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Galapagos & Quito – Option A
11 Days

This extraordinary journey begins in Quito Ecuador and continues to the Galapagos Islands

 
About

This extraordinary journey begins in Quito, Ecuador, and continues to the Galapagos Islands. This is the perfect trip for individuals who want to combine natural history with Andean cultural heritage. You will begin with a day of cultural discovery at the Otavalo Market. The following day, you will set out to explore the Galapagos Islands. Your English-speaking naturalist guide will make your experience both fun and educational since you will have ample time to learn about the evolutionary and geological significance of the islands while still having the opportunity to relax, enjoy the warm Ecuadorian sun, and snorkel and swim in the pristine turquoise waters. During this once-in-a-life-time experience you will have the opportunity to view and photograph extraordinary wild life, many of them endemic, including species such as: the marine iguana, 7 species of lava lizards, two species of land iguanas, Galapagos sea lions, giant tortoises, Galapagos fur seals, Pacific green sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and over 100 species of birds. Some of the bird species include the blue-footed booby, brown pelican, masked booby, red-footed booby, frigate birds, Galapagos hawk, lava gull, Galapagos dove and thirteen finch species made famous by Charles Darwin.

Galapagos Cruises: Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC alternates two different full week 7-night itineraries as required by the Galapagos National Park in an effort to better reduce usage on heavily visited sites. The order of visits may vary slightly depending on the yacht assigned.

Saturday’s Active Alternative to Otavalo: Cotopaxi Volcano National Park Hike

This activity would replace the Otavalo program without any additional cost.

We drive through the scenic Andean countryside to reach the foot of Cotopaxi Volcano named for the 19,700-foot peak that dominates the area. The National Park is an ecological sanctuary of 36,000 hectares surrounding the highest active volcano in the world. You’ll have time to do some hiking explore the National Park, home to high altitude birds such as the Puna  Hawk, Carunculated Caracara and with some luck, the Andean Condor.

Lunch is at Hosteria LA CIENEGA, built in the 1600’s. La Cienega is located in the valley at the foot of the volcano and belongs to the descendants of its original owner, the Marquis of Maenza, dating back to the 17th century. The Manor House was built in 1838 and is accessed via an avenue flanked by fragrant eucalyptus trees. It’s mighty stone walls have witnessed important events in Ecuador’s history. Return to Quito in the late afternoon

Highlights during your Ecuador and Galapagos Journey:

  • Andean city of Quito
  • otavalo indigenous market
  • 7-night yacht expedition
  • Superior first-class motor yacht
  • Dining room featuring Ecuadorian and international cuisine
  • Fully-stocked bar
  • Conference room for briefings with TV, DVD player and library
  • Observation areas and open sun deck
  • snorkeling
  • kayaking
  • nature hikes
  • time to enjoy pristine beaches

Enjoy during the cruise:

  • Three meals daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Captain's welcome and farewell cocktail parties
  • Excursions daily with English-speaking naturalist
  • Complimentary snorkeling equipment, custom wet suits and clear-bottom kayaks included during the Cruise

 
Day 1

Friday
Arrival in Quito
Arrival in Quito, (Friday) Ecuador. Meet Mondo Verde Expeditions representative. Transfer to hotel for overnight.

Meals aloft.


 
Day 2

Saturday
Otavalo Market

Otavalo Market: Depart Quito early in the morning to arrive at the market as early as possible. We enjoy a typical lunch at the Hosteria Chorlavi and see a folkloric performance. On our way back to Quito, we stop at the small towns of Calderon, Cotacachi and San Antonio de Ibarra.

B,L


 
Day 3

Sunday
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, SAN CRISTOBAL (Chatham)
Cerro Tijeretas & Leon Dormido, SAN CRISTOBAL
Transfer back to airport for flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, SAN CRISTOBAL, our crew is waiting at the airport to escort you by bus to the main dock and then by zodiac to your yacht anchored in the bay. After the welcome briefing and safety drill, a delicious buffet lunch is served.

We travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas or “Frigatebird Hill” situated on the edge of town. This is one of two sites where you can spot nesting colonies of both species of Frigate birds (Great and Magnificent). The trail leads to Punta Carola where there are beautiful vistas. We find lava lizards, the medium ground finch and Chatham mockingbird. We return to the yacht to join our fellow yacht mates this evening for your briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner prepared by our culinary school-trained chefs.

