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FAQ

Here you'll find some of the most frequently asked questions about adventure travel to Galapagos Islands and Ecuador with Wildland Adventures. If your question isn't answered here or you'd like more detailed information on our Galapagos cruises and Ecuador adventure tours, you can contact our Galapagos Program Director via email or at 1-800-345-4453.

When is the best season for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?
There are so many different yacht options! How do I know which Galapagos small-ship cruise is right for me?
What kinds of animals will I see while on a Wildland Adventures' Galapagos tour?
Why should I book my Galapagos adventure tour with Wildland Adventures?
What kind of pre-departure services do you offer?
What are the visa and passport requirements for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos?
Will I need any vaccinations, immunizations or special medications for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?
What makes a Galapagos Family Adventure different from your normal Galapagos voyages?
I really want to see a specific island in the Galapagos, but the yacht I like doesn't visit there. How and why do the itineraries differ?
I really look forward to snorkeling in the Galapagos. How often will I have the opportunity on an average Galapagos adventure cruise?
I want to scuba dive in the Galapagos, but my travel partner only wants to snorkel. Are there any ships that offer a combination trip?
How strenuous are your Galapagos adventure vacations?
Will I get seasick on a Galapagos cruise?
Will my cell phone work while traveling in Ecuador or the Galapagos?
Do your Galapagos and Ecuador tours include international airfare? Do you have recommendations for the best routing and airlines for travel to Ecuador?
What is security like onboard the yachts? Will I have a safety box in my cabin?
Will I suffer from jet lag after traveling to Ecuador?
Will I have problems with altitude in the highlands of Ecuador?
Where can I download memory cards from my camera?
I would love to give something back to the country and people I meet while on this trip. Any suggestions?
Are there any 'hands on' ways my family can get involved in Galapagos preservation?

When is the best season for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?

Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination for travel. There are two seasons in Galapagos, but climate is tempered year-around on the equator. The "warm" season runs from January through April with air temperatures ranging from 65 F-81 F (water temperatures 76 F-83 F). Skies are clear, blue and interspersed with sporadic rains. This season offers the most pleasant weather and calm seas for cruising. From May through December, the Humboldt Current predominates cooling air temperatures slightly to between 60 F - 72 F (water temperatures 65 F-72 F) creating comfortable hiking weather. Although the sea is rarely ever rough, southeast trade winds cause the ocean to be choppier this time of year and a misty “garua" fog may linger part of the day Back to Top

There are so many different yacht options! How do I know which Galapagos small-ship cruise is right for me?

After 25-plus years of working with a fleet of the smaller, first-class yachts, from motor sailors, to motor yachts, our staff is intimately familiar with these vessels, their crew and onboard services, programs and equipment. Our Galapagos program director will help identify the best yacht for you based on your specific needs, style, budget and interests. For example, some motor yachts are more spacious and luxurious, while the motor sailors are more sleek with tighter quarters. Some yachts are more appropriate for families configured to offer triple cabins with child discounts. Many vessels carry kayaks included in the cost, others don’t carry kayaks at all. We will help you find the right fit! Back to Top

What kinds of animals will I see while on a Wildland Adventures' Galapagos tour?

Just like Africa’s Big Five, the Galapagos can just about guarantee sightings of the following: marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises (at the Charles Darwin Research Station). No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll be able to witness some sort of courting, breeding, nesting behavior. Back to Top

Why should I book my Galapagos adventure tour with Wildland Adventures?

Call us! If you like our staff and feel we are giving you the most timely and informative response to your questions, then reserve your trip with us. Our company is a founding member of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association [IGTOA], a professional organization dedicated to improving tourism services, especially maritime safety, and supporting conservation in the National Park. As a member of IGTOA, we receive regular updates on the safety and services of yachts we charter. We work exclusively with a whole fleet of only first-class smaller yachts which offer our travelers the most personal, comfortable, safe and informed experience in Galapagos accompanied by the best licensed naturalist guides. Although many other companies around the world sell the same yachts [there is a limited supply of boat capacity controlled by the Park Service], most offer fewer departure dates on a more limited selection of the small vessels, including undesirable tourist class boats. We offer you weekly departures on many different yachts so you can choose based on departure dates, your style, and price range.Back to Top

What kind of pre-departure services do you offer?

Our knowledgeable and experienced Galapagos Program Director will walk you through the process of finding the best yacht to fit your preferred travel style. Once you have settled on the itinerary you are envisioning, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure package including travel tips for Ecuador and the Galapagos, packing lists, suggested reading, dining recommendations, maps and more! We are available by email or telephone to answer any questions, large or small, about your trip.  Back to Top

What are the visa and passport requirements for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos?

