Ecuador & Galapagos Family Adventure

This Southern Explorations Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Family Adventure trip combines exhilarating activities with unique wildlife and exciting landscapes. On this adventure tour, the whole family will enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, biking, zip lining, and hiking through the most unique landscapes that Ecuador has to offer. This exclusive tour combines the volcanic landscapes and beautiful beaches of the enchanted Galapagos Islands with the lush green cloud forest of the Andes Mountains and Colon... READ MORE >>
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Quito
Day 2: Colonial Quito & Equator Tour
Day 3: Quito - Bellavista Cloud Forest
Day 4: Zipline Canopy & Chocolate Tour
Day 5: Quito - Baltra - Isabela (Coastal Biking)
Day 6: Isabela (Sea Kayaking, Giant Tortoises &Surfing Lessons)
Day 7: Isabela (Sierra Negra Volcano Hike & Beach Time)
Day 8: Isabela - Santa Cruz (Tortuga Bay & Highlands)
Day 9: Santa Cruz - Baltra - Quito
Day 10: Quito - Home
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Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Quito
Upon your arrival, a Southern Explorations representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel.
Day 2: Colonial Quito & Equator Tour
Quito's year-round mild weather, rich colonial history and dramatic mountain setting makes it a desirable place to visit. Enjoy an expertly guided walking tour of well-preserved Old Town Quito filled magnificent churches and colonial-style architecture grand enough to be named a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. From the Plaza de la Independencia, learn about the monumental buildings that border it including the Presidential Palace. Walk along La Ronda, a pedestrian only street lined with artisan shops selling handicrafts and delicious local treats. You’ll learn about the production and taste some of these local delicacies! Stop at El Panecillo, a 200-meter-high hill of volcanic origin, for a breathtaking view overlooking Quito and the surrounding valleys. Next, head 30 kilometers north of the city to the Equatorial City Complex, a collection of monuments and museums built around Latitude Zero. Visit the Intiñan Museum, a very fun and picturesque place that shows the equator from a different perspective. Here you will find many ancient solar calendars, clocks and season indicators. Stand on the “real equatorial line” and experiment with gravity by balancing an egg on the head of a nail and see how the Coriolis effect works in both hemispheres. This visit is fun for the whole family! (B,L)
Day 3: Quito - Bellavista Cloud Forest
Today’s adventure begins bright and early with a departure from your Quito hotel at 06:30 AM. After a two hour drive, you’ll arrive at the beautiful Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge and have breakfast at the lodge. You have plenty of time to relax and explore the natural wonder of this magical place. Bellavista offers miles of trails ranging from easy to truly adventurous. Hikes last anywhere from thirty minutes to over three hours. Guides are available to teach the fascinating ecology of the cloud forest. As you walk through this mystical landscape, keep your eye out for toucans, hummingbirds, and beautiful orchids of all sizes and colors. For those who wish to explore on their own, all trails are clearly marked and there is a very informative self-guided trail. Your night is spent comfortably in the charming accommodations at the Reserve. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Zipline Canopy & Chocolate Tour
Enjoy a hearty breakfast and set out for another exciting day amidst the lush cloud forest. Today you’ll enjoy an exhilarating tour through the beautiful cloud forest canopy. This is an exciting activity where you’ll experience tree top views you cannot see from the forest floor as you zip through the canopy amongst lush vegetation breathing in crisp fresh air. After completing ten different lines of varying lengths ranging from twenty to four hundred meters, you’ll enjoy a chocolate tour where you learn about the cultivation and chocolate making process, and of course enjoy a tasting! Transfer back to Quito in the afternoon, arriving around 5pm. Tonight you are free to enjoy dinner at your hotel or in a nearby restaurant. (B,L)
Day 5: Quito - Baltra - Isabela (Coastal Biking)
In the morning, your Southern Explorations guide picks you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island. From there, you’ll connect with a small plane ride to Isabela Island, the largest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in town, just a few minutes away. After settling in, we’ll hop on bikes for an exciting coastal ride through the sandy streets of Puerto Villamil and down the coast. We’ll ride along beautiful beaches and through patches of coastal forest. Along the ride, we’ll make stops where you’ll see some of the largest marine iguanas in the archipelago, up to three feet long! You’ll see pink flamingos in a brackish lagoon and hike up to a lookout tower affording you views of recent lava flows, the town, and the expansive Pacific Ocean! It is not uncommon to ride alongside Giant Tortoises as we continue on to the Wall of Tears (Muro de las Lagrimas), a lava rock wall built by prisoners between 1946 and 1959 when Isabela was used as a penal colony. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy a free evening of beach strolling at sunset before dinner at a nearby restaurant. (B,L,D)

