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Family Ecuador and Galapagos

Transport

4 flights (longest 2hrs); 2 motorised river canoe rides (90 mins each); 2 road journeys, less than 2hrs each..

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates a small mid-range hotels with character in Quito,  a countryside lodge, a mid-range Amazon expedition vessel and a smart family-friendly hotel with many facilities in the Galápagos Islands. .

Meals

Breakfast daily, full board days 3-12.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 30 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

• Walking tour of Old Quito. 
• All excursions from the Manatee river boat. 
• Activities from Hacienda Zuleta in the Andean highlands..
• Activities from your hotel Finch Bay in the Galápagos Islands. 
• Swimming and snorkelling around the Galápagos Islands.

Summary of nights

13 days, 12 nights: Quito 2; Amazon cruise 4; Otavalo 2; Quito 1; Galápagos: Santa Cruz Island 4.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land, river and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified.

Not included in the journey price

• International flights to Latin America.
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.
• Galápagos National Park entry fee.

Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar; in the Galápagos it is the US dollar.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but note that almost all meals are included on this holiday. You may wish to purchase activities locally from the hacienda and thin the Galápagos (activities involving equipment especially may incur a charge). Otherwise, it's just drinks and souvenirs. 

How to take it

Cash machines are available in Quito. There are also ATMs in Puerto Ayora but they may not be reliable.  Taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in some shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate to dollars is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are welcomed and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. On the river cruise it is common practice to put your preferred amount into an envelope to be divided among the crew. For other activities and excursions it is normal to tip the guide and driver. The amount will depend on how many there are in your group plus of course your assessment of the service you have received. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.


Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit families. Parents with children under the age of 10 may find some days challenging, especially on the river cruise.

Climate

Lying at 2,850m on the Equator, the highlands have a permanent spring-like climate. The rainy season in the Andes runs between January and April when there are showers most afternoons. The dry season is June, July and August when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (maybe as low as freezing point.). May, September and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells. Given the proximity to the equator, altitude is the determining factor with regard to temperature. In the mountains at any time of year you should expect a variation between 15°C and 25°C.

The jungle in the Oriente (Amazonia) is hot, humid and wet all year, with temperatures averaging about 30°C.

In the Galápagos, from January to April it’s hot and the sun is relentless, with some sudden showers. May to July, and October to December is cloudier; August and September it’s often cloudy and cool, and a stiff breeze makes the waters choppier for your speedboat transfers. High and Low seasons reflect demand rather than the best time to go.

Altitude

Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2.500m). You may notice the effect of high altitude; symptoms vary: most common are mild headaches and breathlessness. If you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of being adversely affected.

Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.


Clothing and special equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. A light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well on the Galápagos Islands. 

For your visit to Amazonia, in addition to lightweight clothing, long-sleeved shirts and lightweight trousers will protect you from insects. Bring shorts and T shirts. You may prefer an umbrella to a rain-jacket as the humidity is high.

Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block, hat and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for ocean swimming (Galápagos). Snorkelling equipment is available but you may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for swimming among the rocks. Bring a light waterproof jacket in case of rain. For June to November departures, wetsuits are recommended, as the waters can be chilly for snorkelling. 

Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and cards.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America and Galápagos.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

For admission to the Galápagos a yellow fever certificate is required for anyone over 1 year old coming from an area with risk of yellow fever transmission. 

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins.  Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html
This costs $14 per person. This must be applied for by you personally.

Passports must also be biometric e-passports. with digital chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.
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Family Ecuador and Galapagos

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