Galapagos Family Holiday
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the rarest animals on the planet and this trip gives the whole family a unique opportunity to learn about the biology and diversity of this paradise. Everyone will enjoy spotting the myriad animals in their natural environment as they graze, sleep and play on the beaches, mountains and rocks of the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Snorkel beside sea lions, marvel at the plodding majesty of giant tortoises, spot frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and Galapagos crabs, and keep an eye out for marine iguanas, whales, dolphins and sharks as you explore this natural paradise. You’ll experience (animal) life like never before together on this beautiful family-focused expedition to the Galapagos.
Ages: 5 - 99
Theme: Family, Wildlife
Accommodation: Hotels (7 nights)
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres, under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Your adventure starts with a Welcome Meeting at 5pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details ready. If you have time, take a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This awesome street offers the city's best in one place. You may even wish to explore further beyond the city and visit Otavalo, Cotopaxi, the Cloud Forest or the Equatorial Monument. You local representative will have further recommendations.
Early in the morning you will be transferred to Quito airport for your flight to Isla San Cristobal in the Galapagos (approximately 3.5 hours). Departure time is between 8.20 am and 10.30 am, depending on the time of your flight. Your flight (approximately 3.5 hours in total) will stop in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers. Landing at around midday, meet your naturalist guide who will transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon, head to the Interpretation Center to learn about the history of the islands and the challenges local conservationists face. Then you'll head to the Cerro Tijeratas (Frigatebird Hill) which is located 2 kilometres from the interpretation centre, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It is a bit of a climb to the top, but your reward is an amazing view of the bay. From here you can see the 140-metre-tall Kicker Rock, its twin volcanic slabs looming large in the ocean. Soon after you will travel to La Loberia to enjoy some snorkelling, perhaps spotting sea lions and sea turtles as you swim around.
You second day in Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride to Isla Lobos (approximately 1 hour or less). This island boasts the second-largest sea lion colony in the world, not to mention the tallest lighthouse on the entire continent. Along the way you can observe the abundant sea life that the Galapagos is renowned for. You might be lucky enough to spot nesting frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. On arrival you can head out into the water for some quality swimming and snorkelling time. You might find yourself in the midst of turtles, Manta rays and maybe the odd Galapagos shark (don't worry – they're harmless!). Then it's time to head back to base and relax.
Early in the morning you will take off to Floreana Island, travelling by private speed boat (approximately 2.5 hours). Go for a snorkel and then enjoy some lunch. You'll head ashore to a black-sand beach at the home of the Wittmer family, who were some of the island's first settlers. Floreana Island was the first Galapagos island to be settled, and today has less than 200 inhabitants. There is a colourful human history to be discovered here, full of intrigue and mystery, including whalers, wildfires and of course exotic wildlife. You will have the chance to read up on how life came to be on Floreana and how some lives mysteriously ended. Next, board your private speedboat once again and continue to Isla Santa Cruz, home to the largest town in the Galapagos Islands (approximately 1.5 hours).
Today after breakfast you will go to the Charles Darwin Research Station. This not-for-profit organisation has been operating since 1959. The station's visitor centre is an essential stop for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history. It's great for learning about the local conservation of the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. It also offers the chance for close-up encounters with giant tortoises, and you can see many newborn and young giant turtles too – they're here as part of the breeding program to reintroduce the creatures to their natural habitat. In the afternoon you will venture to the higher part of Santa Cruz to observe giant tortoises roaming around in the wild. These fascinating animals can weigh as much as 400 kilograms.
Today is a free day for you and your family to explore Isla Santa Cruz Island as you please. You can choose from a variety of optional activities, if you like. You might like to head out to Tortuga Bay beach, which is a fairly short walk away (approximately 45 minutes). The walk to the lovely Las Grietas gorge, past cactus fields and lava rock formations, is also a good choice. Alternatively, visit the buzzing local fish market, where cheeky pelicans try to get in on the daily catch. You might like to simply stay in Puerto Ayora, soak up the seaside ambience and make some of your own discoveries. The town itself is nice and small, perfect for exploring on foot.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito. You can expect to arrive at your hotel at around 3 or 4 pm. Enjoy an evening exploring Quito, or perhaps kick back and relax with your family and fellow travellers.
There are no activities planned for the last day of the trip and you can depart at any time. Hotel check out is normally at midday.