Biking Details: 8 miles, flat with stops at places of interest. Alternate activities available if you prefer not to bike.
Day 6: Isabela (Sea Kayaking, Giant Tortoises &Surfing Lessons)
After breakfast, it’s time to enjoy some time on the water! You’ll slip into ocean kayaks and paddle through a maze of rocky mangrove areas at a place called Tintoreras, a group of small islets south of the town of Puerto Villamil. Here you will see one of the smallest penguins in the world, also endemic to Galapagos. Watch as they perch ashore and whiz by you in the water! Paddle in company of playful sea lions, spotted eagle rays, turtles, iguanas, as well as blue footed boobies and other marine birds, all from your kayak. This is also a great place for snorkeling. Our kayaks are made for two, and no experience is necessary. Our expert guides will make sure that everyone enjoys this exciting Galapagos wildlife tour. We’ll walk off our lunch by taking a trail through a manzanillo forest leading us to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center. This is a great place to see the iconic species at all stages of life. Today’s adventure continues with an afternoon surfing lesson! Puerto Villamil is a sleepy beachside town with a local surfing culture. Take advantage of learning from a local expert surfer with the gorgeous backdrop of the Galapagos Islands. As you ride the waves, be on the lookout for blue footed boobies and other coastal birds flying overhead. Your hotel is nearby, and you are free to relax and enjoy the beach before heading out for another tasty dinner this evening at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Isabela (Sierra Negra Volcano Hike & Beach Time)
Today we leave the coast behind and head up into the highlands of Isabela to Sierra Negra Volcano. After a quick hike up to the perimeter of the caldera, you will be entranced by the vastness of Sierra Negra, one of the largest calderas on planet earth. Walking along the lava fields of Volcan Chico, your guide will show you how these incredible islands were formed. Expansive views from the top stretch on to nearby islands and several neighboring volcanos. As we head back down, be on the lookout for the bright red vermillion flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. We’ll make a stop at a hacienda where coffee and tropical fruits are grown before heading back to town. The rest of the afternoon is yours! Perhaps you’ll opt for additional surfing or boogie boarding (boards can be rented locally), stroll along the beach looking for wildlife, or wander back to the flamingo lagoon. This evening dinner is on your own. (B,L)

Hiking Details: 10 miles, approximately 5 hours. Shorter routes are available.
Day 8: Isabela - Santa Cruz (Tortuga Bay & Highlands)
After bidding farewell to Isabela, we board an early morning public speed boat for the scenic ride to Santa Cruz Island. After arriving and settling in at your hotel we’ll head out to Tortuga Bay. We begin with a walk through a distinctive dry cacti forest where you will see many native birds, lizards, and plants. Emerge from the forest onto the spectacular Tortuga Bay, home of one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Soft, white, fine sand and pristine turquoise waters welcome us for a perfect and relaxed day. At the far end of the beach is a cove with trails to explore. From there, we’ll take a boat back to town for lunch. This afternoon, we head inland to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a misty forested land perfect for spotting Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. You’ll find them taking mud baths in the ponds or trying to cross the forest walking slowly under the vegetation. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at a restaurant in town. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Santa Cruz - Baltra - Quito
After breakfast you are transferred to Baltra Island, where you will board your return flight to Quito. Upon your afternoon arrival on mainland Ecuador, a Southern Explorations representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel. If you wish, you may fly home on a red eye flight tonight. Please check with us to ensure the timing works. (B)
Day 10: Quito - Home
A Southern Explorations representative picks you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your international flight home, marking the end of Southern Explorations’ services. Trip extensions to other regions or extra days can also be arranged. (B)

Weather (Galapagos Islands Land Tours)

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

The great weather of the Galapagos Islands makes them a fantastic destination for travel year-round. Every month of the year is a good time to enjoy a tour of the region. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost completely determined by sea currents. Although most believe the Galapagos to be a very hot destination, the cool water currents in the area keep the climate more temperate year-round. The islands’ equatorial location ensures twelve hours of sunlight daily, all year long. The mild variations in weather from month to month result in an overall climate of warm days, cool nights and low humidity. Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos; while visiting one can expect to see plenty of sunshine, blue skies and a possible chance of light rain.