B,L,D


 
Day 4

Monday
Cerro Brujo (SN, PR, KY) SAN CRISTOBAL
Punta Pitt, (SN, PR) SAN CRISTOBAL
We arrive to Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach, considered one of the most spectacular in Galapagos and perfect for a peaceful walk with expansive views and good bird watching. We have an opportunity to kayak from the beach or swim with sea lions. A Zodiac ride takes us through a cave called The Cathedral. During lunch, we cruise toward the northeastern tip of SAN CRISTOBAL to Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including all three types of boobies: Blue footed, Nazca and Red-footed boobies, both Frigate species, swallow-tailed gulls, Storm petrels, Shearwaters, Brown pelicans and a colony of sea lions. Punta Pitt is considered to be a first class site for birds and on par with Genovesa (Tower) Island. Here we can snorkel at Pitt Rock with sea lions and colorful fish such as the King Angel and Surgeon fish.

We return to the yacht to cruise around Leon Dormido or “Kicker Rock”, a vertical tuff cone formation that rises abruptly almost 500 feet out of the ocean. On the cliffs, we spot Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and Magnificent Frigate birds. We return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

B,L,D


 
Day 5

Tuesday
Punta Suarez, ESPANOLA (Hood)
Gardner Bay (SN, PR, KY) ESPANOLA
We disembark at Punta Suarez, ESPANOLA (Hood), where we witness the highest rate of endemic species in Galapagos. Sea lions noisily green us as we land on their beach. Curious Hood mockingbirds peck at our shoelaces. From April to December, the waved albatross, found only on Espanola, perform their wild mating ritual.

Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates. Nazca boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls are the only nocturnal gulls in the world and fish at night. Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. We also find Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks. Observe a unique specie of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings. Colorful sally light-foot crabs crawl along the shoreline near to the famous “blow hole”.

 

After lunch we have a wet landing on Gardner Bay, ESPANOLA (Hood), walk along seemingly endless stretch of this white sandy beach where you’ll find large colonies of sea lions. There is no trail to follow so this is a chance to explore or take a long walk. You may find a Galapagos Hawk, Darwin’s Finches or Hood Mockingbird. Swim with sea lions right from the beach, explore the bay and islets by kayak or just relax on the beach. There’s an excellent snorkeling site off Gardner Islet with a colorful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock. Explore caves by Zodiac covered with invertebrates. We return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

B,L,D


 
Day 6

Wednesday
Punta Cormorant (PR), Devil’s Crown or Champion (SN), FLOREANA
Post Office Bay (SN), Baronesa Point (PR), FLOREANA (Charles)

Step ashore at Punta Cormorant, FLOREANA (Charles), one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos. Floreana presents a rich human history with mystery and intrigue. Set foot on a green-sand beach alive with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow crowned nigh heron, blue footed boobies and penguins. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home of the Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos Flycatcher, Yellow warblers and the Greater Flamingos, the pinkest in the world! Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including Morning Glory, Cut Leaf Daisies, Black, red and white mangroves, Palo Verde and Scalesia. The trail leads to a beach with power soft sand where sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, we have an opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown or Champion, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and corral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars. Today our lunch is served on the sundeck if weather conditions permit.

After lunch, we visit Post office Bay, not the most scenic, but one of the most famous sites in Galapagos. Here is where a post barrel was erected and put into use in the late 18th Century by English whaling vessels. You are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail from your home area. There is a chance to swim from the beach with sea lions. Late afternoon, we take a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point where we spot sea turtles and rays. We return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

B,L,D


 
Day 7

Thursday

Highlands of SANTA CRUZ (Indefatigable)
CCFL (Darwin Station), SANTA CRUZ

We travel by bus to the highlands of SANTA CRUZ Island. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, we visit the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias” one of the private farms in the highlands where we encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We stop at “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos. We visit Los Gemelos, Spanish for “The Twins”, a pair of large pit craters where we may see the red male vermilion flycatcher. Next, we visit Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (aka the Charles Darwin Research Station).

We visit the tortoise and land iguana corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Lonesome George is no longer with us but there is Diego, “The Professor” who has been more successful at mating. Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000. After lunch and briefing on board, we return to town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet cafe. You have the option to remain in town on your own account to stimulate the local economy or you can return to the boat for dinner. There is a schedule for zodiac transportation from the yacht to town later in the evening.