No visas are required for US citizens to travel to Ecuador or the Galapagos. However you should check your passport to be sure the expiration date is at least 6 months after your departure date from Ecuador. If you don’t have at least that amount of time left on your passport, you will need to renew it before your trip. Back to Top

Will I need any vaccinations, immunizations or special medications for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?

In general, you will not require any special vaccinations or medication for the Galapagos. Malaria is not present in Quito, Guayaquil or the Galapagos. Your pre-departure package will have a detailed list of inoculations recommended by the Center for Disease Control. We urge you to consult your personal physician for anything that may be specific to your own medical history.  Back to Top

What makes a Galapagos Family Adventure different from your normal Galapagos voyages?

A few of our yachts offer “designated family departures” during the peak Summer and holiday months. What sets these trips apart is the focus on bringing families together on the same vessels with kids around the same age. The naturalist guides will also be specially chosen for their affinity to kids, their abilities to engage, entertain, and – in the best sense – educate kids of all ages. They understand that most 7 year olds aren’t going to care about the intricacies of finch speciation, but maybe they WILL care about Galapagos snakes and marine iguanas that expel sea water and salt through special pores on their heads with a loud “whoosh!” The naturalists will keep things moving and interesting for everyone, no matter the age. Other features of a family trip will include special menus with items more familiar to the younger set – hamburgers, pizza nights, etc. The yacht lounge will have movies and games to keep kids occupied while the parents socialize. And there may be evenings of costume making and “kids only” parties. Please ask our Galapagos Program Director for specifics. Back to Top

I'd prefer a shorter Galapagos cruise. Is this possible?

Although there’s a much greater demand for full-week cruises than for the shorter itineraries, we don’t want anyone to miss out on experiencing the Galapagos Islands, even if it is an abbreviated visit. We work with several vessels that offer a range of cruise lengths – from 4 days/3 nights, 5 days/4 nights, or 6 days/5 nights. Just be prepared to regret not spending more time in the Galapagos, because it is hard to leave, and there is always more to see!   Back to Top

I really want to see a specific island in the Galapagos, but the yacht I like doesn't visit there. How and why do the itineraries differ?

Itineraries are set by the Galapagos National Park (GNP), not by the boat operators themselves. This ensures that at any given time, the GNP can maintain control of the thousands of annual visitors who step foot on the different approved landing sites on 13 major islands. Each itinerary is carefully designed to give you the maximum exposure to a variety of landscapes and endemic species with minimum impact to the environment. Recently, the GNP mandated that no commercially-licensed vessel could stop at any one site more than once in a 2-week period, therefore all yacht companies must now have 2 alternating itineraries. Back to Top

I really look forward to snorkeling in the Galapagos. How often will I have the opportunity on an average Galapagos adventure cruise?

Typically there are daily snorkeling opportunities to snorkel in the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve, sometimes even twice per day, but it often depends on local sea conditions as well as particular site permits which can change. If you enjoy snorkeling take a mask and snorkel of your own that fits properly. Mask, snorkel and fins are also available on board but the variety of sizes and condition of the equipment varies so bring your own (fins are not as important unless you are a serious snorkeler and want to bring them). Also, if you plan to snorkel a lot, especially in the months of July to August when the water is cool you will need a wetsuit (available on most vessels, please ask us to be sure). Also, be sure to wear lots of sun screen and a shirt when snorkeling to protect from the strong equatorial sun. Be sure to bring an underwater camera too, either the cheap plastic disposable kind (great for kids), or better yet purchase a waterproof digital camera or water tight case for better pictures when snorkeling.   Back to Top

I want to scuba dive in the Galapagos, but my travel partner only wants to snorkel. Are there any ships that offer a combination trip?

It’s not feasible to combine those two activities on one vessel. By experience we know it is not recommended to mix divers with non-divers. A great deal of time and effort is spent oriented around the diving activity, so those who don’t dive often find themselves left out of the day’s activities. In addition, dive locations are often in deeper waters with strong currents, where snorkeling is less satisfying. Strong currents make diving in Galapagos high risk; only experienced divers should apply. If your schedule allows, build in extra time before or after your Galapagos cruise in order to stay on land and take SCUBA day trips from Puerto Ayora or San Cristobal. Back to Top

How strenuous are your Galapagos adventure vacations?