There are two seasons in the Galapagos:

  • The hot or rainy season arrives with the coming of the warm Panama current. The warmest months are December through June with temperatures ranging from 72-90°F (22-32°C), with February and March being the hottest and sunniest. The sea is at its warmest (in the 70°F range) and tends to be calmer during this time. Although the islands receive slightly more rainfall during these months, most of the lower elevations remain quite arid. Expect blue skies and sunshine and with a chance of short afternoon showers.
  • July through November is the dry or garua season, which begins with the arrival of cold ocean currents. One can expect cooler temperatures and a light mist in the morning during these months. The skies are also a bit cloudier and air temperatures a bit cooler, in the range of 60-75°F (15-24°C). The garua is a mist that forms in the highlands, providing moisture and usually tapering off by midday, leaving skies slightly overcast or sunny for the afternoon. The air temperature can be slightly lower, but the Equator is still a warm place to visit. During this time of year a cold ocean current from the south, called the Antarctic Humboldt current, causes the water temperature to drop slightly, ranging from 60°F- 72°F (15-22°C).

Within both seasons, there are other variants, like altitude, that affect the weather.
The lowest point of elevation is sea level and the highest is Wolf Volcano, Isabela Island (5,600ft or 1,710m). There are seven vegetation zones ranging from arid coastal zones to evergreen cloud forests to treeless shrubless pampa zones, all of which are affected by moisture levels, temperature and sunlight. During the garua season, the coast is very dry while the highlands are much wetter. The hot season may or may not have a rainy period which normally lasts four to six weeks, or in the event of El Nino, a longer period. During the hot season, the coastal zones remain arid. Prevailing winds from the southeast keep the southern sides of the major islands much moister then the northern sides, which fall into a rain shadow resulting in the arid zones reaching a much higher elevation. The months of May and December are changeover periods and weather and sea temperatures in these months tend to vary from year to year depending on the change in the water currents. Occasionally, one will feel humidity, predominantly on the south side of major islands. Compared to the humidity levels in the Amazon or the US South, the humidity in the Galapagos is very low and will not disturb activities.

Snorkeling is an activity offered on all Galapagos trips.
Wetsuits, available onboard most cruises and for all land tours, are recommended June through November. Though sea temperatures vary significantly from island to island, generally all travelers will use a wetsuit during this time. Snorkeling in shallow waters offshore or in protective coves tends to be warmer. Waters to the north, near Genovesa are warmed by the Panama Current, whereas snorkeling off the western island of Isabela is always chilly due to the cold Cromwell undercurrent. The Humboldt Current, or the South Equatorial Current, brings cold sub-Antarctic water that flows through the archipelago eight or nine months a year keeping sea temperatures low. One will experience a variance in sea temperatures while snorkeling on any trip during any time of the year. During the hot season, travelers tend to spend more time in the water, especially at midday when the temperatures are the hottest and wildlife is less active. Snorkeling is an optional activity and those who are not interested in snorkeling have other options.

Sea Conditions are a concern of many cruise travelers.
All Galapagos vessels are small; the largest accommodates only 100 passengers. Naturally, some movement will be felt on all vessels regardless of the time of year or the size of the vessel. The seas around the Galapagos are generally shallow and despite being the crossroads of several currents, the waters are not terribly rough. The seas are at their calmest January through April. December, May and June are transitional months during which one will experience relatively calm seas, though it varies year to year depending on the shift in the currents. July through November, one will find choppier seas, with August through October being the roughest. Certain vessels are more stable than others and cabin location can also help avoid seasickness. Most travel is done at night while passengers are sleeping with the only exception being the short midday transit (two hours or less). During the day, vessels dock in calm waters near shore. Passengers spend most of the day on land or snorkeling. These factors lessen the risk of seasickness. We recommend that you bring over-the-counter or prescription motion sickness medication, though many cruisers discover that the seas are much calmer than anticipated. If you are concerned about motion sickness, please contact us for more details on how to select the right vessel for you.
 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN70-841.0
FEB74-861.0
MAR73-882.0
APR72-861.5
MAY72-820.8
JUN66-780.3
JUL67-760.5
AUG64-750.3
SEP62-750.5
OCT64-770.3
NOV66-780.5
DEC68-800.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