B,L,D


 
Day 8

Friday
Bartolome (PR, SN), Las Bachas (SN) or Black Turtle Cove (PR) or Sombrero Chino (PR,SN)
We disembark at BARTOLOME, where it seems like we are walking on the moon. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, climb 30 minutes up stairs leading to the summit of a once active volcano. Along the way, we pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the wooden stairs, we can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and “Pinnacle Rock”, an eroded tuff cone. Crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos Penguins or take a Zodiac ride. After lunch, we visit Las Bachas, Spanish for “barges”.

There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where we find the Greater Flamingo. There is also a wonderful chance to snorkel here from the beach. Located off the Southern tip of Santiago is Sombrero Chino aka Chinese Hat that owes its name to its shape. After a wet beach landing with sea lion colonies, the trail gives way to a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble including cracked lava formations and lava tubes. We find marine iguanas and pairs of oystercatchers. You can choose to snorkel at a site that is frequented by Galapagos penguins. There is a briefing followed by dinner while we anchor in a calm protected area.

B,L,D


 
Day 9

Saturday
South Plaza Island
North Seymour (PR, SN)
Today we visit SOUTH PLAZA, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views. After a dry landing, the trail leads us through Prickly Pear or Opuntia and Sesuvium. Here we can find the Galapagos Land Iguana feeding on the cactus leaves. Toward the end of the hill, we encounter a colony of bachelor sea lions. The dominant bulls are in various stages of recovery from battles lost over prime beach territory. We also find Swallow tailed gulls, Shearwaters and Red-billed tropicbirds that build their nests along the cliffs. After lunch, we have a dry landing at North Seymour, a small geological uplift.

We follow a trail that leads us to Swallow-tailed gulls, Blue-footed boobies and the endemic Land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent Frigate birds found in Galapagos. As we stroll along the beach, we find Marine Iguanas and sea lions body surf the northern swells. We return to the yacht for the Captain’s Farwell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.

B,L,D


 
Day 10

Sunday
Interpretation Center, SAN CRISTOBAL (Chatham)
We visit the Interpretation Center opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999 by bus. Here we gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, we spend time in port before heading to the airport for our flight back to the mainland departing before noon time on Aerogal. Afterwards, we head straight to the airport for our flight back to Quito. After arrival transfer to hotel for overnight. Dinner at the hotel on your own.

B,L


 
Day 11

Monday
Quito - USA
Morning transfer back to the airport for flight back to USA. Afternoon arrival in US.

B

Abbreviations: B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, SN = snorkel, KY = kayak, PR = panga (dingy) ride


 
Note

We offer private extension to Peru for participants looking to travel to the Cusco and Machu Picchu of Peru. We also offer private extension to the Colca Canyon/Arequipa, the Amazon Basin and the Lake Titicaca regions of Peru.


 
Included

All hotel accommodations based on double occupancy. Round-trip airfare Quito to Galapagos (there may be a fuel surcharge added). Galapagos park and transit fees. Cabin accommodation, all meals and snacks on the boat, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, Captain's welcome and farewell cocktail, guide services, shore excursions, use of wet suits, snorkeling equipment and sea kayaks, transfers in the Islands between the airport and dock. Other meals as specified in the itinerary, entrance fees, transfers, and English speaking guides. B=Breakfast; L= Lunch; D=Dinner.


 
Not Included

Does not include international airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees, meals not specified, tips and gratuities, excess baggage charges, alcoholic beverages, insurance of any kind. Tips


 
Basics

Per person based on double occupancy on Superior Cabins. For Deluxe and Super Deluxe cabins price increases will apply. Cabins subject to availability at time of request. All transfers and services in Quito and Otavalo are private. First Class motor yacht has capacity for 20 passengers. Four star hotel accommodation in Quito.

Price per person based on double occupancy:
US$ 4,590.00

Flights: Quito/Galapagos/Quito. Prices Subject to change
From US$ 483.00 to US$ 538.00 for adults
From US$ 294.00 to US$ 322.00 for children

Park Tax:
US$ 100.00 adults. US$ 50.00 Children (Subject to Change)

Transit Card:
US$ 10.00

Note: Government Fuel Surcharges may apply without previous notification.