- Isla Lobos - Swimming and Snorkelling
La Cartuja Hotel
Leonidas Plaza 170 y 18 de Septiembre
Phone: +593 2 2523721
La Cartuja Hotel
Leonidas Plaza 170 y 18 de Septiembre
Phone: +593 2 2523721
These trips are setup to involve and include all the family so no real physical preparation is necessary. The trips all have some degree of physical activity but nothing that is too strenuous. Please check the physical rating on the trip notes and if you need further explanation please contact one of our sales consultants who will provide you with more detailed information.
2020 ITINERARY CHANGE
We consistently review traveller feedback to ensure that we are offering the best experience possible for you and your family. As a result, this trip will no longer visit Floreana Island. This day has been replaced with an extra day in Quito for you to acclimatise. On this day, you will experience a city tour and visit to the Equator line.
DAY 1 - Quito
DAY 2 - Quito
DAY 3 – Isla Santa Cruz
DAY 4 - Isla Santa Cruz
DAY 5 – Isla San Cristobal
DAY 6 - Isla San Cristobal
DAY 7 - Quito
DAY 8 - Quito
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
The Ecuadorian government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travelers entering Ecuador. Proof of insurance may be requested at upon entering the country by immigration officials, so please ensure you carry this with you.
Snorkelling equipment is included in this tour (mask & flippers). If you wish to hire a wetsuit this can be arranged locally for an additional cost.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
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. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Why we love it
As well as exploring some of the archipelago's finest islands by boat, you'll get to know the locals by staying in small, friendly hotels
Snorkelling with sea lions is an incredible and surreal experience, and there are few better places to do so than Islas Lobos, home of the world's second largest sea lion colony
One of the joys of the Galapagos is to be surrounded by birds like boobies and frigatebirds who often have not even the slightest interest you're there
Incredible photo opportunities await around every corner – not least of Kicker Rock, the marvellous twin volcanic peaks seen sitting in the ocean from the top of Cerro Tijeratas
The colourful human history of Floreana, shrouded in mystery and mayhem, has a story for everyone. It's sure to be a hit with the family
With spare time in Quito and Isla Santa Cruz, you can spend quality time with the family – perhaps with further hiking or visiting local markets
Is this trip right for you
This is a well-rounded family adventure, and there are many reasons to fall in love with the Galapagos Islands. That said, wildlife is the major focus of this trip, so it's especially suited to animal-lovers and birdwatchers.
There's a lot of boat travel between the various islands. If you're prone to motion sickness, it might be wise to consult your doctor about preventative medication before you go.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip:
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip.
While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).
Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Galapagos - Land based itineraries
Though part of Ecuador, the economy in the Galapagos Islands is different to that of the mainland, which is generally reflected in higher costs of living. As such, a tipping guideline in the Galapagos Islands is of USD 1-3 per person per day for the crew and USD 5-8 per person per day for your Galapagos leader.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.
The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:
Climate and seasonal
GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA ISLAND PORT FEES:
A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
When booking, please ensure that your details are correct, and double check them on your documents prior to departure. If your passport does not match your booking details, you may be refused entrance to Galapagos National Park. Please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Ecuador Operations Office can be reached on:
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
PEAK South America: +51 9 9605 5559
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
Intrepid and Playground Ideas.
Playground ideas was started in response for a worldwide need for more playgrounds. Using largely locally found materials means these playgrounds are cheap and can be put together by local people. Children provided with the opportunity for stimulating play in early childhood have improved ability and desire to learn leading to long term outcomes such as higher rates of employment and increased wages. Research has proven play interventions to be powerful, cost effective poverty reduction tools with sustained impact.
We are also proud to have Playground Ideas as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards building playgrounds. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/playground-ideas
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in your selected accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for your arrival, especially if you're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible, which means you won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, you can store your luggage and explore the new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in a handful of places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Your fellow travellers
On this Short Break Adventure the fellow travellers that may join you during activities can come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of their various needs and preferences - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep others waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best adventures we operate are those where the dynamics between travellers works well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your Short Break Adventure prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only and are subject to availabilities. For our families we have priced an all inclusive package including entrance fees, transport and local guide where relevant to assist you with budgeting the exact amount required on tour. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. The optional activities listed in your itinerary are activities that are available to you as a guideline and have been checked locally.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed above is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to Intrepid Travel.
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