QUITO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-664.5
FEB50-665.1
MAR50-666.0
APR51-666.9
MAY51-664.9
JUN49-671.9
JUL49-670.8
AUG49-671.0
SEP49-683.1
OCT49-675.0
NOV49-674.3
DEC50-664.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

Weather (Ecuador)

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Due to fairly stable seasonal weather conditions in Ecuador, travelers can enjoy year-round travel to the country. Some areas have better weather at certain times of the year, but it is always a good time to travel to Ecuador. Ecuador has a surprising variety of climates. The weather can be very localized and tends to change quickly because of the country’s unique geography. Located on the Equator, Ecuador is divided into four main regions: the Andes, the Amazon, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. Within these four regions of this small country, roughly the size of Colorado, elements of all four seasons can occur in a single day.

The Andes (Highlands)
Visitors can experience the Andean Highlands year-round, though June to September and late November to mid-January tend to be the drier months. February to May and October to mid-November are considered the rainier season. During the rainier months, one will find warm sunny weather in the morning followed by almost daily showers in the afternoon. Temperatures show little variance throughout the year with averages in the 60s during the day and 50s at night, though sunny days may get into the 70s and cooler nights may drop into the 40s. Despite these averages, it is common to have rainy streaks in the dry season and nice sunny weather in the wet season. It is best to come prepared for both rain and sun, as visitors will likely run into both during any month of the year. Warm days and cool nights are normal so packing layers is essential.

The Amazon
The Amazon basin is what you would expect of a tropical rainforest: wet, hot and humid. January marks the beginning of the less rainy period, which extends through March. Calling this the dry season would be a misnomer as it still rains quite frequently. March through July tends to be rainier than the first two months of the year, with July tending to be the rainiest. August through December is known as the fluctuation season. During this time, it is nearly impossible to predict weather patterns. One minute could be hot and sunny with clear blue skies and then the next minute a heavy downpour could begin. Temperatures year-round range in the 80s (27-33°C) and rain, sometimes even cool rainstorms, can be expected most days in the afternoon, as the Amazon basin is truly a rainforest. Any time of year is great to visit the Ecuadorian Amazon despite the level of rain. Contrary to what one may think, the months with higher averages of rainfall are great times to visit. Higher levels of rain increase fruit production, which results in more activity from monkeys and other fruit eating species. The Amazon is an unpredictable environment from both a weather and wildlife standpoint. The best approach for visitors to have an excellent Amazonian experience is to come prepared for the unexpected and to have an open mind!

The Coast
On coast, the dry season runs from about June to December with a temperature drop to the high 70s. The garua, a damp mist, has a tendency to cast itself over the coastline and the sun. The sun can disappear for three months at a time. Then in January to June, temperatures go up and despite the occasional heavy rain, the days will be bright and sunny.

The Galapagos
The great weather of the Galapagos Islands makes them a fantastic destination for travel year-round. Every month of the year is a good time to enjoy a tour of the region. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost completely determined by sea currents. Although most believe the Galapagos to be a very hot destination, the cool water currents in the area keep the climate fairly temperate year-round. The mild variations in weather from month to month result in an overall climate of warm days, cool nights and low humidity. Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos; while visiting one can expect to see plenty of sunshine, blue skies and a possible chance of light rain.
 

