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Quito & Galapagos Islands Trip Details

Introduction

Welcome to Ecuador!

Ecuador, your host country, is the one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It’s truly one-of-a-kind with four different worlds coming together in a spectacular way.

The Pacific Coast, the Andes, the Amazon, & the Galapagos Islands constitute Ecuador’s geography and cultural identity. These distinct worlds offer a truly mind-boggling array of experiences.

The Galapagos Islands are considered the living laboratory of Darwin's theory of evolution. It's no wonder 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles & land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are native to only these islands.

Immerse yourself in the wildlife, culture, and unique ecosystem it has to offer. We’ll hike, snorkel, and boat our way across the archipelago as we get to know the wildlife, locals, and remarkable landscapes.  

Duration:  8 days, 7 nights

Start: Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) -- Quito, Ecuador
To ensure included transportation: plan to arrive after 2:00 pm on Day 1.

If you arrive earlier, please plan to meet us after 2pm at the airport for included transportation.

Finish: Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) -- Quito, Ecuador
To ensure included transportation: plan to depart after 8:00 pm on Day 8.

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration-–please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions.

What's Included

  • 8 days & 7 nights shared accommodations in boutique hotels
  • 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and & 7 dinners
  • Certified Galápagos Naturalist guide for 5 days
  • Domestic round-trip flight from Quito to The Galapagos Islands
  • Round-trip speedboat between Santa Cruz and Isabela Island
  • Round-trip boat ride between Santa Cruz and an uninhabited island
  • Guided tour and entrance to Giant Tortoise Reserve & Local Ranch
  • Snorkeling and hiking experience on an uninhabited island
  • Experience the largest white sand beach in the Galapagos at Tortuga Bay
  • Guided hike on Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Snorkeling and hiking on Tintoreras Island
  • Countless encounters with native wildlife
  • Guided city tour of Quito
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Airport drop-off upon departure
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet some kick-ass people
  • Access to the Under30Experiences community
  • Taxes always included, never hidden fees, & NO blackout dates

Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Ecuador, $100 cash fee to enter the Galapagos Islands on Day 3, and $10 cash fee to enter Isabela Island on day 5.

Highlights

  • Visit three different Galapagos Islands
  • Hang out with Giant Tortoises in their natural environment
  • Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, home of the one of the largest volcanic craters in the world
  • Swim, snorkel, and hike with tons of wildlife like the Galapagos penguins, blue footed boobies, sea turtles, sea lions, sharks, manta rays, and much more
  • Learn how to experience the Galapagos responsibly from your certified naturalist guide.

Is this Trip for You?

Do you see yourself soaking up the sun in one of the most biodiverse places on our planet?

The Galapagos are a haven for animal lovers, adventure seekers, and nature lovers. You'll have experiences only found on this tiny archipelago as we hike active volcanoes, swim with sharks and turtles, and lounge with iguanas.

WiFi will be available but may be unreliable because of the remote location of the islands. We encourage you to take this opportunity to disconnect and immerse yourself in one of the most unique places on our planet.

-Age Requirement:  21+
-Group Size:  8-15 travelers
-Physical rating: Moderate. This trip is a good mix of activity and relaxation and includes moderate physical activities like hikes and snorkeling.  Participants should expect to be active 3-4 hours most days. An active lifestyle is helpful though not required to enjoy the trip.

Travel Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

Before your trip you'll have the opportunity to join a custom Facebook Group and connect with others members of your group. Many travelers meet in the airport, or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a country after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment, where people feel safe to truly be themselves.
After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni, and part of our larger online Travel Community where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours, to hikes, to outdoor movie nights.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Breakfasts will be served at your hotel. Dinners will be enjoyed at local restaurants, usually a short walk away.

Sample Breakfast Menu:

  • Fruit, yogurt, coffee, milk, eggs, toast

Sample Dinner Menu:

  • Dishes will be typical Ecuadorian meals and seasoned traditionally
  • An option of a chicken, pork, beef, fish or a vegetarian dish will be available. Dishes will be accompanied by a salad and rice

We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Most meals can be modified for special requests and food allergies.

Transport

You will be traveling by private ground transportation, public speed boat, and an included domestic flight throughout your trip.

