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Galapagos Frequently Asked Questions

General 

Q: When is the best time of year to visit?
A: There is never a bad time to visit. We suggest planning your adventure around what you want to do and see. The warm season runs from January to May with an average temperature of 30°C (86°F). The seas are also calmer and warmer during these months. 
The Galapagos cool season starts in June and ends in December. The average temperature is 25°C (81°F) and is typically overcast, but with very little rain. The seas are rougher at this point, especially from July through September. However, the Humboldt Current brings colder water that is rich in plankton, which means more fish and birds. Blue-footed boobies also mate during this season. 
If you are an avid snorkeller, we suggest visiting during January through March, when underwater visibility is at its best. This is also the mating season for land birds and sea lions, and nesting season for sea turtles. 
If flowers and lush vegetation is your thing, then visit the islands from February through April, when the island is in full bloom. March and April are great months to get up-close-and-personal with sea lion pups.
See more about when to visit

Q: What is each island known for?
A: For information on the different islands, click here

Q: How do I get to the Galapagos Islands?
A: On the cruise tours, usually, you will fly from Quito between 7am and 11am on the second day of your tour, touch down in Guayaquil (no need to disembark) and arrive in the Galapagos between noon and 2pm.  On the last day of the tour, you’ll depart after breakfast and catch a morning flight that gets you back to Quito in the early afternoon.

Q: What is the National Park fee?
A: The Galapagos National Park charges a visitor fee of $100 USD, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador's other national parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the national park system are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

Q: How do you determine the itineraries?
A: In 2012, the Galapagos National Park Service instituted two-week itineraries in order to better preserve the islands. We’ve modelled our tours after their suggested itineraries. If you want to explore the entire archipelago, then book two ten-day trips back-to-back. If you are short of time; we have shorter tours that pack a lot into just a few days. There are 116 visitor sites in the Galapagos, roughly half of which are land based and the other half snorkel or dive sites. Small groups are allowed to visit in 2-4 hour shifts to limit impact on the area.

Q: Do I need to bring binoculars?
A: The wildlife is pretty close so they are not necessary but if you have some, bring them.

About the boats

Q: Do you cruise between the islands during the day or at night?
A: We spend most of the night cruising, so that you can spend the day viewing the wildlife.

Q: How much time will we spend on the islands?
A: Aside from your arrival and departure days, you’ll see approximately two islands per day, spending at least four hours on each.

Q: Will I get seasick?
A: The water around the Galapagos Islands is fairly calm, but it can get a little choppy when the cold Humboldt Current arrives between July and September. If you’re prone to seasickness or nervous of the possibility, we suggest contacting your doctor before you leave.

Q: Will I be able to sleep?
A: If you are a light sleeper, ear plugs are recommended to drown out any engine noises from the boat.

Q: What kind of meals will you be serving on the ship? Can the chefs accommodate special dietary needs and requests?
A: The talented chefs serve up delicious and nutritious meals during the sailing portion of the tour. The menu includes seafood, beef, fresh salads, soups, and desserts, as well as hot drinks like tea and coffee. If you’re a vegetarian or have any food allergies or restrictions, please let us know at the time of booking.

Q: Are drinks included?
A: Purified drinking water is available and a refillable water bottle is provided. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate are provided free of charge. Juice, soft drinks, wine, beer, and a basic selection of spirits can be purchased at the bar. You can also start a tab which can be settled in cash at the end of your trip. Most beer and alcoholic beverages can be purchased for USD3 per bottle. A bottle of wine is between USD30-40, while soft drinks and juice range from USD1-2.

Q: Does the boat have a weight restriction for luggage?
A: Some of the cabins are not very big so we suggest that you do not bring too much luggage for your own comfort. You can leave feel luggage in your joining hotel storage room in Quito if necessary.

Q: What are the landings like?
A: There are two different types of landings – wet and dry. The Tour Leader will let you know in advance which type of landing there will be. On a wet landing, you will need to exit the zodiac in some water, but generally it is no more than knee height. You can either exit the zodiac in bare feet carrying your shoes or wearing shoes suitable for walking in water.

Q: Can I snorkel?
A: There are plenty of opportunities to go snorkelling. Masks, snorkels, and fins are available on board, free of charge. However, if you have good equipment of your own, you may want to bring it. There is generally an opportunity to go once or twice every day. If you do not want to snorkel, you can stay on board.

Q: Can I scuba dive?
A: Unfortunately, due to permit regulations dictated by the Galapagos National Park Service, we cannot offer scuba diving.

Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: We only hire certified naturalist guides from the Galapagos National Park Service. Your guide will hold an informational meeting to discuss the flora and fauna you’ll encounter on your adventure. Curiosity is encouraged, as your guide is pleased to answer all of your questions. Your guide will also provide the group with instructions on how to tread lightly on this highly sensitive environment.

Q: What types of electrical plugs are on the ships?
A: Our ships are equipped with North American-style plugs which take two flat blade prongs and up to 110V of electricity. If you’re planning on travelling with a digital and/or video camera, we suggest that you pack another set of charged batteries just in case.

Q: Do you provide towels on board?
A: Yes.

Q: Are wetsuits provided?
A: Wetsuits are provided on the Queen of the Galapagos and the Evolution. On the Xavier III and the Monserrat, they can be rented on board for about USD5 a day. If you want guaranteed size and comfort, though, we suggest you bring your own.  Wetsuits are not needed all year round, but from July through September, the water is a little cooler, and a wetsuit can make splashing around a little more comfortable.

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