QUITO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-664.5
FEB50-665.1
MAR50-666.0
APR51-666.9
MAY51-664.9
JUN49-670.8
JUL49-671.0
AUG49-671.0
SEP49-683.1
OCT49-675.0
NOV49-674.3
DEC50-664.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN70-841.0
FEB74-861.0
MAR73-882.0
APR72-861.5
MAY72-820.8
JUN66-780.3
JUL67-760.5
AUG64-750.3
SEP62-750.5
OCT64-770.3
NOV66-780.5
DEC68-800.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

Ecuador & Galapagos Family Adventure

Pricing
4 or more
$3,595
3 Travelers
$3,795
2 Travelers
$3,995
Galapagos Airfare: $560

Entrance to Galapagos to National Park ($100 Adult / $50 Child)
Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20)

Christmas Surcharge ($275)

Single Supplement: $690 Single Supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.
Included in tour cost
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Quito or Guayaquil
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Domestic airfare to and from Galapagos Islands
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100 Adult/$50 Child)
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20)
  • Wetsuit rental, recommended May - November
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Ecuador & Galapagos Family Adventure

Trip Dates
This trip is available year round. Southern Explorations can arrange a group or private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Available
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 to Thursday, December 31, 2020
Available
Friday, January 1, 2021 to Friday, December 31, 2021
Available
Bellavista
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Quito
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Isabela Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Santa Cruz Island - Puerto Ayora
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Southern Explorations was outstanding from start to finish. Every facet of their service was friendly, polished and organized. I couldn't help but feel in the months leading up to the trip that it would be very well organized because of the impressive correspondence with Southern Explorations. The operations staff was informative and very helpful. Any questions that I emailed them were answered by the next day. Galapagos is in itself a magical destination, but one of the many things I'm telling everyone back home is how perfectly everything seemed to unfold with our guided tour. Moment by moment our activities, experiences, sights and travel arrangements just seemed to mesh seamlessly.I'm well-travelled, but this is my first time writing a travel review. I understand the benefit of constructive criticism, but I honestly can't think of one thing to complain about. Southern Explorations all the way! - Liam Pigott, Canada (Galapagos Island Land)


We had a wonderful trip. Fabricio really made sure that everything was carried out without a hitch. We greatly appreciate all that he did and shared with us. We have some wonderful memories. Thank you Southern Explorations for making our trip possible. - Cunningham Family, Washington (Galapagos Island Land)


 

Our family had the most wonderful adventure in the Galapagos! The travel reps at Southern Explorations and especially our guide - Felipe - worked hard to make sure that all our needs were met. we were able to sit back and enjoy a most wonderful ride. - Grace Ott (Galapagos Island Land)


We were impressed with the initial specific and prompt information given us. Our whole trip reflected this professional, attentive response. I think we saw the best that the Galapagos has to offer whether it be the geography, the land wildlife or the sea life. Our guide, Alfredo, showed deep knowledge of all these things and helped us appreciate these varied, often strange and mostly beautiful islands. - Carol Saunders, Colorado (Galapagos Island Land)


 

We learned a ton, we had a blast at each stop, we had excellent guides throughout, and every thing felt necessary to us. Felipe kept us going in a fun and interesting way, was always helpful in answering our questions and enthusiastically leading us through our experience - offering tons of information and able assistance throughout. Your staff in Seattle was tremendous, patiently answering all of our questions in a timely and complete fashion. - Jeff Schneider (Galapagos Island Land)


The best guided tour I've ever taken. Our guide was well-educated and delightful. The restaurants served local dishes with fresh ingredients that North Americans could appreciate. We had a great time. - Kris Stred, Washington (Galapagos Island Land)


The guide was great. He was knowledgeable about the natural history and the Darwiniana. (That's what I came for.) He was a great snorkeling guide (that's for and what my wife enjoyed most). He chose restaurants and seafood (our favorite) well. And then set up a basketball game with local friends for our son on the last day. We've done a lot of international travel with my own professional activities.   -Bill Hyde, Colorado (Galapagos Island Land)


I just want to emphasize the fact that Southern Explorations was so organized, so accommodating, that I could not ask for a better experience! We are already thinking about joining SE for Peru, Machu Picchu, and the Amazon.   - Phil Merta (Galapagos Island Land)


The trip to the Galapagos was amazing! It almost seemed like we were getting a private tour of the islands, since we barely ran into any other tour groups. I also liked the fact that we did some activities that not all tourists seem to do, so that we have some very unique experiences. I am also extremely glad that I did some of the trip extensions (Quito city tour and Middle of the World, Cotopaxi, and the Bellavista Cloud Forest) before I went to the Galapagos. It really made me appreciate Ecuador and helped make my trip all the more unforgettable, especially climbing Cotopaxi. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently, and the guides were fonts of knowledge, attentive, and extremely personable. I could not have dreamed of a better vacation! - Marie Gardner, Virginia (Galapagos Island Land & Ecuador)


