Galapagos Islands Tours FAQ’s
1. What kind of weather can we find in the Galapagos Islands?
The warmest months are from December to June. January to March can be hot and humid, but also mostly green at this time. The months from July to November are cooler. The average year-round temperature is 76°F (24°C).
Galapagos Weather: The Galapagos archipelago has a unique tropical nature in matters of weather. The influence that the marine currents create on the islands makes it unusually dry. There are two very different seasons that completely change the environment and landscape during six months each. Even though the pattern that the currents create is accurate, the weather behavior is unpredictable in the transition of the seasons and is completely changeable within a few hours.
The Warm and Wet Season (88°F/70°F)
Starting on January to June, is the time when the strongest marine current that crashes on the Galapagos is the Panama northern hot current. This is associated with high wind and water temperature that results in high humidity. The skies are usually clear but there are eventual heavy rainstorms.
The temperature peak of the season is often on March and April, and this is the time when vegetation turns green and terrestrial ecosystems flourish. Insects such as Butterflies, beetle, grasshoppers, mantis and others are easier to find. This is a positive impact for bird and other vertebrate fauna for feeding and reproducing processes.
The Galapagos marine fauna and flora are diverse and unique thanks to the upwelling phenomenon. On the warm season the Panama current has the chance to enter the island zone because the wind engine system changes and weakens the upwelling. Then when the water is warm, most animals find it difficult to survive due to the lack of primary production resources and life struggles.
The Cold and Dry Season (81°F/66°F)
Also called the Garua season starts on the months of June until December, is due to the presence of cold waters coming from the south and west, resulting in no much evaporation and so, no much precipitation in the lowlands. The Humboldt Current coming from the south hits the archipelago and together with the west current of Cromwell, create a perfect upwelling scenario for life.
The lowlands and highlands are different ecosystems that also have very different facts that influence on their nature. On the cold season, the lowlands turn completely dry, most plants die and most trees (the ones that are adapted to the dramatic change) lose their leaves creating a desert like landscape. Land Animals on this season are put on test and again, natural selection makes the most adaptable and lucky survive. Reptiles have an advantage and most ants use complex strategies to make it through. On the islands that are tall, the highlands are usually covered by clouds and are often rainy and very humid.
Marine productivity is at its peak on this season, life in the ocean is the richest on this time of the year. The cold waters and the nutrients lifted by the upwelling create opportunities for all species to feed and reproduce. This also encourages Marine Birds to mate, so almost all of them have adapted their reproduction cycles to fit on this season. Sea Lions, Sharks, Manta Rays, Fish and many Marine Invertebrates take the chance to arise in all locations of the archipelago.
2. What time zone is used in Galapagos?
Local time in Galapagos is GMT -6 (one hour less than Ecuador’s mainland). In our vessels we work with Ecuador’s mainland time.
3. What is the check-in procedure at Quito or Guayaquil’s airport?
For passengers cruising on a Go Galapagos fleet, a complimentary round-trip shuttle will be provided to/from the airport of Quito or Guayaquil (only with Go Galapagos scheduled flights). If any other ticket to/from Galapagos is used, an operational, non-refundable fee of US$90 net per person must be charged to provide the shuttle and assistance. Go Galapagos is not responsible if passengers miss the cruise or other services due to independent arrangement delays.
If you have a private transfer service included, the day before departure, a member of our Operations Department will get in touch, to reconfirm your pick-up time at your hotel or the meeting time at the AVIANCA counter with one of our staff members.
Check-in time is 2 hours before departure.
If you come by yourself or with a guide, the first thing you must do as soon as you arrive at the airport is go through the luggage control with SICGAL, located 49 ft (15 m) from the main gate, at the National Terminal of Domestic Departures. For environmental reasons, your luggage will be checked for animals, seeds, plants, fruits, vegetables and any other item forbidden to take into the Galapagos Islands.
After, go to the counter of AVIANCA, where there will be a Go Galapagos Ecuador representative with your boarding pass, air tickets, taxes and all your travel documents; this representative will also help you check your luggage with the airline.
You will be given an identification tag for the cruise. Please wear it so you can be easily identified when you arrive at the airport in Galapagos.
Please do NOT get in line for the Galapagos Government Council-Transit Control Card; Go Galapagos Ecuador has your card already.
4. What’s the procedure if I prepaid the Galapagos National Park Tax?
Upon arrival at the airport, you will have to pass control and show your passport. Control has a list of the passengers who have already paid the Galapagos National Park tax; if there’s a sticker on your Go Galapagos’ ticket jacket, it means that you have prepaid this tax; otherwise you will need to pay it at that moment.
5. Who will meet me at the airport in Galapagos?
Upon arrival at the airport, our guides will be waiting for you with a sign indicating your ship or yacht. They will receive the passengers, check them on the list to see nobody is left behind and proceed to take them in the airlines’ bus to the dock where the vessel is anchored.
