TRAVEL TIPS & EXTENSIONS

5 Tips from Galapagos Network to Know Before your Departure Day!

AUTHOR Ecoventura

Your cruise is secured with Ecoventura and you are now in full planning mode for your getaway to the Galapagos – Horray! Thank you for choosing to spend your vacation with us. Whether it’s relaxing at sunset on our deck, participating in a guided nature walk, or snorkeling with green sea turtles, we look forward to showing you an unforgettable time while you are here in the islands.

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Planning is an exciting part of the journey and we want to make sure we are here to help you get ready for your big trip. Below are five questions we get most often from passengers before they depart for a cruise with Ecoventura. Hopefully these will come in handy as you are preparing for your own trip to the Galapagos… We can’t wait to have you on board with us!

FAQs Once You Have Booked Your Cruise:

1) Can we book our own flights to Galapagos?

The answer is yes. However, we highly recommend that you allow us to confirm your seats through our allotment with Avianca for your own convenience.  If you arrive on Sunday and book Flight 1636 with Avianca, this is the same flight that we service and you will be fine. Just make sure you are flying to San Cristobal (SCY) and not Baltra (GPS), as all our yachts operate from Cristobal.

However, if you book the flight with LAN arriving 1 hour and 20 minutes later to SCY our reps will not be available to check you in at the airports in Quito or Guayaquil, and you will not be met at the airport in Galapagos. You will need to claim your luggage and then take a taxi to the main dock in town and wait for our Zodiac to pick you up. You will most likely miss lunch served on board, and if the flight is delayed, you may miss the welcome briefing and our safety drill. If the flight is cancelled, you risk missing the boat! So do consider this and then decide if it is worth saving a few dollars.

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If you arrive to Galapagos on LAN (or prior to the cruise departure date), you will not be able to pre-pay the park entrance fee and will have to bring extra cash with you to pay this at the airport in Galapagos. You will not be able to pre-pay the transit card (aka INGALA or TCT) and will have to make the line in Quito or Guayaquil to register and pay at the airport. The process is a little faster if you pre-register online.

When you book your flights with us, we pre-register for you and fill out your form for the park. If you do arrive to Baltra prior to the cruise, you will need to get yourself to Cristobal by ferry, speed boat, or small plane before noon time on Sunday.

2) Should we overnight in Quito or Guayaquil before the cruise?

For short stays of one night, we recommend guests overnight in Guayaquil (GYE) to avoid the longer travel time from the airport to the city in Quito (at least one hour). Guayaquil is at sea level and the flight departs GYE at 10:30 (9AM from Quito), so you will sleep better and longer.

There are more flights now into Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport since the new larger airport opened in 2014. If you chose to fly into Quito, for just one night we suggest you stay at one of the hotels near the airport.  The Wyndham Gran Condor Airport Quito just opened and our guests also stay at the Rincon de Puembo, located 10 minutes from the airport.

If you have the time to stay two or more nights, it is worthwhile to venture into Quito and stay either in the historical part of downtown (ex: Patio Andaluz) or in La Floresta (we recommend Hotel Le Parc) near the best restaurants in town. Two nights is recommended for tight connections or when traveling long haul.

FAQs Before You Arrive:

3) Is Wi-Fi available on the Ecoventura yachts?

The Eric and Letty yachts do not offer Wi-Fi. We plan to offer Wi-Fi on the ORIGIN (additional charges will apply), but it is not installed as of today.

Do keep in mind that Wi-Fi on any tour boat in Galapagos is iffy at best. We always suggest that guests bring their Smart Phone activated for international service. AT&T and Verizon work fairly well in Ecuador, whereas the others not as well. You should be able to pick up a signal most days during a cruise except when we are out of range — for example on Tower, Fernandina or Western Isabela, which means on itinerary A you have a signal more days than on itinerary B.

You should be able to send and receive phone calls, text and emails, but the bandwidth is small, so you will not be able to download photos to FB or Instagram until you are in one of the two port towns.

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WhatsApp works well and is used by most of our guides in Galapagos.

4) Can we use the kayaks during the cruise? Are SUP available?

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The Eric and Letty yachts each have two double and one single kayak on board. The ORIGIN has five doubles and one single kayak on board, due to more storage room. The park allows us to use the kayaks in calm bays at designated sites such as Cerro Brujo and Gardner Bay on itinerary A, and Darwin Bay and Tagus Cove on itinerary B.

There are sign-up sheets available during the cruise, so everyone has sufficient time to use the kayaks. We are still waiting on final approval from the National Park for our guests to use stand up paddle boards. As soon as this becomes a reality, we have eight boards waiting in our warehouse to make available for our guests.

image1 (5) (1)5) Do we need to reserve wet suits in advance or bring or own snorkeling equipment?

Ecoventura provides all their guests with a sufficient inventory of Scuba Pro brand masks, snorkels, and fins. However, if you own a mask and snorkel that fits well and you plan to take full advantage of the snorkeling opportunities (sometimes twice a day), we suggest you bring them.

Our yachts all have a large inventory of various sizes of Scuba Pro 3mm full wet suits available for guests to use on a first come basis. There are “shorty” wet suit available in child sizes too. Although it is really not necessary to reserve them in advance, this is a service that we offer FOC on ORIGIN or for a fee of $25 per wet suit on the Eric or Letty.

You may want to pack a rash guard or skin. They do not take up much room and are perfect to wear instead of a wet suit when waters temps are warmer (late Dec-Apr), or to wear underneath the wet suit!

We hope this information will be helpful as you plan for your trip with us. Please also review our Pre-Departure Information PDF for more tips and contact us (info@galapagosnetwork.com) if you have any additional questions! Thank you.