Group - Discovery

Paloma: Andean Ecuador and land based Galapagos

10 days from £3,330pp

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

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Essentials

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Transport

2 flights (2hrs each); 5 short scenic road journeys; 2 speedboats in the Galápagos.

Accommodation

Mid-range hotels, traditional lodges and a tented camp.

Hotels include:
• Quito: Hotel Casa Gardenia
• Cotopaxi: Chilcabamba Lodge
• Otavalo: Palmeras Lodge
• Santa Cruz: Galápagos Magic Camp
• Isabela: Hotel Isamar

Meals

Breakfast daily; Full board days 3-5 and 7-9.

Summary Of Nights

10 days, 9 nights: Quito 2, Chilcabamba 2, Otavalo 1, Quito 1,Santa Cruz Island 1; Isabela Island 2.

Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.

Budget

A daily budget of $25-$35 should cover extra expenses for meals, a few drinks and the odd souvenir.

How To Take It

Cash machines are easily available in Quito, Otavalo and Santa Cruz so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most 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 additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency especially in the Galápagos, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $US5-10 (or local equivalent) per person for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance

Airport Taxes

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

Journey Grade

There are some early mornings and some fairly long days of travel. The nature of this tour means that walking is an intergral part of the itinerary, and so a relatively good level of fitness is recommended. There are also opportunities for snorkelling, swimming and kayaking but these can be skipped for those that don’t feel comfortable. Please speak to a consultant for more details.

Climate

There are only two seasons, wet and dry. The dry season in the Andean highlands lasts from June to September and on the coast from May to December. Although February to April is traditionally the green (wet) season, there is a chance of showers throughout the year. Due to altitude Quito and the highlands can be chilly in the evenings.

The Galápagos Islands are on the Equator, but the tropical heat is tempered by ocean breezes. You may require a light sweater for the evening and between November and March there is a chance of rain. In August and September you may experience garúa (mist), but the rest of the year skies should be clear and sunny, though we would suggest that you take a waterproof just in case.

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.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Altitude

Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2,500m). A small minority of visitors may suffer temporarily from altitude sickness. Symptoms vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two speak to our representatives; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. Most people are unaffected and 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 suffering any symptoms.

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. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; 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 and in the jungle. Long-sleeved shirts will protect you from insects.

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). You can hire snorkelling equipment but may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for embarking and disembarking on wet landings. Bring a light waterproof jacket in case of rain.

Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and memory 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 such as malaria prophylactics. 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.

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

Travelling Alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.

What's included in the price

  • Local tour leaders One for mainland and one for Galápagos
  • All land transport and Galápagos flights
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Quito: guided tour
  • Cotopaxi: National Park and Limpiopungo lake
  • Cotopaxi: Saquisili Market
  • Cotopaxi: Quilotoa Crater
  • Otavalo: market and weaving
  • Galápagos Islands: Kayak the Itabaca Channel
  • Galápagos Islands: Giant tortoises of Santa Cruz
  • Galápagos Islands: Tinoteras Islands tour
  • Galápagos Islands: Hike to the Wall of Tears
  • Galápagos Islands: Day of guided walks on Isabela Island

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Galápagos entrance fees ($100pp + $20 for transit card)
  • Meals other than specified

What's included in the price

  • Local tour leaders One for mainland and one for Galápagos
  • All land transport and Galápagos flights
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Quito: guided tour
  • Cotopaxi: National Park and Limpiopungo lake
  • Cotopaxi: Saquisili Market
  • Cotopaxi: Quilotoa Crater
  • Otavalo: market and weaving
  • Galápagos Islands: Kayak the Itabaca Channel
  • Galápagos Islands: Giant tortoises of Santa Cruz
  • Galápagos Islands: Tinoteras Islands tour
  • Galápagos Islands: Hike to the Wall of Tears
  • Galápagos Islands: Day of guided walks on Isabela Island

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Galápagos entrance fees ($100pp + $20 for transit card)
  • Meals other than specified

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • JimAshworth
    Jim Ashworth - Travel Consultant

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

  • Jamie Swan
    Jamie Swan - Travel Consultant

    Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..

Meet the team