One of the best, if not the very best, holidays I have ever had. I will definitely choose Southern Explorations for my future trips to South America.   - Yelena Belozyorova, England (Galapagos Island Land)


“I can’t say enough great things about my trip. I have certainly praised Southern Explorations to my friends, family and co-workers. What a wonderful experience. It was fun, exciting, relaxing, and informative and I can’t say that I had any bad experiences. I am ready to go on another trip. If anything it wasn’t long enough. I could stay their forever!!! Marisa was wonderful and did such a great job on the planning and making sure everything was great for our trip before, during and after. - Teresa Leamy, Vermont (Galapagos Island Land)


The Galapagos trip has truly been one of my most favorite trips ever. I absolutely loved the amazing wildlife. Snorkeling with the sea lions and the gigantic sea turtles were the top highlights. The people were so unbelievably kind and friendly to us. I'm a born and raised city girl so I still can't believe I sat on a beach in Isabela and watched the sunset with a beer in my hand while sea lions come and go next to me. I honestly believe that I will go back to the Galapagos in a few years again. This time I'll bring my nephew and I will definitely use Southern Explorations again. Thanks so much for everything. - Leslie Ung, California (Galapagos Island Land)


Thanks for your help in planning and arranging our wonderful experience in The Galapagos Islands. Our family had a great time on the Multi-Sport Adventure and will always treasure our memories of the island experience and our fabulous guide, Andreas. - Ron, Terry, Evan, Jessy and Roxane Dorn (Galapagos Island Land)


I can't imagine trying to arrange all of the transfers and transportation. It's definitely worth going on a pre-arranged trip. I'd have no idea where to begin arranging all of the details. The whole trip flowed quite well.   - Julie Johnson, Florida (Galapagos Island Land)