Generally, Galapagos trips are not strenuous. Agility is important to make wet landings (from Zodiac to wading on the beach) or dry landings, which may entail jumping to a dock or rocky platform. Some walks may require navigating over rocky lava or last up to 3 hours, although we make constant stops to examine wildlife. Almost all walks will end with the opportunity to swim or snorkel. Be prepared to cover yourself, particularly your head, from the intense equatorial sun and heat. Drink lots of water! We’ve had travelers aged 7 to 70-plus join our trips. Our guides do a great job of sizing up each group (average size 6-12 people) to customize the daily activities according to your physical abilities. Your guide will advise you about what to expect on each day so that you can be prepared ahead of time.  Back to Top

Will I get seasick on a Galapagos cruise? 

If you are prone to motion sickness, you may feel nauseous during part of the cruise, but most time is spent in calm protected waters of coves in and around the islands. Bring motion sickness medication whether you think you will need it or not. If you need it you’ll be glad you have it. If you don’t, you can be a hero and give some to someone who does. Most yachts will have a supply but you can’t count on that. During the course of an 8-day voyage, your yacht will be exposed to open water with swells of 2-4 feet for a period of 3-5 hours while you cruise from one island to the next after which you return to calm water and can set your feet back on land for your next excursion. The sea is most calm from January through April. Back to Top

Will my cell phone work while traveling in Ecuador or the Galapagos?

This is a good question for your cell phone service provider. To work internationally, you'll most likely need a cell phone which uses a "GSM" network which is most widely used globally. In the U.S. AT&T and T-Mobile operate GSM networks while Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and several smaller carriers such as U.S. Cellular use the "CDMA" network which has less worldwide coverage than GSM. You'll want to check with your service provider regarding international coverage and make sure you understand exactly what you'll be charged for making calls and, if you have a smart phone, for using data (email/internet). Rates can be extremely expensive and we've heard horror stories of travelers returning home to find unexpectedly large bills for using their phone while traveling. Due to this, we generally recommend you unplug and don't use your cell phone while traveling. Your guides will be able to give you the best options for calling home and loved ones can contact you using the local phone numbers we provide on your final itinerary or Wildland's 24-hour emergency number.We recommend reviewing CNET's World Phone Guide for more information on international cell phone coverage. Back to Top

Do your Galapagos and Ecuador tours include international airfare? Do you have recommendations for the best routing and airlines for travel to Ecuador?

International airfare is not included in our prices for our tours. While Wildland Adventures does not book international airfare directly, we are pleased to provide a quote and schedule for your international air with our partners at Exito Travel, a leader in air travel worldwide. They offer highly competitive fares along with the knowledge to book the best airlines, routing and schedule for your Wildland Adventure. Contact your destination Program Director for more information. Back to Top

What is security like onboard the yachts? Will I have a safety box in my cabin?

Some yachts will offer safety boxes in the cabins, but not all. While it is probably 99% safe to leave your valuables in the cabin, we still recommend stowing cash or anything irreplaceable in your luggage and locking it when you go ashore. TSA-approved locks such as Travel Sentry or Safe Skies will secure your luggage and belongings onboard the yacht or in hotels while allowing TSA officials to safely perform any necessary checks. You can also use plastic zip ties, but you will need access to a cutting instrument in order to get into the luggage again. Back to Top

Will I suffer from jet lag after traveling to Ecuador?

Probably not. Ecuador is on the same time zone as Miami, and the Galapagos time zone is 1 hour later. The Islands are approximately 2 hours flight west from the Ecuadorian coast. Back to Top

Will I have problems with altitude in the highlands of Ecuador?

At an elevation of 9500’, Quito can have an adverse effect on people arriving from lower elevations. The solution is to hydrate, refrain from drinking alcohol, and take it slow until you acclimate. There are medications to help you get past the initial discomfort, but most people find they are back to normal by the time they wake up the second day in Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands do not present a problem.Back to Top

Where can I download memory cards from my camera?

There are several cyber-cafés in Puerto Ayora (Isla Santa Cruz) where you can do this. Back to Top

I would love to give something back to the country and people I meet while on this trip.  Any suggestions?

There are a number of ways to contribute to the Galapagos and to the Ecuadorian country and people.  As founding members of the International Galapagos Tour Operators’ Association, Wildland Adventures joins with other travel professionals in funding many important projects in the Islands – from conservation efforts to education and naturalist guide training.  Your $50 per person contribution goes a long way toward those goals.  We also support Pack for a Purpose, with projects in the Galapagos as well as the Yasuni National Park, supported by the Napo Wildlife Center.  Ask us for details. Back to Top

Are there any “hands on” ways my family can get involved in Galapagos preservation?

YES!  The Ecology Project International (EPI) works in tandem with one of our most popular yacht companies to allow teen adventurers and their families to experience the Galapagos Islands with professional researchers and volunteers from all over the world, including local Galapagueno students.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for meaningful cultural exchange and conservation work for one day of the voyage.  Please ask us for details! Back to Top