILI MARKET AND COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
Saquisili is another important market close to Quito, located in the south of Quito. A wonderful scenic drive of approximately 3 hours gives you the opportunity for great views of the volcanoes.
Here, the local natives bring their products from over the highlands to sell, such as handicrafts from Salasaca, Otavalo and Chimborazo. You will also find an animal market.
This is an intensive day and leaves at 6AM every Thursday.
- Entrance fee to the National Park: $2USD p/p.
- Price: $90USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.

COTOPAXI BIKING
Your biking adventure begins as we drive south to the Coattail National Park along the Pan-American Highway. Within two hours we reach the trailhead (4600 m) at the base of the Cotopaxi Volcano. After donning our biking gear and catching our breath in the thin, high-altitude air, we begin our downward descent. Get ready for high-speed adventure and hang on tight, as the dirt road will take you on a wild ride. The road will whisk you past silvery smooth Limpiopungo Lake and eventually through a pine forest, until you reach the park's guard station, where you can see a corralled Llama herd. Our 4-wheel-drive vehicles will drive you to Inca ruins (tolas), where a box lunch will be served. After a snack we return to Quito by jeep, bikes loaded on top.
Departures daily at 7AM. We ride approximately 50 kilometres on bike (5 - 6 hours) and 4 hours in the jeep.
Included: box lunch, 21-speed mountain bikes, all transportation and veteran bilingual guides.
- Entrance fee to the National Park: $2USD p/p.
- Price: $50USD P/P (pool services)

BELLAVISTA CLOUD FOREST
To see the cloud forest and to experience the changes in the temperature and vegetation, you have to go to Bellavista cloud forest.
Bellavista cloud forest reserve is located at 0,00,46 latitude in northwestern Ecuador, on the edge of Choco which is among the most diverse places in the word.Things to do:
a)Birds here are always active, from the joy of watching hummingbirds on your private balcony, to exploring in search of elusive forest species, 320 species of birds have been recorded in the Tandayapa valley.
b) Hikes through primary and secondary forest.
c) Naturalist guides and specialist birding guides available (extra cost)
This trip is a full day and starts at 7AM.
- Entrance fee to the reserve $15USD p/p
- Price: $50USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.

1 DAY RAFTING TOUR -2 rivers in 1 day.
The Ríos Toachi and Blanco are fantastic introduction to the rivers of Ecuador. Flowing off the coastal side of the Andes they have some of the longest navigable sections of whitewater in the country. Combine this with the sights and sounds of the forest environment we pass through and you are guaranteed a day to remember.
We travel west down from Quito for about 3 hours through beautiful cloud forest to the bank of the river.
Rafting time approx 3 to 3.5 hrs. (NB. From March to May we usually run the upper Blanco river – 43km, approx. 4 hrs).
River Grading: III - IV (Depending on the time of year).
Includes: Professional guides, top of the line rafting equipment, lunch, transport to and from Quito.
-Departures: Daily with a minimum of 4 people
-Price: $ 75 USD P/P.

HORSEBACK RIDING
Transport from Quito to the Green Horse Ranch, inside the National Reserve Pululahua, about 25 miles north from Quito. Quiet sure footed mountain horses will take us through the stunning landscape of this ancient volcanic crater, the biggest one on the whole American continent and one of only two inhabited craters in the world. With its constantly changing sceneries and bio-diversity it's a great day.
Guided day tours are available for all standards of riders - and if you've never ridden before what better place to start than in the Andes .
- Minimum 2 persons
- USD75 USD P/P

ARCHEOLOGICAL TRIP IN QUITO
Start with an amazing panoramic view of the old town of Quito and learn about the pre-colombian and pre-inca ethnic groups that live around the region. Enjoy the “Rumipamba” archeological and ecological park and visit the necropolis of “La Florida in situ Museum”. Finally, go down to the equatorial valley and visit the “Rumicucho” ruins, considered one of the biggest archeological sites of the area. This trip takes about 5 hours and can depart from Wednesday to Sunday. Entrance fees are not included and total approx $2.50 P/P. Price $32 USD P/P minimum 2 persons (private services)

QUITO CUISINE TRIP
A different way to learn about Quito's traditions and culture. Drive to a local food market, where your will see many varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers grown in Ecuador. After this, head south to the old part of the city, where you can visit historical monuments and buildings, and also see the manufacturing site of Quito`s traditional sweets. The tour finishes at one of the most traditional ice cream parlours in Quito. This trip takes about 5 hours and departs every day at anytime! Entrance fees and shopping in the market are not included and total approx $12 P/P. Price $32 USD P/P minimum 2 persons (private services)

TELEFERICO ( CABLE CAR )
You can get from 2.800 m to 4.200 m in 10 minutes and view Quito at your feet.
Take a taxi from the hotel $3 to get there.
Entrance $8 foreigners. Locals $4
Option for a small hike inside the complex.(bring warm clothes)
Shops and restaurants available
Monday to Friday 9:am to 5:pm
Saturday and holidays 10:am to 5:00 pm

Costs

The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$2849 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$100 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1000 to $1500 USD. See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$42-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $35 USD for your Local Naturalist Guide. Budget another $20-$30 USD to tip local guides and drivers.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow $95-125 USD for meals not included.