 
Moderate

Journey requires moderate walking along trails and sufficient mobility to board small boats in variable land and sea conditions. In the Galapagos several islands require "wet landings" meaning passengers must step out of a small zodiac in shallow water in order to reach the beach. Passengers are not required to go out on every outing and have the option to remain on board the large boat to relax. Travelers with heart conditions and high blood pressure should consult their physician before traveling at high altitude (Quito & Otavalo)


 
Predeparture

Entry requirements
A valid passport, with at least six months remaining before expiration, is required to enter Ecuador.  Visas are not currently required for visitors for up to 90 days, however it is the passenger’s responsibility to check with their Ecuadorian consulate prior to traveling to determine if a visa is necessary.

International Flights to Ecuador
Flights to Ecuador are currently serviced by American Airlines (Miami), United (Houston), DELTA (Atlanta), LAN (Miami and JFK), LACSA/TACA (San Jose), COPA (Panama), IBERIA (Madrid) and KLM (Amsterdam). All international tickets have the airport departure taxes included in the cost of the ticket.  Local customs authorities allow two suitcases with a total combined weight of 60 kilos per person.  A fee of $200.00 is charged for a third suitcase and $400.00 for a fourth suitcase, excluding carry-on bags.

Immunizations
No inoculations are currently required for visitors to Ecuador and Galapagos. Please do check with your local health office at least two weeks prior to your departure for an update.

Time Zone
Ecuador is in the Eastern Time Zone (GMT-5). Daylight savings time is not observed. Galapagos is one hour behind mainland Ecuador. On board, mainland Ecuador time is observed.

Local Currency
US Dollar is the monetary unit. Be sure to bring small bills ($1, $5, $10 are best).

Language spoken
English is spoken aboard the vessels by guides and Captains. All crew speak Spanish.

Electricity
110/AC 60 cycle (plugs are same as in the USA)

Passenger information form
All passengers must complete and send this form no later than 60 days prior to departure. It includes information such as passport name, passport number, expiration, nationality and date of birth, International flight schedule, itinerary and hotel contact in Ecuador. It also includes you specify an emergency contact, medical conditions, food allergies or any special dietary requests.

Included in your Land Journey and the Cruise rate
All transfer from/to the airports. Airline tickets (priced separately since they are subject to change) Entrance fee to the park and Transit Card (TCT) which are priced separately from main program.  All activities as described in the itinerary. Hotel and cabin accommodation on board, all meals and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, filtered water, house wine and local beer with dinner, welcome and farewell Captains parties, guided shore excursions, use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits and kayaks, transfers between the airport and dock in Galapagos (Sundays only).

Not Included in your Land Journey and the Cruise rate
Airfare to Ecuador. Any extras due to delays, lost flight connections, excess luggage fee, personal expenses such as laundry or calls, gratuities for guides and crew, alcoholic beverages and purchases from the boutique. Travel insurance meals not specified in the program. Upgrades on flights or hotels.

Gratuities to guides & crew
Aboard our yachts, gratuities are not included. We prefer that our guests reward our crew based on their performance. Tipping is a personal matter and passengers are encouraged to tip an amount they find appropriate. For those passengers who inquire, we suggest they follow our guidelines of $200.00 per person. Gratuities are divided among all crew members including guides.

Galapagos entrance fee or “park tax”
The Islands are part of the Ecuador National Park system and the entrance fee is $100.00 per person.  Children age 11 and younger get a reduced rate of $50.00. The fee is divided up among various entities including the GNPS, Marine Reserve, agriculture, municipalities, INEFAN and INGALA.

Transit card fee
All visitors to Galapagos are required to purchase a “Tarjeta de Control de Transito” or TCT card for $10.00.  This card allows INGALA, the institution that controls migration to the islands to better regulate the flow of all arrivals and departure to Galapagos. Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC will register all passengers in advance provided the fee is pre-paid and we receive the passenger information form.

The park tax and TCT fees
These are included in the cruise rate. These fees are added to your cruise invoice and prepaid by Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC for your convenience provided that you arrive on Sunday to Galapagos (SCY) on the Aerogal flight or you decline to prepay. For those who decline to prepay or do not arrive on Sunday with Aerogal, you will need to pre-register on line and pay the fee at the airport.

Flights to Galapagos (San Cristobal)
Flights to Galapagos for Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC passengers are serviced by AEROGAL Airlines from Quito and Guayaquil.  Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC makes flight reservations for confirmed passengers automatically through our allotment of seats on Sunday’s to/from San Cristobal (SCY).  Passengers who purchase their tickets through Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC for the Aerogal flights will receive assistance with the check in procedure and can chose to pre-pay the park tax and transit card. A representative from Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC accompanies our passengers on this flight. The airline allows one checked suitcase (maximum 44 lbs.) and one carry-on bag per passenger.  Aerogal Airlines is required to spray inside the aircraft with a special process once doors are closed and is preparing for take-off.  This is considered common procedure for flights bound to fragile island eco-systems that are susceptible to prevent any invasive species or virus being accidentally transported to the islands.