Galapagos Islands Land Tours - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer land tours that are based from one, two, three, or all four inhabited islands. Some trips include day tours to nearby uninhabited islands, while others explore the inhabited islands in greater depth. The Galapagos is an incredible place, and no matter which islands or visitor sites you end up seeing, you will be impressed by the abundance of wildlife and unique landscapes. Our land tours vary in level of accommodation and level of activity. Contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator for more details on the best trip for you.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! While cruise itineraries are set by the Galapagos National Park, we can add extra days in the Galapagos or extensions in mainland Ecuador. Contact an Adventure Travel Coordinator for recommendations.
Q: When is the best time to go to the Galapagos?
A: With abundant wildlife and pleasant weather year round, there isn’t a bad time to go to the Galapagos. You can find a wider selection of trip options by avoiding the winter holidays, spring break and the summer months when most people are free to travel and plan vacations.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: The Galapagos has a sub-tropical climate with temperatures ranging from the mid 60s to high 80s throughout the year. There are two seasons, which caused by different prevailing ocean currents. The warmer, wetter season runs from December to May, and a cooler, dryer season takes over from June – November. Even in the wet season, rain is generally confined to brief afternoon showers and shouldn’t disrupt your trip. You can find more information about what to expect under the ‘Weather’ tab on each Galapagos trip.
Q: What is a typical day like on a Galapagos land-based tour?
A: This can vary based on what type of land tour you choose. All trips will have full days with guided exploration of the island you are staying on, or a day trip to a nearby island via speedboat. While you will be busy most of the day, you will have some time to relax or enjoy the town on your own. Please contact us for more details about your specific itinerary.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a Galapagos trip?
A: While your days in the islands will be full, our Galapagos trips are not particularly strenuous. As long as you are able to walk a couple of miles at a leisurely pace and comfortably navigate uneven terrain, you will be able to enjoy most of our land tours. Some of our more adventurous multisport tours include activities like biking, kayaking, and longer hikes. Please check the physical ratings on our trip pages or contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator to see if a particular itinerary is a good fit for you. 
Q: How much time do we need to visit the Galapagos?
A: Due to the amount of time it takes to get to the Galapagos, we recommend our travelers plan for at least 5 days in the islands. Our shortest land tour runs for four days, but most of our options are 5 to 8 days. You must arrive in Ecuador at least one day prior to your cruise in order to catch your Galapagos flight.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: The Galapagos Islands are relatively busy year round. As a rule, the further in advance you can plan, the more options you will have. For the best selection, plan at least six to nine months in advance throughout the year, and close to a year ahead of time for anything over the Christmas holiday season or May through July. 
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies. Please note that each cruise has its own cancellation policy in addition to our own. This will be detailed in your itinerary.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: The guides on all of our land tours are experienced, fluent in English and hold a degree in a related field. We tend to use the same guides as they are accustomed to the trips we offer. Please note that many of the best guides in the Galapagos now choose to skip formal certification process that defines the level of each guide because of the high costs and the time it demands. Because of this, the designations of Level I, II, III are no longer an accurate indicator of the quality of your guide.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: Most of our land tours include 3–star accommodations that are basic, but clean and comfortable with en suite bathrooms. We also offer resort-style packages that include five-star accommodations, such as Galapagos Safari Camp, located in the Santa Cruz Highlands. In general, hotel choices in the towns of the Galapagos are limited, but luxury properties are beginning to open to meet growing demand.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights, including Galapagos flights, are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We include your Galapagos airfare in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Land-based tours typically have a maximum group size of 12 people. There can be up to 16 on boat excursions to other islands. Please note that some group sizes increase to 16 during the holiday season. 
Q: What are the benefits of a land-based itinerary over a cruise?
A: Land-based tours are great for more active travelers who want to stay busy. Some of our land tours include biking and kayaking, as well as longer hikes than those on a cruise. Land tours also give you the opportunity to spend evenings and free time enjoying the island towns.
Q: Can we snorkel, kayak or scuba dive during our trip?
A: Snorkeling will be included almost every day on all Galapagos trips. Kayaking is only permitted in certain areas, as mandated by the Galapagos National Park. Most land tours offer at least one opportunity to kayak during each itinerary. Many land tours also include options to add scuba diving. Be sure to check with your Adventure Travel Coordinator if this is a priority for you. 
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need. 
Ecuador - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that visit different regions including the Andes, Amazon and the Ecuadorian coast. These tours vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Ecuador itinerary for you if our existing itineraries are not exactly what you are looking for. You can also check out our extensions in mainland Ecuador to make additions to our existing trips. Contact a trip specialist for recommendations.
Q: When is the best time to go to Ecuador?
A: Peak tourism season in Ecuador corresponds with North American and European vacation periods over the summer and the winter holidays, rather than the weather, which is fairly consistent with warm and sunny days throughout the year. All of our trips run year-round, but a few trekking or wildlife-specific itineraries are better during some months than others. Please check with your Adventure Travel Coordinator for more details.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: The weather in Ecuador is pleasant year-round. There is a wet season and a dry season, but this varies depending on which region of the country you are in. Even in the wet season, you will experience plenty of clear, sunny days. The Andean Highlands are a great place to visit year-round with temperatures in the 60s during the day. Occasional light showers can happen anytime, but heavy afternoon rains are common here from January to May. You have the best odds for clear views of Ecuador’s many volcanoes in the months of June, July, August and September, but you will often have views in the morning throughout the year. The Amazon region is hot, humid and wet throughout the year, with the wettest months being from April to June. Please consult the weather tab on your trip itinerary for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like on an Ecuador trip? 
A: A typical day in Ecuador will vary from tour to tour, but generally, you can expect to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your hotel in the late afternoon with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Ecuador? 
A: Our Ecuador trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do I need to visit Ecuador?
A: Most of our mainland Ecuador itineraries are at least nine days in length, but we do offer some lodge-based trips and cruises that can be done in a week or less.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. Spring and summer holidays book up more quickly, so more advance planning is ideal. For the holiday season, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and are licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including several boutique, Ecuadorian-style properties. Throughout the rest of mainland Ecuador we work with a combination of historic haciendas, small Ecuadorian-style hotels and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Most of our Ecuador tours are private, with a guide and vehicle just for your family or group. Visits to haciendas or lodges may include tours with small groups, but do not exceed eight people.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.