FAQ - Galapagos

What boats are used for your Galapagos adventures?

We manage four vessels in the Galapagos Islands that are exclusive to G Adventures travellers. The Daphne (G3), Xavier (G4), San Jose (G5) and Queen of Galapagos (G8) are between 68 and 89 feet in length, and cover the range of options from budget to Deluxe cruising. All of our boats provide a small-group experience with a maximum capacity of 16 passengers to ensure a more intimate adventure. All cabins on all of the vessels have private en suite bathrooms, air conditioning and are outside facing with either a window or a port hole. The Daphne (G3) provides both upper and lower berths in each cabin while all cabins on Xavier (G4) and San Jose (G5) have side by side lower berths. The Queen of Galapagos (G8) offers a double sized suite as well as both side by side twin cabins and queen size beds. Please refer to our Galapagos Product Page to view deck plans, photos and more details of each boat. For those looking to experience the Galapagos Islands but not from a boat, we offer several fantastic land-based itineraries as well, like the "Land Galapagos - Multi-activities" and "Galapagos on a Shoestring" tours.

back to top Back to top

When is the best time of year to visit the Galapagos?

There's never a bad time to visit the Galapagos. January to May in the Galapagos is considered the warm season with an average afternoon temperature of 86F/30C.  The seas are calmer and warmer although this is the wetter of the two seasons The warm water is nice for snorkeling and diving although there is less marine life to observe and underwater visibility is best in January through March.  This is the mating season for land birds and sea lions, and the nesting season for turtles.  Flowers begin blossoming in February through April. Around March and April, you'll see the newborn pups crawling around the islands.
 
June to December is considered the cool season although the average daily afternoon temperature is only 5 degrees less than during the hot season.  It is typically more overcast at this time of year but it rarely rains.  The seas are definitely rougher, especially from July through September, when the Humboldt current brings cold water rich in plankton and other nutrients.  This attracts fish and birds, making it what many consider to be the best time of the year to snorkel and to spot an albatross or a penguin. Blue-footed boobies also mate during this time of year, so it won't be difficult to witness their beautiful mating ritual known as the "sky point."
 

back to top Back to top

What is each island known for?

The group consists of 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. Bartolomé is an extinct volcano and has a variety of variably colored volcanic formations, including a tuff cone known as Pinnacle Rock. The high amount of iron contained in the lava at Rábida island give it a distinctive red color. Flamingos are found here. Espanola has the only colony of the waved albatross, one of the Galapagos most spectacular seabirds. Santa Fe has the tallest Opuntia cactus in the Galapagos. Pink flamingos and green sea turtles nest in Floreana island. Our guides will conduct a presentation on the wide variety of flora and fauna you will encounter on each island you visit.

back to top Back to top

What is the difference between your 6, 7, and 10-day Voyage Galapagos tours?

The longer the adventure the more islands you visit. Please be aware that approximately three days of each tour are spent in Quito and getting to and from the islands. Therefore the shorter itineraries will spend less time sailing around the islands.

back to top Back to top

Are there itinerary changes in 2012?

For 2012, the Galapagos Park Service has instituted new 2-week itineraries. Not only are they better for the islands, these new itineraries provide several advantages for travellers too. With longer cycles, visitors will be able to select from a variety of cruise options that suit them best. Travellers who wish to experience the entire archipelago can book two 10-day trips back-to-back and not explore the same island twice! (save for port stops, of course). We've divided these cycles into two or three shorter itineraries for those who prefer a different schedule - check out our 6,7, and 10-day adventures on this website.

back to top Back to top

How good are your guides?

We use 'expert naturalist guides' on all boats except the Deluxe catamaran which uses Level III Naturalist Guides, the highest level available in the Galapagos. Each evening your guide will hold an information meeting in the ship's lounge to go over the itinerary for the next day and to discuss the flora and fauna you may encounter. Our guides encourage questions concerning the biological, geological and human history of the islands. Your guide will also provide you with tips and instructions on how to tread lightly in this highly sensitive environment and will accompany you on all shore excursions.

back to top Back to top

How do we get to the Galapagos Islands?

All tours that visit the Galapagos Islands depart from Quito. The flight from Quito to the Galapagos takes approximately two and a half hours.

back to top Back to top

Do you cruise between the islands during the day or at night?

We spend most of the day anchored off one of the islands, allowing us to make the best use of our time observing the wildlife and unique geology. Occasionally we will sail short distances during the day but most of our sailing is done at night.

back to top Back to top

Can we snorkel?