Flight check in procedure
On the day of departure, please be at the airport in Quito or Guayaquil two hours prior to departure for check-in. A card will be left at your hotel the evening prior with the exact check in time. You must first have your bags inspected by SICGAL as required to travel to Galapagos. Next, look for the Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC representative at the AEROGAL Airline ticket counter to collect your boarding pass, transit card (if prepaid) and get assistance with check in.  Do not stand in line to pay the TCT card if you have already prepaid.  Upon arrival in Galapagos, you may be selected to be fingerprinted to complete the process of the migration control. Next you will form a line to process passengers for the Park entrance fee. Do inform the park representative that you are traveling with Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC if you have prepaid the fee.  They will have a list of prepaid passengers.  Once through, our guides will be waiting for you with signs. You do not need to claim your bags; our crew will collect all baggage and deliver them to your cabin.  Passengers who choose to travel to Galapagos earlier or choose to purchase tickets on another carrier will not be provided with the same services.

Transportation contract
All passengers will receive a cruise ticket at the airport in Guayaquil or Quito upon check in for the flight to Galapagos. The cruise ticket contains the terms and conditions of the transportation contract.  In order to review the terms before you leave home, you can view this on the company web site.

Travel Insurance
We recommend guests purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to protect you and your investment before and during your trip.

Flight misconnection
We recommend that all passengers traveling to Galapagos consider two nights in mainland Ecuador prior to their cruise to allow for potential flight delays and misconnection.  This is particularly important for passengers traveling over winter holidays when flights tend to be overbooked and/or delayed caused by poor weather conditions

Physical limitations
The majority of Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC passengers are healthy, active and reasonably fit. Passengers able to walk a few hours a day unassisted will be able to fully enjoy Galapagos. Some of the excursions require more physical activity than others involving short steep climbs or long walks in hot weather or on uneven rocky trails. However, most excursions require moderate activity and the walks are at a leisurely pace. Entering and exiting the Zodiacs require that you need to be sure footed. If you are concerned about your ability to do any particular day hike, please consult with the naturalist before disembarkation. In order to enjoy your trip to its fullest potential, it is a good idea to do some exercise before your trip, such as walking, swimming or bicycling.   Please see your doctor for a check-up before traveling to Ecuador.  Any medical condition or physical disability that may require special attention or treatment must be advised to Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC at the time of booking.

Motion sickness
Due to strong currents, there will be moderate movement of the vessel while navigating.  Most passengers are not affected. However, if you are prone to seasickness, we strongly urge you bring some type of medication to prevent motion sickness.

Medical facilities on board
The yachts carry first aid kits and medical supplies. The Captain and guides are trained in basic First Aid procedures. All yachts have radio contact with the mainland for any medical emergencies.

Communications
Most telecommunication providers have signal in Galapagos and passengers can use their smart phones that are activated for international calling on days when the yachts are in close range to port. The yachts do not offer WiFi service.

Smoking policy
Smoking is prohibited in enclosed areas aboard the vessels and on the Islands.  Smoking is only allowed on the outside deck in a designated smoking area.

Drinking water
Bottled water is provided in your cabin and is free of charge. Filtered drinking water is provided during meal times. We suggest you do not drink water from the tap in your cabin. Water bottles can be refilled from the water container located in the bar area.

Special Occasions
You may order a bottle of wine ($30) or birthday cake ($20) to be served at dinnertime or a fruit basket ($10) for your cabin.  It is prohibited to bring flowers to Galapagos. Please advise us at least 30 days prior to departure.

Purchases on board
Every passenger has an open tab at the bar and boutique, which are paid the last day of the cruise. We accept cash (US Dollars), Master Card or VISA credit cards only

Island visits/ Activities
Passengers will be assigned by Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC to any of the three identical sister yachts at the company’s discretion. The vessels anchor offshore at two visitor sites or Islands per day.  Passengers are ferried to the landing point in zodiac style inflatable landing craft. The landings are either wet (where one must step into water anywhere from your ankles to your knees and wade to shore) or dry (where one steps from the panga directly to the volcanic rock). Your guide and Zodiac driver will assist you with a steady hand.  On the Islands, one follows marked trails set by the National Park walking at a leisurely pace together with your guide. You will spend 3-4 hours at each site allowing plenty of time to explore and photograph the wildlife.  In addition to the guided land excursions, we offer deep water snorkeling, beach swim/snorkel, kayaking and zodiac (dingy) rides. Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC is not currently offering any optional scuba diving until further notice.