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport Transfers

G Adventures charges an optional $65 for an airport transfer. A taxi to the hotel from the airport should cost around $25-$30.

Vaccines

You will need to see your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations)

Visa

U.S citizens are not required to obtain a visa to travel to Ecuador if it is less than 90 days.

Souvenirs

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FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up a school visit on this program, but this sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand it is not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Ecuador. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. In Ecuador the airport transfer G Adventures provides costs roughly $65 whereas a taxi costs only $25-$30. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other.

Please email groups@gadventures.com if you wish to book the airport transfer. They will need your name and the name of the GEEO trip you are on.

Past participants have told us that the getting a taxi from the international airport is very easy. There is a taxi counter in the airport. You tell them where you are going, and they tell you exactly how much it will cost. They give you a voucher with that amount written on it, which you hand to the cab driver right outside of the door.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee of $249 USD.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We started running this Galapagos program in 2012. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to the Galapagos Islands for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"Don't panic about the sea sickness, it got a little crazy with people freaking out about getting sea sick, the ride wasn't that bad."

"Tell them not to forget their underwater camera. Bring portable ice pack in emergency kit. Use credit card that doesn't charge international fees."

"Make sure you have american bills in small denominations. Everywhere takes american money but with things costing so little it's best to have all $10 bills."

"Embrace the mud."

"The water is unpredictable (sometimes choppy , sometimes not), so definitely bring motion sickness pills for the boat rides.

"Bring school supplies to donate. Rolling luggage is fine, no need for a backpack."

"Taxis from Hotel Quito may be slightly more expensive when going to the airport."

"That there are not alternative activities, if you choose not to do something you have to sit around and wait for the other people (because tourism in the Galapagos is strictly regulated)."

"It was important to bring a rainjacket and a lightweight jacket for the evenings."

"We did a lot of snorkeling and I think I would have bought a wetsuit top if I knew the water was going to be a bit chilly. "

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

You trip begins and ends in Quito. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Quito by. You can arrive at anytime of the day you choose. You can depart anytime on the final day of the trip.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Do you recommend arriving early to Quito to see more of the city?

Advice from Jesse:

Quito is a nice city to visit and having at least one day to explore it is advised. Quito's old town is a UNESCO world heritage site and can be explored by foot during the day. You should not miss the Basilica of the National Vow (Spanish: Basílica del Voto Nacional). The building is noted for its grotesques in the form of native Ecuadorian animals, such as armadillos, iguana, and Galapagos tortoises instead of the typical Gargoyles you find on a Neo-Gothic cathedral. If don't have a fear of heights you should climb to the top of the back tower for a great view of the city.

Another way to get a great view of the city is by taking a taxi to the top of Panecillo, a hill South of the old town. Please do not attempt to climb this hill as there are muggings on a regular basis reported in that area. A taxi ride to the top and return to your hotel typically costs about $20.

Lastly, if you want to see Quito from above you can take a cable car (Teleferico) to the top of a mountain overlooking Quito. It costs $8.50 and the ten minute ride takes you up to an altitude of 13,290 feet. If you want a physical challenge you can then hike to the top of Vulcan Pichincha. The hike takes an estimated 2-2.5 hours each way so this is an activity that could fill a whole afternoon. It is windy and can be cold so make sure you have the appropriate clothing.

The actual Equator is only a 30-45 minute drive North of Quito. At the Equator you will find a large monument that has an admission fee. This is where the French thought the equator was, but they were wrong and the actual equator is about 240 meters from the Equator. Feel free to visit the nearby Intiñan Solar Museum which claims to have the real equator running through their property. Just keep in mind that the science experiments they show you there are mostly inaccurate and down right silly. If you are a science teacher this is a can't miss attraction for a good laugh.

While I did not have time to go, there are three day trips that have been recommended to me which we list in the Optional Activities section of this webpage. Saquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park make for a full day of hiking and shopping. I would make sure you have a few days to acclimatize to the elevation before signing up for that one. Bellavista Cloud Forest is at a lower altitude and seems like a wonderful way to see the nature of the area. Another option is Otavalo where you will be able to see one of the largest markets in all of South America.

For all activities inside and outside of Quito feel free to call Miguel Diaz who has guides available to take you to all of these places I have mentioned above, including Quito city tours. His number is 099506000.

If you are traveling around the city by taxi, make sure it is an official taxi. Your hotel can hail one for you which can be trusted.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office in Quito.
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.

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 their local office in Quito,
they have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
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

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Please take care when wandering about Quito on your own, as pick pockets and purse-snatchers are common, particularly in the Old Town. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, traveler’s checks 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!

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

Should I be worries about altitude in Quito?

Quito can cause you to have altitude sickness because it is about 9,200 feet (2,800 meters) above sea level. Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are affected on your adventure, please consult your physician.

When should I purchase my flights?