  • Domestic flights to and from the Galapagos Islands (Included)
    The luggage allowance is: (1) 61 lb checked bag; (1) 17 lb carry-on.
    Each traveler is responsible for any fees associated with bags being overweight when checking in at the airport.
  • Private ground transportation in Santa Cruz and Isabela Island (Included)
    On Isabela Island you may travel on a typical "Chiva" style bus.
  • Private ground transportation to and from activities in the Galapagos islands (Included)
  • Private boat to and from an uninhabited island (Included)
  • Public speed boat between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands (Included)

Accommodation

You will be staying in shared boutique hotel rooms for the duration of your trip.

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality.
Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender.
Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability (for an extra charge).

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory in order to participate on any of our trips.

When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all travelers must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of $200,000 USD for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

Please ensure that all the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

The World Nomads “Explorer Plan” will cover all the included activities on U30X trips and is our recommended travel insurance vendor.

If you have travel insurance with your credit card we require proof of purchase of the trip in the form of a receipt or credit card statement on a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage, and emergency contact telephone number.

Cancellation Policy

Flexible

Give us at least 60 days notice and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 60 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company as they may cover you for some expenses. 
We are not able to transfer trips or hold experience credits within 60 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of the Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!

  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill where clean water is available.
  • Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping.
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment.

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A day pack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation,so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Do not forgetBring a two prong power adaptor to charge your electronics. Be sure to bring a converter if devices can’t handle 220V.

Below includes our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with!  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and organically inspired when possible.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you Under30Experiences will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for 60 days after your trip. Under30Experiences recommends that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your trip.  Please consult the U.S. Department of State with anymore questions.

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

The tap water in Ecuador is not safe to drink. Please bring a reusable water bottle to refill from filtered water stations and join us in our efforts to be environmentally friendly and keep Ecuador beautiful.

Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads and has a minimum of $200,000 USD coverage.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling regarding physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Ecuador from the United States but the Center for Disease Control suggests routine vaccines for all travelers. Required vaccines should go through CDC, recommended vaccines should be through your doctor.

More specific Health information for Travelers to Ecuador can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Money & Currency

We suggest bringing $250 USD in cash to be used at establishments that do not accept credit cards.

This is not a total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your own spending habits for additional expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

The official currency in Ecuador is the United States Dollar (USD).

There will be opportunities to withdraw from an ATM during the trip.

Remember to call your bank and credit card company and let them know you'll be traveling overseas.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange app.

Please be advised that US Dollar notes that are slightly torn, heavily marked, or faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100.

Safety & Security

Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance and passport with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.

Keep your passport and any valuables locked in your hotel room.

Don’t leave valuables unattended.

US Citizens please consider registering with US State Department's “SMART Traveler Program” who can contact your family in case of emergency.

Weather

In Quito, the weather is mild with temperatures between 48 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

We recommend using light clothing during the day, and sweaters or jackets at night.

The coast, including the Galapagos Islands, has warm weather. The average temperature is around 87 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 degrees Celsius. 

We recommend light clothing, comfortable and water resistant shoes, and a sweater or jacket for some cold nights. We also recommend bringing sunglasses, a hat, bug repellent, and plenty of sunscreen.

cultural information

Ecuadorian culture consists of a mix of indigenous practices and European colonial influence.

Spanish is the official language in Ecuador, however, as tourism develops in this country you can occasionally find people who speak English. In the highlands you may also find people who speak Quechua, the ancient Incan language.

Two of the most popular leisure activities in Ecuador are soccer and dancing. You can find Ecuadorians enjoying a variety of music like salsa, bachata, and merengue.

Key Phrases
  • Hello -- Hola
  • Excuse me -- Perdon
  • How are you? --¿Como estas?
  • Thank you -- Gracias
  • Please -- Por favor
  • A beer please -- Una cerveza por favor
  • Cool -- Chevere/Bacan
  • Buddy -- Pana

Optional Activities

The activities below will be paid in USD.

Santa Cruz
  • Swimming in Las Grietas: Free
  • Charles Darwin Research Center: Free
  • Scuba Diving: ~USD $150
  • Kayaking: ~USD $30
Isabela
  • Bike Rental: ~USD $4 per hour

While your Trip Leader will assist you with optional activities available, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of the Under30Experiences itinerary. We offer no guarantees on the safety or standard of the activity.

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes, but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself, or ask.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with a different way of living than you’re used to,do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and alcohol consumption.If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Trip Leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because they want you to have a good time!

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.

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