Quito & Galapagos Islands Trip Details

Introduction

Welcome to Ecuador!

Ecuador, your host country, is 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 

Plan to arrive at any time after 2pm on Day 1.

If you arrive earlier, please plan to meet us at 2pm on day 1 at the airport for included transportation.

Finish: Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) - Quito, Ecuador

Plan to depart Day 8 after 9:30PM

If you want to spend more time in Ecuador please plan accordingly. We’re happy to help.

What's Included

  • Certified Galapagos Naturalist guide for 5 days in the Galapagos
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader 
  • Round trip flight to the Galapagos
  • 2 nights in boutique accommodations in Quito
  • 5 nights in boutique accommodations in the Galapagos Islands
  • 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners, 2 lunches
  • Roundtrip transportation to Quito Airport
  • Roundtrip transportation to Baltra Airport in the Galapagos
  • Round trip speedboat between Santa Cruz and Isabela Island
  • Round trip speedboat between Santa Cruz and an uninhabited island
  • Guided tour and entrance to local ranch and Giant Tortoise Reserve
  • Galapagos Sustainability Educational Experience with Local Ecology Club
  • Snorkeling and hiking experience an uninhabited island
  • Experience the largest white sand beach in the Galapagos at Tortuga Bay
  • Guided hike of Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Snorkeling and hiking Tintoreras Islet
  • Countless encounters with native marine life and wildlife
  • Guided city tour of Quito
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card
  • Taxes always included, never hidden fees, & NO blackout dates
  • Book with confidence: it's free to switch your trip more than 30 days out

What’s not included

  • $100 USD Galapagos National Park Entry Fee - Cash Only
  • $10 USD  Isabela Island Entrance Fee - Cash Only
  • Lunches
  • Optional activities

When should I book my flight?

  • Plan to arrive Day 1 at anytime and depart Day 8 after 9:30pm local time
  • *Please wait to book your flight until you receive an email from us with more details*

Highlights

  • Visit four different Galapagos islands
  • Get close to 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 Galapagos penguins, blue footed boobies, sea turtles, sea lions, sharks, manta rays, and much more
  • Learn about sustainability challenges and how to experience the Galapagos responsibly from local students passionate about preserving the islands 

Is this Trip for You?

  • Age requirement:  21+
  • Group Size:  11-15 travelers
  • Physical Rating:  3. Physical activity.This trip is for those who enjoy being active and enjoy reaping the rewards. We’ll be snorkeling, hiking, and staying active for a majority of the trip. 
  • Style: Active

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 location 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 large 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

Meals will be typical Ecuadorian food with options for every diet. 

Sample Breakfast Menu:

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

Sample Dinner Menu:

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

We do our best to accommodate vegan, vegetarian, or any allergy requests.

Transport

  • You will be traveling on a minibus to and from the airport in Santa Cruz
  • You will be traveling on a minibus or a typical “Chiva” style bus in Isabela island
  • You will be traveling with private transportation to and from activities in the Galapagos
  • Your local flights to and from the Galapagos are included
  • You will be traveling via public speed boat between Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands

Accommodation

  • Boutique hotel rooms for the duration of your trip
  • Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same sex

*Private room options are available upon request and subject to hotel availability (for an extra charge)

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory in order to participate in 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.

We recommend using either Wanderwell or World Nomads to purchase your policy. The Wanderwell “Preferred Plan” or the World Nomads “Explorer Plan” will cover all included activities on U30X trips. Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, selected by Under30Experiences.

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

Very Flexible.

Give us at least 30 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 30 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 30 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 eateries, and introduce you to our local friends.

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

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle.
  • Bring a reusable straw to limit the amount of single-use plastic waste.
  • 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.
  • Bring "reef safe" sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate because they kill coral.

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack 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.

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.

Necessary Packing List

Passport & Visas

Guidelines for U.S. Passport Holders

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the last date of your trip. Please consult the U.S. Department of State with any more 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 Galapagos 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 Belize 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 in regards to physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Ecuador from the USA but the Center for Disease Control suggests vaccinating for Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Required vaccines should go through CDC, recommended vaccines should be through your doctor.

If you are traveling from South America you will be required to present proof of Yellow Fever Vaccine.

Mosquito borne viruses exist in most of Latin America. Please cover exposed skin and use mosquito repellent.

Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. For legal reasons our Trip Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.

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

Money & Currency

  • The official currency in Ecuador is the United States Dollar (USD).
  • Depending on your spending habits, bring cash with you for additional expenses such as, snacks, souvenirs, optional activities. We suggest about ~$200 USD.
  • Call your bank and credit card company and let them know you'll be traveling overseas.

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.

It is recommended to use 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. It’s also recommended to bring 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
  • Chevere/Bacan -- Cool
  • Pana -- Buddy

Tipping Customs

While tipping isn’t customary, it is certainly appreciated especially when you have received great service.  Be sure to tip in the local currency (USD) to ensure the recipient does not have to pay additional fees when exchanging.  Here are some common guidelines to follow:

  1. Dining at a sit down restaurant = $5 USD  per person
  2. Bellboy = $10 USD  per person
  3. Hotel cleaning staff = $10 USD  per person per night spent at the hotel
  4. Tour guide (non U30X activity leaders)  = $10 - $20 USD for a day tour 

Optional Activities

  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba Diving
  • Swimming in Las Grietas
  • Charles Darwin Center visit

While your trip leader will assist you with optional activities available, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time.

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.

Staying longer or arriving early?

Recommended Activities in Quito:

Recommended hotels in Quito: 

  • Hotel Tababela Resort
  • Hotel Las Mercedes Airport
  • Hosteria Airport Garden

Still need to book your flight?

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