You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically we reach the minimum amount needed at least 60 days before departure, which often happens to be when you can find the best prices for purchasing flights. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.

If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Peruvian Andes or Belize and Tikal programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option. Trip Cancellation insurance costs 5% of up to the total cost of your trip. For example, if you chose to insure $1000 of your trip cost, Trip Cancellation would cost $50. You can call them at 1-877-359-4466, ext. 7663 to ask for details on the cancellation plan or follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/trip-cancellation-insurance/.

Another option is purchasing the insurance plan that G Adventures offers. Their comprehensive plan offers both health and cancellation insurance.

Should I bring my own snorkeling gear? How much snorkeling is there on this trip? What about diving?

You can bring your own snorkeling gear and wetsuit, or rent gear in the Galapagos. G Adventures provides the snorkelling gear for free and then you would need to rent a wetsuit for $5 or $10 a day. They sometimes don't have wetsuits for larger people or petite sizes. The water is kind of cold in the Galapagos, but one participant told me that she did not rent the wetsuit and was just fine without it.

While our itinerary does not list much snorkeling, I have been told by our group that there were lots of opportunities for snorkeling on the trip and they snorkeled on four separate occasions. Some of the locations have a strong current and are too deep to stand, other locations are much calmer and easier to handle. You must use your judgement and tour leader's advice to determine whether it is safe for you to go into the water.

A few participants went diving last year. There are dive shops on the islands and your tour leader can help put you in touch with one of them.

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in Quito so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later.

We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. Just send a request by email to groups@gadventures.com with the dates you would like at least 30 days before departure.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, 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 information on our website 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.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

Not really. You may get more attention than you like if you dress provocatively.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Ecuador uses the same plug design used in America, a type A plug. Their voltage is 120 Volts, the same as U.S. outlets.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

What is the weather like?

Quito, although close to the equator, is at a high altitude. Therefor the temperature during the day tends to be in 60's and at night it gets down into the 40's. Please make sure you have the proper clothing packed!

The Galapagos climate is tempered by the Humboldt Current, so you do not experience extreme heat found elsewhere at this latitude. The warmest weather is December to June, when temperatures range from 22-33°C (72-90 °F), and the water temperature is in the mid 20s (mid 70°F). From July to November, temperatures are cooler and range from 18-24°C (60s -75°F), when average water temperature rarely reach 21°C (70°F).

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

You can if you wish. Please keep in mind it is important for you to pack light for your trip and school supplies can take up a lot of space. Sometimes school visits are at the end of the trip so you may be carrying the supplies for the entire trip. Sometimes we aren't able to arrange a school visit at all so you would then have to figure out a way to give them out yourself.

Our advice is to bring little if any supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally when your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy. We encourage you to establish relationships with the schools that we visit. In the past some of our participants have run fundraisers for needy schools and have mailed supplies to the schools.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Do you have any advice on tipping?

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. 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. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. They use US dollars as their official currency so I would recommend bringing the $200 emergency money, setting that aside and also bring another $200 in spending money. You can then use ATMs with your bank card to draw out more money as needed. You will want to ask your tour leader which islands have ATMs to make sure you have enough cash at all times.

What happens if GEEO doesn't reach the minimum number of participants needed for this trip?

Typically we reach the minimum number for our groups in the month of April. If we do not have the minimum number of participants needed we will re-price the trip for the amount of people signed up, adding on a surcharge. It will be up to each individual whether they still wish to travel with the group at the new rate. If they choose to withdraw from the program at that time they will be issued a full refund. If need be we will cancel a trip and issue the entire group a full refund. It is important that you do not book your flights before a group is confirmed! It is pretty rare for us to have to cancel trips.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For this trip we have selected four books, one fiction and three non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Fiction:
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

Non Fiction:
Galapagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Creation by Carol Ann Bassett
Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World by Paul D. Stewart
The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner

For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:

The Origin of Species and the Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin


Save an extra 5% off the price below if you book this program before 10/13/14.

Want more adventure? Save money by also booking our Peruvian Andes or Belize and Tikal programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

2849.00 USD

*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • Hotels (9 nts)

  • Flights to and from the Galapagos Islands, Downhill biking excursion on San Cristóbal Island, Day tour of Sierra Negra Volcano, Visit to 'Shark Alley'to view white tip reef sharks, Visit to Charles Darwin Research Station, Kayaking, Opportunities for snorkeling and swimming, Incredible wildlife encounters.

  • Local Naturalist Guide while in the Galapagos Islands (certified by the Galapagos National Park), G Adventure's Tour Leader in Quito.

  • 9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 4 Dinners. (Allow USD95-125 for meals not included. You must pay a USD10 (cash) Tourist Transit card fee at the Quito airport and a USD100 (cash) Galapagos park entry fee immediately upon arrival to the islands (subject to increase). USD5 for the Isabela Municipal tax.)
    Hotels (9 nts).

  • Local flight, Speed boat, Van, Pick-up truck, Local buses, Zodiacs, Public bus.

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Galapagos Islands Park entry fee

  • Galapagos Transit Control Card