There will opportunities to snorkel during the voyage. Masks, snorkels and fins are available on board (free of charge). We encourage you to bring your own to ensure the perfect fit and therefore the most enjoyable time snorkeling.

back to top Back to top

What is the "National Park fee"?

The USD$100 per person National Park fee is levied by the Galapagos National Park authorities and must be paid in cash upon arrival at the airport in the Galapagos. The fee is used to help protect and preserve the Galapagos Islands for future generations.
The beneficiaries are as follows: Galapagos National Park Service (40%), Municipal Governments (20%), The Galapagos Provincial Board (10%), Galapagos Marine Reserve (5%), the National System for Protected Areas (5%), the National Galapagos Institute (10%), the Quarantine and Inspection System (5%) and the Ecuadorian Navy (5%).

back to top Back to top

Will I get seasick?

The water around the Galapagos is generally calm however it can get rough when the cold Humboldt Current arrives in July through September. If you are prone to seasickness we suggest you contact your physician prior to departure and ask whether medication, patches or wristbands would work best for you.

back to top Back to top

Are there medical facilities aboard?

There is a basic first aid kit onboard for minor ailments however the boat is not equipped to handle serious medical conditions. Passengers are required to obtain medical insurance that covers medical emergency evacuation.

back to top Back to top

What are meals like onboard ship (are you able to accommodate special requests)?

Meals are nutritious and plentiful and you will be served breakfast, lunch and dinner for the duration of the sailing portion of the tour. The menu generally includes a good variety of seafood, fish, beef, fresh salads and soups, as well as dessert and hot drinks. All meals on board ship are served in the dining room. If you require a special diet (ie, vegetarian, diabetic, etc.) we ask that you inform us at the time of booking.

back to top Back to top

Is drinking water available onboard?

Purified drinking water is available on board and a refillable water bottle is provided.

back to top Back to top

How much are drinks on board the boat?

Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and bottled water are provided free of charge. There is a bar on board where juice, soft drinks, wine, beer and a basic selection of liquor can be purchased. You may run a tab at the bar using the "chit" system. Prior to disembarking a tally of your chits will be presented to you for settlement in CASH. Beer and alcoholic beverages are approximately USD$3.00 , a bottle of wine is USD$30.00 to $40.00, and soft drinks/juices USD$1.00 to $2.00.

back to top Back to top

What voltage is used on board ship?

There are 110V electrical outlets in the cabins using the North American style plugs, with two flat blade prongs. If you are planning on taking a video or digital camera we suggest you take an extra set of charged batteries.

back to top Back to top

How much should I tip the guide and crew?

The staff and crew appreciate gratuities. In fairness to all and to make your cruise more enjoyable tips are collected at the end of the voyage and distributed among the crewmembers and the guide. Although we leave the amount to your discretion, we suggest a rate of USD$8-$10 per passenger per day while on the boat.

back to top Back to top

Is there a weight restriction on the luggage I bring to the Galapagos?

Due to the cabin sizes on the yachts and the weight restrictions that airlines enforce, the amount of luggage you can bring on the boat is limited. You can leave unnecessary items in your joining hotel storage room in Quito. On arrival day, our customer support will provide each passenger with a special bag to give you an indication of how much you should pack for the Galapagos (please also bring a separate day pack for each person). Our designated bags are about 50L in capacity, allowing you to carry some 12-15 kg of luggage. They measure 72x30x26 cm and provide you with ample storage space for the duration of the cruise. The personal luggage allowance is therefore 1 special bag (provided by us) and 1 day pack (your own).

back to top Back to top

How much time will we spend on the islands during the landings?

Aside from your arrival and departure day into the Galapagos, there are approximately 2 island landings per day; each taking around 4 hours.

back to top Back to top

Can we Scuba Dive?

We do not offer diving from our boats due to operating permit regulations as dictated by the Galapagos National Park.

back to top Back to top

Are towels supplied on the boats, or do I have to bring my own?

We provide towels in the room for indoor and as well for snorkeling and swimming. 

back to top Back to top

Do you provide wetsuits or would we need to bring our own? Are they necessary?

Our Deluxe catamaran (g6) provides included wetsuits to all guests, and some other of our boats offer wetsuits for optional rental. While we strive for optimal quality and availability on any boat offering these wetsuits, if you want to guarantee size and comfort we would recommend bringing your own. Wet suits are not necessary but can make your time in the water more enjoyable from July to September when there is a cold current makes it way up to the Galapagos from the southern end of South America.

back to top Back to top