Yacht & Itinerary Stipulations
Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC reserves the right at its sole option and discretion and that of the Captain of the vessel or National Park impact studies without liability for damages or refund of any kind to deviate from the vessel’s advertised or ordinary itinerary for any reason including mechanical failure. Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC will not be held responsible for any refund whatsoever for changes to the printed or scheduled itinerary.

Snorkeling equipment
There are many opportunities to snorkel during the cruise, sometimes twice a day from the beach and in deep water. Masks, fins and snorkels in average sizes are available on board free of charge for use during the cruise.   If you anticipate taking advantage of all snorkeling opportunities you may prefer to bring your own mask and snorkel for a proper fit.

Wet suits
Full 3mm wet suits are available for passengers to use during the cruise at no additional charge on a first come first serve basis. Wet suits are most popular from June to November when water temperatures are between 65 and 72 degrees.

Reserve a Wet suit
Passengers who would like to reserve a wet suit prior to the cruise may do so for a charge of $25.00 for the week. The fee will be charged to onboard account and paid at the end of the cruise. Reserved wet suits will be removed from the inventory and set aside for your exclusive use during the cruise.  In order to reserve a wet suit, we need to know your approximate size (size selection may vary by yacht):  Men: S, M, MT, L, XL, XXL, XXXL / Women:  S, M, MT, L, XL   / Children:  S, M, L

Sea Kayaks
Each yacht carries two tandem and one single sea kayaks. They are available at designated sites during the cruise at no charge on a first come first serve basis.

PACKING LIST
Dress is casual and comfortable, and informality is basic to all activities.  We recommend you pack in a collapsible, soft-sided suitcase. Checked bags should be securely locked for your security.   We recommend that you leave all valuables at home.  The yachts do not have safety boxes and cabins lock from the inside only.

  • Small backpack or knapsack
  • Walking shoes or lightweight hikers (Keens), socks
  • Sport sandals with a Velcro strap (Tevas)
  • Boat shoes or flip flops to wear on board
  • Comfortable lightweight pants
  • Shorts or nylon zip-off pants that convert to shorts
  • Short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts
  • (2) Bathing suits, sunscreen, lip balm SPF 30+
  • Wide brimmed hat, bandana, Sunglasses with UV filter and a strap
  • Lightweight wind breaker
  • Sweat shirt or fleece vest or light weight jacket (July to Nov only)
  • Camera equipment in a waterproof bag
  • Binoculars
  • Underwater camera
  • Personal medication, Sea sickness medication
  • Ear plugs
  • Small flashlight
  • Water bottle – non-polycarbonate plastic (or BPA free) that can be refilled from our containers of purified water made from our reserve osmosis water makers.
  • Toiletries – we ask that you bring only biodegradable sunscreens and lotions if possible.
  • Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC supplies you with biodegradable soap, shampoo and conditioner.
  • Although provided, you may want to bring your own snorkeling equipment (mask and snorkel)
  • Beach towels and hair dryers are provided and therefore it is not necessary that you bring these

Weather condition
The Galapagos have a surprisingly cool, sub-tropical climate. The larger islands with volcanic peaks have a variety of climatic zones. The coastal areas are arid and covered with plants adapted to desert conditions.  The highland areas receive moisture almost all year round, which support lush vegetation.  Temperatures are determined almost entirely by ocean currents, which are influenced by the trade winds. There are two seasons, both of which have some precipitation. Galapagos gets an average of ten inches of rain per year, it is never considered “rainy”. During the months of December to May, the cooling currents subside, temperatures rise and the climate is warm and sunny with occasional showers. In June, the trend begins toward cooler temperatures with moderate breezes, which continue through November. This period is referred to as the “garua” (pronounced gah-ru-ah) season, which means mist in Spanish.

