Location of Adventure
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Group Size Limit
A very important feature of our Galapagos tour is the limited group size, as the islands and their unique wildlife are best encountered in the lower-impact presence of a small group. And our guests get far more personalized attention from our guides, including a richer interpretive experience, in a small-group context.
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
Activities, accommodations and land transportation as detailed in the itinerary, airport transfers when using our preferred hotels, meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the final day, drinking water throughout the trip, soft drinks (soda, coffee, tea and juice) at meals, alcoholic beverages aboard the Xploration, local beer and house wine with dinner aboard the Letty, snorkeling gear and wetsuit, services of Natural Habitat Adventures professional Expedition Leaders, most gratuities, taxes and service charges.
Travel to and from Quito, round-trip air Quito to Galapagos (to be added to your invoice and subject to change through day of departure), some gratuities, some or all alcoholic beverages (depending on the boat), Galapagos tax and transit card (currently $120 for adults, $70 for children 11 and under, collected in advance), items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc.), travel insurance, optional activities.
Easy to Moderate
Our Galapagos adventures are quite busy, with early mornings and long days filled with various activities. Activities include island walks, swimming and snorkeling. Trails are often rough and uneven, crossing sharp lava fields and loose rocks and gravel. Walking over slippery rocks is sometimes necessary when stepping ashore. Passengers must be able to walk a minimum of 2 miles to participate in this trip, walk up and down stairs, and be able to get in and out of motorized pangas (rigid inflatable rafts), which can be very unsteady in rough water. A few wet landings, where we disembark from the panga directly into the water and walk up onto the beach, are required. Itineraries that feature a visit to Bartolome include a walk with more than 300 wooden steps to reach the viewpoint at the top of the island. Snorkeling is a big component of this trip, with excursions offered nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. While no snorkeling experience is required, prior practice is recommended, and travelers should be comfortable swimming in moderate currents, near shore and in deep water. Our Expedition Leaders will also offer guidance for those in need of additional snorkeling instruction. Travelers are not required to participate in every activity.
Elevation: Please note that the first two nights of this adventure are spent in the Otavalo region in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at elevations between 8,500–10,500 feet above sea level. The Quito airport is situated at 8,700 feet, and the city of Quito (should you join our Extra Day Program) is at 9,400 feet. The relative lack of oxygen at these elevations may manifest in altitude-sickness symptoms that can include headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea during the first few hours or days spent at elevation. Hydration and rest usually help symptoms to resolve, though participants may wish to talk with their doctor about taking along a prescription for a medication such as Diamox to better manage potential physical reactions to high altitude. We recommend arriving one day early to Otavalo or Quito to acclimate.
Important Information About This Trip
Perhaps nowhere else on Earth is a more appropriate destination for Natural Habitat guests than the Galapagos Islands. With rare and friendly wildlife found at every turn, the islands provide a wonderland for nature travelers, which our Expedition Leaders unveil in a warm and intimate manner. The key to the success of our Galapagos adventures is the small group size. The Letty accommodates just 20 guests and two Expedition Leaders. The Xploration and Ocean Spray hold a maximum of 16 guests and two Expedition Leaders. Once we step ashore, we break our group down into even smaller groups. Splitting the group also allows our guests to move at varied paces, although guests must be able to walk over uneven terrain up to two miles, as well as disembark the panga in sometimes-rough conditions. In addition to land excursions, we have the opportunity to snorkel almost every day while in the islands. Another important and exciting element of this trip is a unique opportunity (optional, but included) to stay in the highlands of Santa Cruz at our first-class private camp, with accommodations in walk-in safari-style tents and tree houses overlooking the Pacific. On this private land the famed Galapagos tortoises roam freely most months of the year and often wander in close proximity to camp.
Please note: The itinerary provided is meant as a guideline, and is subject to change without notice. On rare occasions, it may be necessary to deviate from our regular itinerary for reasons beyond our control. In these instances we will provide the best available alternative.
Age Limit on Galapagos Trips
We welcome children ages seven and older on scheduled departures. However, while some seven-year-olds are well suited for our Galapagos adventures, others may not be ready for the requirements of group travel. We believe it's best to consider this minimum age limit a guideline – you, as a parent or guardian, are best qualified to decide whether your child would enjoy the experience without compromising the comfort of others. We strongly encourage you to speak with one of our Adventure Specialists about the specific requirements of the trip so you can make an informed decision. We do not permit children younger than seven on our scheduled departures due to safety regulations, physical limitations and concerns regarding group dynamics.
Since the areas we travel to on this extension are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for this program. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat, we require that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. Please note that we will add the cost of Natural Habitat’s medical evacuation policy to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, phone number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
To protect your investment and to provide peace of mind while you travel, we also strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance. Plans may cover everything from medical treatment to trip cancellations and delays, to lost luggage. Please contact our office if you would like more information about the medical evacuation or comprehensive travel insurance policies we offer through Travelex by calling 800-543-8917.
Getting There & Getting Home
Arrival: Please arrive in Quito no later than 4 pm on Day 1 in order to attend a welcome/orientation dinner at 7 pm.
Departure: On the final day, you are free to depart from Quito after 9 pm for trips on the Letty and Ocean Spray, and after 8 pm for trips on the Xploration.
We can best serve you if our Natural Habitat Adventures Travel Desk makes your reservations, as we are intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient travel. Please call us at 800-543-8917. Note that while we offer you the best possible rates available to us on airfare and additional nights' accommodations, you may find special web rates or better fares online.