6. Are there any luggage’s restrictions?
The airline that operates to Galapagos, allows one piece of luggage per person, of no more than 20 kg (about 44 lb) and a carry-on bag of 7 kg p/p.
We recommend you to take a soft sided bag as it will be easier to store in your cabin. Please lock your luggage during the flight.
7. What should I bring on my trip?
Comfortable breathable clothes: shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits and good hiking shoes are required to walk over the lava rock paths. Personal medication, a good camera and plenty of memory cards or film, sun block, sunglasses, a wide brim hat and binoculars.
8. Does the guide accompany us on each island?
Yes. By law, all Galapagos cruises are guided by a National Park – certified guide. The night before the cruise the guide gives an informative lecture of the next day’s itinerary. During this meeting he/she will describe the flora, fauna, and type of terrain that passengers may observe on the island. Questions about biological, geological and human history are always welcome.
9. What is the smoking policy on board the ship?
It is forbidden to smoke inside the cruises. Smoking is allowed ONLY on the sun decks.
10. What is the electrical outlet and service?
110 / 220 volts. European and American outlets are available on our cruise fleet. In the M/Y Coral I and M/Y Coral II the frequency is 60 Hz and in the M/V Galapagos Legend Is 50 Hz.
11. Is there any physical requirement for the cruise?
We recommend passengers to be in reasonably good physical condition as some trails may be difficult. Therefore, elderly or disabled persons may find them too demanding and must notify Go Galapagos Ecuador about their physical condition in order to make the necessary arrangements. Go Galapagos Ecuador reserves the right to decline a passenger if anyone fails to inform of any physical disability, or who, under company´s discretion, constitutes a danger to themselves, other guests, crew members, or the operation of the vessel.
12. What can I pack for the excursions?
For shore excursions, comfortable clothing is a must, preferably shorts, bathing suits, head covering, walking and tennis shoes, windbreaker type jacket, binoculars, a camera and plenty of extra memory cards.
Sunrays are very strong in the Galapagos Islands. Don`t forget to bring enough high grade sun block, and a wide brim hat. Also, put your cameras in self-sealing plastic bags to protect them from the water, especially during landings.
13. How can I pay my expenses on board?
Upon arrival, an account will be opened for you. If you wish to pay with your credit card, we ask you to come to reception to sign a voucher and to make copies of your passport and credit card. Authorizations take about 48 hours, so please do this on your first cruise day.
We accept all major credit cards: Diners, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Euros* and U.S. Dollars are also accepted.
* Please ask for the exchange rate.
14. Is Internet access available aboard our cruise fleet?
Satellite Internet is available on the M/V Galapagos Legend: Internet plans available. Plans to be requested.
15. What is the schedule for meals on board?
On board the M/V Galapagos Legend, breakfast is served from 7:00 to 8:00, lunch at 12:00 and dinner at 19:00. On your last day, breakfast will be at 6:30 so we can have enough time for our last excursion before going off to the airport.
On board the Corals, breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8:30 except on Sunday, when it is served at 6:00, and Wednesday at 7:00; lunch is at 12:30 and dinner at 19:30, except on Monday and Saturday when it will be served at 18:30.
Meals are gourmet, healthy, low on fat, with vegetarian options; they also include traditional dishes of local cuisine.
16. What if I have allergies or require special diet on bord?
In both cruises, meals are varied depending on food preferences of the guests, which are informed beforehand by your agency. Go Galapagos-KleinTours will do I very best to meet reasonable special dietary need keeping in mind Galapagos provision restrictions.
17. What would happen if I get seasick?
We have seasick medication on board all of our ships, but if you are particularly sensitive to it, you can bring your own medication and we recommend to take it at least 24 hours before the cruise starts.
18. Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, water on board is purified. Ice used onboard is made with purified water as well Reusable bottles made out of recycled aluminum are available at the cabins You can refill your bottle during the cruise at our purifiers located at the main bar, pool bar restaurant and disembarking area. Bottles must always have to be returned to the ship after the activities on islands then you can take them home as a souvenir.
19. Do you provide shampoo and soap on board?
Yes, we supply all travelers with biodegradable shampoo and soap as part of our conservation policy, but if you want to bring your own please make sure they are biodegradable. Thank you!
20. Do we need to bring our own towels?
No you don’t. For your convenience we provide bath and beach towels during your cruise.
21. Sample day in your Galapagos cruise:
06h45: Wake-up call
08h00: Visit the Island. Hiking, snorkeling, etc.
11h00: Back to the ship
14h30: Special activity; leisure time, lecture or deep-water snorkeling.
16h00: Visit the Island. Hiking, dinghy ride, kayaking, etc.
18h00: Back on board
18h20: Ice cream festival or scheduled activities on board.
21h00: Karaoke, Neptune Party, Stargazing or scheduled night entertainment.
* Scheduled hours and activities may vary