MONTHLY TEMPERATURES

JAN      FEB     MAR    APR     MAY    JUN     JUL      AUG    SEP     OCT     NOV    DEC

MAX AIR TEMP:

84         86        88        86        82         78        76        74        76         77         78        80

MIN AIR TEMP:

70         74        74        72        72         68        66        64        62         64         66        68

AVG SEA TEMP:

74         76        76        76        74         74        72        66        68         70         72        74

AVG RAINFALL (In inches)

1            1           2       1.5        .75       .25       .50      .25        .50        .25        .50       .50

 

Follow the National park rules & regulations
The National Park establishes and maintains nature trails and interpretive signs.  Signs posted on board our vessels list the National Park Rules & Regulations. During the orientation, your guide will go over the Galapagos National Park rules, which you are required to follow. Visitors cannot legally go anywhere in the designated National Park area without being escorted by a licensed guide. During the cruise, listen to your naturalist guide and follow all the National park rules; they are as follows:

  1. Please do not disturb or remove any native plant, rock or animal on land or in the water.
  2. Be careful not to transport any live material or sand from one Island to the next.
  3. Do not take any food or drink except water to the uninhabited islands.
  4. Please do not touch, pet or feed the animals. Approaching them too closely or taking flash photography will disturb them.
  5. Please do not startle or chase any animal from its nesting place.
  6. Please do not leave any trash on the Islands or throw any litter overboard.
  7. Please follow the marked trails at all times and do not walk out of their limits.
  8. Please stay with your naturalist guide who must accompany all groups on the trails.
  9. Please do not buy souvenirs of objects made from native Galapagos products (except for wood) especially black coral, sea lion teeth and shells of the Galapagos tortoises.
  10. Do not smoke on the islands.

Suggested Reading – short list

  • Galapagos, Preserving Darwin’s Legacy, by Tui de Roy, 2009
  • Galapagos, Both sides of the Coin, by Pete Oxford & Graham Watkins, 2009
  • Darwin in Galapagos, Footsteps to a New World, by Greg Estes & Thalia Grant, 2009
  • Galapagos, Exploring Darwin’s Tapestry, by John Hess, 2009
  • Galapagos at the Crossroads; Pirates, Biologists, Tourists and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution, by Carol Ann Bassett, 2009

Best Field guides

  • Galapagos, A Natural History Guide, by Michael Jackson
  • A Traveler’s Guide to the Galapagos Islands, by Barry Boyce
  • Galapagos Wildlife, by David Horwell & Pete Oxford, Brandt Publication
  • Galapagos, Reef Fish Identification Guide, by Paul Human

Lightweight and easy to pack

  • Galapagos, Smithsonian Natural History Series, by JC Kricher,
  • The Enchanted Isles, by Herman Melville, paperback
  • Galapagos, A Novel, by Kurt Vonnegut, paperback
  • The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin, in paperback
  • On Natural Selection, Charles Darwin, Penguin Books
  • Galapagos, World’s End, by William Beebe

Insightful reading

  • On the Origin of Species, The Illustrated Edition, by Charles Darwin & David Quamman
  • The Beak of the Finch, by Jonathan Weiner (Pulitzer Prize-winning book)
  • The Reluctant Mr Darwin, by David Quammen,
  • Charles Darwin, The Concise story of an extraordinary man, by Tim Berra

Movies

  • Galapaogs Affair: Satin came to Eden (2013) murder mystery documentary
  • Galapagos 3D with David Attenborough (SKY) (2013) nature documentary series
  • Creation (2010) starring Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin, Jennifer Connelly as Emma
  • Master & Commander, The Far Side of the World (2008) starring Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany
  • Galapagos, The Islands that Changed the World (2007) Tilda Swinton
  • Galapagos (IMAX) (2002) follow marine biologist Carole Baldwin to the ocean floor

Relevant Links

  • Galapagos National Park Service:  www.galapagospark.org
  • Galapagos Conservency  www.galapagos.org
  • Galapagos Conservation Trust  www.gct.org
  • WildAid  www.wildaid.org
  • World Wildlife Fund www.wwf.org
  • Resaca, Aroma de Cafe or Santay – located on the Malecon 2000
  • Lo Nuestro – Victor Emilio Estrada 903 e Higueras  Tel:  238 -6398, Urdesa
  • Riviera – VE Estrada 707 y Ficus, Italian, Tel 288-3790,
  • Mi Tierra – Las Terrazas via Samborondon, Ecuadorian food, Tel 0483-7759

 
Reading List

http://www.longitudebooks.com/find/d/24855/r/3A/mcms.html


RELATED TRIPS
Galapagos Islands & Quito